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Varnias Tybalt

Handling Neck Snaps and strangulation

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Unfortunately Dark Heresy doesn't really adress unarmed combat in depth and some of the more lethal techniques associated with it like strangulation and snapping parts of the spinal column.

There is a "Grapple" action but there's really not much you can do with a grappled victim except holding them down and "causing them injury" (pretty miniscule injury according to the RAW).

I was thinking of perhaps allowing a character to attempt to snap a victims neck by making a called shot grapple aimed at the victims head. The called shot penalty representing the natural difficulty in getting a good hold on someones head (which can be negated by being sneaky and attacking an unaware target of course). If the grapple succeeds and the target has become grappled, the grappler may make a grapple action (as if he or she was grappled), but in an attempt to snap the victims neck. Im not sure if one should pit the grapplers Strength versus the victims Toughness or the victims Strength, and I'll have to think about it. But if the grappler succeeds in this, the victim dies. (I think it's unecessary to measure the exact damage a victim would take since having ones neck snapped is not something you could really "heal from" if done properly).

For strangulation, im thinking of doing sort of the same thing, but using the rules described for suffocation instead. However the victim is not allowed to do the "hold your breath" option described in the rules (it doesn't matter if you are being grabbed from the back or engaged in melee combat, you wont be ready for a sudden attempt at strangulation to be able to fill your lungs and hold your breath). Also im thinking of circumvent the rules about being able to hold your breath for twice your TB rounds when being suffocated and being engaged in a strenous activity. The average toughness bonus for a normal human is 3, that would mean that a human that suddenly gets a vice grip clamped around his/her windpipe and vital bloodvessels in the neck will be able to stay conscious/awake and not suffer any injury for 6 rounds. That's roughly 24 seconds (if one round is roughly 4 seconds as per the RAW), and I find that hard to believe that you can actually manage to stay perfectly unharmed for that long with your windpipe and blood vessels obstructed (remember, the danger of strangulation isn't only to be unable to breathe, but also having the little oxygen you have in your blood be cut off from the brain).

I'd say that suffocation from strangulation will start affecting the victim after TB/2 rounds rather than the standard TB*2 rounds. Representing that the blood to your brain is being cut off due to the strangulating grip.

Im also thinking of giving bonuses if the strangler is using a tool for the job (like a garotte).

Any thoughts?

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Purposefully breaking someones neck is a tough thing to do effectively..it takes alot of skill and know how or alot of luck. I do think your on the right path. i would actually use damage as a guage of success on the second grapple attempt. if the damage caused exceeds the opponents TB. consider the neck broken. the reason why i would use the damage is to represent a less than successful attempt. the victim could still be harmed..a sore neck, whip lash, whatever. i might go a lil further and say if the damage equals TB then , the opponent is out of the fight but not dead. (gives him the role playing ability to come back with a neck brace later on, standing behind his Boss, looking uncomfortable..lol)

Strangulation. hmm. a tough one. without getting into the various methods of strangulation, it takes the human brain 4 minutes to die without oxygen. unconsciousness occurs typically within 8 -20 seconds if applied correctly., death following minutes after unconsciousness. 24 sec for an effective strangulation in an RPG is fine enough to my mind when factoring strenuous activity (fighting for ones life and breath). I would go the route of affecting the grapple as per standard. once effectively grappled, the grapple must be maintained. the victim suffering a cumulative -10 to do so with each successive round. in ur scenario (TB of 3) it would take 6 rnds as per RAW.  i do think this should be maintained but calculate damage in this situation as SB for each successive round of the constant pressure strangulation reflective of damage being done to trachea, carotid etc. in addition to 2 levels of Fatigue per round maintained (simulating the person going unconscious then death).remember RAW provides a -10 to all Tests for Fatigue also. i would play the grapple continuously so as not to break the continuity. thus the time not being a big factor. i would also rule that strangulation can only typically occur with individuals of the same size or smaller. ur not going to find too many humans that can strangle an orgyn. obviously there are all sorts of potential exemptions. 

               Billi Bhob (WS 45, SB 3) wants to strangle the hell out of his heretic nemesis Khurli Khups (WS 50) 18 wounds. on a successful grapple. Billi grabs Khurli and somehow gains the upper hand, making short work of him. hands around throat, Billi exerts Emperor driven pressure (and pleasure). Khurlis TB is 3 so  it will take 6 rnds to conclude his strangulation, or 6 turns. apply 1st bit of damage (1) and 1 round of fatigue (as per RAW). 2ND turn, Khurli is at -20 to break grapple. and he fails. taking another (3) wounds and now 2 points of Fatigue. 3rd turn Khurli is now at -30 to grapple and fails again. he takes (3) wounds and gains another 2 levels of Fatigue. Khurli has now exceeded his TB and is now unconscious. with no resistance left Billi Bhob can have his way with him, strangling the life out of him. if you choose to play out the rounds thats your call as GM...i would if he still has buddies around that care to help him out.

in my games Fatigue is more of a problem. there is a -10 penalty to all Tests for EACH level of fatigue (RAW just states a -10 penalty for Fatigue).

so lets say in that same example  provided above. Khurli broke free on the 3rd turn. he would have taken 4 wounds and acquired 3 levels of Fatigue. under my rules he would still be a hurting unit at -30 to all Tests. Billi Bhob can always try strangling him again.

the garrote. or any similar tool. 1D5+SB.  

monowire garrote. 1d5+2+SB. Tearing quality. any damage it causes counts as Heavily Damaged.

as an interesting aside to this topic. back as early as the 13th century right up to the 19th century, there was a cult of criminals and murderers called the Thugee in Indian (where we got the name 'thug' from) that used strangulation as a preferred method of choice in killing. they would use a rumal or puggaree (a head scarf of some type) or use a rock in combination with the rumal, placing it in the middle and wrapping the material around it. when strangling, they would come up behind the person placing the rock on the adams apple, bend their body pulling the person backwards forcefully. causing the rock to crush the adams apple. the rest is easy enough to figure out.

btw, in case you are not aware. RT gives an expanded section on Grappling with more options.

hope this was helpful. cheers

 

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from france

you should also considered the size of the victime and nit just is tb.  a eldar neck is more fragile than an ogryn one. i also think that it need a particualr training unless you have talents that may help it is not so easy.  finally something that is overlooked is the spychological side of the probleme. i mean unless you belong to fight oriented class watching your victime slowly die can disturb you for a long moment. gunsfight? swordfigth? an adept can handle it  but slowly killing someone with stangulation i am not sure.

as always people tend to have a black heart in dh.

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the 8 spider said:

 

from france

you should also considered the size of the victime and nit just is tb.  a eldar neck is more fragile than an ogryn one. i also think that it need a particualr training unless you have talents that may help it is not so easy.  finally something that is overlooked is the spychological side of the probleme. i mean unless you belong to fight oriented class watching your victime slowly die can disturb you for a long moment. gunsfight? swordfigth? an adept can handle it  but slowly killing someone with stangulation i am not sure.

as always people tend to have a black heart in dh.

 

 

Oh yeah, the psychological impact would be significant. I'd say that without the Jaded talent (or something stronger) you'll probably take a Willpower test to resist some effects of shock. Snapping someones neck and cradeling the victim in your arms to the very last minute or witnessing as you slowly strangle the life out of someone is definetly a Fear 1 experience in my opinion. Guns and Swords have the advantage of killing rather quickly so your mind rarely have the time to catch up with the deed done (that's why shooting someone can be so easy, even in real life. It usually only dawns on people a long time afterwards that they've shot somone that they have actually taken another persons life)

As for the strangulation of non-human victims, I guess it would be up to the GM to decide on a case-by-case method. For instance, I wouldn't agree that it's possible to "strangle" or "break the neck" of a creature with the Strange Physiology trait.

As for strangling ogryns (and orks) I'd deem that you have to be roughly of equal size and strength as the creature in question (not counting Unnatural attributes of course), otherwise you'd have to hard a time to get your hands around the trunk like throat of the creature.

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the liegekiller said:

Purposefully breaking someones neck is a tough thing to do effectively..it takes alot of skill and know how or alot of luck. I do think your on the right path. i would actually use damage as a guage of success on the second grapple attempt. if the damage caused exceeds the opponents TB. consider the neck broken. the reason why i would use the damage is to represent a less than successful attempt. the victim could still be harmed..a sore neck, whip lash, whatever. i might go a lil further and say if the damage equals TB then , the opponent is out of the fight but not dead. (gives him the role playing ability to come back with a neck brace later on, standing behind his Boss, looking uncomfortable..lol)

Well, I thought the "Forced called shot to the head" aspect of the whole thing would represent the natural difficulty involved. Getting a -20 to your WS is a pretty hefty penalty (mainly because there aren't a lot of options to increase your WS like you can with a firerarm to BS like shooting on full auto or at point blank range etc.), which pretty much insures that only people with a high WS would actually be succesful (in other words: the most skilled people).

However I like your idea of giving the opponent a sore neck. Perhaps the victim could recieve damage as per the normal grappling rules if the attempt to break his/her neck is failed? (representing the gross twisting and turning of the victims neck tearing at ligaments and muscles etc.). I think this qould be quite realistic, because even if a person unskilled would try to break your neck it will still hurt even if he or she fails.

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Sounds a lot too easy. One WS test at -20 (or rather -10 due to Aim or Charge) and one opposed S/T test (meaning often at least even chances!) and your enemy is dead? Without recourse to his wounds, armour or other stats?

I wonder why characters carry melee weapons...

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When grappling an enemy (though not when being grappled by another), a character may attempt to snap the neck of his adversary. This is, however, quite difficult, and only the most capable and lucky of combatants can reliably achieve something like this in the midst of a swirling melee.

When attempting to deal damage in a grapple, count up the number of Degrees of Success gained on your opposed Strength test, and subtract the number of Degrees of Success gained by the enemy resisting your grapple. If this total is equal to or less than the resisting enemy's Toughness Bonus, then unarmed damage is dealt normally. If, however, this total is greater than the resisting enemy's Toughness Bonus, then their neck has been broken, with all the effects that would have upon that particular target (the consequences of a broken neck can vary between species, and be influenced by mutation and daemonic influence; this is a matter for GM's discretion).

The GM should impose a -20 penalty on the opposed strength test for unaware targets attempting to resist; a target who has not discerned your presence can be more easily grabbed in the correct manner than one who is ready to defend himself.

Example: Brother Sergeant Agamorr of the Deathwatch has snatched up a xenophile cultist by the throat. Agamorr rolls rolls a 24 on his Strength test, against the cultist's desperate roll of 4. Agamorr's strength, including his armour, is 68, while the cultist is strength 31, so Agamorr scores 6 degrees of success (including the +2 for Unnatural Strength x2), while the cultist scores 2 degrees of success - a normally respectable value, but not enough to overcome the might of one of the Emperor's Space Marines. Agamorr has 4 Net Degrees of Success, which is higher than the cultist's Toughness Bonus of 3, and the cultist's neck snaps beneath Agamorr's armoured grasp.

 

That should be appropriately difficult, yet still allow strong, skilled and/or stealthy characters to achieve it if they're lucky.

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I heard somewhere that in some circumstances strangulation can actually crush a victims windpipe extremly quickly meaning that even if the attacker is dragged off/stops the victim will need immediate mmedical attention not to die anyway.  Perhaps there should be an additional opposed Strength/Toughness test to take this into account.

 

 

 

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Varnias Tybalt said:

the 8 spider said:

 

from france

you should also considered the size of the victime and nit just is tb.  a eldar neck is more fragile than an ogryn one. i also think that it need a particualr training unless you have talents that may help it is not so easy.  finally something that is overlooked is the spychological side of the probleme. i mean unless you belong to fight oriented class watching your victime slowly die can disturb you for a long moment. gunsfight? swordfigth? an adept can handle it  but slowly killing someone with stangulation i am not sure.

as always people tend to have a black heart in dh.

 

 

Oh yeah, the psychological impact would be significant. I'd say that without the Jaded talent (or something stronger) you'll probably take a Willpower test to resist some effects of shock. Snapping someones neck and cradeling the victim in your arms to the very last minute or witnessing as you slowly strangle the life out of someone is definetly a Fear 1 experience in my opinion. Guns and Swords have the advantage of killing rather quickly so your mind rarely have the time to catch up with the deed done (that's why shooting someone can be so easy, even in real life. It usually only dawns on people a long time afterwards that they've shot somone that they have actually taken another persons life)

As for the strangulation of non-human victims, I guess it would be up to the GM to decide on a case-by-case method. For instance, I wouldn't agree that it's possible to "strangle" or "break the neck" of a creature with the Strange Physiology trait.

As for strangling ogryns (and orks) I'd deem that you have to be roughly of equal size and strength as the creature in question (not counting Unnatural attributes of course), otherwise you'd have to hard a time to get your hands around the trunk like throat of the creature.

Well imo the class exempt from this rule would obviously be assassins.  Being trained killers as they are, a dead mark is a dead mark whether it be from a shot to the head from 1km, poison, a slit throat, broken neck or strangelation.  I could even go for the rule that a class not "used" to more personal forms of killing, ie adepts and priest, would go possibly Fear 2 just because of them not being used to that sort of thing. The other core classes would depend on origin and other factors.

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i can't help but to think there should be a grapple component once the garrote has been established. the natural reaction is to fight for life and breath. those that are using instinct will try to release the offending item from the throat fighting for air.

special operations and intelligence services train to counter this by attacking the assailants body. you waste too much time the 'instinctive' way exhausting energy on a small target as opposed to a much larger one.

as stated i would account for some type of grappling  by the victim with the attempt being at the ascribed +30 for the attacker. this attack should do both damage and fatigue i think..grappling grants fatigue naturally the wire will add the damage..after the initial 1d10 damage roll subsequent damage should be based on the SB only.

that grappling adds some real drama and combat tension to it i think.

cheers

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I'm not very keen on making neck snaps possible in anything but very special circumstances and the reason is that in contrary to hollywood movies its just horribly difficult to do. Basically grasping someones head and twisting it very fast to snap a vertabrae doesn't work. Unless the victim is first knocked unconscious with very heavy relaxant drugs (electricity or punch doesn't do because it don't stop muscle tension) there is a lot of muscle tentsion to overcome before you can even start ripping cartilage enough to get the nect overextended. Back in time when people were executed by hanging they used a "medium drop" method to break the neck and even that failed sometimes failed.

"Medium drop" means dropping the victim from 1,2 to 1,8 meters to dead stop on non-dynamic rope. The amount of force you generate on your neck if your 80 kg mass drops with normal 1 G-force acceleration towards the ground for 1,8 meters is huge (we are talking about sveral thousand newtons). And even so, the hanging frequently failed to achieve instant kill. The only 100% guaranteed way to achieve neck snap with hanging was using "long drop" which was 3 to 4 meters for a total of whopping 5000+ newtons force... The only problem is that any force big enough to break vertebrae with 100% certainty was also liable to cause decapitations. Thus this method of hanging was rarely used for aesthetic reasons.

So, unless the guy doing the neck snap has enough strenght to rip the head right off, you just can't do it in any reliable way. Unnatural Strenght anyone?

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You can't ignore body armour in this type of situation either.  Modern US Army body armour includes some modest neck protection as part of it's design.  Likewise the US Marines back in the Barbary Coast days earned the "leatherneck" nickname from the thick leather gorget they wore to protect their necks from sword cuts.  Most Imperial armour in official GW art and model sculpts boast substantially better protection for the neck (with the exception of Astropaths, preachers and Catachan IG).  Strangulation of a Power Armour equipped opponent is virtually impossible, even if you are also wearing Power Armour. 

Granted we are talking DH here instead of 40K so there are alot more people wandering around in street clothes, robes, gang leathers, leather bodygloves and so on.  Mesh armour has a resemblance to thick cloth but stiffens when struck to provide protection: it is reasonable to assume then that if you are wearing a mesh outfit that in some way covers the neck that it would protect against all but the most powerful attempts at this.  Also from a game balance point of view, I am not sure I want some TB5 25 wound character or villain to dead from a single (primitive!) grapple attack.  Double head armour bonus should be added to the target's toughness bonus for the opposed roll (assuming the head armour is not primitive) if you adopt this house rule IMO.

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A realistic strangulation with garrote would be pretty much hit or fail situation. If the victim is wearing neck armor or you can't get the look around his neck it does zero (0) damage. If you do, he's a goner (pretty much like neck snap except that unlike neck snapping, killing with garrote is frighteningly easy). A steel or nylon wire garrote not only contricts arteries, but also cuts deep into flesh, making "ungarroting" someone extremely difficult. While death takes several minutes, unconsciousness from constricted arteries result in only few seconds.

The main problem in introducing rules like this is how to scale them with other weapons. If you introduce a rule which allows players to instantly kill someone without damage roll when he says "I'm going to garrote him" are you also having an instakill rules for situations like "I'm going to push my dagger through his temple", "I'm going to shoot him into base of the neck" et cetera?

Unless you want to find yourself in rules nightmare I'd be extremely carfull with how to make it. I personally use the rule which states that no matter the weapon you can instakill a person without attack or damage roll if he is completely helpless. If someone wants to sneak up on guardsman and strangle him with bare hands he'd better stock the feats and STR bonus to actually do enough damage in few rounds. If someone ambushes a guard and stabs him with the dagger he's still going to have to roll for damage... although I'm quite likely to allow him one round worth of "free damage" next round after succesfull ambush (simulating the dagger being not retracted but twisted around in the wound while grappling match starts). Simply put, damage rules are there to be used when there is any doubt for success. Instant kills without damage rolls only apply for helpless victims.

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-Begin Transmission

Having actually been in situations where I either witnessed someone being or was in the position of choking someone into unconsciousness, let me be blunt - Its alot harder than the rules suggest and requires your full attention, irregardless of which position you find yourself in.  Objects only increase the collateral damage (imagine a space marine being garroted - I doubt very much he will just gasp and lay there while death finds him, more than likely he will bring the very house down on his attacker(s) head(s) in a berserk fury).

I see this as nothing more than an attempt to circumvent the cumbersome process adequately described in the rules.  If you wish to do this, this perversion of the RAW, then why not just scale down to basic Warhammer 40K Tabletop rules and get rid of all the roleplaying pretext entirely?  The miniatures rulebook is alot lighter and cuts out all of the dross as well.  Then its back to "kill-kill-kill" and no story or gritty reality required.

Otherwise, with the RAW,  you might have situations where your players play out a nerve-wracking several minutes (about an hour in real-time) either attempting to strangle or being strangled by an assailant.  Any rule you set into play that can "insta-kill" an NPC applies just as well to the PCs, so be careful or you will find a wrecked campaign is your only reward.  Or, if you must have the rules, do some real research into the subject first and weigh the time spent vs. the RAW...

-End Transmission

 

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Well I've given the assassin in my party two types of garottes.

 

The first 'standard' garotte requires that you  either sneak up on the target or win a grapple by a certain amount to loop it on them. From then on you have to continue grappling them (with a bonus) and do additional damage everytime you win the grapple. Thus it takes a bit of time. It also causes a pt of fatigue like unarmed attacks (so you are probably going to pass out before you die).

 

The other one is a sort of combat garotte. It is a mono razorwire garrote that does a frightful amount of damage. It works the same as above but it has the Accurate rule, ie every 2 DoS you beat your WS by you gain an additional 1D10 pts of damage up to a maximum +2D10.

 

The problem is that the mono razorwire garotte produces a ridiculous amount of blood (it pretty much saws your head off) so it's not very good for covert actions as it leaves a lot of evidence behind.

 

 

Hellebore

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