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View Full Version : [3.5] Anyone found any good 'called shot' systems?



Caeldrim
2009-01-22, 08:31 PM
I'm interested in the idea of being able to make called shots, especially with ranged weapons, ray spells, and projectiles of all kinds.

Anyone ever see a good system for making called shots on specific body parts etc? I think I remember seeing one that gave you negatives on your to hit rolls, based on the size of the body part you're aiming for.

i.e. -6 to hit the head, -4 to hit a specific arm or leg, -10 to hit 'em in the happy sack, etc etc.

Myou
2009-01-22, 08:46 PM
A good one would be interesting, a lot of the best D&D stories are of characters making impossible called shots and the like.

Zeful
2009-01-22, 08:47 PM
I'm interested in the idea of being able to make called shots, especially with ranged weapons, ray spells, and projectiles of all kinds.

Anyone ever see a good system for making called shots on specific body parts etc? I think I remember seeing one that gave you negatives on your to hit rolls, based on the size of the body part you're aiming for.

i.e. -6 to hit the head, -4 to hit a specific arm or leg, -10 to hit 'em in the happy sack, etc etc.

Such a system would only work against hydras as they're the only create that tracks damage to specific body parts.

A better system would be to impose a straight miss chance to parts of the body to better demonstrate the difficulty required with hitting the body part in question

Caeldrim
2009-01-22, 09:16 PM
The system I saw (and can no longer find) had 'critical hit table' type effects as a result of the called shots.

i.e. I call a shot with my sling on the orc's head, i'm at a -6 to hit (for example) and if i hit, he takes normal damage and is stunned for one round.

or

I call a shot with a pair of scorching rays, one on each of the orc's eyes. It's a tiny target, so I'm at -20 to hit, but if they both hit, he's blinded, and if I'm lucky enough to roll a crit, it penetrates the brain, making an instakill.

or

I call a shot with a crossbow on the orc's sword arm. I'm at -6 to hit, but if I nail him, his attacks with that arm are at -1.

Obviously this sort of system would take a LOT of gametesting/balancing (and probably much more severe to hit penalties than i've listed above) so you didn't just do it ALL the time, but this is the sort of thing I remember seeing.

TempusCCK
2009-01-22, 09:18 PM
I like a miss chance idea too. Say, impose an AC penalty based on size, a head is a what? Diminutive? That's a +4 to AC, right off the start, ontop of their regular AC, and I'd say a 75-90% miss chance, because a head is going to be moving alot.

Also, this counts as a critical without the need for rolling a threat or a confirmation...

Mm, could be worked out.

Caeldrim
2009-01-22, 09:42 PM
I'd prefer to leave it as non critical damage, otherwise it just encourages lots of spear/axe/scythe/longbow 'called shots' on comparatively easy to hit body parts.

I'd like it to be hard to do, but not so hard that nobody ever tried to do it.

90% miss chance is just too damn high for it to be worth even trying.

Maybe a MUCH higher to hit penalty (an extra -10 on top of the sort of penalties listed above) so lower level characters will only manage it on a natural 20, and high level heroic dudes can pull off insane legolas-esque stuff every other round.

Another possibility: Called shots in melee impose a one round AC penalty on the 'caller', because in trying to stab someone through the eye, you leave yourself open. Same kind of deal as the -2 to AC from charging.

Another example: I try to lop off a wizard's hands with my longsword. I'm at -25 to hit, and am at a -4 to AC until the start of my next turn, but if i land it, he can't cast spells. Big penalty, big payoff.

I think i remember one from the system I saw where you smacked someone in the mouth with a blunt weapon, knocking out some of their teeth, giving them a -1 to charisma.

What about fixing this kind of damage in combat? All called shot related penalties are fixable with a single point of magical healing?

Or maybe you have to be healed a number of hit points equal to the damage rolled on the called shot?

Size modifiers? It's a lot easier to stab a beholder in the eye than it is to stab a grig in the eye.

Obviously this kind of stuff requires more dexterity than strength... maybe in melee you could allow the attacker to offset the called shot penalty by their total dex modifier?

Hmm... this is going to be complicated.


EDIT: True Strike would cause problems with the kind of system I'm describing. Any thoughts?

EDIT 2: The direction this thread is going makes me wonder if maybe it should be in the homebrew forum...

Prometheus
2009-01-22, 09:49 PM
The system I had always used was that whenever you got a critical than you hit wherever you would most want to hit - which was by default wherever you would maximize damage. If you wanted to try to gouge out an opponent's eyes rather than maximize damage (say, a sword sinking into the shoulder-neck area), than I would let them forgo all the damage from the critical to force the opponent to make a saving throw against blindness. You could also use it to get a sunder, disarm, grapple, or trip attempt in the middle of the full attack when you get a critical, but this was always at some penalty. This allowed someone to kill a vampire if damage from critical hits only added up to more than the vampires hp or stake a vampire if they got through it's DR with a wooden stake (1d3 damage, light weapon, -4 for nonproficiency, -2 wear and tear from each cumulative use) and it failed a (relatively high) Fortitude save.

ShneekeyTheLost
2009-01-22, 09:58 PM
Maybe someone should put up a FAQ thread mentioning this...

This gets proposed every month or so. The answer is: "No, this will break the game. There are stupid number of ways to jack up attack rolls to insane levels. It's no fun when every shot your PC's make is a headshot. If nothing else, True Strike becomes godlike"

Caeldrim
2009-01-22, 10:00 PM
Prometheus: Did you let the attacker decide AFTER the crit was rolled/confirmed what body part they were going for?

If you say that it defaulted to wherever was going to cause the most damage, how did you deal with someone saying 'oooh, a confirmed critical... well in that case, I was aiming for his eyes.'?

UserClone
2009-01-22, 10:05 PM
Actually, I have a book called OGL Horror which has just that.

In this system, body parts have the AC of their owner, plus a size bonus based on the size of the creature.

Target|Size
Head|Two Sizes Smaller
Throat|Three Sizes Smaller
Eye| Four Sizes Smaller
Arm, Leg, or Tentacle|One Size Smaller
Heart or Other Vital Organ|Three Sizes Smaller

If the attack hits, the target must make a Fort save (DC 10 plus damage inflicted), or suffer a negative effect. These are at the discretion of the Games Master, but are normally one of the following:


If the attack targeted an arm or hand, the character suffers a -2 injury penalty to all attack rolld or skill checks using that arm. Multiple injuries to the same arm do not cause multiple penalties.
If the attack targeted a leg, the character's movement is reduced by 5 feet per round. An additional attack (to the character's other leg) will reduce his movement by another 5 feet per round. Further attacks do not cause multiple reductions.
If the attack targeted the character's head, the character is stunned for one round.
If the attack targeted the character's throat, he is nauseated for one round.
If the attack targeted the character's eye, he suffers a -2 penalty to all skill checks involving vision. Two injuries to the eye blinds the character.


I would also add the vital organ one dealing critical damage and any precision-based (ie, sneak attack, sudden strike) damage if it is targeted, personally.:smallcool:

Caeldrim
2009-01-22, 10:14 PM
ShneekeyTheLost: Sorry, my search didn't turn up anything. My search-string-fu must be weak.

Ok, so if to hit penalties just don't work because of true strike etc, maybe a system with percentile miss chances as suggested by zeful and tempest?

Roll to hit as normal, then apply a percentile chance of hitting the desired body part, with your percentile chance being improved by say... 5% per point of dex bonus?

EDIT: I realise this kind of system is RIPE for abuse. I guess I tend to play with groups who aren't prone to too much in the way of cheese.

Another possibility would be to simply stipulate in the called shot rules that you can't apply true strike (and other systembreaking attack roll bosters) to a called shot.

I'm not interested in this for a 'headshots instakill' reason. If anything I'd want to rule that a headshot deals normal damage, but has a small 'bonus effect' as suggested above. Daze, stun, etc.

UserClone
2009-01-22, 10:21 PM
Or you could make it a Fort save based on damage.:smallsigh:

ShneekeyTheLost
2009-01-22, 10:21 PM
ShneekeyTheLost: Sorry, my search didn't turn up anything. My search-string-fu must be weak.

Ok, so if to hit penalties just don't work because of true strike etc, maybe a system with percentile miss chances as suggested by zeful and tempest?

Roll to hit as normal, then apply a percentile chance of hitting the desired body part, with your percentile chance being improved by say... 5% per point of dex bonus?

I go about it backwards in my games:

If someone crits, I describe something made of pwnapples in awseomesauce.

"Cool, my level 3 character just rolled a crit with his longspear on a charge, then rolled max damage!"

Then I proceed to describe, in florid detail, the heroic valor with which the mighty hero skewered his foe, pithing the head, and ripping it clean off the body, yadda yadda, yadda for a while.

It makes getting a crit sound cooler. Much cooler than "Okay, he's dead. Next."

UserClone
2009-01-22, 10:29 PM
That's how I describe criticals. In fact, I try to describe almost every attack roll, a little bit at least. "Ooh, he twists to the side. Not far enough to avoid your blow entirely, but your mace skitters off the thick plate of his armor" sounds cooler than "You missed. Next?" as well.:smallwink:

Also: I gave myself a hand cramp on that big post, and someone is yet to comment on it. le Sigh.:smallfrown:

Caeldrim
2009-01-22, 10:39 PM
Or you could make it a Fort save based on damage.:smallsigh:

Sorry, was writing my post still when yours hit the thread.

I like the look of that system, but Fort save DC 10+damage dealt seems like it would scale poorly at higher levels. It would very quickly get to a point where nobody ever passed the fort save except on a natural 20.

valadil
2009-01-22, 10:42 PM
I haven't actually tried this yet, but I had an idea for called shots. Instead of using them to do interesting damage, each called shot deals a status effect. IE leg wound -> half speed, both legs wounded -> no movement, fall prone, wounded arm -> no use of that arm, head shot -> stun/extra damage, etc. You'd have to make up appropriate status effects of course, but I think this could work well as a way for tanks to be able to debuff their enemies. Maybe each die of healing from a cure spell could be traded to fix a specific wound.

UserClone
2009-01-22, 10:45 PM
Allow me to direct you upwards to post #10, my good man.:smallwink:

Draz74
2009-01-22, 10:50 PM
When you strip them down to basics,

"Called Shots" = "lower chance of hitting, more damage if I get lucky enough to hit"

(as long as "damage" is a sufficiently abstract concept).

Now, is there a way to do this already in the game?

Oh yeah, there's that obscure "Power Attack" feat.

So my simple, version of called shots:

Power Attack no longer has a prerequisite of 13 strength. Those who don't have Power Attack can make a called shot by taking a -4 penalty to their attack roll, in order to deal +2 damage (based on the Fighting Defensively rules for those who don't have Combat Expertise).

Voila.

Caeldrim
2009-01-22, 10:53 PM
FlWiPig: I think we're on the same page here...

The thing that made me think this would be a good idea was hearing DMs respond to my successful attack rolls with really good attack descriptions that never actually have any effect on the enemy's capabilities.

I'm well aware that HPs are a conceit designed to describe multiple factors, not just how much of a beating you can take before you pass out, but I've always thought a well placed non-magical attack should have the potential to debuff effectively.

valadil
2009-01-22, 10:54 PM
Allow me to direct you upwards to post #10, my good man.:smallwink:

TY. That's what I get for only reading the first post.

Thane of Fife
2009-01-22, 10:57 PM
My views and opinions:

1. The base system in D&D already assumes that the PCs are aiming to hit the most vulnerable locations possible when attacking. Hence variable damage, critical hits, etc. It doesn't really make much sense to kill an orc with a blow to the arm, for example (though you might be able to send him into shock, I guess), so hit points are sort of an abstraction of keeping your vulnerable points safe, and variable damage reflects one's ability to actually hit said vulnerable points.

2. As such, a called shot system is somewhat difficult.

3. My proposal - instead of called shots, you could try assigning damage values to different body parts. For example, inflicting 50% or less of max weapon damage might be a limb hit. 50-80% damage could be a torso hit. 90-100% weapon damage could be a blow to the head. Or something.

Now, inflicting a critical hit means, instead of double damage, inflict some penalty based on where you hit. For example:


{table=head]Critical Hit Location:|Effect:
Leg|-1 AC, 1 point Dex damage, -1 movement
Arm|-1 to Hit, -1 to skills which need arms, +5 to all Concentration check DCs
Torso|Double Damage (as normal)
Head|Dazed or Nauseated or Blinded or Deafened for some number of rounds
[/table]

Then, a called shot affects how much damage you do as well as what kind of effect you cause. Note that for head attacks, increased damage is part of the benefit, so the critical effect should probably be weaker.

I have no idea how well that would work, but it seems like the best way to do it to me.

ericgrau
2009-01-22, 11:16 PM
Power Attack no longer has a prerequisite of 13 strength. Those who don't have Power Attack can make a called shot by taking a -4 penalty to their attack roll, in order to deal +2 damage (based on the Fighting Defensively rules for those who don't have Combat Expertise).
Voila.

Ah, finding the balance between how often you hit and your damage per hit. Hey, let's find the break even point for this scenario. h = % chance to hit. d = damage per hit:

hd = (h-20%)(d+2)
hd = hd + 2h - 20%d - 40%
0 = 2h - 20%d - 40%
20%d = 2h - 40%
100%d = 10h - 200%

Assuming you have a 95% chance to hit, the break even point is 7.5 damage. If you have a lower chance to hit, then the break even point comes at even less damage. So either you come up with some auto-hit cheese or the system becomes completely obsolete at or soon after level 1.

Hey, better yet, let's see how hard it is to get a +1 increase to your effective damage per hit:
hd = (h-20%)(d+2)
d = (h-20%)(d+2) / h

Okay, that's still break even. But we want +1 under the "post called shot" scenario:
d+1=(h-20%)(d+2)/h
h(d+1)=(h-20%)(d+2)
hd+h=hd+2h-20%d-40%
0=h-20%d-40%
20%d=h-40%
100%d=5h-200%

Assuming a 95% chance to hit you effectively gain +1 damage at 2.75 damage per hit. Every 5% to hit below that drops that by 0.25 damage. So, outside of auto-hit cheese, that system is only moderately useful for str 10 people attacking with daggers. Assuming they already have pretty good aim.

Now how about we find when it really starts screwing you with -1 damage?
d-1=(h-20%)(d+2)/h
h(d-1)=(h-20%)(d+2)
hd-h=hd+2h-20%d-40%
0=3h-20%d-40%
20%d=3h-40%
100%d=15h-200%

Right at 14.25 damage if you hit 95% of the time, or 0.75 damage sooner per 5% below 95%. 11.25 at 75% for example. Again, assumes player doesn't have any auto-hit cheese. Even at level 1 it's fairly simple to hit 12-13 average damage.

But I've been fairly abusive to just this one suggestion. The thing is, like someone said, any other system doesn't tend to be any different. There will be a single optimum damage solution that some powergamer will figure out, or else the poor non power-gamers will say "I call a shot, heehee!" and mistakenly screw themselves over without even realizing it.

But there are two reasons for called shots, and really this is only covering #1:
1. Deal more damage. Screw that, it's too open to abuse and die rolls already represent a PC's attempt to do the most damage possible. Don't making basic damage rolls another complicated thing to learn.

2. Impose a status effect. Sometimes you're not trying to hurt someone so much as disable him.

#2 is harder to pin down with numbers. It could depend on situation for example. Debuffs aren't much better than #1, as that's simply more complicated powergaming to try to find the best way to kill someone or perhaps take them out of a fight. But if we could find strategic uses like shots to the leg to keep someone from fleeing, maybe it could be worth something.

Draz74
2009-01-22, 11:35 PM
Good -- I didn't want it to be a system that people would actually need to use often. That's one of the annoying things about Called Shots systems -- they have a tendency to turn every attack into a Called Shot. I wanted a normal old non-called attack to still be the norm! Especially if they have no special training (the Power Attack feat).

After all, how much do you see people ever using Fighting Defensively? Pretty much never, unless they have a special ability that keys off it. Because the default mode is supposed to be a reasonable balance between defense and offense, and also between "hit them anywhere you can" and "hit them in their most vulnerable body parts."

Edit: I am working on another, more worthwhile Called Shots system, but it only works if the entire system for critical hits is also re-worked. It makes you much more likely to get a critical hit against heavily armored foes, at the cost of having a slightly harder time hitting them in the first place. So whether it's worth using depends on how sweet your critical hits are. Kind of a "find the gap" move.

ericgrau
2009-01-22, 11:52 PM
Except with fighting defensively you're trading a lot of offense for a little defense. It's useful when your AB+AC total greatly dwarfs that of your opponent, or if surviving is far more important than attacking for some reason. And yet you don't want to or can't run away for some other reason. The second use, at the least, is intuitive.

What you're talking about is trading offense for (usually) less offense. It's just plain lose-lose. Except when you wraithstrike or attack utterly pathetic foes or immobilize your opponent so it's almost impossible to miss or when you cast true strike. It doesn't work under any other circumstances. And that's counter-intuitive to the point where it'll screw over non power-gamers and say "No, that's a bad idea don't do it" to dramatic moments when players think to call a shot.

Anyway I only picked your system as an example. I think others would likewise fail if examined. As mentioned they tend to become open to abuse, or a trap. That doesn't mean don't try, though. That just means be careful. Especially if you're only trying to change a player's damage output. Ceratin status effects OTOH may or may not work, I dunno.

Hawriel
2009-01-22, 11:54 PM
For simplicity you can use the cover rules. The smaller the body part the more 'cover' the target has. You can also use pinning rules. Not graple. Look at the classes and feats that allow you to use trick shots to pin clothing and apendages to walls, or the ground. Instead of the clothing you hit them in the hand, head, foot, knee, or what ever location the called shot was for.

Making a called shot a full round or move equivelent action is reasonable. Or for a ranged called shot the target must be observed for at least one round directly befor making the shot. Allowing a character to make a called shot as a standard action in melee when the target is flatfooted could work. Mind you with all penalties for making a called shot. However this can be aboused as a poor mans sneak attack.

The called shot should have good damage or some other effect to compinsate for the trouble. An effect that can only be rid of by a heal check or cure spell is reasonable. Loss of mobility for a leg hit, losing use of the arm. Stun, dazed, blinded, or defness for a head hit for example. Or an auto crit, or auto crit chance with a roll to conferm. If this is used you can force a fort save. A fort save VS damage taken or 10+ damage taken. If its the head save vs death or critical injury as above. If an arm, save vs losing that arm or taking an injury. As always leave room for the GM to use a little imagination to add to the drama.

Armor can come into play too. Depending on the weapon. A great helm can negate any called shot, unless they roll a nat 20. Plate armor can reduce the save vs losing a limb to save vs injury for one hit. The save can also determine weather or not the armor was damaged.

Mr Pants
2009-01-23, 12:01 AM
The Unhallowed Metropolis system has a great combat/wounds system with called shots and hit locations. Targeting the head imposes a -5 penalty to attack but a +5 bonus to damage. In addition on an incapacitating wound there are brutal complications like losing a limb, or having some kind of organ failure.

Here's the website: newdarkage.net

Caeldrim
2009-01-23, 12:11 AM
I hereby give up on called shots in general combat.

If there's a SPECIFIC circumstance where someone wants to shoot someone in the leg to stop them getting away, just ask the DM, and if he's worth his dice, he'll make some sh*t up.

ericgrau
2009-01-23, 12:39 AM
Awww giving up so soon? I was kinda curious myself if someone would find an alternative way, in spite of the many bad ways to do it.

RS14
2009-01-23, 01:44 AM
My views and opinions:

1. The base system in D&D already assumes that the PCs are aiming to hit the most vulnerable locations possible when attacking. Hence variable damage, critical hits, etc. It doesn't really make much sense to kill an orc with a blow to the arm, for example (though you might be able to send him into shock, I guess), so hit points are sort of an abstraction of keeping your vulnerable points safe, and variable damage reflects one's ability to actually hit said vulnerable points.

2. As such, a called shot system is somewhat difficult.

3. My proposal - instead of called shots, you could try assigning damage values to different body parts. For example, inflicting 50% or less of max weapon damage might be a limb hit. 50-80% damage could be a torso hit. 90-100% weapon damage could be a blow to the head. Or something.
<snip>

It doesn't seem to me that a called shot should affect the amount of damage dealt---you can strike a glancing blow against a foe's head, or sever a femoral artery---and furthermore your method of determining hit location is IMHO too complicated for practical use, particularly if each hit must be looked up. I'm inclined to let generic blows act as they do now---damage, and nothing else.

I think it is reasonable to determine location randomly in the case of a critical hit. On a critical hit, roll on table A.
Table A
{table=head]d%|Location|Effect
1-30|Torso|Fatigued
31-35|Groin|-4 Penalty on Attack Rolls, Skill Checks, and Ability checks. Speed reduced by 5ft
36-40|Head|Fortitude save or die (Strength Based)
41-70|Leg|Speed reduced by 10ft
71-90|Dominant Arm|-4 on all attack rolls with that arm. Cannot use shield with that arm.
91-100|Non-Dominant Arm|-4 on all attack rolls with that arm. Cannot use shield with that arm.
[/table]

These penalties last an appropriate amount of time.

At the same time, we also want to support called shots, and Table A is totally inadequate for this purpose.
First of all, a called shot should be effectively a save or die. Since martial characters are going to be able to throw these around all day, the probability of success will be quite low. Also, we must accept that a called shot is a careful, calculated blow. Thus a single called shot is a standard action*.

*I am considering making this a full round action. Input is appreciated.

The attacker first declares a location which they intend to strike. The attacker then makes an attack roll against the target's AC. Finally, the attacker makes an opposed level check against the target. If either check fails, the called shot fails. However, if both succeed, the attack deals damage as normal (although if the attack would be a critical hit, it is not). Furthermore, it inflicts an extra effect according to table B, or a similar effect at the DM's discretion. Not all creatures may be vulnerable to a given called shot, and some attacks may cause different effects. Table B is not intended to be exhaustive.

Table B
{table=head]Location|Effect|Non-Lethal Effect
Lung|Target is Disabled|Target is Staggered
Groin|Target is Disabled|Target is Staggered
Head|Target Dies|Target falls Unconscious
Leg|Restricted to 5ft movement|Same
Dominant Arm|Arm is unusable, and any held or carried item is dropped.|Same
Non-Dominant Arm|Arm is unusable, and any held or carried item is dropped.|Same
Eye|Blinded in that eye, target takes a -2 penalty on all attack rolls and[br]a -4 penalty on all skills checks involving sight.|Same
[/table]
These penalties last until the victim is healed. What healing is sufficient is left up to the DM, but in general, any magical healing will be sufficient. Personally, I would require regenerate only for a called shot on an eye, given the locations above.

The decision to neglect the size of the called location is intentional. Small targets aren't necessarily more damaging than large targets, so it is unnecessary from a balance perspective. Furthermore, this encourages players to choose a location for tactical or strategic reasons, rather than simply what has the highest chance to succeed.

Of course, the above rules make the game much more lethal. For this reason, characters may reasonably want to exercise more caution. This should have an effect on called shots, and it does: if a character gains a bonus to AC from fighting defensively or total defense, they may add twice that bonus to their opposed level check every time they are targeted by a called shot.

Just an idea.

Edit: Also, I would just like to note that this system actually makes it possible, and indeed practical (~40% chance against equal level foe, assuming 75% hit chance.), to knock out unaware foes with a single blow from a sap. This makes me really happy.

Tsotha-lanti
2009-01-23, 03:15 AM
A better system would be to impose a straight miss chance to parts of the body to better demonstrate the difficulty required with hitting the body part in question

That doesn't compute, though. It's way easier to hit your opponent's arms than anything else, for instance. Are arms the default, or should they get a bonus to hit (with, presumably, the torso being the default)? Because D&D doesn't actually track damage (so striking at the chest isn't likely to cause organ damage and kill an opponent, like it does in real life; strikes to the arms are disabling but not lethal), hitting the arms - which are, realistically, easier to strike - would probably be an advantage, since presumably you might hinder your opponent's attacks or disarm them?

Similarly, legs aren't really that difficult to hit at all, and if you're using a long weapon, they can be pretty drat easy to strike. The chest, in fact, is behind the arms and weapons and shields, and is kinda tricky to strike. The head is small, sure, but if you swing down with an overhead blow, odds are fair of striking the head - otherwise it'll be the shoulders.

A D&D HP system just doesn't work. A RuneQuest system would work better: Everyone has very static HP (determined by one entirely unchangeable and one barely and limitedly changeable attribute). General HP are lost whenever you take damage, but every hit also costs you HP from the location struck. You can be killed by a strike to the vitals (head, chest, abdomen) before your general HP run out, and crippling strikes to the limbs can also cause shock and death.

The Riddle of Steel has an even better system - in fact, it's pretty much the single most realistic combat system there is, modeling almost all forms of close combat with insane accuracy (and still being faster than the crazy-random and frustratingly non-lethal Rolemaster!). When you strike, you declare a zone - overhead swing, thrust at the face, swing at the right side, etc. If you hit, you roll a d6 to determine the specific body location hit in that zone (a thrust to the face can hit the upper head, the lower head, or the neck). A wound is recorded for that specific area, causing pain, shock, and blood loss, as well as other effects (disarming, knocking down, knocking out...).

Really, a called shot system with any realism requires hit locations and wounds tracked separately, and can't function with abstract D&D hit points.

A called shot system with no realism at all may function just fine in D&D, though. Indeed, it could really even out things for melee warriors (you'd just have to forbid TOB classes from using it with maneuvers). I'd definitely go with just listing locations (head, arms, legs) with penalties that are relative only to the value of the effect caused, not the size of the location (which, really, is irrelevant anyway; like I said, the arms are the easiest area to hit in most close combat). Maybe different penalties - higher for better effects. A strike to the head could daze, nauseate, or sicken for one round (save allowed, naturally; something like 10 + character level, or 10 + damage, or attack roll...). A strike to the arms would inflict a penalty to attacks for a round. A strike to the legs would inflict a penalty to movement for a round. (Disarming and tripping are done by disarming and tripping. There's no reason you can't explain a disarm as a blow to the arm that causes the opponent to drop the weapon.)

Now melee warriors could inflict status effects, like wizards do!

Kaiyanwang
2009-01-23, 03:47 AM
Great topic - I wondered if there were a system for called shots in D&D too.

Actually, DMG has a small table with the effects on specific body parts (you apply them generally when the arm or leg is the only visible part, or anyway is clear that that specific part has been hit.

For called shots, you have carefully to consider that the can be game-breaking, or game-slowing. You could rule that in specific istances after a critical (or a SA) a specific part is damaged.

Otherwise, you could rule that a meleer can apply a -4* to a shot and name a part: if crits, apply the DMG penalty. Seems to me fairly fast and not game breaking. Fort negates, DMG says.

Anyway: Rogue and Swashbuckler ability damage (and then paralisys); Ambush feats; staggering blow, staggering critical; Dire Flail Smash, Three mountains, ToB... Meleers CAN aplly status to enemies.

*The general penality for "you don't use it well": you dont strike to slay but to damage a part, so -4.

Hawriel
2009-01-24, 12:01 PM
I hereby give up on called shots in general combat.

If there's a SPECIFIC circumstance where someone wants to shoot someone in the leg to stop them getting away, just ask the DM, and if he's worth his dice, he'll make some sh*t up.

This is the best way. Its also most likly going to be the simplest.

Prometheus
2009-01-24, 05:24 PM
Prometheus: Did you let the attacker decide AFTER the crit was rolled/confirmed what body part they were going for?
If you say that it defaulted to wherever was going to cause the most damage, how did you deal with someone saying 'oooh, a confirmed critical... well in that case, I was aiming for his eyes.'?
I always required that they state beforehand, but good point. Generally the players go for the damage, but if I had a character who just about always wanted to go for the eyes than that would simply be that characters new default. I hasn't come up as a problem yet. Like I said, generally this was only completely playtested with Vampires, but I've recently generalized it. Essentially, this is the way that I make shinnany up whenever a player asks. The DC for putting various status effects on a monster are usually set kind of vaguely, like skill checks. It's usually based off of Str or Dex of the attacker, a base of 10, and bonuses for the suitability of the weapon (and the particular vulnerability of the monster towards this attack i.e. cyclops get penalties to saves against blindness).