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  • Savage Mecha/Giant Robots/Etc. and the Wound Problem

    Howdy everyone,

    I'm planning on using SW Deluxe and the Science Fiction Companion for an upcoming Giant Robot Game heavily inspired by VOTOMs, Heavy Gear and Front Mission (I'm straight up using the Heavy Gear Mini's, Names, Artwork etc. in my own setting more reminiscent of Front Mission) and while researching stuff I noticed a lot of people complaining that Mecha go down too easy because of the "1 Wound for every 4 Damage" and "Only 3 Wounds per anything" rules. I noticed this issue myself while running Savage Rifts as anything our Glitter Boy got completely vaporised once something beat its toughness/armour (I fudged it because the players and myself were new to the system so neither of us knew to fear missiles).

    I'm mostly wondering how other people have dealt with this issue, or if you didn't change anything how it worked for you when EVERYONE is in Giant Robots and slinging around many Ds and Plusses worth of Damage.

  • #2
    Howdy!

    Yeah, this is a popular discussion, with a ton of opinions and conclusions.

    Generally, the conclusions are a) eh, it all works or b) yeah, it's a problem that needs fixing. I suspect that PEG straddles the fence - note the Compartmentalization rules in the Science Fiction Companion, not to mention the Shield System, but those have limits on when they apply.

    Solutions generally fall into one of the following categories:
    Modify damage - damage is reduced by some amount (often half, sometimes more, sometimes less) for some reason and then applied against Toughness as normal. The shield systems do this.
    Modify Wound thresholds - it takes more damage over Toughness to cause a Wound; I've seen proposals ranging from 4 (normal), 6 (Large), 8 (Huge), 10 (Gargantuan), to Base Toughness, to Armor value, to plus Size, to others.
    Cap Wounds inflicted - no matter the damage roll, certain targets cannot suffer more than X Wounds. Compartmentalization goes this route.


    Personally, I think it mostly works fine. The trick is maintaining the general balance of Savage Worlds - the number ranges are really tight, and a +1 can make a huge difference.
    Going back to Savage Rifts, the heavy rail gun (average 28.4, AP 18), medium and heavy missiles (average 33.6, AP 15 and 42.0, AP 20), and boom gun (average 34.4, AP 25) are all designed to one-shot the setting equivalent of tanks - on anything less impressive than a Coalition Death's Head Transport (Toughness 52 (30)), all of those are overkill.
    In the Sci-Fi Companion, things are a lot more obvious and easier to keep balanced. As powerful as the weapons are, they are generally less over powering for their availability. So, it will probably be less of a problem as long as you're paying attention to it.

    Will you still experience it? Yes, because Savage Worlds is designed with the idea that anything you can roll damage against can be one-shot killed at any time. That reality is how Savage Worlds maintains tension and dramatic weight in every combat - as in reality, any damaging attack can kill any character.
    I'm a big fan of that.
    I hope you find the above post useful. And not insulting, because I was trying to be helpful, not insulting; being a pedantic jerk, that isn't always clear.

    Comment


    • #3
      I'm just spitballing a new idea here, so the details would need to be ironed out.

      You could treat each limb (or maybe each subsystem) of the mecha as a separate unit, each with three wounds. The mech only "goes down" if three of the individual components gets destroyed. This effectively gives the mech 9 wounds, but each busted component bestows an appropriate Hindrance.

      So, assuming an anthropomorphic mech, with two legs, two arms, a torso and head... if an arm takes three wounds, it is destroyed and the mech now has the One Arm Hindrance. Then if the head get jacked up, sensors might go offline, imparting a -2 penalty to all actions. If the mech takes just 3 more wounds it is down for good.

      This might solve the issue of mechs getting destroyed too easily, but it will drag out battles. Which incidentally might be a good representation of the epic 1-on-1 robot battles popular in manga.

      Comment


      • #4
        I'm not worried about the 1 Shot thing happening occasionally, it's more the concern that with the possible wounds that can be dealt with the big guns of Mecha and Vehicles you can't possibly hope to soak it. That's what happened with our Glitter Boy, got a Medium Missiles launched at him and he would have taken so much damage that there was no hope of soaking it and so far this was the ONLY time he'd ever even been threatened with a wound. I like how the Savage Worlds Wounds System works in lower damage scales it simply doesn't seem to be built to handle the rolling of 4d10 in Damage.

        Comment


        • #5
          Another way is changing how the soak roll is resolved.

          Success: Soak one wound, may not receive more than 3 wounds.
          Raise: Soak 2 wounds, may not receive more than 2 wounds
          Two or more raises: Soak 3+ wounds, may not receive more than 1 wound.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by PedroSteckecilo View Post
            I'm not worried about the 1 Shot thing happening occasionally, it's more the concern that with the possible wounds that can be dealt with the big guns of Mecha and Vehicles you can't possibly hope to soak it.
            Ah! The new Flash Gordon setting has a Setting Rule for this problem - the Wound Cap. Wild Cards cannot take more than four wounds from a single attack - deal 128 damage to the Glitter Boy, he still only has to deal with 4 wounds, not the 24 that were rolled.
            You'll need to tweak it, but it was the rule I was most thinking of when I talked about setting rules that cap wounds.

            dentris brings up a suggested Setting Rule I first encountered from Zadmar - though his version is less generous than the original.
            Better Soaking
            Failure, nothing happens. Success, eliminate one wound. Raise, eliminate two wounds or all but one wound (if more than two wounds). Two raises, eliminate all wounds.
            Purpose: Increase survivability against freakishly high damage rolls, without invalidating more normal damage results.
            Notes: Quickly becomes broken in campaigns where characters can reliably have a +4 or more to Soak rolls. Supers is a prime example, but you'd encounter similar problems in something like Savage Rifts or some sci-fi settings.

            Edit: Suggested setting rule.
            Robots Are Tough
            When rolling Soak for walkers, the Ace pilot gets improved results. With a Raise, she eliminates the better of: two wounds or all but one wound. With two raises, the pilot has completely negated the attack and kept her walker unharmed.
            -Note that this still requires the Ace edge and spending a benny. Fights can get really deadly once the players run out of bennies.
            Good luck! There are a lot of options to deal with your concern, so think about which ones you're most comfortable with, and feel free to ask for more input.
            Last edited by ValhallaGH; 01-24-2018, 05:17 PM.
            I hope you find the above post useful. And not insulting, because I was trying to be helpful, not insulting; being a pedantic jerk, that isn't always clear.

            Comment


            • dentris
              dentris commented
              Editing a comment
              I've been playing the new Torg RPG, which has a similar system to this Better Soaking proposed rule and as I player, I find it extremely frustrating that no matter how good my damage roll is, a moderatly good soak roll will completly negate my efforts.

              I didn't remember Zadmar already had proposed such a rule, so my apologies for not having given proper credits. However, I still believe a soaking roll shouldn't negate all the wounds unless the roll is just as good as the damage roll, thus the one wound limit at two raises. It also prevents Very Lucky Supers with d12+8 Vigor and Elan from soaking everything you can throw at them.

            • ValhallaGH
              ValhallaGH commented
              Editing a comment
              All fair points - I've had that same frustration. And I suspected this was a case of parallel development - which is why I mentioned when I first encountered it, because I'm just stealing from a smart guy.
              But if the OP only uses it for Ace-based Soak rolls then it is capped by the Driving / Piloting skill. There can still have problems if allowed cybernetic increase the skill (Skill Chips are cheap and can give +4 die types), but remove those and it should work really well for giant robots beating each other up.
              Also, Soak rolls do require a benny, which can be better spent to reroll and attack roll, or reroll damage with either No Mercy or (my recommendation) the Blood & Guts setting rule.
              Last edited by ValhallaGH; 01-24-2018, 05:18 PM.

            • dentris
              dentris commented
              Editing a comment
              Yeah. I think Rifts and the SPC is distorting my perception of what normal characters are supposed to achieve. I should go back to GMing Rippers to restore my perception a bit.

          • #7
            I think what I'm going to go for is that anything with Heavy Armor requires 8 Damage instead of 4 to cause a Wound. That should make Mecha, Tanks and heavy vehicles suitably tough in comparison to the damage dealt by their weapons.

            Comment


            • #8
              Originally posted by PedroSteckecilo View Post
              I think what I'm going to go for is that anything with Heavy Armor requires 8 Damage instead of 4 to cause a Wound. That should make Mecha, Tanks and heavy vehicles suitably tough in comparison to the damage dealt by their weapons.
              Okay. May be a bit confusing for a while, so pay a lot of attention to how the players apply damage.
              This will affect Power Armor and many kinds or Robots as well.

              Time to crunch some numbers and see if this will work. I'm pulling straight from the SFC, since you haven't indicated any alternative mechanics.
              Scout Walker - Toughness 26 (11), Size 6.
              Assault Walker - Toughness 33 (14), Size 8.
              Heavy Walker - Toughness 42 (20), Size 10.

              Now, looking at the weapons.
              Walker Punch: Damage Str. Average 11.1, 13.1, or 15.1 damage.
              Walker Close Combat Weapon: Damage Str+2d10, AP Size. Average 23.3, AP 6; 25.3, AP 8; 27.3, AP 10 damage.
              (Scout) Heavy Missiles: Damage 8d6, AP 15. Average 33.6 damage.
              (Scout) dual-linked Heavy Lasers: Damage 4d10+2, AP 15. Average 26.4 damage.
              (Assault) dual-linked Heavy Auto-Cannon: Damage 4d8+2, AP 8. Average 22.4 damage.
              (Assault) dual-linked Rail Gun 4: Damage 4d12+2. Average 30.4 damage.
              (Assault) Light Missile: Damage 6d6, AP 8. Average 25.2 damage.
              (Assault) Heavy Missile: Damage 8d6, AP 15. Average 33.6 damage.
              (Heavy) dual-linked Heavy Cannons: Damage 5d10+2, AP 30. Average 32.5 damage.
              (Heavy) dual-linked Medium Lasers: Damage 3d10+2, AP 10. Average 20.3 damage.
              (Heavy) Heavy Missile: Damage 8d6, AP 15. Average 33.6 damage.

              How effective are those under the original rules? (results for Scout / Assault / Heavy)
              So, punches do nothing.
              S-CCW deals 1 Wound, nothing, nothing. A-CCW deals 1 Wound, Shaken, nothing. H-CCW deals 2 Wounds, 1 Wound, nothing.
              Heavy missiles deal 4 Wounds, 3 Wounds, 1 Wounds.
              dual Heavy lasers deal 2 Wounds, 1 Wounds, 0 Wounds.
              dual Auto-cannons deal 1 Wounds, 0 Wounds, 0 Wounds.
              dual Rail guns deal 1 Wounds, 0 Wounds, 0 Wounds.
              Light missiles deal 1 Wounds, Shaken, 0 Wounds.
              dual Heavy Cannons deal 4 Wounds, 3 Wounds, 2 Wounds.
              dual Medium lasers deal 1 Wounds, 0 Wounds, 0 Wounds.

              Requiring eight per Wound, average results.
              So, punches do nothing.
              S-CCW deals Shaken, nothing, nothing. A-CCW deals Shaken, Shaken, nothing. H-CCW deals 1 Wounds, Shaken, nothing.
              Heavy missiles deal 2 Wounds, 1 Wounds, Shaken.
              dual Heavy lasers deal 1 Wounds, Shaken, 0 Wounds.
              dual Auto-cannons deal Shaken, 0 Wounds, 0 Wounds.
              dual Rail guns deal Shaken, 0 Wounds, 0 Wounds.
              Light missiles deal Shaken, Shaken, 0 Wounds.
              dual Heavy Cannons deal 2 Wounds, 1 Wounds, 1 Wounds.
              dual Medium lasers deal Shaken, 0 Wounds, 0 Wounds.

              Under this proposal, any weapon lighter than Heavy is basically useless against walkers. Which might be what you want.
              I hope you find the above post useful. And not insulting, because I was trying to be helpful, not insulting; being a pedantic jerk, that isn't always clear.

              Comment


              • #9
                Thanks for that number crunching... the "base model" I was going to use was based off of the Ultimax in Rifts. I gave it 20 Toughness (15 Innate, 5 Armour) so it's a little weaker than the Scout Walker (which is actually bigger than I was planning to go for).

                Comment


                • #10
                  Oh, you're making something equivalent to the Anti-Infantry or Stealth walkers your baseline!
                  The Scout is the same size, just up-armored (3 mods of Armor, maximum for the chassis is 6 mods).

                  Requiring eight per Wound, average results.
                  So, punches do nothing.
                  S-CCW deals 1 Wound. A-CCW deals 1 Wound. H-CCW deals 1 Wound.
                  Heavy missiles deal 2 Wounds.
                  dual Heavy lasers deal 1 Wound.
                  dual Auto-cannons deal Shaken - one point away from a single wound.
                  dual Rail guns deal 1 Wound.
                  Light missiles deal 1 Wound.
                  dual Heavy Cannons deal 2 Wounds.
                  dual Medium lasers deal Shaken.
                  I hope you find the above post useful. And not insulting, because I was trying to be helpful, not insulting; being a pedantic jerk, that isn't always clear.

                  Comment


                  • #11
                    According to your math I actually shouldn’t have too many problems with the base system... as long as I don’t let the PCs go too wild with weapon linking... which I won’t as I was planning to tailor the weapons list.

                    Comment


                    • #12
                      With Toughness 20 (5), walkers are going to be moderately tough.
                      Most vehicular weapons have enough AP to ignore the armor, so they get applied to the base Toughness - 15 - and calculate from there.
                      The nice thing about Acing average damage is that it actually accounts for Acing, and generally ends up a touch higher than the median. I should note that the No Mercy edge or Blood & Guts setting rule can shift that up quite a bit.

                      Auto Cannons average 14.2 / 15.3 / 20.4 damage.
                      Cannons average 18.3 / 24.4 / 30.5 / 36.6 damage.
                      Flamethrower averages 21.3 damage but no AP.
                      The grenade launcher averages 12.6 damage but no AP.
                      Laser average 12.2 / 18.3 / 24.4 / 36.6 / 48.8 / 61.0 damage.
                      Mass Drivers average 14.2 damage per Mod slot, but have no AP.
                      Missiles average 25.2 / 33.6 damage.
                      Particle Accelerators average 17.3 / 22.4 / 32.6 damage.
                      Miniguns average 14.3 damage but only AP 3.
                      Heavy MG average 12.2 damage at AP 4.

                      So, medium and heavy auto-cannons are threats but not too serious. Cannons of any size are dangerous. Flame weapons are troublesome but not too bad. Grenade launchers are no real threat. Medium or heavier lasers are a real threat, but light lasers are mostly negligible. Mass drivers are only a threat at level 4 or bigger. Missiles are dangerous, period. Particle accelerators are dangerous at all levels. Slugthrowers are about as mean as light auto-cannons - they can be a threat to walkers but that requires extreme luck or skill.
                      I hope you find the above post useful. And not insulting, because I was trying to be helpful, not insulting; being a pedantic jerk, that isn't always clear.

                      Comment


                      • #13
                        Posted in another thread, but this is how I've dealt with the problem:
                        .
                        Firstly I changed how AoE weapons work to: 'When you make an AoE attack, place the template; then make a roll to hit using [skill] and compare that roll to the TN to hit everyone under the template. Roll damage once and apply it to everything you hit.'
                        This removes a lot of weird rule interactions with area effect weapons, unifies the shooting mechanics, and is much quicker to resolve.

                        If you toss a grenade, Juicers are harder to hit than Coalition Grunts (they leap out of the AoE/ into cover). Creatures in cover are less likely to be hit than creatures not in cover. Range makes it more likely your grenade or missile misses everything etc.
                        Secondly I converted auto-fire (ROF 2+) to one roll resolution as well, and god rid of ROF entirely. A 'short burst' is a SBT (or a single target attack dealing +1d6 damage if it hits), -2 Auto-fire penalty, uses 5 rounds. A 'long burst' is a MBT (or a SBT dealing +1d6 damage, or a single target attack dealing +1d10 damage) -2 auto-fire penalty, uses 25 rounds.

                        I removed 3RB, Rapid attack, and Wild attack as options.

                        This speeds up auto-fire attack resolution, is much quicker to resolve, is a unified mechanic, and makes automatic weapons less of an automatic go to as rocket tag weapons.
                        Thirdly, I added an extra wound level past incapacitated (dead/ pink mist), and you stop counting wounds once you hit this level.

                        You have 3 wounds + incapacitated (4th wound) = dead (5th wound). Vehicles also have a 5th wound (destroyed/ slag). Effectively you have a 5 wound 'damage track'.

                        For example, if you're at 2 wounds, and you take a hit for 7 more wounds, you only take 3 wounds (enough to bring you to 5 wounds and instantly kill you) - the extra 4 wounds are disregarded. From there on you make your Soak roll (presuming you have a spare Bennie). On a success you take only 2 wounds and are 'only' incapacitated, on a raise you only take 1 wound and are at 3 wounds, and two raises negates all the damage entirely.

                        This works really well in Savage Rifts because if a PC is 'pink misted' or reduced to their 5th wound, they can choose to go out in a 'Blaze of Glory,' or take their chances on the 'Death and Defeat' chart (two setting rules for Savage Rifts that make death a lot less likely to happen, and that give the player narrative control when it does).

                        I also use the rule that wound on a Vehicle is not a wound unless its a chassis hit on the critical hit chart (or the critical hit is otherwise not applicable). This keeps Robot vehicles in the battle a bit longer as well.

                        You could just use a rule like Flash Gordons 'Wound Cap' rule or that no single attack can inflict more than 4 wounds. This doesn't help you with high ROF weapons though like rail guns in Core savage rifts.
                        Last edited by Malifice; 05-15-2018, 07:23 AM.

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                        • #14
                          I always hated the scaling rules for the reasons listed here. When you're rolling an arbitrary number of dice the damage becomes wildly unpredictable and it takes forever to actually calculate a damage roll. 10d10 damage? No thanks. Solution? Re-skin regular combat rules, and tweak the combat options.

                          The combat rules for characters are one of the most robust parts of Savage Worlds. An 'average' Mech would have base Toughness 5, and a Mech 'Arm Cannon' deals 2d6 damage. A Battle Mech has high Strength and Vigor; a Scout Mech has high Agility, perhaps even the Fleet-Footed Edge. If you want interaction between orders of magnitude (like a Mech shooting a character), then roll and double/halve the damage and AP. It's not perfect, but it's much faster, players will catch on real quick, and all the parts are already there - Edges, Skills, Gear, Rules.

                          Comment


                          • #15
                            Originally posted by Snoffle Frog View Post
                            I always hated the scaling rules for the reasons listed here. When you're rolling an arbitrary number of dice the damage becomes wildly unpredictable and it takes forever to actually calculate a damage roll. 10d10 damage? No thanks. Solution? Re-skin regular combat rules, and tweak the combat options.

                            The combat rules for characters are one of the most robust parts of Savage Worlds. An 'average' Mech would have base Toughness 5, and a Mech 'Arm Cannon' deals 2d6 damage. A Battle Mech has high Strength and Vigor; a Scout Mech has high Agility, perhaps even the Fleet-Footed Edge. If you want interaction between orders of magnitude (like a Mech shooting a character), then roll and double/halve the damage and AP. It's not perfect, but it's much faster, players will catch on real quick, and all the parts are already there - Edges, Skills, Gear, Rules.
                            WEG's D6 system handled this rather elegantly with dice cut offs at different scales.

                            But yeah. a system where by at certain scales you need A) A Heavy Weapon and B) Damage is halved even if you have one, would work well.

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