D20 Modern Horror Combat System Part 2 – From the neck up…

Now you can see why it’s taken so long to post this info, I am trying to make it detailed and visceral while at the same time being as general as possible so these results can be used for most situations. I know this seems to add a ton of complexity to combat but remember that in Modern Horror the monsters usually target only a single body location so most encounters will require you to reference one or possibly 2 entries.  I would say I hope you enjoy my work but that just brings up too many disturbing questions…

5.6 Combat Effects by Body Part
The effects of Double Max and Crits are organized by body location with more specific effects based on the damage type. These types consist of Slice, Pierce, Crush, Gunshot, Fire, Acid, and Rip / Tear. Horrors may also have even more detailed violence than these categories in their specific descriptions, you’ll just have to wait and see…
NOTE: Rip / Tear as a damage category encompasses a number of different attack types. Ripping attacks include such things as animal claws and metal hooks. Tear attacks include bites as well as ferociously serrated saw blades.

Head (Small Body LHP)
ZERO LHP : The character is knocked unconscious until he is restored to at least 1 LHP on his Head.
DOUBLE MAX : 1. The character is immediately rendered unconscious. If Treat Injury DC 20 is performed within 1 round then he will regain 1 location HP and also consciousness. He will still be unable to perform any coherent action since he has been massively concussed. Movement at 10’ per round and no actions. This persists until head damage is healed up to 1 point. If this attack has reduced the character’s overall HP below 0 then he is now in a coma and will die in 10 minutes from a subdural haematoma without 5 rounds of uninterrupted Treat Injury (DC20). 2. Pierce, Gunshot or Crush attacks also cause 2 pts of INT damage. 3. Fire, Acid, Rip / Tear and Slice attacks will also cause 2 pts of CHA damage.
CRITICAL : Gunshot : BOOM! HEADSHOT! Yup, you’re dead.
Slice : Death Scene Inspiration – O-ren Ishii in Kill Bill Volume 1. Yup, you’re dead.
Pierce : FORT Save DC 30 or skull impaled, fail and yup, you‘re dead. Otherwise, unconscious and in a coma for 1 week. Wakes with partial amnesia (1d6 month memory loss) and 1d3 INT damage, rehab required.
Crush : SPLAT! Yup, you’re dead. Anyone within 20’ that was looking in this direction when the attack occurred must make a Will save at DC 20 or lose 1 SAN point due to the gruesomeness.
Rip / Tear : Catastrophic Contusion! Lose 1 CHA immediately, REFLEX Save DC 30 or this increases to 1d4 CHA. The massive gaping wound also bleeds profusely, lose 1d3 points from overall HP per round until Treat Injury (Staunch Wound) for a full round is performed.
Fire : Brain-B-Que! FORT Save DC 30 or head totally fried and yup, you’re dead. If save successful then brain only parboiled, lose 1d4 INT and in a coma for a week.
Acid : Spill on Aisle 9! Yeah, this pretty much defines CHA loss. Lose 2 CHA immediately, REFLEX Save DC 30 or this increases to 1d6 CHA. Anyone within 20’ that was looking in this direction when the attack occurred must make a Will save at DC 20 or lose 1 SAN point due to the gruesomeness.

Face (Small Body LHP)
ZERO LHP : The character is knocked unconscious until he is restored to at least 1 LHP on his Face.
DOUBLE MAX : Your face is a gruesome mess, you won’t lose your sight but it will be a close thing. The character is immediately rendered unconscious. If Treat Injury DC 20 is performed within 1 round then he will regain 1 location HP and also consciousness. He will still be unable to perform any coherent action since he has been massively concussed. Movement at 10’ per round and no actions. This persists until face damage is healed up to 1 point. The character will also suffer 1d3 CHA loss without plastic surgery. If this wound reduces the character’s overall HP to 0 or less then he will begin to choke on his own teeth and blood and die within 2 rounds unless someone simply clears his airway and lies him on his side to drain off anymore bleeding. Anyone within 20’ that was looking in this direction must make a Will save at DC 20 or lose 1 SAN point due to the gruesomeness.
CRITICAL : Gunshot : BOOM! HEADSHOT! Yup, you’re dead.
Slice : Death Scene Inspiration – Taye Diggs in Equilibrium. Death from shock and blood loss in blind screaming agony within 2 rounds. Even if somehow saved the character is now permanently blind and faceless (CHA permanently 3).
Pierce : In through the front, out through the back! Face impaled, do I even need to say it? Okay, fine, I will! Yup, you’re dead.
Crush : Face Pulped! The character is immediately rendered unconscious. If Treat Injury DC 20 is performed within 1 round then he will regain 1 location HP and also consciousness. He will still be unable to perform any coherent action since he has been massively concussed. Movement at 10’ per round and no actions. This persists until face damage is healed up to 1 point. FORT Save DC 20 once per eye or lose sight in that eye. Lose 1 CHA immediately, REFLEX Save DC 20 or this increases to 1d3 CHA. Anyone within 10’ that was looking in this direction when the attack occurred must make a Will save at DC 20 or lose 1 SAN point due to the gruesomeness.
Rip / Tear : Death Scene Inspiration – The Space Marine face removal in Hellraiser : Bloodlines. Same effects as Slice.
Fire : Chippendale Char Face! REFLEX Save DC 20 to be blinking during the attack. Failure means permanent blindness. 3rd degree burns to your whole face immediately incurs 1 CHA loss, failing a FORT Save DC 25 (rejected skin grafts) increases this loss to 1d3 CHA.
Acid : Death Scene Inspiration – Drake in Aliens and that poor security guard in The Fly 2. REFLEX Save DC 20 to be blinking during the attack. Failure means permanent blindness, even if the save is made that means your eyelids are fused together until you get to a hospital (temporary blindness). Severe acid burns to your whole face immediately incurs 1 CHA loss, failing a FORT Save DC 25 (rejected skin grafts) increases this loss to 1d4 CHA. Anyone within 10’ that was looking in this direction when the attack occurred must make a Will save at DC 20 or lose 1 SAN point due to the gruesomeness.

Mouth (Tiny Body LHP)
ZERO LHP : The character has 2 fat lips, so much so that he can not speak intelligibly until his Mouth LHP is brought back up to a minimum of 1.
DOUBLE MAX : Multiple jaw fractures! The character is immediately rendered unconscious and loses 1d4 teeth. If Treat Injury DC 20 is performed within 1 round then he will regain 1 location HP and also consciousness. He will still be unable to perform any coherent action since he has been massively concussed. Movement at 10’ per round and no actions. This persists until mouth LHP is healed up to 1 point. Even after being healed to 1 LHP the character will require his jaw to be wired shut for the next 6 weeks while the jawbone heals. During this time the character will be -2 CON due to being restricted to a liquid diet, he will also lose 1d10+10 lbs of body weight.
If this wound reduces the character’s overall HP to 0 or less then he will begin to choke on his own teeth and blood and die within 2 rounds unless someone simply clears his airway and lies him on his side to keep his swelling tongue from blocking it off again.
CRITICAL : Gunshot : Jaw-Be-Gone! REFLEX Save DC 30 or else…yup, you’re dead. If the save was successful then the character will only wishes he was dead. The bullet(s) caught the character from the side instead of from the front so instead of being partially decapitated the character has had his bottom jaw blown off. In the case of lower calibre ammunition this will be only partial removal. The character will immediately begin to bleed out at the rate of 4HP per round, a Treat Injury (Staunch Wound) check successfully made will stop the flow. The character will also lose 1 CHA for each point of damage from this attack. It will take one month of surgery and recovery per CHA point restored, but the surgery can never restore a perfect likeness to the character so there will always be a permanent -2 CHA penalty.
Slice : Jaw-Be-Gone Part Two! Reflex Save DC 30 to keep jaw attached, but still bleeding 2HP per round until treated. If the save is failed then the lower jaw has been severed, bleed 4HP per round until treated and no speech or eating until surgery can be performed to reattach. If there is no possibility of emergency surgery then the character has his CHA reduced to 3 permanently, his CON is reduced by 4 and his body weight is reduced by 20% due to a permanent liquid diet.
Pierce : The jaw is pierced from below, REFLEX Save DC 25. Failure means yup, you’re dead as the weapon drives upward into the brain. Success means loss of all Mouth LHP, the character is bleeding at 2HP per round and cannot speak until this wound is sewn shut.
Crush : The character’s jaw is broken…badly. Same effects as Double Max.
Rip / Tear : Jaw dislocated and severely lacerated. The character is unable to speak and is bleeding at 1HP per round. Until the jaw is popped back into place the character is in agony (Apply one Pain Level to the character). A single Treat Injury (Pain Relief) check will take care of the pain and the dislocation. Even after repairs the character will have great difficulty speaking and is -4 on all communication-based skill checks (Diplomacy, Streetwise, Gather Information etc).
Fire : REFLEX Save DC 30. Failure means that the character was inhaling when the blast hit him in the mouth, he has scorched his esophagus and lungs. Yup, you’re dead. Success means the character’s mouth has received 3rd degree burns to the lips, tongue and teeth/gums. -2 CHA until plastic surgery performed and the character has permanently lost his sense of taste which also causes the character to gain the mental affliction, Depression. Until the character has had a month of skin grafts and rehab he is completely unable to speak or eat solid foods (-2 CON and lose 20% of body weight). Even after repairs the character will have great difficulty speaking and is -4 on all communication-based skill checks (Diplomacy, Streetwise, Gather Information etc).
Acid : REFLEX Save DC 25. Failure means that the character was inhaling when the blast hit him in the mouth, he has scorched his esophagus and lungs. Yup, you’re dead. Success means the character’s mouth has received acid burns to the lips, tongue and teeth/gums and is bleeding 2HP per round from the open sores. -4 CHA until plastic surgery performed and the character has permanently lost his sense of taste which also causes the character to gain the mental affliction, Depression. Until the character has had a 2 months of skin grafts and rehab he is completely unable to speak or eat solid foods (-3 CON and lose 20% of body weight). Even after repairs the character will have great difficulty speaking and is -4 on all communication-based skill checks (Diplomacy, Streetwise, Gather Information etc).

Eye (Tiny Body LHP)
ZERO LHP : The character has been temporarily blinded in that eye (-2 to attack rolls, Reflex saves and visual-oriented skill checks). This lasts until 1LHP is restored to the eye, even so the character will still be at -1 due to blurred vision and will remain thusly until he has had a chance to rest and restore all LHP to the eye.
DOUBLE MAX : The eye is destroyed, no rehab is possible and the character is permanently blind in that eye (same rules apply as ZERO LHP but forever). The character loses a point of CHA until he can be fitted with a glass eye or stylish eye patch.
CRITICAL : Gunshot : Eye is destroyed. REFLEX Save DC 25 or else the bullet enters the brain…yup, you’re dead.
Slice : Death Scene Inspiration – Un Chien Andalou by Luis Bunuel. Same results as Double Max.
Pierce : Eye is destroyed. REFLEX Save DC 25 or else the point enters the brain…yup, you’re dead.
Crush : Eye crushed and permanent blindness unless REFLEX Save DC 25 is made, in which case a severe black eye instead and temporary blindness until swelling goes down (7 days – CON modifier).
Rip / Tear : Eye torn from socket and permanent blindness unless REFLEX Save DC 25 made in which case the area around the eye is severely  slashed and the character is bleeding 1HP per round and temporarily blinded until Staunch Wounds is applied. No matter whether the save is successful or not this also causes scarring for -1 CHA until plastic surgery is performed.
Fire : Eye pops from the extreme heat, permanent blindness. If REFLEX Save DC 25 is failed then the flames enter the socket and cook the brain as well… yup, you’re dead.
Acid : Eye melts causing permanent blindness and -2 CHA until a glass eye and plastic surgery is performed. If REFLEX Save DC 25 is failed then acid enters the socket and into the brain as well… yup, you’re dead.

Ear (Tiny Body LHP)
ZERO LHP : The character’s ear has been boxed, he is now temporarily deaf in that ear due to a combination of ringing and muffling (-6 to all Listen checks). The deafness will cease as soon as the ear is brought up to at least 1 LHP.
DOUBLE MAX : The ear is destroyed and the character is permanently deaf in that ear (-4 to all Listen checks). This deafness can be abated with a hearing aid but the tech is still not perfected yet so the character will still suffer -2 to all Listen checks.
CRITICAL : Gunshot : Within Ear Shot! REFLEX Save DC 25 or bullet enters brain… yup, you’re dead. If the save is successful then your ear has been shot off  and bleeding at 1 HP/round (-2 CHA and -3 to all Listen checks until plastic surgery and a hearing aid reduce these penalties to -1 and -2 respectively).
Slice : The Van Gogh Special (or if you prefer, The Reservoir Dog Treat)! The character’s ear is cleanly sliced off his head and he is bleeding at 1 HP/round (-2 CHA and -3 to all Listen checks until plastic surgery and a hearing aid reduce these penalties to -1 and -2 respectively).
Pierce : In one ear and out the other! REFLEX Save DC 25 or the point enters brain… yup, you’re dead. If the save was successful then the eardrum was perforated and the character is deaf in that ear until surgery and a month of healing can take place (-3 to all Listen checks).
Crush : Cauliflower ear! The character is deaf in that ear until the swelling and ringing abate (-3 to all Listen checks). This takes 24 hours and must include 8 hours of bed rest. If the character fails a REFLEX Save DC 20 then he is also concussed by the blow to the head and the -3 applies to all skill checks and attack rolls due to being punch-drunk. Recovery from this takes 21 days minus the character’s CON score (minimum 2 days).
Rip / Tear : Ear torn off, same effects as Slice but bleeding at 2 HP/round due to the ragged nature of the wound.
Fire : REFLEX Save DC 25 or flames cook brain… yup, you’re dead. If save successful then ear burnt off and character suffers -3 CHA and Listen checks, this will be reduced with plastic surgery and a hearing aid to -2.
Acid : Same effects as fire plus bleeding at 1 HP/round until staunched.
Note: If both ears are removed are destroyed then obviously Listen checks are impossible without proper medical attention or hearing aids.

Nose (Tiny Body LHP)
ZERO LHP : The character’s nose has been broken, applying a splint will raise it to 1 LHP only until a chance to naturally heal can occur. In the meantime, the character is bleeding at 1 HP/round and is also having difficulty breathing so performs all skill checks and attack rolls at -1 (this does not include Swim skill).
DOUBLE MAX : The character’s nose has been crushed! He is bleeding at 2 HP/round as well as -2 to skill checks and attack rolls since it is impossible to breathe through his nose whatsoever (this does not include Swim skill). He will also suffer -1CHA due to his misshapen nose once it has healed (plastic surgery can repair this damage).
CRITICAL : Gunshot : Blew your nose…clean off! REFLEX Save DC 25 to take the shot from the side instead of the front, if failed then the bullet enters the brain from the front… yup you’re dead. If the save was successful then your nose was only shot off (-2 HP/round from bleeding and -3 CHA). If Preserve Limb can be performed then the nose may be reattached but there will still be scarring (-1 CHA). If, on the other hand, the nose cannot be saved then an artificial nose can be attached instead, this reduces the CHA penalty to -2.
Slice : Nose is sliced off. Same results as a successful save on a Gunshot Crit.
Pierce : REFLEX Save DC 25 to take the stab from the side instead of the front, if failed then the point enters the brain from the front… yup you’re dead. If the save was successful then a large hole has been punched through your nose (Bleeding at -2 HP/round and -1 CHA without plastic surgery).
Crush : See Double Max.
Rip / Tear : Nose been torn or bitten off. Same results as a successful save on a Gunshot Crit.
Fire : Roasted nose! REFLEX Save DC 25 to avoid inhaling flames, failure means that the character breathed in fire and destroyed his lungs… yup, you’re dead. A successful save means that his nose has sustained 3rd degree burns, if the character fails a FORT Save DC 25 then it cannot be saved and must be amputated (see Gunshot Crit for CHA effects), otherwise he needs skin grafts and -1 CHA permanently.
Acid : Nose melted! REFLEX Save DC 25 to avoid the acid melting into your brain or else… yup, you’re dead. If the save was successful then he simply has no nose anymore (-2 HP/round and -3 CHA). The only option is an artificial nose which reduces it to -2 CHA.

Neck (Small Body HP)
ZERO LHP : The character’s larynx has been bruised and he is rendered temporarily mute until he regains 1 LHP.
DOUBLE MAX : The character’s carotid artery has been severed! The character is firing arterial spray everywhere (5 HP/round from bleeding) and will fall unconscious from blood loss in CON/5 rounds (round up). Even using Staunch Wound will require a Skill Check every round to maintain wound closure until the Medic has 5 uninterrupted rounds to stitch it closed (during which he must still make a skill check every round to maintain closure, a failed roll still allows him to continue stitching up the wound though).
CRITICAL : Gunshot : Esophagus destroyed! REFLEX Save DC 25 or … yup, you’re dead. If the save is successful then the character will still die of suffocation in CON rounds unless a tracheotomy is performed.
Slice : REFLEX Save DC 25 or decapitated…yup, you’re dead. If the save was successful then the carotid artery is severed instead (see Double Max for results).
Pierce : Throat impaled! REFLEX Save DC 30 to avoid spine and/or carotid impalement, failure means death. A successful save still means the character is bleeding at 3 HP/round from the jugular vein and renders him temporarily mute until Throat LHP are restored to full.
Crush : Larynx crushed! REFLEX Save DC 25 to maintain an air passage or else the character suffocates and dies in CON rounds unless a tracheotomy is performed. If save successful then the Crit renders him temporarily mute until Throat LHP are restored to full.
Rip / Tear : Throat torn open! No need for a tracheotomy in this case. REFLEX Save DC 25 or death. If the save is successful then carotid bleeding occurs instead (see Double Max for results).
Fire : REFLEX Save DC 25 to avoid your throat being cooked. If the save fails… yup, you’re dead. A successful save means Throat LHP reduced to 0 and the character is rendered temporarily mute until returned to full LHP.
Acid : Melty Throat! REFLEX Save DC 25 to avoid decapitation due to throat melting away, failure means death. A successful save means Throat LHP reduced to 0 and the character is rendered temporarily mute until returned to full LHP.

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2 responses to “D20 Modern Horror Combat System Part 2 – From the neck up…

  1. Found your blog… now all I have to do is navigate through it to find your Ripple on the Still Waters of time. Hugely interesting! JBEN

    • It’d on the top of the page spread, if you click on it then the 1st part of the story will pop up. And if you hold your mouse over it instead then the next part will pop up and if you hold the mouse over that then the 3rd part will appear…etc etc etc.

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