Friday, November 9, 2012

All-Out Attack, Pinning, and ST rolls in GURPS

In a big thread over on the SJG Forums that was at least, originally, about fantasy party composition, discussion came up about taking down and pinning berserkers.

Long story short:

- someone with Berserk needs to take All-Out Attacks once berserking.

- a Pin (p. B370) is pretty final, and results in a helpless opponent

- per GURPS Martial Arts page 114, someone who All-Out Attacks doesn't get to roll to stop a pin.

- therefore, if you can grapple and takedown a berserker (not hard if they aren't defending), and stop them from breaking free (a little iffier, but not terribly hard), you can easily pin them on your next turn.

That's not actually realistic, and it's an unintended consequence of how we worded the rule. So I, and then Sean Punch, both opined on a change.

My post is here.

Sean "Dr. Kromm" Punch's post is here.

Again, long story short, that's not what we were trying to do, the fix is to say MA114 is referring to DX-based rolls, not ST- or HT-based resistance-type rolls. Berserkers can indeed roll in their Regular Contest of ST to try to stop you from pinning them. Tackling crazy people isn't a solo job.

Also, Douglas Cole, author of the upcoming GURPS Martial Arts: Technical Grappling posted next to discuss some changes that his book will offer for people who find the Basic Rules too basic.

I figured I'd post links here so the rule discussion didn't stay buried in a thread on a different subject.


  1. I wonder if we should ask Vicky to break out the grappling thread into it's own thing. Might be useful to folks.

    1. Heck, ask him to add it to the FAQ.

      If he does split it off, tell me and I'll update my links.

  2. It great that the GURPS folks has this level of expertise. How it results in rules that makes sense.

    The downside that sometime people get too narrow in their focus and lose sight of the larger picture. The trick is OK so how this get reflected back up to the basic set of rules for the folks who don't enjoy detailed resolution mechanics.

    1. Hah, thanks.

      And yeah, you can get so far afield that you make it either to complex to run, or so far from the basic rules you can't use it without the additional complexity. My personal goal is to make all of my rules work without each other, and play well with the Basic Set rules. Nothing I write should make the basic options worthless, hose players who only use the basic rules, or make things so complex you can't actually play them.

  3. I just posted this to the thread, but I think the real problem is on p. 128 of Martial Arts, which allows you to string together using AoA(Double) and/or Rapid Strike any combo of actions that count as attacks. I think that would allow a one-second AoA (Double) + Rapid Strike to (say) grapple and take down your foe and try a pin in one second. So as long as you can make your OWN rolls, he's screwed.

    The joint suggestions you guys made I heartily endorse (I should; some variant of them appears in Technical Grappling), but I was all ready with "it's not as bad as they're saying" based largely on your and Sean's very judicious use of "next turn" in Basic and Martial Arts wherever it came up. But that one little D-HEAD seems to bypass that.

    1. Personally, I'd make a pin a full-turn action unless you've got a great explanation of how you're simultaneously grappling and pinning someone in one second. Even then, I'd aggressively penalize it. -6 on your contest isn't going to help.


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