Optional Martial Arts Design System for GURPS

This article is a redefinition of many melee skills, maneuvers, and styles in an attempt to generalize martial arts. Among other things, this eliminates overlapping skills like Knife and Maine-Gauche, and allows for the creation of new, non-historical styles and skills.


	The general idea of this is to create a 'meta-system' for fighting 
skills, rather than relying on a variety of special-case rules introduced 
in Martial Arts. 

	My main concern was the enormous number of combat skills which 
had evolved with the introduction of GURPS Martial Arts. And yet still 
there were many fighting styles which were not well represented. 

	In this system, many semi-redundant skills are eliminated: so, for 
example, Knife and Maine-Gauche are combined into one skill. Instead, 
advanced techniques (such as the off-hand parry of a Maine-Gauche) are 
represented by '_Skill Enhancers_'. 


	_The following skills are eliminated:_ 

Boxing, Brawling (see below), Fencing, Jitte/Sai, Judo, Karate, Katana, 
Maine-Gauche, Short Staff, Staff, Tonfa, Wrestling (see below). 

	_The following are new skills:_ 

*Brawling (P/E): 

  This is the skill of upper-body unarmed striking combat. It includes 
  punches, slams, and other attacks. It also covers bare-handed parries, 
  which are 1/2 skill, with a -4 penalty for parrying weapons. It has 
  special maneuvers listed in the _Maneuvers_ section. 

*Fencing (P/A): 		Default: Broadsword-3, Shortsword-3, DX-5

  This is any use of light 'fencing' swords which are primarily thrusting. 
  Parry is 1/2 skill - the same as all other melee skills. 

*Kicking (P/H): 

  This is the skill of offensive kicks, which does not provide a parry roll. 
  It has special maneuvers listed in the _Maneuvers_ section. 

*Staff (P/A): 				Defaults: Pole Arms-3, DX-5

  This skill has been expanded to cover use of many swinging pole-arms. 
  Whereas Polearms covers weapons swung from one end, this skill involves 
  holding the pole more from the middle, with full 90-degree swings, pulling 
  the pole horizantal to parry, etc. 
	Its parry is 1/2 skill, like all other melee skills. Note that many 
  pole-arms can be used with Staff or with Pole-arms, using Staff will have 
  shorter reach and possibly less damage, but are easier to Ready. 

*Wrestling (P/E): 

  This skill covers a variety close-combat grabs, throws, and more. It has 
  special maneuvers listed in the _Maneuvers_ section. 

	Note that Katana is subsumed by Broadsword and Two-Handed Sword, 
just like the bastard sword. Maine-Gauche is subsumed by Knife. Tonfa and 
Jitte/Sai by Shortsword (Tonfa can also be used with Brawling). 


	Each style has a certain number of 'advanced techniques' which are 
associated with it. The details of these vary widely, but they are represen-
ted by the following Advantages. Like Literacy, these are really learned 
skills, but they are bought as advantages since they modify skills and thus 
have no base roll. 

	Enhancers generally provide a bonus in a certain aspect of fighting. 
For example, several provide a bonus to hit which can only be used to 
offset the penalties for certain conditions. The cost is listed as a number 
of character points per +1 bonus to skill, hit, parry, or damage). In 
addition, there is a maximum bonus which may be applied. In some cases, that 
maximum will vary depending on the situation or skill used. 

	Ex. Chen has Blind-fighting at +4, and is fighting in twilight (-4 
penalty). Since the maximum bonus is half the darkness penalty, he can only 
use +2. Chen also has Enhanced Parry +3. He has Broadsword at 18 and 
Shortsword at 15. When using his Katana, his parry is at +3 (since the max 
is Skill / 6), but using his Wazisashi, his parry is only at +2. 

	Each Enhancer must be bought separately for each style, but they 
generally cover use of all skills within that style (unless noted otherwise 
in the description). 

	_The enhancers are as follows:_ 

*Blind-fighting: 2pts per +1, Max = half the darkness penalty. 

  Bonus to skill, only to offset darkness penalties. 

*Enhanced Damage: 4pts per +1, Max = Attack Skill/7

  Bonus the damage of hits, by better applying one's strength using stance 
  and swing to put more power into the blow. As an optional rule, a blow 
  using this might take longer: it lands at (Move - Dmg Bonus) during the 
  turn. (Only Karate had this previously). 

*Enhanced Parry: 4pts per +1, Max = (Skill / 6) - Enc Penalty 

  This represents the various improved parrying techniques of various martial 
  arts styles, including Fencing, Kenjutsu, Karate, etc. These all rely on 
  mobility, and are ineffective when encumbered - thus the penalty for Move 
  due to Enc is subtracted from the Maximum. Also, no shield larger than a 
  buckler can be used. 

*Enhanced Strength: 3pts per +1, Max = (Skill/8)

  Bonus to ST for all purposes *except damage* when using the appropriate 
  skill. This is used both in Wrestling to improve contests of ST, and with 
  unbalanced weapons to increase ready time. 

*Ground Fighting: 2pts per +1, Max = half the position penalty

  Bonus to skill, only to offset penalty for prone position. 

*Hit Location: 2pts per +1, Max = +3

  Bonus to hit only to offset penalties for hit location. 

*Off-hand Parry: 2pts per +1, Max = Off-hand penalty = +2

  This represents parrying with an off-hand weapon, as in the Maine-Gauche, 
  or Wazisashi. Bonus to hit, only to offset penalties for off-hand parry. 

*Off-hand Strike: 2pts per +1, Max = Off-hand penalty = +4

  Bonus to hit, only to offset penalties for off-hand strike. 


	Maneuvers are pretty much the same as in the current Martial Arts. I 
have not altered the numbers, as this is really the job of someone who knows 
more about real combat. Note that I have added into the Brawling and 
Wrestling Maneuvers the standard CC maneuvers: Grapple, Slam, etc. 

	I have divided maneuvers into whatever skill they are used with. 
Thus since a Jump Kick is used only with Kicking skill, it goes under 
_Kicing Maneuvers_. _Weapon Maneuvers_ may be used with any appropriate 
weapon - listed with the Styles descriptions, or GM's judgement.  _General 
Maneuvers_ may be used either unarmed or with appropriate weapons. 

	Some maneuvers have their default followed by an asterix (*). This 
means that you get _no_ default unless your style teaches that maneuver. 

	As I said, I am not prepared to put numbers to all these just yet 
(for difficulty and maximum), and I am open to suggestions. 


*Aggressive Parry(H)
	Default: Parry-4;   Max = Parry

	Default: Wrestling or Appropriate Wpn-2;   Max = Default+4

	Default: Any combat skill;   Max = Skill+4

	Default: Kicking-1, Appropriate Wpn-3 (*);   Max = Default+4
  May be parried/dodged. If lands, QC of Legsweep vs the higher of DX/ST. If 
  the defender loses, he falls. 


*Elbow Strike(A)
	Default: Brawling-3;   Max = Brawling
  CC only. No penalty for striking an opponent behind you. Damage = Thr-2. 

*Hand Strike
	Default: Brawling;   Cannot be improved
  Damage = Thr-2. 

*Hand Parry(A)
	Default: Brawling Parry;   Max = Default + (Brawling/6)
  This is parrying unarmed strikes _only_. 

*Head Butt(A)
	Default: Brawling-8;   Max = Brawling-2
  CC only, automatically targets Head (not Brain). +2 if you have defender 

*Grappling Parry
	Default: Brawling, Wrestling;   Cannot be improved
  An option upon parrying any blow against the upper body: you grab the 
  attacking limb. You must make your parry by 3 if parrying a hand or weapon 
  attack, or by 2 if parrying a kick. If you succeed, roll QC of skill vs. 
  attackers DX or skill, resolved just like a usual grapple. 

*Parry Weapon (H)
	Default: Parry-4;   Max = Default+4
  Note that now this is separate from Hand Parry. Points in this maneuver 
  offset the -4 penalty for parrying weapons bare-handed. 

	Default: Brawling or DX;   Max = Default+4
  Resolved as in Basic. 


*Back Kick(H)
	Default: Kicking-3;  Max = Kicking
  Attack back hexes. Active defenses are at -2 for that round. 

*High Kick(A)
	Default: Kicking-2;   Max = Kicking
  This is any kick above the waist. If the attack misses or is parried, must 
  roll again vs. High Kick or lose your balance (-2 to all active defenses). 

*Jump Kick(H)
	Default: Kicking-4;   Max = Kicking

*Knee Strike
	Default: Kicking-1;   Max = Kicking+2

*Shin Kick(A)
	Default: Kicking-3;   Max = Kicking

*Spin Kick(H)
	Default: Kicking-1;   Max = Kicking+2


*Arm Lock(H)
	Default: Wrestling;   Max = 

*Choke Hold(H)
	Default: DX or Wrestling;   Max = 

	Default: DX or Wrestling;  Max = 

	Default: Wrestling;   Cannot be improved

	Default: DX or Wrestling;   Max = 


  QC of ST: the target is pushed back 1hex for every 2pts the attacker won by. 
  (1) The opponent must make his DX roll at -1 for every hex he was pushed 
  back, or he falls down. ..OR.. (2) The opponent has a penalty of -1 for 
  each hex he was pushed back on his next attack and defense rolls. Further, 
  if he was pushed back more than his (Move/2), he automatically falls. 

	Default: DX, Wrestling-2;   Max = Wrestling+2

	Default: Wrestling-4;  Max = Wrestling
  This is Judo throw as described in the Basic set. 


*Weapon Bind(H)
	Default: Weapon skill;   Max = Default+4
  This is described as Corps-a-corps in GURPS Swashbucklers. It is 
  'locking blades' with an opponent, such that he must win a contest 
  of skills (Weapon Bind) to leave the hex with his weapon. 

*Wrap Shot(H)
	Default: Weapon skill-4; Max = Default+4
  This was a topic on the Net some time ago - a maneuver of stepping 
  into CC and swinging around your opponent to attack his back side. 


	Styles will be described similarly to the old Martial Arts styles. 
The main difference is that you have to add in Skill Enhancers. The various 
applicable skill enhancers which go with the various styles should be listed. 
As an example, I give the appropriate lists for European Fencing and 
Quarterstaff styles as a Martial Arts. 


Primary Skills: Fencing
Secondary Skills: Buckler, Cloak, Knife
Enhancers: Enhanced Parry, Off-Hand Parry, Off-Hand Strike
Maneuvers: Disarm, Feint, Weapon Bind


Primary Skills: Staff
Enhancers: Enhanced Parry
Maneuvers: Feint, Legsweep, +
	   (perhaps a maneuver analogous to Spin Kick for swinging around 
	    to hit with the 'back end' of the staff)

John H. Kim <jhkim-at-darkshire-dot-net>
Last modified: Wed Mar 1 20:14:59 2000