- They miss,
- You're dead, a messy corpse, scattered body parts, pink mist, burnt remains, a cloud of vaporized atoms, etc.
In the process of writing this quoted text (part of a comment in a really old discussion of an edition of Prime Directive), I came up with a possible solution.
A character's allocation of miss points is something to tune to the style of game one wants. Enemy hordes don't get miss points, minor enemy henchmen get a few, and major enemies gets as many as a player character.steve98052 wrote: ↑Wed Jun 27, 2018 5:49 pm. . .
About the best way I can think of to model phaser combat is to give each character a number of "miss points". When someone shoots a phaser, they roll to hit. If the dice say hit, the player can say, "I spend a miss point", and the phaser misses.
If the player chooses not to spend a miss point, the game master reveals whether the phaser was set to stun, kill, or disintegrate. If it's set to stun, the character falls unconscious. If kill or disintegrate, the player gets another chance to spend the miss point unless the character is a red-shirt.
Such a solution isn't very true to GURPS, except for the general rule in all role-playing games that any rule can be overridden for the sake of fun. But it's a lot like the way a lot of modern story games work.
. . .
Miss points are restored at the end of a scene, and partially restored between minor scenes. Player characters get bonus miss points if they do something because it's in character but not necessarily a good idea, like a barbarian charging with his broadsword into single combat against the enemy in combat armor.
If a weapon has an area effect, miss points may turn a lethal hit into a harmful result. For example, applying one to a heavy artillery shell avoids being blown to bits, but you might still take a shrapnel hit, or concussion damage. A plasma rifle doesn't vaporize your torso, but you might take some damage from the heat radiated from the wall behind you (and you better get out of the building before it collapses). A land mine might detonate a moment late, cracking your armor instead of blowing off a leg. A trebuchet might not squash you, but the radioisotope thermal generator in your unlimited range all-terrain vehicle is leaking radiation. And so forth.
The point of miss points isn't to give a free pass until they're used up, it's to turn lethal into dramatic.