Called Shots

I was rummaging through my old books again, and I found my old list for making called shots that is always kind of fun, well, if you have a gaudy fighter character. I used these when playing in a 17th century campaign world, one of my favorite time-periods. What with pirates, more reliable fire-arms, and elegant swords made more for speed then for crunching power.

I used this list with a swashbuckler/fighter, and thought that maybe some of you good folks might enjoy it. Of course this isn’t the first time that I’ve wrote about tactics, but this stuff is fun too!

Smashing something being held: +1 to initiative, -1 to hit

Sometimes, when you are fighting, your enemy will try something cheap like drinking a healing potion or throw some kind of nasty chemical at you. By using this tactic, you can stop him from completing this act, well, assuming that you can gain the imitative. This move doesn’t do any damage, unless whatever in the bottle was dangerous, but it can save your life in a pinch.

Carving Initials: +1 to initiative, -4 to hit

When you want to humiliate somebody, or just make sure that they remember you, you can carve something into their flesh. In the shadow of Zorro, one can write a letter or two, or even a small, simple symbol. If you are nice, you can just carve this into their clothing, but the actual roll works for carving it into flesh as well. Carving your name into somebody does ½ damage, but leaves a nice scar.

Cutting Buttons Off: +1 to initiative, -4 to hit

Another way to prove your superiority over an opponent, without actually killing him. This one might not turn them hostel, like branding them does, but it still could make them really mad, especially once you factor in how much buttons cost, and the embarrassment of losing your cloths, but if you think that if you can gain an advantage by physically showing the other person just how bad ass you are, then cut them buttons off and he may think twice before attacking you.

Stapling: +1 to Initiative, - 4 to hit. (opponent suffers +2 AC penalty)

There are times when you might notice somebody going for their missile weapon, and in the interest of fairness, you don’t want them to do that, you can attempt to staple their arm to a nearby wall or table with a missile weapon of your own, such as a dagger. It is up to the thrower as to if the weapon simply staples their sleeve to the wall, or their hand itself, but the effect that you are trying to get here is to stop an attack, and show how dangerous you are. This will also give your opponent a +2 penalty to his Armor Class, and he won’t gain any bonuses for high Dexterity either.


Vs. single handed weapon: +1 to Initiative, -4 to hit
Vs. Two-handed Weapon: +1 to Initiative, -4 to hit (takes 2 attacks)
Vs. Shield: +1 to Initiative, -4 to hit (only knocks out of alignment for 1 round)
Vs. Thrown weapons: +1 to Initiative, -6 to hit

Of course, this usually means that you are knocking their weapon out of their grasp. To determine where it goes, roll a d6

1-straight ahead
2-ahead right
3-behind right
4-straight behind
5-behind left
6-behind right

Expert Disarm: +2 to Initiative, -8 to hit

Now this one is difficult, but what you are doing is disarming your opponent, sending his blade up into the air, and catching it yourself, to use against him. If you can get it to work, then you are a badass!

Grab: +1 to Initiative, -4 to hit (both roll STR check)

This move is to grab you opponent, and either hold him or throw him. Obviously you have to be either bigger then him, or roughly the same size, or it’s not going to work.


Once you’ve grabbed somebody effectively, you can either pull or trip them. Your opponent must roll a DEX check, if they aren’t moving then they get a -6 bonus to their roll, however if they aren’t aware of you or what you are going to do to them, then they suffer a +3 to their roll.

Pin w/ Weapon: -4 to attack

Pinning with a weapon, is when you take your weapon in both hands and use it to push them back up against the wall, or to hold down their weapon with your own. If the attack is successful, then both you and your opponent make STR check, highest roll without going over wins.

Sap/Knockout: +1 to initiative, -8 to hit

This is a headshot directly to the cranium. If they are awake, there is a 5% chance per hp of damage inflicted (up to 40%) to be knocked out. If they are sleeping, then it’s 10% per hp of damage (up to 80%) that they stay that way.

Special Weapons

Some weapons give cool bonuses in the hands of a swashbuckler.

Stiletto: +2 to hit Plate mail, Ring mail, & Chain mail armors
Main-Gauche: +1 to disarm & parry, & when punching with the hilt, it does 1d3 dmg
Rapier, Sabre: both give a +1 bonus to parry, and the hilt does 1d3 dmg, when you use it to punch.


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