Strength Score Needed To Rip A Humanoid in Half?


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Just as the title. I've been trying to figure out at what Str score a creature has a reasonable chance of rippig a human(oid) in half at, let's say the waist. I've been trying to do some research on this, and couldn't even seem to find a solid figure in newtons what the force required for dismemberment is. Can anyone with better Google-fu and math skills than I help me figure out the Str score?


They used to execute people by tying a horse to each of someone's limbs and having them pull in opposite directions, so four horse power is probably about what you're aiming for?

But in Pathfinder, how hard it is to tear someone in half depends on how many hit points they have.


Unarmed coup de gras?


Ignoring all mechanics but Str score for the purposes of this hypothetical (including HP) :)

The drawing and quartering is the most common reference I've been able to find, but A) a limb isn't a torso, and B) how much force does that horse actually have to exert to accomplish the task?

Scarab Sages

I have no idea what the required force would be - but if you're not thinking about this already, do pay attention in your efforts (for which I extend you due kudos) to the weight carrying limits afforded each Strength score; they're the best guideline for figuring out just how strong each level of Strength really is.

A full-grown grizzly bear could probably accomplish such a thing, and their Pathfinder Strength score is 21. That sounds about right to me - just beyond the range of the strongest humans.


If you mean rip apart (like a grizzly would do), using claws a score of 21 would probably be enough

If you mean pull apart ( not tearing... ) I believe you Ned much more:

I would guess a break DC around 30... Don't really know why, it's just a guess... Should perhaps be + target con mod & +/- size...

So a str 30 could do it on a Nat 20 ...

Liberty's Edge

I'm Hiding In Your Closet wrote:

I have no idea what the required force would be - but if you're not thinking about this already, do pay attention in your efforts (for which I extend you due kudos) to the weight carrying limits afforded each Strength score; they're the best guideline for figuring out just how strong each level of Strength really is.

A full-grown grizzly bear could probably accomplish such a thing, and their Pathfinder Strength score is 21. That sounds about right to me - just beyond the range of the strongest humans.

Humans max out at 21 or 22 due to leveling, actually (well, 25 technically, but beyond 8th level, we're dealing with people who are beyond what could be found in the real world)...though they still can't lift as much as the Bear, since it's Large. The Grizzly Bear also has claws, which really help with tearing people to pieces, so you could go a bit higher than it's Str if you wanted to.

Now, Ogres also have a 21, and a lack of claws, so if you want Ogres to be able to do this, then 21 or so (plus Large Size) seems a good break-point. If you don't think Ogres should be strong enough, go with 25 (with Large) that's what a Hill Giant has, and those should definitely be able to pull this off.

Now, as noted, all three of those creatures are Large, which gives them an effective +5 Str for carrying capacity and similar feats of strength, so if you base it on that, you need Str 26-30 to do this as a Medium creature. That sounds right-ish, so go with that.


So a heavy war horse has a Strength of 20. Assuming that the horse is taking 20 with the other three horses using aid another, that gives us a final result of DC 31 Strength Check to draw and quarter someone. If we're using non-heavy war horses then it would be DC 29.

Don't ever do this, because a barbarian with Strength Surge will abuse this to dismember EVERYTHING. Actually, I take that back, totally do that. That would be hilariously awesome.


Bob Bob Bob wrote:

So a heavy war horse has a Strength of 20. Assuming that the horse is taking 20 with the other three horses using aid another, that gives us a final result of DC 31 Strength Check to draw and quarter someone. If we're using non-heavy war horses then it would be DC 29.

Don't ever do this, because a barbarian with Strength Surge will abuse this to dismember EVERYTHING. Actually, I take that back, totally do that. That would be hilariously awesome.

Maybe add tearing and dislocating as a homebrew rage power (similar to the other maneuver based rage powers).

And if the damage you deal happens to cause enough damage to kill that person....BAM.

Interestingly, that would mean it is easier to do this to a skeleton (which is destroyed when its hp hits 0, rather than having a dying state). And that just feels right. Hell, it feels right, even if it is used on a zombie (cause rotting)


A Strength score of 29-30 to rip someone in half in 1 round.

Power-to-weight-ratio using 4 ponies (James Wyatt who invented horse power used ponies to measure it).

Sounds feasible.

edit: credit goes to Matthew Downie, I got the idea from his previous comment.

Liberty's Edge

You could look at Grendel from mythic adventures. He has an ability to rip limbs off based in a grapple check. His strength however is quite high (36 if I remember correctly)

Liberty's Edge

Falcar wrote:
You could look at Grendel from mythic adventures. He has an ability to rip limbs off based in a grapple check. His strength however is quite high (36 if I remember correctly)

It is indeed a 36, but that's to do it in combat as a combat action, which is harder than doing it as something like a coup de grace.

Liberty's Edge

On a tangentally related note: What's the Strength DC to crush a human skull between your hands like Khan did in Star Trek: Into Darkness?

Liberty's Edge

Snorb wrote:
On a tangentally related note: What's the Strength DC to crush a human skull between your hands like Khan did in Star Trek: Into Darkness?

Probably lower. I'd argue for Str 20 or so. Though, again, it's pretty much not gonna happen in combat.


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Given that a level 1 Barbarian can rage to a strength of 24, you guys are making some of these things worryingly easy...


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...actually this entire thread is pretty worrying.

Liberty's Edge

Oh, I only asked that because my Iron Gods brawler had a habit of doing that to her opponents. (The benefit of having a DM/group that enjoys describing how we finish off opponents brought to -1 HP.)


To me this might be something like an opposed ability roll- Like STR roll vs CON seems to be right to me, and I would say you achieve it if your STR check beats the CON check by 10. As a player or a DM I would say that you have exerted sufficient strength given that persons physical fortitude- this would also account for it being easier to tear a Halfling (small, puny, etc.) than it would be to do the same to a dwarf (thick, burly).

Might even grant bonuses and penalties based on size. It would be WAY easier for a Giant to tear a Gnome in twain than it would for a Human to bisect a Marilith... so to speak.


Oh... as a CdG- it just happens. Enjoy your haughty victory!


I would make it a grabble thing and when the guy you are grabbeling goes to -con he comes apart.

Liberty's Edge

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Matthew Downie wrote:
Given that a level 1 Barbarian can rage to a strength of 24, you guys are making some of these things worryingly easy...

Eh. Like I said, you need to actually kill them to do this, this is just the necessary Strength to rip apart a corpse.


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I think you need the rend ability.


Pathfinder Lost Omens Subscriber

the problem i see with this of course is, how will a single man, regardless of strength manage to gain leverage to break the man in two? grabbing the limbs will cause the limbs to break off, grabbing part of the torso will tear the flesh and muscle off, you'd need to actually grab their rib-cage and pelvis(in which case we're dealing with a corpse). in which case a DC 25 strength check would probably be around the ball park based on the stuff i'm looking at.


Without house rules or a special ability allowing such, the creature needs to be out of hit points. So if the attacker has the defender grappled *for example) and is dealing damage, and the defender looses enough hit points to be fulll-on dead, then sure I'd allow a Strength check to allow it for dramatic effect. Depending on the mass of the dead creature, I would set a DC somewhere between 20 and 30.


Leverage is not in your favor.

Also what would be the point of doing this?

No way to bypass RAW for this, you might skip lightly around RAW, but RAW still applies.

So first you have to grapple said victim, meaning all rules for grapples apply.

Then you have to maintain a grapple, then make some sort of check.

You can not do it without the victim having fortitude saves and opposed strength rolls, but technically the RAW has nothing for you.

Unless the victim is dead or helpless already, in which case those RAW apply.

Also I would give the victim an AoO against you (unless helpless or dead)....


Here's how I'd figure it:

4 horses can tear a person apart. We'll use them as a baseline.

The shearing strength is based on torque, which is measured in drag force. A horse can Drag 1200 pounds. Four can drag 4800 pounds.

To do that a medium creature would need to have a strength of about 38.

A large creature would need a strength of about 32. it lowers by 4 to 5 per size category.

I'd call it a special kind of Coup de Grace.


All you need is to establish how much force it takes to pull apart a spine. After that everything else is pretty easy. Grabbing two points on the spine is also probably your best bet at getting leverage for this feat.


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Falcar wrote:
You could look at Grendel from mythic adventures. He has an ability to rip limbs off based in a grapple check. His strength however is quite high (36 if I remember correctly)

Why would Grendel have that ability? He's the guy who gets his arm torn off, not the arm tearer.


Ventnor wrote:
Falcar wrote:
You could look at Grendel from mythic adventures. He has an ability to rip limbs off based in a grapple check. His strength however is quite high (36 if I remember correctly)
Why would Grendel have that ability? He's the guy who gets his arm torn off, not the arm tearer.

Because in the novel, "Grendel," (not Beowulf), Grendel tore men apart numerous times throughout the story, simply because they were bugging him, until he himself had his arm torn off by Beowulf at the end.


@OP: well, you specifically cant sunder natural weapons, and your entire body is a natural weapon... so never/impossible?

you can behead someone with a vorpal weapon, but far as i know rules-wise there is no listed way to remove something's body parts besides that. same with breaking bones--theres a monk archtype that can do it, and i think a feat for very specific situations? otheriwse you cant do that either.

for a game that people claim realism in there isnt a lot to be found it you look and think


Tiny Coffee Golem wrote:
I think you need the rend ability.

That's what I was thinking as well.


I think you'd need to grapple damage a called shot to the body so you'd need to deal half the target's HP, min 50, to rip start tearing and if they get enough con damage to die then they are ripped in half. That's the best way I can think of to rule it.

If you're a normal guy dealing 1d3 damage with unarmed strike you'd need at least 100 strength to do it with your bare hands not counting feats and stuff. Way less if the victim is helpless.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

The system doesn't have dismemberment or much in sudden death rules other than "death by massive damage". If you're going to use that rule. (and PC's should really be wary about asking for it), then someone who's died from one hit via that rule could then be treated as an object for breakage.


Thanks for all the responses, folks.

Again, I would like to emphasize: I do not care about any other mechanics for this particular thought experiment - combat maneuvers, HP, whatever. I'm only concerned with a STR score number that would be equivalent to the STR necessary to do this in real life. :)


Doomed Hero wrote:

Here's how I'd figure it:

4 horses can tear a person apart. We'll use them as a baseline.

The shearing strength is based on torque, which is measured in drag force. A horse can Drag 1200 pounds. Four can drag 4800 pounds.

To do that a medium creature would need to have a strength of about 38.

A large creature would need a strength of about 32. it lowers by 4 to 5 per size category.

I'd call it a special kind of Coup de Grace.

Actually, 4 horses pulling away from each other would exert the same force as 2 horses trying to pull a wall (Eg. you could tie the prisoner's legs to a tree and have 2 horses pull it's arms and have the same result).

Thus it would be more like 2400 pounds, so it'd be more like 22 Str.

Of course that's talking about the horse's "Drag or Push" limit, whereas we're talking about one creature doing it, which would probably put it more in line with the "Lift over Head" limit, which probably puts their Str score in the early 30's (so you were pretty much right).

That's a +11 Str modifier, and they'd probably need close to a Nat 20, so you're talking about a DC30 break check (or there abouts).

The way I'd probably do it is make it a DC(25 + victim's Fort Save). So a level 1 wizard with only 6hp is likely going to only have a DC25 to break (fair enough, a light breeze is enough to take out a low level wizard), whereas a level 10 fighter is going to be more like a DC35.


Doomed Hero wrote:

Here's how I'd figure it:

4 horses can tear a person apart. We'll use them as a baseline.

The shearing strength is based on torque, which is measured in drag force. A horse can Drag 1200 pounds. Four can drag 4800 pounds.

To do that a medium creature would need to have a strength of about 38.

A large creature would need a strength of about 32. it lowers by 4 to 5 per size category.

I'd call it a special kind of Coup de Grace.

Several of the stories about folks being pulled apart by horses mention that the folks making them do it had to pre cut the victims a bit.


TheBlackPlague wrote:

Thanks for all the responses, folks.

Again, I would like to emphasize: I do not care about any other mechanics for this particular thought experiment - combat maneuvers, HP, whatever. I'm only concerned with a STR score number that would be equivalent to the STR necessary to do this in real life. :)

There is no mechanic for this in the game. The game works with HP, maneuvers and that kind if stuff to ignore that is to leave the Logic of the game.


Sellsword2587 wrote:
Ventnor wrote:
Falcar wrote:
You could look at Grendel from mythic adventures. He has an ability to rip limbs off based in a grapple check. His strength however is quite high (36 if I remember correctly)
Why would Grendel have that ability? He's the guy who gets his arm torn off, not the arm tearer.
Because in the novel, "Grendel," (not Beowulf), Grendel tore men apart numerous times throughout the story, simply because they were bugging him, until he himself had his arm torn off by Beowulf at the end.

Yar. Grendel getting his arm ripped off was a sort of dramatic irony, since it was what he'd been effortlessly doing to various people throughout the first story.

@The Topic: I'd say it varies by creature as well. The simplest answer is when your strength score/damage dealt is high enough to kill them outright in one hit is the only time you can do this in combat. I.E. it's a fluff thing.

Liberty's Edge

MrCharisma wrote:
Doomed Hero wrote:

Here's how I'd figure it:

4 horses can tear a person apart. We'll use them as a baseline.

The shearing strength is based on torque, which is measured in drag force. A horse can Drag 1200 pounds. Four can drag 4800 pounds.

To do that a medium creature would need to have a strength of about 38.

A large creature would need a strength of about 32. it lowers by 4 to 5 per size category.

I'd call it a special kind of Coup de Grace.

Actually, 4 horses pulling away from each other would exert the same force as 2 horses trying to pull a wall (Eg. you could tie the prisoner's legs to a tree and have 2 horses pull it's arms and have the same result).

Thus it would be more like 2400 pounds, so it'd be more like 22 Str.

Of course that's talking about the horse's "Drag or Push" limit, whereas we're talking about one creature doing it, which would probably put it more in line with the "Lift over Head" limit, which probably puts their Str score in the early 30's (so you were pretty much right).

That's a +11 Str modifier, and they'd probably need close to a Nat 20, so you're talking about a DC30 break check (or there abouts).

The way I'd probably do it is make it a DC(25 + victim's Fort Save). So a level 1 wizard with only 6hp is likely going to only have a DC25 to break (fair enough, a light breeze is enough to take out a low level wizard), whereas a level 10 fighter is going to be more like a DC35.

I was also thinking a characters Fortitude should have a say in the matter. I second this formula: DC (25+Fort Save) for medium creatures ripping apart medium humanoids.


You grapple it while dealing lethal damage somehow, then when it dies, that's how you narrate the action.


Nah. "Rip guy in half" would be part of simple Grapple damage rules. You can't do it while he's alive (barring special abilities), because Hit Points mean he's able to keep squirming, keep weakening your grip, keep you from bringing your full strength to bear.

As for the Strength DC for ripping a corpse in half, I'd put it at 25-30.


We should probably playtest this out. The Absalom Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals won't let us test it out on critters like lab mice or monkeys, but we could easily use kobolds.


TorresGlitch wrote:
I was also thinking a characters Fortitude should have a say in the matter. I second this formula: DC (25+Fort Save) for medium creatures ripping apart medium humanoids.

Yeah although I'm not sure DC(25+Fort Save) is quite high enough to be realisitic, it might be more like DC(30+Fort Save). Not that anything about this scenario is particularly realistic.

In terms of the actual question (He didn't care about mechanics, just asking as an intellectual exercise) I think you're looking at around 30-35 Str. Getting any more specific than that is going to require a lot more research, so I'll leave that to someone with better search-fu.

If you really want to work it out properly, you're probably going to have to look up the Tensile Strength of Muscle, Skin (although I imagine that'll be lower and won't matter so much), Ligaments and Fascia. Anything else in the area likely won't have much of an effect, but those things could all make it harder. After that it's just a fairly simple physics question.

Liberty's Edge

I don't think it should occur inplace of damage when grappling, it should occur after or when you successfully pin them.
As in the example with the horses pulling the target apart, the target is severly restrained/pinned/helpless.

Since the action requires a series of actions, and since two strong horses were enough to rip a weak humanoid in half, I'd have the difficulty being:
DC (25+Fort Save) or
DC(20+Fort Save)


Now get an amulet of might fists with ghost touch on it and rip a ghost in half!


TorresGlitch wrote:

I don't think it should occur inplace of damage when grappling, it should occur after or when you successfully pin them.

As in the example with the horses pulling the target apart, the target is severly restrained/pinned/helpless.

Since the action requires a series of actions, and since two strong horses were enough to rip a weak humanoid in half, I'd have the difficulty being:
DC (25+Fort Save) or
DC(20+Fort Save)

There are credible eyewitnesses telling us that Four horses was often not enough to dismember someone. So a check a normal strong man can make at level one is totally out IMOP.


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More than you'd think. The human body is shockingly resilient to non-slashing/piercing injury.

Life is fragile, but the body is tough.


Cap. Darling wrote:
There are credible eyewitnesses telling us that Four horses was often not enough to dismember someone. So a check a normal strong man can make at level one is totally out IMOP.

Agreed.

I also just remembered people were talking about Large creatures having an effective Str 5 higher than the listed stat for things like this (I don't remember this in the rules, but someone mentioned it). That would mean my assessment of DC(25+Fort Save) or DC(30+Fort Save) would be low, and it should be revised to either DC(30+Fort Save) or DC(35+Fort Save).

Either way I think at least a DC 30 would be required.

Editor

This is getting close to a home-brew thread, as the Rules Question answer has already been given: you can't. Aside from special abilities such as Grendel's, there's no such mechanic or minimum score required.

However, I'm intrigued, so here's how I'd do it.
I'd be tempted to use the victim's Fort save as well, but run it as an opposed check:
The breaker would make a strength check, the result of which would impose a penalty on the victim's Fort save to resist being torn asunder. There are a few ways you could set the DCs, but I definitely would let the victim roll to save.
That puts the save/fail in the hands of the victim, which always feels fairer to a player, in my experience.

So, to answer the OP's question, in this case you'd need a Strength bonus equal to your victim's Fortitude saving throw bonus to succeed on average, and a bonus of 20 + the victim's Fortitude save to auto-succeed in one try. I'd probably also let a failed dismember check deal Constitution damage, specifically applying penalties on saving throws to resist dismemberment, so the more time you get to pull, the more likely you are to succeed.

As another poster suggested, I'd treat this as a special coup-de-gras attempt, which a creature could perform only if it's 2 or more sizes larger than the victim and holding the victim helpless at the start of the dismembering creature's turn, or 1 size larger if pulling in the opposite direction of a similar creature (such as in the horse example given above, or two ogres yanking on an unfortunate dwarf).


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I think the STR 30 is in line based on the draw and quarter equivalent. However, the biggest advantage the horses have is that there are 4 of them, and they are large sized.

So, if you were to reduce that requirement from 4 large things to 2 large things (hands) you get an idea of what's needed. A gargantuan creature has large hands.

So in order to pick someone up (medium humanoid) and rip them in half like a loaf of bread, you need a 30 STR and to be gargantuan in size.

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