Fallout: Wasteland Tales
Fallout is a harsh and violent setting, and the GURPS combat mechanics are similarly deadly and unforgiving. The best way to stay alive is to have a solid understanding of the fundamental elements of the GURPS combat system, learn a few trick moves that give your character an advantage against his or her enemies, and approach potential combat situations with a focus on achieving tactical superiority. Most importantly, don’t get hit!
GURPS combat is both fast-moving and highly strategic. Combat plays out as a succession of one second turns during which each combatant performs a single maneuver. More than a dozen maneuvers are available to choose from, although roughly half involve some form of attack and/or a movement element; the rest are mostly “utility” maneuvers that provide some sort of combat advantage at the cost of not attacking that round. The order in which combatants take their turns is largely static and dependent on their reaction speed.
Attacks are as simple as rolling 3 common six sided dice and comparing the result to the attacker’s skill level with the weapon they are using, aside from some situationally variable modifiers which we won’t focus on here.
As deadly as GURPS combat can be, it’s only fair that the character being attacked gets a chance to defend themselves; this called an Active Defense. The three Active Defenses are dodging, blocking, and parrying. Dodging is the most common of the three, and is generally the most effective against ranged attacks. Active Defenses are far from reliable, however, and generally only succeed between one quarter and one half of the time.
If an attack succeeds and gets past its target’s defenses, a varying number (depending on the weapon used) of six sided dice are rolled to determine the raw damage the attack caused. If the target is wearing armor or otherwise has Damage Resistance, some of the damage is subtracted from the rolled total.
Any damage that gets through armor or other damage resistance is referred to as Penetrating Damage. Penetrating damage may be modified according to damage type and hit location before being subtracted from the target’s hit points as wounds.
When a character’s hit points are close to zero, the character becomes less capable; when the character’s hit points reach zero it becomes a struggle for them to remain conscious. When the character has lost twice their original hit points or more, they are in serious danger of immediate death.