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Hit Locations in Super-Hero Game?


eusebius
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We are a few sessions into a new 350 point Champions campaign. My august GM (who also reads these forums ;-) has a house rule that not only are we using hit locations, but we are doing the multipliers before defenses are applied. As I suspected, this makes combats quicker and less predictable.

 

Here is what happened to my character, a hybrid martial artist/energy projector on Monday. I was almost at full and got hit by an enemy martial artist. The attack would have done 7 stun to me, but because he randomly hit me in location 12, the stun damage was increased by 50%, so that I was left barely conscious and stunned. Because I was stunned, my force field shut off. Then another villain hit me with a low power autofire attack (that hit five times). If my force field was working, I would have taken zero damage. Because it was down I took 100 stun and wound up in GM’s option land.

 

Other than general whining, I am posting this to ask what people’s experience has been using hit locations in super-heroic campaigns.

 

I am also thinking that this house rule unduly penalizes people with non-persistent defenses and that if the GM intends to continue using it that he might want to consider not using the stunning rules at all.

 

What do you y’all think?

 

Eusebius

 

PS. We are using mostly 5th edition rules, with a few from 6th.

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Re: Hit Locations in Super-Hero Game?

 

There is a reason why the rulebook description for Hit Locations recommends that they not be used for superheroic games. ;) As you've found, the massive damage that attacks by supers usually dish out can end combats very quickly if Hit Locations are in play, and your GM's variant for how multipliers are applied makes that even more likely. You can expect your games to quickly become a race to get in the first attack since that will give the only reasonable chance of winning the battle. Players will try to buy up DEX, SPD and CSLs to increase their chance of hitting first and to avoid being hit. Lower DEX/higher Defense characters like bricks whose specialty is to soak up damage will be uncompetitive. Climactic battles with powerful villains could end with them going down almost immediately from lucky shots, or smearing your heroes effortlessly if they get lucky. And the chance of characters being killed outright in battle, whether intended or not, goes up dramatically.

 

None of this really reflects the comic-book source material for the superhero genre, but if it's the sort of experience your group wants then of course you should continue to use these rules.

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Re: Hit Locations in Super-Hero Game?

 

I've found that mixing Hit Locations without using Sectional Defenses is a bad combination. For pretty much this particular reason.

 

Also applying the modifiers before defenses is a sure way to ensure a very rapid and unsatisfying end to combats.

 

As LL stated, this combination of rules is going to allow the Speedsters and Martial Artists with very high DCVs to rule the day. Defenses are going to almost be a waste of time. Should you spend the points on 20 DEF when that 20 DEF keeps you at -20 instead of -40 STUN? Is there really a benefit to it? Damage Reduction and to a lesser extent Damage Negation will be a much better route to mitigation than straight up DEF.

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Re: Hit Locations in Super-Hero Game?

 

Well if you're feeling frustrated, you could demonstrate the issues with the "apply location before defense" thing by means of a character.

Either buy +8 vs Hit Locations, or have a method for negating DCV (such as well-timed Entangles). Then get a few headshots on BBEG-types. After his master villains go down in one hit a few times, he might reconsider the ruling.

The opposite method is to create a character with background that the DM really likes, and very little resistant defense. Then arrange to get splatted (as in dead, not KO'd), by a lucky shot. Demonstrate the downside of these rules firsthand.

 

As for your defense, Rapier has the right idea - go with DR / DN. Or something more exotic, like concealment/cover based defense.

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Re: Hit Locations in Super-Hero Game?

 

I thought modifying before defenses was the norm... I always thought the proper order of events was that you rolled damage, rolled hit location, modified base damage, applied PD/ED, then applied Damage Reduction if any. In fact, that has always worked out fine for me in any campaign, so long as I had the right Damage vs. Defenses balance (ie 60 AP Max Attack = 10 Max PD/ED, or the like.)

 

But again, I would never use Hit Location rolls in Champs / Supers, though I might allow called shots in a "darker" setting.

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Re: Hit Locations in Super-Hero Game?

 

I thought modifying before defenses was the norm... I always thought the proper order of events was that you rolled damage, rolled hit location, modified base damage, applied PD/ED, then applied Damage Reduction if any. In fact, that has always worked out fine for me in any campaign, so long as I had the right Damage vs. Defenses balance (ie 60 AP Max Attack = 10 Max PD/ED, or the like.)

 

But again, I would never use Hit Location rolls in Champs / Supers, though I might allow called shots in a "darker" setting.

 

6E2, p109. Roll STUN. Subtract DEF. Apply HitLoc Mod. Determine BODY. Subtract DEF. Apply HitLoc Mod.

 

:)

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Re: Hit Locations in Super-Hero Game?

 

LL beat me to it...

 

The exact text from 5ER (p145):

2. Determine the STUN damage the target takes:

Roll the dice to determine how much STUN

damage the attack does. Then apply the target’s

defenses. Multiply the amount of damage the target

takes after applying his defenses by the modifier for

that part of the body in the N STUN column.

 

In short, the GM is using a house rule with significant effects. That's not a bad thing, but it means that the players need to understand and allow for it.

 

On the non-persistent defences thing: too bad. That's the risk you take. Consider buying a little bit of Combat Luck to help keep you alive when your main defences are down.

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Re: Hit Locations in Super-Hero Game?

 

Well, since I'm the GM in quesdtion, let me chime in here.

What Mike forgot to mention was that Black Diamond (they were fighting GRAB) got hit by the team Brick who connected in the Vitals which effectively put her down for the count & resulted in the team capturing all of GRAB except Cheshire Cat (who had teleported out previously).

Since I'm the one that's rolling the Hit Locations, I usually roll them as Chest unless there is a reason for the location to be elsewhere. Also I try to use Hit Locations as a way to flavor the combat & not as a device to penalize the players &/or reward the villains. Usually it's the villains who end up suffering form the Hit Locaton damage & not the players. But even the players get caught sometimes. Just ask my wife about her character (Brick) in another Champions game we're playing in up in NYC who seems to keep getting KO at least once each game sessiions (we usually have 2 or 3 combvat/game session). Sort of the running joke.

As for how I'm handling location & VUL modifiers for damage, that's the way that I was taught back when I started playing Hero in 1985 & until this game, I haven't had a complaint about it. I figure that if you get hit in a sensitive location (like Stomach, Head, Vitals, etc.) then you should be taking extra damage from that. Also VUL are a Disadvantage that should penalize you which, applying their modifiers after defenses & Damage Reduction makes them not a Disadvantage to my mind. YMMV.

As for the way that 4th & later Ed. handle the effects of Killing Damage in regards to nonresistant defense, I stongly disagree with it. My thoughts are Killing Attacks are supposed to do damage. So unless you have resistant defenses of some sort, then if you get hit by a Killing Attack, you should take in on the nose for both BODY & STUN. My #0.02. YMMV

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Re: Hit Locations in Super-Hero Game?

 

Reminds me of critical hit charts in D&D. I refuse to use or play with them. Rationale: If I get a lucky hit and kill or take an opponent that is all well in good but that is against a villian, if I kill or permanently main the bad guy so what there will always be more. However if a bad guy kills or maims me then it is done...time to make a new character. Those types of games the odds are always against you as a player. I would come with a small stack of characters and explain that they are replacement characters becuase it is not a matter of if but when your character falls permanently to a lucky hit.

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Re: Hit Locations in Super-Hero Game?

 

Lots of good points above. In a Supers game that uses hit locations, the best character is probably one of those hyper-accurate characters. Choosing between a 12 DC attack and a 9 DC attack with +8 penalty skill levels to offset hit location penalties, the former will be a little cheaper and the latter will do damage like an 18 DC attack.

 

Forget being a big, dumb brute character, or a Growth character, or anyone with low DCV - it's too easy to take called shots to vulnerable areas.

 

The comment on critical hits is well taken. A critical system ultimately works against the PC's because far more attack rolls will be made against them, over time, than against any NPC.

 

The bottom line is that any house rule should make the game more fun,a very subjective term. Are the players having more fun with the hit location rules, as modified? Clearly, one player is not having more fun - he is enjoying the game less. What do the others think?

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Re: Hit Locations in Super-Hero Game?

 

My group always plays with hit locations in Superheroic games, and we all generally like it. However, I'm not a big fan of the NStun multiplication before defenses, that makes normal damage attacks way too good.

 

This does change some of the dynamics of the game - it makes low DCV much more dangerous (but we allow lower DCV characters to have more defenses to compensate). It makes combat generally more tactical, in that being at 1/2 DCV or having put all one's levels on OCV is much more of a liability. It definitely does make the game more dangerous and make large groups of weak enemies more of a threat; the GM just has to account for that. On the whole, I like it (and so does the rest of the group) since it adds more depth to combat, and makes tactics like "you grab him and I'll make a called shot" or "I'll taunt him into going Enraged, and then you headshot him while his levels are in OCV" more useful.

 

With regard to the skill levels/PSLs versus DCs, we do play with a bunch of cap rules. If we didn't have them, I think we would indeed see a problem with everyone having +8 PSLs to offset hit locations.

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Re: Hit Locations in Super-Hero Game?

 

Reminds me of critical hit charts in D&D. I refuse to use or play with them. Rationale: If I get a lucky hit and kill or take an opponent that is all well in good but that is against a villian' date=' if I kill or permanently main the bad guy so what there will always be more. However if a bad guy kills or maims me then it is done...time to make a new character. Those types of games the odds are always against you as a player. I would come with a small stack of characters and explain that they are replacement characters becuase it is not a matter of if but when your character falls permanently to a lucky hit.[/quote']

 

I use Critical Hits. But there is one major difference between DnD and Hero that I believe you are overlooking. DnD has a higher incidence and an easier path to true death than Hero. I've never, in nearly 20 years of Hero, seen a character get insta-killed with a Crit, or even pushed into kill by a Crit.

 

You can't simply shout out Crit and assume that all Crit rules are going to result in instant death or maiming. The Crit Rules I've seen for Hero over the years result in either max damage, a couple of extra DCs or non-lethal secondary effects (1/2 running, a STUN or unconsciousness).

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Re: Hit Locations in Super-Hero Game?

 

I like Hit Locations for flavor, but itn a superheroic game I find that its just one more die roll.I normally assume hit locations based on damage unless a character wants to aim for a specific spot for a reason (to hit a focus, etc).

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Re: Hit Locations in Super-Hero Game?

 

Well, since I'm the GM in quesdtion, let me chime in here.

What Mike forgot to mention was that Black Diamond (they were fighting GRAB) got hit by the team Brick who connected in the Vitals which effectively put her down for the count & resulted in the team capturing all of GRAB except Cheshire Cat (who had teleported out previously).

Since I'm the one that's rolling the Hit Locations, I usually roll them as Chest unless there is a reason for the location to be elsewhere. Also I try to use Hit Locations as a way to flavor the combat & not as a device to penalize the players &/or reward the villains. Usually it's the villains who end up suffering form the Hit Locaton damage & not the players. But even the players get caught sometimes. Just ask my wife about her character (Brick) in another Champions game we're playing in up in NYC who seems to keep getting KO at least once each game sessiions (we usually have 2 or 3 combvat/game session). Sort of the running joke.

 

It is your game, and if everyone in your group is satisfied with it that's all that matters. Personally, if the game-changing events you mention happen as often as you describe I'd find that frustrating. Realism certainly has its place in gaming, but for supers I prefer something larger than life. In four-color comics a brick like Black Diamond doesn't crumple due to one "shot to the vitals," unless it's by someone much more powerful. Bricks by definition take lots of hits and tough their way through them, while martial artists and speedsters zig and zag their way around attacks; but either method is effective. Those are genre conventions that I love. Naturally YMMV.

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Re: Hit Locations in Super-Hero Game?

 

I've used Hit Loc's with Supers and I liked it. But some groups of players did not, so I don't use it all the time. Before or after is a thing that makes a big diff...

 

I usually modify after Def....but I'd have no problem if it was the other way...I've even played Fantasy where it was modified first....

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Re: Hit Locations in Super-Hero Game?

 

Something that I should probably mention is that since I got started in Hero (back in 1985), I've had only 3 PC deaths in the game. And those were at the express request of the player. As far as NPC deaths, I've had only 5 but that was also planned as part fo the storyline.

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Re: Hit Locations in Super-Hero Game?

 

As for how I'm handling location & VUL modifiers for damage, that's the way that I was taught back when I started playing Hero in 1985 & until this game, I haven't had a complaint about it. I figure that if you get hit in a sensitive location (like Stomach, Head, Vitals, etc.) then you should be taking extra damage from that. Also VUL are a Disadvantage that should penalize you which, applying their modifiers after defenses & Damage Reduction makes them not a Disadvantage to my mind. YMMV.

 

Just to be clear, this is whining and inquiring. If I make it to complaining, you'll know it! :eg:

 

Eusebius

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Re: Hit Locations in Super-Hero Game?

 

On the non-persistent defences thing: too bad. That's the risk you take. Consider buying a little bit of Combat Luck to help keep you alive when your main defences are down.

 

I'm not so sure about this one. Stunning and non-persistent defenses are a known risk--you get penalized when you take a heavy hit and that makes you vulnerable to subsequent attacks. But if the house rule about hit locations makes heavy hits a lot more common, then maybe another house rule to disregard stunning might be reasonable.

 

I actually think I might wind up liking the hit location thing. I'm just kicking around the permutations at this point.

 

Eusebius

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Re: Hit Locations in Super-Hero Game?

 

I'm not so sure about this one. Stunning and non-persistent defenses are a known risk--you get penalized when you take a heavy hit and that makes you vulnerable to subsequent attacks. But if the house rule about hit locations makes heavy hits a lot more common' date=' then maybe another house rule to disregard stunning might be reasonable. [/quote']

 

This is a common issue with house rules - they have a ripple effect. With heavy hits more common, defenses are devalued (stopping less of big attacks than they do under the RAW) in comparison to DCV (which avoids the attack however large it may be), damage negation (reduces DC's whether or not they do double damage) and damage reduction (halves damage whether or not it's doubled).

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Re: Hit Locations in Super-Hero Game?

 

Doesn't the "Hit Location before defenses" have some strange effects? I would find it odd that a 4d6 HA baseball bat could break through a 25 PD force field, just because a head/vitals-shot was rolled. Is the force field weaker there or something?

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Re: Hit Locations in Super-Hero Game?

 

I've never liked hit locations. It eventually devolves to eververyone calling out "Shot to the head". If it was random then that would not be as bad, but how do you justify not allowing people to attack specific body parts intentially if they can hit them unintentionally?

 

Like some of the other posters said, even very low level enemies can beat you down with low powered attacks given damage multiples. Very un-heroic to be able to stand up to Ogre for minutes, but being taken out by a gang of 12 thugs with knives in a couple phases.

 

I think the rules are best that the damage has the Def applied first, otherwise Def is way less effective. Would a Def 10 force field be weaker around the head?

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Re: Hit Locations in Super-Hero Game?

 

I've never liked hit locations. It eventually devolves to eververyone calling out "Shot to the head".

Maybe it does with the people you play with.

 

If it was random then that would not be as bad' date=' but how do you justify not allowing people to attack specific body parts intentially if they can hit them unintentionally?[/quote']

You do know that there are penalties to making called shots, right?

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