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Old 11-10-2014, 02:40 PM   #1
Join Date: Jun 2013
Default [Technical Grappling] Removing a Stuck Pick

This was originally part of a response to the More versatile rules for ST-Based Innate Attacks thread, but I felt it a bit of a sidetrack so decided to make a new thread instead.

Now, there's an old debate on how one might go about changing the "ST check on your next turn" for removing a stuck sw/imp weapon with some sort of attack roll, in order to allow a character to use Rapid Strike to, say, swing a pick into one foe's skull, then pull it out and thunk it into another foe's chest, all in one turn.

It occurs to me that Technical Grappling may well give us a pretty solid mechanism to pull this off. In that, impaling weapons can (or must, if sw/imp) inflict Control Points equal to basic damage. Such CP can be increased by grappling attacks, but the initial CP cannot be spent. It occurs to me that simply allowing a grappling attack to remove CP would work perfectly well for removing the pick - once CP are down to 0, the pick has been removed. Assuming no armor, every 2 CP thus removed should inflict 1 impaling damage, working out to every 1 CP removed causing 1 HP injury to a typical target. If armor is in play, this "1 damage per 2 CP" only applies while the pick is in the target's flesh. Probably the best way to game all this out is actually to just say that CP of damage must match or exceed the CP of the weapon's grapple, but the character can spend any accumulated CP to negate "impaled CP" on a one-for-one basis. If the weapon got stuck on a swing, it may be best to use Swing damage to remove it, using it as a lever.

As an example, let's take an ST 15 Weapon Master with Polearm-19 (DX+7), Armed Grappling (Polearm)-19, and a dueling halberd up against a fellow in DR 5 plate armor. He takes a swing against his opponent and scores a hit, dealing a whopping 4d+1 damage. He rolls 12, dealing 7 damage past his foe's armor and thus 14 injury. His foe drops, failing his roll against Stunning. Our halberdier now has 12 CP on the foe, but would rather attack someone else this next round. He makes a 2-hit Rapid Strike and rolls against Armed Grappling (Polearm) at -3 and succeeds; his foe's measly defense has no chance (stunned, prone, and grappled for 12 CP). He rolls 5d-1 (high skill gives him +2 Trained ST), this time getting a 20 - enough to pull the weapon out. His initial target takes an additional 7 HP injury (1 HP for each CP removed until the 5 for armor came into play; or just half the original injury, if you prefer) and he can take a swing at the next foe.

How does this sound? Note it's actually fairly similar to TKD's suggestion from his blog, but with the explicit inclusion of TG and making it into an Attack.
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Old 11-10-2014, 03:24 PM   #2
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Default Re: [Technical Grappling] Removing a Stuck Pick

Using Swing to remove the weapon only makes sense to me if you have two hands on it. If I'm swinging a pick one-handed, I'm probably going to roll thrust to remove it unless I put my other hand on it for the leverage.

Otherwise, this looks good. Until I read TG, I was so disappointed that having a pick stuck in someone seemed like a drawback for the pick-wielder, when in fact it seems like the person with a pick stuck in them ought to be unhappier with the situation...
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Old 11-10-2014, 03:51 PM   #3
Peter V. Dell'Orto
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Default Re: [Technical Grappling] Removing a Stuck Pick

Originally Posted by Varyon View Post
How does this sound? Note it's actually fairly similar to TKD's suggestion from his blog, but with the explicit inclusion of TG and making it into an Attack.
I like this. Treating it as an Attack instead of a Ready action is not a bad way to go, if you prefer to allow people to pull out and then strike again if they have Extra Attack or sufficient skill. Or to do All Out Attack (Strong) to have a much better chance to pull out a pick.

When we were playing our pick rule I thought about treating them as CP, since they do inflict CP in our games. What stopped me was concern for Grip ST - in theory, pulling the weapon back out is the same as grappling over a weapon. One person has a grip on the weapon. The other person has a body grip on the spike of the weapon. An attempt to pull away and an attempt to pull the pick out are really a contest (NOT a term of art here) between your grip on the weapon and how deeply you've embedded it. I didn't want to get that deeply into TG mechanics, so I left as the "close enough" damage re-roll.
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Old 11-12-2014, 09:09 AM   #4
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Default Re: [Technical Grappling] Removing a Stuck Pick

Originally Posted by Peter V. Dell'Orto View Post
An attempt to pull away and an attempt to pull the pick out are really a contest (NOT a term of art here) between your grip on the weapon and how deeply you've embedded it.
An interesting idea. I could see some sort of gambling mechanism that could come into play - you make an attack to increase your Grip CP on the weapon and, if successful, choose an amount of CP to remove from the Stuck CP up to your full current Grip CP. You then roll damage, and if you roll lower than the amount sacrificed you still negate that many Stuck CP, but lose the difference from Grip.

That is, our ST 15 halberdier from above (TST 18, as Retain Weapon uses Average Progression) has Grip CP 18*. He could take a gamble and negate all 14 Stuck CP in one go, successfully removing the pick. Let's assume he succeeds at the initial grapple attempt, so he drops his Grip CP to 4. He rolls Thrust damage for ST 18, 1d+2, to try and reestablish his grip. On a maximum roll of 8, his weapon is Ready, but on a lesser roll his Grip CP is below 12 and his weapon has changed to Unready.

If you dislike the gambling nature of the above, a different option would be to have the character roll Thrust damage for his Retain Weapon TST to negate Stuck CP, and let him sacrifice Grip CP to negate the rest. So for our halberdier, if he rolled a 5 he could choose to burn 9 Grip CP, dropping his total to 9 and thus his grip to Unready, to pull it all the way out.

A problem with both of the above options is that it might penalize one-handed use a bit too much. Let's say our halberdier is instead using a one-handed pick, with Axe/Mace skill equal to Polearm skill. Now he's dealing around 4d-1 damage, so an equivalent roll to what he scored above is going to result in 12 CP. He's only got Grip CP 9, so with the gambling option he can't remove the pick in one action, while with the non-gambling one he's rolling at ST 9, for 1d-2 CP. He's got to roll 5 or 6 to be able to remove the pick in one action, which is still going to leave his weapon Unready (at 0 or 1 CP, respectively). If he somehow manages to roll maximum on this roll and the next action to reestablish Grip CP, he'll just barely have enough of a grip to have his pick Ready. Of course, this also gives an organic advantage to grabbing hold of the weapon with both hands to pull it out - your grapple uses 1xST instead of 0.5xST, and you can accumulate more Grip CP - but I think it gives too much of a disadvantage to using one hand.

*One problem our example character is having is actually due to that Weapon Master damage bonus. With such situations, it may be appropriate to ignore the additional Stuck CP for purposes of the character pulling the weapon out. For example, with a halberd the character is getting a full +4 to damage thanks to Weapon Master; while the halberd has 14 CP on the target for purposes of Active Control, it only has 10 CP for purposes of pulling it out. That also means 8 Stuck CP for the pick example, which means the character does have a chance at removing it in one go without losing his Ready, but on the other hand these were both cases of rather below-average rolls.


As a final note, this is actually giving me the start of an idea for an alternative treatment of ‡ weapons. Instead of having it be a binary Ready/Unready, it might be appropriate to have characters with lower than 1.5xST for such weapons lose some Grip CP on each attack. Offhand, something like "If ST isn't at least 1.5x the weapon's ST stat, reduce Grip CP by half the weapon's ST stat (round down) after each attack." So if our halberdier above were using an actual halberd, with MinST 13‡, he'd start with Grip CP 18. His ST isn't high enough to ignore the ‡, so after each attack he loses 6 CP. The first drops him to 12 (Unready), after which point he needs to reestablish some Grip CP before he can use it again. I'll need to give it some thought.
EDIT: I ran some numbers. If I want a situation where a character with just enough ST to use the weapon and insufficient skill for a training bonus to be able to, on average, use it about as readily as the current situation (Attack, Ready, Attack, Ready, etc), reducing Grip CP by 1/4th the weapon's ST stat, round down, after each attack works. If I want attack-every-other-round solution to only apply to a character with TST equal to the weapon's ST+2 (for having it at DX+4, say), then reducing CP by 1/3rd the weapon's ST stat, round down, after each attack works (1/4th, round up would work for TST=ST+1, say for a character with skill at DX+2). For our halberdier, the first option means 3 CP lost per attack, the second means 4; either way, he can attack twice before he has to take an action to reestablish his grip.

Last edited by Varyon; 11-12-2014 at 09:34 AM.
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