Big Deadpuncher Update

Now with 100% more knives!

I‘ve been putting Deadpuncher’s combat engine through the paces with the help of several plucky playtesters over the past couple of weeks, which has been great for shaking out some of the more glaring bugs in the system, the need for some style tweaks, and correcting some overpowered statuses and tags.

As such, Deadpuncher has received a sizable update in its version 1.0.0-beta.3 (the software developer in me prefers using SemVer to track RPG development versioning). [Update!: A couple of lingering issues were found with Archetype maneuvers, so the version is now 1.0.0-beta.4.]

New Fighting Styles

It’s not all corrections, however! There’s two new fighting styles that have been added to the game!

Andalusian Legacy is a knife fighting style inspired by Spanish knife fighting and the influence it has had on many other knife fighting systems. It features a high number of sign counters, high speed, an easy-to-access bleed, and blazingly fast finishers.

Heavy Metal is for heavily armored characters wielding hefty two-handed weapons. It’s built to counter tank builds with liberal use of the Piercing tag, several Ox trumps, and massive damage output.

Expect more fighting styles throughout the early access phase!

New Maneuvers

Styles will be receiving new maneuvers through early access as I aim to bring them to maneuver parity or to fill functionality holes.

Boxing received a new finisher, Headblow, which is a heavy hit with Daze.

Tiger Style now has Fierce Tiger Pushes Mountains, a Boar maneuver with a double-advance to help counter kiting strategies.

There are also two new Basic maneuvers to help give versatility to new characters: Dodge and Charge provide help for defending or closing distance.

Armor and Minions

Two of the most obvious problems as the system was tested was that Armor’s speed penalty was too punitive, and that minion Mobs providing speed bonuses was too generous.

Armor has been reduced to three categories: light, medium, and heavy, with style-specific limits on which armor types can be worn with it. However, as a result, armor no longer has speed penalties.

Minion mobs will no longer provide speed bonuses when in Mobs, making them less tactically overwhelming while still providing their key support in absorbing blows.

Lessons Learned

It became clear early on that the Unsteady status and Surprise tag were going to be very problematic due to how they prevented trumping. In the case of Unsteady, this could allow for a perma-lock against a target by using a high-speed Unsteady-inflicting maneuver over and over. Surprise also would become an “always must do” choice for first round attacks as there was simply no downside to not choosing it.

Ultimately, Unsteady has been removed, and Surprise no longer prevents trumps.

All This and More

Those are only some of the changes that came through in this update. Several maneuvers saw minor tweaks to tags or status infliction as balance issues became apparent. You can scroll down to the end of this post to see the entire change log.

Get Your Updated Deadpuncher Now

The Deadpuncher EPUB and PDF have been uploaded with the new changes.

If you’ve already purchased Deadpuncher through Gumroad, you should have received an email indicating the change with links to go acquire the new files. If you have any problems with the email or downloads, contact me through Gumroad and I’ll help you out.

If you’re one of my backers on Patreon, the new files have been uploaded to this Deadpuncher post. As always, thank you for your patronage.

If you don’t have Deadpuncher yet, you can buy it for $2.99 on Gumroad, or back me on Patreon to get free access to Deadpuncher and any other games I’m bringing out (including the playtest for Bluewing, my sci-fi RPG about starfighter pilots, resistance, and romance). Acquiring the early access edition through either of these channels entitles you to a free copy of any new digital editions of the game throughout its development as well as the final digital product.


[Update! A couple of lingering issues related to Unsteady and Setback were found in the Archetype maneuvers after v1.0.0-beta.3 was pushed, so a small v1.0.0-beta.4 update was pushed out to correct them.]

Change Log



  • Removed some references to Unsteady from Archetype maneuvers.
  • Some typo correction in character creation.



  • When multiple fighters attack the same target, the less capable fighter(s) gain a speed bonus (see Dealing with Multiple Opponents in Combat).
  • Added Andalusian Legacy, a knife fighting style.
  • Added Heavy Metal, a two-handed, high-damage, anti-tank style.
  • Added Fierce Tiger Pushes Mountains to Tiger Style Kung Fu.
  • Added Dodge Basic Maneuver.
  • Added Charge Basic Maneuver.
  • Added Headblow to Boxing, a new Finisher.
  • Added Ambush rules to Combat section.


  • Some spelling errors and typos throughout the book.
  • Suppressive Firearms corrected to proper name of Suppressive Fire


  • Armor system overhauled to three categories with generally lower Armor ratings, removed speed penalty, and now locking armor compatibility for styles.
  • Several maneuvers had Status (Unsteady) changed into Daze or Exposed due to removing Unsteady.
  • Clarified that Defensive may be used against ranged targets without Near or Far tags, but applies no Consequence when doing so.
  • May now use Guard while Prone.
  • Combat Reload now reloads even if maneuver fails.
  • Forge and Bellows lost Near tag, now Retreats 1.
  • Keep Em Pinned increased Risk by 1, added Status (Unsteady).
  • Suppressive Fire now Ox.
  • Trigger Discipline changed Status to Exposed.
  • Sustained Fire now Finisher (3).
  • Reap the Whirlwind now Finisher (4) and Dragon.
  • Spray and Pray Risk now (7 - Target’s Might).
  • Noise Discipline Risk now (7 - Target’s Might).
  • Hikibana Waza Several changes to bring power scale in line.
  • Grapple now trumps Ox instead of Tiger.
  • Peek-a-Boo now Finisher (4).
  • Removed Status(Setback) from Uppercut.
  • Run now has Defensive tag.
  • Tiger Tail Kick does Status (Daze) instead of Status (Setback).


  • Removed the Unsteady status, which turned out to be far too powerful.
  • Minions in Mobs no longer grant Speed to the character they’re protecting.
  • Armor from minions is no longer immune to effects like Piercing.
  • Armor no longer provides a penalty to Speed.
  • The Surprise tag no longer prevents trumping.