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Old 05-05-2021, 09:13 AM   #1
Varyon
 
Join Date: Jun 2013
Default GURPS Overhaul: Combat Skills, Take 3

This is unrelated to my previous two attempts at a combat skill overhaul, and is a tangent from the "Are knightly characters ineffective?" thread.

This is meant both to compress the existing melee combat skill list and generate a means by which a character can have several without overpaying (as a character can readily get by with just one weapon skill). While there are some nods to realism in the list, the divisions are arguably more narrative - using a sword with one hand may actually have more in common with using an axe in one hand than with using a sword in two hands, but separating swords (1h and 2h) from axes (1h and 2h) makes more narrative sense, at least to me.

Similarly, the difficulties associated with each skill are more gamist than realistic. Sword is DX/H not so much because swordsmanship is difficult as it is because I want the optional specializations of 1h Sword and 2h Sword to be DX/A (to roughly match up to RAW).

Buying Multiple Skills: Purchasing multiple melee combat skills follows what I call the Dabbler Method (based on the Dabble Perk). For this, choose the skill level you intend to place most of your skills at and find the price for a Hard skill. Two skills is equivalent to +1 to skill level (or difficulty), four is +2, eight is +3, and so forth, doubling the number of skills for each +1. Each -1 to skill difficulty (relative to Hard) and/or skill level is x0.5 to the number of skills it counts as, while each +1 is x2.
Example: A player wants a character who is primarily a swordsman but it also skilled with spears and polearms. He wants Sword at DX+5, Spear at DX+4, and Polearm at DX+3. He sets nominal skill to DX+4, for [20]. Sword counts as 2, Spear as 1, and Polearm as 0.5, for a total of 3.5. That's more than x2 but less than x4; use x4 pricing, for +2 to effective skill level, and a cost of [28]. Optionally, the GM could give him a discount for that "wasted" 0.5 skill, dropping cost to [27] (going from 2 to 4 cost [4], or [1] per +0.5), or the player could toss another skill in - Brawling at DX+4 would certainly be worthwhile.

Trained?: If a character's default from another skill is at or above the level investing [1] in a relevant Optional Specialization would give him, treat the character as though he/she were properly trained in the skill (so the character isn't forced to All-Out/Telegraph, can use Deceptive Attack, etc).
Example: The above character has Sword at DX+5, Brawling and Spear at DX+4, and Polearm at DX+3. If he picks up a buckler, he's at DX+1 for it. Investing [1] in Buckler [DX/E] would get him it at DX, so he's treated as Trained. If he hadn't opted to invest in Brawling, however, he would have defaulted from Sword at DX+5 to DX-1 which is too low to count as Trained.

Missing Skills?: Many of the skills from GURPS appear to be missing from the following list. Notably, all unarmed combat skills are rolled together into Brawling, there are no Fencing skills (their weapons are rolled into Sword), and Lance is completely missing (as I mentioned in the other thread, Lance should be a Technique for Riding, not its own skill). The biggest impact here is that the special benefits of some skills are absent - Boxing and Karate lack their damage bonus, Wrestling lacks its ST bonus, and Parry F isn't available anymore. Damage and ST bonuses are relatively easy to replace, with appropriately-limited Striking/Lifting ST. For Parry F, I suggest replacing the blanket reduced penalty for multiple parries with the optional rule in Martial Arts to have this be a function of MinST. For the rest (improved Retreats, but penalized by Encumbrance), that's more like a combat style than a distinct skill. I suggest it should be a Feature for any given skill(s) to be Fencing - and if a Fencing skill and a non-Fencing skill default one from the other, it's a -1. If the character can change between Fencing and non-Fencing for the same skill (as a free action at the start of each round), that's a Perk for each skill, or an Advantage worth [5] for all skills. Untrained skills cannot be Fencing.
Example: Let's say our swordsman from above wants his Sword skill to always be Fencing, his Spear skill to be able to switch between Fencing and not, and his Brawling and Polearm to always be non-Fencing. That's a Perk for Spear. His Axe default of DX+2 (from Sword) is Trained, so he can set if it's Fencing or not - if he opts to have it be, it's at DX+2, but if he wants it to be non-Fencing, it goes to DX+1. Similarly, his Shield is DX+1 if non-Fencing (defaulting from Brawling, which is non-Fencing), or DX if Fencing.

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Below is the revised melee skill list. Note all of the below cover both striking and grappling with the relevant weapons, just as in RAW (the difference is, I extend this to unarmed combat). Equal-difficulty skills typically default to each other at -5 (1 step difference is -6, 2 step is -7, etc), with some exceptions noted. Optional specializations default to each other at -2 and give -1 to skills defaulting from it (unless the specializations match up, such as for 1H Sword and 1H Axe/Mace). Finally, treat the below skills as one difficulty lower for purposes of defaulting from DX.

Brawling (DX/A): This covers unarmed combat as well as the use of Reach C weapons like knives and garrotes. Optional Specializations are Punching (includes fist loads), Grappling (includes garrotes), and Knife. Having Brawling/Punching at DX+1 or better grants +1 to the damage of weapons from the Brawling Table. Defaults to Shield at -3.
Shield (DX/A): This covers the use of all shields, as well as cloaks used as such. Optional Specializations are Buckler, Cloak, Guige, and Strapped. Optionally, using another weapon while holding a shield uses the lower of the relevant skill and Shield+(3-DB); this replaces the penalty for using a Large Shield (or the -DB for using any shield from LTC2) but cannot be negated by Shield Wall Training or similar. Defaults to Brawling at -3.
Sword (DX/H): This covers the use of balanced weapons held near one end. Optional Specializations are 1H Sword and 2H Sword. Defaults to Axe and Spear at -3.
Axe (DX/H): This covers the use of unbalanced weapons held near one end. Flails also use this skill, at -2 (negatable with a Perk, Flailing). Optional Specializations are 1H Axe/Mace and 2H Axe/Mace. Defaults to Polearm and Sword at -3.
Spear (DX/H): This covers the use of balanced weapons held near the center. Optional Specializations are 1H Spear and 2H Spear. Defaults to Polearm and Sword at -3.
Polearm (DX/H): This covers the use of unbalanced weapons held near the center. Optional Specializations are 1H Polearm and 2H Polearm - most users opt to specialize in the latter. Defaults to Axe and Spear at -3.
Flexible (DX/VH): This covers the use of flexible weapons. Optional Specializations are Kusari and Whip. It generally lacks defaults beyond the normal (-6 from DX/H, -7 from DX/A, -8 from DX/E skills), but Kusari can use a relevant Thrown Weapon at -1 to attack (typically, Dart for the default weight at the end or Axe for an attached kama).

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Ranged skills: A similar treatment could be applied to ranged skills - specifically to thrown weapons (Bow and Crossbow are probably largely fine as-is, Guns got a good overhaul in Alternate Guns Specialties, and Beams could easily get a similar treatment). Most of the skills below default to each other at -3 (with the same adjustments for difficulty as above), with a few exceptions. Note the below lack Optional Specialization.

Ball (DX/E): This covers throwing round stones, balls, most grenades, etc - anything where orientation doesn't make a difference, even throwing sticks and bolas (although the GM may opt to have MoS 0-1 with the latter give a bad result, entangling a target the character intended to strike or striking a target the character intended to entangle). As the most intuitive use, it defaults to DX-2.
Net (DX/E): This covers large, entangling, short-range projectiles like nets or thrown cloaks. Note with these you can often aim at an area, for a sizable bonus.
Disk (DX/E): This covers throwing weapons that need to keep some planar orientation, but are functionally the same all around, such as star shuriken, disk grenades, flat stones, etc. Defaults to Knife at -1.
Dart (DX/E): This covers throwing small weapons that need to maintain a single orientation during flight, such as darts, some throwing knives, and bo shuriken. Defaults to Spear at -1.
Spear (DX/E): As Dart, but for larger projectiles, like javelins and spears. Defaults to Dart at -1.
Knife (DX/A): This covers throwing small weapons with a distinct striking surface and cannot maintain the correct orientation during flight, requiring a spin, such as throwing knives that aren't used with Dart. Defaults to Disk and Sword at -1 and Axe at -2.
Sword (DX/A): As Knife, but for larger projectiles, like swords. Defaults to Knife at -1.
Axe (DX/A): This covers larger, top-heavy projectiles that have a distinct striking surface and cannot maintain the correct orientation during flight, requiring a spin, such as throwing axes. Defaults to Knife at -2.
Atlatl (DX/H): This is a device used for leverage when hurling projectiles, typically those using Ball, Disk, Dart, or Spear (it cannot work for Knife or Axe). Defaults to Sling at -2.
Sling (DX/H): This is a flexible device used for leverage when hurling projectiles, typically those covered by Ball. Defaults to Atlatl at -2.
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Old 05-05-2021, 12:35 PM   #2
Tyneras
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: Kentucky, USA
Default Re: GURPS Overhaul: Combat Skills, Take 3

I think your condensing of all hand to hand into 1 skill is overbroad. I condensed them into just 2: Striking and Grappling. I started but haven't finished turning the various melee bonuses into techniques.

For Beam Weapons, I mostly rolled them into Guns (post alternate gun specialties) with just Energy Projector being a new skill, since that seems different enough from the others.

My own condensed list looks like this:
Melee Weapons
1 Handed Balanced
1 Handed Unbalanced
2 Handed Balanced
2 Handed Unbalanced
Reach
Whip (Lasso technique)
Garrote
Shield
Net (Cloak becomes a hybrid Net/Shield weapon)

Ranged Weapons
Bow
Crossbow
Thrown Weapons (Spears and Spear Thrower techniques)
Sling (Bolas are a technique)
Blowpipe

All as Average skills, with optional Easy specializations. Some hybrid weapons would use different skills for different attacks, like the kusari being either a Whip or 2 Handed Unbalanced depending on how you use it.
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Old 05-05-2021, 01:23 PM   #3
Varyon
 
Join Date: Jun 2013
Default Re: GURPS Overhaul: Combat Skills, Take 3

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tyneras View Post
I think your condensing of all hand to hand into 1 skill is overbroad. I condensed them into just 2: Striking and Grappling. I started but haven't finished turning the various melee bonuses into techniques.
I considered separating striking and grappling (indeed, I believe I did just that with some of my previous combat skill overhauls), but the issue that comes into play are weapons - it doesn't seem appropriate for all weapons to use the same grappling skill, but it also seems extreme to have a separate grappling skill and striking skill for each weapon type. As RAW uses weapon skill for grappling, I opted to extend this to unarmed as well.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tyneras View Post
For Beam Weapons, I mostly rolled them into Guns (post alternate gun specialties) with just Energy Projector being a new skill, since that seems different enough from the others.
Realistic beam weapons are fairly distinct from firearms, enough for their own skill. I explored that in this thread.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tyneras View Post
My own condensed list looks like this:
Those divisions can also work; I'm assuming Reach is for long (Reach 2+) spears and polearms? Or is it just for all spears/staffs/polearms in general?
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Old 05-05-2021, 02:09 PM   #4
Anthony
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
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Default Re: GURPS Overhaul: Combat Skills, Take 3

Quote:
Originally Posted by Varyon View Post
Realistic beam weapons are fairly distinct from firearms, enough for their own skill.
Based on people using MILES gear for training, not really, at least not at the ranges they're doing training at (generally under a hundred meters). There's an argument for long range shooting being a specialized skill or technique and having short range combat only using a couple skills.
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Old 05-05-2021, 02:19 PM   #5
Tyneras
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: Kentucky, USA
Default Re: GURPS Overhaul: Combat Skills, Take 3

Quote:
Originally Posted by Varyon View Post
I considered separating striking and grappling (indeed, I believe I did just that with some of my previous combat skill overhauls), but the issue that comes into play are weapons - it doesn't seem appropriate for all weapons to use the same grappling skill, but it also seems extreme to have a separate grappling skill and striking skill for each weapon type. As RAW uses weapon skill for grappling, I opted to extend this to unarmed as well.
Most knives and other small weapons require a significant shift to use them effectively compared to a completely unarmed attack, which to me takes them firmly out of a Striking skill. I don't think they were appropriate to include in Brawling (and all the others) in the Basic Set, which come across as a half way attempt at a Martial Art Style instead of a sharply defined generic skill.

There are some weapons that would fit well with a striking skill, fist loads, punching daggers and the cestus are all weapons that could be used with a straight Striking skill at no penalty.

Currently my notes for the skill are "Full skill for primary striker, -2 for all other strikers, -4 for awkward strikers. Humans: Full for fists, -2 for kicks, bites, etc. Pred. animals: Full bites, -2 else."


Quote:
Those divisions can also work; I'm assuming Reach is for long (Reach 2+) spears and polearms? Or is it just for all spears/staffs/polearms in general?
Yes, my rule of thumb is anything with a reach longer that 2+you SM reach bonus (Basic p.402) would be a Reach Weapon. Spears, polearms, enormous swords, etc. Some of weapons under polearm would become 2 Handed Unbalanced while others would become Reach Weapons.

I take the general tact that many, possibly the majority of weapons, will have multiple applicable skills depending on how they are used.
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Old 05-05-2021, 02:22 PM   #6
Varyon
 
Join Date: Jun 2013
Default Re: GURPS Overhaul: Combat Skills, Take 3

Quote:
Originally Posted by Anthony View Post
Based on people using MILES gear for training, not really, at least not at the ranges they're doing training at (generally under a hundred meters). There's an argument for long range shooting being a specialized skill or technique and having short range combat only using a couple skills.
Laser tag doesn't call for variable focus, because the lasers don't need to be focused enough to cause damage to the target (in fact, that would be a bad thing). Those would fall under single-focus DEWs, which I noted in the linked thread would indeed use Guns skill.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tyneras View Post
Most knives and other small weapons require a significant shift to use them effectively compared to a completely unarmed attack, which to me takes them firmly out of a Striking skill.
I feel Knife has a lot more in common with unarmed combat than it does with Sword (or 1H Balanced in your list) - distancing, leverage, etc. Given the options of either making it its own highly-specialized (compared to most of the others in the revised list) skill or rolling it in with one of those two, I felt rolling it in with unarmed combat was the least-bad option.
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Old 05-05-2021, 03:01 PM   #7
Anthony
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Berkeley, CA
Default Re: GURPS Overhaul: Combat Skills, Take 3

Quote:
Originally Posted by Varyon View Post
Laser tag doesn't call for variable focus, because the lasers don't need to be focused enough to cause damage to the target (in fact, that would be a bad thing). Those would fall under single-focus DEWs, which I noted in the linked thread would indeed use Guns skill.
You pretty much have a choice of 'DEWs cannot be used without taking an Aim maneuver' and 'DEWs autofocus'. If they autofocus, they'd be using guns skill. If they require separate focusing, they're probably still using guns skill, just with a specialization (that's another plausible way to distinguish -- only aimed shots care about differences in weapon types).
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Old 05-05-2021, 03:20 PM   #8
Tyneras
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: Kentucky, USA
Default Re: GURPS Overhaul: Combat Skills, Take 3

Quote:
Originally Posted by Varyon View Post
I feel Knife has a lot more in common with unarmed combat than it does with Sword (or 1H Balanced in your list) - distancing, leverage, etc. Given the options of either making it its own highly-specialized (compared to most of the others in the revised list) skill or rolling it in with one of those two, I felt rolling it in with unarmed combat was the least-bad option.
I don't disagree with you here, the smaller the weapon the closer it's proper use comes to an unarmed strike. My solution would be more along these lines.

Small Knife
1HB or Striking-1; sw-3 cut or thr-1 imp, etc.
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Old 05-05-2021, 05:11 PM   #9
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Default Re: GURPS Overhaul: Combat Skills, Take 3

Personally, I like that RAW has substantial differentiation between melee weapons skills.

If anything, I think some of the defaults between disparate weapons are to0 generous.

I don't think in life or death situations against similarly skilled opponents that using a sword or an axe are similar enough to warrant being easily switched.

I don't think a guy who trains 16 CP worth with a Rapier should expect to be better with a broadsword than a guy who trains 2 CP with a Broadsword.

And I don't really think it's a problem if someone who chooses to be a generalist is not as good as a specialist in the specialist's bailiwick. That's a choice.
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Old 05-05-2021, 07:16 PM   #10
Varyon
 
Join Date: Jun 2013
Default Re: GURPS Overhaul: Combat Skills, Take 3

Quote:
Originally Posted by Anthony View Post
You pretty much have a choice of 'DEWs cannot be used without taking an Aim maneuver' and 'DEWs autofocus'. If they autofocus, they'd be using guns skill. If they require separate focusing, they're probably still using guns skill, just with a specialization (that's another plausible way to distinguish -- only aimed shots care about differences in weapon types).
I could see it potentially working that way. But that's probably a discussion for another thread.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Donny Brook View Post
I don't think in life or death situations against similarly skilled opponents that using a sword or an axe are similar enough to warrant being easily switched.
-3 to skill relative to your opponent is a pretty significant penalty, it's just not as harsh as going from full skill to DX-5 or so.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Donny Brook View Post
I don't think a guy who trains 16 CP worth with a Rapier should expect to be better with a broadsword than a guy who trains 2 CP with a Broadsword.

And I don't really think it's a problem if someone who chooses to be a generalist is not as good as a specialist in the specialist's bailiwick. That's a choice.
I'd say we disagree here. The idea that someone who has basically trained 8x as long at swordplay as someone else would be worse just because he's using the other guy's preferred weapon strikes me as laughable. Rapiers and broadswords are different, sure, but not to that extreme of an extent. As for specialists vs generalists, I have no issue with the idea that a specialist will be better for the same amount of investment - indeed, this is the case in my system (the character from my examples, if he had put all [28] into 1H Sword, would be at DX+7 in it, rather than having Sword - 1H and 2H - at DX+5, Brawling and Spear at DX+4, and Polearm at DX+3). Where my issue comes up is when looking at how much of a difference there is, particularly at higher levels. Under default rules, to have roughly similar functionality my example character would need Rapier at DX+5 [20], Staff at DX+4 [16], Brawling at DX+4 [12], and Knife at DX+4 [12] (note here I'm ignoring the fact the example character functionally gets Smallsword and a Fencing variant of Two-Handed Sword at DX+5, Spear at DX+4, and Polearm at DX+3, simply because GURPS normal buying up from default rules are broken). Putting all [60] into Broadsword would have instead boosted the character to DX+15, a virtual god amongst men so long as he can find a decent-sized stick.
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