GURPS Melee Attack Modifiers - dummies

GURPS Melee Attack Modifiers

By Adam Griffith, Bjoern-Erik Hartsfvang, Stuart J. Stuple

Part of GURPS For Dummies Cheat Sheet

In GURPS, being successful in hand-to-hand combat involves skill and the right weaponry — melee weapons like daggers, smallswords, sabers, and large knives are effective. When your character is making a melee attack on an opponent during combat, figure your effective skill by

  1. Taking your base skill with the weapon or unarmed attack you are using.

    In some situations, another skill — e.g., Free Fall, Riding, or Environment Suit — will limit this skill.)

  2. Applying the relevant modifiers below.

    Modifiers are cumulative, but combined visibility penalties cannot exceed –10 (–6, if used to blindness). If any modifier marked with an asterisk (*) applies, adjusted skill after all modifiers cannot exceed 9.

A roll of this number, or less, is a hit.

Attackers Maneuver

  • All-Out Attack (Determined): +4

  • Move and Attack: –4*

Attackers Posture

  • Crawling or lying down: –4 (if attacker is crawling, he can only make reach “C” attacks)

  • Crouching, kneeling, or sitting: –2

Attackers Situation

  • Affliction (coughing, retching, etc.): See Afflictions on p.428 in GURPS: Basic Set: Campaigns

  • Bad footing: –2 or more (GM’s option)

  • Grappled: –4

  • Holding a large shield: –2

  • Major distraction (e.g., all clothes on fire): –3 or more (GM’s option)

  • Minor distraction (e.g., part of clothes on fire): –2

  • Mounted, and mount attacked on its last turn: –2

  • Mounted, and mount’s velocity relative to target is 7+: –1

  • Shock: –HP of injury received last turn (maximum –4)

  • ST below that required for weapon: –1 per point of deficit

  • Wearing a shield in close combat: –DB of shield

Other Actions by Attacker

  • Deceptive Attack: –2 per –1 penalty to foe’s defense

  • Dual-Weapon Attack: –4/–8 with primary/off hand (–4/–4 w. Ambidexterity)

  • Evaluate: +1 per turn (maximum +3)

  • Off-hand attack: –4 (no penalty w. Ambidexterity)

  • Rapid Strike: –6 on both attacks (–3 with Trained By A Master or Weapon Master)

  • Striking into close combat: –2

  • Wild Swing: –5*

Target (choose one)

  • Hit location: 0 for torso, –2 for arm or leg, –3 for groin, –4 for hand or foot, –5 for face, –7 for skull; impaling and piercing attacks can target vitals at –3 or eyes at –9

  • Hit location, through chink in armor: –8 for torso, –10 anywhere else (e.g., eyeslits)

  • Weapon, to damage: –5 to hit a reach “C” weapon (e.g., knife) or pistol; –4 to hit a reach 1 weapon (e.g., broadsword); –3 to hit a reach 2+ weapon (e.g., spear) or rifle

  • Weapon, to disarm: as above, plus an extra –2 if not using a fencing weapon


  • Cannot see anything: –10 (–6, if used to blindness)*

  • Cannot see foe: –6, or –4 if you know his location to within 1 yard*

  • Partial darkness, fog, smoke, etc.: –1 to –9 (GM’s option)