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Old 05-21-2022, 05:49 AM   #1
Michael Thayne
 
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Default How mandatory is putting a few points in a grappling skill?

It seems like almost every GURPS character should probably have a point in Brawling. While anyone can punch or kick at DX, there is no DX default for a number of fairly basic techniques, including Knee Strike. Honestly, what would it even be like to be literally incapable of performing a knee strike? On the other hand, the techniques enabled by grappling skills seem somewhat less fundamental, and in many cases have defaults from melee weapon skills, so while potentially useful whether you need them depends more on your character concept. What do people think?
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Old 05-21-2022, 07:14 AM   #2
Fred Brackin
 
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Default Re: How mandatory is putting a few points in a grappling skill?

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Originally Posted by Michael Thayne View Post
so while potentially useful whether you need them depends more on your character concept. What do people think?
I think it depends very much on charater concept. If you don't see your character being committed to winning (and even intitiating) non-lethal unarmed combat you're not going to be rolling v. Wrestling that much.

There is a certain niche for "I'm going to surpise my enemies with Judo Throw!". It does a full D6 which for low ST characters is better than their ST-based damage.

Mostly though if your character isn't going to invest a lot of pts into melee combat Skills you don't need it.
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Old 05-21-2022, 07:37 AM   #3
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Default Re: How mandatory is putting a few points in a grappling skill?

It depends what kinds of violence the campaign expects to happen.

If you need to capture or arrest people, grappling skills are extremely useful. If you don't, they're less important. If you may be up against people who can control your friends' minds, then being able to restrain friends without hurting them much is really helpful.
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Old 05-21-2022, 07:53 AM   #4
Donny Brook
 
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Default Re: How mandatory is putting a few points in a grappling skill?

If your character expects to engage in combat from time to time, it is worth having some unarmed striking and grapplong skills. For characters likely to only rarely engage in physical confrontation, it's not worth the points unless their DX is high enough that a couple of points will bring you up to a decent probability of success.
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Old 05-21-2022, 08:22 AM   #5
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Default Re: How mandatory is putting a few points in a grappling skill?

In my current GURPS campaign, one of the four characters has 2 points in Wrestling—the one who's an investigator for a federal magistrate. None of the other three has a grappling skill, and two of them have no unarmed combat skills at all. This is a campaign that makes a lot more use of GURPS Social Engineering than GURPS Martial Arts. For the chance that they may be faced with physical threats, most of them carry low-penetration handguns or pistol crossbows. Handguns seem to be a traditional self-defense option for people who aren't fighters.
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Old 05-21-2022, 09:10 AM   #6
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Default Re: How mandatory is putting a few points in a grappling skill?

Conceptually, any combatant should have some grappling skill... but more practically, GURPS gives most of this for free, by letting most Grappling actions simply default to DX. Two important ones that don't default to DX are Locks and Choke Hold... but both of those can default off of weapon skill. So, unarmed grappling skills are only needed if you expect to frequently get into situations where you need to seriously grapple (which can include needing to knock a target out safely) and won't have access to any sort of weapon.

Of course, simply needing to fight unarmed is a good time to know grappling skills, at least if you aren't outnumbered - but that will generally require a decent investment. Of course, being able to deal swing crushing damage while unarmed (via Throws From Locks) is nothing to sneeze at... even if it does require a round or two of setup.
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Old 05-21-2022, 12:42 PM   #7
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Default Re: How mandatory is putting a few points in a grappling skill?

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Originally Posted by Fred Brackin View Post
There is a certain niche for "I'm going to surpise my enemies with Judo Throw!". It does a full D6 which for low ST characters is better than their ST-based damage.
IMHO it isn't the damage that kills...it's the two rounds needed to get back onto one's feet.


A minuscule percentage of NPC/PC's are built to fight well on their back. The penalty of -3 to all active defenses for position kills. IME a character knocked off of their feet is in deep kimchi. If that happens and an enemy stays engaged sayonara.

Other than the very first PC I made under GURPS (summer 86) every character has had at least 1 unarmed combat skill. It is worth at least 1 point at creation.

A particularly fun combination can be a mage with Judo. After all a successful Judo parry allows you to retain a grip on your adversary.

Top of round #1 parry.

Bottom of round #1 cast any 1 round regular spell with touch.
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Old 05-21-2022, 01:52 PM   #8
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Default Re: How mandatory is putting a few points in a grappling skill?

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Originally Posted by Michael Thayne View Post
While anyone can punch or kick at DX, there is no DX default for a number of fairly basic techniques, including Knee Strike. Honestly, what would it even be like to be literally incapable of performing a knee strike?
There was errata somewhere that you could still attempt to do a knee strike with no combat skills (ie a 'kick' that makes contact with your thigh or knee instead of your foot or shin) but that it would use the standard kicking penalty (-2) and chance to fall down on a miss, so the benefit of getting access to the technique is mostly avoiding the chance of falling down.

I believe that applies with Elbow Strike too - you can still throw elbows at people using the 'punch' technique, it just uses the standard rules for those, so you're taking 1/10 instead of 1/20 damage for hurting yourself?
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Old 05-22-2022, 01:03 AM   #9
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Default Re: How mandatory is putting a few points in a grappling skill?

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Originally Posted by Witchking View Post
A particularly fun combination can be a mage with Judo. After all a successful Judo parry allows you to retain a grip on your adversary.
(Disclosure, if anyone missed it: Witchking's been one of my players for decades.)

I agree that a point in unarmed combat's useful for most players, but obviously it depends on the campaign's expectations and milieu. For that matter, I build a decent number of Judo skills into NPC mage builds, if not necessarily for Witchking's notion -- IMHO, if I'm grappling a foe, I'm not going to Concentrate all that well -- then for the time-honored precept of "It's a good idea for the mage to not get hit while s/he waits for the meat shields to catch up."
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Old 05-22-2022, 06:12 AM   #10
Witchking
 
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Default Re: How mandatory is putting a few points in a grappling skill?

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For that matter, I build a decent number of Judo skills into NPC mage builds, if not necessarily for Witchking's notion
To be fair I think that particular character doesn't really fit any NPC's notions...
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