A technique must default to a skill, another technique, an active defense, or (rarely) an attribute. The default penalty measures the technique's precision. Improvements in areas other than precision - mobility, power, reach, etc. - worsen the penalty, while shortcomings reduce it. The more all-round capability a technique offers, the worse its default penalty and the more points you must spend to get good at it!

Many techniques incorporate maneuvers, active defenses, or combat options (such as Telegraphic Attack and Wild Swing), but thanks to the design principles behind GURPS, they obey the same rule: if they favor one type of effectiveness, they sacrifice another.

Below are guidelines for assigning default penalties. You can save time and effort by starting with the closest existing technique and adjusting its default as you add and subtract effects. The most important rule is this:

The final default modifier can never give a bonus. If this happens, set it to 0.

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