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Old 11-11-2011, 07:48 AM   #11
aesir23
 
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Default Re: [Houserule] Brawling Default at DX-4

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Originally Posted by vierasmarius View Post
DX-4 is the typical default for Easy skills.
Oops, my bad. I didn't have basic within arms reach when I wrote that. I still think it should be an easier default than -4.

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Originally Posted by roguebfl View Post
However Brawling is not the typical easy skill, it a evolutionary survival skill we train instinctively in. instition alone is the default rough housing is the form of training.
I have 2 disagreements about your rough housing argument:

First: I don't think frequent play fighting is as common as you do. In Western culture, at least, girls rarely play fight when compared to boys.

Secondly: Untrained humans (and small kids rough housing), in my experience, typically wrestle instead of striking.
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Old 11-11-2011, 07:59 AM   #12
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Default Re: [Houserule] Brawling Default at DX-4

The typical primate pattern is to wrestle/grapple and bite. You still see this in one or two year olds, and for a very good mechanical reason, not just because little children are "wild". Children that young are not only rather poorly co-ordinated and are still working on their muscular development, but they also have stubby limbs compared to an older child or an adult - their leverage is really very bad. On the other hand, toddlers have disproportionately large heads, meaning disproportionately large mouths and reasonably developed jaw muscles.

Older children and adults, on the other hand, don't have the big heads so they don't have the weird proportions making up for our small mouths and weak jaw muscles. The penalty for giving up the usual primate diet involving chewy plant parts in favor of cooked plants and meat - but at least cooked food burns less calories to chew up, and it's faster to chew too (once it's cooked).

So, humans can't really do the grab and bite of serious primate combat. We still do grabbing for play fighting - I think that instinct is going to stick around forever. When untrained humans get really serious, instead of adding in bites, we tend add in over-arm blows to the head (and shoulders and neck when we miss). Usually with some sort of fist-weight (a lamp, a rock, a plate, whatever's handy) but we use the same blows unarmed too.

We seem to literally be evolved to whack people over the head with rocks.
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Old 11-11-2011, 08:32 AM   #13
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Default Re: [Houserule] Brawling Default at DX-4

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Originally Posted by Bruno View Post
We still do grabbing for play fighting - I think that instinct is going to stick around forever. When untrained humans get really serious, instead of adding in bites, we tend add in over-arm blows to the head (and shoulders and neck when we miss). Usually with some sort of fist-weight (a lamp, a rock, a plate, whatever's handy) but we use the same blows unarmed too.
IME, a serious fight between untrained individuals often ends up as a rather vicious wrasslin match, with bites unless those are culturally restrained. OTOH, when someone grabs an effective weapon in an untrained fight, the natural response seems to be for both sides to immediately back off.
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Old 11-11-2011, 11:36 AM   #14
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Default Re: [Houserule] Brawling Default at DX-4

I would say that's relatively untrue. About a fight between untrained individuals. My father has seen a lot of bar fights, and that was brawling. I think of brawling as the natural fighting that almost any human is capable of doing. I would include knees, throws, slams, elbows, just pure violence.
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Old 11-11-2011, 12:00 PM   #15
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Default Re: [Houserule] Brawling Default at DX-4

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Originally Posted by vierasmarius View Post
Something that has long bugged me is the way unarmed attacks can be made untrained at full DX. It means that there is very little difference between someone with no skill at all, and someone who's spent as much as 200 hours in self-defense classes (I know the training time rules shouldn't be used in reverse like that, but work with me a sec, okay?) This is especially apparent when you have two completely unskilled combatants brawling, and then one picks up a stick and suddenly incurs a relative -5 skill penalty.

The easy solution to this seems to be to make Brawling and Wrestling (the "basic" unarmed fighting skills) default to DX-4 and DX-5, respectively. This means that either All-Out or Telegraphic become almost mandatory for unskilled brawlers, which to me seems pretty realistic. It also means that unarmed combat skills are a candidate for the Dabbler perk, which again seems appropriate, considering the number of people who's only fighting experience is childhood roughhousing and a self-defense class or two.

Anybody have thoughts on this idea? Love it, hate it, don't care?
I agree. I can't think of them right now, but there are a few other similar cases as well.
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Old 11-11-2011, 04:08 PM   #16
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Default Re: [Houserule] Brawling Default at DX-4

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Originally Posted by vierasmarius View Post
The main difference that this would mean for PCs is that, if they expect or intend to fight unarmed, they can't get away with just default use.
You seem to be imagining melee combat as like a couple of ironclads lying side-by-side firing broadsides into each-other until one is pounded to smithereens. It's a wee bit more complicated than that, at least in GURPS. These complications come from the various combat options, options which are improved in usefulness by (a) having access to them at all, and (2) putting CP into them.

Having at least 1CP in the Brawling skill allows you to parry two different attacks a round. So the default brawler confronted by two foes will only be able to parry one of them, the skilled brawler can parry both.

Having at least 1CP in Brawling allows you to use a blackjack or sap or similar, giving +1 to damage. The punch will do basic thrust damage, for a ST10 character that's 1d-2, or 1d-1 for kicking. A blackjack/sap takes punching to 1d-1 - so the skilled brawler can do as much damage with their fists as the default brawler can with their feet.

Remember that by the rules, you cannot get defaults off defaults, only off Attributes or Skills with at least 1CP in them. So Techniques cannot be used until there's at least 1CP in Brawling. Most GMs would allow the default brawler to kick, but probably not disarm, etc. So if it does nothing else, the 1CP in Brawling unlocks access to those techniques - but you'd probably want to spend some CP on some of them.

And having techniques above default will be useful. For example, kicking at Brawling-2 - well, if you've DX10 and you kick at 8, you have just a 25.9% chance of connecting - and if you miss, you have to roll vs DX or fall over (and DX10 will give you a 50% chance of staying up or falling). Why would you kick? Because it does +1 damage, and another +1 if you're wearing heavy boots.

So the default brawler can try to kick and will usually miss and half the time fall down, the skilled brawler can kick and do extra damage. This extra damage means an extra chance of achieving a "major wound" (over HP/2), or crippling wounds on limbs (HP/2) or hands/feet (HP/3) or knocking them out by a blow to the head, etc.

So the default brawler confronted with a skilled brawler or brawlers may shortly find themselves on the ground (whether from falling over or being injured) being kicked into crippled unconsciousness. And lacking the Ground Fighting technique, and unable to parry more than one foe at once, the default brawler is even more doomed.

A default brawler may have been grappled, and thus be unable to punch or kick, or parry. Someone else may be laying into them. They would probably then wish they were a skilled brawler and could head butt, knee, elbow and so on.

Other techniques include: aggressive parry, disarming, elbow drop, elbow strike, eye-poke, eye-rake, eye-gouging, feint, ground fighting, head butt, jam, knee drop, knee strike, push kick, stamp kick, sweeping kick, two-handed punch, and uppercut.

And all of these will be useful at some time.
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Old 11-11-2011, 05:37 PM   #17
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Default Re: [Houserule] Brawling Default at DX-4

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Originally Posted by Kyle Aaron View Post
Having at least 1CP in Brawling allows you to use a blackjack or sap or similar, giving +1 to damage. The punch will do basic thrust damage, for a ST10 character that's 1d-2, or 1d-1 for kicking. A blackjack/sap takes punching to 1d-1 - so the skilled brawler can do as much damage with their fists as the default brawler can with their feet.
Rules As Written explicitly allows brass knuckles, saps and other fistloads to be used untrained at full DX - see the equipment table on Basic 271.

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Remember that by the rules, you cannot get defaults off defaults, only off Attributes or Skills with at least 1CP in them. So Techniques cannot be used until there's at least 1CP in Brawling. Most GMs would allow the default brawler to kick, but probably not disarm, etc. So if it does nothing else, the 1CP in Brawling unlocks access to those techniques - but you'd probably want to spend some CP on some of them.
Techniques that can be practically used by a 1cp Brawler are very few, and basically require Telegraphic or All-Out to even attempt. In some edge cases they can give an advantage over an unskilled fighter, perhaps.

Quote:
And having techniques above default will be useful. For example, kicking at Brawling-2 - well, if you've DX10 and you kick at 8, you have just a 25.9% chance of connecting - and if you miss, you have to roll vs DX or fall over (and DX10 will give you a 50% chance of staying up or falling). Why would you kick? Because it does +1 damage, and another +1 if you're wearing heavy boots.

So the default brawler can try to kick and will usually miss and half the time fall down, the skilled brawler can kick and do extra damage. This extra damage means an extra chance of achieving a "major wound" (over HP/2), or crippling wounds on limbs (HP/2) or hands/feet (HP/3) or knocking them out by a blow to the head, etc.
The fighter with 1 cp in Brawling has exactly the same "skill" when kicking as someone completely untrained. My problem is not between Brawling at DX vs Brawling at DX+2, but between unarmed strikes at DX vs Brawling at DX.

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Other techniques include: aggressive parry, disarming, elbow drop, elbow strike, eye-poke, eye-rake, eye-gouging, feint, ground fighting, head butt, jam, knee drop, knee strike, push kick, stamp kick, sweeping kick, two-handed punch, and uppercut.

And all of these will be useful at some time.
Again, all of those techniques can help a skilled Brawler, but the cases where they can be used effectively without additional training are pretty rare.
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Old 11-11-2011, 05:58 PM   #18
Kyle Aaron
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Default Re: [Houserule] Brawling Default at DX-4

The situations where the techniques are useful may be rare, it's true. The same goes for First Aid skill in most people's lives. But when you do need those things, they're really useful. And just a slight edge can mean the difference between being uninjured and being crippled for life - or dead.

And if the person without the skill/technique cannot do it at all, then even a poor skill level will be surprisingly effective.

Of course, how rare the situations in which skill/technique X are useful depends on you, the GM, and the actions of the players. And it's a bit unfair to say, "I have created a campaign where nobody will ever brawl, and so now it turns out that Brawling skill isn't useful, obviously the rules are broken."
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Old 11-11-2011, 07:05 PM   #19
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Default Re: [Houserule] Brawling Default at DX-4

Sure, you can punch and kick (at -2) using DX and parry with DX/2+3, but AFAIK, you don't get anything else. If I'm right, putting even 1 point in Brawling gives a large benefit over an untrained fighter of the same DX by opening up full skill and small penalty techniques like Feint and Hammer Fist.

I will probably introduce a semi-default of DX-4 for making/resisting feints barehanded, while keeping the DX punching.
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