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This is my first time asking a question. I have only ever played D&D and I am now looking for a very different type of system.

My goal is to have a realistic system to use for a Zombie one-shot. I have looked AFMBE but I want a very different combat. (Based on looking at the introductory game kit). I would like a wound system so that if someone has damage to the leg it will hurt their ability to run. I have already seen the previous suggestions for systems that are similar to that but I haven't seen one where you are aiming at a specific location and if you miss that spot you might hit a different location.

Example: You are fighting a zombie and swing at their head with a baseball bat. If you miss you might swing high into the air. However, if you swing low you might hit them in the chest, which would help push a zombie back but not help kill it.

I am willing to alter or combine systems to try and get what I want. However, I haven't seen anything to allow for a miss to have the possibility to hit a nearby location. Does this exist or will I have to make it up?


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Realistic is a strange word, because usually when people say "more realistic" with regard to roleplaying systems, they really mean "more detailed." For instance, calling shots in melee is very hard to do in real life. Usually by the time you've had time to think, it's over already. – tex Apr 5 '13 at 3:38

5 Answers 5

I've never seen one that's purely dice-based, but I used to have a copy of Killer Crosshairs, which works by placing a transparent "bullseye" template over a silhouette of the target, then using the to-hit roll to determine how far from the center you hit (with any deviation being in a completely random direction). There was also a separate template for melee attacks using parallel lines instead of a bullseye.

That's how Aces & Eights works too (people have mentioned it in other answers but not actually explained it). – mxyzplk Apr 3 '13 at 23:18
Look at Chamelion Ecclectic's The Babylon Project - it does purely dice based, as the hex-grid is printed with the character sheet. No separate hit template. – aramis Dec 23 '14 at 3:38

This sounds very much like the shot clock system employed by Aces and Eights.


Aces and Eights, with the Shot Clock system, provides such a system. But EVERY ranged weapon is a called shot - and the actual impact location is deviated from there, so some shots inherently are more likely to hit another location. (A heart shot is likely to hit the chest, possibly the head.) It doesn't provide for Zombies, however.

Chamelion Eccelctic's Babylon Project used a similar system, but using a hex-grid over the silhouette instead of a separate template.

Several I've run use a "Miss by less than the penalty and roll location" mode. I can't remember which ones at the moment, but there are several, and this can easily be retrofit to most games.

Which leads me to games with excellent wound systems...

Warhammer FRP 1e (GW, HHP) or 2e (GR/BI, FFG) , or the mechanically related Dark Heresy, Rogue Trader, Only War, and Deathwatch have wonderful critical hits, by hit location no less, but lack the immediacy of the template based to hit systems.

CORPS (BTRC) has 6 hit locations, and each affects all actions that make use of that part... head hits, even minor ones, are immediately disabling. It does not, however, have the hit another location on a miss... but that was an often suggested house rule for it.

Chameleon Eclectic also produced Millennium's End. That uses a circular transparent template over the same silhouette. – SnakeDr68 Apr 4 '13 at 0:24

While it's not exactly what you're looking for, your example of “swinging high into the air” reminded me of HârnMaster. In that system, you aim for a medium, high or low area of the opponent, and where precisely you hit in that area is randomized.

Other points of the HârnMaster combat may also be interesting for you, because the system tries to model (medieval) combat very precisely, giving you the choice to block, dodge, ignore or counterattack when targeted by an attack, detailed consequences for various levels of wounds inflicted by all the variety of piercing, crushing and slashing weapons and a high mortality rate; On the other hand, this high level of detail leads to a few tables and dice rolls needed to resolve an attack, which made combat feel running too slow for me as inexperienced GM [and as I have gone towards more narratively powered systems since, I cannot say if that improves when one becomes more used to it].


Top Secret S.I., published by TSR in 1987 had a reasonably elegant hit location system. The areas of the body were numbered one through ten, and the skill resolution was percentage based. So, for example if you rolled a 42 and your modified chance to hit was 50, you'd hit, and do damage to area 2 (which I was believe was right side chest). In melee, it was handled the same, but the damage was whatever tens placed you rolled (this also had the internal consistency of potentially doing better damage if you were more skilled/strong). To reduce the wild randomness and factor for skill (these were secret agents, after all) for every ten points of skill you could move the hit location by one. For instance: if the attacker in the previous example had a pistol skill of 32 (the extra +18 came from stats and situational modifiers) then he would be able to change the hit location from two up to three places, up to five (right arm, I think?) or down to zero (the head). Each location had it's hit points, and thus, different effects when damaged.


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