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Critical Hits from Called Shot


Just GMed my first session of T20 the other day and a question came up whilst the PCs were busy being eat up by a Frost Worm ... one of the PCs took aim with his trusty rifle and made a called shot into the beastie's mouth.

I ruled that the called shot enabled him to bypass the worm's natural AR (5, half it's natural AC of 10), which meant that in two well-placed shots he had reduce it's Lifeblood from 20 to 0, whilst it still had 100+ Stamina (in hindsight I would stick to doubling the creature's CON to get its Lifeblood).

Is that a reasonable use of a called shot?
That's almost like a critical. In my campaign, I am allowing called shots to reduce armor by half (ie they are hitting a weak point). I "might" be allowing called shots to go straight to Lifeblood, but the damage will still be reduced by armor (that idea will be discussed by the group). Ignoring armor in my campaign is the property of the critical hit and Sniper feat, although we do not double damage for criticals.
The sniper feat (p109) allows the firing character to take a -4 to hit in exchange for a guaranteed critical hit. Taking careful aim over several turns can reduce this to -1 to hit.

The rules for called shots are on p151. What you are looking for in this case is a chink in the armor or a hit to a vital location (most likely penalty from the table is -6) I probably wouldn't allow the called shots to get any better than -6, otherwise it would eliminate the need for the sniper feat altogether. (Why buy the feat for something you can do anyway?)

The point of the called shot is to allow one to shoot things ON the target, or unusually small targets (e.g., the noose holding up a character to be executed, or shooting the gun out of an opponent's hands.) But, it is a general purpose rule. One could attack a hole in the beast's armor the same way (Shoot it in the EYE Rand! You have to shoot it in the EYE!)

Just be careful that the penalties are severe enough to discourage its use all of the time and things should work out just fine.
I generally feel that T20 is set up to be the only d20 game for which "called shot" rules might actually work. There are several reasons for this, 3 of which I essentially covered in the "Class Defense bonus" thread above. However, I'll repeat-

1. Lower BABs than other d20 games due to multiclassing and the fact that only 2 or 3 (no THB on me) classes have maximum BAB.

2. Armor DOES add to AC. Don't forget that it or it messes up the system.

3. Cover bonuses to AC. This is even easier to forget since the rules aren't actually in the THB. The book says instead that the combat chapter only has MODIFICATIONS to the basic d20 system, meaning you need to use the SRD or a PHB/d20M book to get the cover rules.

Finally, since armor in T20 has the unique property of reducing damage in the way it does, I think that allowing called shots FOR NO OTHER BENEFIT THAN REDUCING ARMOR is probably not a bad thing. I do NOT think that you should be able to aim for the head and get automatic criticals WITHOUT the Sniper feat however.