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Gutterpunk: Combat

First draft of Gutterpunk combat rules. Since a lot of the stats and whatnot are based on this, I figured I’d do it first. Still not entirely sure how I’ll handle actually figuring out if you hit someone or not–I’m going to either have one d20 roll against a static AC or a roll for both the defender and the attacker. I’ll figure that out later: here’s what I have now.

Any time I change the combat rules I’ll edit the changes in here.

Legal Thingy: The following content is published under limited copyright. Use for non-commercial purposes is absolutely legit.


There are three types of attack: Unarmed, Armed, and Missile. All characters have some sort of bonus associated with each type.

Average human can take three hits. Every hit will hit a randomly determined part of the body and cause some penalty for the rest of the combat depending on what’s been hit. All weapons deal one “hit” of damage. Critical hits (rolling a natural 20, no confirmation roll needed) deal 2 “hits.” Taking two hits means you’re out of the combat or crippled in some way (can’t move, can’t attack, can’t defend yourself, whatever). Taking three hits kills the character.

Hit location table and effects:

Hit Location First Hit Effect Second Hit Effect
Legs Movement speed halved Cannot move
Arms Attacks and parries at -4 Cannot attack or parry
Torso All rolls at -2 All rolls at -4, ½ movement
Head All rolls at -4 Unconscious



Fighting Defensively: +2 defense, -2 attack

Full Defense: +4 defense, cannot attack

Fighting Aggressively: +2 attack, -2 defense

All-Out: +4 attack, -6 defense


Prone: +4 defense against missile attacks, -4 defense against melee

Cover: +4 defense


Called Shot: -4 to attack roll, but attacker can specify hit location

Press: Instead of dealing a hit, you can push the defender back up to half your movement. If you wish, you may move with them, but you do not have to.

Charge: Move your speed, then make a melee attack at +2

Tackle: As charge, but a successful hit immediately knocks the target prone and initiates a grapple

Disarm: Instead of dealing a hit, you can disarm the defender

Trip: Instead of dealing a hit, you can knock the defender prone

General Rule: If a player wants to do some interesting combat maneuver, they may do so instead of dealing a hit.

Critical Rule: On a critical hit, a player may deal a hit and perform one of the above effects instead of dealing two hits.


Grapple rules are usually hideously complicated. Here are my simple ones.

Make an unarmed attack on the target. If you hit, you’ve grabbed them. Target takes no damage, but on their turn all they can do is try to break out, which they do by making an unarmed attack. If they hit then you take no damage, but they break out of the hold. If you are still holding them on your next turn you can choose to:

-Make an attack. Hitting will deal two hits instead of one; a critical hit will deal three.

-Perform some judo-like move (disarm, throw, knock prone, etc). Make an unarmed attack, success means whatever you’re doing succeeds.

-Take hostage: put your knife against their throat. All further attempts at breaking out are at -4, and failure will let you deal them an automatic hit.

A grappled combatant is at -4 defense.

A prone combatant gets -2 when attempting to break out of a grapple.



(Thanks to Connor for this idea)

Attacker rolls d20. Defender rolls some small die—somewhere from a d6 to a d10, depending on how good they are—and adds that to their static defense value, which takes into account armor and dexterity and stuff like that. If the attacker’s roll, with bonuses and penalties and whatnot, beats the defender’s static defense plus their roll, then the attacker hits. This lets characters have some measure of security in their defenses while also bringing a larger element of chance into it–you might be wearing very nice armor, yes, but is this the blow where you slip up and can’t dodge in time?

This rule, and all others in this post, are subject to change and revision as I keep working on the system and eventually playtest it.

  • reply Varrik ,

    I like this. Quite a bit. Sounds like you could easily mix it up with some core rules from the Cortex system (Serenity), but then you’ve pretty much abandoned most aspects of D&D.

    • reply Adam ,

      Yeah…it’s starting to look like I’m already abandoning most aspects of D&D, mostly because dealing with classes and levels would take longer to write. Laziness triumphs over all.

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