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Has anyone tried something like this houserule?


MatteoN

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I decided to recycle this thread, which I'd opened to illustrate a houserule I realized was broken, using it to ask for opinions on another idea I'm pondering, related to hit points and damage.

I like how Stormbringer/Elric!/Magic World randomizes the damage absorption provided by armour, mirroring the randomized damage inflicted by weapons. How do you think gameplay would be affected by this major change: give each PC, NPC and creature the same fixed amount of hit points (let's say 10; 20 for "heroic" PCs and NPCs); and use the damage bonus table (substituting Constitution instead of Strength) to determine the damage soak bonus (or penalty) to be added to the armor die roll.

Edited by MatteoN
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And, while I'm at it, what if in case of a major wound (5+ HP for normal characters, 10+ for heroic characters) the attacker freely selected a location and the defender tried to make a Luck (?) roll in order to avoid the location being incapacitated/destroyed? (I'm not fond of MW's major wound table.)

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I like both ideas. In fact, they are extremely similar to what I am writing in the next and semi-final version of Parpuzio Game System. Maybe I'ill steal some details from you ;D

However, for the sake of simplicity, I would rather use the damage bonus "as is", no matter whether involving STR is realistic or not, and use CON alone to determine hit points.

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I like both ideas. In fact, they are extremely similar to what I am writing in the next and semi-final version of Parpuzio Game System. Maybe I'ill steal some details from you ;D

Go ahead! I'd be honored if you did! But...

However, for the sake of simplicity, I would rather use the damage bonus "as is", no matter whether involving STR is realistic or not, and use CON alone to determine hit points.

... I don't understand what you mean. My idea was to use Strength+Size in order to determine the damage bonus/penalty (as usual), and Constitution+Size in order to determine the damage soak bonus/penalty (HPs being a fixed amount).

Edited by MatteoN
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Sounds like it'll make combat more complicated for no apparent gain.

I like variable armour rolls, but they're an added dice roll, which you're going to add another modifier to..

Why go for fixed HP, what does it gain, you have a CON stat and a SIZ stat, why bother with a third?

Or to put it another way, what effect do you gain except for having some fun changing the rules?

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Why go for fixed HP, what does it gain, you have a CON stat and a SIZ stat, why bother with a third?

Why is damage soak a third stat and HPs are not?

Or to put it another way, what effect do you gain except for having some fun changing the rules?

Not sure. At least faster adjudication of major wounds (if the attack inflicts 5+ HPs, the wound is a major one) without additional die rolls (attack vs. parry, weapon+damage bonus vs. armor+damage soak, luck roll, instead of attack vs. parry, weapon+damage bonus vs. armor, roll on major wound table) and with damage location freely chosen by the attacker (being used to - and a little fed up with - Rolemaster's charts, I'm not particularly fond of MW's major wound table, but I'm not fond either of hit location tables, either in BRP or in GURPS).

However, what I'd like to know is how do you think this houserule would affect gameplay (especially as regards the level of deadliness of the combat system). So I guess your answer is "negatively"?

Edited by MatteoN
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I don't think that fixed HP makes major wounds any faster to adjucate. Are people really that bad at math that diving HP by two actually slows gameplay down?

If someone doesn't like the Major Wound table, they could always use the Pendragon method. In Pendragon a major wound incapacitates a character unless he makes valor and hit point rolls to stay up. Later on, if he survives, the character rolls on the aging table.

Using CON+SIZ to generate a modifier to soak wounds is interesting, but I think it might work better without any hit points. Instead of tracking HPs, the damage rolls could just determine the severity of wounds.

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

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Using CON+SIZ to generate a modifier to soak wounds is interesting, but I think it might work better without any hit points. Instead of tracking HPs, the damage rolls could just determine the severity of wounds.

I agree! However I think there might be a problem with spells that affect HPs and other such subsystems, that would prevent this alternative mechanics from being "plug and play" in BRP. Actually my starting idea was, similarly to what you wrote, about STR+SIZ and CON+SIZ being percentile stats/skills (modified by flat weapon and armor bonuses) that are rolled under when an attack is successful, and whose results are compared to determine the condition of the defender.

Edited by MatteoN
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I agree! However I think there might be a problem with spells that affect HPs and other such subsystems, that would prevent this alternative mechanics from being "plug and play" in BRP. Actually my starting idea was, similarly to what you wrote, about STR+SIZ and CON+SIZ being percentile stats/skills (modified by flat weapon and armor bonuses) that are rolled under when an attack is successful, and whose results are compared to determine the condition of the defender.

I think it will impact healing. Level the playing field for the big guys if you follow me.

Frito the halfling has 9 HP. He takes a 3 point wound and is at 1/3 HP. A lucky first aid roll and he is right as rain. Crozan the barbarian has 18 HP. He takes a 6 point wound and is at 1/3 HP. He's still wounded if he gets the same level of treatment. If both characters have a fixed HP, but the halfling "soaks" less with each blow bigger guys will heal up faster instead of the other way around.

I like the idea on the surface. It's similar to the Toughness bonus in Warhammer FRP 2nd edition in that it basically stacks with armor.

Edited by filbanto
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I agree! However I think there might be a problem with spells that affect HPs and other such subsystems, that would prevent this alternative mechanics from being "plug and play" in BRP. Actually my starting idea was, similarly to what you wrote, about STR+SIZ and CON+SIZ being percentile stats/skills (modified by flat weapon and armor bonuses) that are rolled under when an attack is successful, and whose results are compared to determine the condition of the defender.

Itmight be worth pursuing despite the risks. Pretty much every version of BRP tweaks the basic rules in some way here and there, and not every in the BGB is really compatible with everything else. . Chances are, if you look over the other subsystems, you can figure out what needs to be tweaked to make it work without HPs.

I was doing something along those lines with an idea I had to get rid of the damage rolls, relying on the attack rolls and a weapon modifier to get the damage.

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

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Just an idea: maybe in case of successful attack the attacker's (STR+SIZ)/2+WEAPON BONUS (or fixed WEAPON RATING in case of firearms etc.) might be compared to the defender's (CON+SIZ)/2+ARMOR BONUS on the resistance table.* Depending on the difference between the success levels previously scored by the attacker and the defender, a roll against the percentage shown on the table would determine:

[same success level] a MINOR WOUND if the roll is successful, or else a (harmless) SCRATCH;

[difference = 1] a MAJOR WOUND if the roll is successful, or else a (harmless) SCRATCH;

[difference = 2] a MAJOR WOUND if the roll is successful, or else a MINOR WOUND;

[difference = 3] a FATAL WOUND if the roll is successful, or else a MINOR WOUND;

[difference = 4] a FATAL WOUND if the roll is successful, or else a MAJOR WOUND.

When the defender is dealt a MINOR WOUND, ... (any suggestions for an appropriate, temporary penalty to the defender's combat efficiency?).

When the defender is dealt a MAJOR WOUND, the attacker targets a part of the body of the defender; if the defender fails a Luck roll, the body part is incapacitatated or destroyed, and the defender, if still alive, is unable to go on fighting; otherwise, the defender suffers a temporary penalty to their combat efficiency (see MINOR WOUND).

When the defender is dealt a FATAL WOUND, the attacker targets a part of the body of the defender, that is automatically incapacitated or destroyed, and the defender, if still alive, is unable to go on fighting.

* Over-the-top characters from comic books etc. might use a full base rating of STR+SIZ and CON+SIZ.

Edited by MatteoN
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Depending on what locations are targeted by attacks, this system looks like it might be quite deadly (even if you don't need to kill your opponent to take them out of the fight). I was thinking that perhaps a way to tone down the potential deadliness might be to equate a piece of armor to an automatically successful Luck roll. So, the Armor Bonus you add to your character (CON+SIZ)/2 is a single fixed number (perhaps the maximum random AP that can be generated by the armor die used in Stormbringer/Elric!/Magic World), but you also take note of what part(s) of your character's body each piece of armor protects. The first time in a fight that you receive a Major or Fatal Wound to a part that is protected by a piece of armor, the part doesn't get disabled/destroyed by the attack - but maybe the piece of armor has a chance to get shattered/displaced? (Luck roll? Or, roll under POW x the piece of armor's quality rating, rannging from 1 to 5... Remember, the idea is to get rid of Hit Points.)

Edited by MatteoN
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this system looks like it might be quite deadly

I haven't playtested it, and I'm not sure I understand it completely, but I was thinking the opposite--that it might be unbalancing and give an unfair edge to high SIZ, high CON characters. If the first 12 points of damage have no affect on you, you're not going to get hurt at all in many settings, no matter how many opponents attack you. A pack of hyenas would have no chance to take down a bull elephant by nipping it to death (feel free to substitute halflings/troll, superheros/Galactus, minions/boss, tribesmen/brontosaurus, etc.). That might be realistic, but it's kind of unsatisfying for game play.

One of the (very few) things I find unsatisfying about BRP is that smaller beings have almost no usefulness in physical combat because of the damage bonus table--unless your halflings are armed with naginatas, flintlocks, and blowguns. :)

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Hmm... I was misreading your system, but I think my comment still applies.

Average BRP Halfling: STR 7, SIZ 5, damage bonus 6 under your system

Average BRP Troll: CON 13, SIZ 26, damage soak 20 under your system, + 3 point skin

Even if he scores a critical hit and ignores the troll's armor, the halfling would need a weapon that causes 14 points of damage to do even a minor wound/harmless scratch.

In contrast, if the same halfling under standard BRP rules scored a critical with a longsword, he would do an average of 1 point of damage, and the troll would start bleeding 1 point per round. That wouldn't kill the troll right way, but if the halfling had five friends, it might give the troll pause.

Edited by Aelwyn
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I haven't playtested it, and I'm not sure I understand it completely

Neither do I! This is very much idle speculation at the moment.

The types of wound a successful attack deals depend on the difference between the attacker's and the defender's (attack and parry/dodge) rolls. For example, if the attacker scores a Special Success and the defender a Failure, the difference is such that the attack will deal either a Major Wound or a Minor Wound, regardless of the difference between the attacker's Damage Rating ((STR+SIZ)/2+Weapon Bonus) and the defender's Protection Rating ((CON+SIZ)/2+Armor Bonus). This difference comes into play just in order to determine the likelihood that the attack will deal the more harmful of the two types of Wound. In your example, the halfling, pitting his (active) DR=6 against the troll's (passive) PR=23 on the Resistance Table, will have a 1% chance (ruling out automatic successes and failures in the case of damage rolls) of inflicting a Major Wound to the troll with bare hands. Let's assume that the troll has an average (for a troll) POW 7 and that therefore his Luck roll is 35%: 1%*35%=0.35% is the chance that the halfling's barehanded attack will kill or otherwise incapacitate (player's call) the troll*. In the overwhelmingly more likely occurrence that the halfling's attack only deals a Minor Wound, this will still affect negatively the troll; I still haven't decided what exactly the penalty might be; perhaps the troll's next roll will be hard, so he will be less likely to hit effectively the halfling or, if the hye... the halfling has an ally, the troll will be less likely to defend himself effectively from the ally's attack. Now, even if there are 10 halfings attacking the troll, if all of them are barehanded, the troll is very likely to waste some of them before a) a halfling rolls a critical and B) the troll rolls a fumble, resulting in an automatic Major Wound, with a 65% chance to kill/incapacitate the troll.

* If the troll had worn armor, and the halfling had chosen an armored location for the Major Wound, 0,35% would have been the chance that the attack damaged or displaced the piece or armor worn by the troll in that location, subtracting its value from the troll's PR (I think the character's PR might be the sum of the PRs of all the pieces of armor worn by the character, with each piece probably having either 1 or 2 PR).

Edited by MatteoN
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I think you've got it backward--if the troll's Luck roll is 35%, the halfling's chance to kill him with one blow from his bare hands is 5%*65%=3.25%.

Which raises the question--

Do you really want a halfling to be able to kill a troll with one strike of his bare hands?

I'm not following the mechanics. That might be a clue that it's overly complicated. It sounds like there's a roll to hit, a roll to dodge/parry, a roll for random weapon damage, a roll for random armor, a roll on the resistance table comparing damage rating to damage soak, and a Luck roll to see if the target avoids the consequences that were just rolled. That's a lot of dice rolls for what is essentially 2 actions--an attack and a parry. My apologies if I've misinterpreted the mechanic.

But I do have a suggestion if you want to make this a little more playable and realistic, and a little less deadly: make more levels of minor wounds, and include a provision that someone can die from some number (4?) of minor wounds as well as from 1 fatal wound.

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I think you've got it backward--if the troll's Luck roll is 35%, the halfling's chance to kill him with one blow from his bare hands is 5%*65%=3.25%.

I was wrong, the actual chance is 1%*35%=0.35%

I'm not following the mechanics. That might be a clue that it's overly complicated. It sounds like there's a roll to hit, a roll to dodge/parry, a roll for random weapon damage, a roll for random armor, a roll on the resistance table comparing damage rating to damage soak, and a Luck roll to see if the target avoids the consequences that were just rolled. That's a lot of dice rolls for what is essentially 2 actions--an attack and a parry. My apologies if I've misinterpreted the mechanic.

There are 3 or 4 rolls: an attack roll, a defense roll, a roll on the Resistance Table (made by the attacker) and possibly a Luck roll (made by the defender). They're all percentile rolls. Both the Weapon Bonus and the Armor Bonus are fixed numbers (the starting idea of a protection roll "mirroring" the damage roll is totally unrelated to this here idea of pitting the attacker's Damage Rating to the defender's Protection Rating on the Resistance Table - sorry for the confusion).

But I do have a suggestion if you want to make this a little more playable and realistic, and a little less deadly: make more levels of minor wounds, and include a provision that someone can die from some number (4?) of minor wounds as well as from 1 fatal wound.

This idea of pitting the attacker's fixed DR against the defender's fixed PR on the Resistance Table stemmed from Atgxtg's suggestion that I do without Hit Points, so I prefer to treat each Minor Wound as a one-time penalty that affect the wounded character's chance to attack or defend (and so might increase their enemies chance to kill/incapacitate them), without the need to have an expendable resource like Hit Points/Minor Wounds.

EDIT: in short, the resource management aspect of a fight changes from being centered around hit points, to being centered around skills: wounding an adversary you lower their chance to defend effectively against a further attack, or to attack you effectively. However, if you are fighting alone against a stronger and better armed adversary, you'd better take advantage of the penalty inflicted to your enemy to grab a better weapon or flee from the fight!

Edited by MatteoN
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Which raises the question--

Do you really want a halfling to be able to kill a troll with one strike of his bare hands?

If the halfling is strong enough then yes.

In BRP, most halflings won't have a damage bonus, or will have a negative damage bonus, so a fist (1D3) or a kick (1D6) would not bring down a troll even on a critical hit. A strong halfling and a weedy troll, maybe. Give a halfling a broadsword and it can do 9 points of damage, probably enough to bring down a troll with a single blow. Add magic and it is possible.

Using your system, the chance goes down a bit more, I think.

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Using your system, the chance goes down a bit more, I think.

Yes, probably. I should simulate fights with the same opponents and the same (attack and defense) die rolls in the two systems.

Do you see any glaring errors or undesirable side-effects?

Edited by MatteoN
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This is nearly the same damage system as the one used in Usagi Yojimbo RPG.

In that RPG the difference between the damage and soak determines how many wounds a character takes from an attack.

In UY differences between the attack/parry, gifts and weapon traits can up the damage before comparison.

Some suggestions:

1) You could simplify the Injury Table, and use success levels for the LUCK roll.Each level of success on the LUCK roll would bump the injury down a degree in severity. A fumbled LUCK roll would make the injury one level worse.

The revised Injury Table would look something like this:

Damage-Soak/Result

-1 or lower = No Injury

0 = Scratch

+1 = Minor Wound

+2 = Major Wound

+3 = Incapacitated (alive but unconscious-needs first aid to revise or wakes up after some time)

+4 = Mortal Wound (eventually fatal injury. Character needs successful first aid within 2 minutes to stabilize or he dies.)

+5* = Killed

2) Another idea-instead of the Luck roll reducing the damage, how about the luck roll can be used to replace a soak roll? That way you don't need two damage results per success level. Characters can try for Luck when they get a horrible soak roll. When they get a good soak roll, they won't be able to use LUCK to avoid damage completely.

3) If the LUCK points option is going to be used, then maybe characters can spend LUCK points to reduce the Wound Level one step.

4) Perhaps when a character gets injured he must make some sort of roll or have his own action delayed (say 3 SR or 5 DEX ranks), or possibly lost.>

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

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Much food for thought!

I'm not sure 1) would be a semplification. Let's see: my idea was to compare the attacker's level of success and the defender's level of success in oder to determine the two possible outcomes of a third roll, made by the attacker against the number shown on the resistance table at the intersection of the attacker's Damage Rating (=(STR+SIZ)/2+Weapon Bonus) with the defender's Protection Rating (=(CON+SIZ)/2+Armor Bonus).

If I am not mistaken, your idea is to subtract the defender's Protection Rating from the attacker's Damage Rating in order to determine a "default" injury level. Then the defender's Luck roll would modify the injury level. A problem I see with this is that the success levels of the attack and defense roll don't affect the level of the injury produced by the attack. You should perhaps use the difference between those rolls to modify the "default" injury level instead of the Luck roll? (Perhaps as the Usagi Yojimbo RPG you mentioned does; is it the one by Greg Stolze?)

In 2) you mention the soak roll, but that was a previous idea unrelated to the one we're discussing now. It's certainly my fault not to have started a new thread when the second idea (doing without hit points and damage - and soak - dice and using the Resistance table to pit two fixed rating against each other) cropped up; sorry for the confusion.

3) I will have to look on the BGB how Luck points work.

4) Those are some of the options I'm contemplating, together with the character's immediately next roll being Hard. If you have some more suggestions, especially on this last point, please share! :D

Edited by MatteoN
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Much food for thought!

I'm not sure 1) would be a semplification. Let's see: my idea was to compare the attacker's level of success and the defender's level of success in oder to determine the two possible outcomes of a third roll, made by the attacker against the number shown on the resistance table at the intersection of the attacker's Damage Rating (=(STR+SIZ)/2+Weapon Bonus) with the defender's Protection Rating (=(CON+SIZ)/2+Weapon Bonus).

If I am not mistaken, your idea is to subtract the defender's Protection Rating from the attacker's Damage Rating in order to determine a "default" injury level. Then the defender's Luck roll would modify the injury level. A problem I see with this is that the success levels of the attack and defense roll don't affect the level of the injury produced by the attack. You should perhaps use the difference between those rolls to modify the "default" injury level instead of the Luck roll?

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

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