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Old 06-20-2006, 02:31 AM   #1
zorg
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Default Ninja Stealth Assassination

I've been playing Tenchu: Wrath of Heaven these days, and I started wondering. Is it possible in Gurps to sneak up to someone and assassinate him, dealing insta-death?

I'm aware that the easiest way would be a GM call: if the character successfully sneaks up to the target and successfully makes his attack - and if the target is cannon fodder - then one could declare the target killed. But that's not what I'm looking for.

See, suppose a ST 10 guy (let's call him Fred) sneaks up on someone, holding a large knife. He succeeds with Stealth, he gets a surprise attack. The target may not dodge, and let's assume that any attack Fred chooses will hit (even if aimed at the left nostril or whatever). The target is also unarmored.

Option #1: Fred takes AoA: Double, going for the throat. He deals 1d-2 cut (swing-2 cut) with each attack, which averages to 3 damage (2x1,5). This damage is then doubled (Hit Location) to 6 damage. Not very impressive.

Option #2: If Fred takes AoA: Double and stabs the Vitals, he'll deal again 2x1,5 damage (thrust imp), tripled for Hit Location. That's 9 damage total. Again, this won't take an average target below zero HP.

If Fred chooses AoA: Strong instead, this won't change much. In the first example, damage changes to (1d-2+2=3,5 damage; x2 Hit Location) 7 points, in the second example, damage changes to (1,5+2; x3) 10,5. Still not really dangerous.

None of these attacks seems to kill the target - but the setup (average guy with large knife, surprise attack, hit location) should indicate otherwise. Esp. Option #1 looks really disappointing to me - you get your throat cut for mere 6 damage?

Am I missing something?
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Old 06-20-2006, 02:40 AM   #2
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Default Re: Ninja Stealth Assassination

Quote:
Originally Posted by zorg
I've been playing Tenchu: Wrath of Heaven these days, and I started wondering. Is it possible in Gurps to sneak up to someone and assassinate him, dealing insta-death?
Depends on the weapon you have. With average strength and a knife, it's very unlikely, but ninja assassins aren't average. With 11 ST, weapon master, and knife at above DX, damage is 1d+1; attack twice to the vitals and that's an average of 21 points of damage.
Quote:
None of these attacks seems to kill the target - but the setup (average guy with large knife, surprise attack, hit location) should indicate otherwise. Esp. Option #1 looks really disappointing to me - you get your throat cut for mere 6 damage?

Am I missing something?
GURPS, like most RPGs, is designed for somewhat lower than realistic lethality. Other than that, taking someone out with one hit with a knife is actually very difficult.
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Old 06-20-2006, 03:43 AM   #3
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Default Re: Ninja Stealth Assassination

I'm no expert on this, since we primarly use Combat Lite...

Anyway, the attack to the throat with AoA Strong does 7 damage, that is a major wound. The guy will faint (HT roll for major wound) and bleed to death in no time (No ideas about the rules here). I have no practice in slitting throats but that seems realistic...
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Old 06-20-2006, 04:34 AM   #4
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Default Re: Ninja Stealth Assassination

Major Wound is a good one! Knockdown is in fact at -5 (Major Wound to the vitals), and failure by 5+ means unconsciousness. With HT10 and an average die roll of 10-11, that means - usually - KO and severe bleeding. Even a simple failure means knockdown + Stun. The target can then be dealt with.

I knew I was missing something :) Thanks!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Der Wanderer
I have no practice in slitting throats...
After having almost finished Tenchu, this isn't true for me :)
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Old 06-20-2006, 04:38 AM   #5
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Default Re: Ninja Stealth Assassination

This is how I would do it in game terms:
What you should do is sneak up on the target and do an all-out attack, starting with a grapple and then a stab into the throat averaging 2-4 pts of damage. Then leave the knife in there.
Given that this is a surprise attack then the target may be mentally stunned and even if not he may still have less speed than the attacker, allowing the attacker to continue. At worst he will still have a 2-4pt penalty to all actions on his round.
The attacker then does another AOA, this time with bonus to damage, as he rips the dagger across the throat. This would do an average of 6-8 pts of damage, which, if the target is as average as the attacker, is a major wound which will stun the target and let you finish him off.
In the real world he'd of course be dead or near-dead by now, but in game terms he will have to lose a bit more HP before he's reliably dead. A repeat of the previous action or something similarly violent should take care of that for you.
Throat slitting as a reliable method of killing doesn't work in GURPS unless you use the bleeding rules, and even then it's not reliable.
An alternative is to do a grapple and then an impaling attack to the vitals, doing 3-6 pts of damage on the first round and then 9-12 on the second. This may of course not work since the target is more likely to have DR over the vitals than the throat.

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Old 06-20-2006, 04:44 AM   #6
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Default Re: Ninja Stealth Assassination

Quote:
Originally Posted by runarm
starting with a grapple
Why start with a grapple? I mean, the target will probably be stunned or unconscious if I choose an AoA, so grappling shouldn't be necessary. Right?

To continue the attack for another turn is a good idea, though. Esp. since the special effect of AoA: Double could very well be "leaves the blade in, twists and moves it." That would nicely simulate what Rikimaru does (and his moves probably *do* take 2 secs).

EDIT:
Quote:
Originally Posted by roguebfl
Well you math is a little off 1d-2 average damage is (3.5 -2) x 1.5, or 2.25 double four Neck gives you 4.5.
Hit Location: Neck (throat) changes the cutting bonus to x2.

EDIT2: 3,5-2 = 1,5 per attack basis. 1,5x2=3 per attack throat. Two throat attacks = 6. :)
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Last edited by zorg; 06-20-2006 at 04:51 AM.
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Old 06-20-2006, 05:01 AM   #7
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Default Re: Ninja Stealth Assassination

Yes, it is nearly impossible to kill someone with a single stab, and this is realistic: if you read a newspaper or see a newsreport on TV, you'll find that average people with ordinary knifes kill other average people with several or even tens hits, not just one or two strikes. Of course, if you are much stronger than the norm (say, ST 13: 1d thr and 2d-1 sw), use an excellent blade (thr +2 imp) and put all your strength into the stab (AoA, Strong), you can do 2dx3 if you manage to strike your victim in vitals, giving you an average of 21 damage and a chance to kill him with a single stab. Of course, that's hard: it should be. But if you use a good-quality modern replica of a broadsword, or just a good replica of a bastard sword made with modern materials, you need only ST 11 to do that: if you were a body-builder, you coul kill someone with a sword stab (note: that's just a sample. you are not encouraged to try to stab people with anything).
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Old 06-20-2006, 05:42 AM   #8
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Default Re: Ninja Stealth Assassination

A bit off-topic but someone doing 2d-3 sw with a knife (2d-1 for strength, sw-2 for knife) can do less damage than someone doing 1d+1 damage with a knife; is it possible to do 0 damage with an attack in GURPS or do you always do a minimum of 1 before DR (in 3e there was something about this)?
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Old 06-20-2006, 05:50 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Matuku
A bit off-topic but someone doing 2d-3 sw with a knife (2d-1 for strength, sw-2 for knife) can do less damage than someone doing 1d+1 damage with a knife; is it possible to do 0 damage with an attack in GURPS or do you always do a minimum of 1 before DR (in 3e there was something about this)?
1) The first guy deals more damage than the second one: 2d-3 against 1d-1 (remember to subtract the -2 for the knife) is an average of 4 against 3 and a maximum of 9 against 5.
2) You can never deal less than one damage after DR is subtracted (see B379).
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Old 06-20-2006, 07:23 AM   #10
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Default Re: Ninja Stealth Assassination

Quote:
Originally Posted by zorg
Why start with a grapple? I mean, the target will probably be stunned or unconscious if I choose an AoA, so grappling shouldn't be necessary. Right?
Not necessarily. Even with a double attack AOA you are not guaranteed to put your enemy down since the damage from the two attacks does not stack for major wound purposes.
Doing a single strong AOA "might" put him down, but it's a risk since you might not hit and you might not do enough damage even if you do.
Starting the attack with a grapple allows you to keep the enemy from getting away from you in case your initial attack fails to put him down and it reduces his possible defenses and attack possibilities as well.
Also, your GM might give you a +1 to hit the neck for having the opponent in a grapple, especially if he's mentally stunned.
As a GM I would also ask a player exactly how he planned on cutting the enemy's throat from behind without grabbing hold of the target - that is unless the attacker is unusually lanky. After all, unless the target has a long neck, pulling the head back to expose the throat is almost a requirement.

R.
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