+Mark Langsdorf has a neat new campaign idea, Mecha Against the Giants, he’s working on.

Go read it, then come back.

Got it? Good.

Anyway, as he and +Peter V. Dell’Orto discuss how to account for a giant’s DR, or basically deal with the issue that to something SM+4 (30′ tall), an M16 shouldn’t probably be much threat.

That reminded me of something I’ve played with playing with in the past, which is making it harder and harder to actually reach the vitals with something before it gets dangerous.

Let’s call it a Vitals Threshold.

Further, let’s assume that it’s about 2 HP, or 1d/2, just to toss out a number.

That might be HP/5, or it might simply be something like the aforementioned 2HP x half the linear scale for your SM. SM+0 is 2yds, so it would simply be 2 HP. SM+4 is  5x that, or 10 HP. The first 10 HP would never get a damage multiplier, for things that aren’t wrapped around brains.

That’s still not that bad. You’re shooting the vitals of a SM+4 target at a net +1 to hit. At 5d, you’re averaging a 17 point damage roll, and with x3 for vitals and no real DR, you’re looking at 10 + 7×3 = 31 points of injury instead of 51. That’s a decent reduction, but it’s still 31 flipping points of injury.

I’m not sure that’s too wrong. The African Elephant clocks in at about 10,000 lbs (5,000 to 14,000), which is about SM+3.2 to about SM+4.5, I’d say, based on mass. And poachers kill those with a 7.62x51mm FAL with too-often frequency.

So maybe it’s still OK. A 7d weapon might do 3d basic injury getting through to the vitals, and then 4dx3 inside the important bits. About 15d injury (50-ish points). I think the other key bit for penetration’s sake is the bullet size modifier. I’d highly endorse taking a pi bullet and scaling it down by SM. So shoot a SM+4 target and your injury might get taken down by 4x.

That starts to look attractive. The SM4 giant would “only” take 2-3 HP from the inbound wound track, and about 3d (10 points) from the vitals wound, for 12-13 HP per shot to the vitals.

You can do it with a whole bunch of shots (and that’s how it’s often done on big creatures) to the vitals, but if you’re just unloading and hoping to get lucky your target will absorb a lot of shots. It also means using (say) a 9mm pistol won’t even reach the vitals on the average.

That’s leaving off the amount of DR that thick hide, fat, or actual armor might bring.

6 thoughts on “Giant Creatures Get Shot

  1. Very cool, I like the idea that a piercing attack spends energy getting to the vitals. I have ribs, you know? The fact that my vitals are small and hard to hit isn't the only reason that they aren't targeted for massive damage.

    Scaling Pi to size… I'm less sure about that. I mean, it's a great concept and I'd support using it for sure, but it might not be as simple as dividing the damage by the SM. If nothing else, it seems like it would seriously alter the assumption that SM is a 0-pt. feature. Maybe size is just an excuse to buy IT:DR (piercing only), or provides a discount on it like it does ST.

    1. Scaling to size is absolutely vital (see what I did there) to make things like shooting cannonballs at capital ships work well. Against the living, it's more dubious, it's true.

  2. W. D. M. Bell killed 800 elephants with a 7x57mm Mauser and calculated that he averaged 1.5 bullets/kill. He got many of the rest of his 1101 total with a 6.5x54mm Mannlicher-Schoenauer carbine. It doesn't take much to kill an elephant if you can make reliable brain shots.

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