Several types of maneuvers—the Joint Break, the Joint Lock/Throw and Grabs defined as "Joint Locks"—are performed by grabbing hold of a limb and bending it in such a way that the target cannot use it. Sometimes this involves bending the limb in a way it is designed to move, but in a manner that "locks" it. More common, however, is a maneuver which bends a joint in a way that it is not supposed to be bent. This can cause great pain (simulated by the NND element of the Joint Lock/Throw maneuver); it can also be a way to break the joint (the Killing-Damage and Disable elements of the Joint Break) or to force the target to fall down (the Throw element of the Joint Lock/ Throw, which can be added to the Joint Break [as in the Breaking Throw maneuver of Hapkido and Jujutsu]). The holding and locking aspect of these maneuvers is simulated with the Grab element.
A joint-breaking maneuver almost always takes the "Disable" element to reflect its advantages and drawbacks properly; refer to the "Designing Martial Arts Maneuvers" section of this book for more information on that element.
In adjudicating the effects of joint-breaking maneuvers, the GM should carefully consider the nature of the attack. Standard resistant defenses, such as "bulletproofspandex," offer no real protection against having one's joints bent backwards. On the other hand, suits of metal armor and similar equipment might operate to completely protect the joint from being bent the wrong way. The GM might want to grant these attacks a sort of NND effect where the "defense" against the attack is wearing something which keeps the joint from being bent backwards, having pliable limbs (i.e., Stretching), buying an Exert maneuver to fight the effect of the joint-break or something similar. However, this can potentially make joint-breaks more effective than other types of Killing-Damage maneuvers, so the GM should be careful not to unbalance the campaign by doing this.
GMs should also keep the Impairing and Disabling rules in mind when joint-breaks are used; refer also to the discussion of "Disabling Attacks" in the "Combat Modifiers, Special Cases And Optional Rules" section of this book.
Was this article helpful?