# Killing Attacks: Possible House Rule

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### #41 phoenix240

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Posted 23 August 2017 - 10:55 PM

As a possible additional rule if the idea of Killing Attack having a chance to generate 0 Body is a bug is to set a minimum Body possible say 1/3 DC class so a 6 DC Killing attack has minimum 2 Body (like its 2d6 RAW version). Its adds a bit more math (and its division...) but dividing by 3 is usually fairly easy and it only comes up once,.

### #42 Durzan Malakim

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Posted 23 August 2017 - 11:19 PM

As a possible additional rule if the idea of Killing Attack having a chance to generate 0 Body is a bug is to set a minimum Body possible say 1/3 DC class so a 6 DC Killing attack has minimum 2 Body (like its 2d6 RAW version). Its adds a bit more math (and its division...) but dividing by 3 is usually fairly easy and it only comes up once,.

The chances of rolling 2 or less BODY with a 6d6 attack is around 0.36%, which is approximately 4 times in a thousand rolls. Against targets with resistant defenses there is no effective difference between 2 BODY and 0 BODY. Against unprotected targets you could just hand-wave/role-play it as a "1 in a million" chance of being grazed by a bullet instead of being damaged.

### #43 phoenix240

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Posted 23 August 2017 - 11:30 PM

The chances of rolling 2 or less BODY with a 6d6 attack is around 0.36%, which is approximately 4 times in a thousand rolls. Against targets with resistant defenses there is no effective difference between 2 BODY and 0 BODY. Against unprotected targets you could just hand-wave/role-play it as a "1 in a million" chance of being grazed by a bullet instead of being damaged.

Of course you can hand wave,  but the idea occurred as an option if someone was bothered by the idea of Killing Attack doing 0 Body before Defenses. .

### #44 mrinku

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Posted 24 August 2017 - 12:25 AM

I'm not using 6e.

Well, it could be a 5e rule. Others will know. I skipped 5e and went straight from 4e to Champions Complete.

### #45 phoenix240

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Posted 24 August 2017 - 08:27 AM

Well, it could be a 5e rule. Others will know. I skipped 5e and went straight from 4e to Champions Complete.

Unfortunately, I don't have easy book access ATM.

But its been the rule we used for quite some time so its a difference between Killing and Normal for us anyway.

### #46 Hugh Neilson

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Posted 24 August 2017 - 08:34 AM

I agree, KAs would have to take a +¼ advantage to represent their body being basically an AVAD against resistant defenses.  Slightly more expensive, but more powerful as well.

I mentioned that under this house rule, Killing would  probably become an Advantage. We haven't worked out the value yet.

It's a tough balancing act.

The AVAD aspect of BOD looks like an issue up front, but how often does a credible opponent have no rDEF (and no other protection from killing damage)?

I find, at least in Supers games, KA has become very much a niche power. Its real utility is not killing living opponents, but averaging a bit more BOD against automatons, barriers, entangles, etc. Make that "a lot more damage" to make up for it being less useful than a normal attack at STUN damage, and you can get rid of automatons, barriers, entangles, etc. - everyone uses their Killing Attack slot, and carves through them.

The KA could be structured with a different BOD count to average 3.5 per 3 DCs, and could do less STUN to compensate. For example, 1d6 does 1 BOD on 1 - 5 and 2 on 6, or any of the variations above - it only taxes one more on 1 die roll to get the 3.5 average out of the same damage mechanic we use for normal damage. Subtract 1 STUN per die and it averages 2.5 STUN instead of 3.5 per 1d6, so 12 DC averages 30 instead of 42. That's a big drop, but if BOD damage is a serious threat (so moving into more rDEF restricted games, which most Heroic games are), it could balance out.

But will it be any more balanced, or markedly easier game play, than the current model? Maybe - we remove the issue of having two vastly different damage mechanics, including two very different hit location models, streamlining the system.

### #47 Christopher R Taylor

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Posted 24 August 2017 - 10:06 AM

I find, at least in Supers games, KA has become very much a niche power. Its real utility is not killing living opponents, but averaging a bit more BOD against automatons, barriers, entangles, etc

I think in Supers games it always has been.  At least that's the way it always was in the Champions games I played in back to the early 80s.  People took a KA either for special occasions of due to character concept (This is Wolver..mean, he has claws on his toes!).

For me its the simplifcation of having to worry only about one damage system and one hit location chart, plus no more confusion about damage classes (truly baffling to new players).

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### #48 mrinku

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Posted 24 August 2017 - 03:28 PM

The purpose of killing attacks in a Champions game isn't to really challenge normal attacks as far as superfights go, but to be the thing that normals use to hurt each other, IMHO.

It's a baseline lethality that provides your definition of "bulletproof" or "nothing less than a bursting shell can penetrate my skin" or "blade than can cut through any object"

It's there so that when a bank robber pulls a gun on a teller your hero has to do something about it. No one expects the robber to gun down the hero themselves.

It's also a red flag for certain character types to be telegraphed as killers.

Now, some hero builds go with killing attacks, but in that case it's almost a Complication, since you'll routinely not be able to use the power on a target. I ran Robobushi/Warrior for years with his katana and Code of Honour (and RKE laser in the Robobushi version) and that frission between having the power to kill but the restraint not to was essential to the character. Wolverine works in the X-Men for precisely that reason.

### #49 phoenix240

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Posted 24 August 2017 - 04:45 PM

It's a tough balancing act.

Its probably something that each person would have to evaluate for their own campaigns if they like this variant.

### #50 mrinku

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Posted 24 August 2017 - 05:32 PM

I must admit I do like the concept of rolling it all into one power. I'd even seriously consider discarding HA in the process so that Normal Attack operates the same as Killing Attack does now (free choice between ranged or STR added damage). I'm sure the idea's been brought up before. You'd end up with something like:

Attack: 5 points per 1d6 damage. Choose between ranged or hand-to-hand (STR adds to a hand-to-hand attack). Additionally the power may be defined as doing Killing damage instead of Normal.

...and follow one of the 1d6 per DC killing damage ideas discussed above. I'm of the opinion that Normal and Killing should still stay equivalent in points (i.e. don't do it with an advantage) but be balanced by reducing the STUN potential of KAs. To restate my own idea, which I'm quite warming to:

1. KA does 1 BODY on rolls of "0" (i.e. the range of BODY done is [1,1,1,1,1,2] - this is exactly equivalent to the current average rolls)

2. KA dice read STUN as the current "stun multiplier" roll for the edition used (i.e. -1 for older, 1/2d6 for 6e) to get the STUN

Usual rules for resistant defences, knockback etc stay as they are.

IE: I roll 2, 4, 5, 1, 6, 1, 4, 3 on 8d6, which gives N-damage of 7 BODY and 26 STUN, or K-Damage of 9 BODY and 15 STUN using 6e; 20 STUN using earlier editions.

This also directly removes the STUN lottery effect, as KA and Normal dice now have the same distribution curve. A couple of things still need to be looked at - Penetrating is the main one that springs to mind, though you could always just divide the effect dice by 3. Or drop it. Or just go with the effect roll doing minimum STUN for BOTH Normal and Killing and using limited AP for those kind of effects (AP BODY damage only).

### #51 dsatow

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Posted 24 August 2017 - 05:43 PM

Question which I might have missed, how does penetrating work on this new idea?  Or increased stun mod?

### #52 Christopher R Taylor

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Posted 24 August 2017 - 05:54 PM

Question which I might have missed, how does penetrating work on this new idea?  Or increased stun mod?

Mentioned above, penetrating doesn't need to change at all, it acts pretty much as is: the body you roll gets through unless defenses are impenetrable.  Makes it even more AVADish.  For normal attacks I think penetration is actually too expensive (should be +¼ like AP) but for killing it works at +½.

Increased stun multiple... that's a bit harder to figure.  I like the advantage a lot for certain concepts (like hammers in Fantasy Hero) but with this system it wouldn't really work.  In fact, hit location multiples might not be a good idea, either.  Maybe more dice to represent stun multiple, or an advantage that counts stun differently.  Adds the body done to stun?

Question which I might have missed, how does penetrating work on this new idea?  Or increased stun mod?

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### #53 mrinku

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Posted 24 August 2017 - 07:25 PM

With my thing, Stun multiplier works normally. You're just reading STUN off each DC die instead of rolling a separate one to multiply by, so adding or subtracting works as usual for the edition rule used. Distribution will be different, but that's built in to this variant anyway. For the example 8d6 result above, +1 STUN multiple would result in the same STUN as Normal damage (26) under the older 1d6-1 method and 23 STUN under the ½d6 version of 6e. Each additional +1 STUN multiple would add 8 STUN.

It's not really a multiplier anymore though, so I'd rename it "Increased Stun" and "Decreased Stun". Possibly you could allow it to apply to N-damage under the same rules (i.e. can't reduce the roll to zero, can't be taken more times once all rolls equal "1").

Under the current 6e rules each +1 STUN multiplier increases the average STUN caused by 50%, which is in line with my example. This variant does not address concerns about what happens when you pile on large numbers of STUN Multiple. That's a separate issue for the GM to decide on (going back to a limit of +1 in most cases not being a bad idea IMHO).

Hit Location is a good point. Since there is no common multiplier I'd probably just use the Normal Damage STUN multiplier column. I must admit to mainly coming from a Champions-hit-location-optional viewpoint, but even in Champs you occasionally find it useful, if only to pull up players who are careless with K-Damage.

Penetrating can't simply be applied as written since you're rolling three times as many dice as a standard KA and resulting in Penetrating being almost the same as a NND KA. If you still want the Penetrating rule to apply to K-Damage as it is under standard rules, divide the effect dice rolled by 3. In my example the effect roll is 7, so Penetrating BODY would be 2.333, rounded down to 2, which is in the range you would expect to roll on 2½d6K, so that checks out.

### #54 Hugh Neilson

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Posted 25 August 2017 - 06:44 PM

[color=#282828][font=helvetica, arial, sans-serif]I think in Supers games it always has been.  At least that's the way it always was in the Champions games I played in back to the early 80s.

In my games as well, but because the players treated the KA as largely inappropriate for targeting living beings, not because they did the math. Not so in all groups - the Deathstroke scenario noted that most of the villains would not routinely use their KA's , but if it was the only way to lay some STUN damage down, sure - clearly the author recognized the KA's superior ability to get STUN past defenses.

I noticed it with agents, when that Autofire 6DC attack was always a KA, since a Normal attack just bounced off, but a KA had a shot at getting serious damage past defenses.

Only when challenged on the Boards did I run the math and satisfy myself that yes, the KA was superior at getting STUN past defenses, and Stunning the target. 6e fixed it - good!

Now, pre-6e, I saw a lot more KAs in Supers games than AP attacks - at +1/2, AP was vastly overpriced (especially since high DEF characters tended to have Hardened more than low DEF characters). At +1/4, it's much more practical, and a good substitute for a KA for a clawed character, or similar, in a 4 colour game.

### #55 phoenix240

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Posted 27 August 2017 - 05:20 PM

In our campaigns, people got Killing Attacks because they thought that's what fit their special effects (Claws, bullets, high intensity focused energy beams, etc). The most mechanical it usually got was that a bit more body was useful against inanimate objects, automatons, entangles and such.

### #56 Sean Waters

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Posted 14 September 2017 - 07:50 PM

Or, right, roll damage as for normal dice but if your attack is built as a killing attack it ignores normal defences and resistant defences count double.  Killing attacks are not an advantage or limitation, they are just an attack that is defined as 'killing', and cost the same and work mechanically the same as 'normal' attacks except when they interact with defences.

So, you have an 10DC attack, this averages 10/35

Against (these should all cost the same):

1.  21 points of normal defence (i.e. 21 against normal and nothing against killing): 21/0

2. 14 points of resistant defence (i.e. 14 defence against normal and 28 defence against killing): 14/28

3. 12 points of normal defence and 6 points of resistant defence (i.e. 18 defence against normal and 12 against killing): 18/12

4. 6 points normal defence and 10 points resistant (i.e. 16 defence against normal and 20 against killing): 16/20

Normal attack:

1. No Body 14 Stun

2. No Body 21 Stun

3. No Body 17 Stun

4. No Body and 19 Stun

Killing attack:

1. 10 Body 35 Stun

2. No Body 7 Stun

3. No Body 23 Stun

4. No Body and 15 Stun

So against non-resistant targets it is much more effective, but against heavily armoured opponents it is much less effective.  Against moderately armoured opponents, results are similar.

Now, in theory, this benefits taking killing attacks, but how many opponents have no resistant defences?  It is the difference between theoretical and practical balance.  In practice, people are going to build characters that

Could work, you know.

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### #57 Sean Waters

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Posted 14 September 2017 - 08:14 PM

I suppose we should also try 15 normal/4 resistant (19/8).  Same cost as before:

That would be:

Normal No Body 16 Stun

Killing 2 Body 27 Stun

You could also, right, buy Body Resistant defences which are the same price as normal defences but have no effect on Stun or Stun Resistant defences which are the same price as normal defences but have no effect on Body.  These are both Resistant defences (so double against killing attacks).

For tweakage.

The reason this could work is that it uses the same damage mechanic as for normal damage, so you do not need two systems: the difference comes in how you apply the damage, and you work out the defences against the appropriate attack at character creation.

Hmm.

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### #58 Sean Waters

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Posted 14 September 2017 - 08:42 PM

Or, right, change the cost of resistant defences to -1/2 rather than +1/2 but they do not double and only work on killing attacks, so for the 21 points we have been spending on defences in the above examples, you could have:

1. 21 normal defence

2. 19 normal/3 resistant

3. 17/6

4. 15/9

5. 13/12

6. 11/15

7. 9/18

8. 7/21

Normal attack damage

1. 14/0

2. 16/0

3. 18/0

4. 20/0

5. 22/0

6. 24/0

7. 26/1

8. 28/3

Killing attack damage:

1. 35/10

2. 32/7

3. 29/4

4. 26/1

5. 23/0

6. 20/0

7. 17/0

8. 14/0

Honestly, tweaking the way the damage is applied rather than the way it is calculated might have legs.  One of the big issues that a lot of people did not like about old style Killing Attacks was the Stun Lottery.  Even in New Hero it exists , although mitigated to an extent.  Personally I like the use of Body and Stun being extracted from a single roll, the very Hero-like mechanic.

Anyway, see what you think.

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