What are the bars at the limbs telling me in VATS?

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    When you lower the bar to zero the limb will be crippled the same way yours can be crippled making it difficult to operate – maurycy Dec 22 '15 at 16:56

Those are individual health bars for each of the creature's limbs. These are equivalent to the limb health bars you see on your own status page in your Pip-Boy.

Just like your own limbs, when the bars reach zero the limbs of the monster will be crippled. Depending on which limb is crippled, this will have a different specific effect on the monster. In addition, regardless of which limb is crippled, the monster will be staggered for a moment right after it is crippled.

For humanoid monsters, the effects of each limb being crippled in the last couple Fallout games were as follows:

  • Head: Reduced Perception (poor aim, harder to find you in stealth)
  • Torso: Increased stagger
  • Arm: Reduced aim, drops weapon in that hand
  • Leg: Reduced movement speed, may fall and have to crawl

Based on my play experience in FO4, I think they may have tweaked these effects. I don't see a lot of weapons being dropped when I cripple arms. If anyone has better, updated information, please let me know.

For more information, see the Crippled Limbs and Cripple pages on Nukapedia. These pages are currently lacking information specific to Fallout 4, although the mechanic is similar if not quite identical.

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    Fun fact: It is possible to completely sever (or obliterate) all of a feral ghoul's arms and legs, while still leaving them alive. Haven't tested this on other creatures or humanoids yet. Easiest to do when the enemy has a high base health, or you're using a really weak gun, so you don't drop their overall HP to zero before all the limbs are removed. – Iszi Jan 5 '16 at 21:56
  • @Iszi I doubt that would work on most enemies. You might be able to cripple all the limbs and leave them alive. If you want to try severing limbs on other things, try robots. A legless assaultron crawling across the floor trying to get its head beam into range is pretty scary. – DCShannon Jan 6 '16 at 0:36
  • BTW: The linked Nukapedia pages don't appear to have any particulars about the mechanic in Fallout 4, except to note that there is one present. – Iszi Jan 6 '16 at 15:33
  • @Iszi Yeah, they could be better. And, at this point, I'm not sure the effects are the same. I don't see a lot of enemies dropping weapons when I cripple their arms. If you have a better reference, let me know. – DCShannon Jan 6 '16 at 19:54
  • Not sure I recall anyone having dropped a weapon. But there is that extra-special thing you can do with the Super Mutant Suiciders. – Iszi Jan 6 '16 at 19:57

These bars indicate the health of that target able section. If you were to reduce one or more of the legs to an empty bar, for example, the enemy would start limping along. This is especially useful on larger enemies. You're also able to neutralize certain abilities in this manner - if for example you were to destroy the rad scorpion's stinger or shoot off the arm carrying the weapon on a humanoid foe...

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    I don't see the word "cripple" once, which seems like an omission... – DCShannon Dec 22 '15 at 17:31

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