79

The answers so far tell you how to allow this but don't address the follow-on problem - that the player is looking for a way to disable an opponent without having to eliminate all of their hit points. The problem with allowing this is that you're over-powering the players relative to the NPCs. So the first conversation should be "if you can do this to ...


49

Called shots are a great story device that can make combat seem terrifying and more dangerous, but should never be incorporated mechanically. It creates a situation that slows down combat, which slows down the game and makes it harder for the DM to move the game experience along. It also gives insane and unnecessary power to the players. This isn't to say ...


42

No Never Not under any circumstances D&D is not a simulationist game Baked into D&D is the concept of hit points - an arrow through the eye that does 5hp damage is in every way eqivalent to a stone dropped on your foot that does 5hp damage. By all means, describe them differently but their mechanical effect is equivalent. There are spells and ...


33

As long as the crit is unchanged, then it is balanced. If nothing is different besides the narration, then by definition the mechanics of the game remain balanced, at least to a first approximation. Crits are meant to represent great successes in the midst of combat, so they are a nice opportunity for you or the player to add some narrative flair to the ...


27

For this particular scenario, it's simply not possible. From the Vampire (added bold for emphasis): Stake to the Heart. If a piercing weapon made of wood is driven into the vampire's heart while the vampire is incapacitated in its resting place, the vampire is paralyzed until the stake is removed. Notably (and players should be informed of this if they ...


18

Adding narrative details to your combat actions without any implications to game mechanics is not considered a called shot, it is simply a stylistic approach to describing battle. A called shot refers to a method of combat where participants choose the part or region of their adversary's body they wish to strike. On a successful attack to that specific ...


16

There are two parts to this answer... Advantage and Disadvantage Always Cancel Out If you have Advantage on a roll, and do something that would impose Disadvantage on said roll, then the two cancel out and you roll normally. Always. Regardless of the specifics around how you gained those sources of Advantage or Disadvantage. If circumstances cause a ...


16

I suggest that you do not modify anything, other than describing effects of successful hits according to what the player was attempting to do. E.g. if the player wanted a head shot, and they rolled well and killed an enemy, then it is perfectly fair and in keeping with the game to give them the headshot when you describe the results. If the archer player ...


16

There's a few points here. First off, even on a critical hit, it's up to DM fiat as to whether the NPC just dies outright, or takes HP damage, or whatever. If this is an important, named NPC, you probably want to have them take damage rather than just declaring them dead or dying. If you decide to have the attack deal critical damage against HP, then do ...


16

A standard zombie would be killed There is nothing in the zombie description to indicate that it can survive without a head. So by default, decapitation by vorpal would kill it. Some further support for this is given by the Undead Fortitude trait that says that a zombie has a chance of surviving normally fatal damage unless the damage is radiant or a ...


15

If the attack did not kill the target outright, it just means that the arrow did not really penetrate anything vital. With a head tightly packed with quite vital stuff, this may mean that the arrow just grazed the skull, or gave the target an ear piercing. It hurts and bleeds a lot, it dazes the target, but it isn't fatal. A helmet has its weak spots as ...


14

You're pretty much correct there. A hit to the hand is a combat ender, and there isn't a lot you can do about that. However, there are a few things that you can do to help mitigate this, to some degree. One thing to remember, though, is that GURPS combat can pretty easily become a game of rocket tag. At higher point totals, most builds have one or two ...


14

First Priority: Make sure the Rules don't offer a Solution I want to call attention to the example of the Cleric trying to knock an enemy prone, because you're framing it as the Cleric's player "trying to call a shot", but the 5th Edition rules offer a direct mechanic for knocking creatures prone: the Shove Action. Using the Attack action, you can make a ...


11

Aiming at a hand that has a weapon, held item, or otherwise makes no difference to the penalties to hit that hand. The only exception to this are shields, which incur an additional -4.(B399) The best way to avoid combat ending too abruptly is to use Parry/Block/Dodge and retreat as needed to avoid being hit all together. If needed, couple this with a ...


11

By RAW, there is nothing in the PHB and DMG that I know of in regard to aiming at a specific part in a fight. However, in MM p. 291, Troll: Variant: Loathsome Limbs [...] Whenever the troll takes at least 15 slashing damage at one time, roll a d20 to determine what else happens to it: 1-10: Nothing else happens 11-14: One leg is severed from the ...


11

This could fit in the definition of HP damage, but it is up to the DM as to whether it should at their table. 5e does not have locational damage D&D 5e does not have locational damage or called shots, so allowing damage to be done to the testicles in particular would be opening the door to problems with future called shots issues. See this Q&A for ...


10

Note that dnd 3.5 has several ways you can do an attack that imposes maluses on your opponent. You can try to disarm the opponent, or sunder their weapon for example. You can also try to trip, shove, grapple etc. (Note, do not do many of these against a giant. They will mess you up). These alternative attacks generally: Are harder to achieve Are riskier ...


9

Any creature with normalish anatomy that takes a headshot without protection dies. You seem to vastly overestimate the damage caused by a head shot. For a real world example: the '09 Fort Hood shooting, 4 out of 5 people shot in the head survived. No, those 4 were not wearing helms. Skulls are pretty damn hard and can deflect shots. It seems like it ...


9

The page that you linked has a copyright notice that reads "Section 15: Copyright Notice - Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Ultimate Combat". It looks like these rules are in Ultimate Combat, which is not part of the core rulebook. This is a typo in the original printings that has been officially errata'd: In the Called Shot Feats sidebar, in the Normal entry ...


8

Let's start by talking about combat. When a character attacks the enemy, they're already doing things like "try to cut their hand off" and "stab them in the eye". The combat system assumes that every character is trying their hardest to deal the maximum amount of damage. If a player says something that sounds like "oh by the way, I'm trying to deal a lot ...


8

Beware of allowing automatic called shots. Players will frequently assume that such attacks will have a debilitating effect, when in fact they're just doing damage. It's important to clarify beforehand that it's just damage, but even then players will sometimes assume that their attack is an exception because "hitting it in the wing is obviously going to ...


7

Usually - No The general rule is no. Damage in D&D is abstracted as Hit Points. Sneak Attack does more damage because you're "hitting vital organs", which makes it a more effective attack than a normal one. There's no rule in RAW to do a called shot like what you're describing, and it wouldn't work on all undead anyway (some of them don't have flesh or ...


7

There is precedent for a headless zombie Standard zombies are already covered in PJRZ's answer. However, you may be interested in knowing that there is at least a particular creature that may indeed survive being decapitated (Curse of Strahd spoilers)


7

Yes, you can, unless stated otherwise - but the DM may determine the feasibility and effectiveness This topic isn't explicitly addressed by the rules, as far as I'm aware - there's nothing saying you can do it and nothing saying you can't. But generally speaking, you can usually target whatever you want with a weapon attack; spells often have additional ...


6

Even though the ability is called "Called Shot," that doesn't mean that the arrow always has to hit the head. After all, if your player hit the victim squarely between the eyes, they'd be dead, wouldn't they? Shoulder hits are a good candidate, because they are extremely painful and debilitating, but don't (typically) kill. You might also consider a severe ...


6

You're the GM, and so if your decision is that called shots are narrative flavor only, and no mechanical effects are allowed, then gameplay won't change in any way and there will be no balancing issues to deal with. If you allow for any mechanical changes then the balance question comes down to what specific new things you allow, and not a general-case sort ...


6

Correct me if I'm wrong but isn't aiming specifically for a body part considered a "Called Shot?" Here's linkage to the specific feat/rules on that for Homebrew: https://dnd-wiki.org/wiki/Called_Shot_(3.5e_Feat) The details here give very specific easily applied consequences of a called shot--and a lot of people house rule called shots in, not as a feat ...


5

You could manage this way, if you don't want to mess with the HP system and still apply called shots. Called Shots If you don’t already have disadvantage from any source, you can make a called shot. A called shot is a readied action (the trigger being waiting for an “opening” in the foe’s defense), and thus uses the reaction of the character. The reaction ...


5

There are no default rules on causing bleeding wounds, but that doesn't mean you can't steal some if a situation comes up that warrants them. Remember to go with what makes a cool and fun story, since that's (probably?) what you're playing for. So for a next time, if you want to cause wounds that bleed profusely, consider stealing them from the Bearded ...


4

I don't remember if there are official rules for this or not, but my group has always allowed players to take a -4 penalty to their attack for a "called shot" that might have some added benefit. The effect is similar to firing into a melee if an archer does not have precise shot. Basically, by taking a -4 penalty, the player can do something more spectacular....


Only top voted, non community-wiki answers of a minimum length are eligible