Basic Butchering

A random table determining the outcome of a successful strike with a sword, perhaps delivered on a critical, with advantage, or with style.

The table arose from a deck of cards I own from Storey Publishing in North Adams, Massachusetts. I suspect I got it from a charity shop purchase. Each card shows the cover of a book on the publishers backlist, and I pulled Basic Butchering of Livestock and Game.

Anyway, on a successful strike deemed to warrant a flourishing finish, roll a twelve-sided die (or draw a card from a single King-less suit, counting J as 11, Q as 12 and A as 1):

1: Topside. A swinging strike slices deep into the fat at the base of the rump, before 1-3: striking bone, 4-6: cutting a ragged wound into the thigh. Blood soaks the seat of victim’s pants, gore streaming down the back of the leg from the stinging open wound. Not life threatening, but movement, riding and just plain sitting down likely to be difficult and painful.
2: Thick Flank. A downward chop of the blade slices through the lower side of the torso along the abdomen, through muscle and flesh. Blood spills red and hot from the ragged flap. Some form of check against willpower would seem in order, as a reflexive desire to clutch the wound closed kicks in. Any effort to fight while clutching the wound with the off-hand should result in some penalty or disadvantage.
3: Rump. A sweeping strike manages to pierce the buttock, cleanly opening raw and yellowy fat down to the muscle. While the injury might seem minor, a lucky strike could (roll 2d6) severe gluteal arteries (2) or damage the pelvis (12), as the blade cuts to the bone. Superficial injury causes pain and inconveniences movement, while more serious injury might risk infection, internal bleeding, a permanent limp, or fatality.
4: Sirloin. As combatants swerve and side step to evade injury, a stabbing blade cuts into the lower back. The surprise and shock of the injury means the victim must make a successful check to avoid a state of stunned agony. A well-aimed strike by the swordsman may damage the kidneys (roll 2d6, 2: major internal bleeding, 3: blood in urine, 4: bruising and pain, 5+: strike above or below kidneys).
5: Fore Rib. A quick flick of the blade sends the tip rattling across the rib cage. Pain and discomfort follow, with a chance of permanent scarring (1 in 6).
6: Chuck. An arcing sweep of the blade as the combatants pass each other strikes hard across the upper back. The weight of the strike knocks the breath from the victim’s lungs. The strike may slice flesh or even nick the spine (1 in 6), but the sharp shock of the injury means they won’t notice the seriousness of the injury until after the end of the fight (at which point their should take the same half the total of the original injury again in damage).
7: Neck. A low guard fails to meet a high side long strike to the throat. The neck has a world of potential hurt going on, with possible strikes (2d6) to the 2: larynx (1-5: temporary, 6: permanent loss of voice), 12: arteries (1-4: shallow strike, 5-6: deep, severing), or 3: spine (1: fatal, 2: damage hampers movement, 3-6: short term restriction in movement, pain).
8: Clod. A skewering stab to the shoulder sends warm torrents of gore down the arm and back. The arm spasms, fingers releasing anything in the 1-3: left, 4-6: right hand. There’s a slim chance (1 in 6) that the blade opens an artery, making this injury so much more awkward than a dropped weapon…
9: Brisket. A slice beneath the breast, through flesh and muscle, causes you to gasp between clenched teeth. Even with armour, this strikes cuts beneath the breastplate or slides between rings or scales. Consider this a penetrating strike, for the purpose of bypassing armour or, indeed, damage to same.
10: Thin Rib. A deft jab sends the point of the blade into the soft mess of organs and intestines just beneath the protection of the rib cage. The strike skewers the 1: liver, 2: stomach, 3-4: large intestine, 5-6: small intestine. All injuries cause pain and tightness in the belly. Some form of check versus fortune or resilience would be in order to avoid either excess blood loss or debilitating seepage of organ content, causing collateral internal damage and death.
11: Leg. A low sweep cuts into the middle thigh, driving the target off-balance even as the pain cuts in through the hot blood. A check against gross motor control, dexterity or maybe acrobatics would appear in order to stop a sudden fall prone.
12: Shin. The tail end of an arcing swipe slices across the 1-3: left, 4-6: right shin, just as the swordsman drives forward and delivers a sharp kick. Some form of strength contest or brawling check should follow, with the victim at a slight disadvantage. A loss would mean 1-3: a stumble back, 4-5: a fall back and on to one knee, 6: a tumble over backward into a prone position.

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