Proxy Fighting

A staple of humorous martial-arts movies is the martial artist who fights indirectly using items found around the battlefield. He doesn't wield these objects as improvised weapons - he uses them as "proxies" through which he can deliver his usual techniques! For instance, he might deliver a Jump Kick by leaping up and kicking a typewriter at a foe, grapple another enemy by slamming a door on him, and parry an attack by spinning an office chair into his assailant's path.

A fighter can only use an object this way if nobody else is holding onto it, its weight doesn't exceed his Basic Lift (use 1/10 the weight of a suspended or rolling item, such as a door or a cart), and it can move to reach the desired target or block the incoming blow. If all these conditions are true, the martial artist can use any of his normal techniques at -4. When punching or kicking an object at someone out of reach, add the usual range penalty (see p. B550). Rather than bog down combat with math, assume that maximum range is ST/2 (round up).

A skilled martial artist can also use people this way - traditionally, young disciples, hapless sidekicks, or adversaries.

For this to work, the master's best melee combat skill (armed or unarmed) must exceed his victim's. He can either knock his proxy's body into other people or grab his unwitting ally and manipulate him like a giant puppet. In either case, if the proxy is armed, the controller can use the weapon (at default, if he lacks the necessary skill).

If the master merely wishes to slap another person into his foe, his proxy must be within his reach and his intended target must be within his proxy's reach. The proxy's facing is unimportant. The controller may attack his proxy with any strike (not a grapple) at an extra -4 plus the penal-tv to hit the "borrowed" body part: -2 for an arm or a leg, -5 for the head. If he hits and his proxy fails to defend, the proxy is unharmed but the commandeered body part strikes the desired target exactly as if the master had landed his technique directly.

To use someone else as a puppet requires a successful grapple with both hands from behind. The martial artist puts his hands on his proxy's arms, positions his legs behind the other person's legs, and so on. This takes a full turn.

On each later turn, determine whether the grappled proxy is willing or unwilling. A willing proxy must be conscious and take a Do Nothing maneuver on his turn (he can still shout and make big eyes). An unwilling proxy is anyone able to protest being used this way, most often an enemy. An unwilling proxy may try to break free as usual on his turn. Someone who is stunned - e.g., a wounded foe or a mentally stunned passerby - counts as willing!

The master cannot use a grappled proxy to perform any maneuver that requires more than a step or any technique that requires a jump. In a chambara game, he cannot use the special mobility rules. Otherwise, he can use all of his usual attacks and defenses. For a willing proxy, all rolls are at -4; for an unwilling one, the penalty equals the proxy's ST/2 (round up) but is always at least -4.

When attacking, damage is unchanged in all cases. There's no bonus for working through a heavy object or a strong person, and no penalty for using a light object or a weak person. (Unrealistic? Yes, but this is a silly rule!) If the target parries an attack in a way that would damage the attacker, any damage is to the proxy.

When defending, success stops the incoming blow as usual. Objects simply get in the way, although the GM may rule that the attack destroys a fragile object. People "parry" blows with their limbs or weapons, or "dodge" by being pulled aside. Failure means the proxy is hit, not his controller.

For obvious reasons, it's best not to use your Dependent this way! However, a skilled-but-frail master might fight through his clumsy-but-hardy student - and any fighter might find it handy to use one of his nemesis' henchmen as a human shield.

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