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GURPS FOR DUMMIES   |   GURPS Combat Flowchart   |   Character Creation   |   Combat Basics
Combat Basics
Important to Remember: Combat turns are 1 second each. This game does three seconds at a time. Each "maneuver" listed on the site takes 1 turn (i.e. 1 second).

Example: Twitch raises his gun ("readying"=1 turn), takes aim for X seconds, and fires (1 turn).

In addition to these points below, I highly suggest you also read through the GURPS FOR DUMMIES which also discusses combat issues.


Initiative (who goes first) is based on the movement score of a character and his weapon speed.


In Masters of the Matrix, as in GURPS, 1 turn in combat equals 1 second.  Using RPOL, we will handle combat in 3 turn increments.  (If you are using FOCUS, you will increase the number of maneuvers making the total of 3 seconds.)  In other words list three maneuvers from the list below that your character will take during the next 3 seconds.  


One maneuver may be taken each turn (although some actions take several turns to complete):

MOVE and do nothing else (except that active defenses may be used).  The Move maneuver also includes two possible attacks at the same time:  Slam (the same as "charging" in D&D) and Flying Tackle.

CHANGE POSITION: (Prone - Kneeling - Standing) (2 turns from prone to standing and vice versa, 1 from kneeling).  All defenses are available.

READY:  Ready a weapon from a holster/scabbard.  Some large weapons become "unready" when used: Axe, mace, large sword.  Note that you can parry with a weapon or block with a shield on the same turn you are readying it.  Any active defense is available.

RELOAD:  Like readying, you reload a missile weapon.  Only the Dodging defense is available.  Some reloading takes several turns.

AIM:  You must aim for one turn to avoid a -4 penalty.  You may aim for up to 3 more turns for a further +1 bonus for each turn.  Aiming also negates movement modifiers.  You may use any defense while aiming, but you spoil your aim.

ATTACK:  Attack a foe with a readied weapon.  You may dodge, parry or block on the same turn you attack (with readied weapons/shields).

ALL OUT ATTACK: Attack with hands, feet or readied hand weapon (melee) and choose from the following:

1) Make two attacks against the same foe (with different readied weapons, hands, feet)
2) Make one feint and then one attack
3) Make a single attack at a +4 bonus to your skill
4) Make a single attack, at normal skill, doing +2 damage if yo uhit

This prevents all active defenses until your next turn!

FEINT:  Fake an attack with a hand weapon.  Improves your chance to hit on the following turn if successful.

WAIT: Do nothing unless a foe comes within your striking range, and then attack (but not all out attack).  All defenses available.

ALL OUT DEFENSE:  You get two active defense rolls (but only one parry per readied weapon).

CONCENTRATE:  Do something requiring mental concentration (operate computers, write note, etc.)

LONG ACTION:  Do 1 second's worth of an action that is taking longer than 1 second.  Examples include:  pick up heavy object, unlock something, look for something, swallow something, light something (e.g. fuse), replace a weapon in scabbard or place in pocket, search someone, change clothes.

EVADE:  Move through a foe to a hex on the far side.

Other acceptable maneuvers:  step and ready, step and attack, step and feint, step and concentrate, step and wait, shield bash, shield rush

FREE ACTIONS:  These are actions you can do while doing one of the actions above (i.e. they do not take away time from your actions above).  For example, talking while you fight, dropping items, crouching, etc.


Passive Defenses are your armor, shields, etc.  They almost always apply automatically.

You have three Active Defenses to choose from during combat:

Dodging:  You may dodge any attack that you knew was coming.

Blocking:  You must have a ready "shield," which you use to "block" the attack.

Parrying:  Parry an attack using a readied weapon in your hand.

Retreating:  This is not a separate defense, but you my move one hex in any direction away from your attacker, adding 3 to any Dodge, Block or Parry.  You may only change facing direction up to 60 degrees (one hex turn).  You must be standing or lying down (to roll away retreat).


Much of your combat will involve guns of various sorts.  Stats will be given to you prior to your entering the Matrix.  (Keep in mind that you automatically downloaded a basic understanding of guns.)

To Hit Number:  This is calculated as follows:

1) Take your base skill with the weapon
2) Modify for size of target
3) Modify for target range
4) Modify for the specific weapon's accuracy if you have aimed
5) Modify for conditions (snap shot, extra aim, bracing, cover, etc.)

Firing Options:

You may do the following:

1) Fire without aiming (a "snap shot") at a -4 penalty (unless your effective skill is at least equal to the weapon snap shot #)
2) Aim (or continue to take better aim) and fire
3) Make a called shot
4) Fire on the move
5) Take opportunity fire (using the step and wait maneuver to wait for opportunity target)
6) Fire a burst (for automatic weapons) (as opposed to selective fire available on some)
7) Aim at a group (for automatic weapons)


Several options to consider with martial arts and unarmed combat are as follows:

1) Punching
2) Improvised Weapons
3) Kicking
4) Bare-handed parrying
5) Disarm
6) Subduing a foe (pull punches, pin or put chokehold on a foe)


(1) Weapons and shields can be almost anything.  Look for things to use.  For example, a "shield" does not need to be a medieval shield.  It can be something you find on the way.