How do you do dismemberment?


Advice


Just reading the Vorpal enchantment again and remembering why I hate it: I need the most expensive magical enchantment in order to... target someone's neck?
Seems dumb, feels bad, yet been around for literally decades over various editions.

But even so, Vorpal only applies to heads. What about legs, arms, hands, eyes, etc?

How do you handle actual wounds and not just HP damage in your games?


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Generally speaking, the answer is "I don't, and wouldn't want to add it either."

Specifically because the sort of story and sort of play experience that I am looking for when playing Pathfinder is directly hindered by any more granular handling of such events than the default game assumes.

In play of other, when looking for a different sort of story and play experience, the default rules typically have that kind of thing built in.


As far as arms and legs go. Back in the games I played in AD&D they had a ability called sharpness which was like vorpal but slightly less auto-kill that could take off limbs you would roll randomly for which limb head was in fact still an option.


The game isn't designed with realistic injury in mind, but I hear the Critical Hit Deck to be published next month should be very much what you're looking for.

Me, I'm okay as is - I mean, P2 isn't exactly what I thought I'd be running now, and yet here we are. I can work with this. As for mutilations and similar critical wounds, I only describe them when an enemy is killed off, if at all.

Still... I could give the deck a whirl...

Silver Crusade

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Pathfinder Companion, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Neo2151 wrote:
Just reading the Vorpal enchantment again and remembering why I hate it: I need the most expensive magical enchantment in order to... target someone's neck?

You need it in order to 1 Hit kill someone.

The Exchange

The deck can be fun and cruel at the same time. Magic becomes extra important to pop your limbs back, hope they add medicine rules so you can reattach some limbs back hahaha


Takamorisan wrote:
The deck can be fun and cruel at the same time. Magic becomes extra important to pop your limbs back, hope they add medicine rules so you can reattach some limbs back hahaha

I read the spells chapter only once, do you remember what levels are the spells that will most often be needed?... and that would practically require a divine caster constantly in the party, which is not how we're rolling... yeah, I changed my mind, we probably won't use the deck...


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

If you like dismemberment, disembowelling and other deliciously brutal forms of combat resolution, you need to time travel back to the 80s and get Arms Law, which eventually morphed into MERP.

They had pages and pages of highly specific and debilitating critical hit tables that included all that fun stuff like dismemberment and more.

Of course, a PC didn't live long in that system unless he was very, very good at never getting into a fight in the first place.

That's not exactly the kind of RPG that appeals to this old grognard.


Just add it as a permanent condition.

Limb Loss - You have lost a limb. This condition imposes a -4 penalty on all checks, and Bleeding 5 until the wound is treated. Until the limb is replaced, either by magical or mechanical means, or sufficient training and rehabilitation has occurred as determined by the GM, you are unable to perform actions that require the use of the missing limb.


Usually not at all, my players are mostly rather caring about their characters and even scarring can ruin it somewhat (if it's permanent)
On the other in different systems where are alternatives (magical prothesis) or of there is a way to regrow limbs it is not that bad


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Diego Hopkins wrote:

Just add it as a permanent condition.

Limb Loss - You have lost a limb. This condition imposes a -4 penalty on all checks, and Bleeding 5 until the wound is treated. Until the limb is replaced, either by magical or mechanical means, or sufficient training and rehabilitation has occurred as determined by the GM, you are unable to perform actions that require the use of the missing limb.

Yes but... how do you go from losing hit points to losing a limb? There is no game mechanic for combat that can lead to losing a limb, or an eye, or even a finger. Unless the soon-to-be-released critical hit deck goes a lot further than the old one.


The rules on this could be complex; I suggest you take it one piece at a time...


Wheldrake wrote:
Diego Hopkins wrote:

Just add it as a permanent condition.

Limb Loss - You have lost a limb. This condition imposes a -4 penalty on all checks, and Bleeding 5 until the wound is treated. Until the limb is replaced, either by magical or mechanical means, or sufficient training and rehabilitation has occurred as determined by the GM, you are unable to perform actions that require the use of the missing limb.

Yes but... how do you go from losing hit points to losing a limb? There is no game mechanic for combat that can lead to losing a limb, or an eye, or even a finger. Unless the soon-to-be-released critical hit deck goes a lot further than the old one.

I literally just wrote the mechanic. The condition subsystem for P2 is really flexible and modular. You just add a condition and decide what it does.

So for Limb Loss, I'm not deducting additional HP for the loss of a limb. I assume you lost HP when you got hit(probably on a crit), and then you also received a new permanent condition. I think limb loss is pretty self-explanatory. When you initially lose the limb, you gain Bleeding 5 until the wound is successfully treated. Then you take a -4 penalty to all checks until the limb is restored or you have spent sufficient time training to live without the limb. You also can't perform any activities that require that limb until it's restored, or you've retrained. For instance, you can't used two handed weapons like longbows if you don't have two hands.

The rough draft there was unclear. Allow me to resubmit it as this:

Limb Loss - You have lost a limb. This condition imposes Bleeding 5 until the wound is treated. Once the wound is treated, you take a -4 penalty to all checks, and are unable to perform any actions that require the missing limb. For instance, you cannot use a longbow if you are missing one arm. Until the limb is replaced, either by magical or mechanical means, or sufficient training and rehabilitation has occurred as determined by the GM, you are unable to perform actions that require the use of the missing limb and the penalty persists.


Pathfinder Maps, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Yes... I'm sure there will be options for people who want it in the future. Many however like HP for their abstraction and simplification so they don't have to worry about it. Some dislike having their characters randomly maimed because it can put a very real, unplanned limitation on their character's development. At least, in one sense, dying heroically can be seen as a fitting end to a character concept. Many may have trouble seeing the future for their hero past becoming paralyzed from the waist down., or losing a leg.

I say it because there are people who have worked to achieve things past that, but many don't inherently see the potential... and on a side note, most adventures you see published aren't for people who have acquired such limitations.

If you want to pursue such limitations, I'd base it on critical hits, and probably also include some sort of damage threshold that would need to be exceeded. [for instance, a 10th level fighter with 100hp should probably have their arm chopped off via a critical which does 20hp (5hp x2) to them] To have a serious, long term/permanent injury, a hit might need to be critical and exceed 1/2 max. Perhaps have some flavorful injuries that would heal with time for criticals that don't make 50% but exceed some threshold like 1/4th or 1/10 (perhaps having to be higher than your racial hp, as well as a baseline) I don't think we want every critical they take at first level being a maiming hit.

A simple mechanic you can use to reflect special more impactful damage is to allow certain critical hits you define be unable to be healed via normal daily practices. Require them to heal at a slower rate, requiring higher level healing magic to recover HP, and have them impart some penalty on the individual until they are healed.

With how easy it is for HP to go up and down so many times in the day with second edition, there is definitely some room for some definition of damage that isn't so easy to simply heal using easily regained free resources such as mundane medicine, focus healing or low level spells. But that would definitely be out of scope for core rules. More of optional rules for creating a more gritty or realistic flavored campaign setting. As that, you might see some optional rules to cover some items like it in the GM book that is supposed to come out.


Though with the way conditions work, if I have the Limb Loss condition due to my right arm being severed, and I acquire the Limb Loss condition for my left arm, I have... the Limb Loss condition, once, and am no worse off than before.

This isn't an unfixable flaw or anything, I just wanted to point it out.

EDIT: C.f. the Black Knight. "Come back here you coward, I'll bite your ankles off!"


Pathfinder Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

As a very basic solution, to the dismembered character in question I think I'd add a permanent Wounded 1 along with an appropriate penalty such as -10 speed for a leg, -4 to Perception checks that rely on vision for an eye, and so on.


For a simple solution, take a look at Starfinder Severe Wound weapon critical trait at https://www.aonsrd.com/WeaponCriticals.aspx?ItemName=Severe%20Wound and make it a +3 or +2 propriety rune.

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