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The Hit List: Get descriptive with your DMing

The die bounces along the table and slows to a stop.

“I rolled a 19,” the player says.

“A hit, roll damage,” you, the DM, respond.

Another die skips along the miniatures map.

“Eight plus two for strength. That’s ten,” the player says.

“He drops,” you inform him, marking off another opponent on the scratch pad.

The next round is much the same. Roll to hit, check damage and proceed to the next opponent.

But it’s not how it really goes. It’s a combat after all. Swords crash into one another. Blood sprays from open wounds. Opponents yelp in pain.

The problem is that you don’t have time to explain it all in such color. You’ve got book-keeping to do.

Well fear not. Just start using the “Hit List” to keep the action as lively as you’re imagining it.

The list, separated into Slashing, Smashing and Ranged weapons, will help you add a little flavor into otherwise dull combats

To use the Hit List, roll an extra 12-sided die with each d20 “to hit” roll. Then find the appropriate list for the attack type. From that list, just jump down to the right number, replace the words in parenthesis and tell the players how they really did. Even if they sound a little canned, it’s still better than the same old “it’s a hit” statement.

While none of these descriptions have a real game effect, you’re sure to enrich the game and add to the overall enjoyment had by the players. Even better, after a few sessions, they might even want join in on the fun and throw in their own descriptions of hits and misses.

SLASHING HIT (DMing with a D12)

  1. Your (weapon) slashes through (opponent’s) defenses, splitting flesh and armor.
  2. Your (weapon) slices a long strip of flesh, leaving it flapping about with (opponent’s) every move.
  3. Your blade digs into (the opponent’s) side sending out a gush of blood.
  4. (Your opponent) tries to parry with (opponent’s weapon), but your blade was too quick.
  5. Your (weapon) finds just the right spot and makes a spray of blood.
  6. Your (weapon) punctures an area unprotected by (opponent’s armor).
  7. Your (weapon) gouges into (opponent’s) (abdomen/midsection/neck/arm).
  8. The keen edge of your (weapon) slices straight through (opponent’s) (armor type).
  9. (Opponent) tries to duck, but (he/she/it) isn’t fast enough, as your blade connects with (his/her/its) (leg/hand/side).
  10. You tear into (opponent’s) flesh with a quick, but heavy blow.
  11. Your (weapon) sinks deep into (opponent’s) (biceps/calf/thigh) muscle.
  12. Your (weapon) slices across (opponent’s) (face/snout/eye), leaving a gash that’s sure to leave an ugly scar.

SLASHING MISS (DMing with a D12)

  1. Your blow is deflected by (opponent’s) (armor type).
  2. (Opponent) dodges your blade.
  3. Your blade sings through the air, but it fails to connect.
  4. (Opponent) blocks your attack with its (shield/bracer/forearm).
  5. (Opponent) parries your blow with (his/her/its) (weapon).
  6. Your blade crashes toward (opponent), (he/she/it) blocks the hit with his own.
  7. Your (weapon) meets unyielding (armor type).
  8. Your quick stab misses its mark.
  9. (Opponent) sees your blade coming and ducks.
  10. You just aren’t fast enough to hit.
  11. Your (weapon) snags in (opponent’s) (clothes/armor/fur/scales/gear) and fails to do any harm.
  12. (Opponent’s) (armor type) is just too strong for your blow and your blade collides with a dull (clacking/thud/clanging/slapping) sound.

SMASHING HIT (DMing with a D12)

  1. Your (weapon) smashes through (opponent’s) defenses, crushing bones and armor.
  2. Your (weapon) pounds into (opponent’s) flesh.
  3. Your blow hammers (opponent’s) side and is sure to leave a terrible bruise.
  4. (Your opponent) tries to parry with (opponent’s weapon), but your (weapon) crashes past.
  5. Your (weapon) finds just the right spot and tears (opponent’s) flesh, leaving a bloody wound.
  6. Your (weapon) bashes an area unprotected by (opponent’s armor).
  7. It’s a powerful blow that crashes into (opponent’s) (abdomen/midsection/neck/arm).
  8. Your (weapon) tears (opponent’s) (armor type), and as you pull back the weapon you see a bloody mess.
  9. (Opponent) tries to duck, but (he/she/it) isn’t fast enough, as you hammer (his/her/its) (leg/hand/side).
  10. You strike snaps a bone with a quick, but heavy, blow.
  11. Your keen eye lets your (weapon) bash an area left unprotected for a fraction of a second.
  12. Your (weapon) crashes into (opponent’s) (face/head/eye), leaving (him/her/it) reeling in pain.

SMASHING MISS (DMing with a D12)

  1. Your blow is deflected by (opponent’s) (armor type).
  2. (Opponent) dodges your strike.
  3. Your (weapon) flies through the air, but you fail to connect.
  4. (Opponent) brushes off your attack with its (shield/bracer/forearm).
  5. (Opponent) deflects your blow with (his/her/its) (weapon).
  6. Your (weapon) crashes toward (opponent), but (he/she/it) sidesteps the strike.
  7. Your (weapon) meets unyielding (armor type).
  8. Your light blow seems to be useless.
  9. (Opponent) sees your (weapon) coming and ducks.
  10. You just aren’t fast enough to hit (opponent).
  11. Your (weapon) snags in (opponent’s) (clothes/armor/fur/scales/gear) and slows your strike enough to make it harmless.
  12. (Opponent’s) (armor type) is well insulated and your (weapon) collides with a dull (clacking/thud/clanging/slapping) sound.

RANGED HIT (DMing with a D12)

  1. Your (ammo) pierces (opponent’s) defenses and buries itself in flesh.
  2. Your (ammo) finds (opponent’s) flesh.
  3. Your shot strikes (opponent’s) side and (he/she/it) clutches the area to ease the pain.
  4. (Your opponent) tries to put (shield/bracer/forearm/defense), but your shot is too quick.
  5. Your (ammo) finds just the right spot and splits (opponent’s) flesh with a squirt of blood.
  6. Your (ammo) burrows into an area unprotected by (opponent’s armor).
  7. It’s a precise strike that sinks into (opponent’s) (abdomen/midsection/neck/arm).
  8. Your (ammo) punctures (opponent’s) (armor type), and lodges itself in (his/her/its) flesh.
  9. (Opponent) tries to avoid the shot, but (he/she/it) isn’t fast enough, and your (ammo) sinks into (his/her/its) (leg/hand/side).
  10. Your shot blasts into (opponent’s) flesh and (he/she/it) lets out a screech.
  11. The (ammo) flies into (opponent’s) (throat/eye/ear) and (he/she/it) howls in pain.
  12. Your (ammo) zips across (opponent’s) (face/head/neck), leaving a mark that’s sure turn into a ghoulish scar.

RANGED MISS (DMing with a D12)

  1. Your shot falls at (opponent’s) feet.
  2. (Opponent) dodges your (ammo).
  3. A sudden wind forces your (arrow) away from (opponent).
  4. (Opponent) blocks your (ammo) with its (shield/bracer/forearm).
  5. Your (ammo) seems to be on the mark, but (opponent) moves just enough for it to fly past.
  6. Your (ammo) zips over (opponent’s) head.
  7. Your (ammo) meets unyielding (armor type).
  8. Your (ammo) somehow hits (opponent’s weapon), and falls harmlessly to the ground.
  9. (Opponent) sees you aiming and ducks as you release your shot.
  10. Your (ammo) hits an (object) just in front of (opponent).
  11. Your (ammo) catches in (opponent’s) (clothes/armor/fur/scales/gear) and loses all its strength.
  12. (opponent’s) (armor type) is too thick and your (ammo) collides with a dull (clacking/thud/clanging/slapping) sound.

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