Fighting With Your Hands Full

Some Weapon-Oriented Manuevers for GURPS

By S. John Ross ©1998

A few years back, I wrote the following maneuvers as options for my homespun fantasy games; the idea was that manuevers (see GURPS Martial Arts and GURPS Compendium I) would be as cool for medieval sword-and-axe fighters as they were for high-kicking empty-hand fighters.

A lot of time has passed, and others have had similar notions - Maneuvers are now much more universal, and several good weapon-oriented manuevers have been written up for GURPS. These have been rewritten to be entirely compatible with the rules in the Compendium.

Each of these manuevers must be learned separately for each weapon skill. Attack Weapon (with Broadsword) is an entirely different maneuver from Attack Weapon (with Two-Handed Axe/Mace).

The Maneuvers

Blindside Attack (Average) Defaults to Weapon Skill or Tactics; Cannot exceed Default+4

This is an attempt to use your opponent's sheild against him. He must be using a Medium or Large shield (or have the One Eye disadvantage!).

To make a blindside attack, take a Step and Attack, stepping one hex to your opponent's left or right (depending on his ``blind'' side) and make a Quick Contest of Skills between your Blindside Attack level and his Shield, Weapon (in hand), or Tactics skill, whichever is better. If you win, he will defend at -2 against your attack if it hits. If you lose or if the contest is a tie, he will get a +4, instead! The attack is made normally; this maneuver applies only to the Quick Contest.

Subsequent uses in the same fight (against the same foe) are at a -2 penalty (non-cumulative), regardless of whether you fail or succeed.

Disarming Block (Average) Defaults to Shield-4 or Buckler-4; Cannot exceed base skill

Anytime you successfully Block, you may follow the Block roll with a Disarming Block.roll. By angling your sheild outward or downward, you are attempting to force his weapon undready while it's still on your shield. Success by 4 or less forces your opponent's weapon off-balance; he's at a -3 to parry with that weapon until his next turn. Success by 5 or more actually unreadies it.

If this is used against an axe or some other weapon which will be unready anyway, it still has value, since your foe is essentially giving you a head start. Success by 4 or less turns the haft in his hand - he has to make a DX roll in order to ready it. Success by 5 or more means he drops the weapon!

If you fail the roll, however, you ``open yourself up.'' You may still Block normally, but you gain no PD bonus for your shield until you make a Step and Ready maneuver to restore it.

Disarming Parry (Hard) Defaults to Parry-5 or Fencing Parry-3; Cannot exceed Parry-1

This manuever is only possible with three categories of weapons: swords (including 1-handed and 2-handed swords), fencing weapons, and quarterstaves. It also works only against such weapons. Disarming Parries performed out of group (a broadsword against a quarterstaff, for instance), are at a further -1 to Disarming Parry.

This is a combination parry-and-attempt-to-sling-your-opponent's-weapon-to-hell. Succeeding by 2 or less knocks his weapon wide; he is at -3 to parry until his next turn. Success by 3+ unreadies his weapon.

Note that the default for this manuever is rather poor; in reality, it is usually performed as part of an all-out-defense (+2 to one defense) - you hang back with intent to disarm when your foe next ``hands you his weapon,'' as it were.

Dual-Weapon Feint (Hard) Defaults to Feint Manuever+2; Cannot exceed Feint+5

This manuever is a normal feint, performed when the character is fighting with two ready weapons of reach 1+. This assumes that both weapons are identical or nearly so; if you are using two different weapons (axe and sword, perhaps), use the lowest level between them.

Mounted Fighting (Average) Defaults to Weapon skill-2; Cannot exceed Weapon skill

This ``manuever'' has a prerequisite: Riding at 12+. It is the skill of swinging a sword (or axe, etc.) from horseback at high relative speeds (see the bottom of p.136). This represents practice at such combat, reducing the penalty or eliminating it. Specialization is required for weapon skill (as per usual), and Riding skill. Thus, Mounted Fighting (Broadsword from Horseback) is a different manuever from Mounted Fighting (Broadsword from Gryphonback).

Shield Bash (Average) Defaults to Shield skill; Cannot exceed Shield skill+2

This is the shield-bash defined on B123. It may not be improved past 2 levels above shield Skill.

Up From Hell (Average) Defaults to Weapon Skill or Tactics; Cannot exceed Default+4

Despite it's name, this is a non-cinematic maneuver. Mechanically, it is identical to the Blindside Attack maneuver, but is executed differently. The advantage of this maneuver is that your foe doesn't need a Medium-sized or greater shield - YOU do. By bringing your attack up from the ground (or from the side when you've been leading with strongly with the sheild for a time), you can achieve a degree of suprise. You do not need to move in any particular direction.

Note that it is legal to perform BOTH this maneuver AND the Blindside Attack with the same attack, provided the conditions are met for both. Two Quick Contests are made, with the results simply combining (or canceling out, as the case may be).

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