Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Easiest Hit Location System I Could Think Of

You can use this system whenever you want. In my games I use it for hits on PCs and for most monsters, but if I'm pressed for prep time I only use it for monsters in the big battles.

  • Get a picture of the creature in question--this can be one you drew yourself or one you printed out or photocopied. It can be any size as long as it shows all the parts of the monster that'd be accessible to an ordinary attacker. (Different pictures will produce different results but, hey, different ballparks produce different ballgames.)
  • Draw lines to the different limbs or other hit locations.
  • Distribute the creature's total hit points around the body in an intuitive manner. (For low level humanoids, I generally assume 1 hit point per limb, with extras going to the torso, legs, and arms in that order.)
  • Creatures with more locations than hit points get extra hit points up to one h.p. per location (lucky them)

    • When a creature gets hit, lay the picture flat on the table and roll a d4 on the picture. The creature gets hit wherever the corner of the d4 closest to the center of the creature points*. (The actual result on the d4 is irrelevant.)

      • If the player wants to hit a certain location, he or she can try rolling the die him or herself.
      • Losing all hp on a given hit location renders that limb useless until it heals at least one hit point.
      • An attacker who rolls the maximum damage possible for his or her attack with a slashing weapon and causes enough damage to render a hit limb useless severs that limb.
      • Depleting all the hit-points on a creature's head--presuming it has only one head--knocks the creature unconscious. Creatures wearing a helmet may be allowed a save.

    • In major battles with large creatures like dragons or giants where hit location is important, if a PC's dex is higher than the monster's then the PC may be allowed to roll a number of hit-location dice equal to the difference between the PC's dex and the monster's and choose the result they like best.
    • The same system, optionally, can be used for determining attacks by small, intelligent creatures like pixies on normal-sized opponents.
    • You may want to give 1st-level PCs and 1HD monsters extra hit points or the maximum allowable for their class or something because this system fucks people up fast. You'll be up to your neck in limping, bandaged PCs in no time. But it's fun.

    * The center of the creature--from the attacker's position--is not necessarily the center of the picture as in the flail snail example. Choose the location that is closest to the center of the attacker's crosshairs, so to speak.


  1. While I'm normally no fan of making combat any more complex, that actually looks fun. I may have to borrow that for "special occasions" like duels and such, thanks for sharing:)

  2. Sounds like a simpler version of the (unworkably complex) WH40K vehicle damage system from the early 90s, the one that involved A4 side views of vehicles and the acetate overlay. *shudders in horrified remembrance*

    I'd just take the digits number for damage and compare it to hack/'s simple WFRP combat hit loc. chart.

  3. It sounds more and more fun with every reconsideration so I think I bought it!

  4. Looks funs indeed but the easiest? For me the easiest is the six sider I have with a humanoid figure and a small circle around is left arm, right arm, head, right leg,etc. No fuss no muss.


  5. This is completely awesome. It's like a game in an of itself. You should check out my How to Host a Dungeon game ( It uses a similar mechanic of "roll the dice and see where it lands". I'd be happy to send you a free copy if you're interested.

  6. Chris--
    those systems don't work for nonhumanoids. That's why i had to invent this one.

    I saw that when I was shopping with my contest winnings. Looks intriguing.

  7. Hah - this rules.

    (I was actually reminded of How to Host a Dungeon myself, Tony. Good shit.)

  8. It sounds like too much work...

    My hit detection system goes as this:

    On the occasion of a critical hit, or damage > 4xHD of target roll a d10.

    1-2: Severely damages the right leg, halves movement (wing is damaged in case of flying creatures). If hit again the leg is severed and needs to be regenerated.

    3-4: Same but left leg. If both legs are damaged the target can only drag itself 1 square-equivalent distance by turn.

    5: Damages right arm. If it holds a shield, that shield doesn't grant any protection anymore, if used to attack with any weapon it has a -4 to hit. If hit again arm is severed and needs to be regenerated.

    6: Same as previous, but left arm.

    7: Internal organs are damaged, receives 1d10 damage/turn until dead or healed. Cumulative results.

    8: Head is damaged, concussion. Any check is made at -2. Cumulative results.

    9: Eye damage. Blinded. If hit again the injury upgrades to trauma.

    10: Severe trauma, target is unconscious until healed. Isn't cumulative.

    Higher crit chances gives a -1 to the roll for each die result lesser than 20 (a 19 crit is -1, a 17 crit is -3) and higher multiplier gives a +1 for each multiplier higher than x2. Target grants a -1 penalty to the roll for each scale larger than the weapon that caused the injury. (A large ogre imposes a -3 to a roll for a crit caused by a tiny dagger)

    A bit complex, but only used in crits. Creatures with fast healing heals 1 injury/turn, creatures with regeneration heals every injury each turn. Otherwise healing spells heals 1 injury for each 10 HP it heals.

    Otherwise damage is considered to be just flesh wounds or shallow hits to the torso.

  9. From your link today -- This reminds me of the OD&D Sup-2 (Blackmoor) hit-location system in several ways. Of course, location rolled on a table, not a picture. Handles different body types and also relative height of attacker (men melee giants at knees, etc.) Hit points divided in kind of similar way: Component hp allowed to add to significantly more than regular hp. (Example, Fish: Head 40%, Body 80%, Fins 10% each, Tail 15%).