Steve Jackson Games - Site Navigation
Home General Info Follow Us Search Illuminator Store Forums What's New Other Games Ogre GURPS Munchkin Our Games: Home

Go Back   Steve Jackson Games Forums > Roleplaying > GURPS

Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 03-10-2021, 06:24 PM   #131
Rupert's Avatar
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Wellington, NZ
Default Re: Hit be, or not to be?

Originally Posted by Anthony View Post
Well, that ties in to 'instant' kill.

I would note that traditional throat-slitting is actually not a very good choice for rapid incapacitation, because the important things in the front of the neck are the trachea and the jugular vein. Now, the trachea is necessary for breathing and if opened might get clogged with blood (causing the victim to drown in their own blood), and the jugular is a major vein so if opened too far the victim bleeds to death (and you can't tourniquet the neck), but neither of those things is super fast (unfortunately, better targets, such as the brain, upper spine, and carotid arteries, tend to be protected by helmets).
It's also really, really messy. You get high pressure streams of hot blood going all over. Blood spreads like jam, it gets on everything and smears around. It also has a strong and distinctive smell, especially when warm. There's a very good chance that even if you do the whole 'sneak up from behind' thing you'll get blood on your clothes, and lots of blood on your footwear, so you be leaving tracks all over the place and the odds of even a person, let alone a sentry dog smelling you is greatly increased.
Rupert Boleyn

"A pessimist is an optimist with a sense of history."
Rupert is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-11-2021, 02:52 AM   #132
Opellulo's Avatar
Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: Rome, Italy
Default Re: Hit be, or not to be?

Weird how a thread on system abstractions in games has devolved on a morbid discussion of human tissues like it's some kind of CSI CGI fetish montage fest.

Trying to steer again the topic I'll repeat my point: Hit Points are just a resource for drama, a way to value the willingness of taking risks and, on a lesser extent, a measure of Power Dynamics (IIRC the maximum achievable HP for a PC in AD&D was 199 which was a nice touch). They mean nothing per s and in fact, many systems have totally discarded them in favor of other systems like statuses: "wounded", "stunned", "desperate", "shocked" etc.

Now, if a scenario includes unavoidable deaths, how "realistic" or "necessary" this is, it's not a matter of HP (and game mechanics to subtract those) but of Game Mastering. I remember playing with less experienced Masters that chose to include NPC that were supposed to die no matter what... Even if PCs got access to restore or resurrection spells. Or some dead-ends in Pathfinder where some classes got access to powers so weird (that for example require no gesture or activation words) that make their PC basically unrestrainable, so the only option possible to overcome them was beating them dead.

Those are clearly extremes, but IMHO "standard" Gurps (no supers or other shenanigans) lands in a sweet spot where "Character Physical Health" is managed in a way that offers you (both as a player or as a Master) various option and choices on how you want to face challenges and this is no easy feat.
A strange game. The only winning move is not to play. How about a nice game of chess?
Opellulo is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-11-2021, 09:37 AM   #133
Fred Brackin
Join Date: Aug 2007
Default Re: Hit be, or not to be?

Originally Posted by Opellulo View Post
(IIRC the maximum achievable HP for a PC in AD&D was 199 which was a nice touch).
I don't quite get that number. A 30th level Fighter with an 18 Con could have 90+36 +63 hp or 189. Some early versions of 2e (and of course 1e) didn't limit characters to 30th level and Cons over 18 weren't usually forbidden if enough magic was involved.

Similarly to these questions of rules variations a GM's goal may vary as well. I have done a lot of swashbuckling adventure and some outright comedy but seldom tried for really intense "drama".

As a tool simply to keep the game running HP have a useable simplicity. I'd rate keeping things moving over mnay other goals.
Fred Brackin
Fred Brackin is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-11-2021, 12:37 PM   #134
Join Date: Aug 2018
Default Re: Hit be, or not to be?

Originally Posted by Otaku View Post
"Instant kill" might be a misnomer in this case; the idea is the victim is beyond medical help, or at a high risk of being beyond medical help. We also get into the whole "average" person versus the "average" adventurer. Possibly even real-world soldier. The few seconds (rounds) you have between your throat being slit and it more or less incapacitating you are probably filled by you being in shock than by you doing something useful.
Yeah, I can understand handwaive "they're just twitching on the ground the next minute, not likely to affect combat" when dealing with a lot of mooks, but we do already have stuff like Major Wounds and stun/shock (and maybe Fright Check) to crunch out such reactions that there's not a need to resort to fluff/ignore for gritty unpredictable combat.

Originally Posted by Otaku View Post
the more realistic the world, the less I expect someone with a slit throat to power through the injury, whether in the "They survived a slit throat!" to "They used their last moments to accomplish something." manner.
Extended shock rules maybe?

Originally Posted by Otaku View Post
On the other hand, in the more cinematic settings, where characters are typically more durable, a slit throat is typically played as guaranteed death. Sometimes instant, sometimes not. So... if it isn't as lethal IRL, then maybe it is a setting switch?
Trying to think of some comic/toon/film examples TBH, I know they're out there but it's hard to remember. Wondering if I could logic it out via some other mechanism
Plane is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-11-2021, 12:38 PM   #135
Join Date: Aug 2018
Default Re: Hit be, or not to be?

Originally Posted by mr beer View Post
you grab them from behind and saw rapidly back-and-forth until the knife meets their spine, then hang on until they stop convulsing.

So in this context a knife to the throat is not considered an instant kill or even a certain kill by any means.
Kinda wonder if in MA/TG terms this might work something akin to a Grab and Smash where you can expend Control Points to add to damage of melee attacks.

Or some kind of "I can sub my Lifting ST for Striking ST" or "I can use my swing damage without actually swinging" to accentruate grappling.

It's almost like "worrying with stuff other than teeth" in a way.

Originally Posted by Ulzgoroth View Post
To be fair, that's partly because sentry removal by knife is trying to be quiet. Even if you immediately dealt a deadly wound you've failed if they scream, fire a shot, or otherwise attract attention.
If we go for some kind of idea like "more strikes than bites can carry a grapple" then if you are using a knife to grapple the neck perhaps you can also "choke" the neck like it were a hand, or like one does with a garotte?

there's probably something somewhere about neck grapples (or at least chokes/strangles) making it hard to make vocal noises at high audibility, maybe somehow related to how it obstructs breathing?
Plane is offline   Reply With Quote

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Fnords are Off
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 08:24 PM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.9
Copyright ©2000 - 2021, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.