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Alternate damage system


Doctor_Rob

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I'm currently trying to devise a damage system for brp which is less deadly to the PCs, but simple to use.

Here's an example I came across somewhere. This was based on comparing the amount of damage done by any single hit to the character's total undamaged hit-ponts; the proportion dictated the degree of damage (e.g. less than 25% = light wound, 25 to 75% = injured, 75 to 100% = critical, 100+ = dying; each damage level has its own consequences).

The nice thing about this system is that it only becomes deadly when a PC takes a big hit in any one go, and this tends to be quite rare in my game, whereas with ablative damage, a modest hit can be fatal to a an already moderately injured PC. (But, the downside of this rules variation is that when used for monsters with a fair number of hit ponts, they become very difficult to take out).

Basically, I don't like killing-off characters too readily. If you use home rules for damage, I'd be inerested to know how they work...?

Cheers,

Rob

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I give only half the usual HPs (yes, half). But let 'em stay alive until -CON. (Basically, Zero HP is the 'Major Wound Level).

This has three effects:

(1) PCs are more nervous of losing HPs and try even harder to protect themselves.

(2) Although running away on half-HP (or even less) may be seen as cowardly, it is perfectly acceptable if you're on zero/negative. So foolish heroics are minimized. (And falling down unconscious below -CON/2 also helps).

(3) Although they feel more vulnerable and as though they have less, characters effectively have about 50% more HPs.

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Thanks for your suggestions - much appreciated.

A problem I face with modern or futuristic games is the ready (ish) availability of weapons that have a full-auto capability. Multiple hits are really deadly, which, although I presume does reflect reality, can be a show-stopper for a game where the baddies have such weapons. This is what got me thinking about a damage category system which does not use ablative HPs.

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We use only the options suggested in BRP, mainly "Total Hit Points" and "Fate Points" and find that it is really not that deadly. We even use "Hit Locations". Using Total Hit Points effectively allows you to have double hit points in each location and multiple hits "tend" to hit different locations, so loss of the use of a limb is less likely. That coupled with the use of Fate Points to get out of a sticky situation make only having 24 to 28 hit points on average, not as deadly as would appear.

We play pretty regularly, and have for the better part of the last 5 years, playing at least once a month, usually twice, and we have lost only two characters in that time. One was swallowed whole by a "purple worm" in our Classic Fantasy campaign. In that case, it didn't really matter how many hit points the poor guy had (Calen you shall be remembered). The other a modern investigator who was separated from the rest of the party while on the Moors of England and was torn to shreds by a Barhest. This was during our yearly Halloween campaign. Both the same player too, hmm.

The funny thing is, our most high tech campaign, that of Fallout, a post apocalyptic setting with everything from heavy machine guns to lasers, has had no party kills, and it's going on more than two years. But the player mentioned above, that lost two characters in my campaigns, has managed to shoot my character in the back while in melee on at least 5 different occasions, in two different campaigns. Again, hmm.

We find that it looks much more deadly on paper.

Rod

PS - During the playtest of BRP, we also ran a BRP conversion of Star Frontiers, another high tech setting and no party kills.

Edited by threedeesix

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My standard advice for running BRP with PC's that are less fragile than standard:

  • THP=SIZ+CON for PC's and Major NPC adversaries
  • Use THP only, no Hit Locations
  • Consider using "mook" rules if the desired style is highly cinematic.
  • Look at using the Fate Point option.
  • Look at adjusting the Fatal Wound rules (pg 209) so characters reduced to 0 or negative THP are not instantly daed but e.g. are losing THP at 1 per round until -CON before irreversible death
  • Adjust melee damage bonus to be a single die of increasing size (so the progression becomes 1d2, 1d3, 1d4, 1d5, 1d6, 1d8, 1d10, 1d12).

cheers,

Nick

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Heh - I've had a similar experience over the last two years of campaign playing weekly. Two characters have died - both the same player. The first one was a spectacular chariot crash followed by a trample of horses (ouch!) and the second time the player didn't actually die, but was mauled so badly in the head by a panther he was effectively maimed (which we treated as a coma). We also play with hit locations, but we only play with normal HP. Now, keep in mind out party has magic healing available - if we didn't have that there would be more casualties, for sure.

But this new way of handling damage sounds interesting - what are the effects of the various wound levels? What if your opponents can only cause damage of, say, 5-8pts, but the character has 17 total HP? Will the character ever die?

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I'm currently trying to devise a damage system for brp which is less deadly to the PCs, but simple to use.

Here's an example I came across somewhere. This was based on comparing the amount of damage done by any single hit to the character's total undamaged hit-ponts; the proportion dictated the degree of damage (e.g. less than 25% = light wound, 25 to 75% = injured, 75 to 100% = critical, 100+ = dying; each damage level has its own consequences).

The nice thing about this system is that it only becomes deadly when a PC takes a big hit in any one go, and this tends to be quite rare in my game, whereas with ablative damage, a modest hit can be fatal to a an already moderately injured PC. (But, the downside of this rules variation is that when used for monsters with a fair number of hit ponts, they become very difficult to take out).

Basically, I don't like killing-off characters too readily. If you use home rules for damage, I'd be inerested to know how they work...?

Cheers,

Rob

There is something along these lines in the DL section that I did a few years back (before BRP was out). I'd suggest replacing the modifiers with Easy--Normal--Difficult, but it might be worth a look.

Chaos stalks my world, but she's a big girl and can take of herself.

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