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Old 11-07-2021, 09:29 AM   #1
Engurrand
 
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Default What is the best warfighting tool set for the brawling skill?

Most people make some distinction between weapons suitable for warfare and weapons suitable to be carried in polite company. Not everyone, obviously, but most people, and it is a useful distinction to emphasize in a GURPS game since it allows cool skills like Karate, Knife, and Brawling to get some daylight when they would otherwise be eclipsed by the more warlike tools, like Two-Handed Sword and Glaive.


But what if you only have Brawling? Perhaps there isn't time to learn another skill. Perhaps you don't want to. In any case, what would be the best GURPS choice for the brawler when the going gets heavy--in the press of battle or in tactical skirmishes against armed and coordinated opponents? I'll allow the improvised weapons perk.


It feels like almost a given that you'd want a shield in the off hand.
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Old 11-07-2021, 09:52 AM   #2
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Default Re: What is the best warfighting tool set for the brawling skill?

Running skill
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Old 11-07-2021, 10:23 AM   #3
Sam Baughn
 
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Default Re: What is the best warfighting tool set for the brawling skill?

There's only really two semi-viable options, in my opinion: the bladed hand (Low-Tech / Martial Arts) and spiked armour (Low-Tech Companion 2).
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Old 11-07-2021, 11:08 AM   #4
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Default Re: What is the best warfighting tool set for the brawling skill?

In general your best option, other than running, is knocking people down (slams use brawling) or grappling them (using your defaults), and letting someone with a real weapon do the damage.
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Old 11-07-2021, 12:35 PM   #5
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Default Re: What is the best warfighting tool set for the brawling skill?

If you're in a combat tier where your enemies don't have a lot of armor, while a damage type upgrade wouldn't hurt (you), just beating them up with a gauntlet and an armored boot isn't out of the question. A punch in the face is just as effective against someone with a sword or spear as against someone with a table leg or fist. It's disadvantageous compared to a proper weapon but the reach is probably a bigger problem than the damage, and Brawling doesn't give you options for improving that.

If they do have armor, what Anthony said.
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Old 11-07-2021, 01:29 PM   #6
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Default Re: What is the best warfighting tool set for the brawling skill?

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Originally Posted by Ulzgoroth View Post
If they do have armor, what Anthony said.
Even if they don't have armor, you want to force close combat (which usually requires grappling) or they'll rip you to shreds with parries anyway. The rules for parrying unarmed attacks are really harsh.
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Old 11-07-2021, 02:04 PM   #7
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Default Re: What is the best warfighting tool set for the brawling skill?

Rule #1 for unarmed combat: If the opponent has a weapon and knows how to use it, do not engage.

In GURPS terms, this applies not just to Brawling, but also Karate, Judo, Sumo Wrestling and Wrestling. You should only ever reconsider if you have cinematic options at your disposal (and your opponent does not).

Even if all the armed opponent has is a kitchen knife, if they know how to use a knife in combat they're very likely to cause potentially lethal damage before you can reasonably expect to cause injury.

A shield can possibly work, but that is still technically a combat skill of its own. And you need that skill if you want a reasonable chance against a moderately skilled weapon user. For a character with 12 Dex default Block without the skill is 7 (= 16.2% chance), with 1 point in Shield their Block jumps to 9 (37.5% chance).
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Old 11-07-2021, 03:16 PM   #8
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Default Re: What is the best warfighting tool set for the brawling skill?

Quote:
Originally Posted by WingedKagouti View Post
Rule #1 for unarmed combat: If the opponent has a weapon and knows how to use it, do not engage.

In GURPS terms, this applies not just to Brawling, but also Karate, Judo, Sumo Wrestling and Wrestling. You should only ever reconsider if you have cinematic options at your disposal (and your opponent does not).
I recall discussion that the DF 250 point default was picked in part because it was the lowest point at which the martial artist could be made to serve any purpose.

Edit: or it may have been that people trying to make lower point versions found the martial artist the most severely handicapped by the changes necessary.
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Old 11-07-2021, 03:47 PM   #9
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Default Re: What is the best warfighting tool set for the brawling skill?

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I recall discussion that the DF 250 point default was picked in part because it was the lowest point at which the martial artist could be made to serve any purpose.
It's not hard to make unarmed combat useful at lower point levels -- just buy Innate Attack 1p (Crushing, Strength-Based, Melee C,1) [4] and now you're doing Swing+1 (plus brawling bonuses), count as armed when attacking, and can parry weapons at no penalty. It's just impractical do to it without superpowers of some sort.
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Old 11-07-2021, 04:56 PM   #10
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Default Re: What is the best warfighting tool set for the brawling skill?

It's not exactly consistent with the rules of the perk but you could give a character with only Brawling a chance to buy a Weapon Adaptation, Knife with Brawling. With one point, Brawling replaces DX for a punch, and Knife defaults to DX at -4. So with the perk, that one point would buy it at Brawling instead of DX. It would only help if you had spent more than one point in Brawling. And it would give your Brawler, essentially, an impaling or swinging option instead of a fist-load and a somewhat better (well, less dangerous) parry against an armed opponent.

Last edited by JulianLW; 11-07-2021 at 04:59 PM.
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