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Old 07-09-2019, 09:10 AM   #1
kdtipa
 
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Default What is the default for punching someone?

I'm starting a new campaign, and one of my players proclaimed he was going to take brawling instead of karate for unarmed fighting because it's better. A discussion ensued and now I'm reading the rules carefully. I've always liked karate better. While reading the rules though, I noticed that Brawling doesn't have a default, and maybe I'm remembering from 3e, or maybe I just imagined it, but I thought brawling was the simple one that represented what anyone without real training would do, so had a default. Thinking about it though, Brawling does provide some special extras, so it makes sense for it to not have a default, but where is the default for throwing a punch?

I started to try to find the rule for what to roll against if you didn't have points in any of the striking skills, because anyone can try to punch. But I can't find it in the book. I was expecting it on page 370 where unarmed combat talks about the striking skills that make you better at it, but it's not there. It even says: "Anyone can engage in unarmed combat, but certain skills make you a more effective unarmed fighter", but doesn't tell you how to handle it when they don't have the skills listed.

The weapon table on page 271 lists a punch; gives its stats; and lists DX as an option... not DX-2 or anything... just DX. So, does that mean the roll to hit with a punch is just DX? If I spend a point in karate and get it at DX-2, I would have been more likely to succeed when I punch if I hadn't spent any points? Or do I just rely on the default of DX when rolling to hit, and take the other benefits of having the karate skill? This seems odd that the only place you see the default for punching is on the weapon table.

So, does anyone have more information on this?
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Old 07-09-2019, 09:12 AM   #2
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Default Re: What is the default for punching someone?

If you just want to punch someone, you use DX. Same if you just want to grab someone. All six unarmed combat skills—Brawling, Boxing, Karate, Wrestling, Sumo Wrestling, and Judo—provide special benefits over and above what an untrained person gets.
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Old 07-09-2019, 09:23 AM   #3
malloyd
 
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Default Re: What is the default for punching someone?

Here's http://forums.sjgames.com/showthread.php?t=137152 an older thread on the same topic that contains a couple of posts discussing what you get extra from Karate or Brawling.

If all you want to do is swing at somebody for basic damage - i.e. you don't care about being deceptive, aren't playing with rules for hurting yourself or using the rules for techniques, don't plan to try to parry... then no, you don't gain much from the first couple points you put into Brawling.
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Old 07-09-2019, 09:23 AM   #4
johndallman
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Default Re: What is the default for punching someone?

If you have Karate at DX-2, you have two options for punching someone. Roll vs DX, and do the basic damage, or roll DX-2, and get Karate benefits. Those don't amount to much for a single point in Karate, mainly that you can attack with your "off" hand without taking a -4 penalty. The full benefits of Karate come when you have spent several points on it.
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Old 07-09-2019, 09:29 AM   #5
kdtipa
 
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Default Re: What is the default for punching someone?

I think my remaining issues are...
  • that finding that default means looking at the weapon table instead of the rules for unarmed fighting.
  • that the default for a punch is DX instead of something like DX-2. Someone with no skill just shouldn't have as much chance to hit in my opinion.
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Old 07-09-2019, 09:44 AM   #6
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Default Re: What is the default for punching someone?

Quote:
Originally Posted by kdtipa View Post
  • that finding that default means looking at the weapon table instead of the rules for unarmed fighting.
While it would make sense to have a line such as "anybody can punch at DX, or kick at DX-2," it's not really errata, so you aren't going to see an update that adds that line in. Maybe when/if 5e comes out.


Quote:
Originally Posted by kdtipa View Post
  • that the default for a punch is DX instead of something like DX-2. Someone with no skill just shouldn't have as much chance to hit in my opinion.
You're already going to get a lot of argument at tables about a normal person only having a 50% chance to hit someone who doesn't defend themselves, dropping that to around 25% is going to make things worse. It also doesn't match with normal defaulting rules, which would put an Easy skill like Brawling at DX-4, and the latter is certainly problematic, particularly without having Telegraphic Attack (from Martial Arts) as an option (the normal counter to the idea that a normal person should have a better than 50% chance to hit is actually to agree - so long as said person isn't trying to keep their defenses up, i.e. so long as they're making an All Out Attack; at DX-4, or even DX-2, the +4 from All Out isn't really enough to get the hit chances against a stationary target to where they should be).
The benefit of spending [1] in Brawling is to get access to Brawling Techniques, or in more gritty settings to be able to actually Attack rather than being forced to All Out Attack.
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Old 07-09-2019, 10:23 AM   #7
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Default Re: What is the default for punching someone?

Quote:
Originally Posted by kdtipa View Post
[*]that the default for a punch is DX instead of something like DX-2. Someone with no skill just shouldn't have as much chance to hit in my opinion.[/LIST]
It would probably more elegant if Brawling listed a default -- perhaps DX-4 since it's Easy. That's a pretty significant reduction in the chance to hit for the untrained average person, though. (Though some of those YouTube fight videos I've seen make it seem that rolling a 6 would be about right... and you can always argue that's why untrained fighters Telegraph their attacks, though that's usually given as a way to get to a reasonable chance to hit starting from DX 10, rather than DX-4.) On the upside, you'd get a significant improvement in ability just from one point, and so avoid all the arguments about how a few points doesn't actually make you any better.

You could make it match the existing rules by listing the default simply as "DX". Not all skills follow the Easy -4/Average -5/Hard -6 pattern anyway; this could be one of the exceptions.
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Old 07-09-2019, 11:15 AM   #8
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Default Re: What is the default for punching someone?

I don't know about anyone else, but when a character picks up a weapon they're unskilled in, I don't look up what the default is in the combat section, or by thinking about what skill it should use and looking that up. Instead I look it up on the weapon table. It follows that a fist attack's defaults will be found in the same place.
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Old 07-09-2019, 02:54 PM   #9
Plane
 
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Default Re: What is the default for punching someone?

Quote:
Originally Posted by kdtipa View Post
I think my remaining issues are...
  • that finding that default means looking at the weapon table instead of the rules for unarmed fighting.
  • that the default for a punch is DX instead of something like DX-2. Someone with no skill just shouldn't have as much chance to hit in my opinion.
Which section are you looking at that only talks about punching using brawling/karate and not DX? I can't seem to remember where to find such an 'unarmed fighting' section.

I agree with you on the default thing. To allow for "Dabbler" perk progressions (buy up the default by 1, 2 or 3 points for 1/8 or 1/4 or 1/2 a skill point, half a point in Brawling should be DX-1, 1/4 should be DX-2, 1/8 should be DX-3, and default should be DX-4.

That means the default in the normal skills should be DX-5 and in the hard skills: DX-6. There would probably not be anything dangerous about that. For people who just pump DX, well they're always a problem even if it means them just putting 1 point in all skills, and they can be dealt with by capping effective DX for defaults at 20 without special perks to extend that cap.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Varyon View Post
You're already going to get a lot of argument at tables about a normal person only having a 50% chance to hit someone who doesn't defend themselves,
Pretty sure that's why they introduced Telegraphic Attack, and even after that. unofficially dialed back on the cap against stacking Evaluate with it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Varyon View Post
doesn't match with normal defaulting rules, which would put an Easy skill like Brawling at DX-4, and the latter is certainly problematic, particularly without having Telegraphic Attack (from Martial Arts) as an option
If we're letting people have default Brawling we're already going beyond the default rules so I don't see any conflict with treating Telegraphic as part of this new default.

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Originally Posted by Boge View Post
Someone correct me if I'm wrong because I've never found a clear cut rule for this, but the -4 for using offhand unarmed is an optional realistic rule and typically does not apply.
You're probably thinking about "Strong and Weak Hands", part of the optional "Harsh Realism for Unarmed Fighters" on MA124.

That, as the strong/weak implies, is about ST, not DX. It simply suggests adding -2 to ST (-1 to dmg) on top of the usual -4 to skill.

SAWH would actually make sense for armed fighting too!

Could probably just be abbreviated to a "Weak Hand" optional rule though, since it doesn't actually make the on-hand any stronger, just the off-hand weaker.

B14 clearly says:
Whenever you try to do anything significant with the other hand, you are at -4 to skill. This does not apply to things you normally do with your “off” hand, like using a shield.

Shields are a confusing issue to me: if you're right-handed and are not -4 to use a shield in your left, does that mean you're instead -4 to use it in your right?

Karate explicitly allows punching without the -4 penalty whereas other punching forms (Brawling, Boxing) do not, so it really seems like a special benefit it should have...

That said, if you don't use the hand at all (throwing a forward elbow, hitting with your forearm, parrying using your arm instead of your hand) then the -4 shouldn't apply, so that's a decent trick you can use to avoid the -4 penalty.

Boxers unfortunately can't throw forearms/elbows like brawlers can, so if they want to strike with either hand they should the OHWT perk for punching.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Black Leviathan View Post
It's a bit like the throwing skill. If you want to toss something at someone and hit something in their centermass you can just roll DX.
B126 "roll against your default to hit a specific target, but against full DX to lob an object into a general area." I think refers to "I'm throwing it into this hex" not necessarily doing centre of mass (chest) or random hit location against a particular target in that hex.

B355 also "against DX-3 to hit a specific target, or against DX to lob something into a general area"

B414 gives +4 for "Attacking an Area" but that might be just for AE attacks, I'm not entirely sure how it interacts with general-area lobbing.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Black Leviathan View Post
Any kid can figure out how to throw a punch with zero time in the dojo. It's not likely to connect if someone is aware the punch is coming
Do you mean because it's telegraphed? The +2 to dodge on top of the usual +3 for a retreat and +1 for One Foe (technical grappling) would bring up people's usual default of 8 to 14, so it's pretty reliable I guess.

Of course, in modern day a lot of people's dodge might be lower due to less DX/HT, if both were 8 instead of 10 then it would be 1 lower.

One problem with sparring in dojos is they're crowded, I remember a lot of time I avoided retreating because I was afraid of bumping into someone behind me when everyone was sparring at once. More likely you'll do a "sideslip" retreat (only +2 to dodge) because you can actually see using peripheral vision that the area is empty.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Black Leviathan View Post
Also you can throw a punch with DX but you can't block without an unarmed skill. You might throw your hands up in front of your face but technically the roll is still against Dodge rather than representing any real experience avoiding hits.
No, you can do unarmed parry at DX/2+3 even without a combat skill, per B376-B377 "Parrying Unarmed". I think maybe this gets overlooked since it's the Campaigns half of the book but seems to be absent from the "Combat Lite" part of the 1st half (Characters) although it is present in "GURPS Lite" on page 28 ("Unarmed Defense" box)

Only getting +1 on retreats usually makes dodges much more attractive unless you have much lower HT than DX resulting in Basic Speed (HT/4+DX/4) being lower than DX/2. The addition of the Cross Parry (+2 for not being to do any more parries that second) in Martial Arts helped to even that out a bit. Parries also have the advantage of suffering lower encumbrance penalties, except for judo/karate ones.
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