GURPS Melee Damage pt. 2

Back to this, let’s see if we can make something proper now! This idea is still untested and might upset weapon damages for melee weapons… But it’s worth a shot! Basically it’s about replacing weapon damage bonuses (the “+1” part from “Thrust+1” for example) with a percentage number changing your effective striking strength. This might be messy to calculate in your head, but that’s ok. Bring out the calculators!

New Method?

How to decide your damage then? Start off with looking at your weapon. Something like this might work, as guidelines. This is completely mostly pulled out of thin air, and might need some changing once you get your science on, but it’s two years since I read a physics class and I spent far too little time now looking up if there’s any actual studies of this.

Weapon Thrust Swing
Punch STR x 0.3
Dagger STR x 0.3 STR x 0.2
Shortsword STR x 0.3 STR x 0.3
Longsword STR x 0.3 STR x 0.4
Greatsword STR x 0.3 STR x 0.5
Battle-Axe STR x 0.4
Great-Axe STR x 0.6
Warhammer STR x 0.5
Maul STR x 0.7
Spear STR x 0.4

And apply that number, just like it says. For each full four points in that number, that’s one die of damage. If you have 3 points remaining, that’s 1d-1, otherwise the remainder is the add to the damage number (the “+x” at the end). This should probably work, right? Although it’s probably not very cinematic. Also, the (trained) punch value is the same as the non-spear thrust. That’s intentional. The main advantage of the thrust is the impaling damage type, reach, and… I think the fist should have a (0.5) armor divisor, at least.

Well that’s this bit. Don’t know if anyone has done anything similar to this before, but now there’s at least one variant of this.

Area of Strength

Well, lifting in GURPS is quadratic (I.E. you square your strength when calculating basic lift). And, real muscles kind of are too. Muscle power is based on the cross-section area of the muscle in question, which is what causes a maximum possible size for creatures on different planets (when additional muscle mass has less lifting capability than its weight it doesn’t really work, does it?). So I thought, what if you made damage quadratic too? I pondered it for a while, thinking about the proper intervals for doubling and so on (maybe the speed-range table?) and then… I realized that hit points are linear. There would come a point, where a punch from one creature would disintegrate another creature of the same strength (hit points). You could of course accept that if it fits your setting, or make hit points quadratic too, or what have you. That was just and idea that passed by through my head when I was thinking about this.

Well, there’s that. The weapon list might be a bit short but that’ll have to be ok. I’ve not compared the weapon’s with RAW GURPS, but they should be reasonably ok. And hopefully I have not made any confusing mistakes. Not sure if I’ll make any more posts for this exact subject in the near future, we’ll see. Until next time!


5 thoughts on “GURPS Melee Damage pt. 2

  1. It’s a cool concept, at least! I’d have to see it played out, spec’d out, and cross-referenced with RAW before I press the “I Believe” button, though.

    I’m currently agreeing with you about the fist having .5 armor divisor, by the way. I’m not sure why that’s not RAW.


    1. Well, I might not be able to test this in play at the moment, but I was definitely thinking of cross-checking it with the RAW damage numbers to make sure that the weapons stay internally consistent with each other. And possibly applying more science, if there are any sources.


      1. Sounds like a good plan. I’ve not introduced whole new damage systems, but I am familiar with the Terminal Ballistics side of things, as I’ve used it (and High Tech) to create profiles on various firearms. My blog is chainlinkandconcrete if you’re interested in checking those out, sometime.

        Speaking of the damage profiles, I’d think the larger weapons (longsword, frex) would have some str bonus beyond the punch, given their greater mass.


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