New damage rules?

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Vinzent
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New damage rules?

#1 Postby Vinzent » Wed Jan 06, 2010 3:37 pm

From a discussion on RPG.net I got this idea and I thought it would be better served discussing it here.

The original complaint was that with exploding damage dice, a player could conceivably turn your big bad into goo with one roll. I've had this happen to me a lot!

So I had an idea to maybe fix this, but I haven't tested it yet. So for now it's just theory.

a) Damage dice don't explode.
b) Allow a maximum of two raises on a to-hit roll instead of one.

Can anyone see any obvious flaws in the idea?

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#2 Postby shadd4d » Wed Jan 06, 2010 3:49 pm

I really don't have a problem with it; it can also do the same to player characters (as I've also seen). It's also what you're supposed to use the GM bennies for; a good rule of thumb is that if your bad guy is looking at receiving 6+ wounds, it's often better to take your chances on the Incapacitation table rather than trying to soak. Or if you have enough, you can try once to soak and then risk the rest on the incapacitation table.

a) While it subtracts from the fun, it also makes it harder against high toughness foes, where you end up relying on acing damage. Check out TAG's Pulp rules, which disallow the acing of rolls by mooks.

b) I'm not sure what this serves; regardless of raises on to hit, you only get one 1d6 for bonus damage. Additional raises don't stack or add more dice. Take a look at this and this (you asked that one). Why would you want to add more dice to the damage roll (and thereby possibilities to ace damage)?

The thing is, the system is sort of set up for this, the trade-off between the possible ease of killing a boss character is balanced by the possible ease of player characters dying...also via a lucky shot by a nameless goblin or mook.

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#3 Postby amerigoV » Wed Jan 06, 2010 3:59 pm

shadd4d wrote:b) I'm not sure what this serves; regardless of raises on to hit, you only get one 1d6 for bonus damage. Additional raises don't stack or add more dice.


I thought that was the rule - only 1d6 damage for raise (regardless of number) on the to hit role. Or are you saying no exploding dice on the raise die?

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#4 Postby shadd4d » Wed Jan 06, 2010 4:11 pm

amerigoV wrote:
shadd4d wrote:b) I'm not sure what this serves; regardless of raises on to hit, you only get one 1d6 for bonus damage. Additional raises don't stack or add more dice.


I thought that was the rule - only 1d6 damage for raise (regardless of number) on the to hit role. Or are you saying no exploding dice on the raise die?


I think he's trying to do away with exploding dice and raise the number of raises so that in essence, you could end up with a +12 to damage (if you rolled 2 raises on the attack and then rolled 12 with the 2d6). You could take another step back to yesteryear and go with the old +2 damage per raise in SW 1st ed, if you that inclined, although that was less FFF.

Again, I still think it's a fix for something that isn't mean to be fixed; yes, baddies sometimes by it via 36 points of damage, so do PCs/SCs.

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#5 Postby Pariah74 » Wed Jan 06, 2010 4:13 pm

Honestly, I have only seen this problem with the 2nd edition style damage.

Whenever I use a static number rather than a die type there are much less exploding dice, logically. And because of that the average damage dealt is much more constant.

This is especially so in Necessary Evil. I had a player with d12 strength, a level 2 melee attack and brass knuckles. He averaged 14 points of damage before exploding dice were figured. When his d4 and d6's exploded he could easily do damage well into the 20's and sometimes into the 30's. But just as often he would roll all 1's and 2's and end up with 6 damage. And there was the problems where he would act and take out the big bad in one shot. Once in particular he leveled something like 40+ damage on the big bad. Of course I tried to soak it, but let's face it, even with bennies it's not easy.

For a character that was supposed to be a martial arts striker that really sort of sucked. The sheer inconsistency just made the character sort of a joke. He was a martial arts expert that couldn't take out a mook but could level a giant dinosaur in one punch...and then sometimes just the opposite. Too random IMO.

Nope, I really do like the old static damage numbers for melee weapons. The more dice you roll the greater the range of your damage and the more inconsistent you will be. A good fighter isn't necessarily one that potentially does loads of damage, he's the one that consistently does good damage.
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Re: New damage rules?

#6 Postby 77IM » Wed Jan 06, 2010 5:05 pm

I think this is a fine idea.

Vinzent wrote:Can anyone see any obvious flaws in the idea?


Well, maybe not flaws, but here are the effects.

1) Without Acing, there is a maximum to your roll, which means certain checks are absolutely impossible. For example, 2d6 damage +2d6 from raises vs. a dragon with Toughness 22 and Hardy means that you can at most Shaken the dragon and can never wound him, ever. It's kind of like attacking objects -- damage dice can't Ace against objects so heroes can't hack through walls with a longsword.

2) With two raises, you have a possibility of +12 damage. That is a lot. The max damage on an average character (2d6 base damage +2d6 from a raise) is 24, which will still one-shot most of your bad guys (except for aforementioned dragon). So I'm not sure that eliminating Acing fixes the problem if you are going to allow multiple attack raises.



Here are some alternatives I just thought of.

1) Damage can't Ace. If you get a raise on the attack roll, you may set one of your damage dice to maximum instead of rolling. With two raises, you may set all of your damage dice to maximum instead of rolling. This has two effects:
- The most you can ever roll is max damage so damage becomes very predictable.
- You'll never get a raise on the attack roll and then deal sucky damage (you'll get at least half damage on a raise and max damage with two raises). I've seen people hit with a raise and then roll all 1s for damage, it is pretty disappointing.

2) Improve Soak rolls for BBEGs. The easy solution is to allow them multiple Soak rolls against the same set of wounds. Each benny spent allows a Vigor check which negates one wound per success and raise. So the massive damage roll forces the BBEG to burn through his bennies but leaves him in the fight. (Call the BBEG a "Super-Wild-Card" if you want.)

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#7 Postby Lord Inar » Wed Jan 06, 2010 5:53 pm

I've been toying with a few options myself:

1) The maximum number of raises is based on 1/2 the skill die type:
d4-2=1
d4=2
d6=3, etc.

So it requires a d8 or better skill to knock out a completely undamaged WC in one shot.

OR

2) The Damage raise die is based on the skill die and they don't explode.
Sort of "double dipping" for the skill.

Haven't tried them yet, but they bounce around in my head from time to time.

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#8 Postby AFDia » Wed Jan 06, 2010 6:11 pm

I think a system without hit points needs exploding dice to stay exciting for the players.

Otherwise you would get many munchkin characters with the most powerful weapons and a high fighting skill. An average fighter with a short or long sword wouldn't be funny to play anymore if the chances to damage a tough enemy are that low.
Another point is the duration of a combat. It could last very long, because without exploding dice there would rarely be more than 1 or 2 wounds at once and soaking them isn't really a problem.

If you want to limit exploding dice and keep combat fast, I would suggest to use the old SW rules:
melee weapons give a bonus of +x damage instead of a bonus die and aces give +2 dmg per ace (perhaps +1 would be better) instead of +1d6 for the first ace.
Then you would have a less variable damage and a lower chance of exploding dice.

Another (perhaps better) approach could be limiting the amount of wounds an enemy can take at once.
Basically you could limit it to 3 wounds (to avoid instant incapacitation), but you could create edges which lower the limit to 2 and 1 (requirements could be high vigor and hard(er) to kill).

There are also some edges in settings like Slipstream which allows extras to sacrifice themselves to protect their boss. That way you would have a possibility to keep the tension up after a deadly blow to your boss enemy.

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#9 Postby daran » Wed Jan 06, 2010 6:18 pm

I like the variability of the results of the existing rule. Sometimes the damage aces, other times I get ones. That's all part of the FFF for me.
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#10 Postby SlasherEpoch » Wed Jan 06, 2010 7:21 pm

I had a similar complaint once, but now I have a solution:

Don't change the core rules.

Change the bad guys with a new Monstrous Ability:

Big Bad: Some bad guys are too mean to go down in one well-placed pistol shot. Those with this Monstrous Ability gain +1 Toughness and will never take more than 2 Wounds with a single attack. They still have to attempt to Soak as many as they receive, but they can never take more than 2 at a time.

Really Big Bad: As above, except the Bad can never receive more than 1 wound per attack.

You might make exceptions for bad guys with Weaknesses. A lot of Big Bads will also be Hardy.

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#11 Postby robert4818 » Wed Jan 06, 2010 8:55 pm

Another concept is to avoid the concept of the Solo "Big Bad" encounter.

Instead, Change it up.

The big bad, with helpers.
The Big bad is surrounded by a force field that can only be taken out by destroying a statue in the room.
The big Bad is in a contraption.
The Big Bad has "Clones"

Make the fight at the end alot more than just about hitting the Big Bad until he's dead.

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#12 Postby shadd4d » Wed Jan 06, 2010 9:58 pm

Also arrange it so that the group never surprises the Big Bad...or he has alertness or danger sense or something.

And Robert is right with the solo "Big Bad" encounter.

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#13 Postby Dylan S » Thu Jan 07, 2010 2:02 am

Not sure if anyone else has mentioned this, but I actually really like the chance "extreme criticals" in combat, because I believe that it better simulates real-life combat. I've practiced martial arts for a couple of years, as I'm sure some of you guys have too. One thing I've learned, not only from my own experiences but also from people with more XP, is that real-world fighting is dangerous and unpredictable. You can be a competent fighter, well-prepared, and in the heat of a combat situation still make a mistake, succumb to unlucky circumstances, and so forth. I've heard stories of "casual" fist-fights ending in accidental deaths. Imagine if deadly weapons are involved!

One thing that has never jived with me in RPG gaming (and videogames, for that matter) is the lack of respect for how serious a fight is. In most games, it's neutered to a saturday morning cartoon affair. I've seen D&D gunfights where characters just stand in front of one-another shooting bullet after bullet into the each others' bodies until one guy runs out of HP and goes down! In Savage Worlds, the high criticals (and the decent chance of them happening) shows that fighting is simply not a safe thing to do. In my games, the players usually have other options before resorting to violence, and for good reason. They've learned to expect some danger if they do draw their weapons, even in an "easy fight". As it should be!

Edit: All that said, I do like the idea of the BIG BAD edge, since I like my RPGs to be equal parts real life and cheesy cinema. Sometimes you just don't want a good villain to go down so easily!
Last edited by Dylan S on Thu Jan 07, 2010 11:58 am, edited 1 time in total.

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#14 Postby FoxBlue » Thu Jan 07, 2010 4:35 am

I don't know, I kinda like my weapons to kill people with a solid (or lucky) hit... If they can't I tend to consider it a major design flaw...

I've found that often my players just want to shoot the bastard. To be fair he generally has it coming, but he's a villain so that's the idea, isn't it? Generally unless I'm pretty much done with a villain I wont put him in harms way.

If I want a creature to be hard to kill I'll give them an immunity and a weakness, perhaps have the players have a run in with the critter, run a side quest to obtain the weakness, and finally have a rematch where the players are on equal terms with the critter. That way even if the fight doesn't make the critter look particularly tough, you still had to go on a side quest to get rid of it.

I do like the idea of the Big Bad ability, I'd reserve it for Big Bads that have become a not entirely biological entity. For example, a Mage who has been warped by his own magic and is now sustained by it rather than any actual life left in him, or a really friggin' big video game style golem.

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#15 Postby TommyBrownell » Thu Jan 07, 2010 3:23 pm

shadd4d wrote:Also arrange it so that the group never surprises the Big Bad...or he has alertness or danger sense or something.

And Robert is right with the solo "Big Bad" encounter.

Don


I set up a Necessary Evil encounter in which the villain was WAITING on the PCs to show up, had all kinds of back-up waiting in the wings, had powers designed to be a pain in the butt for them...but the team leader got a Joker in the first round and did massive damage to him.

I let it ride, because it just looked very cool...=)
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#16 Postby Vinzent » Thu Jan 07, 2010 4:24 pm

I guess my problem is fairly unique now that I think about it.

I have a player who is constantly acing her rolls. I've even watched her to make sure she wasn't cheating. She has very lucky dice.

As a result, she unbalances things for everyone else. She one-shot kills just about anything I throw at her that has a Toughness less than 10.

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#17 Postby Pariah74 » Thu Jan 07, 2010 5:26 pm

Vinzent wrote:I guess my problem is fairly unique now that I think about it.

I have a player who is constantly acing her rolls. I've even watched her to make sure she wasn't cheating. She has very lucky dice.

As a result, she unbalances things for everyone else. She one-shot kills just about anything I throw at her that has a Toughness less than 10.


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bR2fxoNHIuU

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PxmkWrDbn34

Now whether or not you agree with him, he makes a hell of a pitch and drops some pretty good logic.

IMO he's right, play a game with "roll under" mechanics and watch her fail. :lol:
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#18 Postby Vinzent » Thu Jan 07, 2010 5:41 pm

Yeah I already have precision dice. But how do you convince one of your players with lucky dice to buy precision dice?

And there isn't a single roll-under game out there I want to play. SW is my go to system, probably forever.

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#19 Postby shadd4d » Thu Jan 07, 2010 5:49 pm

How do you know the lucky dice aren't loaded? :) Or at least as loaded as the Game Science gentleman explains?

I've seen the game science adds; they do make for a convincing case, although I've yet to drop money on them.

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#20 Postby Clint » Thu Jan 07, 2010 6:04 pm

I'm willing to bet the "lucky dice" are more a matter of perception than true statistics.

Almost every case I've ever seen of "lucky" of "unlucky" dice end up being based on expectations and selective memory. If people expect lucky dice, then they remember the times the dice are lucky and ignore the times they roll low or average. If they expect unlucky dice, then the opposite occurs and high rolls are considered "flukes" and low ones are met with "there they go again" (flip high and low based on roll over or roll under systems).

Really, the only time this might be an issue is if a big bad might be one-shotted in the first couple of actions or rounds of combat, and the odds of that actually occuring are astronomical. After a couple of rounds of combat, who cares if the villain is finally taken out in one shot (eventually one shot will kill him whether it does 1 wound or 100).

And the times it does occur, I personally am perfectly okay with because it can be equally cool (Indiana Jones and the swordsman in the bazaar).

Thing is, the GM can give an NPC anything he wants them to have, so if he wants the Big Bad to be hard to kill, then maybe give him Hard To Kill and perhaps the Edge from one of several books (or just a special ability) providing a bonus to Soak rolls.

Personally, the latter is awesome for bad guys like that because while it gives them a powerful Soak ability, it does no good once their Bennies are gone, and the players can take him out just as easily as always. So the ability gives more staying power without an overwhelming permanent buff.

Heck, a simple new Special Ability...

Big Bad: This character removes two wounds per success and raise on a Soak roll.
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