(We actually play with some other rules, but I think it does not matter here)
before shooting/slashing or so I offer some approximation of probability (based on the character knowledge and stats) if it is not totally obvious from previous gameplay:
- It is too far to hit him (=out of range)
- not sure, if you even can hit him (=near the maximal range, cannot say if in- or out-side for sure, or in range, but terrible conditions - fog, dark etc. - maybe there is not roll, which would hit at all)
- extremally hard to hit target (it is possible, not probable)
- good chance to hit
- it is easy to hit
I usually describe every blow in common terms, both from character view and for vissible effects, so it could be took as a lead, how strong the opponent is and how much damage he took.
- you did not even reach him (= out of range, or really bad roll when really good roll is required)
- you missed him terribly bad/cannot even see, where the shoot went (= you must roll much higher number or use much better weapon to even have chance to hit him)
- wow, you nearly hit him! (= like rolled natural 19 when only natural 20 may hit)
- you nearly hit him, but in the heat of battle he moved at the last moment and so he evade your blow (= he had luck on his side, used some ability or rolled too much on defence, but basically it looks, like you can hit him next time with the same attack - until it happens each time, so there is something more on him, than you can see)
- @#$%! Something fall in your eye, so you missed him/you slipped and missed him/you wonder, if your weapon is broken or what/you wonder, how could it happened, that you missed him?/you was sure that you hit him, but then realized, that it was only clothes what was damaged/some feathers went to the air, but there was no resist, so your sword probably did not hit the body(= rolled really bad)
Hit, but obviously no damage done:
- (you hit his shield/hit his helmet/hit his armor) but it deflected your blow/your blow just slide on his scales (= you basically hit him, but the target is armored enough to not be affected with this attack roll)
- you thrust your dagger to his eye, but nothing happened except your hand little hurt from the force of your attack/you kicked him so hard you nearly broke your leg, but it doesnot affect him (= you rolled really good, hit him, but it does not any damage, for some other reason like when he is stone statue/have special spell on him/invulnerability to this kind of weapons or something like that)
- you swing your sword and hit him, but it flow full way thru his body and left no visible damage (= he is illusion or something immaterial or so. Or maybe just big blob of slime or watter form or something like that. Probabelly you need different kind of weapon or attack his caster or try anything else)
- he jumped away as you passed your blow/he blocked your blow with his sword/he rolled on ground to avoid your blow, but then stand up in one flowing move / he hissed and evade your blow (=he rolled too much on defence, otherwise you would hit him)
Hit and some damage done:
- you hit him hard and scratched him a little/you cut off a little pice of his slime body, the piece is now soaking to the ground/one of his many tentacles lost few inches, the pice is swirling on ground/he have hard fur and nearly no blood was visible where your sword hit him/you hit him and hear him hissing at you/your blow little wounded him, but it makes him even more furious/your sword cut his robe and hit something under it, he raised his wand and .../you made shallow wound on his body, but nothing serious/you hit good, but it still looks that the batle will be long (= you rolled good, but he is hard oponent, no much damage done)
- you swing you sword, but it was not so good, as you hoped for, anyway you could scratch him a little/not so good hit, but anything counts/even if you hit him he do not seam to notice it/he laught at your nearly failed attempt to hit him/
- as you penetrate his deffence, he screamed wildly, but is still trying to stab you/his fur have one more hole, but he is still attacking/he roared his pain on you, but did not mede even step back/you managed to avoid his shield and hit him, he was pushed little back but regained stability and now he attacks/it was not pleasant wound, that you placed on him, but as trained warriror he did not stopped fighting(=you hit him good, but it takes more such hits to finish him)
- He barely managed to stand on his legs after your furious attack hit him with full power/he is hit again and rolls his long body in pain/his gelatious body is vissibly smaller now and all the place is covered with dying parts of this unholly creature/he got big wound and started to panically run away/to his many open wounds your blow added another one, you wonder, how long he can resist yet/he seams to be bleeding hard, but still somehow manage to oppose you/only his will probabely keeps him standing after your last hit(= yes, there is not much until he will die)
as for status:
- he looks fresh and ready to fight/his feathers glows in the sun with breathtaking perfection/he looks as ugly as all of his kind looks/old scars are crossed with some more fresh, his clothes are cut and sewed again too much times, but he moves fast and with his usual agility (=undamaged)
- nothing important, just scratch here and there/his monstrous body does not show vissible damage/he got some hits, but he fights as usual/there are some smaler wounds, but he does not care/considering how many times you hit him, he should bleed much more, than he does/he laughts and enjoy the fight/his maniacal smile is even wider, comparing to fight start(=some hits, but like 80% good)
- the fight had took his toll on him, but his sword move as fast as before/there are some wounds, but this does not seem to slower his attacks/he ignores the wounds still, even if some blood is under his feets/he screems a lot, but attacks as much too(=60% HP, would take some time to recover, but still deadly)
- he tries hard to kill you, but you see, that it is more difficult for him to move so fast/now he does fight for joy, but he went really serious/many of his tentacles are cut off, but even so you have no rest, if you want to survive/this monstrous blob of accid looks boiling and a lot of mud is whirling inside it, but you would not risk to turn your back to him even for split of a second/he is wild and roaring and fights still as if he was not afraid of death, even if there are many wounds all over him/his moves are now much slower and the blood is everywhere, but even so he does not give up(=40%, seriously wounded)
- even if looking terrible wounded, he still seems to determined not let you pass/you hear his hard breath and his knees are shaking, but his sword is still ready to bite you/you would not believe, that somebody could took this much wound and still fight, but he anyway does/the fight is long, but you are not far from victory/he does not have chance to win, and he should know it now, but he still try hard(=20%, even may die later from his wounds, but still fights)
- even on the edge of death his bites are strong/he is determined fight to his death/his bleeding is terrible, wounds are wide open and you see some his inner organs, but he still fights somehow/he will rather die than surrender, even in his current state(=on the edge, only few blows from end)
My point is, that I do describe a lot of colors, but do not name exact status, so I do not have to manage its result (like which eye is missing, can he hear with one or none ears, where which would was placed, is he more vulnerable from left or right ...), only how much HP he lost and so how much damage should I describe if he survives long enough to meet group again (or if the group searches his dead body after fight)
I use it in both case, when I do some rolls for characters (so players would not know, how successful characters really was, just how this visually affected the enemy) or if players do all rolls and just state the numerical results to me. I do not like to tell them exact numbers, as it makes game much slower and more bean-counting, combo mastering and less interesting.
"But how much HP he has left"
"Your character can ask him"
"@#$%! My character sees it!"
"Ok, roll your perception ... wow, good result! So you character thinks, that the enemy is really bad hurt and you probably win soon"
(It allows me also little cheat and make it more interesting - and I cheat more for players, that against them, so they take it usually good and tries more colorfull action, as I usually give them better chance to succeed than with exactly counted but boring plans. And if they play well, then it does not end with them dying and enemy surviving with 1 HP, even if rolls would say so, but they spectacullary win instead and found lot of healing potions in treasure or meet good fairy or something like that - which would not be possible without cheating on GM side and with all numbers on table. Yes, it is Hollywood and two horses can crash to make big fireball with The Hero running just in time away)
Also if there is some sentient enemy, who tries to cheat them, I do not like them to roll against it - they can stte their bonuses and such, but I do the rool for them, to avoid situation like:
"I failed the roll, the prisoner tells me, that he was send by our king, and my character is trusting him, so it must be a lie and he is enemy. I will kill him anyway."
"I made a good roll, the prisoner tells me, that he was send by our king, and my character is trusting him, so it must be a truth, so I will protect him, even when local baron says, that the prisoner is enemy spy"
Instead I do the roll and tell them, what their characters think.
"Your character trust him, that your king send him. The baron states that he is enemy spy, but I can not trust him, as it is apparently lie"
(regardless which version is true - but usually both prisoner and baron have their own agenda too and nobody tells (or even knows) total truth or total lies, just their version of more/less colored and spiced reality).
So my players are used to vague descriptions in favor of good story.