GURPS is an elegant system that models most things well, but one place I find it lacking regards the mechanic for fatigue points. Let me explain.
If you watch a boxing match, the fighters don’t remain engaged for the entire match. They engage; throw punches; back off; circle around; re-engage; clinch, etc. You get the point. And even with all that dallying, by the time they return to their corners between rounds, trainers must wipe the sweat off and re-hydrate. Real people cannot maintain elevated levels of physical confrontation for lengthy periods of time without succumbing to exhaustion.
To simulate this in my games, I employ a house rule according to which combat maneuvers cost fatigue points, extra effort maneuvers cost extra fatigue points, and Evaluate and Do Nothing maneuvers replenish fatigue points. I outline the system below.
|Melee FP Cost||Ranged FP Cost|
|Attack||-1 FP||Attack||-0 FP|
|All-Out-Attack||-2 FP||All-Out-Attack||-0 FP|
|Move||-1 FP||Move||-1 FP|
|Move and Attack||-2 FP||Move and Attack||-1 FP|
|Sprint||-2 FP||Sprint||-2 FP|
|Change Posture||-1/level||Change Posture||-1/level|
|Fast-Draw||-1 FP||Quick-Readying||-1 FP|
|Active Defense||-1 FP||Active Defense||-1 FP|
|Melee Maneuvers||FP Cost||Ranged Maneuvers||FP Cost|
|Ready||-0 FP||*Ready||-0 FP|
|Step||-0 FP||Step||-0 FP|
|All-Out-Defense||-0 if untriggered; otherwise, each active defense costs -1 FP.||All-Out-Defense||-0 if untriggered; otherwise, each active defense costs -1 FP.|
|Concentrate||-0 FP||Concentrate||-0 FP|
|Critical Success||Any maneuver on which you score a critical success costs 0 FPs||Critical Success||Any maneuver on which you score a critical success costs 0 FPs|
*Some muscle-powered ranged attacks (e.g., bows) cost FP to ready and to maintain. If so, -1 FP per round of aim.
Recovering Fatigue In-Battle
To better simulate the ebb and flow of a real battle, where participants will break off to catch their breath, players should roll HT at the end of any round where their character took a Do Nothing, Evaluate, or Wait (untriggered) maneuver and did not execute an active defense. On a success, the character recovers his margin of success in fatigue points (minimum 1). Characters with the Fit advantage enjoy a +1 to their HT rolls; players with the Very Fit advantage enjoy +2 to their HT rolls.