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Unread postPosted: Sat Sep 05, 2020 7:15 pm
  

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Greetings and Salutations. So this is something I've thought about for a while, but I haven't done much work for Palladium for a while (not related to them, writing has just become super difficult for me for the last few years) so never got around to it. This thread on How to Make Melee Equipment Choices Interesting? made me think of it again and write some ideas down. I just wrote this yesterday, and I haven't ever play tested it (I just don't play as much these days, as the writing difficulties have also complicated my ability to run games). Curious to other people's thoughts.

Damage: S.D.C. vs. Hit Points
Within the Palladium system, characters have both Structural Damage Capacity (S.D.C.) and Hit Points. In concept, S.D.C. is damage that hurts, but isn't life threatening. These are flesh wounds, and commonly seen in movies where the hero is stabbed and shot, but walks it off and continues on without any real hindrance and saying it's just a scratch. Meanwhile, Hit Points are meant to be serious injuries and truly dangerous. In actual game mechanics however, the two work effectively the same.
The goal here is not to change the system, but to build upon the current rules to better reflect their intent. In addition, by making Hit Point damage more lethal, the hope is to encourage characters to retreat when necessary and, when applied to opponents as well, help players find a way to capture or drive off enemies instead of all enemies simply fighting to the death.

S.D.C.
For the most part, S.D.C. is left as written. Characters can take hits to S.D.C. without any real concerns other than not getting so low the character suffers Hit Point damage. The concept here is that through luck, reflexes, and skill, the character is able to avoid serious injury. The war hammer only lands a glancing blow, the knife cut isn't too deep, and the gunshot only grazes the arm. None of this is pleasant, but our heroes can continue on without penalty.
However, like death by a thousand cuts, even small injuries can start to add up. When the character's S.D.C. is depleted, the character will start to suffer Hit Point damage. All these little wounds have just added up so the character's reflexes have slowed just enough that they can't keep narrowly avoiding serious injury.

Hit Points
Attacks don't inflict any extra damage to Hit Points, but the character does need to worry about other factors such as Blood Loss, Pain Penalties, and Shock (optional).

Blood Loss. These are no longer just glancing blows, but serious injuries. Some S.D.C. attacks may cause a trickle of blood, but these wounds aren't serious and have no game mechanic impact. Once an opponent inflicts Hit Point damage, the character begins to bleed out and suffers Blood Loss. Blood Loss causes the character to continue suffering Hit Point damage even if no new injuries are suffered, until the Blood Loss is stopped.

For every attack the character uses during Blood Loss, the character suffers 1 point of damage to Hit Points. Every attack the character makes causes blood to pump faster and/or opens the wound further. This means characters with more attacks will bleed out faster than characters with less attacks. Even non-combat actions that cost an attack (such as running away) will cause Hit Point damage until they're stopped. Any and all attacks spent inflict 1 Hit Point damage until the Blood Loss is stopped.

Alternately, the character can try to slow the Blood Loss. Applying pressure and moving as little as possible will help and slows the damage to only 1 Hit Point suffered every minute to Blood Loss. Actions that do not cost an action (such as parrying) will not cause any additional Blood Loss.

The character will continue to suffer Blood Loss until proper medical treatment is provided. This can involve two characters (the injured character and the one providing treatment) being removed from combat for the duration. Stopping Blood Loss involves a successful skill check using First Aid or Surgeon/Medical Doctor, or Holistic Medicine (-10%). Characters without these skills may attempt to stop Blood Loss, but must roll equal to or below the I.Q. of the untrained character using percentile dice.

Magic and Psionic healing will stop Blood Loss immediately, even if the healing does not fully restore the Hit Point damage. However, the next Hit Point damage suffered will begin the Blood Loss again.

Pain Penalties. Hits to the S.D.C. of a character may hurt, but this is pain the individual can shrug off and ignore. With more serious injuries, even if the character can push through the pain, they still have an impact on the character. Note: Some abilities, such as Summon Inner Strength, allow the character to ward off pain. When such abilities are active, rolling on this table is not necessary.

Minor Injury (Any Hit Point damage): -1 on Initiative.

Moderate Injury (Below 50% base Hit Points): -3 on Initiative; -1 to Strike, Parry, and Dodge; and -10% on all skill checks.

Major Injury (Below 25% base Hit Points): The character is barely keeping it together. Once reaching this point and every point of damage after, the character must roll on the following table.

01-20%: Momentarily stunned. Lose one attack for the current melee round (or the following melee round if the character has no attacks left in this one).

21-40%: Stunned and knocked down. The character partially collapses and falls to the ground (or at least to one knee) and loses Initiative, two attacks, and suffers an additional -1 to Strike.

41-60%: Severely stunned and knocked down. The character falls to the ground and loses Initiative, all melee attacks/actions for one full melee round, and suffers an additional -2 to Strike, Parry, and Dodge.

61-80%: Momentarily knocked unconscious. The character has lost enough blood that they pass out for 1D4 melee rounds. While unconscious, the character cannot move, think, or plan, nor is he aware of events happening around him. The unconscious character is completely helpless and open to attack, and may appear dead to his attacker.

81-90%: Knocked unconscious. The character has lost so much blood they pass out for 1D6 minutes. While unconscious, the character cannot move, think, or plan, nor is he aware of events happening around him. The unconscious character is completely helpless and open to attack, and may appear dead to his attacker.

91-00%: Lucked out! The character is able to keep it together and continue without further penalty.

Shock (optional). If the character ever suffers Hit Point damage equal to or greater than half his base Hit Point total in a single attack, the character must make a Save vs. Shock (roll a D20, 16 or higher including P.E. bonuses). A character who fails their check instantly falls unconscious and continues to suffer Blood Loss on each of their attacks/actions. This character will quickly bleed out and die without immediate medical attention.

Only the Medical Doctor (-15%) and Holistic Medicine (-20%) skills can attempt to deal with a character in Shock. First Aid and untrained characters simply lack the skills. Magic and Psionic healing can halt the Blood Loss, but without proper medical attention (or Psychic Surgery) the character will still enter a coma due to the Shock and must make roll on the Recovery From a Coma table (Palladium Fantasy Second Edition, page 20) to come out of it.

Supernatural Beings
The above rules are for mortals and Creatures of Magic. However, unless in their home dimension, typically don't have blood or nervous systems as we know them. The above rules do not apply to them, as they cannot bleed or suffer shock. However, Supernatural Beings, though intelligent, tend to be creatures motivated by and driven by instincts. When a Supernatural Being suffers Hit Point damage, they will sense the danger and have a natural instinct to flee.

Lesser beings will attempt to escape regardless, even exposing their backs to enemies. More intelligent Supernatural Beings will only flee when it's safe. If they cannot do so safely, they will either try to create an opening or possibly even negotiate, depending on the being in question.

Running away isn't just about instinct though. Many Supernatural Beings have much faster healing rates than mortals. A good tactic could be simply escaping to bio-regenerate to full health, and then attacking their foes again before the mortals have time to heal. This can also work for some Creatures of Magic, such as dragons.

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Unread postPosted: Sat Sep 05, 2020 8:58 pm
  

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Well, I think these are good ideas but a bit much and redundant in places. The concept of luck, reflexes, and skill allowing the PC to avoid serious injury already exists in attack rolls by an opponent (luck), Physical Prowess (reflexes), and skills (skill). It seems like way to make SDC fit by using the old D&D explanation for HP. If the wound isn't doing appreciable damage, why bother considering it? If you want the PCs and NPCs to have a greater ability to withstand damage, just give them more HP. I don't see the need to create more rules to manage a stat that is unnecessary. If you can shrug off or ignore something, why bother cataloging it? You can have the negative aspects of being hit several times and cumulative damage by applying those after the character drops to 50% of HP or whatever threshold you prefer.

The rules about bleeding are good, but I worry that they will just slow combat down and make for more things the GM has to track. But here's an example. The alternate rules about bleeding could still be used without SDC involved. It would make for more work tracking wounds, but it would operate the same. I like the idea of an attack causing the PC to bleed because it forces the PC into a choice. Attacking can cost you. However, I don't agree with the blood pumping while attacking. Once the fight commences, you're into a state of arousal and your blood is pumping regardless. I'd go with the movement is pulling on the skin and muscles and making the wounds worse, thus the additional blood loss.

-Vek
"Mr. Anti-SDC."

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Unread postPosted: Sat Sep 05, 2020 9:52 pm
  

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Veknironth wrote:
If you want the PCs and NPCs to have a greater ability to withstand damage, just give them more HP. I don't see the need to create more rules to manage a stat that is unnecessary.

-Vek
"Mr. Anti-SDC."

Greetings and Salutations. Okay, I'm a little confused. You complain about S.D.C. while not liking new rules for it ... but I actually didn't make any new rules regarding S.D.C. Do you think S.D.C. is a new rule? Do you think S.D.C. representing "flesh wounds" and "scratches" is a new rule? Both are current rules, and the most I did in regards to S.D.C. was add a little flavor text to explain it. If your stance is just you hate the flavor text I used ... I can accept that. Do you have any better suggestions for the flavor text? If that was all just a really long rant to effectively say: "I hate S.D.C. and won't ever consider it" ... that's okay too. Truthfully, I'm not sure how much I care for S.D.C. either, but that's not really relevant to the fact S.D.C. exists within the system.

But, as stated in the Original Post: "The goal here is not to change the system, but to build upon the current rules to better reflect their intent." As such, I'm going to leave the rules more or less alone, and just try to build upon them. So if you want to critic my new rule regarding S.D.C., please explain what you think the new rule is. Because honestly, as far as I'm aware, the rules I included for S.D.C. were really just a brief version of the rules as they already exist.

Veknironth wrote:
The rules about bleeding are good, but I worry that they will just slow combat down and make for more things the GM has to track.
Veknironth wrote:
But here's an example. The alternate rules about bleeding could still be used without SDC involved. It would make for more work tracking wounds, but it would operate the same.

Again, I'm confused. Okay ... so are you referring to my rules as the alternate ... or suggesting an alternate to the alternate? Because you mention tracking wounds ... and I'm not sure if you're discussing a game mechanic I didn't mention, or you're just describing it in a way that sounds like something different to me.

So, to clarify, in Palladium they do discuss a relation to Wounds and Blood Loss. In this case (from what I can tell) every hit you take (whether or not it's S.D.C. or H.P.) is tracked. So if you take 5 hits, at the end of 1 minute, you take 5 H.P. from Blood Loss. This involves tracking the number of times a character is hit, in addition to how much damage they take per hit. I specifically wanted to NOT use that system.

Now, what I suggested was Hit Point damage (at all) will result in 1 H.P. damage per minute (if stationary and applying pressure to wound), or 1 H.P. per attack. There's no tracking of wounds here. All you have to do is track whether or not the character has suffered H.P. damage.

The pain rules do have some penalties, and those are related to how much total H.P. the character has. So knowing 1/2 or 1/4 could be a bit of extra tracking. Is this the part you have an issue with? Mind you, the main reason I included these is I wanted to increase the ways characters could be captured and/or subdued. The current rules make it hard to take characters alive (unless they just surrender). A lot will simply play it as everyone attacking fine until they reach 0 H.P., and then they're dead. I wanted rules where a character might pass out before coma/death. With that said, my idea here may not be the smoothest to implement. If you have an alternative to make the idea work, I'm open to ideas.

Veknironth wrote:
You can have the negative aspects of being hit several times and cumulative damage by applying those after the character drops to 50% of HP or whatever threshold you prefer.

How is this less tracking then what I suggested? Seriously, I'm asking. Because, from the way I'm reading it, you basically mention the exact same Blood Loss rules, only have everything tied to H.P. because you don't like S.D.C. While that addresses your dislike of S.D.C., I fail to see how it won't "just slow combat down and make for more things the GM has to track" any more than the rules you're criticizing. If I'm missing something I hope you'll explain in a different way that maybe I'll understand better.

Veknironth wrote:
I like the idea of an attack causing the PC to bleed because it forces the PC into a choice. Attacking can cost you. However, I don't agree with the blood pumping while attacking. Once the fight commences, you're into a state of arousal and your blood is pumping regardless. I'd go with the movement is pulling on the skin and muscles and making the wounds worse, thus the additional blood loss.

Okay, from what I can tell, this is mostly an issue with the flavor text more than mechanics, but I'm okay with that. I don't mind changing the flavor text at all.

Hopefully none of that comes off as argumentative or defensive, as I'm genuinely just trying to understand. As stated, I just wrote them yesterday, and I've never play tested them. I accept there's room for improvement. I posted them here in the hopes that feedback could help improve them. Thank you for your time. Farewell and safe journeys.

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Rifter #45; Of Bows & Arrows (Archery; expanding rules and abilities)
Rifter #52; From Ruins to Runes (Living Rune Weapons; playable characters and NPC)
Rifter #55; Home Away From Home (Quorian Culture; expanded from PF Book 9: Baalgor Wastelands)

Official PDF versions of Rifter #45, #52, and #55 can be found at DriveThruRPG.


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Unread postPosted: Tue Sep 08, 2020 12:54 am
  

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Well, I have considered SDC but I can't find a functional way to make it not be just extra HP. In 1st Edition it was the damage of inanimate objects, which made sense to me. I think the problem with SDC is that humans and creatures modeled after humans have the soft flesh on the exterior. Things like fingernails, toenails, and callouses would have SDC but they wouldn't have much. Animals like turtles would have SDC on their shells, but not the majority of creatures in Palladium and certainly not Player races. So, yeah, I'm against SDC being applied to living creatures as a rule.

With the bleed rules, I was thinking you meant each wound you recieved would make you suffer 1 HP of damage for each attack. So there was an extra level of simple multiplication, which would change as additional wounds were inflicted or recieved. A simple 1HP per attack once wounded isn't that bad and it adds the flavor of making the character consider attacking. The flavor text change from blood pumping to opening wounds is mostly flavor but I think it allows for something else interesting. Let's say that the action of attacking or whatever, is opening the wounds or doing more damage internally. So, if you had blood loss "healed" by non psionic or magic means, you could reopen the wound by engaging in futher exhertions. We'd need to come up with a fair percentage, but getting into another fight or even doing something like climbing a wall or jumping could reopen the wound and create more blood loss. Another question to consider is what combat actions would create the blood loss? Would you have to expend an attack action for it to trigger? (i.e. an automatic parry is subtle enough a movement not to use up an attack action and thus not open the wound)

The pain rules would give another option for the PCs to be captured without using spells or psionics. It's an additional thought process but I suppose a good GM could keep the action flowing. I wish I had Randi Cartier's critical hit charts. I mean I wasn't supposed to have them but I had them and they were viscious and had several incapacitating variations.

-Vek
"Yes, I dislike SDC as written."

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Unread postPosted: Tue Sep 08, 2020 8:11 am
  

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My approach is to use SDC for nonlethal attacks like punches, kicks, whips, falling damage, small cuts to get a drop of blood, light clubs/sticks, et cetera. Thus, the kick attacks that do as much damage as a longsword remain as written, but they come off SDC first. A knife hand attack will thus do less damage than a knife.

I really like the idea of having hit point damage cause secondary effects like bleeding, combat penalties, losing attacks, et cetera.

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Unread postPosted: Wed Sep 09, 2020 11:21 pm
  

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Veknironth wrote:
Well, I have considered SDC but I can't find a functional way to make it not be just extra HP. In 1st Edition it was the damage of inanimate objects, which made sense to me. I think the problem with SDC is that humans and creatures modeled after humans have the soft flesh on the exterior. Things like fingernails, toenails, and callouses would have SDC but they wouldn't have much. Animals like turtles would have SDC on their shells, but not the majority of creatures in Palladium and certainly not Player races. So, yeah, I'm against SDC being applied to living creatures as a rule.

Greetings and Salutations. That's fair, and I'm okay with that (and I address more of why I kept S.D.C. as it was more in my response below to Hotrod).

Veknironth wrote:
The flavor text change from blood pumping to opening wounds is mostly flavor but I think it allows for something else interesting. Let's say that the action of attacking or whatever, is opening the wounds or doing more damage internally. So, if you had blood loss "healed" by non psionic or magic means, you could reopen the wound by engaging in futher exhertions. We'd need to come up with a fair percentage, but getting into another fight or even doing something like climbing a wall or jumping could reopen the wound and create more blood loss. Another question to consider is what combat actions would create the blood loss? Would you have to expend an attack action for it to trigger? (i.e. an automatic parry is subtle enough a movement not to use up an attack action and thus not open the wound)

Okay, you convinced me on the flavor text and I like the opening the wound more, and I will see what I come up with about reopening wounds.

As for what triggers the Blood Loss, as I have it now, if you need to expend an action/attack to do it, then you trigger Blood Loss. If it's automatic (no action) like a parry, then no Blood Loss (other than the 1 H.P. per minute, which during combat isn't very much at all). While there might be some exceptions that could be argued, I think this is a case where a simple, general rule is best and makes it easier on all involved.

Veknironth wrote:
The pain rules would give another option for the PCs to be captured without using spells or psionics. It's an additional thought process but I suppose a good GM could keep the action flowing. I wish I had Randi Cartier's critical hit charts. I mean I wasn't supposed to have them but I had them and they were viscious and had several incapacitating variations.

-Vek
"Yes, I dislike SDC as written."

The Critical Hit Charts sound interesting. If I had those I may have not needed to write the above. But I didn't, so I did. *Shrugs.*

Hotrod wrote:
My approach is to use SDC for nonlethal attacks like punches, kicks, whips, falling damage, small cuts to get a drop of blood, light clubs/sticks, et cetera. Thus, the kick attacks that do as much damage as a longsword remain as written, but they come off SDC first. A knife hand attack will thus do less damage than a knife.

I don't have much issues with this rule. This is a fairly simple rule, and I (for the most part) think it's a decent rule.

This is one of the reasons I like starting from the existing rules and building upon them. For example, Veknironth doesn't like S.D.C. and you have a different S.D.C. rule. By my keeping S.D.C. as it is (or if I had built upon the existing rule), I don't tie my new H.P. rules into a house rule. This makes it easier for others to take what they want without having to take the whole thing. However, if I make a new S.D.C. rule and tie my H.P. rules to it, that makes it harder for others to take one without taking also the other.

With that said, and I don't know full details of your "nonlethal attacks" rule, but what I typically see is things like Blunt vs. Edged weapons (blunt being non-lethal and edged being lethal). I think where my issue with that comes in is that it makes weapons such as War Hammers (a lethal weapon) something that should never have been invented.* Do you have a rule on it that doesn't involve making a judgment call on each individual weapon?

*Yes, I realize the current rules have similar issues with knives, for example. But a rule that fixes a problem by creating the same problem a different way isn't something I'm as likely to use.

On a side note, I have also considered additional rules such as Called Shots to the head (-3 to Strike) deal double damage (as well as possible side effects like trouble concentrating so you can't cast a spell that takes longer than 1 melee action to cast), as well as attacks to the neck (-6 to Strike) and/or surprise attacks inflict damage direct to Hit Points. That should cover things for now. Farewell and safe journeys.

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Rifter #45; Of Bows & Arrows (Archery; expanding rules and abilities)
Rifter #52; From Ruins to Runes (Living Rune Weapons; playable characters and NPC)
Rifter #55; Home Away From Home (Quorian Culture; expanded from PF Book 9: Baalgor Wastelands)

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Unread postPosted: Thu Sep 10, 2020 9:20 pm
  

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Another way to balance Hit Points is to have all critical attacks go straight to HP. Double damage to SDC can be meaningless in a lot of cases, but full damage to HP when a character still has 60 SDC makes the game considerably more lethal, and puts a true edge to critical hits.


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Unread postPosted: Thu Sep 10, 2020 9:29 pm
  

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Whiskeyjack wrote:
Another way to balance Hit Points is to have all critical attacks go straight to HP. Double damage to SDC can be meaningless in a lot of cases, but full damage to HP when a character still has 60 SDC makes the game considerably more lethal, and puts a true edge to critical hits.

Greetings and Salutations. Interesting, and not something I recall hearing before. But I will ask: What happens if the victim doesn't have any S.D.C. remaining? Does it go to double damage again? Does it just hit with no special mechanic? Other?

As an additional thought, this kind of makes Death Blow meaningless in many cases. Is there a mechanic that compensates for this? While Death Blow isn't a common ability, this is basically the same mechanic and I wouldn't want to just negate it without having something to replace it.

I don't mind the concept, but just trying to understand the full application so I can decide if it's something I'd ever want to use in my games. Appreciate the input. Farewell and safe journeys.

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Rifter #45; Of Bows & Arrows (Archery; expanding rules and abilities)
Rifter #52; From Ruins to Runes (Living Rune Weapons; playable characters and NPC)
Rifter #55; Home Away From Home (Quorian Culture; expanded from PF Book 9: Baalgor Wastelands)

Official PDF versions of Rifter #45, #52, and #55 can be found at DriveThruRPG.


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Unread postPosted: Thu Sep 10, 2020 9:46 pm
  

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I've never actually play tested this, but I would probably handle it like so.
If you run out of SDC, damage would just be normally applied to HP.
Deathblow. I think I would try it out as being double damage direct to HP. I've never encountered it in any game I've played or run, and I've always considered it a rare ability. This would make it ring very true to its name.


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Unread postPosted: Fri Sep 11, 2020 2:38 pm
  

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Prysus wrote:
Hotrod wrote:
My approach is to use SDC for nonlethal attacks like punches, kicks, whips, falling damage, small cuts to get a drop of blood, light clubs/sticks, et cetera. Thus, the kick attacks that do as much damage as a longsword remain as written, but they come off SDC first. A knife hand attack will thus do less damage than a knife.

I don't have much issues with this rule. This is a fairly simple rule, and I (for the most part) think it's a decent rule.

This is one of the reasons I like starting from the existing rules and building upon them. For example, Veknironth doesn't like S.D.C. and you have a different S.D.C. rule. By my keeping S.D.C. as it is (or if I had built upon the existing rule), I don't tie my new H.P. rules into a house rule. This makes it easier for others to take what they want without having to take the whole thing. However, if I make a new S.D.C. rule and tie my H.P. rules to it, that makes it harder for others to take one without taking also the other.

With that said, and I don't know full details of your "nonlethal attacks" rule, but what I typically see is things like Blunt vs. Edged weapons (blunt being non-lethal and edged being lethal). I think where my issue with that comes in is that it makes weapons such as War Hammers (a lethal weapon) something that should never have been invented.* Do you have a rule on it that doesn't involve making a judgment call on each individual weapon?

*Yes, I realize the current rules have similar issues with knives, for example. But a rule that fixes a problem by creating the same problem a different way isn't something I'm as likely to use.

Good question. I think it would have to be something of a subjective judgment call, but I think we could put in some guidelines:
If it's a natural attack like a punch, strike, or claw attack, it's generally going to be S.D.C.
If it's a bite attack, it's generally going to be hit points.

If it's not designed to be a weapon and doesn't generally cause deep cuts (frying pan, bull whip, shovel, dart), then it generally does S.D.C.
If it's a baton weapon (blackjack), it generally does S.D.C.
If it's a blunt or staff weapon made from wood or bone (club, wooden war club, most staff weapons), it needs a head reinforced/enhanced with metal, stone, and/or something hard and heavy.


Prysus wrote:
On a side note, I have also considered additional rules such as Called Shots to the head (-3 to Strike) deal double damage (as well as possible side effects like trouble concentrating so you can't cast a spell that takes longer than 1 melee action to cast), as well as attacks to the neck (-6 to Strike) and/or surprise attacks inflict damage direct to Hit Points. That should cover things for now. Farewell and safe journeys.[/justify]

I have not considered called shots in my house rules, but I'm open to the idea. The tricky bit with called shots like that is armor. If the foe is wearing a gorget or a helm, such an attack is likely to have far less effect.

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Unread postPosted: Fri Sep 11, 2020 8:22 pm
  

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Whiskeyjack wrote:
Another way to balance Hit Points is to have all critical attacks go straight to HP. Double damage to SDC can be meaningless in a lot of cases, but full damage to HP when a character still has 60 SDC makes the game considerably more lethal, and puts a true edge to critical hits.

Have the the blow still do double damage, and the first half of the damage go to sdc, and the second half to hp, then if they are out of sdc just have the double damage effect hp


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Unread postPosted: Fri Sep 11, 2020 8:45 pm
  

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kiralon wrote:
Whiskeyjack wrote:
Another way to balance Hit Points is to have all critical attacks go straight to HP. Double damage to SDC can be meaningless in a lot of cases, but full damage to HP when a character still has 60 SDC makes the game considerably more lethal, and puts a true edge to critical hits.

Have the the blow still do double damage, and the first half of the damage go to sdc, and the second half to hp, then if they are out of sdc just have the double damage effect hp


And if they have a triple damage, double damage to SDC, and still single to HP?

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Unread postPosted: Fri Sep 11, 2020 9:51 pm
  

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Hotrod wrote:
I think it would have to be something of a subjective judgment call, but I think we could put in some guidelines:
If it's a natural attack like a punch, strike, or claw attack, it's generally going to be S.D.C.
If it's a bite attack, it's generally going to be hit points.

Greetings and Salutations. I'm not sure I entirely agree with a claw being S.D.C. and a bite being H.P. damage, at least in concepts of lethal vs. non-lethal. I mean, how would you normally rate someone wielding bagh nakh (a.k.a. tiger claws)? While a man-made object, these are designed to work akin to natural weapons. Similarly, if I bite you, I'm not sure it would be more deadly than a punch. Though I could see some races that being different (such as a vampire, as one example). I suppose in this case it would matter more if they have a special racial bite attack listed.

With that said, I do like this from a game mechanic standpoint. Claw attacks can generally add P.S. damage (and may stack on top of punch damage, depending on specifics), while a bite attack generally does less damage and no P.S. bonus. This gives a distinct role for the bite to be used, and I like that aspect.

For note, I'm not trying to argue or nitpick. I just want to provide feedback so if you do flesh this out more, you have some things to consider.

Hotrod wrote:
I have not considered called shots in my house rules, but I'm open to the idea. The tricky bit with called shots like that is armor. If the foe is wearing a gorget or a helm, such an attack is likely to have far less effect.

Well, yes and no.

For example, if I attack your neck with a dagger and damage direct to H.P., and you were wearing a gorget, would the dagger's blade actually hit your neck? If the answer is no, then it's not going to very much that's special. Also, while I have a head shot doing double damage, this is for a game mechanic purpose. We could start tracking separate S.D.C. and H.P. for each limb, but I personally find that's cumbersome. So, instead of depleting the S.D.C. of a helmet on the armor, I prefer just to have it do double damage to the armor's S.D.C., and have this simulate depleting that part of the armor faster. This isn't necessarily the most realistic, but I prefer it for simplicity sake.

Now, having said that, this has given me some thought. The most damaging part of a bladed weapon is the edge or tip. If armor can stop that from penetrating, then it may not do much to the wearer. However, blunt damage does transfer energy. In fact, I'm fairly sure (though I can't recall which right now) some blunt weapons were designed with the intent of effectively scrambling your brains while you still had a helmet on. Though I suppose this also depends on what type of armor you're wearing.

On a related note, I suppose that's a nice feature of the Compendium of Weapons, Armour & Castles, that it had different Resistance Factors to different types of weapons. This allowed for a bit more strategy in both weapon selection as well as the armor used. And that's one of the aspects I had really liked out of it.

Whiskeyjack wrote:
Deathblow. I think I would try it out as being double damage direct to HP. I've never encountered it in any game I've played or run, and I've always considered it a rare ability. This would make it ring very true to its name.

So I looked into Death Blow, and I realized it's deadlier than I thought. Currently, it does Double Damage direct to Hit Points against mortals. That's fairly lethal. With that said ...

I also thought about it's effects against the Supernatural, which limits regeneration for 1D4 hours. This has me wondering about possible aspects such as making the wound harder to heal (like a penalty similar to those for Shock damage) just to stop the bleeding from such a serious wound. The most a character with First Aid could do is slow the bleeding (with a constant supply of fresh bandages, maybe only 1 H.P. per 10 minutes or something).

Right now I'm just brainstorming. I'm writing the ideas down so I don't forget them, and also sharing them to get feedback and/or see if someone else has a better idea that may build upon it. Farewell and safe journeys.

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Unread postPosted: Sat Sep 12, 2020 8:49 am
  

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Comment: Kill it with Fire.
Mark Hall wrote:
kiralon wrote:
Whiskeyjack wrote:
Another way to balance Hit Points is to have all critical attacks go straight to HP. Double damage to SDC can be meaningless in a lot of cases, but full damage to HP when a character still has 60 SDC makes the game considerably more lethal, and puts a true edge to critical hits.

Have the the blow still do double damage, and the first half of the damage go to sdc, and the second half to hp, then if they are out of sdc just have the double damage effect hp


And if they have a triple damage, double damage to SDC, and still single to HP?

no, just the total damage (including crit x3) halved between sdc and hp. (so if damage rolled was 10, total damage was 30 after crit then 15 to hp and 15 to sdc


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Unread postPosted: Sat Sep 12, 2020 5:44 pm
  

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Well, I know we tried the body parts having HP and it was cumbersome. You had to roll a random hit every time there was a successful strike and then keep track of a lot of places at the same time. Then, somoene levels up and what do you do about extra HP being added? One of the benefits of having a good critial hit chart is that it fills in the location (i.e. "arm hit, lose one attack per melee").

Called shots are a tough one. When the PC's get higher level and their bonuses stack making a called shot on a 14 or even an 18 isn't that difficult. Then you have to think about the specifics of what sort of armor the opponent is wearing, down to what kind of helmet. It's easier with a monster, true, but when there is a called shot to the eye or nostril that can create problems. When the PC hits someone in the head they're thinking, "Great! Instant kill, whoo hoo!". But that puts the GM in a bind. You want things to be fair so if the PCs can do it so can the NPCs but then you have an NPC fire an arrow at someone's head and instant kill that person and they're upset. Also, critical charts tend to hurt the PCs more than NPCs. NPCs are legion and are often expendable. If an orc soldier has its arm cut off it's not much different from that orc just taking a lot of HP damage. But the PC losing attacks for a while really hurts. Now if there's a big bad, the critical chart could help.

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Unread postPosted: Sat Sep 12, 2020 8:12 pm
  

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Comment: Kill it with Fire.
Make rigid armour (plate and chain and full plate) scale down or negate critical effects (not damage) and called shots can be balanced by making them cost half your actions in a round as you wait for the right moment. I also think that all a called shot would do would be an automatic critical, because a critical hit already implies a critical location like the head or eye has been hit, and unless the person cant move (coup de grace anyone?) the person isn't just standing still, so unless the hit got them below zero the called shot to the nostril certainly ripped the nostril open, but as the person had pulled their had back and to the side to try to avoid the hit you got a bit of the cheek as well but you didn't roll enough damage to stick the sword straight through their head so they didn't die. The called shot lunge to the eye got the top of the nose and the eyebrow, but as the damage roll didn't kill them you obviously didn't stick the sword straight into their eye into their brain.
The system to hit for ranged weapons I use, a called shot to the eyes and nostrils when you aren't at point blank or close ranges is not easy at all, and not even then (unless maybe you are a longbowman)


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Unread postPosted: Sat Sep 12, 2020 8:17 pm
  

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Veknironth wrote:
Well, I know we tried the body parts having HP and it was cumbersome. You had to roll a random hit every time there was a successful strike and then keep track of a lot of places at the same time. Then, somoene levels up and what do you do about extra HP being added? One of the benefits of having a good critial hit chart is that it fills in the location (i.e. "arm hit, lose one attack per melee").

Greetings and Salutations. Agreed. That's why as a general rule I prefer to keep one pool, and then just have extra damage or additional side effects if certain appendages are attacked. But, a head shot shouldn't mean instant death either. People do survive hits to the head, though they're usually not fun. So, for some quick rules I wrote just now ...

Called Shots
Many players will desire to make Called Shots to specific parts of an enemy's body, such as targeting the character's head or legs. Sometimes this is represented in game mechanics by giving each limb a separate S.D.C./H.P. pool. In my experience though, one of two things happen: The pools for the limbs are so large as to make them meaningless, or the pools are so small that they're almost guaranteed kills or dismemberment. Instead, I try to keep things simple.
For starters, this means that the character's S.D.C. and Hit Points remain constant regardless of where the character is hit, though sometimes the attack will do more damage.

Legs: The character's speed is reduced by 10%. If the character suffers Hit Point damage to the leg, -1 on Initiative and -50% to the Speed attribute. If the character suffers Hit Point damage to both legs, the character is -3 on Initiative and Speed Attribute is reduced by 75%!

Arms: The character suffers a -10% penalty to all Skill checks. If the character suffers Hit Point damage to the arm, -40% to all Skill checks, -1 to Strike and Parry, and punch damage is reduced by half.

Head: Attacks inflict double damage. If the character suffers Hit Point damage to the head, the character will have trouble focusing. All Skill performance is reduced by 30%; -1 to Strike, Parry, and Dodge; and Practitioners of Magic cannot cast spells that take longer than one action to cast.

Hands: The character suffers a -20% penalty to all Skill checks. If the character suffers Hit Point damage to the hand, -60% to all Skill checks, -2 to Strike and Parry, and the character must make a Save vs. Pain (16 or higher). A failed save means the character drops anything held in that hand (such as weapons).

Feet: The character's speed is reduced by 20%. If the character suffers Hit Point damage to the leg, -75% to the Speed attribute, -2 on Initiative, and -2 to Dodge and Roll with Punch. If the character suffers Hit Point damage to both feet, the character loses Initiative and goes last, Speed Attribute is reduced by 90%, and -5 to Dodge and Roll with Punch.

Neck: Attacks inflict triple damage. If the character suffers Hit Point damage to the neck, triple the Blood Loss (every action taken inflicts 3 H.P. damage, or 3 H.P. damage per minute).

Eye: Attacks inflict damage direct to Hit Points. The character is -3 to Strike, Parry, and Dodge (until an adjustment period, when the penalty can be reduced to only -1 to Strike, Parry, and Dodge for melee attacks, and -2 to Strike, Parry, and Dodge for ranged attacks). In addition, the character no longer has peripheral vision on that side. This means the character can only parry attacks from the front and to the other side, while attacks from behind and to the side of the missing eye are considered surprised attacks and can only be dodged (if the character is even aware of the attack). If the character survives losing both eyes, the character is blind and suffers a permanent -8 to Strike, Parry, and Dodge until s/he can find some way to replace their vision.

Penalties to Hit
Hitting small moving targets isn't easy. First, the character requires a 12 or higher to hit, and most body parts also suffer a penalty to strike. A failed Called Shot misses the target completely (no damage). This means while hitting an opponent's limbs may be beneficial, missing may cause the battle to take even longer. Characters should consider if it's worth taking the chance, whether they're confident or just desperate to turn a losing situation.

Called Shot: 12 or higher to hit.
Legs: -2 to Strike.
Arms/Handheld Weapon: -3 to Strike.
Heads/Hands/Feet: -4 to Strike.
Neck: -6 to Strike.
Very small targets (such as an eye): -8 to Strike.
Bypassing Armor: Sometimes a character will try to find a weak point in the armor and still hit one of the above targets. In these situations, add the Armor Rating on top of the Called Shot number. Any penalties still apply.

Just some thoughts. Farewell and safe journeys for now.

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Rifter #45; Of Bows & Arrows (Archery; expanding rules and abilities)
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Rifter #55; Home Away From Home (Quorian Culture; expanded from PF Book 9: Baalgor Wastelands)

Official PDF versions of Rifter #45, #52, and #55 can be found at DriveThruRPG.


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