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Old 07-17-2018, 01:39 PM   #11
Join Date: Apr 2005
Default Re: How to keep melee weapons relevant in a setting with "guns"?

Lower lethality levels could also be a justification.

If you want to be highly cinematic, you could rule that only guns/blasters kill, so if you want to keep foes alive you attack them with melee weapons or unarmed attacks.

To make it less cinematic, you can rule the same, but only for less than overwhelming crushing attacks (e.g., high speed crashes or falls from high places), with the justification that there's some sort of spiffy ultratech medicine which instantly mends bruises, broken bones, and subdural bleeding - or at least keeps them from killing the victim.

If you want to be realistic, invent some sort of stunning melee weapon, plus good armor which is proof against most handguns and light beam weapons.

There's also the "Dune" option, which supposes that there is personal force field technology which works best at stopping beams and high-speed, low-mass projectiles. As a result, combat consists of fencing light, thin, blades and slow thrusts through the force shield are the most lethal.
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Old 07-17-2018, 03:23 PM   #12
Join Date: Jun 2017
Default Re: How to keep melee weapons relevant in a setting with "guns"?

I think I'll probably go with these:
1. Let Trained By A Master allow bullet parrying via Parry Missile Weapon (starting off at the Skill-5 penalty).
2. Tie combat magic to non-ranged-weapon use.
3. Disallow shooting maneuvers that reduce the target's Dodge.
4. Have the general cultural attitude be one of gun control, while melee weapons are somewhat overlooked.
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Old 07-17-2018, 03:32 PM   #13
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Berkeley, CA
Default Re: How to keep melee weapons relevant in a setting with "guns"?

Talking in broadest terms, if a ranged weapon user can defeat a melee weapon user before the melee weapon user can reach melee combat range, the ranged weapon is always going to be superior. If not, the melee weapon needs a sufficient advantage at close range to make up for the possible injury from time spent reaching close range. This generally means:
  1. Gap closing must be fast relative to ranged weapon firepower and lethality.
  2. Engagements where gap closing is impossible should be rare.
  3. Melee weapons must be superior to ranged weapons at melee range.
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Old 07-17-2018, 05:00 PM   #14
Join Date: Jun 2017
Default Re: How to keep melee weapons relevant in a setting with "guns"?

In the Dune novels, there are personal shields that deflect anything that moves at a certain speed or faster (also they produce a pseudoatomic explosion when hit with lasers). This leads to melee weapons being much more common than in other high-tech settings.
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Old 07-17-2018, 05:43 PM   #15
Join Date: Feb 2016
Default Re: How to keep melee weapons relevant in a setting with "guns"?

Yes, but that was because Dune was pretty much a science fiction rip off of the Once and Future King. It was essential a fantasy novel with science fiction trappings. After all, Star Wars and Star Trek had harder science than Dune, and that is not something that I say lightly.

When it comes to parrying bullets and beams with melee weapons, you are going to end up with a lot of broken weapons. The average broadsword is a Homogenous object with DR 6 and HP 12. A 30-06 deals an average of 25 points of pi damage, meaning that it will take around 4 points of damage. After three parries, it must make a HT roll every time it attacks or parries to avoid breaking. Even if it survives, it will be destroyed after 18 parries of a 30-06 and, with a -5 to parry, it is just not a good investment (you need 10 levels of Parry Missile Weapon to make up for the -5 to parry, meaning 40 points, which could have gotten you +2 Basic Speed instead).

A laser is even worse though (and you need Precognition Parry from Martial Arts). It does an average of 21 points of burning damage and halves DR, so the broadsword takes an average of 18 damage every parry, meaning that it last four parries at best. Once again, Basic Speed seems like a better investment.
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Old 07-17-2018, 07:34 PM   #16
Join Date: Jun 2006
Default Re: How to keep melee weapons relevant in a setting with "guns"?

Originally Posted by SilvercatMoonpaw View Post
(Note: I put "guns" in quotes because I'm not just talking about gunpowder projectile weapons, I'm talking about any kind of fast slug-thrower and even beam or "blaster" weapons.)
Your choices are basically nerf the guns (against some or all foes), or greatly improve the melee weapons.

My preferred universal gun downgrade is to halve the damage but add a (2) armor divisor to bullets - this doesn't get you too far, but does help some and its reasonable enough it has proponents who assert it's even realistic, which is nice.

The easiest gun nerf against some foes is just to have a lot of them with DR vs bullets (or equivalents like versions of Injury Tolerance). For humans to have access to this you'll need a cinematic rule, but there's no particular reason cinematic mastery of (whatever) can't let you buy limited DR as easily as anything else.

Melee weapon improvements are also more or less cinematic options, of which parrying bullets is the most directly obvious one, but anything you can only do with melee weapons will help some. Upgrading the weapons themselves is an option, but largely limited to "does more damage" which isn't much help if you can't get into effective range without getting shot.
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Old 07-17-2018, 07:44 PM   #17
Join Date: Feb 2016
Default Re: How to keep melee weapons relevant in a setting with "guns"?

Another option is the ninja route. Since you already have Trained by a Master, you have access to Flying Leap, Invisibility Art, Light Walk, and Lizard Climb, allowing you to take advantage of superior mobility. If you look in Martial Arts, it gives a lot of suggestions on how to use cinematic skills in ways that enhance mobility without sacrificing stealth. If you allow people with Trained by a Master to develop abilities, they should enhance the effects of the cinematic skills.

For example, a character with Chameleon, Clinging, Silence, Super Jump, and Walk on Water is capable of avoiding the attention of characters with guns before it is too late. They do not charge the bunker, trying to parry bullets with a broadsword in broad daylight, trying to cross 100 meters of cleared land with cover as ten guys spray them with automatic fire. They approach the bunker during the night, silent as a mouse, before throwing a couple of grenades in the gun ports (or before garotting the people as they come out to use the bathroom).
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Old 07-17-2018, 07:55 PM   #18
Join Date: Jun 2006
Default Re: How to keep melee weapons relevant in a setting with "guns"?

Originally Posted by Kilmore View Post
[*]A guy with a stick is normally faster than a guy with a gun in his holster when turning a corner.
But guy with his gun ready is just as fast, and guy with his stick in a sheath is equally slow.

[*]Melee is good when you want to hurt the guy in front of you but not the population behind him.[*]Shooting holes in the environmental shelter isn't appreciated.
If the other guy has a superior weapon and kills me with it, how does it matter to me that my weapon didn't hurt anything behind him and his did?

This sort of restraint only makes sense when you're confident the other guy won't cheat either - which usually means either the advantage of the banned weapon is fairly small, or the consequences of using it are *really* bad. If I die if a lose, I'm not going to give up a superior weapon because I'll need to patch a hole or pay off a lawsuit, it's going to have enough of a risk of killing me to offset the reduced risk my enemy will.
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Old 07-17-2018, 08:20 PM   #19
mr beer
Join Date: Mar 2013
Default Re: How to keep melee weapons relevant in a setting with "guns"?

Very setting dependant.

So for example if you want to run 40K combat with Space Marine types, then somewhat nerf missile weapons but most importantly the only thing that gets decent Armour Divisors are melee weapons.

So even high tech guns simply plink off Space Marine-grade armour, either you use full battlefield artillery or you close with monoblades, diamond-toothed chainsaws, alien teeth and claws, demonic teeth and claws, power gloves and all the rest of the implausible 40K panapoly.

If you want to do some kind of modern-day gritty campaign with guns, like say undercover operatives, then what happens is that guns are not ubiquitous, various places and long distance travel make it difficult to transport guns, you may need to be (visibly) unarmed which limits options, most people who do use guns are bad at it and guns are scary.

So your party rarely gets into gun fights and when they do, if they planned it correctly they can probably just murder their opponents.

If they get into an unplanned gun fight and even one villain has a decent skill, a decent gun and gets to shoot at close range, then a PC is likely to die.

Last edited by mr beer; 07-17-2018 at 08:25 PM.
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Old 07-17-2018, 09:15 PM   #20
Join Date: Jul 2012
Default Re: How to keep melee weapons relevant in a setting with "guns"?

I’m going to go with this depends a lot on the setting. May apply less to energy weapons.

Modern military? You find the other uses of melee weapons. Sentry elimination, silent killing, ambush and Bulk penalties in close-quarters (be ruthless about enforcing Bulk penalties) can all give incentives to use a knife or martial arts instead of a gun. Maybe a bayonet, and so on. Have less-armed ambushers rush out and try to grab the gun with an All-Out Attack, making the gun difficult to use, but being vulnerable to a counterattack with something else.

Modern police? Emphasise that not every opponent is meant to be shot. Batons will be significant because you don’t want to kill everyone. Stun batons could be even better because they do something other than direct damage.

Monster hunters? Undead or plant monsters or similar things with Injury Tolerance are fairly resistant to piercing weapons. Those might need chopping through. Maybe spellcasters haven’t figured out how to enchant the most up-to-date weapons yet, forcing people to choose between the most technologically advanced weapons or magic ones. If blessed weapons are important for fighting demons, then there’ll be a definite niche there (although this would be a great excuse to have a Holy Hand Grenade in the campaign).

Does Reverse Missiles work against bullets? Might make it a more in-demand spell in the modern day…

Armour! Most of the armour in High-Tech has split values, one for piercing & cutting attacks, and a (much lower) one for everything else. If the ‘standard’ armour is an assault vest with ballistic panels (DR 16 vs cutting/piercing, 6 vs other), then a nasty club or a pick might be a viable weapon to use. Aren’t most high-tech swords fine quality by default? So now that longsword is doing thrust+4 impaling damage vs DR 6, while the assault carbine is doing 4d+2 vs DR 16.

Also, figure out the “reach” of the gun using Bulk, and let enemies within a certain distance (their Reach + the “Reach” of the gun) to Parry at no penalty, representing swatting the gun aside with your weapon rather than blocking bullets. This can lead to hybrid moves like using a bayonet to impale your foe before shooting him…
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