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Old 07-08-2011, 01:16 AM   #11
Langy
 
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Default Re: Question about cutting a throat.

Note that most characters probably won't do enough damage with a knife to the throat to kill, or even seriously injure, anyone. They'll be knocked down to about half of their normal HP, be bleeding, but still have a good few minutes to fight back, raise an alarm, etc.

This is something I consider to be a flaw in the GURPS ruleset. You need to be super-strong in order to perform a 'sentry-removal' type kill with a knife - otherwise, your foe'll just take the two or three HP of damage you can do with your puny weapon and then shoot you, call someone on his radio, and then calmly walk to a hospital to get patched up.

Here's an example:

ST10 Average Guy has a small knife, dealing 1d-3 cut damage on a swing. He steps up to The Mook, a ST10 guard, and all-out telegraphic attacks from behind, striking the neck arteries. Neck arteries are at -8 to hit(!), but his AoA+Telegraphic bonuses counter them, and he hits. He rolls his damage dice and gets a 6, reduced to 3 due to the damage penalty from using a knife. This leaves him with 3 damage, multiplied by 2.5 for hitting the neck arteries, leaving him with 7 injury. It's a major wound, but not enough to kill - and if he had rolled a 5 instead of a 6, it wouldn't even be a major wound. The Mook now needs to roll against HT-5 every 30 seconds or lose 1 HP due to bleeding. It'll take him at least six minutes before he dies due to blood loss.

Now, if Average Guy had enough Knife skill to be able to target the neck arteries without that AoA:Determined, and had a really big knife that was really sharp, he'd have a total of a +4 bonus to damage. That'd make his total damage 17.5 - enough to knock The Mook down to negative HP, but not enough to kill him. He'll still take one and a half minutes to die, though he'll have to roll against HT twice to avoid knockdown/stunning and unconsciousness. Still, there's a very decent chance that The Mook will still be alive, conscious, and able to call for help.

Average Guy would need to be replaced with Really Strong Guy in order to consistently threaten to kill The Mook with his knife-to-the-throat strategy.

EDIT: Also, a 'major wound' only takes down half of average people. It should take down much less guards and such (who should have Fit and higher-than-average HT).
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Old 07-08-2011, 01:42 AM   #12
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Default Re: Question about cutting a throat.

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Originally Posted by Langy View Post
Note that most characters probably won't do enough damage with a knife to the throat to kill, or even seriously injure, anyone.
Most character don't do sentry-removal.

Also you are comparing "average guy" with "strong guy" and completely forgetting the typical assassin "skilled guy" who is perfectly good at doing this. and then also neglecting the obvious cinematic rules, despite using terms such as "mook-guard".


Cinematic game
In a cinematic game there will be no "average guy" who tries to sneak up behind a guard and cut his throat. There is a reason only fantasy rogues and highly trained Spec-ops do this.
So you will have a strong and/or highly skilled person doing it and so the removal will be no problem.
And even if it's not someone highly skilled, in a cinematic game a random mook-guard should go down if taking a major wound (or from any damage at all in a very cinematic game).

But even a none-mook guard who use all the rules in the book to keep alive, would easily be taken out by a cinematic low-ST assassin.
beasue such a character would easily have Skill:18, Targeted attack (Neck/vein) a fine knife and most likely weapon master or trained by a master. And even if they roll the worst possible damage and the target make all their HT checks.. .then they would still be surprised, giving the ulucky assassin a couple of second more to finish the job.

Ie. in cinematic game even a reasonable skilled ST:8 character could competently remove a sentry.... as long as they have the Stealth-skill to get to them without being noticed (another reason Average Joe doesn't do sentry removal)


None-cinematic game
As mentioned above, no average guy is going to do sentry removal and certainly not in a somewhat realistic game. In real life, people who do this ARE strong and have received special training. So ST:12 and skill 14 (and probably still some levels of targeted attack) is still appropriate.
And in a realistic campaign a guard will not instantly fight back if he take a major wound, even if he does make his HT check... first off, because he is surprised. But also because, realistic people they fear death and getting their neck cut opens tend to cause fear-checks.
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Old 07-08-2011, 01:58 AM   #13
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Default Re: Question about cutting a throat.

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Originally Posted by Langy View Post
Note that most characters probably won't do enough damage with a knife to the throat to kill, or even seriously injure, anyone.
That would be the reason why it's often recommended that you precede the neck-slash by grabbing the sentry by the mouth to hold them. Even for the professionals that practice these techniques, it can take several follow-up attacks to put the target down.
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Old 07-08-2011, 02:02 AM   #14
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Default Re: Question about cutting a throat.

Someone who's been Surprised can still shout out, Maz (and is probably quite likely to do so - see, for example, the number of people who shout when startled by scary movies). He might not be able to fight, but he'll certainly ruin stealth.

Also, you read too much into the names. 'Average Guy' could easily have been my Indiana Jones-alike character in a current high-cinematic campaign with dinosaurs on mars (though he wields a machete when he needs to use a knife, and would have been more likely to use his stun-gun-glove), while 'The Mook' could have been a highly trained guard with Combat Reflexes not covered under mook rules. He might be surprised for one second (giving Average Guy another shot to kill him, but he'd already have shouted a warning through his scream of pain), but afterwards he'd still be able to fight.

A big thing that'd make 'sentry removal' more realistic would be the allow cutting attacks to the throat to impose the Mute disadvantage (via cutting the vocal cords). This would make it so The Mook couldn't scream out a warning, which would be much more in line with how sentry-removal is normally portrayed.

In any case, I don't know why ST impacts this damage at all. The knife slides through the neck, it goes all the way through, then the guy pushes out. If the knife were sharp enough, no matter what level of ST the guy had it should deal the same exact damage, since the same exact tissue would be damaged. Same with stabbing a knife into a gut - even a ST10 person can probably stab someone up to the hilt, but I don't see why a ST20 person should deal significantly more damage than the ST10 guy, since in both cases the knife just goes up to the hilt.
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Old 07-08-2011, 02:04 AM   #15
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Default Re: Question about cutting a throat.

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Originally Posted by Phoenix_Dragon View Post
That would be the reason why it's often recommended that you precede the neck-slash by grabbing the sentry by the mouth to hold them. Even for the professionals that practice these techniques, it can take several follow-up attacks to put the target down.
I actually don't know what the point of this is in GURPS. Even with a grapple, you still have a -8 to hit neck arteries (since the grapple doesn't impact the targeted attack penalties for the knife), and I don't know of any GURPS techniques for silencing sentries with a hand over the mouth or anything.
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Old 07-08-2011, 02:05 AM   #16
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Default Re: Question about cutting a throat.

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Originally Posted by Langy View Post
and I don't know of any GURPS techniques for silencing sentries with a hand over the mouth or anything.
Why wouldn't grappling the mouth do this?
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Old 07-08-2011, 02:13 AM   #17
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Default Re: Question about cutting a throat.

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Originally Posted by sir_pudding View Post
Why wouldn't grappling the mouth do this?
Because 'the mouth' isn't a hit location that GURPS covers, and I was specifically talking about rules that GURPS lacks, not that I couldn't come up with house rules for the situation (I dabbled with allowing a bonus to-hit a location you've immobilized via grappling, such as by grappling the face of someone and then sticking a knife in their neck, to fix on of the problems I see with it).
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Old 07-08-2011, 02:18 AM   #18
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Default Re: Question about cutting a throat.

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Originally Posted by Langy View Post
Because 'the mouth' isn't a hit location that GURPS covers,
But "Jaw" is.
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Old 07-08-2011, 02:50 AM   #19
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Default Re: Question about cutting a throat.

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Originally Posted by sir_pudding View Post
But "Jaw" is.
Yep, and at -6 to hit it is just slightly harder than Face.

So the assassin should sneak up behind the unaware victim, grapple the jaw primarily to muffle the scream. Perhaps a generous GM would give a bonus to the knife attack because grabbing the jaw tot ilt the head up makes hitting the neck easier.
And then make the knife cut to the neck. An assassin doing this would be skilled in using the knige for a draw cut rather than a slash, and the knife is most likely optimized for this. I'd not be stingy with damage modifiers for this.

Otherwise you could sneak up behind the sentry, make a choke hold and while he struggles with both his arms to remove your one arm around his neck, you stab him in the undefended kidneys. And hold him for a few seconds until either the oxygen depriovation or bleeding from the stabbed kidney renders him unconscious. Or just keep stabbing for a few seconds.
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Old 07-08-2011, 04:02 AM   #20
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Default Re: Question about cutting a throat.

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Originally Posted by Ultraviolet View Post
Yep, and at -6 to hit it is just slightly harder than Face.
Grapples only suffer half the Hit Location penalties, so -3 for Mouth/Jaw, then +4 for Telegraphic Attack, and maybe another +4 if your AoA is Determined. It is probably reasonable to apply the Grab and Stab (a variant of Grab and Smash rule).
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Last edited by vicky_molokh; 07-08-2011 at 05:58 AM.
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