What happens when a player wants to try to chop off the head of the monster? How about when he wants to try to stake the vampire in the heart like Buffy the Vampire Slayer while engaged in combat? How about a player that wants to scar his opponent in the face for effect? Well here is a simple method to use that can allow these “called shots”. We had a system for 2E and now its comverted to 3E.
When a player, or monster, wants to make a called shot he should state it before the combat begins. The player states which of his attacks will be used for the called shots. The DM then determines the difficulty of the attack and applies a penalty to the attack roll.
Easy: -2, examples are hitting an opponent’s shield, tearing a shirt with a “Zorro” mark, hitting an arm or leg for no special effect.
Moderate: -4, spit in the face, hitting the leg for reduced movement, breaking a potion on their belt.
Difficult: -8, hitting a hand making it useless, knocking off a helmet, slashing off armor straps, kick in the groin.
Rediculous: -12, decapitation, put out an eye, stake through the heart, using your sword as a tongue depressor.
The attacker must then roll a successful critical hit to have the called strike go through. He would forfeit his 2x, 3x, 4x damage for the special effect, but if the effect is to decapitate then it would be better than the multiple damage dice. DMs should use these rules with caution. Be sure to give the appropriate penalty for the called shot. Remeber they must first roll the threat range and then hit the opponent. Penalties apply to both rolls.