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Slow Hinderance & Wheelchairs (Prosthetics)

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  • Slow Hinderance & Wheelchairs (Prosthetics)

    What is written at the Slow hinderance (p27) is a bit confusing to me and I have a feeling, that game balance is not preserved the best. (Or I'm reading something wrong)

    What is written at hinderance description on an example (along with my questions/concerns in red):
    Common (e.g. human) character for the below to start with: pace=6, running-die=d6, athletics:d6.
    Slow (Minor): pace=5, running-die=d4
    Slow (Major): pace=4, running-die=d4, Athletics rolls (and resisting athletics rolls) suffer a -2 penalty. -- Is this difference big enough to distinct the major hinderance from the minor?
    Slow (Minor) + Prosthesis: pace=6, running-die=d6 -- I'm just assuming this, since it is only written, that he can have prosthetics, but not that it would negate the hinderance.
    Slow (Minor) + Prosthesis option, but prosthesis is unusable: pace=4, running-die=d4, Athletics rolls (and resisting athletics rolls) suffer a -2.
    Slow (Major) + Prosthesis: N/A (the hinderance can only be taken as minor if it can be helped with prosthetics)
    Slow (Minor/Major) + Manual wheelchair: pace=3, running-die=N/A -- This is worse than not even using the wheelchair. This really doesn't feel right. What if the character does not even get a d4 in Athletics (e.g. member of a special race)? It cannot move in a manual wheelchair at all?
    Slow (Minor) + Ultralight wheelchair: pace=3, running-die=d4 -- Gets in balance with the same character not using wheelchair at Athletics d10.
    Slow (Major) + Ultralight wheelchair: pace=3, running-die=d4-1 -- Running die is even worse than the same character not using the wheelchair. Gets in balance in pace at Athletics d8. It is not specificly written, that the character suffers the -2 for Athletics (and alike) tests, but I guess it usually does so. (Why would your wheelchair make it easier to resist grappling? On the other hand: you roll normally, when your hero participates in a wheelchaired basketball competition.)

    Can you help me understand how this hinderance works / what I'm reading wrong and why is it beneficial for a slow character to use wheelchairs?

  • #2
    Originally posted by Alex76 View Post
    What is written at the Slow hinderance (p27) is a bit confusing to me and I have a feeling, that game balance is not preserved the best. (Or I'm reading something wrong)
    Game balance? This is Savage Worlds!

    But more seriously, balance in Savage Worlds is more about feel than mathematical models.

    Slow (Major): pace=4, running-die=d4, Athletics rolls (and resisting athletics rolls) suffer a -2 penalty. -- Is this difference big enough to distinct the major hinderance from the minor?
    Yes. A -2 penalty is very significant and Athletics is used for quit a bit in the system.

    Slow (Minor) + Prosthesis: pace=6, running-die=d6 -- I'm just assuming this, since it is only written, that he can have prosthetics, but not that it would negate the hinderance.
    By RAW, the prosthesis does not negate the Minor hindrance, so pace is 5 with a d4 running die. The prosthesis is a role-playing thing.

    Slow (Minor/Major) + Manual wheelchair: pace=3, running-die=N/A -- This is worse than not even using the wheelchair. This really doesn't feel right. What if the character does not even get a d4 in Athletics (e.g. member of a special race)? It cannot move in a manual wheelchair at all?
    Athletics is a Core Skill and everyone starts with a d4 in it by default.

    The manual wheelchair is usually not a good option, but was included for completeness.

    The advantage of wheelchairs is that someone else can push it if the group needs to move quickly.


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    • #3
      Originally posted by mikeZekim View Post
      Game balance? This is Savage Worlds!
      I get your point. Game balance is not the best expression to use, but I felt something fishy here.

      But more seriously, balance in Savage Worlds is more about feel than mathematical models.
      I totally aggree. This is what I'm saying: something doesn't feel right for me regarding this hinderance.

      By RAW, the prosthesis does not negate the Minor hindrance, so pace is 5 with a d4 running die. The prosthesis is a role-playing thing.
      That would be true if there wasn't a game-mechanic listed*, when the prosthesis is broken: that could have been a role-playing thing too.
      (*: the hinderance counts as the major version this case)

      So using a prosthesis has no positive effects, but has some (although conditional) negative ones: Why would anyone chose it for their character?

      I understand, that if you imagine your character having prosthetics, you take the hinderance with the prosthesis option, even if it is bad for you in terms of game-mechanics, but this is the part, that gives me a feeling of suspicion. If it is just for role-playing: don't include in a rulebook, if it has game mechanics, it should fit into the system of other mechanics: that's what I meant by "game balance".

      Showing my point on a very bad example:
      What would you feel if there was a hinderance that actually has a game effect of raising a trait by a die type? Almost every character would take it, but - I assume - you would feel, that something is not right there. This is the same feeling I have about the full descripton (with prostheis and wheelchairs) of the slow hinderance.

      Athletics is a Core Skill and everyone starts with a d4 in it by default.
      Not everyone starts with d4. Only the average adult adventurer (see Core Skills p10). That's why I put "(e.g. member of a special race)". Even a character with a special racial trait might miss it, not to mention extras. Can't they move their wheelchairs at all without some training in athletics? (ok, this last one is just being picky ;-) )

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Alex76 View Post
        That would be true if there wasn't a game-mechanic listed*, when the prosthesis is broken: that could have been a role-playing thing too.
        (*: the hinderance counts as the major version this case)

        So using a prosthesis has no positive effects, but has some (although conditional) negative ones: Why would anyone chose it for their character?
        Again role-playing is the answer. Players do make sub-optimal mechanical choices if it fits the concept of their character.

        The trope of the peg-legged pirate is well-known. A pirate with a peg-leg would suffer the Slow Hindrance. Naturally, if the peg-leg is destroyed or unavailable, the player will want to know what happens. The rules provide that information: the character is temporally upgraded to the Major version of the hindrance.

        It also provides an opportunity to play up the hindrance and earn a Bennie or two for good role-playing.

        If it is just for role-playing: don't include in a rulebook, if it has game mechanics, it should fit into the system of other mechanics: that's what I meant by "game balance".
        Many hindrances are role-playing only, without any game mechanics attached to them. Arrogant, Big Mouth, Bloodthirsty, Cautious, Code of Honor, Curious, Death Wish, etc...

        Showing my point on a very bad example:
        What would you feel if there was a hinderance that actually has a game effect of raising a trait by a die type? Almost every character would take it, but - I assume - you would feel, that something is not right there. This is the same feeling I have about the full descripton (with prostheis and wheelchairs) of the slow hinderance.
        I'm failing to see a problem with Slow.

        Prosthetics do not negate the minor version of the hindrance and under certain circumstances make it worse.

        Wheelchairs provide very limit mobility and do not negate either version of the hindrance and actually make the effects worse for many situations.

        Not everyone starts with d4. Only the average adult adventurer (see Core Skills p10). That's why I put "(e.g. member of a special race)". Even a character with a special racial trait might miss it, not to mention extras. Can't they move their wheelchairs at all without some training in athletics? (ok, this last one is just being picky ;-) )
        If a player picks a race that doesn't have Athletics as a Core Skill and then takes the Slow Hindrance, that is their choice. Also, none of the example races have reduced core skills.....

        NPCs, both Extras and Wild Cards, do not follow the rules for character creation or skill advancement. If the GM determines that they need a skill, they have the skill.

        I think that the key thing to remember is that Savage Worlds is a game, not a world simulator. The rules are written for adventurers leading active lives doing dangerous things. The rules are not meant to be used to model normal people doing normal things.

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        • #5
          Hi Alex76. Welcome to the forums.

          First, cool avatar. I like it.

          As for the Slow Hindrance, it's intended to model a large number of character concepts: the "gimp" who broke his leg as a kid, the one-legged war vet with a titanium prosthetic (or peg-legged pirate), the wheelchair-bound polio patient... etc.

          With that in mind, we can begin assessing the nuances of the Hindrance.

          Slow (Minor): pace=5, running-die=d4
          Slow (Major): pace=4, running-die=d4, Athletics rolls (and resisting athletics rolls) suffer a -2 penalty. -- Is this difference big enough to distinct the major hinderance from the minor?
          As mikeZekim pointed out, Yes, this is a significant penalty that more than accounts for the upgrade to Major. Athletics is used to dodge Area Effect attacks (like grenades), make and resist grapple attempts, swim and climb efficiently, and throw things.

          A -2 to these actions represents the character's lack of mobility, and foes can easily use that to their advantage. The one point of contention here might be with throwing, but GMs are given a lot of leeway in Savage Worlds to change or ignore certain aspects of the rules. In this case, the accuracy of the Slow character's throw might not be affected (i.e., the -2 doesn't apply to the throw itself), but if the penalty to Athletics would have brought the total below Target Number 4, the character falls prone as well. In other words, you make one Athletic roll and the result is checking against two separate things: the throw, and preventing falling down afterward.

          Slow (Minor) + Prosthesis: pace=6, running-die=d6 -- I'm just assuming this, since it is only written, that he can have prosthetics, but not that it would negate the hinderance.
          Slow (Minor) + Prosthesis option, but prosthesis is unusable: pace=4, running-die=d4, Athletics rolls (and resisting athletics rolls) suffer a -2.
          Not exactly.
          A prosthetic doesn't negate the Hindrance, it is a Trapping of the Hindrance. The character actually has one leg (or maybe no legs!), but the prosthetic(s) give them a baseline Pace represented by the Minor version. This is considered their "normal" state. If something happens to the prosthetic, though, their Hindrance is temporarily bumped up to Major until the prosthesis is fixed and they resume "normalcy."

          I will admit, this part could have been worded better, but I think the intent was to value the Hindrance as Minor (i.e., 1 point) while applying circumstantial penalties, rather than valuing it as Major and removing penalties. This is, incidentally, part of that "balance" you were concerned about. If the prosthetic turned a Major Hindrance into a Minor one for most of a character's actions, then shouldn't the Hindrance truly be valued as Minor instead? The devs appearantly thought so, and I agree.

          Slow (Major) + Prosthesis: N/A (the hinderance can only be taken as minor if it can be helped with prosthetics)
          Again, not exactly.
          Prosthetics turn the Major version into the Minor version, while valuing the Hindrance only as Minor. It's an "in-between" zone, where the character technically has the Major version, but their "normal" state is represented best as the Minor version.

          The character does not get the additional build point for choosing the Major version, but the GM should award them more oppirtunities to gain Bennies if and when their prosthetics get lost or damaged.

          Slow (Minor/Major) + Manual wheelchair: pace=3, running-die=N/A -- This is worse than not even using the wheelchair. This really doesn't feel right. What if the character does not even get a d4 in Athletics (e.g. member of a special race)? It cannot move in a manual wheelchair at all?
          Slow (Minor) + Ultralight wheelchair: pace=3, running-die=d4 -- Gets in balance with the same character not using wheelchair at Athletics d10.
          Slow (Major) + Ultralight wheelchair: pace=3, running-die=d4-1 -- Running die is even worse than the same character not using the wheelchair. Gets in balance in pace at Athletics d8. It is not specificly written, that the character suffers the -2 for Athletics (and alike) tests, but I guess it usually does so. (Why would your wheelchair make it easier to resist grappling? On the other hand: you roll normally, when your hero participates in a wheelchaired basketball competition.)
          As I mentioned from the start, Slow in intended to model a number of impairments, but wheelchairs are objectively worse than the Major version, so it's difficult to determine what exactly they are intended to mitigate, and what happens if the character has no chair.

          For this, let's look at some situations.

          A character with one leg (or no legs) and no prosthetics very likely has the Major version Slow. They either hop around or use their arms for maneuvering. The difference between these two forms of movement is neglegible; what matters is how they overlap with other actions.

          By RAW, Slow (Major) doesn't affect other actions. But logically, if a person is plodding around on the hands, they'd have difficulty performing other tasks that require using them. A GM might rule that moving is an action for the character, so shooting a gun or picking a pocket in the same turn incurs a Multi-Action penalty.

          A wheelchair would generally leave their hands free, so no MAP would be incurred if they move and make a handed action. In exchange, however, the character would need to deal with the lower Pace. This allows wheelchairs to operate in a quid-pro-quo capacity.

          This leads directly into the next issue: the miserable Pace of wheelchairs. Now, I suspect "manual" wheelchairs are meant to be the early models that were often made of wood, didn't roll very well, and had a terrible turning radius. They were intended to be pushed by an attendant, not manipulated by the patient, so the cap on Pace seems fine for those particular models.

          The book remarks that "ultralights" came about sometime in the 1980s, but I would personally use these stats for "modern" wheelchairs of the 1960s and up: the ones intended to be used by the person sitting in it. The term "ultralight" also seems to be a misnomer as no weights are actually given.

          The -1 to running for the Major version is a pure game mechanics issue; Major needs to be worse than Minor in some way. You could head-canon it as a leverage issue; having physical legs (for example) that you can brace against the chair would give better momentum than not having that type of leverage. As I mentioned earlier, feel free to ignore the penalty if it doesn't make sense to you. It wouldn't break the game. But keep in mind, the character chose a Major Hindrance... they gained a benefit from choosing a Major Hindrance... they need to feel the pain from that choice. Be sure to tip 'em outta the chair from time to time. Remember, villians are jerks.

          As for the penalty to Athletics, nothing about wheelchairs says it is negated so it still applies. Note, however, that the penalty applies to Athletics rolls. Things that are not rolls (such as the Pace of wheelchairs) are not affected. If a character was in a wheelchair race (using the Chase rules), the penalty can probably be safely ignored for the Maneuvering roll since everyone would presumably be in chairs. In a mixed race, however, you should apply it since wheelchairs cannot easily traverse difficult ground, giving any runner a significant advantage.

          This also brings into question the lack of racing chairs in the core rulebook. Luckily, the Vehicle section of the Gear chapter has bicycles, which I think fit the mould just fine. Double rider's Pace and running die result means a Slow (Minor) character in a racing chair has a Pace of 10 and adds between +2 to +8 when they run. A Slow (Major) character has a Pace of 8 and adds +0 to +6 if they run.

          _____

          Hope this helps.
          Last edited by Deskepticon; 12-24-2019, 03:34 AM. Reason: Too many typos

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