11 December 2019

.44 Henry Vs Bison

Watching "Dances With Wolves" and the scene where Lt Dunbar offs a bison with his trust 1860 Henry...

An American Bison has 24 hit points and a HT of 15.  The skull has DR 4 and the hide is DR 2.

They're tough hombres.

The Henry does 2d+1 pi+ damage.

Even with max damage, this is not a one-shot-stop with a body hit.

13 rolled would become 11 penetrating which becomes 16 delivered.  A major wound, but hardly fatal.

Aiming carefully for the vitals, though, could get it done.

13 rolled becomes 11 penetrating for 33 delivered.  One, count 'em, one death roll made at 15 or less.  Plus a consciousness roll at the same chance.

The pesky ungulate is going to make those rolls 95.4% of the time.

Thumping it in the brain might work better, but getting through the skull with a max damage roll only yields 36 delivered.

Going for the much more difficult eye shot to get the DR 0 would up it to 52.  Two death rolls!

In short, Lt Dunbar rolls really well on the vitals hit, and the bison crit-fails its HT roll to avoid being killed.


  1. You may want to reconsider how hard it is to kill a buffalo.
    I was reading one of those stupid '100 things you don't know' things on Fb when they came to a buffalo.
    It has a single lung cavity (I guess only one huge lung?) that when pierced will asphyxiate a buffalo quickly.
    Here's a link that tells about it-

    1. I've noticed that lots of everyday critters are way tougher in the game than in real life.

      The GURPS turn is 1 second long. The scenario above is to stop the buff before it tramples Smiles A Lot.

      The rules for bleeding which take minutes.

      An average hit to the vitals is 8 rolled, 6 penetrates and 18 delivered. Every minute we check to see if the Bison has lost more HP. It'd roll at HT-3 because of the size of the injury (every 5 points of wounds causes a -1 to the HT roll, so the roll to stop the damage gets worse as you fail rolls). If it fails, it loses another HP, critical failure will lose 3 HP. If it succeeds, it doesn't. Three successes or a critical success means the bleeding has stopped.

      The article mentions killing a bison with an Indian lance and adding a few refresher hits and following it for a few miles. I think that's still in the realm covered by the rules as written.


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