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Message no. 1
From: Marc A Renouf <jormung@*****>
Subject: Re: Melee Combat and Martial Arts
Date: Mon, 29 Jul 1996 12:58:57 -0400 (EDT)
On Mon, 29 Jul 1996, John R. Wicker II wrote:

> What I meant by martial arts systems is that I would assign a certain
> martial art bonus dice for performing certain skills. Players with Judo
> might roll 2 extra dice for escaping or throwing someone, for example. The
> problem I always ran into was that when an unarmed opponent faced an armed
> opponent under these rules, I had no way or reference of assigning extra
> dice to the armed opponent.

> I've always felt that the general unarmed skill was too inspecific. I've
> known very few people who studied "unarmed combat"-- rather, it was always
> "tae kwon do", "kung fu", "etc...". Using the martial
arts systems tended to
> correct this aspect, but made other things unworkable.

Yes, they do. However, most martial arts have a startling number
of similarities. Punching, kicking, choking, grappling, and all the
basic messy techniques that make combat fun are what I would classify as
"unarmed combat." It's not until you get into the more refined stuff of
how to get *more* out of your attack or do more complicated techniques
that you would get more deeply into the concentrations that are the
various martial arts styles.
Also, most martial arts teach more than just "unarmed combat"
when translated to SRII skill terms. For example, I study Ninjutsu, and
I'd have to say that the skills I have learned have encompassed both
armed and unarmed combat, thrown weapons, and athletics. Throw in a
little psychology, and you find that, like most martial arts, its more
than just punching and kicking.

> Anyway, that's another day's discussion...

Indeed. Actually, there are some pretty easy ways to use
different martial arts concentrations in SRII melee combat without
cooking up lots of new rules or tossing around lots of modifiers. It's
quick, it's easy, and it works surprisingly well. If you're interested,
let me know and I'll send it to you.

> When used supplementally by the GM, this "creaming" effect can be either
> augmented or ignored. What I like about it is that I can throw a bunch of
> gangers with a moderate skill against one skilled character, making the
> encounter challenging without forcing the characters to meet up with "Bruce
> Lee Jr., Halloweener" every other game session.

True, as "Bruce Lee Jr., Halloweener" isn't just found in every
dumpster in the 'hood. Actually, though, the two-way penalty/bonus for
both reach and multiple opponents means that fighting more than one
person gets tricky. Figure that when facing two people in ideal
conditions, you're looking at a base target number of 5 while they are
both looking at 3's. This rapidly gets crazy, which is as it should be.
Multiple opponent combat is *tough*! Even unskilled gangers can give the
martial artist PC a run for his money if they gang up on him or her
sufficiently well. Your best bet in SRII is the same as that in real
life: take down the first one hard and fast to put you on more even
ground (i.e. finish him off using max counterattack and combat pool
possible and try to inflict enough damage that he doesn't get up.
Unconscious/dead opponents don't contribute to "friends in combat.")


Further Reading

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