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Old 11-03-2017, 01:58 PM   #1
johndallman
 
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: Cambridge, UK
Default [Basic] Disadvantage of the week: Bad Grip and Ham-Fisted

Bad Grip and Ham-Fisted are both Mundane Physical disadvantages relating to hands, or whatever your species uses in place of hands. Bad Grip dates for 3e, while Ham Fisted seems to have appeared at 4e.

Bad Grip is [-5] per level, and each level gives -2 to all tasks that require a firm grip, such as climbing, catching things, melee weapon use, and anything else the GM specifies. It only applies once, no matter how many limbs you use for a task. It's mutually exclusive with No Fine Manipulators, which makes the same tasks impossible, at least via manipulators.

Ham-Fisted is worth [-5] or [-10] and gives penalties of -3 or -6 respectively to skills affected by High Manual Dexterity (which is the opposite of this disadvantage, and mutually exclusive with it), and Fast-Draw skills. It doesn't affect larger-scale DX-based rolls, nor any IQ-based rolls. It also tends to make you a messy eater and sloppy dresser, and this may cause penalties on Influence skills and reaction rolls.

Numb gives you a bonus level of Ham-Fisted for many tasks. In Basic's example creatures, dragons have Bad Grip, and apes have Ham-Fisted. This pattern continues in many intelligent animal templates, including were-forms: a lack of true hands or equivalents is Bad Grip, normally a racial disadvantage. Ham-Fisted is usually a personal disadvantage for people with hands, although there are edge cases, such as bears. Bio-Tech has rules for removing or reducing these disadvantages via genetic engineering, or adding them as severe drug side-effects. Present-day robots may also have Bad Grip (Disasters: Meltdown and Fallout), while Ham-Fisted is a surprisingly common disadvantage option for DF, especially for barbarians, and a realistic effect for a poison-needle trap in a DF scenario. High-Tech has sports protective gloves that give Ham-Fisted 1, and prosthetic arms that do a bit worse.

Loadouts: Low-Tech Armour has armour gauntlets that give varying levels of Ham-Fisted, and Low-Tech and Instant Armour expand on this for brass knuckles, mittens and gloves that give Bad Grip. Martial Arts lets you buy Blunt Claws for hands, if you take Bad Grip, repeats brass knuckles and related material, and adds boxing gloves. Powers: The Weird has an example of upgrading animals' handling capabilities, and Reign of Steel: Will to Live has a lot of robots that could use such upgrades, were they sapient. Space has guidelines for giving alien species these disadvantages, and Tales of the Solar Patrol has a variant of Ham-Fisted for engineers who are clumsy with everything except technical stuff.

These are disadvantages I prefer to stay away from, possibly because of my low personal DX. Ham-Fisted can be fine for a "pure" melee fighter, but playing one of those is less interesting to me than someone more versatile. What have you done with them?
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Old 11-03-2017, 02:41 PM   #2
Kalzazz
 
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Default Re: [Basic] Disadvantage of the week: Bad Grip and Ham-Fisted

I haven't ever seen either one used. Big meatballs who intend not to manipulate stuff go right to No Fine Manipulators
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Old 11-03-2017, 02:42 PM   #3
Kalzazz
 
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Default Re: [Basic] Disadvantage of the week: Bad Grip and Ham-Fisted

Ham Fisted tanks Fast Draw. Given the very precious action economy of GURPS people want to avoid tanking fast draw
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Old 11-03-2017, 03:31 PM   #4
Flyndaran
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Default Re: [Basic] Disadvantage of the week: Bad Grip and Ham-Fisted

I can't see why one level of Ham-fisted should harm basic fast drawing from simple scabbards. Certainly fine movement holsters and awkward positions. But some swords are pretty much just grab and unsheathe requiring speed and normal hand precision that the disadvantage specifically does not affect.
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Old 11-03-2017, 06:26 PM   #5
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Default Re: [Basic] Disadvantage of the week: Bad Grip and Ham-Fisted

I use the combination of increased DX & Ham-Fisted for warriors or certain monsters who have DX for agility, but not “universal DX” to help them with delicate finger work or similar activities. Essentially the combination is my response to DX being too broad.

Bad Grip I seldom use, because [-5] for -2 penalties to weapon use is too severe. At 3 levels of Bad Grip you’re at -6 to any task for which No Fine Manipulators would disallow, meaning you generally can’t do anything with fine manipulators anyway… so you might as well take the full -30 points and the discount to ST & DX. If it was [-5] per -1 penalty I would see it get more use, and since I started using Knowing Your Own Strength rules I started using it as the middle-ground for dragons or similar creatures whose claws aren’t suitable for a lot of tasks, but could still technically write or scoop up treasure in it’s claws or something similar.
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Old 11-04-2017, 04:58 PM   #6
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Default Re: [Basic] Disadvantage of the week: Bad Grip and Ham-Fisted

I'm fine with Bad Grip's penalties as they are - remember that they effectively don't apply whenever the GM doesn't require a roll, so unless the GM is very roll-happy they don't much affect routine use. Also, as you note it works well for beings who can manipulate objects but not hold them well - they can still open doors using handles and can write and type, but will have trouble applying force via tools.

Ham Fisted is the other way round - one can apply force via tools just fine, but precision is lacking. IMO if you have both you will very seldom be affected by them both at the same time - but will be affected by one or the other most of the time (when a roll is required), making the combined cost of -25 points (nearly as bad as No Fine Manipulators) reasonable.

Bears probably actually usually have levels of both.
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Old 11-04-2017, 05:25 PM   #7
Flyndaran
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Default Re: [Basic] Disadvantage of the week: Bad Grip and Ham-Fisted

Bad grip sounds at best like some human lacking thumbs. I can't imagine any normal animal having it.
I'm afraid that I have a quirk level of Ham-Fisted, so I certainly understand many realistic people let alone characters having the full blown disadvantage.
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Old 11-04-2017, 05:44 PM   #8
whswhs
 
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Default Re: [Basic] Disadvantage of the week: Bad Grip and Ham-Fisted

I looked at both disadvantages when thinking about species design, and particularly design of nonhuman primates. But it seemed to me that Bad Grip was lethal for arboreal species. I can see occasion for Ham-Fisted, but making Bad Grip viable is harder.
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Old 11-04-2017, 11:24 PM   #9
Railstar
 
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Default Re: [Basic] Disadvantage of the week: Bad Grip and Ham-Fisted

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rupert View Post
I'm fine with Bad Grip's penalties as they are - remember that they effectively don't apply whenever the GM doesn't require a roll, so unless the GM is very roll-happy they don't much affect routine use. Also, as you note it works well for beings who can manipulate objects but not hold them well - they can still open doors using handles and can write and type, but will have trouble applying force via tools.

Ham Fisted is the other way round - one can apply force via tools just fine, but precision is lacking. IMO if you have both you will very seldom be affected by them both at the same time - but will be affected by one or the other most of the time (when a roll is required), making the combined cost of -25 points (nearly as bad as No Fine Manipulators) reasonable.

Bears probably actually usually have levels of both.
Some GMs might become roll-happy if you take extreme penalties from your disadvantages, because when you're at -6 penalty (effective DX 10 vs effective DX 4) a routine task stops being so routine. Although the Extra Time rules could offer a good general guideline for how much longer it takes to do routine tasks (so DX 12 + Bad Grip 3 could take 8 times as long to do something that would be routine at DX 9).

However, you make a good point about the combo of Bad Grip & Ham-Fisted for very poor manipulators, and I'll make sure to use that in templates, so thanks for that.
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Old 11-05-2017, 02:10 PM   #10
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Default Re: [Basic] Disadvantage of the week: Bad Grip and Ham-Fisted

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Originally Posted by Railstar View Post
I use the combination of increased DX & Ham-Fisted for warriors or certain monsters who have DX for agility, but not “universal DX” to help them with delicate finger work or similar activities. Essentially the combination is my response to DX being too broad.
Same here, I use that combo pretty extensively on my "meathead" characters. It's the alternative to a "combat" Talent.
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