Gritty Realism

This type of campaign pays attention to every lethal detail. It zooms in on the blood and snapping bones, and because it doesn't let the surprising durability of the human body get in the way of a good mauling, it can be more deadly than reality. A game like this uses all of the detailed options from Chapter 4 and the Basic Set: Changing Posture in Armor (p. B395), Posture, Hit Locations, and Techniques (pp. 98-99), A Matter of Inches (p. 110), Limiting Dodges (pp. 122-123), and so on. Rules that involve pain and maiming are key; e.g., Teeth (p. 115), Pain in Close Combat (p. 119), Grab and Smash! (p. 118), Harsh Realism for Unarmed Fighters (p. 124), and Realistic Injury (pp. 136139). Options that give the final word on realism to the GM

- Extra Effort in Combat (p. B357), Dual-Weapon Attacks (p. B417), and anything labeled "Acrobatic" - usually aren't available.

Strengths: Ideal for introducing martial-arts rules into a realistic campaign where they didn't previously feature, because the risks tied to their use minimize the odds of players suddenly turning every fight into a martial-arts exhibition and shifting the game's focus. This is especially true if the campaign already had a gritty theme: trench warfare, hyper-realistic detective stories, etc. The detailed approach appeals to players who regard RPGs more as simulations than as storytelling tools.

Weaknesses: Many gamers get their perceptions of the martial arts from movies and comic books, and play their characters accordingly. In a gritty game, this is a recipe for maimed or dead PCs and unhappy players. Using every realistic rule means a lot of extra bookkeeping for everyone -especially the GM - and slows down combat as people turn pages to check every rule that applies in the situation. Realistic violence is quite disturbing to some people.

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