GURPS101: Chained and Contiguous Innate Attacks

I’ve let this simmer for a while so I could think about it a bit more, but a forumite recently asked how to create an attack that would leap from one target to the next. Over the years, there have been a few attempts to make this sort of enhancement for innate attacks. I think there are a few ways to do it and I’ve outlined them below.

Cosmic, Wandering Cycles


If the original target of your innate attack dies, the remaining cycles “jump.” Treat this as if you were making a new attack, using your original attack roll (not including the original range penalties), but originating from the afflicted target. The new target suffers the remaining cycles. This requires you have the Cyclic modifier (p. B103).

Rapid Fire, Chaining

p. B108

This special version of Rapid Fire may also have Bombardment (p. B111) and/or Dissipation (p. B112). When purchasing the ability, first determine the maximum number targets the ability can hit at one time. Next, ignore the normal rules for rapid fire (i.e., it doesn’t get a bonus for number of attacks). Instead, make a skill roll to attack the first target normally. If that attack succeeds, immediately consult your margin of success. If the margin is high enough to hit a separate target after accounting for range penalties plus -2, the next target is struck unless they make an appropriate active defense. If the target is hit then check the margin again until the attack fails to hit or the maximum number of targets are hit. Treat the RoF bought as the maximum number of targets possible with a single attack roll. This can continue indefinitely with a high enough skill! This costs the same as Rapid Fire.

Fragmentation, Leaping

p. B104

Use the normal rules for this enhancement, but instead of it automatically affecting everyone withing 5 yards x dice and having a flat skill of 15, it instead uses your original margin of success for the first attack. Range penalties are from your location to your target’s. If your margin – penalties is 0 or less you cannot attack any further targets. Damage dice are automatically the same type of damage as the parent attack, but cannot exceed 1/3 the original attack’s maximum dice of damage.

Picking Over the Bones
I’m sure there are other options I’ve not considered – one thing brought up in the thread was Extra Attack – but I think that’s WAY to expensive. Modifiers are the right way to go, but these probably need some fine-tuning and playtesting to make them work. How would you handle such an attack? How have you handled it in the past?

Posted in GURPS 101 and tagged , , .


  1. This is very interesting. Consider the first two stolen. Not sure if I'm getting Leaping Fragmentation, though. There is only one attack roll and you can then see who else you could hit given the extra range penalty, right? So if you have a very large margin you could potentially hit a lot of people. This is balanced by the maximum damage, but doesn't the maximum damage also set the cost of the enhancement? Then it seems a bit cheap.
    That's especially the case if you can chose whom to attack, but I guess that's just a language issue (on my end probably). Clearly this is intended to affect everyone who could be attacked with a given margin of success, right? No pick and choose.

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