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Hi, is it just me or is damage bonus a tad high in the BRP family? Given that the average STR and SIZ for humans is just 1 point away from db it means almost everyone has it and it makes it a bit meaningless IMO. It also makes every fight exceedingly deadly.  I think it became a problem when human SIZ went from 3D6 to 2D6+6. Any thoughts on this?

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Wait until you meet trolls, giants or dragons with buckets of D6s as damage bonuses.

A +1D4 or +1D6 Damage Bonus really is nothing. Against someone with armour, you might do damage or might not. If they parry, then you rarely do damage.

Magic has far more effect than Damage Bonus for normal humans.

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13 hours ago, ORtrail said:

I'd prefer a more gradual increase in damage bonus, as adding a 1D6 is a big leap.  Going from say a 1D8 to a 1D10 then up to 2D6 for example, so you'd have smaller but more frequent damage bonus increases. 

I agree. I would start it at 1D2 instead of 1D4, then D6, D8, D10 etc. 

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1 hour ago, soltakss said:

Wait until you meet trolls, giants or dragons with buckets of D6s as damage bonuses.

A +1D4 or +1D6 Damage Bonus really is nothing. Against someone with armour, you might do damage or might not. If they parry, then you rarely do damage.

Magic has far more effect than Damage Bonus for normal humans.

Well that’s kind of my point, giants, trolls and dragons are huge creatures who should do much more damage than humans. But 1D4 adds up to 50% more damage to most one handed melee weapons, so that an average blow from a broadsword (4,5+1+2,5=8 hp) will sever a 4 hp arm. That doesn’t sound right to me. 

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In practice, people normally have some kind of armour.

Having played someone without a damage bonus and someone with a damage bonus, we much preferred with a damage bonus. If we had spare capacity for STR that gave the chance of a damage bonus in future we generally tried to train up STR to get that damage bonus.

If not, we cast Strength to boost STR to get the damage bonus.

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2 hours ago, soltakss said:

In practice, people normally have some kind of armour.

Having played someone without a damage bonus and someone with a damage bonus, we much preferred with a damage bonus. If we had spare capacity for STR that gave the chance of a damage bonus in future we generally tried to train up STR to get that damage bonus.

If not, we cast Strength to boost STR to get the damage bonus.

Yes, under those conditions everyone is forced to wear armour or get truncated.  It’s that level of damage inflation I have a problem with. But you don’t, and that’s fine.

Of course we all prefer for our characters to have db, I just don’t think it should be so commonplace. I like it better in RQ 1 and 2 where human SIZ was 3D6 and it was just a little harder to get. Actually, I think this is the core of the problem. The 2D6+6 SIZ also creates that weird discrepancy between STR and SIZ, where a regular human is weak relative to size. I’m guessing they introduced this change to avoid unrealistically small characters, but I think they broke the system a little bit and it could have been done better. I wonder if that was the reasoning or if it was something else. 

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1 hour ago, Barak Shathur said:

Yes, under those conditions everyone is forced to wear armour or get truncated.  It’s that level of damage inflation I have a problem with. But you don’t, and that’s fine.

The thing with the damage bonus is that it jumps in d6 increments. Now each d6 does represent a 400% increase in force, so it's not too unrealistic, especially as animals and monsters in BRP tend to be much stronger than humans. A bear really does have several times the strength and size of a man, and so can really rip someone apart with a swipe from a claw. But...

...in real life animals don't always attack with their full strength. That is usually overkill, ans either wastes energy, or is counterproductive to what the animal was trying to do. For instance, if hunting a predator generally wants to take down prey with the east amount of effort so that it can gain more food that it expends in the hunt. Likewise if an animal just wants to drive off another animal, it might not want to commit to a full force attack. 

 

1 hour ago, Barak Shathur said:

Of course we all prefer for our characters to have db, I just don’t think it should be so commonplace. I like it better in RQ 1 and 2 where human SIZ was 3D6 and it was just a little harder to get. Actually, I think this is the core of the problem.

It is part of it. Generally the average character's damage when from unmodified to a 50% chance of +1d4. A more gradual, smoother db progression, that started at say, +1d2, and then stepped up the die every 5 or 6 points would be similar to the official progression, but probably work a bit better. 

There is also a bit of a problem with using multiple d6s. Thanks to the bell curve the db becomes less variable than it probably should be. Stepping up the die size could help with that, too. Something like 3d10s as opposed to 5d6.

1 hour ago, Barak Shathur said:

The 2D6+6 SIZ also creates that weird discrepancy between STR and SIZ, where a regular human is weak relative to size. I’m guessing they introduced this change to avoid unrealistically small characters, but I think they broke the system a little bit and it could have been done better. I wonder if that was the reasoning or if it was something else. 

It was done not only to avoid unrealistically small characters, but to allow for animals and creatures that were smaller than humans. With 3d6 you only had SIZ 1 and 2 to work with if you wanted to stat up a dog, deer or cat.

Realistically most people are relatively weak compared to their size. Most men can't lift their own body weight. Also, thanks to something know as the cube-square law, in general, strength increases a a lower rate than mass does. This is why ants can lift or drag ten times their body weight (or more) while elephants cannot.

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4 hours ago, Atgxtg said:

It was done not only to avoid unrealistically small characters, but to allow for animals and creatures that were smaller than humans. With 3d6 you only had SIZ 1 and 2 to work with if you wanted to stat up a dog, deer or cat.

Realistically most people are relatively weak compared to their size. Most men can't lift their own body weight. Also, thanks to something know as the cube-square law, in general, strength increases a a lower rate than mass does. This is why ants can lift or drag ten times their body weight (or more) while elephants cannot.

The part about small animals makes sense, but they could have achieved it without bumping the SIZ stat. Maybe by setting 8 as a lowest minimum, with values under that rerolled or set at 8. Or they could have used e.g. 6D3. But I guess either of those would have gone too far beyond contemporary stating conventions. 

Interesting point about the cube-square thing! Still, in terms of "man as the measure of all things" and 11 as the measure of all men, having two stats jump out like that feels somehow arbitrary, a clumsy solution to a (maybe unecessary) problem.

Thanks for your input, that's definitely food for thought!

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I have STR requirements for all of the weapons in my game.  Light Weapons (a descriptor I use in my game) give a bonus of +1 for every 10 full points of surplus STR the wielder has.  Heavy Weapons (another descriptor I use) do +1 to damage for every 5 points of surplus STR the wielder has.  I add +1 to the wielder's base STR score for every 10 points of SIZ over 10 that the wielder has.  My damage chart runs like this...

+1

+1D2

+1D3

+1D4

+1D6 (yes, I skip 1D5 because you have hit very large creatures at this level).

+1D8

+1D10

+1D12

and so on...

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Barak, I will hypothesise... since I dunno what is the real problem you have in game.. But it might be a little like me.. Since I only really GM a D100 game only recently... But I was always keen because HP don't change and are not too high! (though I am still contemplating every now and then use the CON+SIZE option instead of (CON+SIZ)/2 for HP)

On one hand it's not very unrealistic (in fact it is realistic!) to die to 1 or 2 sword stroke.. (though it is definitely unrealistic to die, on average, from 3 punches), on the other hand it's. somewhat uncomfortable to kill the player characters almost on a whim and rather quickly... so if this is what annoys you, this is how I am slowly getting ok with it:

- 1: Luck points, very important, lot of ways to die quickly and nastily in BRP. And maybe damage are a tad much sometimes. But hey, that why you use luck point to avoid the situation altogether! Use CoC 7 rule for luck point, it's gud!

- 2: Another CoC 7: 0 HP or less doesn't necessary mean death!

- 3: finally (optional) location HP kind of give more life to a character.. though it is somewhat problematic with high damage / spell. undecided here...

Edited by Lloyd Dupont
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6 hours ago, Barak Shathur said:

The part about small animals makes sense, but they could have achieved it without bumping the SIZ stat. Maybe by setting 8 as a lowest minimum, with values under that rerolled or set at 8.

Well rerolling would be about the same as 2d6+6, and bumping 3-7 up to an 8 would mean that over 25% of characters would have been SIZ 8. Neither would seem to me to be a better solution. 

6 hours ago, Barak Shathur said:

Or they could have used e.g. 6D3. But I guess either of those would have gone too far beyond contemporary stating conventions. 

Or 2d6+3, or even 2d8+2, which wouldn't have. But, 2d6+6 also allowed them to use a SIZ to mass formula that help up with human and animal stats. 

 

6 hours ago, Barak Shathur said:

Interesting point about the cube-square thing!

I find it very helpful for statting up new cratures, and scienstists actually use it to estimate things like the mass and relative strength of extinct species. It's not exact, but it gives you a good ballpark figure. Since STR is tied to muscles, then a creature that weights more will tend to have more muscle mass and tend to be stronger. 

6 hours ago, Barak Shathur said:

 

Still, in terms of "man as the measure of all things" and 11 as the measure of all men, having two stats jump out like that feels somehow arbitrary, a clumsy solution to a (maybe unecessary) problem.

THat's just it, man ins't the measure of all things. In old D&D 3d6 for everything worked because the attributes were on a human scale. Animals and monsters didn't have STR, CON and SIZ scores, just AC hit dice and such. So any attribute was only compare to other humans, elves, dwarves, and other creatures on the same scale. 

In RQ, cretures, animals and monsters used the same attributes as humans, and  and the scale for attributes needed to reflect that. With RQ2 SIZ was better tied to mass (and weight) making it easier to rate things relative to each other. 

It is  actually less clumsy that the 3d6 for all things approach-which is why it was changed, but, IMO they should have adjusted the damage bonus forumal to refect the fact the average STR+SIZ total was now 23.5 instead of 21. 

6 hours ago, Barak Shathur said:

Thanks for your input, that's definitely food for thought!

Glad you liked it. Ultimately it probably isn't that big a deal. With most characters the extra damage tends to be offset by the slightly raised armor values at the high end, and the removal of the upper caps for battle magic. For big creatures/monsters the stats didn't change much, and the change in Attack bonus really helped by capping how much STR factored in. 

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9 hours ago, Lloyd Dupont said:

Barak, I will hypothesise... since I dunno what is the real problem you have in game.. But it might be a little like me.. Since I only really GM a D100 game only recently... But I was always keen because HP don't change and are not too high! (though I am still contemplating every now and then use the CON+SIZE option instead of (CON+SIZ)/2 for HP)

On one hand it's not very unrealistic (in fact it is realistic!) to die to 1 or 2 sword stroke.. (though it is definitely unrealistic to die, on average, from 3 punches), on the other hand it's. somewhat uncomfortable to kill the player characters almost on a whim and rather quickly... so if this is what annoys you, this is how I am slowly getting ok with it:

 

No, this is not my problem at all. I like that it is possible to die on a single sword stroke. But it should be from a maximally hard sword stroke if it is a onehanded sword wielded by a normal human, i.e. one that rolls the highest damage possible on the die, in this case 8 on a D8. With a damage bonus which increases the power of the sword with up to 50%, all it takes is a median roll on the D8, i.e. 4-5, to critically damage a 4 point limb such as the arm (4-5 on 1D8 plus 1 for a broadsword= 5 or 6 hp, plus 2 or 3 on 1D4 = 7 or 8 hp damage, about twice the hp of the arm which will lop it off). This means that about 50% of "normal" broadsword strokes will sever limbs and this seems unbalanced to me , and the argument that one could always wear armour put forth above is not satisfactory. Now if the 1D4 db was limited to very strong characters or monsters, then yes, it would make sense that a blow of but average force could sever the arm of a regular guy. This is my problem, the frequency of severed limbs (which is a common critique of RQ).

Edited by Barak Shathur
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5 hours ago, Atgxtg said:

THat's just it, man ins't the measure of all things. In old D&D 3d6 for everything worked because the attributes were on a human scale. Animals and monsters didn't have STR, CON and SIZ scores, just AC hit dice and such. So any attribute was only compare to other humans, elves, dwarves, and other creatures on the same scale. 

In RQ, cretures, animals and monsters used the same attributes as humans, and  and the scale for attributes needed to reflect that. With RQ2 SIZ was better tied to mass (and weight) making it easier to rate things relative to each other. 

It is  actually less clumsy that the 3d6 for all things approach-which is why it was changed, but, IMO they should have adjusted the damage bonus forumal to refect the fact the average STR+SIZ total was now 23.5 instead of 21. 

Ok, but in this case they weren't consistent, I wonder what a SIZ 2 dwarf or halfling would look like (SIZ 2D6 and 2D3, respectively). They should have one of their SIZ dies replaced by the max roll too, shouldn't they?

 This change, and nerfing the db, might just fix my issue with this game that I love so much.

EDIT: I realise I have started talking about RQ3 in terms of the dwarf or halfling SIZ, don't remember what it is in BRP)

Edited by Barak Shathur
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17 hours ago, Atgxtg said:

It is part of it. Generally the average character's damage when from unmodified to a 50% chance of +1d4. A more gradual, smoother db progression, that started at say, +1d2, and then stepped up the die every 5 or 6 points would be similar to the official progression, but probably work a bit better. .

That's how Mythras damage bonus works, with a 0 db between 21 and 25,  and a die that grows or decreases by 1 step every 5 points.

Base weapon damage have a tendency to be smaller, though, with daggers doing 1d4 instead of 1d4+2 and broadswords dealing 1d8 instead of 1d8+1.

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3 hours ago, Mugen said:

Base weapon damage have a tendency to be smaller, though, with daggers doing 1d4 instead of 1d4+2 and broadswords dealing 1d8 instead of 1d8+1.

because of the special effects which compensate this, AFAI.

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3 hours ago, Zit said:

because of the special effects which compensate this, AFAI.

I think it's unrelated, given the weapon damage values are a legacy of MRQ1, which didn't have special effects.

My guess is it was an attempt to make the game less deadly (hp per localisation was also higher), and perhaps to use values closer to D&D OGL.

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  • 1 year later...

BRP combat & damage bonus were intended to be a bit more like real-life combat than the cartoony combat style of other roleplaying games. The same goes for Pendragon, or any other of the mainstream Chaosium games. Sword fights or gun battles really are deadly. Armor works and you really do want to be wearing some. Like in real life, a serious fight against a normal human can be over very quickly, and you don't spend countless rounds whittling down your mundane, unarmored opponent. Mind you, that was the design philosophy back when I worked there, although I haven't followed the later editions too closely.

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On 3/23/2021 at 1:09 AM, Shams said:

BRP combat & damage bonus were intended to be a bit more like real-life combat than the cartoony combat style of other roleplaying games. The same goes for Pendragon, or any other of the mainstream Chaosium games. Sword fights or gun battles really are deadly. Armor works and you really do want to be wearing some. Like in real life, a serious fight against a normal human can be over very quickly, and you don't spend countless rounds whittling down your mundane, unarmored opponent. Mind you, that was the design philosophy back when I worked there, although I haven't followed the later editions too closely.

This is one of the qualities I love about the BRP systems. What I don't love is that arms and legs fly off a little to easily.  I solved it by simply halving the db die, it hits the sweet spot for me. Also the fact that combat lasts a little longer means that fatigue points come more into play. Thanks for sharing!

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1 hour ago, Barak Shathur said:

This is one of the qualities I love about the BRP systems. What I don't love is that arms and legs fly off a little to easily.  I solved it by simply halving the db die, it hits the sweet spot for me. Also the fact that combat lasts a little longer means that fatigue points come more into play.

But that is the great thing about BRP... if you don't like the RAW.. do some home ruling... graduate the DB (like in Mythras) .. change the way stats are rolled for PCs.. make sure people wear armour or make it cheaper.. make the damage with weapons less 

Fighting with weapons is deadly.. it may not always chop off bits but it certainly kills you

On 1/26/2020 at 1:15 AM, Lloyd Dupont said:

it is definitely unrealistic to die, on average, from 3 punches

Punches can come off general hit points.. and in general it should not kill.. home rule it so when people have zero hit points they are unconscious but recover the lost HPs quicker than they would from a weapon

 

I GM Mythras and CoC... play RQG and CoC.. combat is lethal and you don't enter into it unless you know you have an advantage (bigger, better, more armour, better spells, or  (and possibly the primary thing) you have a strategical and tactical advantage  ie there's two of you against the enemy

The important thing is that it works for you and above all it's fun.. there's really no point in doing things that aren't fun or else it's known as masochism 

 

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On 3/24/2021 at 3:07 PM, Barak Shathur said:

This is one of the qualities I love about the BRP systems. What I don't love is that arms and legs fly off a little to easily.  I solved it by simply halving the db die, it hits the sweet spot for me. Also the fact that combat lasts a little longer means that fatigue points come more into play. Thanks for sharing!

As for myself, I'd be in favor of having Hit Points that are essentially Fatigue/Morale Points, and the only noteworthy Wounds are the result of a StormBringer-like "Major Wound" rule, or continuing the fight with few or no Hit Points remaining.

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8 hours ago, Mugen said:

As for myself, I'd be in favor of having Hit Points that are essentially Fatigue/Morale Points, and the only noteworthy Wounds are the result of a StormBringer-like "Major Wound" rule, or continuing the fight with few or no Hit Points remaining.

I toyed with something like that. Inspired partially by Flashing Blades, I considered halving all weapon damaged and then doubling the dice per success level. A sword might do 1D4/2D4/4D4 or 1D6/2D6/4D6. That way a lot of hits would be minor strikes for minimal damage-especially if we added in another success level (marginal, half the success chance or higher). 

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While I do think that the DB might be a bit high, when you watch melee weapons against ballistic gel or other testing mediums, a full power blow by a trained male seem to take limbs off pretty easily (1 or 2 hits) without armor.  Forged in Fire comes to mind.  Also, this interesting document of sword injuries: https://hemamisfits.com/2020/04/02/very-perilous-a-sword-wounds-compendium-by-the-surgeon-ravaton/

-STS

Edited by sladethesniper
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16 hours ago, Atgxtg said:

Flashing Blades

I had to look that up and found you were referring to an RPG as opposed to where my thoughts went when I read it.. or in other words, the French 1960's TV programme Flashing Blades (Le Chevalier Tempête in the original) which involved a catchy song about 'fighting for what you want', jumping on horses to speed to some besieged castle, jumping on more horses and getting chased by the entire Spanish army while fencing with everyone. Great fun but probably not linked to Damage bonuses. For those that want to remember...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F5Sb9AoirSU&t=26s

16 hours ago, Atgxtg said:

I considered halving all weapon damaged and then doubling the dice per success level. A sword might do 1D4/2D4/4D4 or 1D6/2D6/4D6. That way a lot of hits would be minor strikes for minimal damage-especially if we added in another success level (marginal, half the success chance or higher). 

On a more serious note this might work well if you want to stop increasing the amount of one-limbed people who must inhabit most of the places that PCs move through with lethal intent but, it does make it more complicated and does it not take away from MGF? 

I have never run or played a combat heavy game since the early days of D&D and only briefly AD&D so perhaps it is not as important to me. Surely combat should carry a certain amount of risk? Otherwise the power balance shifts too much to the PCs?

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