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Old 11-21-2006, 11:06 AM   #1
Luther
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Default How would you model Saudi Arabia beheading in GURPS?

In Saudi Arabia the executioner often use a one-handed traditional scimitar weighting about 3-4 lbs. There is no wooden block, the prisoner just kneels with his head low. (see non graphic image here and here)

Also according to reports "normally it takes just one swing of the sword to sever the head" (from here), but "sometimes more than one stroke is needed to sever the head" (from Amnesty).

So if a skilled executioner is employed then one blow is usually sufficient, even if there is no block holding the neck. Given the above information:

1) How many HPs would you give to neck?

2) How would you model the above in GURPS?
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Old 11-21-2006, 11:12 AM   #2
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Default Re: How would you model Saudi Arabia beheading in GURPS?

I believe Kromm has mentioned before treating "ideal" circumstances like that as an automatic "triple damage" result, just as if the person had rolled a crit.

At that point, taking triple cutting damage to the neck, the head falling off is a special effect.
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Old 11-21-2006, 11:34 AM   #3
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Default Re: How would you model Saudi Arabia beheading in GURPS?

Quote:
Originally Posted by laserdog

I believe Kromm has mentioned before treating "ideal" circumstances like that as an automatic "triple damage" result, just as if the person had rolled a crit.
Yes. If "triple damage" is possible on a lucky shot, then in a set-up situation where luck doesn't come into it, it ought to be possible as well. So a strong man (but not a musclebound thug) with ST 11 starts at swing 1d+1, adds +1 for a sword, adds +1 for a fine blade, and adds +2 more for All-Out Attack (Strong). His damage roll is 1d+5, or 6-11. To the neck, that's 12-22. Triple it for ideal circumstances with all the time in the world, nobody fighting back, and endless practice -- let's say that a Professional Skill (Executioner) roll allows this -- for 36-66. Average is 51. That's -4xHP for most people, -3xHP for some really big ones. Three or four HT rolls are needed to survive. If the guy doesn't die (low damage, high HT), the rare second blow will mean an average of 102, which is automatically lethal even at 17 HP.

Those who want to postulate monstrous guys with 20 HP and HT 18 will be introduced to my bigger executioner with ST 13 and a very fine blade, who will do 2d+4 and average 66 points a chop.
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Old 11-21-2006, 11:40 AM   #4
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Default Re: How would you model Saudi Arabia beheading in GURPS?

1d+5 -- wouldn't that be trimmed to 2d+1 making an average 8 damage on a 3-13 range? That amounts to 6-26 (16 average) to an unarmored neck. Trippled that comes to 18 to 78 (48 average).

Unless I am missing something. Which is certainly possible.

(edit: 1d+5 is reduced by the +4 to 2d+1, not 2d+2)
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Old 11-21-2006, 11:42 AM   #5
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Default Re: How would you model Saudi Arabia beheading in GURPS?

Quote:
Originally Posted by KDLadage
1d+5 -- wouldn't that be trimmed to 2d+2 making an average 9 damage on a 4-14 range?
I think 3d-2 would be a more faithful conversion (at least that's how I'd convert it).

(Edit: Although for situations like this where the "damage" is almost a routine process, I could see keeping the 1d+5 as is.)

Last edited by laserdog; 11-21-2006 at 11:47 AM.
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Old 11-21-2006, 11:43 AM   #6
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Default Re: How would you model Saudi Arabia beheading in GURPS?

Perhaps... but I thought the rule was +4 = +1d; +7 = +2d.
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Old 11-21-2006, 11:45 AM   #7
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Default Re: How would you model Saudi Arabia beheading in GURPS?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kromm
Yes. If "triple damage" is possible on a lucky shot, then in a set-up situation where luck doesn't come into it, it ought to be possible as well. So a strong man (but not a musclebound thug) with ST 11 starts at swing 1d+1, adds +1 for a sword, adds +1 for a fine blade, and adds +2 more for All-Out Attack (Strong). His damage roll is 1d+5, or 6-11. To the neck, that's 12-22. Triple it for ideal circumstances with all the time in the world, nobody fighting back, and endless practice -- let's say that a Professional Skill (Executioner) roll allows this -- for 36-66. Average is 51. That's -4xHP for most people, -3xHP for some really big ones. Three or four HT rolls are needed to survive. If the guy doesn't die (low damage, high HT), the rare second blow will mean an average of 102, which is automatically lethal even at 17 HP.

Those who want to postulate monstrous guys with 20 HP and HT 18 will be introduced to my bigger executioner with ST 13 and a very fine blade, who will do 2d+4 and average 66 points a chop.
A good executioner might have Striking ST as well, resulting in ST 13-15 for these purposes. And I think that scimitars used for this purpose qualify as falchion type swords, don't they?
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Old 11-21-2006, 11:48 AM   #8
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Default Re: How would you model Saudi Arabia beheading in GURPS?

Quote:
Originally Posted by KDLadage
Perhaps... but I thought the rule was +4 = +1d; +7 = +2d.
Conversion is optional, and the last thing done. Frequently, it's important because of a lot of the +1/PER DIE type of modifiers.
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Old 11-21-2006, 11:59 AM   #9
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Default Re: How would you model Saudi Arabia beheading in GURPS?

Yes... no other adds are being applied however, so it is being done last.

Optional? I thought it was a standard, core rule. Will need to check my books again when I get home.
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Old 11-21-2006, 12:01 PM   #10
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Default Re: How would you model Saudi Arabia beheading in GURPS?

My suggestion: Steal from the Forced Entry skill as well.

Professional Skill (Execution): IQ/A

This is the knowledge of how to kill another person quickly and cleanly in a controlled situation. It is of no use if you do not have complete control of your target and access to appropriate equipment (i.e., an executioner's sword as opposed to a normal combat-oriented sword, a chopping block, etc.) Add +1 per die to the damage done to the subject if you know this skill at IQ+1, or +2 per die if you know it at IQ+2 or better. Decapitation takes at least five minutes to set up (use standard rules for reducing or taking more time) and requires a roll against this skill as well as an attack roll against the subject's neck (almost always an All-Out Attack after Evaluating, net modifier +2). If both rolls are successful, the damage is tripled (for a net x6)!

That's fairly generous, but frankly, for executions that don't involve supernatural targets, I'd usually just call it death by fiat anyways. Brings the range of damage from 36-66 up to 48-78 for a skilled executioner, the average of which is enough to easily auto-kill a HT 10 man. A poor damage roll or higher HT target allows for survival rolls, which might necessitate another chop.
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