Monday, September 26, 2016

Unarmed Styles: Practical Techniques

Unarmed techniques often represent a tactic of last resort. Every weapon presented thus far does more damage and has far superior penetration to fists.  The only real advantages that unarmed techniques have is that they offer the best stealth, that they allow superior grappling, and that they cannot be taken from you.  They also offer a unique avenue of attack, given the presence of unarmed etiquette, and mastery of unarmed techniques grants a character both access to this avenue and defense from that avenue of attack.

The following styles focus on pragmatic unarmed martial arts, techniques that focus foremost on survival, stealth or grappling tactics without fancy flourishes.  Nearly any unarmed style will work in Psi-Wars, as nothing substantially has changed from TL 8 to TL 11 when it comes to purely unarmed techniques.

Streetfighting: 3 points

Star Wars has a strong emphasis on crime, street-life and rebellion, and Psi-Wars looks to have an even stronger emphasis on that, with its more detailed bounty hunters, spies and con-artists. That means players will expect some kind of streetfighter style. Martial Arts contains suggestions on how to handle streetfighting on page 145.

In Psi-Wars, a punch is never going to do anything against someone in full armor (not that, in our world, streetfighters expect to be able to go toe-to-toe with soldiers or cops in riot gear), but it’ll remain useful in cantinas and back alleys where characters wear little armor and carry lighter weapons. The sort of people who will learn it will be the kind of people who don't have better options. Streetfighters become streetfighters because they have to survive the mean streets of some ruined urban world, not because they think it's the most ideal way of defeating their opponent. These characters are a far cry from an elegant space knight.

Most such fighters won’t actually have a true style, but simply a set of techniques or perks and a few skills. GURPS Action 3 has several suggested techniques, which I have listed below (not as a complete style, but as a list of things certain characters might have access to). If a world or a culture has a deep tradition of “cinematic streetfighting,” consider adapting one of the following styles: Krav Maga (183), Jeet Kun Do (163-164), Combat Wrestling (204-205), and Smasha (210).

The techniques below assume a fighter who is desperate to end a conflict very quickly. A street fighter is willing to engage in low-down tricks and to take dangerous risks, whatever it takes, to end the fight and survive. Typically, the character will use Sucker Punch, Body Check or Juke'n'Pop to stun his opponent, and then finish him off with a Grab'n'smash, followed by either a Ground'n'Pound or a Curb Stomp.

Skills: Brawl, Wrestling.
Techniques: Choke Hold (Wrestling), Disarming (Wrestling), Elbow Strike (Brawling), Feint (Brawling), Ground Fighting (Brawling or Wrestling), Knee Strike (Brawling), Stamp Kick (Brawling), Uppercut (Brawling).
Perks: Dirty Fighting, Finishing Move, Improvised Weapons, Iron Hands, Neck Control (Brawling), Sure-Footed (Slippery), Sure-Footed (Uneven), Trademark Move
Cinematic Techniques: Roll with Blow

Optional Skills: Axe/Mace, Knife, Kusari, Shortsword, Streetwise, Two-Handed Axe/Mace

Signature Moves

Sucker Punch: Stepping into Close Combat, the streetfighter makes a Committed (+1 damage) Attack for the Vitals (-3). Roll Brawl -3. Success inflicts thr(+Brawl bonuses) and any crushing damage that inflicts shock forces a knockdown/stun roll. You may not parry with the hand you attacked with, and your remaining defenses are at -2 and you may not retreat. If this is used on the first turn of a fight, it is a Dirty Trick. Setup: Opponent is not expecting a fight.

Body Check: Charge up to half of your move and make an All-Out Slam (Strong). Opponent defends normally. For simplicity, deal thr+2 (+brawling bonuses) and take your opponent’s thr in damage. If you deal more damage, opponent must roll DX or fall, and if you deal twice as much damage as your opponent, they’re automatically prone. The reverse applies too. You cannot defend. Setup: Start at a range from your opponent.

Juke’n’Pop: Make a quick fake to one side, and then make a quick jab to your opponent’s face. Make a rapid (-6 or -3) defensive (-2) Feint using Boxing or Brawling (Roll Skill-8 or -5), then make a Rapid (-6 or -3) Defensive (-2 damage) Punch to the Face (-5) (Roll Skill-11 or -8). If successful, deal thr-3 (+ brawling bonus) and opponent must make a Stun check if you inflict any shock. You defend at +1 for the remainder of the turn.

Grab’n’Smash: Make an All-Out Attack (Double). First, Deceptively (-2) grapple the head (-3) (Wrestling-5). If successful, roll Uppercut(-1) to strike the head (-5) (add +1 if you have Neck Control). Roll Brawl-6. If you hit, deal thr+3(+Brawling bonuses). Opponent defends against the wrestling attack at -1, and defends against the uppercut at -2 (for block or parry) or -1 (for dodge). You cannot defend. Setup: You are already in close combat with your foe.

Ground’n’Pound: If your opponent is pinned, shift your grip so that you can sit atop him. Roll a contest of ST- or DX-based Wrestling (+Wrestling Bonus), and your opponent rolls the better of ST, DX or his best grappling skill. If you succeed, your arms are freed. Opponent attacks at -8 and defends at -3, and you have +5 to attempts to resist his break free attempts. You may freely punch him on later turns. Setup: Your opponent is Pinned.

Curb Stomp: If your opponent is prone, make a Stomp Kick (-3) on the Neck (-5). Roll Brawl-8 to hit. Opponent defends at -3 (for being prone). On a success, deal thr+1(+brawling bonuses), and double any damage that exceeds DR. If you miss, roll DX or be unable to retreat. Setup: Opponent is prone.

Commando Knife Tactics

Or, in the real-world, Fairbairn Close-Combat System. The point of this technique is sentry removal, which is the primary reason a soldier would carry a knife, especially in a world where weapons are unlikely to run out of power. No changes need to be made to the style, other than perhaps adding the Disappear technique as a cinematic technique, allowing masters to vanish back into the shadows. Given the nature of a cut to the neck and how vibro-blades work, consider treating a draw of the knife across the throat as a cutting attack made with thr damage. Given its ninja-like themes, it will unsurprisingly look remeniscent of a brutally pragmatic space ninjutsu.

Signature Moves – Commando Knife Tactics

Commando Vanish!: Make a Move maneuver towards some kind of cover and roll Disappear (Stealth-10). Success means that you are sufficiently hidden that you may attack an opponent “from behind” (See “Death from the Shadows” Action 2 page 37).

Sleeping Sentry: While unseen, initiate an All-Out (+4) Telegraphic (+4) Choke Hold (Judo-2) from behind your opponent. Roll Judo+6. Characters with Trained by a Master, Weapon Master or who make a successful use of Danger Sense may defend at +0, all other characters get no defense except a chin tuck (Wrestling or Judo Parry+0). A successful chin-tuck defense means the character is grappled, but not in a choke hold. You're at +5 to quick contests to break free for using two hands, and you may choke/strangle with a +3, inflicting either crushing damage or FP damage. Your opponent may not cry out. You may not defend. Setup: You're currently hidden and behind your opponent.

Broken Sentry: After successfully grappling your opponent by the head, you may initiate a Neck Snap Contest. Roll Neck Snap (ST-4) vs the higher of your opponent’s ST or HT. If you succeed, inflict sw crushing damage on the target’s neck (1.5x whatever gets through rigid DR). Setup: You have grappled your opponent’s head (for example, after a Sleeping Sentry where your opponent initiated a Chin-Tuck).

Death-World Smile: After grappling your opponent’s head (with your hand across his mouth), draw the vibro-knife across your target’s throat. Treat this as a targeted attack (knife thrust/neck, -5), but deal cutting damage instead. This deals thr+1d-1(5) cutting damage (Double all damage that gets through DR). Your opponent parries at -2 and dodges at -1. Setup: Your target’s head grappled from behind (for example, after a Sleeping Sentry where your opponent successfully tucked his chin).

Grab-and-Stab: If you don’t have the drop on your opponent but you still need to end it quickly, make an All-Out Attack (Double). Grapple your target’s head with Judo (-3), and then make a thrust into the neck (-5). Your opponent parries at -2 and dodges at -1 for being grappled. If you hit, deal thr+2(5) imp damage to the neck. Setup: You’re in front of, rather than behind, your opponent.

Submission Tactics: 4 points

Not every fight needs to end in a death. Often, someone wants to defeat an opponent without killing him, either as a show of superior strength, or because one is a law-enforcement officer, or a bounty hunter tasked with bringing back the bounty alive. GURPS Martial Arts suggests some variation of Combat Wrestling or Jujutsu as a companion to dagger fighting for Dune-Like settings. For that, Commando Knife Tactics might be better, but a variation of various wrestling styles and Jujutsu might serve well for bringing a reluctant opponent down.

Skills: Brawling, Judo, Wrestling
Techniques: Arm lock, Breakfall, Choke Hold, Disarming (Brawling, Judo or Wrestling), Elbow Strike, Ground Fighting (Brawling, Judo, Wrestling), Hammer Fist, Head Lock, Knee Strike, Sweep (Judo), Targeted Attack (Brawling Kick/Groin), Targeted Attack (Brawling Punch/Face),
Cinematic Skills: Immovable Stance, Mental Strength, Power-Blow
Cinematic Techniques: Binding
Perks: Power Grappling, Sure-Footed (Slippery or Uneven), Trademark Move

Optional Traits: ST
Optional Advantages: Fit or Very Fit, Hard to Subdue
Optional Skills: Karate, Savoir-Faire (Dojo),
Optional Techniques: Kicking, Ground Fighting (Karate), Leg Lock, Low Fighting (Wrestling), Lower-Body Arm Lock, Lower-Body Leg Lock, Triangle Choke

Signature Moves – Submission Tactics

Block and Lock: After making a barehanded Judo parry, if your opponent is still within one yard, step into close combat and make a deceptive (-4), representing sheer speed, Arm-Lock (-0) attempt. Roll Judo-4. Your opponent defends at -2. If you hit, you have your opponent in an arm lock. You may defend normally. Setup: You parried your opponent’s melee attack last turn with a barehanded parry.

Contain Threat: While in close-combat with an opponent, make a deceptive (-4) disarming(-2) attempt with Judo. Roll Judo-6. Your opponent defends at -2. If you succeed, roll a quick contest of ST-based Disarming vs your opponent’s Retain Weapon skill (+2 if using a two-handed weapon). Success disarms your opponent. Setup: You’re in close combat with an armed opponent.

Take-Down: Step into close combat with your opponent and initiate a Deceptive (-4) Judo Sweep using a stiff arm to the upper torso (requiring an empty hand). Roll against Sweep to hit. Opponent defends at -2. If you hit, roll Sweep or ST (or ST-based sweep if a Power Grappler), vs your opponent’s DX, Acrobatics or best Grappling skill. Success forces opponent prone. You may defend normally. Setup: Both you and your opponent are standing and you’re within one yard.

Body Check: Move your full movement and make an All-Out (Strong) deceptive (-4) flying tackle with a reach of C or 1. Roll Brawling at +0. Your opponent defends at -2. If you hit, deal slam damage (for most HP 10 characters who moved 6 yards, deal 1d-1 damage)+2 (+Brawl bonus) and be sure to apply knockback if appropriate. You are automatically prone and in the same hex as your opponent. You may not defend.

Submission: While your opponent is prone and grappled, make a Regular Contest of ST(+Wrestling bonus, or ST-based Wrestling or Judo if a power-grappler). If successful, your opponent can do nothing so long as you remain there to pin them (You can free one hand to do other things). Setup: Your opponent is prone and grappled.
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