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Renduaz
2018-05-30, 02:15 PM
I've long been thinking about how to introduce a working, dynamic system for targeting different "parts" of creatures, or even objects, which is fairly balanced and leaves plenty of leeway for DM creativity. Here's what I came up with:

Distribution

Different D&D creatures have vastly different anatomies or structures, thus making it impossible for a singular schematic to adequately cover all of them. Therefore I've designed a dynamic allocation scheme that works by dividing the given creature or object into any appropriate number of segments ( Individually determined by the DM, although a good catch-all number is 5 ). Each segment has the following properties: Vitality and Vulnerability, which determine it's mechanical values.

Vitality

Vitality is defined as the "sturdiness" or endurance of a body part, or the amount of punishment it can sustain relative to other body parts. based on the DM's logical judgement about a given creature. For example, in a human the torso might typically be considered to have more vitality than the head. A portion of a creature's total HP sum will be assigned to a segment according to it's vitality. The values derive from a creature ( or object's ) total HP and the number of segments, with cumulative percentages of total HP relative to the number of segments. To explain

If we have a creature with 100HP, and 5 segments - Head, Neck, Upper Torso, Lower Torso and Legs, then the order of vitality ( Portion of total HP assigned ), from least vital to most vital, will be 10%, 15%, 20%, 25% and 30%. Five additions which together make 100%. So we could assign our Upper Torso with 30%, 30HP, the neck with 10% 10hp, and so forth, which makes sense. Although naturally if may want a creature to possess two or more segments with equal vitality, we could adjust it accordingly - 10%, 10%, 20%, 20% and 40% for example.

Let's say we have a creature with 67HP and 4 segments. It's a Beholder with a Central Eye, Mouth, Appendages and Back. So we'll arrange our percentages as 10%, 20%, 30%, 40%. The most vital part ( Say, the Back ) would have 26.8HP and the least ( Say, Central Eye ), 6.7HP. The other two will have values between. We could round up or down as necessary to maintain balance. For example, 26.8 will become 27 while 6.7 will become 6.

Crippling Segments

To maintain a swift, dynamic and exciting outcome for the reduction of a particular segment to 0HP, the DM could choose an appropriate Condition to be applied to the creature from the Condition list or any other penalty ( Spell and Ability effects being great examples ). Crippling a leg or legs can instinctively be fitting for halved movement or the Restrained condition, or perhaps even destroying a segment will render a certain ability of the creature's useless, temporarily surpassed or less dangerous such as a Beholder's number of legendary actions or the range of an Anti-Magic Cone. A creature will usually die only once all segments have been reduced to 0HP, unless the DM is feeling generous and wants it otherwise. If not, then crippling an head to 0HP for example does not necessarily mean decapitation, but rather a Condition or penalty.

Vulnerability

Vulnerability is defined as the likelihood of a segment receiving damage to begin with, corresponding both to AC and Saving Throws. So a thick carapace will have low vulnerability, while a soft spot might have high vulnerability. Values are best assigned with equal negative and positive adjustments starting from 0. So if we have 5 segments, we'll assign each an appropriate value from -1, -2, 0, +1 and +2. Even number distributions can be chosen accordingly based on difficulty considerations, for both AC and saving throw bonuses/reductions.

The DM determines whether an ability requiring a saving throw can affect a specific segment ( As a general rule, most damaging spells and abilities would ). If it does not, then the creature's default saving throw is used.

Compartmentalized Vulnerability

Optionally, any individual segment can be Resistant, Vulnerable or even immune to certain damage types, corresponding to default rules. As an additional homebrew variation ( Which could also just as easily be applied under classic rules ), a creature could be Resistant or Vulnerable or even Immune to Schools of Magic or the abilities of specific Classes that do not deal damage, wherein resistance doubles the saving throw modifier and resistance halves it.

AOE

An AOE effect engulfing a creature will be handled with a default saving throw, and division of damage to all segments equally, or else it's ordinary effect on the entire creature if it is no a damaging effect.

Players

For balance purposes, it's preferably to likewise assign player characters their own segments, subject to the same rules, with appropriate outcomes upon crippling them.

JNAProductions
2018-05-30, 02:21 PM
This doesn't seem complete. It could potentially be interesting, but it runs into the "HP is meat?" issue, as well as probably just not working well with 5E (or, honestly, ANY edition of D&D).

Is this still a WIP?

Renduaz
2018-05-30, 02:33 PM
This doesn't seem complete. It could potentially be interesting, but it runs into the "HP is meat?" issue, as well as probably just not working well with 5E (or, honestly, ANY edition of D&D).

Is this still a WIP?

Why do you think it doesn't work well with 5E? I'd consider it complete, since any more nuances and the time consumption would be too great. This is the best balance I could find between ease of use and gameplay enrichment. I could throw damage multipliers into the mix but that would actually just be unbalanced by Vitality if crippling thresholds are kept, and that's the whole point of the segments to begin with. Meanwhile ditching crippling thresholds and simply taking off more or less HP from a creature's default HP based on where you hit it is just boring and without flavor. As for HP being meat, I'd say its' more like - "How much beating can this organ/appendage/ segment" take before losing functionality? Giant chunks of meat naturally make great cushions for more serious internal damage, so that makes sense. But it could also be a very elastic body part. Or a segment with unnaturally high metabolism. Up to the DM to decide.

What would you change about it, for players who want a system that lets them attack specific parts of creatures with unique consequences? Why doesn't it accomplish that purpose in your opinion?

JNAProductions
2018-05-30, 02:39 PM
It's just very "Figure it out yourself."

It's more guidance than currently exists, but you provide no solid numbers, just "Figure out how to assign the percentages." Likewise, there's no "Crippling an arm inflicts [CONDITION(S)]," just "Figure it out yourself."

Also, the only rules on targeting seems to be the Vulnerability section, which is a very minor thing, and so means it's far easier to inflict conditions on monsters, which is probably okay, sometimes, but also easier to inflict long-lasting conditions on players, which is not.

Plus, how do you heal a broken leg or something? Where are the rules for that?

Renduaz
2018-05-30, 02:54 PM
It's just very "Figure it out yourself."

It's more guidance than currently exists, but you provide no solid numbers, just "Figure out how to assign the percentages." Likewise, there's no "Crippling an arm inflicts [CONDITION(S)]," just "Figure it out yourself."

Also, the only rules on targeting seems to be the Vulnerability section, which is a very minor thing, and so means it's far easier to inflict conditions on monsters, which is probably okay, sometimes, but also easier to inflict long-lasting conditions on players, which is not.

Plus, how do you heal a broken leg or something? Where are the rules for that?

It's not intended to be a 3.5 spreadsheet. More like DMG guidelines on Trap design. I think that all the "figure it out yourself" parts are pretty straightforward and intuitive, while the simple rules provide the solid framework. None of what you said could actually be covered otherwise. "Cripple an arm inflicts X condition"? There are hundreds of creatures in DND with hundreds of different body parts that are not arms or heads and are all unique to that particular creature. That's precisely the reason why there's no "X condition" list. Yes, just figure out a plausible condition. That's exactly the DM's job. Percentages have a template which works pretty well.

Most of the Conditions in 5E aren't long-lasing by the way, nor are combat penalties. It was advised to choose from the list. And those are also exactly the reasons why a lot of the choice is left to the DM.

As far as I'm concerned, there doesn't have to be a "broken leg" because there is no "Broken leg condition" or classical spell effect of that nature. If you crippled your legs, I'd either halve your movement like difficult terrain or restrain you for a given number of rounds, maybe until another player uses an Help action on you to set it straight, maybe for 5 rounds. Or it could be long-term if you're playing a hardcore campaign, in which case maybe it will require a Healing kit or Lesser Restoration. Why is that not okay though?

I mean, I made it for my own benefit to begin with, and I can't really think of something more intuitive. The Vitality gives me a way to flesh out creature segments through HP distribution, and the percentage templates are for reference on how to do so in an immersive way. Vulnerability is also a set of simple rules. And when something is crippled, I'll glance at my DM screen and choose something intuitive for the duration of combat, maybe long-term if it's supposed to be hardcore too. Whether others like it or not, I guess it's up to them

Gorum
2018-06-02, 06:55 AM
It's not intended to be a 3.5 spreadsheet. More like DMG guidelines on Trap design. I think that all the "figure it out yourself" parts are pretty straightforward and intuitive, while the simple rules provide the solid framework. None of what you said could actually be covered otherwise. "Cripple an arm inflicts X condition"? There are hundreds of creatures in DND with hundreds of different body parts that are not arms or heads and are all unique to that particular creature. That's precisely the reason why there's no "X condition" list. Yes, just figure out a plausible condition. That's exactly the DM's job. Percentages have a template which works pretty well.

Most of the Conditions in 5E aren't long-lasing by the way, nor are combat penalties. It was advised to choose from the list. And those are also exactly the reasons why a lot of the choice is left to the DM.

As far as I'm concerned, there doesn't have to be a "broken leg" because there is no "Broken leg condition" or classical spell effect of that nature. If you crippled your legs, I'd either halve your movement like difficult terrain or restrain you for a given number of rounds, maybe until another player uses an Help action on you to set it straight, maybe for 5 rounds. Or it could be long-term if you're playing a hardcore campaign, in which case maybe it will require a Healing kit or Lesser Restoration. Why is that not okay though?

I mean, I made it for my own benefit to begin with, and I can't really think of something more intuitive. The Vitality gives me a way to flesh out creature segments through HP distribution, and the percentage templates are for reference on how to do so in an immersive way. Vulnerability is also a set of simple rules. And when something is crippled, I'll glance at my DM screen and choose something intuitive for the duration of combat, maybe long-term if it's supposed to be hardcore too. Whether others like it or not, I guess it's up to them

...ahem.

http://paizo.com/pathfinderRPG/prd/ultimateCombat/variants/calledShots.html


Leg
Legs are the ambulatory limbs of a creature, including feet. Called shots to the leg have no special effect on creatures with five or more legs. Called shots to the leg are easy (2 penalty).

Called Shot: A called shot to a leg lowers the target creature's speed by 10 feet for 1d4 rounds if it has two or fewer legs, and by 5 feet if it has three or four legs. In either case, the creature's speed cannot be reduced below 5 feet per round. Called shots to the leg have no effect on creatures with five or more legs. Hitting the same leg more than once has no extra effect, but the speed penalty for hits on different legs stack. Additionally, any skill or ability checks involving movement (such as Acrobatics or Swim checks) take a 2 penalty for 1d4 rounds.

Critical Called Shot: A critical hit to the leg deals 1d4 points of Dexterity damage and knocks the target prone. A successful Fortitude save keeps the creature from falling prone. The creature also suffers the effects of a called shot to the leg for 1d4 minutes.

Debilitating Blow: A debilitating blow to the leg knocks the creature prone. The blow renders the leg entirely useless until healed unless the target succeeds at a Fortitude saving throw. If the saving throw fails by 5 or more, the leg is severed or otherwise mangled such that only regeneration or similar effects can repair it. If the save succeeds, the target is instead lamed and moves at half speed until the leg is healed, or until it receives a successful DC 20 Heal check. A creature with a useless or severed leg moves at half speed if it still has more than half of its legs usable; otherwise, it cannot stand up and must crawl to move. The target also suffers the effects of a called shot to the leg (if the leg remains usable) for 2d6 minutes.

Gorum
2018-06-02, 06:57 AM
(The point being that you can cover all possibilities by covering categories / purpose. Pathfinder is still gold-plated 3.5 Ed)