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In a recent session of ours, one of the players scored a critical hit on a very scary wolf. The random critical-hit bonus rolled was "disarm opponent." Our GM was kind and clever enough to announce that the wolf's teeth got knocked out, but this is obviously a worse penalty than a disarmament (a soldier could draw a dagger or pick up the axe they dropped).

I guess re-rolling is an option, but it's definitely less fun than having the full 18 possibilities.

Does anyone have any suggestions on how to handle these situations? Does anyone use or know of separate tables for sentient/non-sentient, etc?

EDIT: I would prefer specific solutions. As an example, (I am not sure if they exist, but) links to/examples of existing alternative tables would be awesome. As an rpg player, I have experience making my own rules where there aren't any, but I don't want to reinvent the wheel :)

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Wouldn't the wolf still have his claws to attack with? I'm sure that could be considered the equivalent of drawing a dagger. – Jeff Apr 26 '11 at 20:49
A quick-and-simple way would be just to look at the critical results above/below the one that's meant to happen and apply one of those instead. – Rob May 25 '12 at 12:21
up vote 3 down vote accepted

I was inspired by @gomad's answer to check the Bestiary. There's nothing directly applicable, but there is an Animal Critical Miss Table (eg. 9, 10, 11 - animal slightly off balance, defends at -2 until its next turn; 18 -animal fails so badly that it loses its nerve and flees if possible). The book suggests alternatively using the normal Critical Miss Table, treating any 'weapon breaks', 'weapon dropped' or 'weapon turns in hand' as 1d-3 damage to the animal (my emphasis).

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Sure! There are a couple of things you can do here.

  1. Make your own critical-hit tables - And do this for basic body types you think you're going to encounter, such as quadrupeds, things without legs, living plants, etc.
  2. Sub out items as needed - So in your example of the wolf needing to be disarmed, you could sub out something like you've injured the animal's leg briefly and it is taking a penalty to its rolls when dealing with that appendage (or his jaws, or whatever) due to pain.
  3. Creative Linguistics - Translate "disarm" into "dearm", and poor wolfie has just lost a leg.

GURPS is all about making up things as you need them, so I'm not offhand aware of any of the supplements that would have extra tables in them.

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+1 for the pain suggestion. "Cannot use x attack for y rounds" seems like the best way of approximating a disarm. Thanks. – user1637 Apr 26 '11 at 2:37
Marked as accepted. It seems like there isn't anything out there that is pre-built, so the best answer remains guidelines. – user1637 Apr 27 '11 at 1:36

For your first question of how to handle this situation on the fly: One of the tenets of GURPS' design is that the rules' job is simulating an imagined reality, as opposed to the rules-are-the-rules and the world needing to conform to them. Following that tenet, it makes sense to simply discard results that are nonsensical or have unclear mappings to the game reality. If a disarm result comes up and the opponent doesn't have a weapon, then the default crit result (automatic hit regardless of armour/defenses, but normal damage) can be applied consistently with that play principle.

It's worth noting that GURPS 4e's crit table (Basic Set, p. 556) doesn't say "disarm" anywhere. The closest is line 12 which makes the opponent drop anything they're holding—if they're holding anything. Worded that way, the result gracefully covers situations like the one you ran into pretty much the way I've suggested in the previous paragraph.

Of course, opponent-specific crit tables would be ideal! I did some extensive searching for alternative crit tables and surprisingly came up with nothing addressing this problem. Most of the homebrewed tables out there are just variants on the effects in each line. So, sadly, I don't think anyone has already invented this wheel—at least, not online.

Incidentally, one of the neat ideas I stumbled on in my search is to create an advantage for players to buy, the effect of which is to replace a line on the crit table with a custom effect that is particular to that character.

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I would suggest you use the spirit of the effect instead of the word. Knocking out the teeth is a good one though as you point out a little more extreme then just disarming an opponent. For the example with the wolf being disarmed it is a little tricky. First lets look at the statistical effect of being disarmed. You will either be forced to use an action to equip something or use a generally lower damaging alternative. In other word do less damage or use an action. Dislocating the wolves jaw and requiring an action to reset it would have been more appropriate. An upside to this is that it would also work if the opponent would have been a human boxer, just dislocate the arm. A table for sentient and non-sentient would not have worked in regards to the boxer.

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I would check the GURPS Bestiary to see if there are existing critical hit tables for various animal shapes - quadrupeds, snakes, birds, etc.. It seems inconceivable to me that this is the first time in the history of GURPS that anyone has posed this question.

EDIT: For more on the differences between 3rd and 4th editions of GURPS, see this answer.

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I looked at this, and it seems like it is 3rd edition. Do you know if there is a 4th edition equivalent of this? – user1637 Apr 26 '11 at 2:35
GURPS 3e and 4e are very similar and compatible; I don't think there would be any meaningful difference at all between something like a crit chart for one or the other. – mxyzplk Apr 26 '11 at 4:09
The chart, no, but there are some subtle mechanical differences which might make a difference. However admittedly I am not familiar at all with 3e. – Cthos Apr 26 '11 at 4:13
@Cthos - I added a link to an answer that might help you. – gomad Apr 26 '11 at 16:50
+1. The link is extremely helpful for the differences. – Cthos Apr 26 '11 at 16:53

Pyramid #3/61: The Way of the Warrior features a dedicated critical hit and miss table for grappling attacks. That might be a decent proxy for attacks by wolves (bites are mostly grapples for animals, rather than strikes, though the wolf's trademark hamstring attack probably comes closest to a pure strike), but not ON wolves.

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