Injury in d20
I wrote up some Called Shot rules a while back so characters in d20 games have a way to hack off or damage body parts, but I've been reluctant to try them out for the following reasons:

1) I'm worried that someone will figure out a way to optimize characters for making called shots and turn it into an unbalanced strategy.
2) It gives characters with a high attack bonus a cool ability without giving any benefit to, say, spellcasters.
3) It is, in general, going to be a bigger problem for PCs (who have to worry about bodily integrity over the course of an adventuring career) than it will be for NPCs. This will irritate many players.

So, I've decided to try a different method. Instead of making injury and limb loss something a character chooses to inflict on another character, it makes injury and limb loss something that happens to a character. Not only that, it actually benefits the PCs, while allowing the DM to have fun messing with them. No, really! Read on...

Injury Rules
When a character takes enough hit point damage from a single source to bring his or her hit points below 0, the character may make a Fortitude save (DC equal to 10 + the amount of damage). This is considered an effect that "works on objects," so these rules affect Undead and Constructs. If the save succeeds, all of the hit point damage is negated, but a wound is inflicted as if the character had been struck by a weapon of Wounding and the DM must roll on the Injury Table (below) to determine the type of injury sustained by the character. An injured or missing body part penalizes the victim as described in Table 3-9: Effects of Damaging Specific Areas, on page 67 of Core Rulebook II. In addition, missing body parts may make certain tasks impossible. Most creatures cannot survive the loss of a head. (If the form of attack is one that would not normally remove a body part, such as a bludgeoning weapon, the body part is mangled to such an extent that it is effectively missing and must be restored through a Regenerate spell or similar means.) The DM may determine that some creatures, such as Oozes, may not be affected by the loss of a body part.

Update: Whoops, someone pointed out the fact that this pretty much hoses characters with the Cleave feat, or really anything that relies on "dropping," but not killing, opponents. D&D really is not built to support this kind of thing, is it?
Injury Table*
1d6Character Would Have Been DyingCharacter Would Have Been Dead
1Ear injuredEar removed
2Leg injuredLeg removed
3Hand injuredHand removed
4Arm injuredArm removed
5Eye injuredEye removed
6Head injuredHead removed
*If the character has more than one of any given body part, roll randomly to determine which one is affected. If the character has more or fewer body parts than those on the Injury Table, modify the table accordingly. If the damage is inflicted in an area that does not contain all of the character's body parts (for example, if the character takes up many 5 ft. squares), adjust accordingly.
Copyright © 2002 The Metallian
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