Roleplayer
Roleplayer #4, February 1987

Attack from Above

by Norman Banduch and Steve Jackson

Omitted from the GURPS Basic Set is any mention of ambush from above. Here and now, this is rectified; if space allows, it will be added to the second-edition rules.

Ambush from above is a good surprise tactic. When walking along a trail, alley, etc., anyone will be at -2 to notice someone lurking above, unless they specifically state they are looking in the trees/high windows/etc. Peripheral Vision does not help you spot a foe above you.

An attack from above may paralize its victims with surprise (p. B106) if the GM so rules. As to defense, it is the same as an attack from behind. If the victim knew he was being attacked (unlikely in an ambush) his active defense is at -2. If he did not know he was being attacked, he has no active defense. An attack against a foe above suffers penalties as per p. B107.

Some ambushers (animals in particular) may ambush you by actually dropping onto you. As a rule, this produces identical damage for both attacker and victim (see p. B114), and remember that a victim is a soft thing to land on. Thus: (1-5) damage per yard for a 1- or 2-yard jump, (1-4) per yard for a 3- or 4-yard jump, and so on. Animals that are natural ambushers-from-above (e.g., jaguars) are built for jumping, and so take a further -2 damage per yard jumped – thus, only a very unlucky cat, or one jumping a long ways, will get hurt.

GMs, use common sense for special cases. An attacker in heavy boots would do an extra point of damage per yard, an armored man is not a soft target – and so on.

A stop-thrust may be attempted if you are aware that a foe is dropping on you; this suffers no DX penalty.

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