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Old 02-13-2011, 04:52 PM   #1
Join Date: Feb 2011
Default Viable fighter using only claws and teeth?

I'm trying to work out how to build a bestial warrior who fights primarily with claws and teeth, but without employing 'flashy' Karate Master type techniques. Specifically, the game is a fantasy setting and likely to include armed and armored opponents. I have the Core Books and Martial Arts to work from, and might be able to swing Imbuements (though I don't want to assume it, and I'm not entirely sure they'd fit anyway). We should have ~300 CP to work with, but naturally it would be bad to devote all of that solely to hammering together halfway effective fighting skills against the odds.

My purpose in posting this is to mainly ask about the viability of this character using Sharp Claws and Sharp Teeth against armor and weapons, and can it be done without the sort of 'fancy' martial arts that a stereotypical fantasy monk or martial arts master would use. The character is hot-headed and direct in his fighting methods, but I still want him to be skilled and capable of using various Techniques to rip and tear things apart with his claws and teeth when the fighting breaks out, and to be able to take on all comers without having to conspicuously avoid particularly well equipped foes.

So all in all, I'm asking for the help of folks who know the ins-and-outs of GURPS and GURPS combat better than myself. I really enjoy the concept and would like to play it, but I'm just not sure how effective it would be in serious combat.
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Old 02-13-2011, 05:06 PM   #2
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Join Date: Feb 2008
Default Re: Viable fighter using only claws and teeth?

Smasha might not be a bad place to start. It is all Brawling and Wrestling instead of Karate, but with claws and teeth to highlight the brutality of the style you might end up a very happy camper.
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Old 02-13-2011, 05:17 PM   #3
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Default Re: Viable fighter using only claws and teeth?

Originally Posted by Bokker View Post
I have the Core Books and Martial Arts to work from, and might be able to swing Imbuements (though I don't want to assume it, and I'm not entirely sure they'd fit anyway).
What about Powers-style? An effective-for-the-points meleeist when high tech or magic is available is difficult without resorting to Follow-Up and the like.
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Old 02-13-2011, 05:19 PM   #4
Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: Yucca Valley, CA
Default Re: Viable fighter using only claws and teeth?

Depends on what you mean by fancy.

I would say, start with Trained by a Master, not for access to "fancy" techniques but just for the general benefits, mainly decreased penalty to Rapid Strike, cinematic movement (multiple retreats and Acrobatic defenses), and especially access to other exotic traits.

The exotic traits being DR (maybe with Tough Skin, and a bunch of levels with Ablative) and especially Striking ST (natural weapons only).

Suppose you have Karate for damage +2 per die, and Striking ST 19 (with Bite Mastery nperk). Your sharp claws inflict 2d+2/cut; that's pretty good. Of course, cinematic fighters with large weapons in a 300 point campaign can easily hit 3d, so maybe you could take Striking ST 27 for that extra die. Note, you can do fancy moves with Karate but you don't have to; the reasons for taking it instead of Brawling are better damage, better retreat, better parry versus weapons. I'm not sure that there is any such thing as "high skill, but can't do fancy stuff," although "high skill, and knows better than to try fancy stuff" definitely exists.

A lot of "fancy" moves seem like a good fit to me for a "bestial" fighter, especially Immovable Stance and Flying Leap. Combat Vaulting is a perk that let's you jump full distance in combat, and there's an optional rule in Martial Arts that lets you jump double normal distance, with no damage bonus, with no net penalty to skill and no fatigue cost, using Flying Leap, for superb tactical mobility. You could use Kiai to model a roar, or just call it Intimidation.

Sumo is a good choice, too. When your foe is on the ground, you have a huge advantage. (That's the reason for Immovable Stance, above.) A shove for 4d+4 or 6d+8 is likely to knock anyone down. Would a Combination, knock 'em down and then beat on 'em, seem too fancy? Sweep is another way to put 'em on the ground, and you can do that with your tail. With Sumo, you won't be doing Arm Locks, but you can Wrench Arm, the brute force way of doing the same thing.

Instead of Sharp Teeth, you might define your jaws as a Cutting Striker, for an extra +1 damage per die. Close Combat puts the weapon guys at a disad, but then reach puts you at 1, so you might add Stretching defined in some appropriately beastlike way, like maybe you have a serpentine neck that uncoils rather than telescoping. Add a cobra's hood as a perk that gives an intimidation bonus, and venom for a follow-up attack, and you'll be very dangerous.

Take Extra Attack, as many levels as the GM allows, for Karate Only. You don't need Multistrike because you can use Karate with every limb. The main advantage of extra attacks is to impose penalties on the other guy's defenses.

If your beastlike traits make you good in trees, like a cat or monkey, take Brachiator, and make good use of Attack from Above. This requires Stealth, of course, so I'd recommend a custom talent which includes Stealth and Acrobatics as well as Karate and Sumo and your two fave cinematic skills.

If your beastlike traits include anything like wings, a level of Super Jump with maneuverable makes for great synergy with Flying Leap. In fact, if "bestial warrior" were my concept, I'd focus on battlefield mobility and acute senses to distinguish him from other fighter types. Vibration Sense is awsome for fighting in the dark and a cheap way to get Targeting for your ranged attacks if you have any, and Discriminatory Smell cannot be overrated, plus you can buy Empathy for half price.

Hope these ideas are useful; if not, I'll try again if you can provide more specifics.


PS: You can get by with natural DR overall, but take some real sturdy vambraces for parrying weapons.

EDIT: I posted this in response to a similar question about designing a 100pt DnD-style monk with beastlike abilities including claws:

With an extra 200 points, you could amp that up outrageously with plenty left over for Discriminatory Smell and Parabolic Hearing and Vibration Sense.

Last edited by Gef; 02-13-2011 at 05:47 PM.
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Old 02-13-2011, 05:28 PM   #5
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Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: Yukon, OK
Default Re: Viable fighter using only claws and teeth?

Dont see why not.
I would build a martial arts style for this, regular animals use what would be considered styles and certainly maneuvers.
Further claws have some advantages like being hard to disarm and no need to fast draw and no issues with encumbrance.
I can see special tricks, especially in a fantasy game. Chi or magic based powers. And what about stats? Faster, smaller, stronger then humans? That would help.
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Old 02-13-2011, 05:45 PM   #6
Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: Yucca Valley, CA
Default Re: Viable fighter using only claws and teeth?

Super senses on the cheap:

I once had a GM who introduced a gene-modified race that he characterized as weird invisible werewolves. I later built a template for this race on a budget and found a way to get high senses and a weird way of thinking in one go, leaving plenty of points for squid-like dynamic camouflage.

I bought the enhanced senses as an Ally. The rubber science explanation is that this critter's brain was designed to get the most out of its senses by performing time series analysis. The way it felt to the critter was that his invisible friend was scouting the area and coming back to report. I actually did purchase some nonhuman senses for the critter, but at low levels and with limitations; the ally could "report on" the equivalent of a superior level of the same senses.

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Old 02-13-2011, 06:03 PM   #7
Join Date: Jan 2010
Default Re: Viable fighter using only claws and teeth?

Don't overload on Striking ST, you'll want the extra HP and general utility that comes with proper ST.
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Old 02-13-2011, 06:07 PM   #8
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Austin, TX
Default Re: Viable fighter using only claws and teeth?

The biggest limitation for a bestial fighter is going to be defenses: brawling can't parry weapons, bestial fighters are probably not wearing heavy plate for DR7. A lot of HP can soak damage to some extent, but a lot of DR + lots of HP works better.

My recommendation would be to buy up your Move to 11+, wear as much armor as you feel comfortable, and resign yourself to the fact that the group's knife fighter can buy a Very Fine, Balanced Large Knife for a few hundred and do as much damage as your claws with a much better parry against weapons.

Of course, this depends on what your opposition and even your friendly fighters are like, but at 300 points I'm used to seeing ST22/HP30 minotaurs with 3 yd long horns and heavy armor, gargoyle knights who fly around throwing axes from behind people for 3d+ damage, or crazed samurai with Extra Attack 2 and Weapon Master on their katanas.
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Old 02-13-2011, 06:11 PM   #9
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Charlotte, North Caroline, United States of America, Earth?
Default Re: Viable fighter using only claws and teeth?

Especially because wrestling can be used with teeth and claws for an advantage. With born biter, you can capable of achieving a 4 hand supremacy(the bite counts as two hands for grappling), which pretty much makes you a wrestling god.
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Old 02-13-2011, 06:20 PM   #10
Join Date: May 2008
Location: CA
Default Re: Viable fighter using only claws and teeth?

You can totally do this.

Get Karate and the Skill Adaptation (Brawling to Karate) perk, so you can get your +2 damage/die with your claws and teeth. I'd also see if your GM allows you to take Skill Adaptation (Wrestling to Judo) to allow you to get that +1 or +2 to ST for grappling moves. It's too bad you probably can't get Weapon Master for natural weapons, though - that'd be even better.

Get really high ST or Striking ST, along with very high skill levels. Maybe take a Combination or two and max them out - give yourself a really, really devastating attack, where you hit one-after-another.

You aren't going to be able to deal as much shear damage as a swordsman (due to them using Swing damage and you being stuck with Thrust), but you should be able to deal enough. There's also ways to stick armor divisors on your claws/teeth, so I'd consider doing that.

With 300 points you should be able to come up with something frightening. Good luck.

Last edited by Langy; 02-13-2011 at 06:24 PM.
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claws, teeth, unarmed

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