Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Optional Rule: Gurostrike!

Here's an optional rule I've been toying with for the eventual Black Tokyo revision. Try it out at the table, and tell me what you think......


            With a single mighty swing, Yamoto lays the skatto witch open from sternum to pussy. A shocked look slowly blossoms on her face as she feels the hot loops of her own intestines slip out of her body. She slumps to her knees in a rapidly expanding pool of blood and shit. The hands that were still futility trying to cram her viscera back into her body suddenly twitch once, and go limp. Her knees give way, and the witch slides onto her side. She gives a rattling, wet cough as her ruined heart beats its last. Yamoto flicks the gore and bits of bone from his claymore with a contemptuous twitch of his wrist, and slides the blade back into its huge scabbard.

This fight is over.

            Action and horror hentai, and ero guro manga in general, embraces ultra-violence. Heroes don’t just drive a sword through their foe’s heart. Instead, they disembowel their enemies with a single mighty blow, with the kill stroke lovingly rendered in a full page spread. By allowing the Gurostrike rule in your campaign, you give Black Tokyo’s heroes and villains alike a way to end combat in a single horrific strike, and make combat play out as it does in the pages of blood-stained manga like Blade of the Immortal.

Performing Gurostrike
Full Round, Provokes Attacks of Opportunity

            Gurostrike is a melee combat maneuver which any character with a Base Attack Bonus of +1 or higher can attempt. Gurostrike is a full round action which provokes attacks of opportunity. If the attack of opportunity is successful, the Gurostrike cannot be performed and the action is lost.

            Rather than making a conventional melee attack roll, the attacker makes a Strength Check to kill the defender outright. The Strength Check’s DC is equal to 10 + 1/3 the defender’s current Hit Point Total. Thus, if Bladelord Ichiro attempts to perform a Gurostrike against an uninjured Minotaur (45 HP) the Strength Check DC would be DC 25 (45 divided by 3, or 15 + base DC 10).

            The attacker receives a +5 circumstance bonus on the STR Check made to inflict Gurostrike against a helpless, unconscious or willing target.

            To perform a Gurostrike, the attacker must be able to clearly see the target, and must be able to target a vital area. Creatures immune to critical hits are also immune to Gurostrikes.

Success: One Hit Kill!

            If the attacker beats the STR Check DC, the Gurostrike is successful. The attacker narrates exactly how he slays his victim in a single blow. Describe slicing your victim perfectly in half with your katana, knocking their pulped head off their shoulders with a  single mighty blow from your war mace, or punching straight through your opponent’s chest, ripping out her heart and showing it to her. The Gurostrike’s victim is slain outright (reduced to -11 HP).

Failure: An Ordinary Blow

            If the attacker fails the STR Check DC, the Gurostrike also fails. Check to see if the attacker’s check result at least equals or exceeds the defender’s Defense Score (Armor Class). Though they have no effect on the Gurostrike attempt itself, if the attacker’s weapon has a magical or masterwork bonus to hit or damage, they are calculated into this ‘secondary’ attack roll.

If so failed Gurostrike is treated as an ordinary melee attack roll, which depending on the damage inflicted may kill the defender, just not as spectacularly as a successful Gurostrike would. If the STR Check result fails to exceed the Gurostrike’s DC and the defender’s Defense Score, the Gurostrike is a complete miss, having no effect.

Armor and Gurostrike

            Most lighter forms of body armor offer only minimal protection against a Gurostrike. The attacker can aim for a vulnerable spot, or else simply strikes with such force that the blow shreds the armor at the same time it mutilates the flesh beneath.

Type of Armor
Equipment Bonus Added to Gurostrike DC?
Enchantment Bonus Added to Gurostrike DC?
Heavy Armor
Medium Armor
Light Armor

Heavy Armor adds its equipment bonus to Defense (Armor Class) to the STR Check DC to perform a successful Gurostrike against the wearer. Heavy Armor also adds any enchantment bonus to Defense (AC) provided by magical armor to the STR Check DC.

Shields function in the same manner as heavy armor, adding both their equipment bonus to Defense (AC) and any enchantment bonus to the STR Check DC to perform a Gurostrike against the wearer. Bracers only add their enchantment bonus, if any.

            Light and Medium armor do not add their equipment bonus to Defense (AC) to the STR Check DC to perform a successful Gurostrike against the wearer. Light and Medium Armor add any any enchantment bonus to Defense (AC) provided by magical armor to the STR Check DC. Magic prevails when cloth, leather and chain doesn’t.

Behind the Curtain: Armor and Gurostrike

            I decided that only non-magical heavy armor provides any real protection from a Gurostrike, because this is the way action-hentai art work most commonly depicts things. A knight’s full plate mail or a modern SWAT team member’s heavy ‘breaching armor’ might provide some protection against being disemboweled or decapitated at a single stroke, but chain mail or leathers just aren’t durable enough to stand up to the rigors of ero-guro combat.

            This means that Black Tokyo’s heroes will probably either be heavily armored or they’ll leave the armor at home, which again, makes sense in a modern context. This rule also allows magical armor (of any ‘weight-class’) to provide effective protection against Gurostrikes. This is in line with comics like Witchblade (which, though an American comic, is a great inspiration for a Black Tokyo campaign). Witchblade’s skimpy, scabrous mystical armor is probably Light Armor, just in terms of its physical mass, but offers enough magical protection to keep her alive against the vicious, hulking demons she battles on a regular basis.

Gurostrike in the Campaign

            Gurostrike changes the way D20 Modern combat works in a pretty major way. A successful Gurostrike can end a fight with a single swordstroke. Gurostrike allows a hero to focus his rage, and end the life of the campaign’s master villain with one blow, or effortlessly mow down a low-HP mook. Gurostrike abstracts combat, and de-emphasizes weapons (even magical weapons), focusing instead on the strength and fury of the warrior wielding them. A hero wielding a +5 vorpal sword has the same chance to perform a Gurostrike as a rogue with a rusty shiv, or some battle-crazed barbarian who prefers to rip his opponents limb from limb barehanded.

            Since Gurostrike’s difficulty is keyed to the current HP total of the victim, players will have to spend several rounds whittling down a powerful opponent’s Hit Points before going for the kill with Gurostrike.

            Remember though, that while players can (and should) make liberal use of Gurostrikes to slaughter monsters, both human and otherworldly, so should the game master. Since most monsters have much higher Strength scores than even the most cybered-up or mystically enhanced hero, monsters are at a natural advantage when inflicting a Gurostrike. A tiger or bear can lay a man open with one swipe of its talons, but truly powerful monsters, such as Balors or Dragons or even the fearsome, slumbering Genbu can do even worse.

            Gurostrike makes closing to melee combat range a dangerous proposition. A hero can kill a monster in one strike, but the reverse is possible. Physically powerful and super-strong, vicious protagonists like combat cyborgs or Freduian Oni might stay on the frontlines, risking Gurostrike from their opponents for a chance to deal some close-ranged pain of their own. Everybody else, though is probably going to hang back from melee, and fight with guns or spells.

Gurostrike Traits

Hard Guts
Starting Role: Combat, CON 13+
            It’s not easy to kill you; somehow, you can fight on with horrible wounds. Even with your slippery guts oozing through your fingers, you can still keep fighting.  Opponents attempting to Gurostrike you suffer a -2 penalty on their STR check to do so.

Vengeful Gurostrike
Starting Role: Combat or Special
            Your hate smolders and it may take you years to find the courage to strike back at your abusers, but when you finally do, your vengeance is sudden and horrific. You receive a +2 trait bonus on STR Checks made to perform Gurostrike against any target who has ever abused or tortured you, either physically, emotionally or sexually.

Violent Lover
Starting Role:
Combat, Social or Special
            You know how to best hurt your former lovers, especially the beautiful ones. Once per day, when performing a Gurostrike attempt against a target you have previously had a sexual or romantic encounter with, you may add the target’s CHA modifier as an insight bonus on the STR Check DC made to perform the Gurostrike.

Gurostrike Feats

Dexterous Gurostrike (Combat)
Weapon Finesse, DEX 13+
            When making a Gurostrike while wielding any weapon usable with Weapon Finesse, you add your DEX modifier to the STR Check made to perform the Gurostrike rather than your STR modifier.

Environmental Gurostrike (Combat)
Base Attack Bonus +3
            You like nothing better than an Ironclub Oni Yakuza off the rooftop and impaling him on an AC vent three stories below, pushing an Akaname assassin into a crematorium furnace and holding him in there face first until he stops twitching, or otherwise using the environment to kill your opponents.

            If there is a dangerous environmental feature (spiky wall decorations, an open electrical main, pipes containing caustic chemicals, a roaring fireplace, ect) adjacent to your target, you can utilize such a feature to your advantage when making a Gurostrike. If your description of the Gurostrike attempt includes the environmental hazard, you receive a +1d6 circumstance bonus on the STR Check to perform the Gurostrike.

Improved Gurostrike (Combat)
Base Attack Bonus +5
            Your opponent takes his eyes off you for only a split second, and in that time, you can sever his head from his body. You do not provoke attacks of opportunity when using the Gurostrike combat maneuver.

Guarded Body (Combat)
Combat Reflexes
            You fight viciously to save your life, knowing full well what the enemy has in mind for you should your focus waver. You receive a +2 insight bonus on attacks of opportunity provoked by an enemy attempting a Gurostrike.

Gurospell (Combat)
ability to cast 3rd level spells
            You are a spell-using murderer, able to use magic as lethally as any sword or axe.

            As a full round action, you can cast a Gurospell. You must sacrifice a direct-damaging dealing spell of 3rd level or higher to power the Gurospell. When casting a Gurospell, you add your primary casting ability modifier rather than your STR modifier on the STR check to Gurostrike.

You receive a bonus on the STR check to Gurostrike equal to the level of the sacrificed spell -2. Thus, a 3rd level spell provides a +1 bonus on the check, a 5th level spell provides a +3 bonus, and a 9th level spell would provide a +7 bonus. Your description of the Gurospell should include some especially gory signature elements from the original spell. An Ice Storm spell might freeze the target from the inside out, then shatter them explosively, a Fireball might roast their heart within their chest, before flash-incinerating the remains, and so on.

Guroshot (Combat)
Personal Firearms Proficiency, Point Blank Shot
            You can kill with a gunshot to the face just as efficiently as any long ago ronin could kill with his sword. You gain the ability to make a Gurostrike with a firearm or other ranged attack (including natural ranged attacks) so long as the Gurostrike is made within the weapon’s first range increment.

Militaristic Brutality (Combat)
Prerequisites: Base Attack Bonus +4, Power Attack
            Your combat training and years of battle experience have given you the skill and fury necessary to kill in a single blow. For every 4 full points of your Base Attack Bonus, you receive a cumulative +1 bonus on STR Checks made to perform a Gurostrike (maximum +5 bonus at +20 BAB).

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