Saturday, 20 October 2018

Emulating Fighting Games in GURPS

Emulating Fighting Games in GURPS

A quite long time ago, a friend of mine asked me to find a way to emulate fighting games, such as Mortal Kombat, BlazBlue, or Guilty Gear, in GURPS. I made some notes, but never posted or tested them. Here they are.
Also, this is my second blogging anniversary post. I've been posting daily for two years straight, so from now on I might slow down a bit.

Of course, a fighting game-inspired game will be very cinematic. I have looked through the supplements and found the following optional cinematic rules that would fit nicely:
-          Rapid Strike (MA127)
-          Feints and Multiple Attacks (MA127)
-          Multiple Targets (MA127)
-          Grappling and Multiple Attacks (MA128)
-          Chambara Movement (MA128)
-          Extra Effort in Combat (MA131)
-          Shaking It Off (MA132)
-          Trading Fatigue for Effect (P160)
-          Coordinated Attacks (P165)
-          Trading Fatigue for Resistance (P169)
-          Stunts (P170)

I suggest applying Reduced Duration, 1/60, -35% to all Afflictions to reduce their duration to margin of failure seconds instead of minutes. Default duration is too long and can make a single failed roll incapacitate a fighter for the entire fights. We do not want that, and with the suggested tweak, the duration should be manageable.


Japanese fighting games are often known as “airdashers”, because aerial mobility in these games is much higher than in the western fighting games. Fighters jump twice or thrice, dash in all directions, and sometimes even home on their opponents. We are using chambara fighting rules, so everyone with Trained by a Master or Weapon Master and Jumping or Acrobatics at DX or higher can jump maximum distance with no preparation in combat. It is suggested to work out the standing and running jump distances and write them up on your sheet.

For a typical Basic Move 6, the high jump = 26 inches, broad jump = 9 feet (see p. B352). If we assume SM+0 fighters, they should be able to jump at least ~3 yards high with no running start. With Super Jump 2 (Vertical Only, -25%) [15] and Basic Move 6 the standing high Jump is 8 feet 6 inches, which is enough to jump over the opponent. Super Jump also allows the fighter to stay in the air for some time, and maybe fight another airborne opponent.

Some special moves can be limited to only affect airborne opponents or only be activated while airborne. If you want to knock your foe in the air, as if performing a Dust/Launch/any other name attack, you must use the following technique.

Launching Attack
Default: prerequisite skill-5.
Prerequisite: Any unarmed combat or Melee Weapon skill; cannot exceed prerequisite skill+4.
When using this technique, any knockback you deal to your target sends the target upwards. The defender can roll DX to land on his feet. This may be useful when setting up for a special ground-to-air attack.


Most fighting games have a “meter” – a gauge of energy that is used to execute special moves and some other actions. It can be called meter, tension, heat, energy, stamina, EX meter, arcana, or whatever other term the game developers come up with, but we will call it meter for simplicity. Typically, the meter is increased when the fighter performs offensive actions and decreased with he performs defensive actions. Meter can only be used in combat and only to power special abilities. Meter-dependent special abilities cannot be powered by normal FP. This adds an additional -5% limitation to the power modifier for such abilities. Powerful abilities should cost a lot of meter. The limitation cap is -80%, and the meter limitation takes up -5% of it. Since Costs FP costs -5%/level, the maximum meaningful level is 15. Thus, the default amount of meter should be at least 15.

ER (Meter; Combat Only, -30%; Special Recharge, -70%) [0.6/level]

Meter Change
All-Out Attack
+1+damage before DR, if not dodged
All-Out Defense
+damage before DR, if not dodged
Being stunned
+0 (or -2 per second if you want to encourage careful fights)
Change Posture
-1 if assuming a lower position
Committed Attack
+damage before DR, if not dodged
Defensive Attack
Move and Attack
+damage before DR, if not dodged
Successful Block
Successful Parry


The following moves do not use meter – they are supposed to be relatively low-power abilities that can be also used to gain meter.

Stun Edge [5]
                You swing your sword, releasing a relatively slowly moving lightning projectile. Roll Innate Attack (Projectile) to hit. This attack has 1/2D 10, Max 100, Acc 3, RoF 1, Shots N/A, and Recoil 1. It deals 1d burning surge damage, and it can be blocked or parried.
                Statistics: Burning Attack 1d (Blockable, -5%; Can Be Parried, -5%; Requires a sword, -10%; Surge, +20%) [5].

Charged Stun Edge [15]
                You charge your sword with lightning for 2 seconds, then swing it, releasing a relatively slowly moving lightning projectile. Roll Innate Attack (Projectile) to hit. This attack has 1/2D 10, Max 100, Acc 3, RoF 1, Shots N/A, and Recoil 1. It deals 3d burning surge damage, and it can be blocked, but not parried.
                Statistics: Burning Attack 3d (Blockable, -5%; Requires a sword, -10%; Surge, +20%; Takes Extra Time 1, -10%;) [15].

Vapor Thrust [8]
                You jump up, swinging your sword in a wide electrical arc. Roll Acrobatics, then make your attack roll. If you fail your Acrobatics roll, make an Acrobatics or a DX roll against or fall down. If you succeed, you deal additional 2d burning surge damage. You can only target airborne opponents within 2 yards of you with this attack.
                Statistics: Burning Attack 2d (Accessibility, Must attack an airborne foe, -20%; Follow-Up, Sword, +0%; Nuisance Effect, Fall on failure, -5%; Requires an Acrobatics Roll, -10%; Requires a sword, -10%; Surge, +20%) [8].

Pilebunker [22]
                You take an agile step back, then lunge forward, delivering a devastating punch. Your punch deals additional 4d crushing damage that is doubled for the purpose of knockback calculation. You can only use this move when you are on the ground. You must take a step back and move forward – the entire setup movement must be no less than half of your Move. Thus, this move can only be used as All-Out Attack or Move and Attack. You can treat a Retreat from the previous round as a required step back to initiate this move.
                Statistics: Crushing Attack 4d (Accessibility, Only on the ground, -10%; Double Knockback, +20%; Follow-Up, Punch, +0%; Requires half Move, -20%) [22].

1 comment:

  1. I must say that I've enjoyed your prolific blogging. The sheet amount of your output is staggering. Enjoy your new leisurely schedule!