+Douglas Cole is talking about an alternate way to perform the Evaluate maneuver and I got to thinking (a dangerous pastime, I know) “Why isn’t their a maneuver to sacrifice skill for damage?” We have one for making it hard to avoid an attack, but not one to increase its potency? There is always All-Out Attack (Strong), but that robs you of your defenses. Committed Attack (Strong) gives you your defenses . . . but is not quite as “bang for your buck.” A technique could always be created using GURPS Martial Arts (an avenue we’ll explore). Let’s see what ways we can trade skill for damage:
Decisive Blow as a New Melee Attack Option
Trading skill for damage as a melee attack option.
This works like a standard Attack maneuver (p. B365) except that you may trade -4 to your skill for a +1 to your basic damage. Your skill cannot go below 9. You may combine this with a Move and Attack (p. B365), but not with All-Out Attack (Strong).
Decisive Blow as a Technique
Or perhaps it may be better as a technique?
Default: prerequisite skill-4 (but see below)
Prerequisite: Any unarmed or armed combat skill.
You can trade skill for damage. For every -4 penalty you take to your roll you add a +1 to the basic damage of your attack; skill cannot go below 9. +1 to damage (every +2 damage translated to +1/die, if better) for every -4 to skill you take at the cost a worse chance of breakage when you attack (Parrying Heavy Weapons, p. B375) or injuring yourself (see Hurting Yourself, p. B00).
For the first, this adds +1 to breakage rolls per +1 to damage you take, for the second, this subtracts from the base DR (i.e., DR 3+) needed to hurt yourself. For example, if you added +2 to your basic damage then you’d need to check breakage penalties for your weapons at a +2 or if using an unarmed attack damage yourself on DR 1 or higher.
Under the Hood: Decisive Blow
Using Martial Arts technique design system, Decisive Blow begins as just a regular attack adjusted as follows:
Benefit: +1 to damage. This is just a simple bonus and forms the base. -2 to skill.
Benefit: Damage bonus can be extended higher than +1. -3 to skill (I chose a higher than average penalty here and adjusted it as if it were a “wildcard”).
Drawback: Increased chance of breakage with weapon or when rolling to see if you hurt yourself.
It has no other real drawbacks, so you end up with a technique that allows you to trade skill for damage.
Decisive Blow as a Perk
Or perhaps as a perk?
Prerequisites: Unarmed or Melee Attack skill 12+.
Pick a skill. For that one skill you can trade -4 to your attack roll to gain a +1 to damage. Each level of this perk allows you to trade another -4 to your attack roll for an additional +1 to damage.
This comes at a price. The chance of breakage when you attack (Parrying Heavy Weapons, p. B375) with a weapon or injuring yourself (see Hurting Yourself, p. B00) when attacking unarmed. For the first, this adds +1 to breakage rolls per +1 to damage you take, for the second, this subtracts from the base DR (i.e., DR 3+) needed to hurt yourself. For example, if you added +2 to your basic damage then you’d need to check breakage penalties for your weapons at a +2 or if using an unarmed attack damage yourself on DR 1 or higher.
Picking Over the Bones
I’m sure there are other ways to do this – as an advantage for Striking ST with a temporary penalty to skill comes to mind. Overall, GURPS probably does need something like this in its arsenal and I’m still unsure exactly what method it should have. Melee Attack option seems like the best course of action, but maybe I’m not seeing everything.