Hit Locations

Hit Location Information

Targeting a specific location:

These rules come from page 398 in the Campaigns book and page 137 in the Martial Arts book.

  • Torso (0): The chest and abdomen. No penalty to hit, and no effect on damage. This is the default target for attacks: if you don’t specify a hit location, you are attacking the torso.
  • Vitals (-3): The heart or lungs (from the front) or the kidneys (from behind). Certain attacks can target the vitals for increased damage. Increase the wounding modifier for an impaling or any piercing attack to x3. Increase the wounding modifier for a tight-beam burning attack (see box) to x2. Other attacks cannot target the vitals.
  • Skull (-7): The part of the head that houses the brain. The skull gets an extra DR 2, the wounding modifier for all attacks increases to x4, knockdown rolls are at -10, and critical hits use the Critical Head Blow Table (p. 556). Exception: None of these effects apply to toxic damage.
  • Eye (-9): Impaling, piercing, and tight-beam burning attacks can specifically target the eye. Injury over HP/10 blinds the eye; otherwise, treat as a skull hit without the extra DR 2! (As with skull hits, toxic damage has no special effect.)
  • Face (-5): The jaw, cheeks, nose, and ears. Many helmets have an open face, allowing this attack to ignore armor DR! Knockdown rolls are at -5, and critical hits use the Critical Head Blow Table. Corrosion damage (only) gets a x1.5 wounding modifier . . . and if it inflicts a major wound, it also blinds one eye (both eyes on damage greater than full HP).
  • Neck (-5): The neck and throat. Increase the wounding multiplier of crushing and corrosion attacks to x1.5, and that of cutting damage to x2. The GM may rule that anyone killed by a cutting blow to the neck is decapitated!
  • Groin (-3): The lower torso. Jackets and light armor don’t always cover this area. Treat as a torso hit, except that human males (and the males of similar species) suffer double the usual shock from crushing damage (to a maximum of -8), and get -5 to knockdown rolls.
  • Arm or Leg (-2): A good way to disable without killing! Against a living target, reduce the wounding multiplier of large piercing, huge piercing, and impaling damage to x1. Any major wound (loss of over 1/2 HP from one blow) cripples the limb – but damage beyond the minimum required to inflict a crippling injury is lost. Note: The penalty to hit an arm with a shield is -4.
  • Hands or Feet (-4): As for an arm or leg, but damage over 1/3 HP in one blow inflicts a crippling major wound (excess damage is still lost). This gives you a chance to cripple the foe with little real damage. However, your foe might just switch hands (or hop) and finish you off! Note: The penalty to hit a hand holding a shield is -8.
  • Weapon (varies): The place to strike if you need to take the foe unharmed, if you have to disarm a friend, or if you just want to show off. See Striking at Weapons (p. 400).
  • Ear (-7): A fighter who can attack his foe’s face or skull can specifically target an ear instead. Treat this as a face hit except when making a cutting attack specifically to slice off the ear. In that case, injury over HP/4 is lost but has no special effect . . . but twice this amount removes the ear. This is a major wound, but without the -5 to knockdown rolls for a face hit. Missing ears (one or both) permanently reduce Appearance by a level. A miss by 1 hits the torso. To use a cupped hand to concuss the ear and cause deafness, see Ear Clap (p. 70).
  • Jaw (-6): The jaw is part of the face and only valid as a separate target from in front. Treat a hit as an ordinary face hit, except that a crushing blow gives the victim an extra -1 to knockdown rolls. A miss by 1 hits the torso.
  • Joints (-5 or -7): Limbs and extremities contain vulnerable joints that an attacker can target with a crushing, cutting, piercing, or tight-beam burning attack. The roll to hit has an extra -3: -5 for an arm or a leg, -7 for a hand or a foot. This allows crippling with injury over HP/3 (not HP/2) for a limb, or injury over HP/4 (not HP/3) for an extremity. Excess injury is lost. Dismemberment still requires twice the injury needed to cripple the whole body part – not just the joint. HT rolls to recover from crippling joint injuries are at -2. A miss by 1 hits the limb or extremity, but not the joint.
  • Nose (-7): The nose is part of the face, and a valid target only from the front. Treat a hit as a face hit, but injury over HP/4 breaks the nose. This counts as a major wound to the face and mangles the nose – the victim has No Sense of Smell/Taste (p. B146) until the injury heals. It’s possible to angle a cutting attack to lop off the nose, in which case crippling injury counts as an ordinary major wound (no -5 to knockdown for the face) and injury in excess of this is lost. However, twice this amount takes off the nose, which reduces Appearance by two levels permanently. In all cases, a miss by 1 hits the torso.
  • Spine (-8): The spine (in the torso) is a hard target – narrow, bony, and buried in meat – but injury there can end a fight. Crushing, cutting, impaling, piercing, and tight-beam burning attacks from behind can target the spine. The vertebrae provide an additional DR 3. Use the wounding modifiers for the torso, but any hit for enough injury to inflict a shock penalty requires a knockdown roll, at -5 if a major wound. Injury in excess of HP cripples the spine. This causes automatic knockdown and stunning, plus all the effects of Bad Back (Severe) (p. B123) and Lame (Paraplegic) (p. B141). Roll twice after the fight to recover, once to avoid gaining each of these disadvantages on a lasting or permanent basis! A miss by 1 hits the torso.
  • Veins and Arteries (-5 or -8): A fighter with a cutting, impaling, piercing, or tight-beam burning weapon can target a major blood vessel in the neck (jugular vein or carotid artery), arm (brachial artery), or leg (femoral artery). The attack has an extra -3: -5 for a limb, -8 for the neck. The sudden blood loss increases the wounding modifier for that hit location by 0.5; e.g., a cutting attack gets x2 instead of x1.5 against a limb, or x2.5 instead of x2 for the neck. Since the intent is to start bleeding – not to destroy bone and muscle – ignore crippling effects and damage limits for limbs. Realistically, such injuries can cause almost instant unconsciousness, with death coming in seconds. The GM may rule that Mortal Wounds (p. B423) doesn’t apply and that any failed HT roll to avoid death means the victim collapses and bleeds out messily. This is a “special effect” of dying from a vein or artery hit. A miss by 1 hits the neck, arm, or leg, as appropriate.

Random Hit Location

You never have to target a hit location – you can always just strike at “whatever target presents itself.” To do so, attack with no modifier for hit location. If you hit, and your foe fails to defend, roll 3d on the appropriate hit location table to find out where the blow fell; see Hit Location Tables (p. 552). The GM decides what table to use for non-humanoids. Use random hit location for a Wild Swing (p. 388), shooting blind (p. 389), suppression fire (p. 409), fragmentation damage (p. 414), and any other situation where the GM feels targeting a location is unrealistic. If a random attack comes from directly above, treat “feet” as “hands” and “legs” as “arms.”

Human and Humanoid
Hit Location Table
Roll Location (Penalty) Notes
Eye (-9) 1, 2
Ear (-7)
3-4 Skull (-7) 1, 3
5 Face (-5) 1, 4
Nose (-7)
Jaw (-6)
6-7 Right Leg (-2) 5
8 Right Arm (-2) 5, 6
9-10 Torso (0) 12
Spine (-8)
11 Groin (-3) 1, 7
12 Left Arm (-2) 5, 6
13-14 Left Leg (-2) 5
Joints (-5 or -7)
15 Hand (-4) 6, 8, 9
16 Foot (-4) 8, 9
17-18 Neck (-5) 1, 10
Vitals (-3) 1, 11
Veins & Arteries (-5 or -8)
Location Notes:
Info is combined; page references may refer to either Basic or Martial Arts
1 An attack that misses by 1 hits the torso instead.
2 Only impaling, piercing, and tight-beam burning attacks can target the eye – and only from the front or sides. Injury over HP/10 blinds the eye. Otherwise, treat as skull, but without the extra DR!
3 The skull gets an extra DR 2. Wounding modifier is x4. Knockdown rolls are at -10. Critical hits use the Critical Head Blow Table (p. 556). Exception: These special effects do not apply to toxic damage. When attacking from behind, the skull is at -5 to hit, not -7.
4 Jaw, cheeks, nose, ears, etc. If the target has an open-faced helmet, ignore its DR. Knockdown rolls are at -5. Critical hits use the Critical Head Blow Table. Corrosion damage gets a x1.5 wounding modifier, and if it inflicts a major wound, it also blinds one eye (both eyes on damage over full HP). Random attacks from behind hit the skull instead. On a hit from in front, roll 1d. A 1 means a skull hit if the attack was impaling, piercing, or tight-beam burning, a nose hit otherwise. When attacking from behind, the face is at -7 to hit, not -5.
5 Limb. Reduce the wounding multiplier of large piercing, huge piercing, and impaling damage to x1. Any major wound (loss of over 1/2 HP from one blow) cripples the limb. Damage beyond that threshold is lost. On any arm or leg hit, roll 1d. On a 1, a cutting, impaling, piercing, or tight-beam burning attack hits a vein/artery, while a crushing attack hits a joint.
6 If holding a shield, double the penalty to hit: -4 for shield arm, -8 for shield hand.
7 Human males and the males of similar species suffer double shock from crushing damage, and get -5 to knockdown rolls. Otherwise, treat as a torso hit.
8 Extremity. Treat as a limb, except that damage over 1/3 HP in one blow inflicts a crippling major wound. Excess damage is still lost. On any hand or foot hit with a crushing, cutting, piercing, or tight-beam burning attack, roll 1d. On a 1, the attack hits a joint.
9 If rolling randomly, roll 1d: 1-3 is right, 4-6 is left.
10 Neck and throat. Increase the wounding multiplier of crushing and corrosion attacks to x1.5, and that of cutting damage to x2. At the GM’s option, anyone killed by a cutting blow to the neck is decapitated! On any neck hit with a cutting, impaling, piercing, or tight-beam burning attack, roll 1d. On a 1, it hits a vein/artery. Also roll 1d for crushing attacks from behind; a 1 indicates a spine hit. Crippling the spine this far up – a “broken neck” – causes Quadriplegic (p. B150), not merely Lame (Paraplegic). This occurs automatically if Neck Snap (p. 77) or a throw from a Head Lock (p. 74) inflicts injury over HP to the neck!
11 Heart, lungs, kidneys, etc. Increase the wounding modifier for an impaling or any piercing attack to x3. Crushing attacks can target the “vitals” – e.g., the solar plexus from in front or the kidneys from behind – at -3. Wounding modifier is only x1, but shock requires a HT roll for knockdown, at -5 if a major wound.
12 On a hit with a crushing, impaling, piercing, or tightbeam burning attack, roll 1d. On a 1, it hits the vitals. Also roll 1d for a cutting blow from behind; a 1 indicates a spine hit.

Other important notes regarding targeting hit locations

Grappling and Hit Location Halve hit location penalties (round up) if you are grappling a body part – it’s easier to grab a body part than to strike it. This does not apply to grabbing a weapon!

Back to GURPS and GCA Info

Hit Locations

Deadlands Belrathius