Offensive Techniques

When building an offensive technique, you must choose the attack it's based on. This determines its basic default penalty. Some important options by skill, with basic default penalties given in parentheses:

Brawling: Elbow (-2), Kick (-2), Knee (-1), Punch (+0), or Slam (+0).

Judo: Grab (-4), Grapple (+0), Sweep (-3), or Throw (+0).

Karate: Elbow (-2), Kick (-2), Knee (-1), Punch (+0), or Sweep (-3).

Melee Weapon: Strike (+0). A hooked/tined weapon, whip, etc., can Grab (-4). A long weapon can Sweep (-3).

Sumo Wrestling: Grab (-4), Grapple (+0), Shove (+0), Slam (+0), or Sweep (-3).

Unless you specify otherwise, the technique works with all of All-Out Attack, Attack, Committed Attack, Defensive Attack, and Move and Attack. It can work differently in each case, though. If so, be sure to describe the differences.

You can limit the technique to a subset of these maneuvers. If you do, you must also choose one specific option for any maneuver that offers multiple options. The technique inherits the effects of these maneuvers and options - including any built-in penalties to the attack roll, which adjust the default penalty. For instance, a kick (-2) that must use Move and Attack (-4) would default to skill-6 and use the Move and Attack rules. If you apply any of the modifications below, the technique effectively becomes a new option for the maneu-ver(s) in question.

Additional effects further modify the default. While some of these are open-ended, extreme levels are cinematic; see Designing Cinematic Techniques (pp. 94-95). Common options include:

Damage: +4 to default for -2 damage or -1 damage per die, whichever is worse; +2 to default for -1 damage; -2 to default for +1 damage; or -4 to default for +2 damage or +1 damage per die, whichever is better. Techniques based on Defensive Attack cannot take damage bonuses but can worsen their damage penalty for an improved default.

Extra Movement: Techniques based on Committed Attack can optionally allow a double step at -2 to hit. Those based on Move and Attack let the attacker travel his full Move at -4 to hit. In either case, add the appropriate penalty to the technique's default penalty. Alternatively, base the technique on All-Out Attack, which allows half Move at no penalty. For a slam-based technique, remember that a slam isn't at -4 to hit (and isn't "capped" at skill 9) as a Move and Attack, and allows full Move as an All-Out Attack.

Hit Location: Add any hit location penalty to the default. No technique can eliminate every hit location penalty, though! At most, a technique can eliminate the penalty for one specific target. For details, see Targeted Attacks (p. 68).

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Opponent's Defenses: +2 to default per +1 to all of the opponent's defenses against the attack, or -2 to default per -1 to any one of the target's defenses against the attack. If the technique penalizes more than one defense, only the largest penalty uses this scheme; smaller penalties to other defenses give only -1 to default per -1 to defense. For instance, if the victim has -2 to parry, -1 to block, and -1 to dodge, the default is at -6.

Own Defenses: +2 to default per -1 to all of one's active defenses while attacking, or -2 to default per +1 to any one active defense. The latter modifier differs from Defensive Attack in that it trades skill rather than damage for a defensive bonus; it can "stack" on top of a regular Defensive Attack. Techniques based on Committed Attack include that maneuver's basic -2 to all defenses and cannot remove this by adding a defensive bonus - but they can get an easier default by taking a worse penalty! Techniques based on All-Out Attack cannot modify the attacker's defenses at all.

Wild Swing: If the attack specifically strikes a target to the side or back, apply the -5 Wild Swing penalty to its default (see Wild Swings, p. B388).

Special Benefits: Each built-in exemption from the usual rules gives -1 to the default penalty. Such benefits are similar to Style Perks (pp. 49-52) but apply only to one technique. Examples include:

• Being able to retreat after a particularly acrobatic Committed Attack.

• Bypassing the DX roll to avoid falling on a miss with a low-powered kick.

• Ignoring the effective skill limit of 9 on a Wild Swing when striking rearward.

A technique can also "trade" one of the usual effects of the attack on which it's based for a different but equally valuable effect. For example, Push Kick (p. 78) lets a Brawling or Karate kick act as a shove (p. B372), trading kicking damage for the ability to use twice that damage for knockback only. Conversely, a "Slap" technique might turn a Sumo Wrestling shove into a strike that inflicts punching damage instead of knockback. Such benefits often make an entirely new basic attack available to a skill. All such techniques get -1 to their default penalty to reflect the fact that they're unusual, rarely taught uses.

Special Drawbacks: Extra restrictions give +1 apiece to the default penalty. A few examples:

• An additional success roll required before attempting the technique (failure means the technique fails) or to recover afterward (with negative consequences on a failure!).

• Having to Do Nothing to recover on the turn after the technique. This is cumulative with the modifier for an extra success roll afterward.

• Having to parry an attack by the future target and/or use a "setup" move that takes a full turn (e.g., grapple him or take a Ready maneuver) to be able to employ the technique. This is cumulative with the modifier for an extra success roll beforehand. Throws automatically work like this and cannot claim this drawback.

• Increased odds of the attacker getting hurt on an ordinary miss. This might be self-inflicted injury when punching any DR instead of DR 3+, collision damage, etc.

• Limited target selection, most often "upper body only" (skull, eyes, face, neck, torso, vitals, arms, and hands), "lower body only" (groin, legs, and feet), or "only on a foe who isn't standing or who has lower SM."

Some drawbacks come in multiple levels:

• A penalty to the DX roll to avoid falling on a missed kick is worth +1 for DX-2, +2 for DX-4, or +3 for DX-6 or worse. A required or automatic fall, as for Drop Kick (p. 70) or Elbow Drop (p. 70-71), is worth +4. Having to drop to a kneeling or sitting posture is worth only +2.

• Reduced maximum reach is worth +1 per yard. Going from 1 to C counts as 1 yard (+1) and is common for low-powered kicks.

Example 1: Back Kick (p. 67) gets the basic -2 for a kick and an extra -5 for a Wild Swing, since it's an attack directly backward. Furthermore, it ignores the usual skill cap of 9 on a Wild Swing - a special benefit (-1). These penalties total -8. However, the attacker has -2 to his defenses, which adds +4. The final default penalty is thus -4.

Example 2: Flying Jump Kick (p. 83-84) gets the basic -2 for being a kick plus the -4 for Move and Attack. It gets +2 damage, for another -4, and gives the target -2 to parry, for a further -4. It has two special benefits, too: it ignores the skill cap of 9 on a Move and Attack (-1) and lets the attacker add his jumping distance to his Move (-1). These penalties total -16! However, the kick leaves the attacker at -2 to defend, for +4. And it has three special drawbacks: it requires a Jumping roll to execute (+1); the roll to avoid a fall is at DX-6 (+3), which becomes DX-8 with Move and Attack's built-in -2 to avoid falls; and any fall results in collision damage (+1). These bonuses total +9, making the final default penalty -7.

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