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Old 02-25-2020, 08:42 AM   #1
Plane
 
Join Date: Aug 2018
Default FAILED parry means contact too? (Zombies)

Just noticed this under Z109 "Defense vs. Bites":

Warning: An unarmed parry using an uncovered body part, successful or not, means contact.
Wear gloves when fighting zombies that merely have to drool on or touch you for Infectious to kick in
I'm aware that normally SUCCESSFUL parries produce contact with the enemy's attacking limb or weapon...

MA122 introduced the only exception I know of to that (with the "yanking" of a targeted limb/weapon out of the way (effectively a dodge) using the parry skill, where "Heavy Weapons" rules don't apply.

At first I considered this might mean "well I wouldn't roll a parry if the strike roll didn't succeed to begin with, so it's referring to whatever target the zombie was planning on biting to begin with". But that doesn't fit with the language: it's talking about an "uncovered body part" and using gloves to mitigate the risk... wearing gloves wouldn't protect your neck from zombie drool if you failed your parry...

The idea of "my hand made contact, but not in time to stop the attack" does make sense to me, but I don't know how we could fairly apply this under GURPS rules.

Namely because "contact" could be a bad thing for an attacker, not just a defender. So getting "automatic contact because I attempted a parry, even though it failed" could be an overpowering defence for someone who has some kind of contact-weapon (burning sword?) which gets free attacks against anything it makes contact with, if the attacker wasn't targetting that weapon to begin with and was targetting some less dangerous location.

To allow for such an instance as Z109 implies can happen, but making it a less absolute rule (as a compromise) I was thinking "Grazes" (Pyramid 3/34 p 28) could help. Failing a parry by 1 (halved damage and double DR) could cover the "a failed parry can still contact the attacker" idea, but with it only occurring during MoS 1, this doesn't make the "I can hit opponents better than attacking by just failing hard at my parries" approach feasible.

Another idea might be to treat parrying bites like parrying weapons: perhaps if it fails, the zombie could freely switch from the original target to targeting your arm instead? Like B377?

That rule always seemed kinda weird. If you already rolled to hit the face, yeah there should be no penalty if the arm got in the pre-established path, but that should also mean some course-correction is needed to avoid the limb and hit the original target.

This clearly shouldn't be an option for ranged weapons since you can't make such a correction, which best demonstrates how there would be active redirection to make it a melee-only option.

What if we ignored that rule but instead did something like +4 to hit a limb that just did a failed parry in the last second? That would offset the penalty to hit it (similar to how there's not penalty to bite a hand that just failed to grapple your head) but not give that "I can equally alter between both options" situation.
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Old 02-25-2020, 09:14 AM   #2
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Default Re: FAILED parry means contact too? (Zombies)

If the attacker fails in the first place, there's no room for discussion (for me). There is no contact.

On the other hand, have you ever tried to block a punch before it was actually thrown at you? You are parrying without making contact. Your parry fails, if the attack hits there is contact. If it fails, then you are safe.
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Old 02-25-2020, 09:27 AM   #3
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Default Re: FAILED parry means contact too? (Zombies)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Plane View Post
it's talking about an "uncovered body part" and using gloves to mitigate the risk... wearing gloves wouldn't protect your neck from zombie drool if you failed your parry...
No, it won't. The gloves are only doing you any good on a successful parry, when they protect you from direct contact. I'm pretty sure going further is over-interpreting the wording. This is a somewhat simplified view of parrying, but Zombies games usually aren't about detailed martial arts.
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Old 02-25-2020, 10:20 AM   #4
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Default Re: FAILED parry means contact too? (Zombies)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Plane View Post

At first I considered this might mean "well I wouldn't roll a parry if the strike roll didn't succeed to begin with, so it's referring to whatever target the zombie was planning on biting to begin with". But that doesn't fit with the language: it's talking about an "uncovered body part" and using gloves to mitigate the risk... wearing gloves wouldn't protect your neck from zombie drool if you failed your parry...
It seems completely clear to me that it means exactly what you are trying to talk yourself out of it meaning here. If you parry with a bare hand, the zombie contacts your hand, if you fail, it contacts you wherever it was aiming. Whether you succeed or fail, there is contact.
If you would like success to mean there *isn't* dangerous contact, wear gloves.
If you would like failure to mean there isn't dangerous contact, tough luck, that's what failure to defend means.
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Old 02-25-2020, 10:35 AM   #5
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Default Re: FAILED parry means contact too? (Zombies)

What I was thinking, since I like the "MoF 1 is graze" approach from pyramid, is perhaps to treat MoF 2 parries as "made contact but didn't compromise the attack's damage in any way".

MoF3 and beyond should probably be no-contact though, so if someone attacking really doesn't want to be touched, he can feint/deceptive enough to make contact super-unlikely.

That or: maybe give attackers who are successfully parried (or who are going to be contacted via a failed uncompromising-contact-parry) their own parry or dodge to pull back the attack to avoid contact?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hide View Post
have you ever tried to block a punch before it was actually thrown at you?
Are you referring to holding one's arms up at the ready in a guard position as boxers are tend to?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hide View Post
You are parrying without making contact.
If you're talking in the sense of "my opponent decided not to throw a punch because my arms were held up" then that sounds more like covering than parrying.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hide View Post
Your parry fails, if the attack hits there is contact. If it fails, then you are safe.
Now it sounds like you are talking about rolling parries regardless of whether or not an attack hits. Which is a great house rule a lot of people utilize. "On Target" in Pyramid uses this for parrying/dodging bullets, but I could see extrapolating it to active defences in general.

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Originally Posted by johndallman View Post
No, it won't. The gloves are only doing you any good on a successful parry, when they protect you from direct contact.

I'm pretty sure going further is over-interpreting the wording.
If they're only useful on successful parries then why would it say "successful or not" ?

Keep in mind that it's entirely possibly to do AOA: Double where your 1st defence is a parry (that fails) and the 2nd defence is a dodge (that succeeds)

That would result in the original target avoiding the attack, but it sounds like Z109 is saying that 1st failed parry still resulted in your bare hand touching the zombie even though it didn't deflect the attack.

I think it's talking about bare hands rather than original targets, because a failed parry would not guarantee skin contact if that original target had DR. You might be wearing DR1 pants and the zombie is trying to bite your leg with 1d-4 thrust, so 5/6 of the time the DR will protect you anyway.

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Originally Posted by johndallman View Post
This is a somewhat simplified view of parrying, but Zombies games usually aren't about detailed martial arts.
GURPS Zombies has clearly drawn upon GURPS Martial Arts, because it uses the "free grapple" and "worrying" aspects of biting introduced there.

It also references the -2 parry -1 dodge resulting from the -4 to DX which GURPS Martial Arts clarified. I think reading Basic some assumed that only applied to attacking, like shock.

Substituting slam dmg for thrust dmg on a Move and Attack (also on 109) is also from GURPS Martial Arts.
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Old 02-25-2020, 11:50 AM   #6
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Default Re: FAILED parry means contact too? (Zombies)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Plane View Post
Just noticed this under Z109 "Defense vs. Bites":

Warning: An unarmed parry using an uncovered body part, successful or not, means contact.
Wear gloves when fighting zombies that merely have to drool on or touch you for Infectious to kick in
I think that "merely have to drool on or touch you" bit is important here. Trying to throw your arms in the way of a bite means your hands/arms at least brush against the zombie's face and get drool on them, even if you fail to accomplish anything with the attempt. It's not enough contact that they manage a bite (not even a graze). I'd probably treat this as a special case for Contact Agents, maybe even a special case for zombies in particular*, that you get some on your hands/arms even with a failed unarmed Parry. Other "touch" effects (like contact with a weapon with Destructive Parry, such as a force sword) I'd leave as the default (no contact on a failed Parry, or perhaps giving the attacker the choice of the original target or whatever limb tried to get in the way).

*Well, I probably wouldn't ever run a campaign with typically-infectious zombies; I'd favor one where everyone is a carrier who will go zombie if they ever die, and at most the zombies would have a toxic bite that simply risked more injury, rather than the typical "Oh, a zombie nibbled on you, now you die."
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Old 02-25-2020, 12:06 PM   #7
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Default Re: FAILED parry means contact too? (Zombies)

Pretty sure the reason an unsuccessful parry means contact isn't that the zombie contacted your arm -- it's that the zombie contacted whatever body part it was aiming at.
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Old 02-25-2020, 12:21 PM   #8
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Default Re: FAILED parry means contact too? (Zombies)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Anthony View Post
Pretty sure the reason an unsuccessful parry means contact isn't that the zombie contacted your arm -- it's that the zombie contacted whatever body part it was aiming at.
Doesn't make sense in the quoted text - there's no guarantee that the zombie targeted an exposed body part.
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Old 02-25-2020, 12:48 PM   #9
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Default Re: FAILED parry means contact too? (Zombies)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Anthony View Post
Pretty sure the reason an unsuccessful parry means contact isn't that the zombie contacted your arm -- it's that the zombie contacted whatever body part it was aiming at.
Sounds to me (as the OP suggests) that it's treating the zombie's infectious agent like a weapon attack, where a failed unarmed parry does allow the attacker to hit the arm.
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Old 02-25-2020, 12:59 PM   #10
Plane
 
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Default Re: FAILED parry means contact too? (Zombies)

"Sprawling Parry" (pg 40 Technical Grappling) is another "no hands parry" which I forgot, seems to function like a dodge where there's no contact.

One other aspect of this is understanding how "Parrying Heavy Weapons" works. B376 rolls for breakage at triple, so a 0.25 dagger (B272) would break if you tried to parry a weapon weighing 0.75 or more... which would cover the Bite (ST/10) of anyone with ST8 or higher.

If a failed parry still means contact... then maybe it still means a chance for breakage?

B376 also has text representing the idea of a failed-but-made-contact parry when defending against high-ST attacks:
Attempts to parry anything heavier fail automatically; whether or not your weapon breaks, the attack sweeps it aside
In this case it's not clear whether or not you roll. I would think you should still roll where it could matter. Like for example if you had a flaming sword, it might damage a wooden weapon that swept it aside. So it's important to know if the parry got the flaming sword in the way in time to actually contact the staff...

But then it's also important to know what would represent when a failed parry roll ALSO means 'swept aside' regardless of the attack's weight. That could be one of two things that's being insinuated with here with zombies:

1) you managed to get your hands up ahead of time, but at horrible leverage and tension, so they just buckled and the zombie bit you anyway
2) you managed to get your hands up, but not early enough, you ended up swatting the zombie's cheek AFTER it had already bit you
Maybe one way to resolve this is to give ALL parries (even failed ones) a free "attack" roll (separate from the parry) for making contact? That way you could represent the "I smacked that zombie cheek but I smacked it too late" parry apart from the "I missed that cheek entirely but my timing was off".

Sort of a timing roll vs accuracy roll, and both need to succeed for a defence to work.

The accuracy roll might be very easy (+4 to your weapon skill?) but it would give something the attacker could dodge if they wanted... but if they choose to dodge, that requires bailing their attack.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Varyon View Post
I think that "merely have to drool on or touch you" bit is important here.
Trying to throw your arms in the way of a bite means your hands/arms at least brush against the zombie's face and get drool on them, even if you fail to accomplish anything with the attempt.
Which one would be pretty important if you had variable DR. The impression I've got is you can parry using a hand or an arm, so I guess GM should ask people to always specify limb or extremity.

Actually since limb DR can break down to shoulder/upper arm/elbow/forearm that should be specified too...

I'd assume the default "no hands" parry (like One Hand guy would use) uses the forearm. If it's at all possibly to use elbow or upper arm instead (shoulder makes no sense) perhaps some kind of penalty due to less range of motion?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Varyon View Post
It's not enough contact that they manage a bite (not even a graze).
I'd probably treat this as a special case for Contact Agents
..
that you get some on your hands/arms even with a failed unarmed Parry.

Other "touch" effects (like contact with a weapon with Destructive Parry, such as a force sword) I'd leave as the default (no contact on a failed Parry, or perhaps giving the attacker the choice of the original target or whatever limb tried to get in the way).
The situation we're looking at seems to be "I touched the zombie's virus-ridden cheek as I failed to stop the zombie chomping my neck" (double exposure) so it's not really an either-or situation...

That seems important not just for viral transmission, but also if you're doing something like trying to stop a flaming zombie from biting you and your hands get burned even on a failure to parry properly PLUS your neck gets burned too.

I don't think we're looking at a weapon being redirected here. When you parry a bite, I get the sense you're actually touching the face (not necessarily the mouth) since doing a weapon parry against a bite gives you a free attack on the face (mentioned right before the Z109 warning)

The "attacker's choice" concept at its base is "I can bail the stab on the torso because he presented his vulnerable hand, I stab that instead" but I don't think it applies to unarmed parries against other unarmed attacks.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Anthony View Post
Pretty sure the reason an unsuccessful parry means contact isn't that the zombie contacted your arm -- it's that the zombie contacted whatever body part it was aiming at.
I explored that idea in 1st post, the problem is that it's only talking about an "uncovered body part" attacking with.

It applies regardless of whether the target is covered or not.

An easy example of why we can't interpret this means "contact to target" is the zombie might have just been doing "Striking At Weapons" (maybe trying to grab your shield?) in which case there isn't any 'contact' (to your body anyway) that is going to result from that (maybe your shield gets smallpox instead)

MA124 is another possible solve for this
Failure by 3 or less means the parry still “succeeds” in the sense that you got your limb in the way. The attacker hits the parrying limb instead
I like this rule since it brings combat down to 3e levels (just skill/2, the -3 counteracts the +3) and creates a cool middle ground. If someone (more a vampire concern than a zombie) doesn't actually want to bite your arm (neck only!) then I'd let him roll dodge to react and if he wins, he ends his bite prematurely or twists to stop.

Close combat parries against rigid crushing (I assume that includes bites) using Judo or Karate ignore this, but I view that more in the sense of "I don't take crushing damage". If it's a mixed attack (say, a Crushing Club enchanted with Burning Weapon) then I imagine they take 0 crushing to the arm, but still manage to interpose the arm to take the burning damage instead of the face.

so "ignore this drawback" applying to "rolls his usual damage" (crushing) but not "hits the parrying limb" which usually applies. If we're talking about a Crushing (Followup:Toxic) attack like perhaps a bite, same idea (0 crushing from the bite because you didn't fail by 4+, but you made contact for the Toxic to take effect)

Last edited by Plane; 02-25-2020 at 01:02 PM.
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