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Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Location-Based Critical Hits

by Tim Wallace

This system combines the critical hit rules in the Core Rulebook and the called shot system introduced in Ultimate Combat to create a critical hit system that makes it always rewarding to roll a natural 20 on an attack roll.

When you make an attack roll and it threatens a critical hit (depending on your weapon and whether it has the keen weapon ability or you have the Improved Critical feat) on a roll less than a natural 20, follow the normal rules for critical hits. If your attack threatens a critical hit on a roll of a natural 20, roll the confirmation roll as normal and then roll on the following chart to determine the location on the target the hit lands.

Chart: Critical Hit Location
d% Roll
Location
01-15
Head
16-30
Primary Arm
31-45
Off Hand Arm
46-70
Torso
71-85
Right Leg
86-00
Left Leg

Or you can use this fun image (inspired by the Dark Heresy RPG character sheets).

Next, roll on the corresponding location table below to see exactly where the hit lands (a critical hit to a leg does not require an additional roll to further determine where the hit lands).

Chart: Critical Hit to the Head
d20 Roll
Location
1-5
Skull
6-8
Right Ear
9-11
Left Ear
12-14
Right Eye
15-17
Left Eye
18-20
Neck

Chart: Critical Hit to the Arm
d6 Roll
Location
1-4
Upper Arm
5-6
Hand

Chart: Critical Hit to the Torso
d12 Roll
Location
1-6
Chest
7-10
Vitals
11-12
Heart

If the confirmation roll is a hit, roll damage a number of times equal to your weapon’s critical multiplier –1 (i.e. damage from a weapon with a critical multiplier of ×2 is rolled once instead or twice, damage from a weapon with a critical multiplier of ×3 is rolled twice instead of three times, et cetera), with all your usual bonuses, and add the rolls together. If the confirmation roll is a miss, roll damage as a regular hit. In addition apply one of the following effects based on where the critical hit landed. If the effect allows for a saving throw, the DC is equal to your attack roll which initially threatened the critical hit.

Location-Based Critical Hit Effects

Chest
Confirmed Critical
A critical hit to the chest deals 1d4 points of Constitution damage and fatigues the target. A successful Fortitude saving throw (made after the Constitution damage is applied) negates the fatigue. The creature also suffers the effects of an unconfirmed critical hit to the chest.
Unconfirmed Critical
An unconfirmed critical hit to the chest deals no additional damage, but any skill checks caused by the hit (such as an Acrobatics check while balancing or a Climb check while climbing) take a –2 penalty.

Ear (left or right)
Confirmed Critical
A critical hit to the ear deafens that ear for 2d6 minutes and leaves the target staggered for 1 round. The target also suffers the effects of an unconfirmed critical to the ear for that duration.
Unconfirmed Critical
An unconfirmed critical to the ear deafens that ear for 1 round, and imposes a –2 penalty on Perception checks. A creature that loses hearing in all ears is deafened until hearing is returned by way of the remove blindness/deafness spell or a similar effect.

Eye (left or right)
Confirmed Critical
A critical hit to the eye costs the target sight in that eye for 1d4 minutes. The target also suffers the effects of an unconfirmed critical to the eye for that duration.
Unconfirmed Critical
An unconfirmed critical to the eye gives all of the target's foes concealment against its attacks for 1 round and gives it a –2 penalty on Perception checks. If the creature only has one functional eye prior to the called shot, it is blinded for 1 round instead.

Hand (left or right)
Confirmed Critical
A critical hit to the hand deals 1d4 points of Dexterity damage. In addition, the target drops anything it is holding in that hand unless it succeeds at a Reflex saving throw. Items held in two hands aren't dropped, but the target still loses its grip with the injured hand. The target also suffers the effects of an unconfirmed critical to the hand for 1d4 minutes.
Unconfirmed Critical
For 1d4 rounds, any attack rolls, damage rolls, ability checks, or skill checks made using the wounded hand take a –2 penalty, including attack and damage rolls with two-handed weapons. In addition, the target takes a –4 penalty to its CMD to resist disarm attempts, and drops its weapon (if any) on an attack roll result of a natural 1.

Heart
Confirmed Critical
A critical hit to the heart pierces the organ, causing exhaustion and 1d4 points of Constitution bleed damage. A successful Fortitude save reduces this to fatigue and 1 point of Constitution bleed damage. In either case, stopping the bleeding requires either regeneration (spell or special ability), magic healing that heals as many points of damage (from one or more sources) as the original blow dealt, or a successful DC 20 heal check that takes 1d4 rounds to complete.
A critical hit to the heart against a vampire made with a piercing weapon composed entirely of wood leaves the vampire impaled through the heart by the weapon if it fails its Fortitude save.
Unconfirmed Critical
An unconfirmed critical to the heart is just a normal hit with no extra effect.

Leg (left or right)
Confirmed Critical
A critical hit to the leg deals 1d4 points of Dexterity damage and knocks the target prone. A successful Fortitude save keeps the creature from falling prone. The creature also suffers the effects of an unconfirmed critical to the leg for 1d4 minutes.
Unconfirmed Critical
An unconfirmed critical to the leg lowers the target creature's speed by 10 feet for 1d4 rounds if it has two or fewer legs, and by 5 feet if it has three or four legs. In either case, the creature's speed cannot be reduced below 5 feet per round. An unconfirmed critical to the leg has no effect on creatures with five or more legs. Hitting the same leg more than once has no extra effect, but the speed penalty for hits on different legs stack. Additionally, any skill or ability checks involving movement (such as Acrobatics or Swim checks) take a –2 penalty for 1d4 rounds.

Neck
Confirmed Critical
A critical hit to the neck deals 1d6 points of bleed damage. In addition, the target must succeed at a Fortitude saving throw or suffer a crushed windpipe and be unable to breathe or speak, possibly suffocating. A crushed windpipe can be repaired by magical healing (from one or more sources) that heals as many hit points of damage as the original hit dealt, or by a DC 25 Heal check to open up a hole into the windpipe. The latter check deals 2d6 hit points of damage, and leaves the creature still unable to speak. If target makes its saving throw, it still suffers the effects of a called shot to the neck for 1d4 minutes.
Unconfirmed Critical
An unconfirmed critical to the neck makes speaking above a hoarse whisper impossible for 1 round. Spells with verbal components have a 20% chance of failing outright, as do attempts to activate command-word items (although for magic items, the use of the item is not wasted).

Skull
Confirmed Critical
A critical hit to the skull deals 1d6 points of Intelligence, Wisdom, or Charisma damage (randomly determine which) and staggers the target for 1d4 rounds. A successful Fortitude saving throw prevents the target from being staggered. The target also suffers the effects of an unconfirmed critical to the skull for 1d4 minutes.
Unconfirmed Critical:
An unconfirmed critical to the skull leaves the target sickened for 1d4 rounds.

Upper Arm (left or right)
Confirmed Critical
A critical hit to the upper arm deals 1d4 points of Dexterity damage and 1d4 points of Strength damage. A successful Fortitude saving throw halves the ability damage (minimum 1 point to each attribute). The target also suffers the effects of an unconfirmed critical to the upper arm for 1d4 minutes.
Unconfirmed Critical
An unconfirmed critical to the upper arm deals no additional damage, but for 1d4 rounds, any attack rolls, ability checks, or skill checks made using the wounded arm take a –2 penalty. A flying creature shot in the wing must make a Fly check to avoid descending involuntarily.

Vitals
Confirmed Critical
A critical hit to the vitals deals 1d4 points of Constitution damage. In addition, the target is nauseated for 1d4 rounds and sickened for 1d6 minutes. A successful Fortitude saving throw negates the nauseated condition. While the target is sickened from the blow, it cannot run or charge.
Unconfirmed Critical
An unconfirmed critical to the vitals leaves the target sickened for 1d4 rounds. A successful Fortitude save reduces this duration to 1 round. While sickened from the blow, the target cannot run or charge.

Location-Based Critical Hits and Piecemeal Armor
If you are also using the piecemeal armor rules (also introduced in Ultimate Combat), the rules are the same, except you do not need to be wearing all armor pieces of the same special material to gain the benefits of a specific piece of armor against a location-based critical hit. For example, if you are wearing piecemeal armor including an adamantine plate torso armor piece as a breastplate and red dragonhide plate arm armor pieces against an opponent wielding a +1 flaming longsword and your opponent scores a critical hit on your torso then you gain the benefit of DR 2/– against the critical hit, even though you don’t gain the same benefit against normal attacks. Similarly, if your opponent scores a critical hit against one of your arms, the fire damage from his flaming weapon is negated, even though you don’t gain the same benefit against normal attacks.

You can use the following image to help you keep track of where you are wearing what type of piecemeal armor, and what its benefits are.


Updated Piecemeal Armor Costs
The following rules are for using some of the special materials introduced in Ultimate Equipment as piecemeal armor.
In the case of chain shirts, breastplates, agile breastplates, and any other armor pieces that are treated as a category lighter when worn alone, to determine the cost of creating that piece of armor from a special material, use the base armor category (medium in the case of a chain torso armor piece, and heavy in the case of a plate torso armor piece) when pricing the item, but in the case of adamantine and similar armors, the item gains the material benefit of the lighter category (damage reduction 1/— in the case of the chain torso armor piece worn as a chain shirt, or damage reduction 2/— in the case of plate torso armor piece worn as a breastplate).

Adamantine
Armor pieces made of adamantine grant their wearers damage reduction of 1/— if they are light armor, 2/— if they are medium armor, and 3/— if they are heavy armor. Adamantine armor pieces are always masterwork in quality. Armor pieces normally made of steel that are made of adamantine have one-third more hit points than normal.

Table: Adamantine Item Costs
Type of Adamantine Item
Cost Modifier
Medium arm armor piece
2,500 gp
Medium leg armor piece
2,500 gp
Medium torso armor piece
5,000 gp
Heavy arm armor piece
2,500 gp
Heavy leg armor piece
2,500 gp
Heavy torso armor piece
10,000 gp

Dragonhide
If the dragonhide used to construct this armor comes from a dragon that had immunity to an energy type, the armor pieces also have immunity to that energy type. A piece of dragonhide armor costs double the armor piece cost + 100 gp. Alternatively, a plate torso armor piece can be constructed from dragonhide for 700 gp, and an agile plate torso armor piece can be constructed from dragonhide for 1,100 gp; if either is worn alone, it bestows any energy damage immunity possessed by the dragon to the wearer.

Eel Hide
Leather, hide, or studded leather armor can be produced with eel hide. Wearing eel hide grants the wearer electricity resistance 2. Armor crafted from eel hide is always masterwork quality. Eel hide has the same hit points and hardness as leather.

Table: Eel Hide Item Costs
Type of Eel Hide Item
Cost Modifier
Medium arm armor piece
600 gp
Medium leg armor piece
600 gp
Medium torso armor piece
900 gp

Elysian Bronze
Armor made of Elysian bronze also protects its wearer against the natural weapons or unarmed strikes of magical beasts and monstrous humanoids, providing damage reduction as if it were adamantine (1/— for light armor, 2/— for medium armor, or 3/— for heavy armor). It does not provide this protection against creatures of other types. Elysian bronze has the same hit points and hardness as steel.

Type of Elysian Bronze Item
Cost Modifier
Medium arm armor piece
500 gp
Medium leg armor piece
500 gp
Medium torso armor piece
1,000 gp
Heavy arm armor piece
500 gp
Heavy leg armor piece
500 gp
Heavy torso armor piece
2,000 gp

Fire-Forged Steel
When it is crafted into armor, heat is channeled away from the wearer, offering some limited protection. Armor crafted from fire-forged steel grants the wearer fire resistance 2. Fire-forged steel has the same hit points and hardness as steel.

Type of Fire-Forged Steel Item
Cost Modifier
Medium arm armor piece
500 gp
Medium leg armor piece
500 gp
Medium torso armor piece
1,250 gp
Heavy arm armor piece
500 gp
Heavy leg armor piece
500 gp
Heavy torso armor piece
2,500 gp

Frost-Forged Steel
When it is crafted into armor, cold is channeled away from the wearer, offering some limited protection. Armor crafted from frost-forged steel grants the wearer cold resistance 2. Frost-forged steel has the same hit points and hardness as steel.

Type of Frost-Forged Steel Item
Cost Modifier
Medium arm armor piece
500 gp
Medium leg armor piece
500 gp
Medium torso armor piece
1,250 gp
Heavy arm armor piece
500 gp
Heavy leg armor piece
500 gp
Heavy torso armor piece
2,500 gp