Weapons in Non-Lethal Combat
As you might expect, weapons have their place in non-lethal combat, whether a
character is defending or pressing the attack.
Weapons in Defense: A character attempting to punch, wrestle, or overbear an armed opponent can do
so only by placing himself at great risk. Making matters worse, an armed
defender is automatically allowed to strike with his weapon before the unarmed
attack is made, regardless of the initiative roll. Since his opponent must get very
close, the defender gains a +4 bonus to his attack and damage rolls. If the
attacker survives, he can then attempt his attack.
Those involved in a wrestling bout are limited to weapons of small size after
the first round of combat. It's very difficult to use a sword against someone
who is twisting your sword arm or clinging to your back, trying to break your
neck. For this reason, nearly all characters will want to carry a dagger or a
Non-Lethal Weapon Attacks: It is possible to make an armed attack without causing serious
damage--striking with the flat of the blade, for example. This is not as easy as it sounds,
First, the character must be using a weapon that enables him to control the
damage he inflicts. This is impossible with an arrow or sling. It isn't even
feasible with a war hammer or mace. It can be done with swords and axes, as long as
the blade can be turned so it doesn't cut.
Second, the character has a -4 penalty to his attack roll, since handling a
weapon in this way is clumsier than usual. The damage from such an attack is 50%
normal; one-half of this damage is temporary, lasting one turn after the fight
is over and causing unconsciousness (never death) if the character drops below
zero hit points.
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