Tuesday, January 27, 2015

GURPS101: Simplified Unarmed Combat




So I occasionally take requests from my fellow forumites or the random guy on G+ "Hey! You should do [this]!" and...sometimes I do exactly that. So Nerdvana asked "What do you think about simplifying unarmed combat?" to which I replied "Well, Nerdy, I hadn't thought of it really till now. But now that I think about it I'd.... Nope. I got nothing." So I let silence make way for wisdom and then said "Well, I'd probably do something like...."


Strike Him Centurion, Very Roughly
So theoretically, you could fold Brawling, Boxing, and Karate into one Dexterity-Based Very Hard skill. But what would that look like?

Striking
DX/VH
Default: None

This is the skill of striking a target. Whether it's a punch, kick, or a bite, this skill covers it all. Roll Striking to hit a target with any sort of unarmed attack, including fist loads (e.g., blackjacks), or with natural weapons (e.g., a bite).
           Striking improves damage with all unarmed attacks: if you know Striking at DX level, add +1 per die to basic damage. Add +2 per die if you know Striking at DX+1 or better! Work out damage ahead of time and record it on your character sheet.
           Striking lets you parry two different attacks each turn (once per hand). Your Parry score is (skill/2) + 3, rounded down. This parry is not at the usual -3 for parrying a weapon barehanded, reducing the likelihood of injury when you defend against an armed foe. In addition, Striking gives an improved retreating bonus when you parry; see Retreat (p. B377). For more on parrying barehanded, see Parrying Unarmed (p. B376).
           If you want, you may optionally specialize:

Nimble: Your style of fighting is quick and fast. You can't use improvised fist-loads nor bite with it, and take a penalty on your skill rolls equal to your current encumbrance level. For example, you'd take a -2 to hit or parry at Medium Encumbrance. This reduces the difficulty of the skill to DX/Hard.

Scrapper: Your fighting style is unorthodox and draws as much from being taught as it does from experience. This reduces your damage bonus to +1 per die if you know your skill at DX+2 or better. You also don't get retreat bonuses and do take penalties to parry weapons except for non-thrusting attacks. This reduces the difficulty of the skill to DX/Easy.

Strong: Your fighting style isn't flashy - but it gets the job done. You can't used natural weapons or perform kicks, elbow strikes, etc. - just punches. Your damage bonus remains the same, but you parry kicks at -2 and any non-thrusting weapon at -3! This reduces the difficulty of the skill to DX/Average.


The Art of Living is More Like Wrestling than Dancing
Like Brawling and other striking skills, you can fold Judo, Sumo Wrestling, and Wrestling into a single skill...

Grappling
DX/VH
Default: None

This is the skill of grabbing, grappling, or using unarmed throws against a target. Roll against the higher of your DX or Grappling to hit with a grapple, slam, or shove.
           If you know this skill at DX+1 you get +1 to ST whenever you make or resist a grapple, take down, choke, neck snap, pin, or whenever you attempt to break free. You also receive a +1 per die to your damage when you slam or shove a target. These bonuses increase to +2 if you know Grappling at DX+2 or better.
          You may also use the better of your DX or Grappling for any roll made in close combat except to draw a weapon or drop a shield. If you attack or parry a foe with Grappling, you may attempt to judo throw him next turn (see p. B203 for more information on judo throws).
           Grappling lets you parry two different attacks each turn (once per hand). Your Parry score is (skill/2) + 3, rounded down. This parry is not at the usual -3 for parrying a weapon barehanded, reducing the likelihood of injury when you defend against an armed foe. In addition, Grappling gives an improved retreating bonus when you parry; see Retreat (p. B377). For more on parrying barehanded, see Parrying Unarmed (p. B376).
           If you want, you may optionally specialize:

Brute: Your style of fighting is brutal. Your bonus only applies when you grapple to make/resist a take down. It also adds it's bonus to make/resist any choke, grapple, neck snap, pin, or take down and whenever you try to break free. You also don't get retreat bonuses and do take penalties to parry weapons. This reduces the difficulty of the skill to DX/Average.

Graceful: Your fighting style is unorthodox and draws as much from being taught as it does from experience. This reduces your damage bonus to +1 per die if you know your skill at DX+2 or better. You also don't get retreat bonuses and do take penalties to parry weapons except for non-thrusting attacks. This reduces the difficulty of the skill to DX/Hard.

Manhandler: Your all about pushing people around. Your bonus only applies when you grapple, slam, or shove or to make or resist a take down. You can only parry with once per turn (instead of the usual two) and parry kicks at -2 and weapon at -3! This reduces the difficulty of the skill to DX/Average.


Picking Over the Bones
I personally like how GURPS separates the methods of striking - but then again, I'm pretty much a fan of the system as is and that's well documented. Where I to use the above apporach it would probably be in a campaign with emphasis on weapons or maybe lack of a lot of combat. In theory, it looks workable and having a non esoteric physical skill that's Very Hard ought to keep the abuse down for the most part. Let me know if you try it out, I'd love to hear a play report.

4 comments:

  1. One of the classics ;)
    I'm curious - you started with the VH versions in both cases and removed abilities for the specialized versions. Any reason for that? (I would have though it would be simpler to start with the Easy version and add to that.)

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    Replies
    1. Because that's un-GURPS-like. Basically, a single skill that encompassed all striking, grappling, kicking, etc. would be a wildcard skill so my thought was that a skill that covered striking or grappling would be Very Hard. From there you optionally specialize downward. Double-Specializing is possible in the current rules (see Pyramid #3/66), but "Triple-Specializing" is not. The logic for such a thing follows, however.

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    2. Makes sense from a GURPS point of view. I don't think it makes the write up easy to understand though; I find the adjustments difficult to follow as the specialised skills get easier (stripping out bonuses, adding restrictions), but that's probably not helped by my GURPS-sense being hopelessly rusty.

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    3. It's a bit nuts and bolts - that's true. That's why I stashed it under a 101 vs. a Guidepost. I might do a follow-up since this seems to be a very popular post (thus far).

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