Saturday, November 8, 2014

Picks getting stuck alternate mechanic, play report

About a year and a half ago, I suggested an alternative mechanic for the "getting stuck" rules under Picks (p. B405).

It wrote it up here, in my Weapons & Tactics article on picks.

GURPS Weapons & Tactics: Picks

What I originally said was:

* Over on the SJG forums, I suggested a patch for this that makes it work better outside of the normal range of ST scores - roll damage again. If you equal or exceed the damage you inflicted the first time, you pull it back out. If not, it's stuck. If you roll less than 1/4 of the damage needed to pull it out, it's really stuck (you can retrieve it after the battle.)

How I implemented It

We started using this right away, but few people used picks. This changed when a pick-wielding dwarven cleric came along recently. We did it as written - on the turn following your strike, roll damage again.

Basic damage, or inflicted injury? - Good question. I went with "basic penetrating damage." So a pick doing 8 HP of damage vs. a DR 5 target inflicts 3 HP, which is 6 HP of injury. So it takes roll of 3+ to pull it back out.

The logic here is that injury is just how much it affects the target. Damage is how deeply you nail the pick in. Using penetrating damage prevents weirdness like hitting a DR 10 target for 11 damage and then needing to roll 11 damage to pull it out, when you obviously didn't penetrate very far at all! (Note I'm using damage and injury as terms of art, here - they are tightly related but not the same in GURPS.)

This does make for some issues with things getting really stuck - basically, they don't. A ST 12 wielder with a pick doing 1d+3 damage rarely will roll under 1/4 of the damage inflicted. Compared to penetrating damage, it's even more rare. I briefly toyed with "minimum damage" but that's rare with 2d+ dice. I may still try that ("minimum damage, or under 1/4 of damage") and see how it goes. At least then, if a bunch of ones come up, you can still have your pick stuck for a while.

If the target moves away, we treat it as any other impaling weapon grapple from Technical Grappling.

How does this work in play?

Not bad at all. It's not easier than a ST check, nor is it harder. It's just re-rolling damage and remembering what you did. It also feels better with really high damage picks, and high-ST characters, who otherwise pull it out nearly-automatically.

Overall, thumbs up. It's not necessarily faster than the original rule, but it's a little bit more consistent with your damage. That's fine and it suits us.

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