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Alaric0503

Head Shots

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Ever taken a full aim with a long las with a hot shot pack and did a called shot to the face and hit but didnt kill the enemy, well quite frankly that annoys me and my players. Looking for any house rules for head shots out there. Thanks

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Well, head critical effects get worse fast and some of my GMs just kill minor NPCs straight off if you get a powerful called shot to the head.

One GM though sometimes does 1.5x damage to headshots, while another makes few "normal" NPCs wear helmets, meaning you get to bypass armor there. (Excluding mercs and security guards as well as similar opponents).

 

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I think there is even an official "Sudden Death" rule somewhere in the core rulebook which has minor NPCs have no wounds at all, letting damage go straight into criticals. Might want to look into that one?

As for the wounds, I have always interpreted them more like "dumb luck". A so-called headshot that doesn't go into criticals doesn't mean a bullet between the eyes, just that the target took a grazing hit to his skull, walking away from it with but a thin scar.

Headshots in 40k are overrated, anyways. Technically, a load of plasma to the belly would be just as lethal as one to the face. The fact that 90% of all attacks in the RPG do not slay even where they should is simply part of the usual game mechanics which has combat be somewhat less lethal to avoid player characters getting one-shot-killed. Which I think most people really wouldn't appreciate.

If you want a more accurate representation of what 40k weapons ought to be capable of, look at what happens to DW Hordes, then think about if you really want to be part of one. ;)

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A couple of good points have been made, but frankly your post seems a bit lacking to me.  Who or what got shot in the head (face), and just how much damage did the shot do?  What are its wounds?  Was it wearing armour?

I see a couple possible situations and please correct me if I am wrong.

One, the player rolled horribly on damage producing mediocre amounts and thus didn't kill their target.

Two, the player rolled well enough to kill any member of their party with the head shot but not this particular npc for some reason.

Three, the player made the best possible roll (extremely doubtful as it would include repeated righteous fury rolls that would have killed anything) and the target shrugged it off.

So, judging from the context of the post I am leaning toward either one or two as three would have killed anything.

Welcome to a roll playing game.

If your gm thinks non essential npc's shouldn't go into critical damage, and should instead die when all their wounds have been exhausted as stated I say go with it.  It might have helped out in this situation.  I imagine a lot of people do it to speed up the game.

Special head shot rules I think are a bit much.

That's what the crit table is for if you don't push the wound threshold into critical levels it doesn't matter if you rolled a one on the attack and have dos coming out your ass the target walks it off.  The shot was a graze and caused no significant damage.

Asking for special headshot rules is like asking every npc you come across to shoot you in the head.  A gm typically doesn't get as attached to his npcs as players do to their characters, and if a player in one of our games asked for special head shot rules I imagine every encounter they came across would include npcs making the same called shots.  If the called shot was even needed; with the right roll any shot could hit a character in the head, and the rule should still apply.

Dice can be brutal.

I think sometimes we get hung up with what our characters are capable of instead of viewing their actual performance (dice rolls) in the situation objectively.

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 I don't like special rules for head shots because there are enough vital organs in the torso to make shots there powerful as well. I fully accept that a target that is wearing armor everywhere but his head is more vulnerable than a target that is wearing full armor. However, these extra damage rules that I've seen seem to imply that in some cases a target wearing only a helmet or at least a preposterously large helmet compared to the rest of his armor is somehow much better protected than someone that is wearing armor everywhere but his head. I do not accept that. 

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If we start with special kill rules for head shots, then we should also be intruducing Fatigue and other effects for called shots to the rest of the body. Should a called shot to the hand ALWAYS remove the hand? Should everybody hit in the leg cripple my opponent? As others have pointed out, the game (for better and for worse) assumes that until you have hit critical damage you can continue to function "normally." Ultimately, there's a balance to strike between realism and playability and this was the game designer's solution.

As was already pointed out, many opponents will have weaker armour in the head than elsewhere on their body, making aiming there already a plus. As well, the critical effects ARE worse for head damage, meaning that crit. damage has a greater chance of killing someone shot with a hunting rifle in the head with an Aim action than in the left arm, for instance. But, be that as it may, (whether I agree or not is besides the point) the original poster wanted suggestions for a more lethal headshot. So here's my 2 cents (these, in my view, should not be cummulative, but feel free to play with these ideas as it suits you. They're just different suggestions):

  • Grant headshots Tearing. If the weapon firing already has Tearing, then allow the player to roll an additional 1d10 to his pool, and keep the highest as usual. This will increase damage and the likelyhood of a Righeous Fury.
  • Allow characters firing with a weapon with the Accurate quality to gain a free additional degree of success for a Called  headshot. Agsin, this increaes the likelyhood of high damage.
  • Treat the head as having half the total amount of wounds that the character has, with anything exceeding that amount counting as Critical Damage. Example: PC is firing at a Cultist with 12 wounds and makes a Called shot to the head. They hit the baddie (TB 3) with their overcharged lasgun (1d10+4 E) and roll a total of 11 pts. After deducting 3 wounds for TB, the first 6 points would count as regular damage. The extra 2 points would instead be counted as Critical.  In this case, this would blind the enemy. (If the weapon had been Impact damage, the taget takes 1 level of tagiue and -10% WS/BS for 1 round; Explosive damage: deaf for 1 round, 2 levels of fatigue ; Rending: -10 WS/BS for 1d10 rounds and 1 level of fatigue). This doesn't always result in a kill, but it does some serious damage.
  • You could allow head shots ot ignore Toughness for the purpose of Called Shot damage. That would give an extra punch.
  • Instead of allowing headshots to cause instakills, allow the player, if they succeed, to deal damage plus apply one of the following conditions to the target, at least until they receive the benefit of healing via Medicae: blinded, deafened, stunned, fatigued (1 level).
  • If you REALLy want an instalkill rule for headshots, try this: if the damage of the shot (after removing damage for TB and Armour) does more than 2x the TB in damage to the target, you can rule that target to be dead. otherwise, damage is dealt regularly.
  • Or, decide that called shots to the head inflict Blood Loss automatically. That should increase the lethality.
  • Finally, you can simply decide that all damage dealt to the head (after TB and armour) is treated as critical.

I would - as a rule - only allow any of these bonuses if the player made a Called Shot, not if they randomly rolled Head as hit location. This should be a bonus for taking a risk, not a freebie (of course, if they have Precise Strike...). A lot of these seem like more trouble than they're worth, but they may work to give you the results you want.

last note: I hope you'll be applying any of these rule to NPCs shooting at the heads of your PCs.

Hope this helps you. Let me know how it goes. (wow, that was more solutions that I expected! lol)

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Decessor said:

A head shot does not necessarily mean a bullseye between the eyes. It could be a near miss that burns some skin or a glancing hit that takes off a piece of ear.

Exactly. Many "headshots" don't insta-kill, because most don't hit the target right in the right parts of the brain to kill them, and many don't even hit the skull (clipping your ear, blowing through your cheek, stuff like that).

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Sorry for it being a vague post. But I appreciate all the input. I think I have been made to see the light and will just let headshots do their thing on their own. It will be up to the chance of rolls and luck to determine a kill shot.

Thanks guys

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Lynata said:

I think there is even an official "Sudden Death" rule somewhere in the core rulebook which has minor NPCs have no wounds at all, letting damage go straight into criticals. Might want to look into that one?

Disciples of the Dark Gods. IN the last Chapter about running adversaries. Unfortunately it isn't in the main book (though DotDG is probably worth the purchase anyway).

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Alaric0503 said:

Ever taken a full aim with a long las with a hot shot pack and did a called shot to the face and hit but didnt kill the enemy, well quite frankly that annoys me and my players. Looking for any house rules for head shots out there. Thanks

Did it annoy them as much as it would if you shot *them* in the face and killed them outright? Ask 'em!

If your party want their called shots to the head to insta-kill, then it needs to work the other way around, too!

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It's only midly related but were you using the rules for accurate weapons from the errata where they gain one or two additional damage dice for aimed shots if you score 2 or 4 degrees of success? Some consider them a bit over top in all honesty, I consider only using this rule with called shots (to the head or chest for the same result really)

If you were are still failed to kill the guy, well that's just bad luck.

Also a rule from DW that I plan on using is that for an attack that a single damage dice cannot be lower than the degrees of success on the attack roll which should help with unlucky rolls too for even non accurate weapons.

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While I am of the opinion that not all head shots are fatal, I offer the following suggestions for increasing their lethality. In order of increasing deadliness:

1.When a character is struck in the head with a Called Shot, ignore the wounded characters Toughness Bonus when calculating damage. If the target possesses the Daemonic or Unnatural Toughness traits it reduces the victims Toughness Bonus one level, i.e. a Target with a Toughness of 40 and Unnatural Toughness (X2) would have a TB of 4 vice 8 when shot in the head.
2. When a character is struck in the head with a Called Shot, double the damage after subtracting Armor and Toughness.
3. When a character is struck in the head with a Called Shot, the shooter deals double damage.

Much like the options presented by Macharias, these rules only apply to Called Shots. A lucky hit in the head from general gun play is unlikely to as lethal as a well-aimed shot in the head.

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I have always seen and treated wounds as a rather abstract thing anyway representing luck, toughness pain endurance and 'vitality'.  I might describe taking one or two wounds from a hit as actually a near miss, rather than taking a bolt to the head and shrugging it off.

This method works quite well in fire fights but I guess wouldn't be so useful in a clear hit from a sniper. 

 

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MILLANDSON said:

Exactly. Many "headshots" don't insta-kill, because most don't hit the target right in the right parts of the brain to kill them, and many don't even hit the skull (clipping your ear, blowing through your cheek, stuff like that).

Many "hits" do not even hit the target at all, but have some effect that cause "damage". An example is a "headshot" that actually hits the wall corner the target is hitting behind, causing either a ricochet or splinters and/or debris from the wall to hit the targets face.

Upcoming Rant about Warhammers Abstract Combat System. Skip if this bores you.

This is the essence of the abstract nature of the warhammer combat system. Not everyone likes it, and it does mean that what was a perfect hitroll of 01 after careful aiming at the opponents eyes may result in the above scenario if the result of the damageroll was a non-critical hit.

Call it movie-damage, or Luck-points. It's a more accurate descriptions than "Wounds". That 22 Wounds, 6 TB guardsman is a lot more difficult to kill with a single bullet to the head not because he has a bulletproof cranium, but because his years of training and experience has made him virtually impossible to "hit" square in the eyes.

Makes sense? No? Well, not really, but then this is just a game. Being killed by the very first surprise shot is not fun, and having a bullet proof skull does not make sense. So the abstract form of handwavium is the solution.

Geeky, Munchkin example exercise follows. Skip if this bores you.

To achieve your desired scenario of one-shotting the above Guardsman you would need to cause in excess of 36 Damage, which IS achievable with an accurate weapon vs a helpless target (say the guardsman was smoking a lho stick, hanging around his post and didn't know you were there).

A successful headshot with 4+ DoS results in weapon damage + 2 d10. Helpless adds another 2 d10. With Might Shot (+2 DmG) and Crack Shot (+2 Crit Dmg). With a decent weapon (1d10+4 I) you're looking at 5d10+6, and another +2 if you go critical. So it is possible, but only in certain circumstances. In most other circumstances you need luck (Righteous Fury), or more "normal" enemies (10 Wounds, 3 TB make for much simpler kills)

Conclusion: This is a Feature, not a Bug.

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Um, you guys all make me shake my head: If there is no armor and they do enough damage the head shot kills. If not its a very annoyed person/thing and it focuses on the shooter. The argument is invalidated: All head shots kill in my game due to damage rolled. Dice happen, roll better and suck less.

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I used the imrpoved Accurate rule from the errata, and if you acolytes used their sniper rifles as such they should deal most of the time with unexpecting targets, lots of time to aim ... ending somewhere between 80-120 % hitting chance. Now that should usually end in 1-2 extra damage dice, double the total of all rolled damage, ignore his armor, let the minion die if his wounds get down to 0 or less.

If, however, they just barely hit their opponents head in a firefight ... then they simply barely hit him. Chipped of his ear, broke his cheek bone, grazed his skull, or simply just gave him a haircut ... Should you be able to talk to a few WW II veterans (or any war veterans) in a retirement home in your vaccinity and they are still able to tell about it (some don't want to, others can't remember 'cause of their age) ask them to tell a few of their war stories. You won't believe what wounds/hits some of them or they buddies took without dying.

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