Dance Fu

Or: "Using Someone Else As A Weapon In Hand To Hand Combat" -- A Feng Shui Optional Rule

by Dave Van Domelen (

In the movie "Romeo Must Die," there's a wonderful scene where Jet Li uses another character as a weapon, and that got me thinking. People tend to get used as weapons a lot in the movies, enough that a spur of the moment stunt evaluation might not be enough to really cover it. So, with that in mind, I offer the following optional rules for using people as weapons.

Types Of Human Weapon

People used as weapons fall into three basic categories. Willing, unresisting, and resisting. Willing weapons take an active part in being a weapon, helping punch or kick or grab or whatever. They are usually not experienced fighters, but they often have skills which make them useful as weapons (such as dancing, acrobatics, etc). Unresisting weapons are usually unconscious, but could also be the character's non-combatant significant other who is too busy freaking out to be otherwise useful. Finally, a resisting weapon is just that...trying to resist being used as a weapon. They might actually be lured into hitting their own allies full strength as they try to struggle free.

Reasons For Using Human Weapons

Well, firstly it looks cool. Otherwise, it tends to depend on the type of human weapon. Resisting ones are generally being manipulated into hitting their own people, killing two birds with one stone. Unresisting ones may simply be handy, or used because the character has no weapons and doesn't want to hit the spiny Abomination with his own bare hands. Better to use the bare hands of the BuroMil mook.

Willing participants, however, offer the most stunning options. Say, for instance, that a fight breaks out at a dance club. The PC and his or her non-combatant partner go into a whirl of swingin' butt-kicking. Or perhaps one of the PCs has his leg in a cast, and the Big Bruiser helps him use it as a nice club by swinging him around in a circle. And so forth.

One weird use for any kind of human weapon occurs when a character, for some reason, refuses to actually touch his opponent. Perhaps he swore a blood oath never to strike any of the descendants of the man who saved his grandmother. Or maybe the character just doesn't want to strike a woman (or man, or an elder, etc) but figures that if it's not his OWN fists doing the striking, that's okay.

How To Use Human Weapons

Willing: There's two ways to do this. The "puppeteer," where you manipulate the arms and legs of the partner, and the "human nunchaku" involving a bit more strength and space to fight.

To be a puppeteer, you make an attack as normal, with a -1 AV penalty. Your partner strikes with his or her own normal damage for that type of attack (usually a punch, but if you can figure out how to make someone kick for you, go for it). This can be very useful if a Big Bruiser sort is letting an Old Master guide his blows. If the target has any sort of offensive protection, like a coating of spines or acid, the partner takes the damage, not the puppeteer.

The human nunchaku approach, which can also be called "Dance Fu" because it often involves dance moves, is a bit tougher. The benefit is that damage is either the main attacker's STR +2, or the appropriate damage for the "weapon" character, which ever would be greater. However, the attacker suffers a -2 AV penalty, UNLESS the weapon character can make some appropriate skill roll against a difficulty equal to the attacker's unmodified Martial Art's AV (the better you are, the harder it is for your partner to keep up). Appropriate skills include Martial Arts (for when two good fighters just want to play around in combat), Info/Dance (well, it's not really an Info skill, and it's based on Agility), Creature Powers (if applicable) and Intrusion (if the character is a catburglar type). A willing partner can also be used like an unresisting one, but will not appreciate it.

Unresisting: Unresisting characters can also be "puppeteered," but at -2 AV penalty because they're not really helping. Also, the controlling character must make a STR check against half the weapon character's Body as difficulty to keep him or her moving. Unconscious characters will simply fall to the floor, conscious ones may scream and run away. An unresisting character cannot be the subject of "Dance Fu," because that requires participation. However, he or she may be used as a club. The attacking character must make a STR check with the weapon character's Body as Difficulty each time he uses the person as a weapon. Failure means a -4 AV penalty and damage of STR +1 as the character just sort of waves the body at his target. Success gives only a -2 AV penalty and damage of STR +3 (+4 if the character being used as a weapon has a Body of 10 or more). Any character used as a club will take as much damage as is inflicted on the target, so you probably don't want to do this with friendly unresisting people. Downed mooks used as clubs won't really notice the extra damage, but in some cases you may want to make death checks for them if you think the attacking character's getting a bit brutal (or using the mooks to pound on the spiny Abomination).

Because a Big Bruiser isn't just strong, but also big, using a person as a club has one less point of penalty (-3 on failure, -1 on success). Big Bruisers can also try to use a person in each hand, at an additional -2 AV penalty on their attacks, and they have to make the STR checks for both weapons or they suffer the failure penalty on both.

Resisting: Okay, this mook doesn't want to be used to club the spiny Abomination into submission, and I can't say I blame him. There's two approaches to overcoming this reluctance.

The first is a variant of puppeteering. You overwhelm the weapon character with a devious hold (as per either a Stunt or the appropriate Fu Schtick) and then force them to strike for you. Each time you want to attack, first make a STR + levels in Martial Arts roll, where the difficulty is your "weapon's" STR + levels in Martial Arts. If the weapon is a mook, you're probably going to succeed. If you fail, however, your attack is at -3 AV and the base damage is your STR minus his STR plus 1. If you succeed, your attack is at -2 AV, but the base damage is the greater of your STR or his STR, plus 1.

The second is to just grab the target and use him as a club, as with the unresisting person above. However, because the target is presumed to be trying to get loose, AV penalties are increased by one in either case, and a botch means your weapon gets loose. Big Bruiser benefits still apply, however, effectively cancelling this out. A Big Bruiser cannot, however, take one person in each hand if either is resisting.

-- Dave Van Domelen, who thinks most players of Big Bruisers have used mooks as melee weapons already...