Author Credits

Published Books


GURPS Martial Arts: Technical Grappling
Available as an e-book on e23!

Written by Douglas Cole * Edited by Jason “PK” Levine

GURPS Line Editor: Sean Punch
51 pages. PDF. * Price $9.99 * Stock number 37-1644
Always Available – Click here to buy!

Master Grappling . . . or Face Defeat!

The canny warrior knows that grappling is fundamental to fighting. Any melee – from a brawl to a swordfight – could suddenly move into the clinch. Some fighters even specialize in such tactics!
This is a hard subject to get a hold on, however; volumes have been written about leverage alone. GURPS Martial Arts: Technical Grappling brings this depth toGURPS. Expansions to the GURPS Basic Set and GURPS Martial Arts rules include:

  • Trained Strength. Discover how technical proficiency complements raw power.
  • Control Points. Transform grappling from an all-or-nothing affair to a matter of degree.
  • Position Revisited. Achieve leverage by jockeying for not only posture, but also facing and orientation.
  • Armed Grappling. Control and entangle your foes with a surprising variety of melee weapons.
  • Combat Options. Narrow your focus with the One Foe option, exploit Committed Attack to force a posture change, pass a limb to trap your opponent, and more.
  • Techniques. More than 30 of them – some new, some modified. Use an Escaping Parry to break a clinch, or Change Position to establish a weight advantage.
  • Fighting Styles. Learn Jacket Wrestling or Shuai Jiao – and distinguish between between bear and lion attacks – with six classic styles plus four specifically for animals.

Whether your campaign features athletes wrestling for prizes and honor, lawmen who must control and disarm suspects, or historical warriors trained to fight to the death, Martial Arts: Technical Grappling will add detail and realism to your battles.
This supplement requires GURPS Martial Arts for GURPS Fourth Edition.


Related Products

  • GURPS Martial Arts – Customizing the GURPS combat system has never been easier.
  • GURPS Martial Arts: Fairbairn Close Combat Systems – This supplement expands the historical information on Fairbairn and his peers, presents Defendu, the original style on which FCCT was based, in full GURPS terms, and introduces a complete style template for Fairbairn-Sykes Handgun Shooting, providing optional rules for using guns in close combat.
  • GURPS Martial Arts: Gladiators – Visit the world of the Roman gladiator, and bring his fighting styles, weapons, and way of life to your campaign.
  • e23 offers worldbooks, supplements, and adventures, in digital form, for GURPS – as well as many of our other game lines. Surf our site for the files you want . . . and get them instantly with a credit card or PayPal!

Venues other than Pyramid!

This one’s a little early, but +Peter V. Dell’Orto and I again teamed up (see Dire and Terrible Monsters, below) to prove that grappling rules don’t have to be Dire and Terrible. Taking square aim at grappling in D&D-flavored games, this forthcoming article in +Tim Shorts‘ Gothridge Manor takes some of the concepts from Technical Grappling and applies them in as simple a way as we could come up with to the game mechanics found in D&D. While written for Swords & Wizardry, it’s definitely applicable to D&D5 and Pathfinder. Coming Soon (probably late April or early May).


Pyramid Magazine Articles
A list of articles I’ve published in Pyramid magazine. I suppose one day I might publish elsewhere, but for now, Pyramid is where I roam.

Schrodinger’s Backpack (#3/83)


Sometimes you need stuff. You don’t know what you need, but in many cases, your character does. You have never been in a 35th century combat zone, but your character has lived in one for six years. When that happens, reach inside Schrodinger’s Backpack to find what you need – but you won’t know if it’s there until you look for it!

This article presents an abstract gear system that allows you to choose a weight and cost of “undefined but probably appropriate” stuff, and then draw needed items at will using an appropriate skill. It was designed as a way to shorten the “shopping trip” that can bog down adventure prep, or allow “Crazy Prepared” characters to not require a crazy-prepared player.

On Target (#3/77)


In order to hit much of anything in combat with firearms that happens at more than arm’s reach, you have to Aim. This is often a fairly boring thing in GURPS – declare it, wait until next turn, and then shoot. Every. Single. Time.  On Target spices that up by treating Aim as something you have to not just declare, but do well – a success roll. This one saw actual playtest in several campaigns before publication, and is likely my personal favorite rules modification that I’ve ever written. I hope you enjoy it too!

Dire and Terrible Monsters (#3/76)


I team up with +Peter V. Dell’Orto to bring terrible whimsy to Dungeon Fantasy games. Following the model previously established, by adding two adjectives (“Dire” and “Terrible”) to a generic animal or monster, you can create a ridiculously up-gunned and surprisingly-nasty (with ridiculously nasty surprises for the PCs in combat). Peter and I had Terribly Dire Fun writing this – especially the example creatures!


By Default (#3/65)


When you want your campaign to focus more on skills than
on attributes, you should consider changing how things are
done By Default. This article reveals the benefits and pitfalls of altering how skills default to attributes. As a side-effect, 15-point Talents probably no longer seem pointless.

Takedown Sequences (#3/61)

Technical Grappling added a lot of possibilities to wrestling and ground fighting, with or without weapons. But many grappling “moves” are really chains of maneuvers and techniques that can take a while to do. This article takes common unarmed grappling positions and common combat moves and breaks them down stepwise. What position, posture, and sequence of attacks, maneuvers, and techniques are used to take what you see in the ring – or on the screen – and make it real.

Coming to Grips with Realism (Technical Grappling Designer’s Notes) (#3/61)


I return for round two in Coming to Grips with Realism, a peek behind the scenes of GURPS Martial Arts: Technical Grappling to explain the thought process behind its design decisions and reveal a big chunk of optional rules that were cut for space. Some of these add complexity; others strip down and simplify the system for those who love the concept of Control Points but not the bookkeeping. And who doesn’t love new critical hit and miss tables?

Dodge This (#3/57)
The best way to deal with gunshot or blaster wounds is not to get hit in the first place! Find out how to use existing GURPS rules – or add minor optional tweaks – to make dodging, parrying, and blocking more satisfying experiences in your adventures.

Delayed Gratification (#3/52)
A look at the feint maneuver from the point of view of making a “real” attack, with lots of options.

The Last Gasp (#3/44)
A reworking of fatigue rules in GURPS, plus a new “short term” type of fatigue called Action Points.

Armor Revisited (#3/34)
A look at how damage and armor are handled in GURPS, and how to tweak ’em out.
Reviewed at Jeffro’s Car Wars Blog!

The Deadly Spring (#3/33)
A monster reworking (11,000 words!) of how to design bows and crossbows using real-world physics in GURPS.

Interior and Terminal Ballistics for GURPS
Free sample! My old article on turning real-world ballistic data into GURPS stats.

Ten . . . HUT! Military Rank for GURPS
Another free sample! really meant for Third Edition, but breaking down Military Rank into smaller bits for games in which it matters. There’s a mistake: I say: ” First Sergeant and Command Sergeant Major tend to be staff positions, while Master Sergeant and Sergeant Major are line positions.” That’s backwards. My apologies to all the sergeants in the US Army.

Lead Playtest/Playtest Management


GURPS Tactical Shooting

GURPS High Tech

GURPS Loadouts: Low-Tech Armor

Playtest Credits (GURPS Fourth Edition)

Lots. I’ll update later. 🙂