Hit locations?


Hi, I have picked up the Conan RPG books and I like what I see.

I have noticed that it is easyer to die then in normal D&D but has anyone put any thought in to doing hit location? I know D&D does not do this and few players like it but the group I have been playing with have been using other games for a while and death and hit location is a normal thing.

I was thinking ad a hit locations like the one from hero's system and keep all the DR from the armor only on the covered areas. Some of the DR's will have to be changed like a helmet is only +1 Dr so maybe up to 4 or 5 but I will have to work out the details later tonight.

Has anyone else tried this or anything close?
Funnily enough, I have been considering the idea myself.

I'm an old-time fan of the original WFRP, (and the new one, too!) which has always used hit locations and armour hat subtracts from Damage.

Since Conan RPG also uses damage reducing armour, I began toying with the idea of hit locations, and variable armour.

Of course, you have to decide just how many locations you are going to split your body into. And how you will decide what gets hit. Its easy to consider splitting the body up according to "area", but in a combat, certain areas, no mattter their size, will be easier to hit than others.

Combatants seldom stand face-on-face, more usually they are side-on-side, and thus the leading foot will be much easier to hit than the rear foot, for example. Not to mention that an attacker will always be trying to hit where he can cause the most damage - he might ignore an exposed foot to get in a slightly harder shot to the groin, chest, or head.


Also, do you want to roll extra dice to determine location, or do you want to use the dice you are already rolling? (to save adding another roll). WFRP uses percentile dice to attack, and hit locations are decided by simply reversing teh number rolled - a 35 becomes a 53 (which is a blow to the left arm).

What is the primary effect of striking a given location? Will locations have individual hit-points? If not, what effect does hitting a head rather than an arm have? Is it just a matter of armour? Or will you apply special damage effects? A blow severe enough to severe an arm will be fatal, even though the a blow to that location is conventionally considered less deadly than a blow to the head...


There is a lot to consider, and of course, you have to decide, before you beign, whether it is actually worth it.

I have a couple of ideas how I would do it, requiring no extra rolls and no special tracking of armour per location - keeping the nature of combat as fundement all abstract as it is now. But I need to give it more thought.
I have not see the WFRP book but I know some people that do and I will look at theirs when I get time.

I was thinking of doing hit location something like this. This is pretty close to the way Hero system did their in the last edition(don't have the books any more but from memory)

Roll 3d6 added together for location

3-5 head
6-7 arms
8- shoulders
9-10 chest
11-12 stomach
13 groin
14-15 thigh
16-17 legs
18 feet

If the players wants they can "aim for upper body" or "lower body" it would be min 3 to hit but you only roll 2d6 for upper and 2d6+6 for lower. But range combat would be 3d6 always unless you have some of the bow feats(not sure which one yet).

Then I will need to come up with called shots cause everyone will want to do them.Something like as a full attack action you may call shots, called shots are -5 or 10 but have a percentile dice to hit the location so at higher levels everyone won't be calling shots to the head every attack. With bonuses on how well you rolled to hit.

And the main thing to remember is if the players are calling shots so are the bad guys!
Hit locations would be an interesting addition. I've Gm'd WFRP for 19 years and love hit locations :lol:
I'd welcome them if Mongoose ever introduced them.
I have played lots of Fantasy Hero (the old version), as well as a low-powered Champions game where hit locations were used. Those systems could handle hit locations, because they were built in. Do whatever is fun, of course, but I advise strongly against adding differential hit locations to D20 Conan combat. My reasons:

1. By adding the mechanic and the related tactical choices, you risk slowing combat down to a crawl.

2. The system doesn't allow for healing damage to specific locations -- or much of any healing, for that matter -- so you'd run a very real risk of crippling PCs rather than killing them outright. That's what "Left for Dead" is for.

3. Fights are deadly enough already. With the lowered Massive Damage threshold, a good solid blow can drop anybody. A critical hit that pierces armor is almost certain death. Consider what happens when you have hit locations that further modify this.

4. Hit points are abstract, but hit locations are specific. With hit points, you can make up the details as flavor descriptions. Hit locations require you to enforce specific effects.

5. The armor system doesn't take hit locations into account, which puts far too much advantage in the hands of an attacker.

6. For purposes of Heal checks and the like, everybody will have to do more bookkeeping to keep track of the number of wounds to each location and how much each did.

Save yourself the trouble. If you want to have a GM-side hit location table to help you describe the results of an attack, go for it. But if you turn it into a game mechanic, you're not going to be pleased.
I have to agree with InsomNY on hit locations; I think he raises some good points on the downsides of trying to use them. I don't think hit locations will work very well together with the abstract nature of d20 combat. In my opinion, striking vulnerable areas is already represented by critical strikes and such.

But then, I've never cared for hit locations much at all; in the games I've played that have had rules for them, they haven't worked very smoothly. Never tried WFRP though, maybe they are implemented nicely there.

Of course, its your game, and please let us now how it works out if you decide to use it! :)
Valid points, to be sure. Trust me, I like the Mongoose rules just fine. I don't need hit locations, but if I did, I would let Mongoose handle that end of the rules- nothing homemade for me concerning hit locations :lol:
In WFRP, armour is (optionally) locational, so it makes sense to have locational attacks. In addition, you have much fewer "hitpoints" so that

(a) Even the toughest warrior can be cut down pretty quickly and
(b) Armour is much more important.

However, aside from armour, the location that is hit is unimportant until the character has run out of "Hitpoints".

Instead of automatically collapsing a la D20, such a character takes further damage as "critical damage", which varies depending on whether it is arm, leg, torso or head. There are 10 damage results for each location, ranging from the almost trivial (being forced to drop a weapon) to the instantly fatal. The harder you are hit, the more likely the result is to be fatal.


Its a good way of implementing it - special damage for hitting a location only occurs at the very end of a combat, rather than potentially with every hit. For Conan, it might be interesiting to implement a similar system to be used in exactly the same way - on reaching negative HP, instead of collapsing. This would include reaching negative HP due to a failed massive damage save.

In effect, if applied to D20, it would actually make combat a smidgeon less deadly, since instead of dropping to the floor at less-than-zero, you might be lucky enough to get a minor effect. Of course, only a suicidal looney fights on when down to zero, when every hit has a very good chance of killing you. That's usually the time to retreat...


AS I said, though, it works well in WFRP since the location hit is generated by the same roll as the to-hit roll - no extra dice required. It might be difficult to do the same in Conan.
I agree the points are good. I started the game theo ther day and in the end I used the Vitallity /wound point system from stargate SG1(same as d20 modern i think).

The group I am playing in just wants a more real feel to the combat that the hit points don't give. We talked aobut diff options and in the end though hit location would be hard to pull off so we did the vitality points.
Not saying it can't be done, of course, just saying you need to think carefully about what you want out of such a system, and how much work it would be to achieve that goal.

Applying a WFRP style Critical hit instead of a massive damage save wouldn't be too much of a problem. The severity of the hit could be based on how much more than 20 the damage actually was.

And single extra dice roll to determine location likewise would be no extra trouble - it would be instead of the FORT save in the case of Massive Damage.

Of course, you either need to write the critical hit tables or obtain them from another product (though I'm sure there are plenty available freely online).


If, on the other hand, you want every attack to be locational, and armour on different locations to be taken into account, and hits to different locations to have different effects, then you are looking at a major revision of the combat system.

Again, not an impossible task, but it may not be worth the hassle.
"Torn Asunder - Critcial Hits" is a nice sourcebook for dealing with this. Basically, you only deal with hit location if you score a critical, or place a called shot. And the sourcebook has you make about 2 extra rolls to find out where it hits, and what effect it has, besides damage. It's a decent product, I think. Bastion Press is the publisher.
Trodax said:
I have to agree with InsomNY on hit locations; I think he raises some good points on the downsides of trying to use them. I don't think hit locations will work very well together with the abstract nature of d20 combat. In my opinion, striking vulnerable areas is already represented by critical strikes and such.
So true. While it's neat to see a critical hit described (anyone remember the awsomeness that was the Rolemaster Crit tables?? :twisted: ), hit locations tend to breed the ugly beast known as the Archer who always says "Called shot to the head/groin!"... and can pull it off.
Oh, Fearguis!

I've used Torn Asunder and it was an interesting addition to the game in D&D, especially when the Invisible Priest of Orcus got a severe head critical on my brother's wizard and did enough damage to kill the character outright.

Yeah, he wasn't too happy, but his next character was a melee character.

Also, I played your NWN mod, very nice - now I just need a thousand more like it. :p
For my group, we just roll a 12 sided hit location die after hits results in death. It provides NO extras...just flavor...and the players are allowed to describe it. Crits on the players are usually rolled too. Again, no extras with this, but it tells them where they might have a scar...
I tend to agree that Conan Combat is deadly enough, without the chance of being maimed with each blow landed. I can see that We need to keep the free flow of the encounter, without adding too much in to bog things down further ... However ...

There could always be a choice given with the Massive Damage situation, where a PC could elect to take a variable effect to a hit location instead of 'Save vs Death' with 20+ inflicted points. A crippled arm or a limp is better than dying, and the location table needs only to come out at end of combat. It would also allow NPC's to slink away from otherwise deadly damage.

Sometimes Hit Locations can add more choice to important single combats that are a the climax to a battle or a scenario (IE: Battle of Champions).

I am sure that there are plenty of old soldiers and warriors that have there share of old wounds and scars (Some of which never quite healed up properly).
I'm very interested to see all of the proposed Hit Location or Criticals Tables, as long as it fits in well with the current system.
OGL Wild West has a nice hit location system. It'd fit nice in conan, but if you use it you need to remove MD, as it would no longer be needed.