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Called Shots to Unprotected Areas

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Chaemera

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« on: (19:50:58/11-22-10) »
Okay, the RAW on this one bugs me a little.

Let's say you have two fellows, one wearing an Armored Vest (6/4, SR4A, pg. 327), the other wearing the Suit Jacket from the Synergist Business Line (3/2, Arsenal, pg. 46).

Neither provides any armor for the head, or legs.

Per the Called Shot Rules:

Quote from:  SR4A, pg. 161, Called Shots
Target an area not protected by armor. The attacking character receives a negative dice pool modifier equal to the target's armor (better armor is more difficult to bypass).

Okay, I can see this if I'm trying to find a chink in the armor (a joint, spot where it's worn through, etc).
But, if I'm shooting at the fellow's head, which in my example, is completely unprotected, whether he wears the Armored Vest or the Suit Jacket.

So why should the Armored vest grant a -6 penalty while the Suit Jacket only grants a -4? Neither provides any protection, as far as the person's head is concerned, neither is the better armor.

Does anyone have a house rule to work around this situation?

Or is sticking to the RAW a simpler answer that doesn't over-complicate things and lead to game-balance issues from unforeseen consequences?

Basically, has this come up in your games, and has anyone cared enough to develop a more "realistic" representation for shooting at an unprotected body part?
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Kot

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« Reply #1 on: (20:05:42/11-22-10) »
I'd say that it's more of a balance issue, than anything else. Bypassing armor entirely is a very big payof by itself - no damage code reduction.

I'd go with it only if your target is in combat, moving, running, rolling, and doing other kinds of combat acrobatics. If you're having the opportunity to shoot him in the ass, when he's chatting with his pal, and you succesfully surprise him - all bets are off.
Why? Most combat trained shooters targets enemy's torso. Because it's easier, and because that's how they were trained. So they need to actively surpress their instincts and training. And that's the difficult part. It's not the whole issue - as i wrote, it's a balancing trick. If the rules would state that only normal called shots are needed, armor would be ineffective to around 8 points.

As for the difficulty involved, i'm a trained archer (of the medieval kind - historic reconstructions, and such), and after learning how to shoot a bow with the classical technique i was tough to shoot with the oriental one, ring including. And i couldn't hit the target for like a week. It was tough like hell to forget half of what you've learned, and in archery you need to shoot fast - there's no time for thinking 'how do i want to shoot'. Because if you do, the first breath you take after targeting ruins your aim (so, along with afm fatigue you have 3-5 secs if you use a properly picked bow for your strength). And that was the problem... And a big one. I still suck when shooting oriental-style (i probably suck at both, because i haven't trained in over a year :P).
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Nomad Zophiel

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« Reply #2 on: (21:12:53/11-22-10) »
What's interesting, from a balance perspective, is that bypassing armor is functionally equivalent to shooting through armor assuming you hit in both cases. You either lose the dice on the hit roll, reducing net hits or your opponent gets to add armor to his soak, generating (statistically) the same number of hits and reducing your net hits by the same amount. Because of the reduced chance to hit when trying to find a chink, there's no good reason to try.

As for aiming for unprotected areas, I would generally stick with the RAW. Its not 100% realistic. The way damage is tracked, though, you could bypass someone's armor and kill them by shooting them in the hand. If you want to track individual limbs and allow targeting them to bypass armor, that would seem fair but require more bookkeeping than I like.

voydangel

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« Reply #3 on: (00:14:11/11-23-10) »
What's interesting, from a balance perspective, is that bypassing armor is functionally equivalent to shooting through armor assuming you hit in both cases. You either lose the dice on the hit roll, reducing net hits or your opponent gets to add armor to his soak, generating (statistically) the same number of hits and reducing your net hits by the same amount. Because of the reduced chance to hit when trying to find a chink, there's no good reason to try.
This is true. If you crunch the numbers there really is absolutely no reason to ever make a called shot to bypass normal armor. It's functionally useless.

However, against hardened armor... oh wait, all hardened armor is natural these days (in 4A), which I believe can't be bypassed. Hmmm, ok, so, I can't find it in the books handy this exact second, but I would say if natural armor can be bypassed with this called shot rule, then it is useful against hardened armor (only), but if you can't bypass natural armor ratings then the option is bunk.

Now, that being said, you could cut the penalty for bypassing armor in half, giving only a -3 modifier to ignoring an an Armored Vest (6/4) as per your example, but as Kot mentioned, the penalty isn't only about finding the chink in the armor, it's about conditioning and overcoming said conditioned response/action. I suppose though to simplify things you would want to ignore all that and just focus on the "finding the hole" bits. You could add the ballistic and impact ratings of the armor together and then divide by 2 to calculate the penalty, so the Armored vest would be a -5 ((6+4)/2).

Or, you could offset the penalty incurred by comparing it to Reaction or Agility, or even their skill rating. Like something along the lines of Strength based recoil compensation a la Arsenal pg.163, although scaled a bit. Something like "Reduce the dice pool penalty for calling a shot to ignore armor by the attacking characters Reaction divided by 3" (or Agi/3; or [Agi+Rea]/5; or Initiative/4; or whatever seems appropriate to you).

Since I basically just did stream of consciousness for that, I went back and double checked what I typed and I have to admit - if I were to choose one of these options to use in my game, I would pick that last idea there (ofsetting via Reaction/Agi/whatever). It seems the easiest to implement and also seems to be the best at fitting into the RAW, in spirit anyway.

Anyway, let us know what you decide, I would like to know.  :)
« Last Edit: (00:16:21/11-23-10) by voydangel »
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KarmaInferno

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« Reply #4 on: (02:05:33/11-23-10) »
Quote from:  SR4A, pg. 161, Called Shots
Target an area not protected by armor. The attacking character receives a negative dice pool modifier equal to the target's armor (better armor is more difficult to bypass).

Okay, I can see this if I'm trying to find a chink in the armor (a joint, spot where it's worn through, etc).
But, if I'm shooting at the fellow's head, which in my example, is completely unprotected, whether he wears the Armored Vest or the Suit Jacket.

So why should the Armored vest grant a -6 penalty while the Suit Jacket only grants a -4? Neither provides any protection, as far as the person's head is concerned, neither is the better armor.
You can't "target their head".

You only "target an area not protected by armor". Where that exactly is is irrelevant. Abstractly the armors with better rating usually cover more of the body, so in most cases it works out okay. In the few cases where this isn't true, well they do repeatedly state that the combat rules are abstracted, not literal.



-k

Nomad Zophiel

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« Reply #5 on: (03:25:09/11-23-10) »
Apropos of another rules discussion, though, it does have the effect of fewer dice being rolled on both sides.

Medicineman

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« Reply #6 on: (03:26:34/11-23-10) »
But, if I'm shooting at the fellow's head, which in my example, is completely unprotected, whether he wears the Armored Vest or the Suit Jacket.
By RAW you can't target a specific Area (unless its a Car/Vehicle....)
you either shoot for an unprotected Area (and like KOT already posted ) this Mod is more for Balance than for Reality or (what we often use) you suffer -4 Dice and raise the Damage by +4 which is for us
the Headshot

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Bradd

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« Reply #7 on: (03:33:31/11-23-10) »
Avoiding armor won't generally do more damage, but it can make the difference between Physical and Stun damage (e.g., if your target is immune to Stun). It might also make a difference with resistant armor, depending on how you interpret the rule. If you're making a called shot with a taser, does your attack penalty equal their Impact, half Impact, or half Impact plus electrical resistance rating?

Also: Avoiding armor is great when you're using flechette ammo.
« Last Edit: (03:50:48/11-23-10) by Bradd »

Nomad Zophiel

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« Reply #8 on: (04:48:27/11-23-10) »
Avoiding armor won't generally do more damage, but it can make the difference between Physical and Stun damage (e.g., if your target is immune to Stun). It might also make a difference with resistant armor, depending on how you interpret the rule. If you're making a called shot with a taser, does your attack penalty equal their Impact, half Impact, or half Impact plus electrical resistance rating?

Also: Avoiding armor is great when you're using flechette ammo.

Nice! Glad someone got the second order consequences of this one, because it wasn't going to be me. Too tired. Dead on about phys vs stun and flechettes (note to self, use this with my flech gun). I'd say the taser has to take the full penalty, based on full Impact armor. However, the electrical nonconductive upgrade would NOT add to the penalty. It does strike me as a bit odd that flech and SNS rounds have a different (usually lower) penalty to find a chink than lead ones because you're ignoring Impact instead of Ballistic. At first blush I might house rule that ignoring armor uses the higher rating as a penalty.

Mäx

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« Reply #9 on: (05:00:04/11-23-10) »
Avoiding armor won't generally do more damage, but it can make the difference between Physical and Stun damage (e.g., if your target is immune to Stun). It might also make a difference with resistant armor, depending on how you interpret the rule. If you're making a called shot with a taser, does your attack penalty equal their Impact, half Impact, or half Impact plus electrical resistance rating?

Also: Avoiding armor is great when you're using flechette ammo.

Nice! Glad someone got the second order consequences of this one, because it wasn't going to be me. Too tired. Dead on about phys vs stun and flechettes (note to self, use this with my flech gun). I'd say the taser has to take the full penalty, based on full Impact armor. However, the electrical nonconductive upgrade would NOT add to the penalty. It does strike me as a bit odd that flech and SNS rounds have a different (usually lower) penalty to find a chink than lead ones because you're ignoring Impact instead of Ballistic. At first blush I might house rule that ignoring armor uses the higher rating as a penalty.
The fletchette ammo having easier time at finding a chink in armor is easily explained by the armor having sections that stop bullets just fine but don't do any good against the needle like fletchettes , but i'm prettty sure you supposed to take the weapons AP in to acount when calculaing the penalty, so some one would have to have at least 6 points less impact armor(more likely around 8 ) for the fletchette to have a lower penalty.
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Chaemera

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« Reply #10 on: (06:37:02/11-23-10) »
But, if I'm shooting at the fellow's head, which in my example, is completely unprotected, whether he wears the Armored Vest or the Suit Jacket.
By RAW you can't target a specific Area (unless its a Car/Vehicle....)
you either shoot for an unprotected Area (and like KOT already posted ) this Mod is more for Balance than for Reality or (what we often use) you suffer -4 Dice and raise the Damage by +4 which is for us
the Headshot

HokaHey
Medicineman

You can't "target their head".

You only "target an area not protected by armor". Where that exactly is is irrelevant. Abstractly the armors with better rating usually cover more of the body, so in most cases it works out okay. In the few cases where this isn't true, well they do repeatedly state that the combat rules are abstracted, not literal.

Quote from:  SR4A, pg. 161, Called Shots
Calling a shot means that the character is aiming at a vulnerable portion of a target, such as the person's head, the tires or windows of a vehicle, and so on.
...
* The gamemaster may also allow other specific effects other specific effects for called shots if he chooses.

I left out the bit about "target an area not protected by armor" in this quote since I covered it previously, and they didn't call it "finding a chink", I did. Targeting an area not protected by armor could easily apply to saying "I want to shoot him in the head" since armor vests and suit jackets explicitly do not protect the head. Why would they make a big deal over "this protects X and not Y in the rules, if they didn't intend called shots to be, well, called shots?

Additionally, the final bullet point, first sentence, stipulates that, by RAW, the GM can decide to allow additional called shots for effects not previously listed.

The point of this thread is to ask the question, for balance reasons, would most people simply apply the first bullet point (target an area not protected by armor)?

Or would they use the last bullet point, to reflect that, in this instance, it is less about avoiding the armor (neither offers better protection to the person's head nor is either armor more difficult to bypass, they do not offer any protection to the person's head) and more about overcoming training (as Kot pointed out) and choosing a smaller target (head vice "person")?

I recognize the rules are abstract, hence the question, is it better to leave well enough alone?

Anyway, let us know what you decide, I would like to know.  :)

So far, voyd, I'm leaning heavily towards "leave well enough alone", it doesn't seem worth the hassle of unintended consequences (the one-shot death to the hand one person mentioned earlier) to try and reflect this in game for those few armors that are explicit about not covering a particular area.
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Doc Chaos

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« Reply #11 on: (07:11:39/11-23-10) »
Spinning brain fluff thought of the day: FFBA will increase your negative modifier when shooting to avoid armor, even if the character doesn't know the target wears any and therefor probably won't adjust her aim for that ;D
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Nomad Zophiel

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« Reply #12 on: (08:38:19/11-23-10) »
but i'm prettty sure you supposed to take the weapons AP in to acount when calculaing the penalty

Personally, no, I would not apply AP modifiers at all. The ammo in no way affects the penalty to fire for finding a chink in the armor. That's kind of the point, if you can overcome the penalty, the armor doesn't exist for that one shot.  If someone has a Steampunk armor suit, the penalty to circumvent it is 7 dice whether they use Flech, SNS, buckshot (ok this one strains realism a bit), slug or lead. Specials like non-conductive would not apply at all. This means that the vast majority of the time, this sort of shot is going to be a break even proposition at best. Only when you have a +AP is it really worth the effort.

Doc Chaos

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« Reply #13 on: (08:51:23/11-23-10) »
Ah, but higher AP means that there are more spots on the armor which the projectile has no problem to penetrate! So, yes, I think it must me factored in.
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Mäx

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« Reply #14 on: (09:05:40/11-23-10) »
but i'm prettty sure you supposed to take the weapons AP in to acount when calculaing the penalty

Personally, no, I would not apply AP modifiers at all. The ammo in no way affects the penalty to fire for finding a chink in the armor. That's kind of the point, if you can overcome the penalty, the armor doesn't exist for that one shot.  If someone has a Steampunk armor suit, the penalty to circumvent it is 7 dice whether they use Flech, SNS, buckshot (ok this one strains realism a bit), slug or lead. Specials like non-conductive would not apply at all. This means that the vast majority of the time, this sort of shot is going to be a break even proposition at best. Only when you have a +AP is it really worth the effort.
Pretty much what Doc said.
Having an ammo that has high AP, like for example shooting APDS out of a sniper rifle, means there are lot more points in the person that are too weakly armoured to do any good.
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