GURPS101: Deconstructing Whirlwind Attack

Recently while working on my wuxia fantasy campaign I got to thinking about attacking tons of opponents at once. Obviously, Whirlwind attack came to mind. But that ability doesn’t really match up to how you see it working in kung fu flicks. So I thought I’d do one of my deconstructions for it. (The actual deconstruction for the base Whirlwind Attack comes from this forum post. I have simply repeated it here for the sake of cohesiveness.)

Whirlwind Attack: Under the Hood

Under the GURPS Martial Arts technique-design rules, Whirlwind Attack is a All-Out Attack (Determined) with these modifications.

  • Combat Option: Rapid Strike, five extra attacks (a total of six, for the six hexes around you) is -6×5 = -30, but halved for this being cinematic and the user being Trained by a Master or a Weapon Master, -15*.
  • Drawback: Undivided Attention. All you can do this turn (no further Rapid Strike, Dual-Weapon Attack, Fast-Draw, etc.), +1.
  • Drawback: No Combinations. Can’t combine this with other techniques or special skills, +1.
  • Drawback: No Step. Can’t step, can only turn in place, +1.
  • Drawback: Limited Reach. Limited to swings at 1 yard in a fixed order against all foes, +1.
  • Drawback: Multiple Critical Failures. Multiple critical misses on any critical miss, +1.
  • Drawback: Random Hit Location Required. Must accept random hit location, complete with penalty, +1.

* Yes, technically you don’t need Trained by a Master or Weapon Master to attempt this at default. Those who lack those traits really ought to be at -20, not -5. But since it’s an All-Out Attack that leaves you without defenses, quite likely still surrounded by foes who made defense rolls, we let it slide.

New Techniques

Now that we’ve seen how Whirlwind Attack breaks down let’s try for two variations. One that allows multiple attacks while on the move (Slice and Dice) and one which allows attacks against everyone surrounding your hex with few penalties (Greater Whirlwind Attack).

Slice and Dice

Hard

Default: prerequisite skill-21.
Prerequisite: Boxing, Karate, or any Melee Weapon skill; cannot exceed prerequisite skill.

Slice and Dice (which doesn’t require a cutting attack despite the name) is a special Move and Attack that allows you to attack up to three opponents while you are on the move. You may move up to your Basic Move plus one (or by +20%, if better) while performing this technique and attack any three targets that you start near, move through, move near, or end near. Ignore the normal skill cap of 9 and -4 penalty for a Move and Attack. Determine a random hit location for each foe and then roll against Slice and Dice to hit, with the usual hit location penalties. Your opponents defend normally. Resolve each attack completely before moving to the next one. For cutting attacks only, each enemy you successively damage adds +1 to the next damage roll you make while performing this technique. If a successful Acrobatics roll is performed, this becomes +2 to the next damage roll and you ignore the penalty for Acrobatic Movement! Additionally, unlike most Move and Attacks you can perform a retreat afterward and parry with the weapon/skill you used to attack with. You cannot combine this with other techniques or special skills except for the Evade technique (GURPS Martial Arts, p. 00).

Slice and Dice: Under the Hood

Under the GURPS Martial Arts technique-design rules, Slice and Dice is a Move and Attack with these modifications.

  • Combat Option: Rapid Strike, two extra attacks (a total of three) is -6×2 = -12, but halved for this being cinematic and the user being Trained by a Master or a Weapon Master, -6.
  • Benefit: Can Rapid Strike. Ignore the usual restriction on making Rapid Strikes. ‑1.
  • Benefit: Enhanced Basic Move. Gain +1 yard of movement or +20% to movement, just as if you started Sprinting (p. B00). +-2.
  • Benefit: Enhanced Cutting Damage: Gain +1 to cutting damage on the second attack if successful and +2 on the third; if an Acrobatics roll is made this becomes +2 and +4 instead. -4.
  • Benefit: Equilibrium. You can parry attacks normally after using a Move and Attack. ‑1.
  • Benefit: Full Skill. Ignore the skill penalty when making an attack. ‑4.
  • Benefit: Limited Acrobatic Movement. You ignore the penalty for acrobatic movements. ‑1.
  • Benefit: Moving Target. You can Retreat (p. B377) after using Move and Attack. ‑1.
  • Benefit: No Attack Losses. Your Rapid Strikes need not be against opponents who are near one another. -1
  • Benefit: No Skill Cap. Ignore the skill cap when making an attack. ‑1.
  • Benefit: Practiced Movement. You ignore the penalty for doing two things at once when using a Move and Attack. ‑1.
  • Drawback: Random Hit Location Required. Must accept random hit location, complete with penalty, +1.
  • Drawback: No Combinations. Can’t combine this with other techniques or special skills except for Evade, +1.

Greater Whirlwind Attack

Hard

Default: prerequisite skill-25.
Prerequisite: Boxing, Karate, or any Melee Weapon skill; cannot exceed prerequisite skill.

Greater Whirlwind Attack functions as a standard Whirlwind Attack except that you ignore the effect of multiple critical misses, hit any location you wish, can combine it with other techniques or special skill, can step (usually into a foe’s hex that has been downed). Moreover, a Greater Whirlwind Attack allows defenses normally.

Greater Whirlwind Attack: Under the Hood

Under the GURPS Martial Arts technique-design rules, Greater Whirlwind Attack is a Committed Attack (Determined) with these modifications.

  • Combat Option: Rapid Strike, five extra attacks (a total of six, for the six hexes around you) is -6×5 = -30, but halved for this being cinematic and the user being Trained by a Master or a Weapon Master, -15.
  • Benefit: Equilibrium. You can parry, block, or dodge attacks normally after using a Committed Attack (Determined). ‑3.
  • Benefit: Full Defense. The -2 penalty to parry, block, or dodge for Committed Attack (Determined) is removed. -6
  • Benefit: Higher Move. You may move half your Basic Move instead of two steps despite being a Committed Attack. -3.
  • Benefit: Moving Target. You can Retreat (p. B377) after using Move and Attack. ‑1.
  • Drawback: Undivided Attention. All you can do this turn (no further Rapid Strike, Dual-Weapon Attack, Fast-Draw, etc.), +1.
  • Drawback: No Step. Can’t step, can only turn in place, +1.
  • Drawback: Limited Reach. Limited to swings at 1 yard in a fixed order against all foes, +1.

 

Picking Over the Bones

One thing I’ve learned with running a wuxia campaign is the players want to be on the move all the time. Staying in one spot is basically death if you get surrounded. Luckily, the chambara rules fully address this. These two techniques also address it allowing for the martial artist to strike and move or strike at lots of opponents one round and then move the next. Do you have any variations of Whirlwind Attack or a technique that allows lots of strikes or rapid movement?

Posted in Melee Academy/GURPS 101 and tagged , , .

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