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Old 03-09-2020, 05:18 PM   #1
Raekai
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Default Defensive Beats? Aggressive Parry with a weapon?

Hey, all.

There have been a couple of similar threads in the past, but I think this one is the closest to what I'm talking about. Unfortunately, the question didn't seem to get entirely resolved. I'm looking to find or make something that might work like a Defensive Beat or an Aggressive Parry with a weapon. Or to be dissuaded from doing such a thing.

It seems like a Parry in GURPS represents a static block with a weapon. But what if I want an active or striking Parry? Sure, sure. I could just leave that up to flavor, but I don't want to (unless it's really the "right" option).

Why? Now, I'm merely a dabbler when it comes to martial arts. However, one thing that I have been really interested in (when it comes to swords) are why some swords have large guards while others have small ones. From the research that I've done, it seems like the jury is still out on that, but there are a couple of practical proposals I'm interested in. For European swords, large guards seem to appear more when shields (a) are used closer to the body and/or (b) shields are used less often. For Asian swords, the disc-shaped guard might have to do with the styles of martial arts, specifically the type of parry. Again, these are not my personal assertions, but they make sense to me, and, if they make sense, I want to expand on that.

My proposal is an Aggressive/Beating/Striking Parry. Just the same as the unarmed Aggressive Parry, the default would be Parry-1, and it would be a Hard technique. Now, it seems steep to require penalties to hit the incoming weapon as the unarmed Aggressive Parry does because a Beat does not require it and a normal armed Parry does not require it. (At worst, I would go with halving the penalties.) Either the Quick Contest of a Beat could ensue or I might do something more fun like roll damage like an Aggressive Parry, then, if your damage is more than the incoming attack, the attacker suffers lowered defenses like a Beat. (I would consider the -3 to defending damage like the unarmed Aggressive Parry, and I'm not sure about the ratio of damage to lowered defenses, but I would probably go with 1:1, especially if I preserve that -3 to damage.) If it makes sense and helps to balance things, I was also considering that the defender would be at a small penalty to their next attack if they miss their Parry (which is a bit more significant if you have players call their Active Defense before the attack rolls to hit).

The last bit of my proposal would be to give weapons with a disc-shaped (or otherwise small) guard (e.g., katana, jian, dao) a -1 to Parry unless they use this Aggressive/Beating/Striking Parry.

Maybe I'm overthinking it. If I'm off but not too off, I still think it could be an interesting way to help further differentiate those martial arts. Though, as someone with minimal German longsword fencing and Taiji fencing experience, I don't have much knowledge or stake in the game.

I'd love to hear your thoughts!

Thanks!

Last edited by Raekai; 03-09-2020 at 05:32 PM.
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Old 03-10-2020, 12:07 PM   #2
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Default Re: Defensive Beats? Aggressive Parry with a weapon?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Raekai View Post
It seems like a Parry in GURPS represents a static block with a weapon.
But what if I want an active or striking Parry?
Sure, sure. I could just leave that up to flavor, but I don't want to (unless it's really the "right" option).
The distinction being how doing the unarmed Aggressive Parry (boxing/brawling/karate only) gives you the option to try to damage a weapon, but the built-in ARMED version only gives you the option to try to damage unarmed attackers?
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Old 03-10-2020, 01:02 PM   #3
Raekai
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Default Re: Defensive Beats? Aggressive Parry with a weapon?

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Originally Posted by Plane View Post
The distinction being how doing the unarmed Aggressive Parry (boxing/brawling/karate only) gives you the option to try to damage a weapon, but the built-in ARMED version only gives you the option to try to damage unarmed attackers?
To be more specific, I'm talking about a weapon vs. weapon Aggressive Parry. The normal Aggressive Parry is for unarmed vs. unarmed. The "free" Aggressive Parry is how a Parry with a weapon works against an unarmed attack. Now, I'm trying to figure out a similar mechanic (like a defensive Beat) for a weapon vs. weapon Parry.
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Old 03-10-2020, 03:58 PM   #4
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Default Re: Defensive Beats? Aggressive Parry with a weapon?

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Originally Posted by Raekai View Post
It seems like a Parry in GURPS represents a static block with a weapon. But what if I want an active or striking Parry?
I don't think so, its any action with your weapon or striker, usually involving contact with the attacking weapon or striker, which prevents the attack from connecting effectively. I believe that GURPS martial arts has a few paragraphs on the subject. And building in a Parry penalty to weapons other than swords is a bad idea.

A more detailed GURPS might have rules where handguards make low-damage hits to the Hand or Forearms a less likely outcome in combat without a shield, but improving the GURPS combat rules without adding complexity (or creating big problems in matches like 'giant robot vs. dragon in freefall') is hard.
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Last edited by Polydamas; 03-10-2020 at 04:01 PM.
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Old 03-11-2020, 10:07 AM   #5
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Default Re: Defensive Beats? Aggressive Parry with a weapon?

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Originally Posted by Raekai View Post
The normal Aggressive Parry is for unarmed vs. unarmed.
It's for unarmed vs ANYTHING, specific penalties are listed if you want to target an attacker's weapon.

I think it would make sense to allow Aggressive Parry (-1 to parry) for the benefit of weapons being able to attack other weapons.

It just feels a little off since they're paying the same -1 to only opt-in one category (weapons) since unarmed attacks are already opted-in targets.

It might work better if we didn't give weapons a free attack on unarmed attackers and made them pay the -1 for Aggressive Parry. We could assume those who are parrying without taking the -1 block with the flat, the guard, the non-tip, etc.

Would that be too big a game-changer?

It seems like the 2nd component of what you want to do is just replacing "hit causes damage" with "hit causes Beat" on Aggressive Parry.

The only substitution example I can remember is the suggestion of creating a punch-like 'slap' for sumo based on replacing it's 'shove'. Which was -1 to skill.

Charging -1 to substitute a shove for a punch or a punch for a shove makes me think charging -1 to substitute a beat for either feels right.

To be -2 to damage (as aggressive parry is compare to a punch) is basically like -4 to ST though, so the Beat perhaps ought to be -4 to ST in the Quick Contest?

It only feels right to allow this with Beats though, not Ruses or classic non-contact Feints.
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Old 03-12-2020, 07:22 PM   #6
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Default Re: Defensive Beats? Aggressive Parry with a weapon?

I practice, and teach, HEMA, so I can say that defensive Beats (parries designed to knock your opponent's weapon aside and create an opening) absolutely ARE a thing IRL (this is the whole point of most "falso" parries in Italian sword fighting styles). In fact, I'd argue that they're as common and much safer than offensive beats.
I'd love to see them represented in GURPS.

One way you can do this RAW is with Stop Hit or Riposte. I don't see any reason why the attack portion of those actions couldn't be a Beat. You could apply the defense penality from Riposte to your opponent's roll in the contest.

I could also see creating a new technique that combines a parry and beat into a single action--this would be the most realistic approach, but it has play balance implications, since it would allow you to beat and immediately attack into your opponents reduced defenses without having to take an AoA.
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Old 03-13-2020, 11:09 AM   #7
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Default Re: Defensive Beats? Aggressive Parry with a weapon?

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I could also see creating a new technique that combines a parry and beat into a single action--this would be the most realistic approach, but it has play balance implications, since it would allow you to beat and immediately attack into your opponents reduced defenses without having to take an AoA.
Sort of like how Aggressive Parry allows you to hit (possibly inflicting a Major Wound?) and then attack into your stunned opponent's reduced defences without taking an AOA?

If we view a basic attack and basic beat as equally hard to do (they both use up one attack) then a free punch at -4 to ST would be comparable to a free beat at -4 to ST.

We'd already be dropping one major benefit of Aggressive Parry (the attacker being counter-attacked can't defend against it) so charging the full -4 might actually be too harsh. Maybe it should only be -3 to make up for the foe getting to resist the Beat?
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Old 03-13-2020, 06:10 PM   #8
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Default Re: Defensive Beats? Aggressive Parry with a weapon?

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Originally Posted by Plane View Post
Sort of like how Aggressive Parry allows you to hit (possibly inflicting a Major Wound?) and then attack into your stunned opponent's reduced defences without taking an AOA?

If we view a basic attack and basic beat as equally hard to do (they both use up one attack) then a free punch at -4 to ST would be comparable to a free beat at -4 to ST.

We'd already be dropping one major benefit of Aggressive Parry (the attacker being counter-attacked can't defend against it) so charging the full -4 might actually be too harsh. Maybe it should only be -3 to make up for the foe getting to resist the Beat?
That's a fair point.

In real life, I don't think there should be a ST penalty at all--this should be an effective thing to try against someone whose just as strong or stronger than you are.
Perhaps a better approach to balancing it would just to make the technique harder. Hard at -6 to skill would approximate a rapid strike, but since this is a parry we call that -3.
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Old 03-15-2020, 03:21 PM   #9
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Default Re: Defensive Beats? Aggressive Parry with a weapon?

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Perhaps a better approach to balancing it would just to make the technique harder. Hard at -6 to skill would approximate a rapid strike, but since this is a parry we call that -3.
Relative to thrust-1 crushing MA65's worst of thrust-4 or thrust-2 plus -1 per die works out to a modifier of whichever is worse: -3 to damage, or -1 and -1 per die.

That can be broken into : -1 either way AND the worst of:
-2 to damage or -1 per die

MA90 gives
"+4 to default for -2 damage or -1 damage per die, whichever is worse"
"+2 to default for -1 damage"

This means that Aggressive Parry's attack basically has a +6 built into it...

Which seems to make sense since it's kind of like the -6 you would get from a rapid strike for taking an extra attack?

The confusing part is of course that Aggressive Parry isn't actually and offensive technique using MA90-91, it's a defensive technique which would be built using MA91-MA92...

That doesn't actually list a component from which you'd build Aggressive Parry, so the best i can figure is taking -1 to a defence gives you a "Special Benefit" of making an undefendable attack at -6, and then you can modify that attack using normal rules. In AP's case, buying off that -6 by taking +6 in reduced damage.

Some other rules which seem to apply built into Aggressive Parry's attack
1) only the body part you parried can be targeted
2) any penalties to defend against a body part apply as a penalty to target that body part (example the -2 boxing has to punch a foot or leg, which normally would not apply)
3) any penalties to defend against a weapon apply to target the weapon (example: the -3 boxing/brawling have to target swung weapons)
4) an additional -3 to target weapons on top of that

Other restrictions to the defence overall:
A) hand offered instead of arm as alternate choice on failed parry to unimpeded attacker
B) cannot retreat
Maybe if you bought off those drawbacks, aggressive parry would cost -3 instead of -1?

TG42's Grabbing Parry seems to support that. It's -2 (-1 worse than aggressive parry) but does not appear to prohibit a retreat.

It has some other restrictions (like can't be used to defend against improvement attempts on existing grapples) but I don't know if Aggressive Parry would be allowed against that anyway.

It has the same basic -3 for weapons with additional -3 against swung for non-judo/karate arts. A neat added option where you can bypass the attacking weapon to grab a limb (penalty based on weapon size) which I don't think Aggressive Parry enjoys. Probably paid for by taking damage (possibly MOS-mitigable) on even successful parries against swung weapons.

The advantage Wrestling/Sumo has there is they can spread that swung-weapon-damage across 2 limbs (less likely to get crippled, maybe result in 0 damage if you had DR, not sure if 1/2 rounds up to 1 or down to 0) but that's balanced out by them losing their normally superior CP for a 2H grapple since you get 0.5xST regardless of hands.
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