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Old 10-19-2016, 03:17 PM   #1
Captain Joy
 
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Default Combat Skill Bonus for taking a Damage Penalty

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Originally Posted by PK View Post
This is already covered by Martial Arts. The GM can allow a virtual "technique" which is -2 to skill for +1 damage, or -4 to skill for +2 damage (or +1/die if better). Note that this is definitely cinematic; realistic techniques which allow extra damage always come with some sort of trade-off in drawbacks.
Is there anything official about sacrificing some damage in order to increase your chance to hit? Something like +2 to skill for -1 to damage seems appropriate.

Last edited by Captain Joy; 10-19-2016 at 03:18 PM. Reason: spelling, punctuation
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Old 10-19-2016, 04:07 PM   #2
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Default Re: Combat Skill Bonus for taking a Damage Penalty

This question come up quite often, last time a couple of months ago.

In general this is often problematic in quite many situations as even a single point of damage is meaningful in many places so bypassing defenses that much easier is problematic.
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Old 10-19-2016, 05:13 PM   #3
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Default Re: Combat Skill Bonus for taking a Damage Penalty

Not directly, although if I remember the Book of 5 Rings correctly it advises not to attempt to cut your opponent lightly or strongly, just cut them - the point being that making weaker attacks does not improve reliability or accuracy.

The closest I can see under GURPS is to combine Defensive Attack (damage penalty, +1 Active Defences) with Riposte (trade your defence for lowering their defence).
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Old 10-19-2016, 06:57 PM   #4
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Default Re: Combat Skill Bonus for taking a Damage Penalty

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Originally Posted by Captain Joy View Post
Is there anything official about sacrificing some damage in order to increase your chance to hit? Something like +2 to skill for -1 to damage seems appropriate.
If it is allowed at all, it should probably be +1 to skill for -2 dmg (or -1/die, whichever is worst !). (and no increased chance of crit)

But as said above, it may not make sense.

At the extreme, it is just rolling to touch. There may be something in magic about that, can't remember.

Last edited by Celjabba; 10-21-2016 at 01:46 AM. Reason: rephrasing
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Old 10-20-2016, 04:09 AM   #5
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Default Re: Combat Skill Bonus for taking a Damage Penalty

Aren't there rules for pulling punches? I don't think you get bomuses for doing less damage.
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Old 10-20-2016, 09:43 AM   #6
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Default Re: Combat Skill Bonus for taking a Damage Penalty

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Aren't there rules for pulling punches? I don't think you get bomuses for doing less damage.
B401, "Pull Your Punches" in the "Subduing a Foe" box. You can choose to use any ST value less than or equal to your own to calculate damage. There's no bonus to hit for doing so, however.

This doesn't seem unreasonable to me from a realism angle. Naively, it would seem that it would take more control, rather than less, to hit someone with precisely controlled force. And if you have a combat skill (as opposed to sport or art), hitting people lightly is doing things differently than the way you were trained. Your timing would change with slower strikes and so on. If there were a skill modifier, it seems more likely to be a penalty than a bonus. But, lacking any real-world experience, I don't know how much difference it would really make.

The combat version of "Taking Extra Time" would seem to be Evaluate. This reduces your damage in the sense of total damage done over time (though not of a single hit), and provides a bonus to hit. Pretty severe loss of damage in most cases, though, compared to the +1 modifier suggested in the OP.
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Old 10-20-2016, 11:35 AM   #7
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Default Re: Combat Skill Bonus for taking a Damage Penalty

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Originally Posted by Anaraxes View Post
This doesn't seem unreasonable to me from a realism angle. Naively, it would seem that it would take more control, rather than less, to hit someone with precisely controlled force. And if you have a combat skill (as opposed to sport or art), hitting people lightly is doing things differently than the way you were trained.
I'm not sure you can even safely bring the Sport version into a real fight for this purpose, even though you're "only" looking to just tag them on the chest (or whatever). Sport skills specifically teach you techniques and moves that leave you in a position for a foe to retaliate because it doesn't matter - if you do tag them, the round ends, or the target you leave open isn't valid in your sporting association, or it's open to kicks but your sport doesn't allow kicking, and so on and so forth.

If you're using a skill where you trained to make "real" hits, it really doesn't feel simple to just tag people. I took TKD classes, and it was definitely a Sport version - but a full-strength, full-contact version with a lot of armor. I had tons of drilling on striking into a target, setting myself up so at wherever I planned on extending my limb, it end up one to three inches into the target (if not more) depending on if it was a quick jab or a big hit. You can't stop at the surface if you're trying to hurt someone, and they grind that into you.

Learning your real reach in combat takes a lot of training and is really really danged important, and it's not where your fingers or toes (or weapon) end. Per my training, my effective combat reach for a full-strength punch is somewhere around my wrists because if I'm much further than that, I just can't deliver maximum force with that punch.

Equally, if I'm too close, I can't extend my elbow and step in for that maximum force punch, and if I want to deliver big force, I have to consider other options (don't step in - don't get as much force, don't extend the elbow - don't get as much force, palm-heel strike, elbow strike, knee them in the balls, head-butt, whatever). Or switch to another plan entirely obviously.

It seems pretty simple, but I had to write a lot of sentances to talk about it, and you have to drill and drill and drill until you're making that evaluation in real-time. Which means that training heavily colors what you're doing.

Incidentally, this reminds me that we need another variation of Pacifism (Reluctant Killer). That's another thread though.
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Old 10-20-2016, 09:43 PM   #8
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Default Re: Combat Skill Bonus for taking a Damage Penalty

I don't like this idea. Imagine a giant with massive ST and damage but mediocre skill, facing a quick and skilled but lightly armored and squishy swashbuckler. If the giant can convert all that extra damage (that he doesn't really need against a soft target) into extra skill, he's negated his opponent's advantages. And possibly turned it from an interesting fight into a cakewalk.
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Old 10-21-2016, 12:36 AM   #9
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Default Re: Combat Skill Bonus for taking a Damage Penalty

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Originally Posted by dripton View Post
I don't like this idea. Imagine a giant with massive ST and damage but mediocre skill, facing a quick and skilled but lightly armored and squishy swashbuckler. If the giant can convert all that extra damage (that he doesn't really need against a soft target) into extra skill, he's negated his opponent's advantages. And possibly turned it from an interesting fight into a cakewalk.
I agree here, one reason I like GURPS is because ST isn't what's used for hitting. Now it might be balanced if you couldn't infinitely pour in your ST, just a flat -X to damage for a +Y to hit, but I don't think the game needs such an attack option, as others before have said, pulling your punches should make it harder to hit if anything.
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Old 10-21-2016, 01:05 AM   #10
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Default Re: Combat Skill Bonus for taking a Damage Penalty

I'm also not sure that it is easier to hit your opponent with weak strikes. Though it would likely be realistic to make it easier to do rapid strikes when only using a small part of your strength (it makes sense to be able to attack much faster then since you don't need to adjust your posture between each attack). Perhaps something like halving the rapid strike penalty if you only use half your ST.

However things changes when you are only trying to touch your opponent or are only using a very small part of your strength. It gets very hard to defend against someone trying to touch you and as can be verified by everyone, it is much easier to touch a small object than hit it with a full-force strike. However that might just be a case of taking extra time to perform the task. It might be realistic to allow using the Extra Time rules in combat when using at most a fourth of your ST.

Last edited by Andreas; 10-21-2016 at 01:09 AM.
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