Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Rewriting Combat: Advantages, Skills and Techniques

Character traits serve as the basis for everything we do in GURPS.  If we're going to look at the new options from Martial Arts, it's a good idea to start by looking at the new traits it gives us, and re-examine the old traits we already had.



Advantages

I dislike that Trained by a Master and Weapon Master are so similar, except that Weapon Master can cost less and applies superior damage and weapon defaults, while Trained by a Master seems to be more expensive and is the only way for unarmed characters to gain superior rapid strike or parry bonuses. The modifications below make both effectively the same trait.

Trained by a Master: One thing that has always bugged me is that Trained by a Master seems to work just like Weapon Master, only it fills the prerequisite for slightly more cinematic skills, does less damage, and doesn’t grant a superior default for unarmed attacks. Therefore, add the following optional enhancement:

Combat Master: You gain the damage benefits and superior defaults of Weapon Master. These apply to all weapons. Do not apply the damage bonus or superior defaults to unarmed skills (They’re already included in the base skills and rules). +50%.

Weapon Master: Weapon Master is available for all unarmed skills! A single unarmed skill (Weapon Master (Karate)) is 20 points, while all unarmed weapon skills are a “single set of related weapons”. Weapon Master does not apply its damage bonus or superior defaults to unarmed attacks, but in all other ways, treat it as Trained by a Master.

Perks

Trademark Moves and Finishing Moves from Power-Ups 2: Perks both suit a rules framework that encourages noting all moves down.

Special Exercise (Flying Leap and Force Swords): Flying Leaps may triple damage from a force sword.

No Nuisance Rolls: Several cinematic skills may have no nuisance rolls, as noted below, which apply even in combat. These include:
  • Precognitive Parry (to see if you can parry a blaster, gain +1 to parry, or to materialize your force sword blade instantly at a +0 to fast-draw constests only)
  • Precognitive Block (as precognitive parry)
  • Flying Leap (Under specific circumstances)
    • Graceful Glider [1]. Requires Flying Leap at 16+. Allows a character to instantly jump at double distance with no bonus for damage without making a roll (folds -10 for instant in with +5 for “light body” and +5 for only double distance)
    • Superior Graceful Glider [1]. Requires Flying Leap 21+ and Graceful Glider. Allows the character to triple his jumping distance with no bonus for damage without making a roll (Folds -10 for instant concentration with +5 for light body).
  • Light Walk (Under specific circumstances)
    • Delicate Walker [1]. Requires Light Walk 20+. Allows the character to light walk across anything whose penalty is no worse then 4, walking across most cables or delicate rope, and maintaining perfect balance on things up to 2/3” across.
  • Lizard Climb (Under specific circumstances)
    • Wall-Runner [1]. Requires Lizard Climb 20+. Allows the character to move along any non-slippery (not glass or wet walls, etc) vertical with only his two feet in contact with it without rolling, even in combat (even to retreat) so long as he remains in motion and is unencumbered. He cannot stand still on a vertical surface without rolling.
  • Sensitive
Remove the Neurolash Field Parry perk. It is now a technique.

Skills

Not every cinematic skill or technique is appropriate to our particular genre, especially given that we’re allowing all of our characters to have them, for the reasons discussed in the Kung Fu Space Knight. The Force as Chi noted that the theory of chi argues that all characters have chi, but only some people have it “awakened.” Our model of psionics argues the same (and that Communion is the net result of that psionic interaction), so we can make the case for cool psionic-ish skills for everyone, as sort of an expression of the natural, latent abilities of all people. That said, not every skill fits. Quite a few represent applications of specific chi concepts (Pressure points), while others violate our genre expectations ((Invisibility Art). Furthermore, I suggested that we allow Chi talents to improve cinematic skills. I’d like to apply the same for psionic talents, noting that sensitivity and precognitive parry already have such rules! Psi Sensitivity does not apply for these rules.
Allowed Cinematic Skills
  • Blind Fighting (ESP)
  • Breaking Blow (ESP)
  • Precognitive Parry (ESP)
  • Zen Marksmanship (ESP)
  • Flying Leap (Psychic Healing or Psychokinesis)
  • Immovable Stance (Psychokinesis)
  • Light Walk (Psychic Healing or Psychokinesis)
  • Lizard Climb (Psychokinesis)
  • Power Blow (Psychokinesis)
  • Push (Psychokinesis)
  • Throwing Art (Psychokinesis)
  • Body Control (Anti-Psi or Psychic Healing)
  • Kiai (Telepathy or Psychic Vampirism)
  • Mental Strength (Anti-Psi or Telepathy)
  • Sensitivity (Telepathy or Psychic Healing)
Body Control has an optional rule allowing you to use Body Control as First-Aid. This rule is in effect. Body Control can be rolled as TL 11 First Aid.

Breaking Blow has an optional rule allowing its practitioners to apply an armor divisor of 5 to their attacks. This rule is in effect.

Combat Art: In a cinematic game, Combat Art might be as effective as a combat skill. If that is the case, then the reverse can be equally true, and no difference exists between the two.  That said, I would like to see a difference between a beautiful style and a practical style while not necessarily demanding complete skills.  Therefore, I've elected to make Combat Art a technique based on the combat skill at -3.

Flying Leap has several optional rules on MA 129, and these are all in effect. Furthermore, this creates new prerequisites: To learn Flying Leap, you must have either Power-Blow if he wishes to gain triple ST, or either Psychokinesis Talent 1+, or Special Exercise (Flyng Leap without Power-Blow) [1] if he does not.

Parry Missile Weapon: I don’t like Parry Missile Weapon in this context. Characters will never reach up to catch blaster bolts unarmed, or block them with a staff. They’ll use a single weapon, usually a force sword, to defend. Parry Missile Weapon creates a problem that you need 16 points per +1 parry (8 points for +1 parry for melee attacks, and 8 points for +1 parry against blaster attacks), while enhanced parry is 5 points for +1, and Parry Missile Weapon only parries. Therefore, I’m going to allow characters with precognitive parry to defend against blaster bolts without Parry Missile Weapon.

Precognitive Block: “Fight the Future” in Pyramid #9 introduces this new skill. We’ll require it for blocking and deflecting blaster fire. Characters without it may still “Dodge” with their defense bonus. Use the same rules for Precognitive Parry, below.

Precognitive Parry: I don’t like Precognitive Parry either, because I don’t like one-trick pony skills. All precognitive parry does is force you to make another roll against a static value (your skill level) to get either a +1 defense, or to block a blaster bolt. There’s no reason to improve it past, say, 16. Still, it makes sense to differentiate those who can block blaster fire from those who cannot.

I propose three new rules. First, do not apply a -5 to parrying blaster bolts or lasers (it’s not clear if the character ever needed to, but this states outright that he does not), and characters with Precognitive Parry 16 or higher may purchase a perk “Blast Blocker” which represents no nuisance rolls for Precognitive Parry. The character never needs to roll Precognitive Parry to gain +1 to defense rolls or to block blaster-fire. Second, deflecting shots at targets is an attack made on any turn after the character has parried blaster fire, and uses the Precognitive Parry skill. Third, because force swords take a full second to materialize, and characters sometimes need their weapon before that, characters may roll against precognitive parry to make a successful fast-draw roll retroactively during the previous second, and so their blade has fully materialized during this turn, and they may use it now.
Example: Dun Beltain’s Combat Sense alerts him to a sniper’s shot. He immediately senses that he must defend himself. He rolls Fast-Draw to draw and activate his force sword in one second, but the blade still needs a full second to activate, meaning he cannot make a precognitive parry to defend against the sniper shot, leaving his only option to dodge. Instead, he rolls precognitive parry and succeeds, declaring that he done his fast-draw at the last moment of the previous second, and his blade is fully materialized. Then, he makes a precognitive parry roll to be allowed to parry the sniper blast, and then rolls parry to deflect it.

For “Who Draws First,” a precognitive parry roll adds its margin of success to the character’s fast-draw roll for the purposes of seeing who draws first (but not any other purpose, such as Fast-Draw from an Odd Position or Multiple Fast-Draw). A success of 10 or more means the character automatically wins the Fast-Draw contest as though he had Enhanced Time Sense.

Finally, remove all prerequisites other than any psionic talent or danger sense.

Sensitivity: I dislike extraneous rolls, and Sensitive is another such roll (imagine making an acrobatic, sensitive, precognitive parry while using combat senses!). Allow a no-nuisance perk:
  • Sensitive Fighter [1]. Requires effective Sensitivity 16+ (Coutning his Telepathy Talent, Sensitive Touch and Vibration Sense). The character need never roll for Sensitive while in close combat with his opponent.

Techniques

Acrobatic Attacks and Flying Attacks: Martial Arts suggests that some cinematic characters be allowed to buy off the penalties for Acrobatic Attacks and Flying Attacks, and given how dynamic a lightsaber duel is, I feel that’s an appropriate addition.
  • Evasion Strike: Hard. Cinematic. Defaults to Weapon-6. The characters makes an Evasion roll at -1 to bypass his opponent, applying the normal modifiers, and then may make an attack at his opponent's back. This counts as a runaround attack, applying a -2 to his opponent's defense.  The first point of the technique removes the -1 to the character's Evasion skill (for further reductions to Evasion penalties, take the Evasion technique).  You may not retreat after making this attack, but you may parry normally.
  • Flying Strike: As Flying Lunge (MA 83), but use Swinging damage instead.
Combat Art: Treat combat art as a Hard technique defaulting to the base skill at -3 (it costs 4 points to make it equal to the Combat Skill).  This is used to gain a +1 reaction based on beautiful execution of your combat skill, should it be appropriate.

Combinations: While slightly complex, they definitely fit in that they suit the speed of Star Wars, and they’ll encourage characters to note the exact nature of their attack down.

Feint: Martial Arts includes new rules for Beats and Ruses. These rules will change in this rules framework, but I’ll deal with that when I come to it. This means that Beats and Ruses are their own techniques.

Lethal Kick and Lethal Strike: Replace Pressure Point Secrets.

Neurolash Field Parry: This represents a new Hard Technique, which defaults to your neurolash weapon skill by -1 (-1 to defense). The character may attack or defend while using the neurolash field to avoid the destructive parry/attack of a force sword.

Spinning Attack: Comes up often in Star Wars, and thus is worth noting. Further note that it is an All-Out or Committed Attack.
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