This is a greatly expanded version of the third-edition GURPS Martial Arts source book, revised to work with the fourth-edition. The GURPS Martial Arts web page is at ed combat styles for each (see Chapter 4 for more information on styles). Fourth Dan: Skill Level GURPS Martial Arts requires the GURPS Basic Set, Fourth Edition. The research on history, fighting arts, and weapons will enhance any game that features.

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Ages ago, I posted a thread asking questions about how to run a successful and dynamic martial arts game. I doubt anyone remembers it, but I found many of the suggestions useful. I’ve finally finished my playtesting and actually run the damn game, and I thought I would share my experience. GURPS actually runs a really great martial arts msrtial.

It’s true that GURPS has lots of options, but in my experience up to that pointmost of them boil down to configuring your attack and defense into optimal values and then using those again and again. A few maneuvers have lasting consequences, like feints or AoAs, marital those tend to last no longer than a single turn, and then everything resets to its edigion point.

What I actually found is that those one-second consequences tend to last, and once you understand how they work, you end up with a game of chess.

For example, if I attack you with Karate and you successfully parry with Judo, then gudps might lock me into an arm lock or judo throw me, and thereafter start kicking me in ,artial head. So, I need to make sure that if I attack you, I do so in a way that you can’t defend properly against, which means that I should feint against you, but knowing that I’ll feint, you might gurpss and, if so, I might be better off evaluating first as well. GURPS also has other tricks, as it turns out. Targeted Attacks and Combos, when used too often, become predictable and your opponent gains a bonus to defense, which means you should use them sparingly, when circumstances warrant it.

GURPS Martial Arts – Wikipedia

It’s a subtle mechanic, but I gurpss it made quite a difference. Use Techniques Sparingly I honestly find 4e’s treatment of techniques slightly frustrating. If you want to charge 1 point more for a trick, make it -1 more difficult. What you currently have is that Hard techniques are easier to pull off by default than Average techniques That is, both a Hard technique at -2 and an Average technique at -3 cost 3 points to max out, but the Hard Technique is paradoxically easier to pull off by default, and less worth your time to study.

Moreover, in 3e, you mratial required to take every technique in a martial art to “know” that martial art. Now, this caused problems, but it meant that two different styles that both had Judo and Karate were distinct, because one had X and Y, and the other had A and B. Moreover, having all those techiques listed on one’s sheet encouraged players to try those moves out.


If you have a Judo of 18 and that’s “enough” for Arm Lock, you don’t take the Arm Lock technique, while another fighter might focus almost exclusively on Arm Lock. You get distinct fighters within a given style, which means you gurs get a lot of mileage out of a single style, and that’s great. It’s just that techniques aren’t where you go to write out how your character fights I took Toadkiller Dog’s advice about writing down the more complex moves that a fighter might use and giving them swell names.

Made all the difference in the world. Take my example above about the Judo 18 guy who doesn’t bother with Arm Lock editiion his Judo is more than high enough. He can and should still use Arm Lock, and if you want to remind a player to do that, you simply note down a special armlock “signature move.

Nobody’s going to think of that move in the middle of a fight, and there are numerous things that you need to calculate can you take a -5 to your defense with a riposte?

What’s your effective skill between Counter Attack and going after the Vitals? By working it out in advance, you only have to glance at a piece of paper to pull of this off. The extreme potential complexity of GURPS martial arts becomes a feature, not a bug, and people begin fighting in a very complex way. And this isn’t entirely unrealistic. The whole point of things like kata is that they teach you to use very complex tactics that you’d never think of in the middle of a harried fight.

By giving the player’s signature moves and including signature moves with the NPCs, I found that my fights exploded with details and rich tactical depth. Nobody made straight attacks, because they had customized their fighting styles to support far better tactics, and clever opponents would exploit the weaknesses of a given move with their own tactics, which would lead to rapid exchanges of constantly flowing and evolving tactics. Perks are where it’s at! As I said before, Techniques aren’t the best way to add lots of character to your fighter, because you can only really take so many and eventually you’re better off simply making him a better, all-around fighter.

That’s where Perks come in. Perks are almost always worth it unlike Techniquesand they tend to encourage specialized tactics. Tricks like Iron Body PartTeamwork, Resistant to Chi PowerSchticks, Drunken Fighting, Sexy Feints, and so on, all shift and change the nature of the character in neat little ways or provide him powerful advantages that, if he’s clever, he can really exploit.

A good martial arts game is about turning every character into a “fighter,” and still seeing plenty of diversity. Perks really provide that.

GURPS, as always, exceeds expectations I didn’t mention how often I thought a rule needed to be changed, when it didn’t. For example, many people argue that Evaluate is a poor tactical choice, so few people use it. However, I found that there are so many consequences to attacking a capable foe Counterattacks, ripostes, judo throws, arm locks, exposing the trick to your secret Combo awesomeness that people often fell into Evaluate when it became artts that their opponent was more powerful than expected.


GURPS Martial Arts (4th Edition) (PDF Version) | RPG Item Version | RPGGeek

Likewise, I worried that GURPS would overwhelm some of my players we had one player who generally hates system and fears any game with any level of complexity much beyond free-formand yet, I found that between the Signature Moves and how GURPS normally handles, the game was surprisingly intuitive, people could do what they wanted, the fights played out swiftly, and even the system-phobe had a great experience.

Even so, I did make some changes. I highly recommend them, as they make Beats useful for everyone, and it means that you’re taking a calculating risk every time you parry or let someone parry your blade, especially if they’re stronger than you are.

I did eventually modify Evaluate some. I also allowed players who were evaluating to make rolls against certain skills or IQ to understand something about mratial opponent. I found this made all three moves more interesting, but didn’t unbalance anything in particular. Psi-Warsa step-by-step exploration of building your own Space Opera setting, inspired by Star Wars. If you want to support me, check out my Patreon! As a Taekwondo instructor, I’m always interested in how game systems handle Martial Arts.

I dont suppose I could get a link to your previous post that started this? Originally Posted by Abaddon Congrats on having success with a gursp arts themes game. Find More Posts by Kuroshima. Mailanka put me and another friend of his through the same tactical situation several times.

The first time, it was fairly basic. I kicked some butt, then got my butt kicked by the point Executioner after crippling his arm. The second martiql, it was a different game, with spearmen losing arms and getting disarmed left and right. It gurpss felt like an interesting game every time, even though I was facing the same Ashigaru and the same bandits.

What I am basically trying to say is that as a player, the depth of the system, especially with signature moves, can really make you think of original and deadly tactics. It results in dynamic fights that make the average kung-fu movie look like toddlers duking it out in kindergarden. Tags japanmartial artsmartial arts campaignsignature movestrademark moves Thread Tools.

All times are GMT The time now is Find More Posts by Mailanka. Thanks for the update.

GURPS Martial Arts

Find More Posts by Joseph Paul. Find More Posts by Abaddon Thanks for sharing this excellent gurs. Find More Posts by Figleaf Originally Posted by Abaddon87 That sounds great! Find More Posts by Wraithe.