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D&D 3E
called shot rule? 
19th-Nov-2004 03:51 pm
does anybody know the 3.5 rule for called shots? i think i'm gonna do a night of the living dead thing for my one shot game tomorrow. what i plan on doing is, normal damage will slow zombies down, but to kill them you have to hit the head. either a coup de grace, which i know the rule for, or a called shot, which i can't find the rule for. i'm also gonna beef up the zombies. and use ghoul plague for bit victims. also, these zombies, since they need a head hit to actually die, are not immune to critical hits.
19th-Nov-2004 09:01 pm (UTC)
There's a 3.0 variation here that would work for 3.5 without any adjustments. Very similar to the varying degrees of concealment in that it assigns a penalty based on the specificity of the called shot.
19th-Nov-2004 09:04 pm (UTC)
nothing official though, eh? a rule they didn't include?
19th-Nov-2004 09:22 pm (UTC)
Not in anything I've come across, not even Libris Mortis which has a pretty good section on fighting the undead. Might be a good overall resource for your night of the living dead theme, too.

Unearthed Arcana might have something in its variant rules, perhaps? Though that wouldn't technically be "official." I'll ask a friend of mine that owns it next time I talk to him.

An interesting related note from the Star Wars RPG's Jedi Counseling column:

Armor, especially under the revised core rules, is a different story. After all, if there's no rule for making a "called shot," a character shouldn't be able to declare that he's letting the attack hit an unarmed portion of his body. (However, if your group is using the optional "Hit Locations" rules from the Galactic Campaign Guide, you can allow this sort of thing, though the character still shouldn't be able to specify which unarmored part of his body he wants the attack to hit.)
19th-Nov-2004 09:18 pm (UTC)
Nope, but they do have rules for hitting an object held by an opponent, a variation of those might work
19th-Nov-2004 09:24 pm (UTC)
19th-Nov-2004 09:40 pm (UTC)
to called shot, you must be able to hit the target with a normal attack form the weapon you are using. Then you waste you whole round to called shot. YOu get one shot at your highest bonus then the DM adds a -4 to the roll then any other Negatives the DM sees fit.
19th-Nov-2004 11:54 pm (UTC)
Slight problem that helmets make no difference to AC and so an aimed blow to the head is not affected by whether the head is armoured or not, whereas armour counts for a chest blow if they have a breastplate. And breastplates count as protection if you aim for the feet.
19th-Nov-2004 09:41 pm (UTC) - "Called Shots"
Called Shots, per se, were removed from the game. However, there are rules for attakcing smaller parts of a creature -- such as something they're holding in their hand, etc.

I use hit location as a result of my injury system, which uses the neglected d12 for hit location. IIRC, a roll of a 1 means that you've hit someone in the head; bug me and I'll post my hit location chart to the group when I get home.
20th-Nov-2004 04:05 am (UTC) - Re: "Called Shots"
We also used a system where you roll a d12 for location. We allowed a call shot to be able to move the location a couple of points towards the desired: For example, a 12 was a head, so if you took a -8 to your attack you could make a location roll of a 10 (which was chest I think) into an attack on the head. A higher penalty let you move the location more, I want to say like 1 point for every -2 or -4. It didn't get used much anyway.
19th-Nov-2004 10:15 pm (UTC)
Called shots?


Full round action, -4 to attack (single attack only), normal damage on hit (can crit as normal)

A called shot should bestow a -2 to Str and Dex until magical healing or 8 hours of rest.

This is just "off the top of my head" and something I would use in game.

20th-Nov-2004 12:27 am (UTC)
Off the top of my head, I'd say make the called shot a full-round action, with a base -4 penalty to hit, a -2 to -4 size penalty (depending on how small the zombie's head is), and a -2 circumstance bonus for being distracted by other zombies (don't want to get swarmed).

The only problem: if you can do head shots on zombies, why not other creatures? (Maybe it's an obvious move that only works on mindless opponents...)
20th-Nov-2004 01:25 am (UTC)
That's why Called Shots were removed. Not only were they mostly illogical (you're always trying to go for the weak spots in combat), but they absolutely steamrolled 2e combat.

Everytime there's a discussion of this on the WotC forums -- often when talking about staking a vampire (because staking an elf through the heart wouldn't be lethal, right?) -- it's pretty readily agreed by all that called shots just don't work in [A]D&D (any version).
20th-Nov-2004 02:20 pm (UTC)
The solution, then, would be to do a location chart that would track every blow, and award damage bonuses based on that. TSR's old Top Secret game did that, but to integrate something like that into D&D would really change combat dynamics. I think SPI's DragonQuest (now I'm really dating myself) had hit locations, and accounted for partial armor. This woud be a good topic for a Dragon article.
20th-Nov-2004 01:16 am (UTC) - Just increase the AC with respect to the size of the object?
Let's say you want to hit someone's neck. Well, that's a small object compared to their entire body. So give it an AC bonus based on it's size ranking. Also, if they miss the called shot, apply a small AC modifier to the overall shot result to see if they hit anywhere on their opponent's body. If they screw up a called shot they're somewhat less likely to strike normally, but they still might do some damage anyway.
20th-Nov-2004 10:51 am (UTC)
emagius is right, that is the argument used; so perhaps a crit IS the head shot actually coming off in this situation?
20th-Nov-2004 03:35 pm (UTC)
I use Bastion Press' Torn Assunder book for called shots. I don't have it with me at the moment, but the basics are that it is a full round action that provokes AoO with a penalty based on what the called shot is. They also put some other criteria like the target can't have moved more than 5 or 10 feet in the last round (optional, if they did apply a stiffer penalty). Depending on where you hit and what type of weapon (bludgeon, pierce, slash) you get slightly different effects. The book is filled with charts for different body types (biped, quadriped, etc.) I don't use the book for all criticals, but for the special ones. Usually when someone scores a crit when confirming a crit (2 natural 20s or whatever), I'll use the rules.

One stat I remember is for called shots to the head. -8 penalty to attack. If you want to go for something even more exact like eyes, ears, etc. then the penalty goes up. The effect on a head shot varies based on damage type. Slashing is something like they must make a Fort save or die. If they make the save they will still die (or pass out) in # rounds equal to Con bonus. Again, not sure on specifics.

Overall it is an interesting book. It also has rules on scarring, broken bones, prosthetic limbs, new spells, new prestige classes, etc. It talks about things that you might not even think about, like would a Cure Light Wounds set a broken bone? I don't use all the rules and some not all the time, but it is still good material. And no, even with the shameless plug, I don't get commission, although I do know the authors. ;)
20th-Nov-2004 10:27 pm (UTC)
Its a little late now, but worth saying...

Just bump up the hit points to reflect that some blows are meaningless: D+D is particularly good at representing hits that do nothing! And give them DR 5/slashing.

Then when they run out of HP, tell the player "Well done, you finally hit them in the head after all those other attempts".

If they don't know only the head is vulnerable, increase the HP to reflect that this lack of knowledge makes them a tougher opponent. From watching "The Mummy Returns" last night, there will be many wasted blows even if they know the neck is the only weak spot.

IMHO trying to micromanage combat actions in D+D lifts a veil off the hit-point system, and you don't really want to look too closely at that. FYI the designers had a go with the Hydra in the SRD, but a Sunder doesn't seem right in this case.
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