New Character Damage System

Anonymous's picture
Anonymous
April 21, 2008 - 6:59am
This weekend we used Bill's new skill system along with a damage system based off Top Secret SI.


It took a little getting used to but in the end I liked it because it gave more realism to the game. A Player or NPC could loose the ability to use a limb, get knocked out or in our case Cane hit a Sathar in the hand dislodging his sonic disruptor! (Thank you Cane). In the Alpha Dawn rules I believe todo the same a Player would have to roll a critical success.

NOTE: Ablative Damage appears in the Star Frontiersman Issue 8.


Comments:

Imperial Lord's picture
Imperial Lord
April 21, 2008 - 10:04am
Ablative Damage - never been much of a fan...  Are the extra rolls tedious?


Although I will admit, the ablative damage system in Warhammer was/is pretty good.  I just didn't think it really added to the game. 

Anonymous's picture
w00t (not verified)
April 21, 2008 - 10:31am
Hit location added more realism to the game we played.
Although I guess a GM could make this up during play. Or perhaps GM's have a cheat sheet that based on the % success of a "to hit" roll they determine location, "You hit his arm, it's useless".

The only issue we had was players kept picking up their dice after a success hit so we didn't catch the "10's digit" to determine location. So we just rolled 1d10. Just a matter of training.

It was actually neat to see where you hit... :-)



TerlObar's picture
TerlObar
April 21, 2008 - 11:41am
Okay, I've really got to post my damage system.  I have it worked out, just need to type it up.  It is one addition d100 roll to determine hit location and off you go.  Weapon damage rolls are the same and it provides the same effect as w00t was describing in the OP (lose the use of a limb, get knocked out, etc).  It also makes combat a bit deadlier as a good  head shot kills quicker than knocking out all your STA.  Anyway I like the realism as well of the hit locations and it doesn't add much overhead at all to the game.
Ad Astra Per Ardua!
Webmaster - The Star Frontiers Network & this site
Founding Editor - The Frontier Explorer Magazine
Managing Editor - The Star Frontiersman Magazine

Sam's picture
Sam
April 21, 2008 - 12:52pm
I actually am planning on putting this into a greater Star Frontiers project -- kind of a modified setting with some game system elements. BUT in the event I never complete that, I wanted to put this out there...

Anyone familiar with the Amazing Engine system? Bughunters, specifically? One aspect of it I thought seemed very impressive was the addition of Lethalty Classes to damage and the adddition of Body Points along with Stamina Points (whatever that system called it). The idea is pretty simple and seemed to be a good compromise between damage systems that are too vague and those that are too detailed.

The concept of adding this to Star Frontiers also adds something that I really would like to see... by adjusting the LC of weapons, the GM can make some weapons more prominant and others less. For instance, I've always disliked the relative weakness of bullet weapons in SF. We all know how lethal they are in real life. But lasers are the primary weapon in SF and the only one capable of the dreaded 20d10 damage blasts. However, if the LC of lasers is significantly lower than bullet weapons, than bullet weapons may be more prefered.

In a nutshell, LC works by assigning some number, 1-9, to each weapon system/type of damage with higher number being more life threatening. During the attack roll, GM's/Players note the 1's die number. If that number is less than or equal to the LC of the weapon, the weapon does Body damage and not Stamina damage. Body Points are much, much less than stamina (I was figuring on STA+STR/10 -- or somewhere in that range). If a Laser's LC would be 1 and a Autopistol would be LC 5, it would change the combat weapon choices greatly AND make all combats a lot more dangerous.

Sam's picture
Sam
April 21, 2008 - 12:54pm
A lot of work would still need to be done to keep game balance and deal with armor/defensive screens, etc ... . But that is the general overview.

Imperial Lord's picture
Imperial Lord
April 21, 2008 - 12:56pm
Do we really want combat to be deadlier?

Do we really want people disabled by being blasted in certain areas?

Sam's picture
Sam
April 21, 2008 - 1:10pm

Not if it would destroy the feel of SF and turn it into a different game. But there are ways to add LC without making overwhelmingly dangerous. For instance, make Body Points STR+STA/5 ... a bit more points than what I mentioned above. Ruling that Beam weapons (lasers/sonics) attacks that do Body Damage only do 1 pt per die (so that 20d10 laser blast only does 20 body points damage. Something the Bughunters system does is to have armor not only provide a damage defense, but also reduce LC of attacks. Perhaps you are wearing armor so Laser attacks cannot do body damage. Etc... . This system is more vague than hit locations.

***
I like hit location systems on paper, but I've always found that using them slows down the game and creates a number of unwelcome questions -- how many points damage can a head take before you die, how can you take a 60pt wound to the chest and still be up but a 5 point wound to the hand kills you, etc... . And that's just the beginning.

But its all GMing ... such as a GM can use armor in reducing the damage of an attack and still narrate that the strike hit an arm or let or something unarmored. Don't let the rules slow the story or spoil the fun.


TerlObar's picture
TerlObar
April 21, 2008 - 2:16pm
Quote:
Do we really want combat to be deadlier?

Do we really want people disabled by being blasted in certain areas?

Maybe, maybe not. That's why it is optional. I guess it depends on how you looka at things. If combat is deadlier and the characters know it, they are more likely to look for other solutions to their problems instead of just blastiing their way in and out. On the other hand it is nice to be able to take out your opponent quickly sometimes as well. As always, it's up to the referee.

And the system I'm going to write up isn't that much deadlier. Sure ,you can incapcitate a character by doing 40% of their total stamina to their head but you only have a 5% chance to hit the head with a ranged weapon (baring aimed shots) so it doesn't happen that often. I'll try to get this written up this week and posted.
Ad Astra Per Ardua!
Webmaster - The Star Frontiers Network & this site
Founding Editor - The Frontier Explorer Magazine
Managing Editor - The Star Frontiersman Magazine

Will's picture
Will
April 21, 2008 - 2:49pm

Precisely, Terl.

"You're everything that's base in humanity," Cochrane continued. "Drawing up strict, senseless rules for the sole reason of putting you at the top and excluding anyone you say doesn't belong or fit in, for no other reason than just because you say so."


—Judith and Garfield Reeves-Stephens, Federation

Imperial Lord's picture
Imperial Lord
April 21, 2008 - 2:59pm
Ok, rock 'n roll.

I'm just concerned for PCs getting ffffed up by lucky ref rolling.  Of course, a ref could always overrule the roll - but then what is the point of having the system in the first place?

One idea might be to have only special enemies have the privilege of rolling on the table.  That way a lucky mook does not make a PC permanently retarded by a lucky shot...

Anonymous's picture
w00t (not verified)
April 21, 2008 - 3:43pm
:: OFF NOTE ::
Personally I like what the community is coming up with.
Shadow introduced "Basically Speaking" which meshed some of AD into the Basic rules. His style of GM is one of "wing it" instead of looking up every single rule or table - which made game play pretty fast online.
Bill's style is much the same at the game table.

Tweaking rules is part of the fun!
Of course nothing beats playing, right Brian! Wink

It's entirely possible this site exists with project type activity since were such a small group dispersed across light milliseconds of time and space!





Anonymous's picture
w00t (not verified)
April 21, 2008 - 3:46pm
Imperial Lord wrote:
I'm just concerned for PCs getting ffffed up by lucky ref rolling.


That be why we play test matey!
Arrrrrrrrrrrr


umungus's picture
umungus
April 24, 2008 - 1:21pm
I think my reply got hosed...?

I have used the ablative system with my NPC. Just to test it. haven't noticed anymore work. don't have to subtract 1/2 damage then subtract from hit points. You just x out some boxes. easy. The hit location is right in your hit roll. So, no extra rolls are involved.

How do you guys handle grenades with this system?
Do you have auto fire hit multiple locations?

At least I got to scare an alien rabbit thingy......


Anonymous's picture
w00t (not verified)
April 24, 2008 - 6:14pm
umungus wrote:
I think my reply got hosed...?

I have used the ablative system with my NPC. Just to test it. haven't noticed anymore work. don't have to subtract 1/2 damage then subtract from hit points. You just x out some boxes. easy. The hit location is right in your hit roll. So, no extra rolls are involved.

How do you guys handle grenades with this system?
Do you have auto fire hit multiple locations?


Sweet! You tested the system. :-)
Bill and I went over the sytem and I believe that marking several loctions would be cumbersome if you have to roll for each bullet hit (for a burst). How would you determine how many piecies of sharpnel hit?

Bill suggested that for weapons that cover an area you spread the damage to one area below the hit location and one area above.

For example, lets say you get hit in the foot for 3 points of damage. You would check the boxes for foot and leg. Since there ins't an area to damage beyond the foot you would actually only take 2 points of damage. Same with the head.

Thoughts?


umungus's picture
umungus
April 25, 2008 - 10:40am
thanks Woot !
I'll try it out in our next game.

At least I got to scare an alien rabbit thingy......


Sargonarhes's picture
Sargonarhes
May 16, 2008 - 8:47pm
Imperial Lord wrote:
Do we really want combat to be deadlier?

Do we really want people disabled by being blasted in certain areas?


Better not touch.... certain areas of your body that have been blasted while you're out there in public. Because if people see you out there digging and scratching they're going to turn it right off.

Sorry.

I've seen other games that have body locations, allowing for limbs to be dismembered. What some have done is allocate some of your hit point or in this case stamina to those locations. That way a limb can take a certain amount of damage before it becomes useless. Say each arm gets a 10% of your total stamina, legs get 12% each. The Torso has 50% of the stamina and what's left is the head, making the head a low 6% of the total stamina. Which will encourage characters to wear helmets!
In every age, in every place, the deeds of men remain the same.

umungus's picture
umungus
May 19, 2008 - 9:03am
Hey Guys!
We played on Sat. night. I made up a NPC sheet with the ablative system on it. I used it for all my Npc's. It worked very well. Combat was much faster. It added a bit of realism. The players all have high combat skills. If they hit they were able to adjust to hit a vital easy. Not sure what I think of that. Regardless of their success they were able to pick a shot. They would always go for a head shot and the NPC would be dead.  

Maybe make an additional (like -10- 20%) modifier for aimed shots. If the player succeeds at an aimed shot than allow them to adjust?  

Overall I like the system. It really encouraged the characters to use armor, screens and helmets. Also to take cover.  

At least I got to scare an alien rabbit thingy......


umungus's picture
umungus
May 27, 2008 - 12:57pm
Dang...
I should change my user name to "Thread_Killer"

At least I got to scare an alien rabbit thingy......


Anonymous's picture
w00t (not verified)
May 28, 2008 - 7:29am
umungus wrote:
Hey Guys!
We played on Sat. night. I made up a NPC sheet with the ablative system on it. I used it for all my Npc's. It worked very well. Combat was much faster. It added a bit of realism. The players all have high combat skills. If they hit they were able to adjust to hit a vital easy. Not sure what I think of that. Regardless of their success they were able to pick a shot. They would always go for a head shot and the NPC would be dead.

Maybe make an additional (like -10- 20%) modifier for aimed shots. If the player succeeds at an aimed shot than allow them to adjust?


Also a high-level NPC could target your head. :-(
Even if you add a modifier to a "called shot" before rolling the dice, if your PC hits then rolls the damage dice and does damage they still get to bump the hit location.

You could try ignoring bump location and just keep it where the originally hit.
If you play test this - please let me know.

-lgm

umungus's picture
umungus
May 28, 2008 - 8:58am

I see your point. Maybe do a -10% per bump up to the max. which would be the skill level.

(example: Zari (level 5 projectile skill) wants to shoot her autopistol at a bad guy. Her shot with all modifiers is 90%. She wants to aim. So, she takes -30% to get three bumps. her new to hit is 60%.
She could have gone as high as 5 bumps @ -50%, therefore a 40% chance to hit.).

I'll have to playtest this.

We played last Saturday. The same story, the higher level characters could concentrate shots on a particular vital easily.

At least I got to scare an alien rabbit thingy......


Anonymous's picture
w00t (not verified)
May 28, 2008 - 12:29pm
umungus wrote:
We played last Saturday. The same story, the higher level characters could concentrate shots on a particular vital easily.


Bill and I talked about this -- the understanding is that at higher levels you *should* be able to hit someone in the eyeball at 20 feet away. Also an average NPC should have 40-50 STA which in this damage system would be 4 to 5 boxes. A laser pistol set on 5 SEU does 5d10, if you hit then roll the damage (we use Heroscape dice that shows the skulls for damage) the average roll would be 2 damage boxes. Not enough to one-shot-kill a NPC. Does this make sense?

Bill's testing shows the damage system is less leathal than the original SF.

Imperial Lord's picture
Imperial Lord
May 28, 2008 - 1:40pm
Larry - when you say less deadly, are you including the head hits?

AZ_GAMER's picture
AZ_GAMER
May 29, 2008 - 9:00am
maybe this represents a glancing hit, or the effect of the head shot could be assumed to cause definite incapacity of the character even if it is not a fatal blow. It's a difficult thing to simulate such damage in a game setting, after all a head wound may kill one person and not another, a lot of factors could easily play into it. For example a glancing hit from a .22 could cause some serious trauma but may not always be fatal, however the same bullet in a straight trajectory to the temple or forehead may be sending the pc to the great gencon in the sky. However, I think it would be safe to assume that any hit from a hyper-velocity round or large cal like .50 to the head would be fatal reguardless of location. In future weapon terms this is a little more nebulous since no has ever seen a real combat ready laser pistol in action. Assuming high seu probably also indicates high penetration and burn through and low seu indicating lower tissue damage, burns, low penetration. A low seu hit to the head may cause burn and laceration trauma but may not be fatal. However a 20 seu shot may burn right through the characters head and well into the next room behind it. An insteresting thing to note though is that, going by conventional lasers, a laser would have no kinetic knock down force. A subject may have a hole burned clean right through him, be dead as a door nail, but still standing on his feet until his body quit working, muscular support gives way, and the body drops with gravity. Maybe future lasers will incorporate a magnetic confinement field that would have a kinnetic force behind it. Some food for thought  

MrJupiter's picture
MrJupiter
July 13, 2008 - 10:19am

Sam wrote:  "Anyone familiar with the Amazing Engine system? Bughunters, specifically? One aspect of it I thought seemed very impressive was the addition of Lethalty Classes to damage and the adddition of Body Points along with Stamina Points (whatever that system called it). The idea is pretty simple and seemed to be a good compromise between damage systems that are too vague and those that are too detailed."

I have the Amazing Engine game (Bughunters was my favorite) and that damage system was one of the most impressive parts of those game rules.  It was a simple way handling the possibility for life threatening damage as characters had way more Fatigue than Body points.  Attackers could specify how they targetted an opponent (General, Non-vital, or Vital).  General attacks were the easiest and did not modify damage.  Non-vital attacks lowered the probability of an attack scoring leathal damage while Vital attacks increased the likelyhood of inflicting leathal Body damage.   I only ever played one game with the system but I found that players tended to think twice about jumping into combat with opponents armed with high leathality-rated weapons. 

This discussion prompted me to read the "Ablative Damage" rules of the Frontiersman (issue 8).  I must admit that I like them quite a bit and plan on giving them a go (if I can find the time anytime soon!).  These rules look like they are a quick and easy fit to the SF-Alpha Dawn game system.  The ability for the attacker to shift the actual strike area is a great idea; and the possibility of recieving a head shot really makes helmets a worthwhile investment for players.  I can see this system encouraging players to make use of nearby cover.

Thanks Bill, for the great work!


Anonymous's picture
w00t (not verified)
July 13, 2008 - 10:53am
MrJupiter wrote:
This discussion prompted me to read the "Ablative Damage" rules of the Frontiersman (issue 8). I must admit that I like them quite a bit and plan on giving them a go (if I can find the time anytime soon!). These rules look like they are a quick and easy fit to the SF-Alpha Dawn game system. The ability for the attacker to shift the actual strike area is a great idea; and the possibility of recieving a head shot really makes helmets a worthwhile investment for players. I can see this system encouraging players to make use of nearby cover.


Thanks Bill, for the great work!



We played tested and I think there is errata due out in the next few months, FYI.
Love the system and at higher levels one-shot-kills aren't far off.

OSK?

w00t!

umungus's picture
umungus
July 14, 2008 - 9:50am
We have been using it in our game. The ablative damage system works great. It is actually a lot faster. You don't have to add up dice all the time.

At least I got to scare an alien rabbit thingy......


Sam's picture
Sam
July 15, 2008 - 10:22am
It does seem to have a lot of merrit and I do like it. One thing I'd like to see addressed, though (and this is why I brought up the bit about the Bughunters thing) is the overall weakness of the bullet weapons (among others). It seems that the ablative damage system can actually make bullet weapons even weaker.

Some sci-fi settings have bullet weapons remain dominant and make laser/beam weapons more cumbersome and/or fragile.  An interesting way to modify the setting. 

Cliff's picture
Cliff
July 15, 2008 - 9:20pm

Twenty years ago, I came up with a similar system; it’s a bit involved to explain but makes the combat seem realistic. First of all, I wanted to keep it fairly simple i.e. I didn’t want a lot of extra dice rolling. So, the attack roll was also the hit location roll. The TENs die was used to determine which side where applicable, right arm, left hand etc. the ONEs die was used to determine the body part that was hit. With the TENs die, an even number always meant the right side and an odd number always meant the left side. As for the ONEs die the numbering went as thus;

1 = Head         2 = Neck         3 = Arm           4 & 5 = Chest               6 = Hand
7 & 8 = abdomen        9 = Leg           10 = Foot

So lets say that a player’s character has a modified “to hit” of 60% and rolls a 56, The TENs die is a five, an odd number, the left side. The ONEs die is a six, the hand. Therefore the left hand was hit. Damage is rolled normally.

 

I divided the character’s base stamina score over what I call the four core parts, the head, the neck, the chest and the abdomen. The percentage division is as follows;

10% head       10% neck       40% chest      40% abdomen

These are the vital areas, any damage taken in these areas would automatically be subtracted for the character’s current Stamina score example; the character has to make a Stamina check vs. a poison grenade. His base stamina is 50. He has 2 wounds to the head and three wounds to the chest, his current stamina is 45. Wounds to the arms, hands, legs and/or feet do not count against his stamina. If the character should sustain wounds to at least one of these areas that are equal to or greater than the percentage allocated, the character is incapacitated (in shock, possibly unconscious). A character in this state still has a chance at life, he must make a current stamina check each turn, if he fails he loses one more stamina point, reducing his current stamina (if stamina is reduced to zero he dies). If another character has the medic skills, he can perform a minor surgery check if there is no more combat or a major surgery check if there still is combat, in an attempt to stabilize the wounded character. A successful check means that the wounded character has been stabilized and no longer needs to make a current stamina check. Failure means the character continues to make current stamina checks. If the medic fails, he can continue to retry but at a -10% per previous failure. Staydose will temperarily stabilize the wounded for 1d10 rounds (wounded character does not need to make current stamina checks). Only one staydose can be used, a second dose will not add more time. If the damage equals or is greater than twice the allotted percentage, the character dies.

 

As for the limbs, damage to them that equals or is greater than the allotted percentage renders that limb useless until healed. If the damaged sustained is equal to or greater than twice the allocated percentage, the limb is severed and the character must make a current stamina check. Failure means the character has gone into shock and is incapacitated (see above paragraph). If a leg or arm was hit, I would make a roll to determine which part of the arm or leg was hit;

1 = ankle or wrist       2, 3, 4 = lower leg, forearm    5 = knee, elbow
6,7,8,9 = upper leg, upper arm          10 = hip, shoulder
 
The limbs were also allotted percentages of the Base stamina score, they went as follows;
arms = 10%     hands = 5%      Legs = 20%      feet = 5%
All pecentages were rounded up.

Like I said, it is fairly involved, but it plays well and it also gives the players who’s characters have the Biosocial PSA and medic skills something more to do during combat (since they tend to be weak in the combat area).

umungus's picture
umungus
July 17, 2008 - 12:34pm
Sam wrote:
It does seem to have a lot of merrit and I do like it. One thing I'd like to see addressed, though (and this is why I brought up the bit about the Bughunters thing) is the overall weakness of the bullet weapons (among others). It seems that the ablative damage system can actually make bullet weapons even weaker.

Some sci-fi settings have bullet weapons remain dominant and make laser/beam weapons more cumbersome and/or fragile.  An interesting way to modify the setting. 



You should play it. The bullet weapons are very deadly due to their ability to fire a burst.

At least I got to scare an alien rabbit thingy......


Will's picture
Will
July 17, 2008 - 2:58pm
Especially the gauss weapons from SFMan#8

"You're everything that's base in humanity," Cochrane continued. "Drawing up strict, senseless rules for the sole reason of putting you at the top and excluding anyone you say doesn't belong or fit in, for no other reason than just because you say so."


—Judith and Garfield Reeves-Stephens, Federation