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Hero System "Boom Table"

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I'm working on compiling a list of damage benchmarks to match up to Hero System damage ratings.  To start off, it's helpful that punching damage is exponential; that is, every x2 lifting capacity(+5 STR) adds 1d6 normal damage(+1 damage class).  Second, as listed in the rulebooks and the equipment guide, bullet damage also appears to be roughly exponential(every x2 muzzle energy adds roughly +1 DC), and explosive damage follows a slightly different, quasi-exponential progression(x1.5 the explosive adds +1d6 X, x2 adds +2d6).  With regard to other types of attacks--energy, melee weapons and pre-modern missile weapons(e.g., bows, crossbows, slings, etc.), military grade ordnance, science fiction weapons--there's a fair amount of reasoning from effect and "eyeballing it".  With all that said, I hope to develop a handy table and post it here soon.  ;)

 

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Thanks.  My baseline assumptions are similar, though I generally peg baseline 10 STR as equivalent to about 1000 joules, not 2000(basically, lifting 100kg to mid-body(1m)).  Leg strength is roughly 3x arm strength, which means each arm has roughly 1/8 the total strength.  I further assume that a baseline punch is somewhat inefficient, transferring only half of that potential energy.  But a haymaker essentially delivers more or less the entire potential energy, converting to kinetic energy, so +4d6.  6d6 ~ 1000 joules.  A .357 magnum slug, with roughly 1000 joules of muzzle energy, does 1.5d6 KA, with +1 Stun multiplier, roughly equivalent to 6 Damage classes.  

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Thanks.  My baseline assumptions are similar, though I generally peg baseline 10 STR as equivalent to about 1000 joules, not 2000(basically, lifting 100kg to mid-body(1m)).  

 

Have you overestimated the height that a 10 STR can lift 100kg?. "It represents the maximum amount of weight he can just manage to lift off the ground, stagger with for a step or two, then drop." (6e1 42) That sounds closer to 10cm than 100.

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Have you overestimated the height that a 10 STR can lift 100kg?. "It represents the maximum amount of weight he can just manage to lift off the ground, stagger with for a step or two, then drop." (6e1 42) That sounds closer to 10cm than 100.

 

Hmm... lifting to knee lock will probably allow you actually move the weight as described. "A step or two" may be problematic while hunched down and I'm pretty sure would provide less lift due to less leverage. 

 

For back of the envelope stuff, I'm pretty happy with megaplayboy's numbers.

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Have you overestimated the height that a 10 STR can lift 100kg?. "It represents the maximum amount of weight he can just manage to lift off the ground, stagger with for a step or two, then drop." (6e1 42) That sounds closer to 10cm than 100.

Ultimate Brick, I believe, stipulates that a "dead lift" can lift up to 90% of the lift capacity for the STR score.  A dead lift brings the weight to hip/mid-body level, which should be around 1 m.  It's an approximation, rounding up a bit.  

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At the bottom end of the table, we have the "half d6 attack".  That equates to a 3 STR punch(untrained(no martial maneuvers)).  A 3 STR can lift 25kg, which equates to about 250 joules.  1/16th of that is about 16 joules.  If you want to introduce a little leeway, you could say that the minimum "boom" to do blunt damage is about 10 joules(barring something funky like a 1/3 d6 normal attack).  

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10 STR allows you to lift 50kg and throw it 4m, or 2m straight up.

 

Shifting 50kg x 2m against gravity of 10m/s (rounding) is 1000J of energy at STR 10.

 

You are not going to manage anything like that amount of energy in a basic punch though, so a quick Google search gives the energy of a punch at  maybe 100J for someone who is not a trained fighter, maybe 1000J for a top boxer's punch.  If we bump that up to 1600J it still means that the best 'normal' boxer should only be able to do 6DC of damage with a punch: Hero allows a 20 STR human with a haymaker or offensive strike to do 8DCs, which is probably too much.

 

I have grabbed various figured for gun muzzle energy from Wikipedia or where ever I could find it.

 

If we assume 100J is 2 DCs of damage ( a normal punch) then this fits pretty well with most of the small arms in Hero, but the damage for explosives and tank guns is way off.

 

On this scale a stick of dynamite should do 15DCs of damage, as opposed to 5DC explosion.  Even if you 2/3 the DC (as Explosion is a +1/2 advantage)it should still be 10DCs, but to be honest 15 sounds about right: I would expect someone holding a stick of dynamite that goes off to be blown in two or more pieces, not 'nastily bruised'.

 

A tank round would be 18DC or 6d6 Killing/4.5killing AP.

 

On this scale, WW2 atomic weapons would be 41DCs, or just under 14 dice killing, and the Tsar Bomb would be about 52 DCs, the dinosaur killer meteor about 73 and the Sun's thermal output per second would be 83 DCs.  A supernova would be about 142DCs.

 

DC    STR              Energy Joules      Example

 

1          5                      50                                           

2          10                    100                  .22 LR (160)               

3          15                    200                                         

4          20                    400                  9mm (519)                 

5          25                    800                  .357 Magnum (873)               

6          30                    1600                5.56 rifle (1798)                       0.50 AE (2000)

7          35                    3200                7.62x51 rifle (3799)                

8          40                    6400                                       

9          45                    12800              0.50 BMG (15037)                 

10        50                    25600                                     

11        55                    51200                                     

12        60                    102400                                               

13        65                    204800                                               

14        70                    409600                                               

15        75                    819200                        1 stick of TNT (1MJ)              

16        80                    1638400                                             

17        85                    3276800                                             

18        90                    6553600                      AP tank round (7500000)                  

19        95                    13107200                                           

20        100                  26214400                                            

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I like this progression much more than the (I believe) ridiculous totals you see for some nuclear weapons and such in Hero games.  There might have been one 'planetbuster' that was 1000+ DCs  IIRC.  It may even have been 10000DCs.  Why?

 

This actually fits well with other calculations, like the Body of Earth if you treat it as a wall: it is around 80, so the Dinosaur killer would not have destroyed it but if you could focus the entire  energy output of the sun on the planet you could burn a hole right through it.

 

You could build a superhero that could survive some of these extreme phenomena: the energy of a couple of black holes colliding would be about 153DCs, and you could build a character on 350 points that could live through that, albeit probably not for long.  That may sound ridiculous (and it is, a bit) but bear in mind that is just 'not die instantly'.

 

Anyway, the scale seems to work pretty well and fit in with quite a few bits of Hero (although it also shows some anomalies).  I've done an Excel spreadsheet: I don't think you attach them, can you?  Apparently you can't...if anyone is interested, message me and I'll send you a copy but it is pretty basic so don't expect much.

 

Of course it is all a bit rough and ready but it does give a framework for approximating DC that is not entirely arbitrary.

 

Also a couple of places I took my reference values from:

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joule

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/TNT_equivalent

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Muzzle_energy

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https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/but-not-simpler/excerpts-from-the-mad-scientiste28099s-handbook-so-youe28099re-ready-to-vaporize-a-human/

 

3 gigajoules to completely disintegrate a 100kg human, breaking down all atomic bonds.  That equates to roughly 26DC, about 8.5d6 KA, average is 30 BODY damage--3x the base Body stat.  That suggests the equivalent of the old Car Wars "confetti rule" for Hero System--if you do 3x the target's body in one hit, not only are they killed instantly, there's not really any "body" left--just smoking boots(if disintegrated), a fine pink mist (if struck with massive blunt force), or various cuts of long pig(if attacked with a slashing or impaling weapon).  

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I like this progression much more than the (I believe) ridiculous totals you see for some nuclear weapons and such in Hero games.  There might have been one 'planetbuster' that was 1000+ DCs  IIRC.  It may even have been 10000DCs.  Why?

 

This actually fits well with other calculations, like the Body of Earth if you treat it as a wall: it is around 80, so the Dinosaur killer would not have destroyed it but if you could focus the entire  energy output of the sun on the planet you could burn a hole right through it.

 

You could build a superhero that could survive some of these extreme phenomena: the energy of a couple of black holes colliding would be about 153DCs, and you could build a character on 350 points that could live through that, albeit probably not for long.  That may sound ridiculous (and it is, a bit) but bear in mind that is just 'not die instantly'.

 

Anyway, the scale seems to work pretty well and fit in with quite a few bits of Hero (although it also shows some anomalies).  I've done an Excel spreadsheet: I don't think you attach them, can you?  Apparently you can't...if anyone is interested, message me and I'll send you a copy but it is pretty basic so don't expect much.

 

Of course it is all a bit rough and ready but it does give a framework for approximating DC that is not entirely arbitrary.

 

Also a couple of places I took my reference values from:

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joule

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/TNT_equivalent

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Muzzle_energy

 

The top end of the scale would either be "mass energy of the universe"-- around 3-4 x 10^69 joules (227 DC), or perhaps the "erroneous" value for the vacuum energy of the Universe, 10^113 joules/m^3 x estimated volume of the universe, up to 6.7 x 10^83 at upper end(assuming it's not infinite)--6.7 x 10^196 joules, or 6.7 x 10^96 googoljoules.    Gonna take me a minute to calc out the DCs for that!  10^60 equates to 200 DC, so that's 656 DC.  Let's just round that up to 666 Damage Classes. :eg:

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Incidentally, this also means that a terminal velocity fall should do 12 to 13 DCs of damage for a 100kg person on Earth.  Not 30d6.

 

In fact one of the problems you will have with the Boom Table is reconciling velocity based manouvres as the DC add from  velocity does not work on an exponential scale.  Something moving twice as fast should do an extra DC of damage, hust like something twice as strong should do an extra DC of damage.

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I like the scale and I also once pegged 'true' terminal velocity at that same level... but that's kind of where it falls apart, as it make it really hard to kill a normal human (8 body, 2 pd, death at -8 = 18 body needed to kill instantly. Hard to do on 13d6) with a hundreds to thousands of meter fall.

 

It *probably* will take them to negative body and they'll *probably* die shortly without medical attention but that's not an 'accurate' enough resolution to belly flopping naked onto concrete without a parachute from an aircraft, which is closer to the 'triple body confetti' mentioned (which the 30d6 accomplishes).

 

Normal humans should have around 4-5 body, in my opinion, to fit better with the effects low end damage examples in Hero have on them in 'reality'.

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Incidentally, this also means that a terminal velocity fall should do 12 to 13 DCs of damage for a 100kg person on Earth.  Not 30d6.

 

In fact one of the problems you will have with the Boom Table is reconciling velocity based manouvres as the DC add from  velocity does not work on an exponential scale.  Something moving twice as fast should do an extra DC of damage, hust like something twice as strong should do an extra DC of damage.

Actually, something moving twice as fast should do 2 extra DC, because kinetic energy quadruples with doubled velocity.

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I like the scale and I also once pegged 'true' terminal velocity at that same level... but that's kind of where it falls apart, as it make it really hard to kill a normal human (8 body, 2 pd, death at -8 = 18 body needed to kill instantly. Hard to do on 13d6) with a hundreds to thousands of meter fall.

 

It *probably* will take them to negative body and they'll *probably* die shortly without medical attention but that's not an 'accurate' enough resolution to belly flopping naked onto concrete without a parachute from an aircraft, which is closer to the 'triple body confetti' mentioned (which the 30d6 accomplishes).

 

Normal humans should have around 4-5 body, in my opinion, to fit better with the effects low end damage examples in Hero have on them in 'reality'.

A fall onto an unyielding surface like concrete likely turns the fall into killing damage. 4d6+1 will kill an 8 body human almost instantly.

If you want to ramp up the lethality, you could double body damage after defenses, to represent that the head and vitals are effectively "targeted" by falling impact.

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It's a question of whether you're trying to model "realistic" effects or "cinematic" effects.  Normal humans in Hero are more survivable than humans in real life, no question.  But I just went and watched the movie IT the other day, and (not really a spoiler) there's a scene where one of the kids gets knocked backwards like 10 feet and hits a wall.  In real life, the kid would be dead.  In the movie, he is just stunned.  Hero can represent that great.  But it's not exactly realistic.

 

I've considered coming up with a "normal human" package of disadvantages to represent things like that.  Normal humans take extra damage from catastrophic injury.  Once you start taking 6, 7, 8+ Body from an attack, your vulnerability kicks in and it gets real serious, real fast.  You could still survive a lot of stab wounds if they hit your arms and hands or something, but one big hit and you're screwed.  I haven't messed with the idea too much because honestly it doesn't come up in our games.

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A fall onto an unyielding surface like concrete likely turns the fall into killing damage. 4d6+1 will kill an 8 body human almost instantly.

If you want to ramp up the lethality, you could double body damage after defenses, to represent that the head and vitals are effectively "targeted" by falling impact.

 

Good point. I actually kind of like the idea of turning falls after a certain DC into killing damage as a general rule and having falling into 'soft' objects provide you with rPD or rDR over messing with reducing dice. Not sure I'd ever bother with it, but I like it.

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Good point. I actually kind of like the idea of turning falls after a certain DC into killing damage as a general rule and having falling into 'soft' objects provide you with rPD or rDR over messing with reducing dice. Not sure I'd ever bother with it, but I like it.

 

For a while I had the idea that if the DCs from the fall actually exceeded your PD, then it would convert to killing.  So at a certain point, it goes from "really painful" to just "splut".

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It is worth noting that converting falling damage to killing makes the process more survivable on average because of maths.

 

It is also true that some people have survived terminal velocity falls: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vesna_Vulovi%C4%87

 

This is not the only example, and people have also survived serious falls onto concrete.  https://www.theguardian.com/world/2008/jan/04/usa

 

So, in a game where reality is not perfectly mirrored (and, if it were, why are we playing a game and not simply living the dream?), 30d6 for a terminal velocity fall is plain wrong.  That is a worse survival chance than getting hit with a tank shell in the chest.  I can not find any stories about that happening.

 

The falling damage rules and the way Hero converts velocity to damage have been with us forever, and, whilst they seemed to make sense in the distant past, now we have science and logic and they should be honorably killed and buried somewhere we can visit and get all nostalgic about but then leave again and get on with the real business of making Hero the only game anyone ever plays, because of sense.  They have been passed from edition to edition, like holy relics, the provenance of which is not to be questioned.

 

Am I getting all evangelical?  No, I am not, because that implies a religious, unquestioning bias and that, as we have clearly established, would be madness.

 

megaplayboy is right about the squaring thing though.  There is a table...

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For a while I had the idea that if the DCs from the fall actually exceeded your PD, then it would convert to killing.  So at a certain point, it goes from "really painful" to just "splut".

 

So 30d6 normal is 30 DCs is 10d6 killing.

 

30d6 normal averages 30 Body and the chances of 8 of those dice coming up '1' without any of the others coming up '6' is remote.

 

10d6 killing averages 35 Body and the chances of 9 of them being  2 and one of them being 1 is also remote, but less so and, if you have 10 Body, that is survivable.  This is because of less dice.

 

The killing attack will also produce more overkill results but dead is dead, neg?

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It is worth noting that converting falling damage to killing makes the process more survivable on average because of maths.

 

It is also true that some people have survived terminal velocity falls: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vesna_Vulovi%C4%87

 

This is not the only example, and people have also survived serious falls onto concrete.  https://www.theguardian.com/world/2008/jan/04/usa

 

So, in a game where reality is not perfectly mirrored (and, if it were, why are we playing a game and not simply living the dream?), 30d6 for a terminal velocity fall is plain wrong.  That is a worse survival chance than getting hit with a tank shell in the chest.  I can not find any stories about that happening.

 

The falling damage rules and the way Hero converts velocity to damage have been with us forever, and, whilst they seemed to make sense in the distant past, now we have science and logic and they should be honorably killed and buried somewhere we can visit and get all nostalgic about but then leave again and get on with the real business of making Hero the only game anyone ever plays, because of sense.  They have been passed from edition to edition, like holy relics, the provenance of which is not to be questioned.

 

Am I getting all evangelical?  No, I am not, because that implies a religious, unquestioning bias and that, as we have clearly established, would be madness.

 

megaplayboy is right about the squaring thing though.  There is a table...

If you want to reconcile movement based damage with exponential progression, the Velocity Factor rules work pretty well for that.  Though converting combat movement into velocity factor might be a bit of a pain in the butt in practice.

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So 30d6 normal is 30 DCs is 10d6 killing.

 

30d6 normal averages 30 Body and the chances of 8 of those dice coming up '1' without any of the others coming up '6' is remote.

 

10d6 killing averages 35 Body and the chances of 9 of them being  2 and one of them being 1 is also remote, but less so and, if you have 10 Body, that is survivable.  This is because of less dice.

 

The killing attack will also produce more overkill results but dead is dead, neg?

 

Forget about terminal velocity though.  Let's say somebody falls for 10D6.  10D6 normal is 10 Body, on average.  A normal person takes 8, leaving them alive and at positive Body.  A 3D6+1 KA is average about 12 Body, leaving them at -2 and dying.

 

The fall becomes more lethal at lower velocities.

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Forget about terminal velocity though.  Let's say somebody falls for 10D6.  10D6 normal is 10 Body, on average.  A normal person takes 8, leaving them alive and at positive Body.  A 3D6+1 KA is average about 12 Body, leaving them at -2 and dying.

 

The fall becomes more lethal at lower velocities.

 

 

This is true, but falls are funny anyway, and probably ought to be dealt with as 'Does Body NND' attacks: consider that wearing a suit or armour will have no real effect on fall damage: it is not the striking of the ground that causes the damage but the sudden change in velocity, and the effect that has on your squishy bits.

 

You can go too far down the rabbit hole though and you ultimately need to go for what feels right to you.  30 DCs of damage does not feel right to me.

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This is true, but falls are funny anyway, and probably ought to be dealt with as 'Does Body NND' attacks: consider that wearing a suit or armour will have no real effect on fall damage: it is not the striking of the ground that causes the damage but the sudden change in velocity, and the effect that has on your squishy bits.

 

You can go too far down the rabbit hole though and you ultimately need to go for what feels right to you.  30 DCs of damage does not feel right to me.

If you want "realistic" falling damage, you can always apply a hit location roll(maybe modified according to how the body hits the ground) and then apply the result to the damage.  You can also assess impairing or disabling injuries, maybe even bleeding.  Very easy for the 10d6 fall to become lethal.  

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This is true, but falls are funny anyway, and probably ought to be dealt with as 'Does Body NND' attacks: consider that wearing a suit or armour will have no real effect on fall damage: it is not the striking of the ground that causes the damage but the sudden change in velocity, and the effect that has on your squishy bits.

 

You can go too far down the rabbit hole though and you ultimately need to go for what feels right to you.  30 DCs of damage does not feel right to me.

 

That's what 'Real armor' is for... and as written (requires maintenance, doesn't protect from falls, etc) I think a case could be made for applying it to natural PD (skin) if someone wanted to and slapping it on to more armors in general (one guy wanted it on his power armor but I ruled that Knockback was just like Falling horizontally and the Real Armor wouldn't help with that, either.  Changed his mind pretty quickly.)

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