Lifting ST, Striking ST, and ranged weapons

In a recent thread on the SJG Forums, forumite Kenneth Latrans notes he does not like that The Deadly Spring used Lifting ST instead of Striking ST for bows, which he describes as a “striking-related action.”

I’ll admit I was quite deliberate about putting Lifting ST in place of Striking ST. For real warbows, like the one pictured here (a 170# bow being bent by Joe Gibbs ST 18 by TDS), drawing the bow is a slow pull (though for a 170# bow, that guy pulls it back like it’s nothing).

Still . . .

Why I’m wrong


Let’s start off with Devil’s Advocate on myself. If Kenneth would have said “using Striking ST for damage-related action,” I’d probably nod my head and say, “yep, that’s a valid game design call.”

In GURPS, Lifting ST is the ST you use for encumbrance, which is valuable as heck in the games I’ve played and GM’d, and at 3/level, is probably worth it even without drawing bows and grappling thrown in.

But “you pay 5/level for the things you need to do damage,” which includes firearm ST scores, is a fine game-mechanical rule, internally self-consistent, and a good way to go.

The Basis for Doing What I did


Pulling bows is slow. Grappling can be a lot of steady pressure. Being strong has real merit, and for grappling at least, it’s the kind of strength that matters. I know a guy who could defeat my arm bar by simply lifting my entire body off of him with one freakin’ arm.

But with drawing a bow over at least a second, that seemed like Lifting ST to me.

Plus, of course, is that Striking ST is 5 points/level, and that +1 to ST gives you +1 swing damage, right off the bat. That’s the GURPS currenty: one point of ST gives you an extra point of swing.

For bows, though, and other thrust-based weapons (and that includes Control Points from Technical Grappling), each 3 points get you a half-point of increased damage, so for equal currency, so to speak, it’s 6 points per level . . . so swinging with a weapon (striking damage) and shooting with a bow or grappling are about he same. So that works there for me.

Between biomechanics and game mechanics, I like Lifting ST for bows and grappling.

Parting Shot

The middle ground would be interesting though. Striking is a fast twitch, and there are several ranged-weapon related activities that work with Striking ST, the way it’s described.

  • Punches and Melee Weapons: Yep. I’d add Trained ST as well, of course.
  • Quick-Shooting Bows: You have to draw and release within one second. This is the opposite of the slowish pull seen when you draw big bows, More like plucking a string, but with 100-200 pounds of force.

This would favor “regular” ST for dungeoneers, for example. You’d want lifting, grappling, swinging, and quick-shooting. That says “Striking ST” for me. But if you had a bunch of extra Lifting ST and wanted to take a Ready maneuver to pull the bow instead of a Quick-Draw, you could combine that with whatever other perks and Trained X abilities you wanted. Slow and heavy, or fast. Or just by regular ST and have at.

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