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Old 09-14-2012, 03:47 AM   #48
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Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Kyv, Ukraine
Default Re: (Unofficial) FAQ of the GURPS Fora

Q: Where do the Hit Location penalties (the numbers, that is) come from?


Originally Posted by Kromm View Post
This is 100% correct. Hit location penalties consider three factors:

1. Target size. How large or small the body part is -- in essence, its Size Modifier. (On bigger or smaller foes, overall SM accounts for changes in the size of body parts; e.g., since an SM +2 giant is attacked at +2 no matter where you hit him, his hands and head are effectively larger by +2.)

2. Target mobility. The body part's potential range of movement, speed of movement, and likely movements in a combat situation. (This isn't treated as a Dodge bonus simply because a body part moving unpredictably is still a hard target for, say, a surprise attack where no defense is allowed. An entire man running in a straight line isn't, really.)

3. Target attitude. How the body part is normally offered in combat. This accounts for whether it's presented or denied by combat stances, often behind other body parts or a shield, above or below the usual line of attack for an equal-sized foe, etc. (Incidentally, this explains why the feet of a higher fighter or head of a lower fighter are struck at a bonus, despite the body part not changing size!)

A helmed head, for instance, isn't all that small; it's between 8" and 1' across (SM -5) and basically spherical (+2 to SM, for a net -3 for size). However, it's highly mobile (-1): it twists around on a neck constantly in a fight, and it's maximally displaced from the center of mass, meaning its potential range of movement is exceptionally high. It's also generally denied (-1): no tried-and-true combat stance leads with the jaw; moreover, against another man, it's above the median line of attack. This gives -5.

A gloved hand is over 5" across (SM -6) and basically spherical (+2 to SM, for a net -4 for size) when balled into a fist for punching or around a weapon grip. It, too, is highly mobile (-1): it whizzes around striking and parrying, and is highly displaced from the center of mass. However, it is most commonly presented (+1), since all that striking and parrying is a tad difficult otherwise -- and if it's able to defend, then it has a high probability of being right on the median line of attack. This gives -4. The same hand behind a shield has the full -6 for size, as it isn't balled up into a sphere, and is mobile (-1) and denied (-1), which gives -8.

A weapon arm, shoulder to wrist, is about a yard long (SM -2), long and skinny (no SM adjustment), mobile (-1), and presented (+1). That's -2.

A shield arm, shoulder to wrist, is also about a yard long (SM -2), mobile (-1), and denied (-1). That's -4.

And so on. A few body parts might not quite make sense in these terms if you don't agree with my assessments of mobility and attitude, or whether the SM ought to assume a stick (0), elongated box (+1), or sphere (+2), but I think you can see how it works.
Vicky 'Molokh', GURPS FAQ and uFAQ Keeper
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