The special rules for melee weapons in this chapter apply only when you have a ready weapon. Once you take a Ready maneuver to draw a weapon - or make a Fast-Draw roll to do the same - it stays ready until:

• You lose it. This happens if you deliberately drop it, throw it, or give it away; a foe uses a grab or grapple to make you drop it (see Unarmed Combat, p. B370); you parry a weapon heavy enough to break or knock aside your own (see Parrying Heavy Weapons, p. B376); an opponent successfully breaks or knocks away your weapon (see Striking at Weapons, p. B400); you suffer knockdown (see Knockdown and Stunning, p. B420); or a critical hit or critical miss disarms you (see Critical Success and Failure, p. B556).

• You lose control of it. This may occur if an enemy tries but fails to disarm you (p. B401), or due to a critical miss (p. B556). It always happens if your weapon has a "£" in its ST statistic and you use it to attack, unless you're extremely strong (see ST, p. B270), or if your weapon gets stuck (see Picks, p. B405).

• You put it away. This normally takes two Ready maneuvers for a melee weapon; see p. B383.

Thus, a weapon that's ready stays ready until one of the above events occurs, while a weapon that's unready stays unready until you take a Ready maneuver to remedy the situation. Most other events in combat - being slammed, changing posture, suffering shock, etc. - have no effect on weapon readiness.

There are situations in which you might take a Ready maneuver for a ready weapon, though:

• To adjust reach. As noted under Reach (p. B269), if your weapon has more than one reach marked with an asterisk (*) in its Reach statistic, like a halberd, you need a Ready maneuver to select a different reach from the one you're currently using.

• To change grips. The "regular" grip uses the combat rules as written, and is best for most situations. The Defensive Grip (pp. 109-111) is useful when you have a dangerous enemy in front of you and no foes behind you. The Reversed Grip (pp. 111-112) is handy for close combat. Altering grip takes a Ready maneuver.

• To change hands. You can use some weapons (bastard swords, spears, etc.) in one hand or two. Most armed grappling techniques require two hands on the weapon, even if it's normally one-handed. To switch between one- and two-handed grips -or to pass a one-handed weapon from one hand to another - requires a Ready maneuver.


You can combine these three options with each other and with drawing, picking up, or regaining control of an unready weapon, except where explicitly forbidden. The entire procedure counts as a single Ready maneuver.

Generally, all of a weapon's functions are available when it's ready. There are two special cases where this isn't true but you don't need a Ready maneuver to restore full functionality - you just need to wait until your next turn:

1.You can use your weapon with two different skills. Some weapons work with more than one Melee Weapon skill. You can only enjoy the benefits of one skill per turn. You can switch skills from turn to turn, and only need a Ready to go between one- and two-handed skills; e.g., Broadsword and Two-Handed Sword. See Switching Weapon Skills (p. 104).

2. Your weapon is unbalanced. A weapon with a "U" in its Parry statistic cannot parry immediately after an attack. If you attack, you must wait until your next turn before you can parry again. See Unbalanced Parries (p. 125).

The rest of this discussion applies primarily to melee weapons. See Quick-Shooting Bows (pp. 119-120) for a special Ready-and-Attack option for archers.

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