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Old 08-08-2016, 08:29 AM   #1
JoelSammallahti
 
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Default Animals in combat: some questions

The Quadruped meta-trait includes a couple of traits, Extra Legs, Horizontal, and No Fine Manipulators, and I'm not sure about a couple of details concerning how animals with that meta-trait fight.

Horizontal penalizes kicking damage, unless you have Claws.

So, for example, the timber wolf on p. B457, with ST 10 (thrust 1d-2) but no Claws advantage, would "claw" with its Brawling-14 at -2 to skill for a kick, and do +1/die damage for Brawling and -1/die for Horizontal, for a total of 1d-2 cr. Right? Conversely, the lion on the previous page, with ST 16, Brawling at DX+2 and Sharp Claws, would do 1d+2 cut (1d+1 thr, +1 for Brawling). Right?

So... the lion suffers no negative effects for Horizontal. It only affects kicking damage if you don't have Claws, and penalizes the use of your hands, if you have hands. (The elephant on p. 460, on the other hand*, can't use its trunk while moving, because it has Horizontal and One Arm. This, I'm sure, is just an error.)

Then there's the DX roll to fall down after a missed kick. Since a claw attack from a quadruped is a kick, they have to roll, right? Should Extra Legs give a bonus to this, since they don't fall down from a single crippled leg, unlike humanoids? There's no mention of such a bonus, but I think it stands to reason.

Finally, what about grappling? Bears and big cats grab prey and competitors with their claws. Martial Arts (p. 79) specifies -2 to DX and +2 to ST for using the legs to grapple, and this matches the -2 penalty and +1 damage for kicking compared to punching. So, our lion could grapple you at Brawling -2 (edit: I meant Wrestling), just like kicking for cutting damage, wheras it would use its full Brawling skill to bite. I think I've got this right. But would the lion need to roll DX not to fall down after a failed grapple attempt? How about a Size 0 animal, could it grapple at Reach 1, like kicking?

Also, it would make sense to me that since Horizontal penalizes kicking damage without Claws, clawless quadrupeds (like wolves) would also suffer a ST penalty to grappling. Probably losing the +2 bonus for legs is good enough. Do you see problems with this?

To summarize, does this look like a reasonable extrapolation from existing rules:
Quadruped, Sharp Claws, Size 0: Can
1. bite at Reach C, at no skill penalty, for thr-1 dmg,
2. claw at Reach C or 1, at -2 to skill, for thr cut, or
3. grapple at reach C or 1, at -2 to skill and +2 to ST
And if it misses with 2 or 3, it must roll DX or fall down, at, say +2(?)

Opinions? Have I misunderstood something? Is this, or a different ruling, summarized in some book I haven't looked at?

*see what I did there

Last edited by JoelSammallahti; 08-08-2016 at 09:32 AM.
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Old 08-08-2016, 09:05 AM   #2
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Default Re: Animals in combat: some questions

Actually, i think that attacks with front paws would qualify as punches. And Extra Legs give +2 for each leg past two to not fall after missing a kick

You can't grapple with Brawling. Use Wrestling, but don't be surprised to see NPC player using Professional Wrestling moves while playing as animals in silly campaign (Piledrivers from bears and elephants hurt. A lot). Also, leg grapples don't have any DX rolls, you just fall down if you were standing. And it's probably assumed that you can grapple with legs at reach 1

Last edited by cdru; 08-08-2016 at 09:30 AM.
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Old 08-08-2016, 09:30 AM   #3
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Default Re: Animals in combat: some questions

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Originally Posted by cdru View Post
Actually, i think that attacks with front paws would qualify as punches. And Extra Legs give +2 for each leg past two to not fall after missing a kick
Okay? Do you have page references for these? The +2/leg makes total sense to me but I don't see why a kick would become a punch.

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You can't grapple with Brawling. Use Wrestling,
.

You're right of course, that's a brainfart. I'll edit the OP.

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Also, leg grapples don't have any DX rolls, you just fall down if you were standing. And it's probably assumed that you can grapple with legs at reach 1
Right, but surely that falling down bit shouldn't apply if you have Extra Legs?
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Old 08-08-2016, 09:47 AM   #4
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Default Re: Animals in combat: some questions

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Okay? Do you have page references for these? The +2/leg makes total sense to me but I don't see why a kick would become a punch.
Right, but surely that falling down bit shouldn't apply if you have Extra Legs?
1) I actually don't have a page reference, but don't most animals fight with front paws more like arms than legs?

2) There are no page references, but it's plausible to allow not falling down if you still have two free legs
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Old 08-08-2016, 12:27 PM   #5
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Default Re: Animals in combat: some questions

Wolves have Born Biter (MA p.115) meaning their bites count as if they are a higher SM and so can grabble bigger locations and also get a bonus, not a penalty.

On same page in Martial Arts you also get the +1 per additional leg to avoid falling over from missed kick.
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Old 08-08-2016, 01:16 PM   #6
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Default Re: Animals in combat: some questions

Some things I came to think of while reading up on this.

Animals like dogs or wolves don't really attack with their paws. They might scratch you as they try to trip you or jump on you, but I wouldn't call those "kicks" or "punches" for that matter. Anyway, thats a pounce (Basic p.371).

Other animals without claws that might kick are typical beast of burden like; horses, camels, giraffes, elephants.

From my limited knowledge horses have three hove attacks:
They kick backwards (thats a back kick, no DX roll to fall on a back kick; MA p.67).
Then ofcourse there is also the stamp kick (MA p.80)
And then they do the good old rearing attack. This seems more like a kick, but it also seems like it might result in a fall. Indeed I seem to recall movies where that happens in the heat of battle. But I am unsure how I would rule it. I usually play sci-fi games so I don't have much horse battle experience.
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Old 08-08-2016, 01:21 PM   #7
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Default Re: Animals in combat: some questions

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1) I actually don't have a page reference, but don't most animals fight with front paws more like arms than legs?
Depends very much on the animal. Most quadrupeds cannot rotate their forearms and shoulders like humans can - we're brachiators and well gifted in that department.

Cats, bears, and other predators that "swat" at prey animals or "hook" them can rotate their forearms to point their palms inwards. They even have a little ability to "flap" their shoulder out to the side, but not much. Bears "hook" salmon out of streams, but it's not like a "right hook" or roundhouse - it's more like reaching straight out and then slapping it to the side. Cats grab at the hind legs of fleeing prey to trip them up and then grapple (big cats) or just grapple (small cats).

Bears, and cats both big and small will swat at things, but they do this by lifting their leg up and bringing it down on the target more or less vertically. If they need to attack a higher target, they have to stand on their hind limbs (which bears are famous for). These are raking downward blows, which really are similar to a rearing horse bringing its forehoof down on some unfortunate - and they're not very like punching.

Canines, hoofed animals, and suchlike have somewhere between a limited ability to twist the arm (dogs) to none (horses) and usually very restricted shoulder mobility - without collar bones, there's a lot of muscles used to support the shoulder joint, and it restricts movement. If anything, they have more freedom of movement with the hind legs - a camel is fully capable of kicking you when you're standing 6 feet to the side of it, but only with the hind leg.

Birds can of course batter at things with their wings, but while they have great mobility I wouldn't call what they're doing much like the way humans use arms.
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Old 08-08-2016, 01:26 PM   #8
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Default Re: Animals in combat: some questions

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"All that stuff about animal attacks"
But how would you model it in GURPS.

Are bear and cat attacks mechanically speaking any different from a punch? (thrust-1 dam). How about the horse/camel kick?

I am, as noted above, especially unsure about a horse rearing?

Last edited by Maz; 08-08-2016 at 01:31 PM.
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Old 08-08-2016, 01:27 PM   #9
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Default Re: Animals in combat: some questions

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Originally Posted by Maz View Post
From my limited knowledge horses have three hove attacks:
They kick backwards (thats a back kick, no DX roll to fall on a back kick; MA p.67).
Then ofcourse there is also the stamp kick (MA p.80)
And then they do the good old rearing attack. This seems more like a kick, but it also seems like it might result in a fall. Indeed I seem to recall movies where that happens in the heat of battle. But I am unsure how I would rule it. I usually play sci-fi games so I don't have much horse battle experience.
I don't know about horses, but cattle at least have some ability to swing a hind leg to the side. Particularly mean cattle practice this (on humans or anything else they dislike) and can get better reach and accuracy.

I suspect horses can't. Not sure about pigs, but I'm also a little dubious there.

Camels can and do kick to the side with a hind leg - not forelegs. They have great rotation on the hind limb and long knobbly legs to kick with.

None of the hoofed animals that I'm aware of (cloven or not) have good sideways mobility with the forelimbs - that said if there's one that does, I bet it's a kind of goat or other climber.

Thinking about it some more, outside of the primates, I think it's various marsupials that come the close to humans in details of use of the forelimbs for striking (red kangaroo "boxing" comes to mind) but they still don't have the full range of motion. And they're sort of cheat-y by being more upright than placental mammals for reasons that escape me.
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Old 08-08-2016, 01:52 PM   #10
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Default Re: Animals in combat: some questions

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On same page in Martial Arts you also get the +1 per additional leg to avoid falling over from missed kick.
Hey, thanks! That's great, and my guess/proposition of +2 for a quadruped is right on.

Regarding the clumsy way canines and ungulates attack with their legs, I think the -1/die for Horizontal covers it pretty well. If you're a wolf, you do 1d-1 cut with your bite, and attack at full skill, and you can worry or take your prey down once you hit, so why would you ever paw for 1d-2 cr at -2 to skill and risk falling down?

But I just don't see the idea that quadrupeds' front leg attacks count as punches working. In Gurps, if it's not a fine manipulator, it's a leg, and legs don't punch, they kick.
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