It’s an odd little thing, but I realize that I miss having hit location charts in RPGs. Sure they’re still around, but there’s something amusing (and disturbing) about randomly determining which part of the opponent’s body suffers an injury from a successful hit. From a mechanics perspective, it’s one of those little things that just slow combat down, in exchange for a more rewarding description of just how you’ve dealt damage to an enemy.
Hit Location Charts, and their sibling Critical Hit Tables are fun little mechanics that add a visceral feel to a game, and work perfectly for more graphic Sword and Sorcery and Dark Fantasy Settings. As a GM, I can definitely agree on how they can help, as narrating “You hit him, and uh… hit his arm. Yeah. You hit his arm and there’s blood everywhere” tends to get tiring after a few rounds.
Having Hit Location Charts does tend to randomize things, but at least the GM doesn’t have to work too hard to come up with interesting results for every hit. Not all games benefit from Hit Location Charts though, I’m certain that World of Darkness games are built to facilitate quick conflict resolution as opposed to exacting detail.
However odd it may seem, I do miss playing a game with such odds and ends, no matter if they no longer seem popular with the current generation of games. (Save maybe GURPS and HERO.) How about you guys? Which particular mechanics from older games do you find missing form more modern rpgs?