EP close combat has been bugging me for a while now. I'll admit upfront that I'm a fan of the “Swords In Space” trope, so melee combat being ineffectual was mildly disappointing anyway, but what really got me is that EP is full of amazingly advanced technology, and no-one thought to apply that to melee weapons.
You can have an assault rifle that negates recoil and fires intelligent robot bullets that explode on impact, or a hose that fires the concentrated fury of the sun, or a very pointy stick. No smart-knives which turn into blenders when in the victim, no mounting plasma-rifle-scale magnetics into the weapon to screw with implants, and monofilament-garrottes don't self-repair.
So, here's an attempt to rectify the situation. Comments and criticisms are more than welcome, and as the tile title indicates I haven't playtested this as much as it needs so there are probably problems lurking within.
Hope it meets your approval :D
Rules: The following rules apply to characters engaging in melee combat:
Feinting: Characters fighting in close combat may attempt to make their strike more difficult to avoid. Targets attempting to avoid such attacks may only use half their Fray or Melee combat skill to defend against the attack, but the attacker suffers a -60 penalty on their attack roll. The character may expend Quick or Complex actions in an identical manner to Aiming (EP, p190, p193) a ranged weapon prior to the attack, which reduces the penalty to -40 and -20 respectively.
Extra Melee Weapons: The use of two or more melee weapons is treated as a single attack, rather than multiple. When attacking a single target, each additional weapon provides a +10 bonus to the attack roll, up to a maximum +30. Off-hand weapon modifiers are ignored. This replaces the normal bonus to damage.
Weapon Sets: Melee weapons which could be used as a set such as gloves are purchased as single items, and using more than one counts as using multiple weapons.
Skills: The following field skill replaces the Blades, Clubs, and Unarmed skills.
~Melee Weapons: [Field]~
Type: Field, Active, Combat
Linked Aptitude: SOM
What it is: The Melee skill covers the use of weapons in close combat, as well as combat unarmed or with natural weapons.
When you use it: A player uses their Melee skill when attacking in close combat, and may be used instead of Fray to defend against attacks from enemies in close combat.
Fields: Light, Standard, Heavy, Bladed, Blunt, Complex.
Specializations: If the field is Light, Standard or Heavy then Bladed, Blunt or Complex. If the field is Bladed, Blunt or Complex then Light, Standard or Heavy.
Unarmed attacks or attacks with natural weaponry are considered Light and Complex.
Melee weapons have come a long way from their antecedents. Built of smart materials and often containing dedicated AIs and sensor suites, modern melee weapons can be more aptly described as weaponized disassembly systems, capable of analysing whatever they're swung at and modifying themselves to maximize their effectiveness.
Melee Weapons are available in three categories defined by their size, with each category available in bladed, blunt or complex forms. The effects of each weapon are defined by their category, as the advanced technologies they use render their effects in combat roughly equivalent – their exact physical forms are irrelevant, and largely a function of aesthetics. If desired, they can form an internal canister to hold chemicals, drugs or nanobots, which can be set to release either on contact or when the target is damaged.
Weapons which fall in the “Light” category are generally small or simple, and many carry at least one on their person.
Knives are the most usual example of Light Bladed Weapons, and Light Blunt Weapons include small clubs and the batons carried by security forces. Light Complex Weapons usually take the form of smartmaterial clothing, such as self-hardening gloves, shoe spikes or bladed hat-rims.
Armor Penetration (AP): 0 Damage Value (DV): 1d10 + (SOM/10) Average DV: 5 + (SOM/10) Cost: [Trivial] Palming tests to conceal Light weapons get a +20 bonus. When making an attack with a Light weapon the wielder gains either a +10 bonus to hit, or may increase the DV by 1d10.
What one usually thinks of when picturing melee weaponry, Standard weapons are wielded with one-hand. Standard Bladed weapons include sabres, rapiers and hatchets, whilst hammers and maces make up the bulk of Standard Blunt weapons. Whips and chains are the most popular forms of Standard Complex weapon, often equipped with systems similar to those found in electronic rope to prevent self-injury.
Armor Penetration (AP): -2 Damage Value (DV): 2d10 + 2 + (SOM/10) Average DV 13 + (SOM/10) Cost: [Trivial] When making an attack with a Standard weapon the wielder gains either a +10 bonus to hit, or may increase the DV by 1d10.
Heavy weapons are large weapons which must be wielded with two hands. Longswords and Claymores are popular versions of the Heavy Bladed category, and most habitats will have Heavy Axes available for fire or emergency purposes. Heavy Blunt weapons such as hammers can often be found in the hands of gang enforcers to make them more intimidating, and staves are beloved by those who take a more mystical or spiritual approach to transhuman existence.
Heavy Complex weapons are exceedingly rare, the most notorious of which being the smart-fibre garrotte.
Armor Penetration (AP): -4 Damage Value (DV): 2d10 +4 + (SOM/10) Average DV: 15 + (SOM/10) Cost: [Trivial] When making an attack with a Heavy weapon the wielder gains either a +20 bonus to hit, or may increase the DV by 2d10. Characters attempting to use Heavy weapons with one hand do not get this bonus.
Modifications: Almost all modern melee weapons are equipped with at least one of the following modifications, and it isn't uncommon for a weapon to possess more, although such weapons are usually found in the hands of specialists. To determine the price of a modified weapon, simply add the cost of the weapon and modifications together. The cost of the weapon's blueprint is determined in the same manner.
Non-lethal: These weapons are not intended to cause serious injury, and are often used a training implement or in sports. Non-lethal weapons with other modifications are often used by Security personnel or for self-defence. Non-lethal weapons gain -4 AP, but halve any damage dealt. [Trivial]
Flex: The smartmaterials in this weapon are programmed to shift it's form to something more innocuous when activated, such such as a piece of clothing or briefcase. Activating this modification requires a Quick action, which can be combined with the action to draw or holster the weapon. Security personnel and weapon scanners can only identify the true nature of these weapons if they score a critical success on a perception check. [Low]
Mono-filament: Weapons with this modification are either honed to a monomolecular edge or have their striking surface covered with a monofilament mesh, easily capable of slicing through metal or limbs. Such weapons gain +4 DV, and attack rolls which score an Excellent Success automatically bypass armour. [High]
Vibro-: This modification equips the weapon with edged surfaces which vibrate at a high frequency for extra cutting ability. This has little extra effect when stabbing or slashing, but when carefully sawing through something or applying constant pressure with a blunt weapon, this provides an extra –3 AP and +2d10 damage. [Moderate]
Shock: Weapons with this modification Shock targets they damage. (See EP. p204) [Moderate]
Shredder: The smart materials in these weapons are programmed to reform into serrated barbs once the target has been struck to tear apart flesh and metal, then retract to ease retrieval. Attacks which deal damage deal an extra 1d10 DV. [High]
Render: This combination of the Vibro- and Shredder modifications was developed to attack armour, inducing fractures and tearing away nearby material. When this weapon strikes it's target it reduces it's kinetic armour value by 1d10/2. [Moderate]
Plasma-Sheath: When activated this modification cloaks the weapon in a softly glowing plasma shell. Essentially an inbuilt bug-zapper, this plasma is much too weak to harm most morphs, but makes an effective countermeasure against nanoswarms.. Attacks made against nanoswarms or morphs with the Swarm Composition augmentation deal 1d10 DV, instead of the 1 DV usually dealt. [Moderate]
Augmentations: The Claws bioware implants a Light Complex weapon in two limbs of the bearer's choice, and the Cyberclaws cyberware similarly installs two Standard Complex weapons. Multiple instances of these augmentations may be installed, each time applying to another two limbs. All augmentations may have modifications applied to them as normal, with the exception of the Flex modification. Uplifts may apply modifications to their natural weapons by purchasing a [Low] cost bioware augmentation as a base.
In the past we've had to compensate for weaknesses, finding quick solutions that only benefit a few.
But what if we never need to feel weak or morally conflicted again?