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Rules variant: Killing Damage uses same scale as Normal Damage


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I’ve created a rules variant that uses the Normal Damage dice scale for Killing Damage, which eliminates half-dice and rolling for a STUN multiplier. The goal is to speed up combat and make the game simpler. I’ve been playing Hero for some time, but I’m not an expert-- so let me know if I missed anything.

Rules Modifications

1. Use the Damage Classes Table to convert Killing Damage dice to Normal Damage dice. Example: Under the original rules, a Desert Eagle does 2d6 BODY, but now it does 6d6.

1 pip = 1d6
1/2D = 2d6
1d6 = 3d6
1d6+1 = 4d6
1.5 d6 = 5d6
2d6 = 6d6
2d6+1 = 7d6
2.5 d6 = 8d6
3d6 = 9d6
etc.

2. Since KA’s now do more damage, the BODY characteristic must increase. Use the same scale as STUN:
 

  • Base Value: 20
  • Cost: 1 CP per +2 BODY
  • Characteristic maximum: 50

3. In combat, subtract Killing Damage from both STUN and BODY. Example: The Avenger shoots the Dark Archer for 18 BODY. The Dark Archer’s armor provides 6 rPD, which reduces the damage to 12. Adding his 5 PD to the armor reduces the STUN damage to 7 STUN.  

4. The Death threshold remains the same (negative BODY).

5. BODY heals at REC x 3 per month, rather than REC per month.

6. RKA’s are now purchased as Blast (does BODY). HKA’s are now purchased as a Hand-to-Hand Attack (does BODY).  There’s no additional cost for the “does BODY” modifier, but you must declare it when you buy the power.  

7. Converting published NPC’s is simple. First, multiply BODY x3. Next, use the Damage Scale Table to convert any Killing Attacks to the Normal Damage scale.

 

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I'm not a huge fan of house rules which change core principles of the system or render every pre-published enemy stat-block incorrect. Especially as a new GM, I fear you are making more work for yourself in a system that already puts a heavy load on you.

 

There are several alternatives available however. For example, if you issue is simply with rolling STUN Lottery, you can use Hit-Locations for most attacks instead. It does mean slightly more rolls (instead of fewer), but you can roll Hit Location at the same time you roll To Hit if you have different sets of dice (meaning it can end up being fewer steps). Plus using Hit Locations adds lots of flavor to combat. I love Hit Locations; they are one of my favorite optional combat mechanics.

 

A (perhaps simpler) alternative to your proposed house-rule would be not to use Killing Attacks at all, just convert every Weapon (or other Game Element using Killing Attacks) into an equal number of DCs of Normal Damage (3 DCs = 1d6K or 3d6N). This does run into the issue of making Resistant Defenses largely irrelevant/overpriced, for which case I devised the "Lethal" Advantage:

 

Lethal

Applies To: Blast and Hand-To-Hand Attack

Value: +1/4

The BODY Damage of this Attack Power is only reduced by Resistant Defenses (STUN Damage is reduced by Defenses normally). This Modifier is counts as a modifier which affects how the target takes damage for the purpose of Added Damage.

Note: This is not considered a form of the AVAD Advantage, it is more like Armor Piercing or Penetrating. Therefore it does not have to be combined with Does BODY (+1)

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OK, let you know if you missed something:

 

Objects like walls are now trivial. Sure, you can triple their BOD, but that 9d6 KA will carve through a bank vault's defenses.

 

Barrier and Entangle are similarly affected, as are automatons.

 

Now, you can always bulk up the defenses of objects, entangles, barriers and automatons. But now normal attacks are functionally irrelevant to such game elements - a Blast will never get BOD past their defense.

 

Since Killing Damage now does the same STUN, and way more BOD, as Normal Damage, why should anyone ever NOT make their power a Killing attack?

 

Although most characters will now take the same STUN and BOD damage from a Killing Attack, since BOD heals much more slowly, healing powers become almost necessary, or Our Heroes are in a slow war of attrition as each attack reduced BOD and STUN by the same amount. They can't have enough defenses to block most of the BOD without also blocking most of the STUN.

 

How does Knockback work when BOD damage from KAs is tripled?

 

Off the top of my head only, but this variant requires a rewrite of a huge portion of the game rules to accompany it.

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Lethal

Applies To: Blast and Hand-To-Hand Attack

Value: +1/4

The BODY Damage of this Attack Power is only reduced by Resistant Defenses (STUN Damage is reduced by Defenses normally). This Modifier is counts as a modifier which affects how the target takes damage for the purpose of Added Damage.

Note: This is not considered a form of the AVAD Advantage, it is more like Armor Piercing or Penetrating. Therefore it does not have to be combined with Does BODY (+1)

I can see use for this advantage even if you keep Killing Attacks. You could also apply this advantage to NND attacks to create attacks which CAN kill if it is done for a long time (Choke Hold anyone).

 

For NND Attacks, BODY damage should not apply untill STUN is below negitive CON (-10 STUN in a normal person). Then he starts taking BODY damage as rolled upon the dice as normal. If you buy this for a NND Attack, you do not need Does BODY (as it is a lesser version of Does BODY). But that is my take on the mater.

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No, Lethal is not in any way a "lesser version of Does BODY". Lethal doesn't change whether or not a power causes BODY Damage. It simply changes how that BODY Damage is defended against to match the rules otherwise unique to Killing Attacks. An AVAD Attack would still have to take Does BODY to benefit from Lethal, and an NND Attack can never benefit from Lethal (because you cannot define circumstantial conditions as "Resistant").

 

For example, legal uses of Lethal would include:

Iron-Shod Stave:  HA +3d6, Lethal (+1/4), Zero END (+1/2) (26 APs); OAF (-1), Two-Handed (-1/2), Real Weapon (-1/4) Str Min (5; -1/4). Total Cost:  9 points.

Power Blast:  ​Blast 1d6, AVAD (Power Defense; +1), Does BODY (+1), Lethal (+1/4) (16 APs). ​Total Cost:  ​16 points.

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For which case I devised the "Lethal" Advantage:

 

This is the best way to handle it because you run into all manner of strange pricing and unintended consequence issues using AVAD.  It breaks down reasonably similar in terms of damage, with the emphasis on body rather than stun, although it breaks down at the very low end:

 

1 damage class

1d6 lethal advantage = 1-6 stun, average 3.5; 0-2 body, average 1 (Hit locations make the stun 1-12, average 3..5) *this presumes you'd use the stun column for Lethal advantage-based KA's

1 point killing = 1-2 stun, average 1.5; 1 body, average 1 (Hit locations make the stun 1-5, average 2)

 

2 damage classes

2d6 lethal advantage = 2-12 stun, average 7; 0-4 body, average 2 (Hit locations make the stun 1-24, average 7)

½d6 killing = 1-6 stun, average 4.4; 1-3 body, average 1.5 (Hit locations make the stun 1-15, average 3)

 

3 damage classes

3d6 lethal advantage = 3-18 stun, average 10.5; 0-6 body, average 3 (Hit locations make the stun 1-35, average 10.5)

1d6 killing = 1-12 stun, average 9; 1-3 body, average 3.5 (Hit locations make the stun 1-30, average 7)

 

6 damage classes

6d6 lethal advantage = 6-36 stun, average 21; 0-12 body, average 6 (Hit locations make the stun 3-72, average 21)

2d6 killing = 2-24 stun, average 17.5; 2-12 body, average 7 (Hit locations make the stun 1-60, average 21)

 

12 damage classes

12d6 lethal advantage = 12-72 stun, average 42; 0-24 body, average 12 (Hit locations make the stun 6-84, average 42)

4d6 killing = 4-48 stun, average 35; 4-24 body, average 14 (Hit locations make the stun 2-120, average 42)

 

The main issue is what you do with the hit location chart and increased stun multiple.

 

For me, the main advantage is that you retain the feel in difference of types of attacks, which I think is appropriate, while streamlining rules and making things easier to understand rather than Damage Classes and two different types of rolls.  Plus, rolling 4d6 feels better than d6+1 and gives a better curve.

 

I really, really like this concept an lean toward it, then lean away for fear I'm creating a product too radically different from the rules as written and driving away potential buyers.  Plus, I've not had a chance to playtest at any level to see how it actually runs in games.

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let me know if I missed anything.

 

Rules Modifications

 

1. Use the Damage Classes Table to convert Killing Damage dice to Normal Damage dice. Example: Under the original rules, a Desert Eagle does 2d6 BODY, but now it does 6d6.

 

1 pip = 1d6

1/2D = 2d6

1d6 = 3d6

1d6+1 = 4d6

1.5 d6 = 5d6

2d6 = 6d6

2d6+1 = 7d6

2.5 d6 = 8d6

3d6 = 9d6

etc.

 

2. Since KA’s now do more damage,

No they don't. Yet.

 

3. In combat, subtract Killing Damage from both STUN and BODY.

NOW they do.

 

If you put these two items in reverse order it would make more sense.

 

Lucius Alexander

 

The palindromedary thought it made sense the way it was, but you know - palindromedary

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To be fair I haven't had a chance to play-test Lethal yet, which is one of the reasons the product Lethal is included in isn't slated for publication for some time (even though the document is basically finished except for Artwork I've been too lazy to crank out).

I originally devised Lethal for a heroic campaign in which I was planning where I planned to prohibit Killing Attacks entirely. I got bogged down writing equipment using this system (but not before I wrote dozens of weapons as Lethal Blasts/HAs). That campaign never happened so those documents have been rotting in one of my (many, many) scraps folders for years now.

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We've actually discussed this idea here several times.  The truth is, if you just use normal dice for killing and normal damage (Count the body the same way) but treat defenses the way they are now, its pretty similar in terms of results.

Yeah, I've used this before. Certainly makes the system easier to teach to new players.

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They can't have enough defenses to block most of the BOD without also blocking most of the STUN.

 

I think I see what you mean.

 

  • Original rules: Dark Archer has 10 BODY and armor that does 6 rPD. He gets shot by a Desert Eagle (2d6) for 7 BODY, which the armor reduces to 1 BODY.
  • My proposal: Dark Archer has 30 BODY and armor that does 6 rPD. He gets shot by a Desert Eagle (6d6) for 21 BODY, which the armor reduces to 15 BODY.

 

That makes a far more lethal game. Under the original rules, Dark Archer has lost 1/10 of his BODY, but under my proposal he's lost 50% of it. To preserve the balance, I could raise rPD x 3 (18 rPD). This reduces the attack to 3 BODY, which preserves the ratio. But as you point out, it blocks too much STUN (23 instead of 11).

 

Let me think about it some more.

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We've actually discussed this idea here several times.  The truth is, if you just use normal dice for killing and normal damage (Count the body the same way) but treat defenses the way they are now, its pretty similar in terms of results.

 

Not sure what you mean, can you give an example? It sounds like what I was proprosing in my first post.

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A (perhaps simpler) alternative to your proposed house-rule would be not to use Killing Attacks at all, just convert every Weapon (or other Game Element using Killing Attacks) into an equal number of DCs of Normal Damage (3 DCs = 1d6K or 3d6N).

 

This is what I was proposing in my first post, right?

 

This does run into the issue of making Resistant Defenses largely irrelevant/overpriced...

 

Correct. It took me a while to see it.

 

for which case I devised the "Lethal" Advantage:

 

I think I see where you're going here. But at this point, it's changing the rules too much for me.

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This is what I was proposing in my first post, right?

If it was, that isn't how I interpreted it. The fact that you suggested modifying the BODY Characteristic, and how BODY is recovered, and your reasons for doing so indicated otherwise.

 

Perhaps you misunderstood me? I was talking about simply using Blasts instead of RKAs and HAs instead of HKAs. Doing so requires no changes to the core mechanics of combat or character generation; it would just mean that a 6 DC Desert Eagle or Greatsword causes 6d6 Normal Damage (Average: 6 BODY, 21 STUN) instead of 2d6 Killing Damage (Average: 7 BODY*, 14 STUN).

*Which is only reduced by Resistant Defenses.

Attacks which were previously Killing Attacks do not suddenly cause more BODY damage (they actually cause less BODY Damage) because Normal Damage results aren't read the same way Killing Damage results are. Your example indicated that your Desert Eagle's 6d6 of Normal Damage was still being counted as Killing Damage (instead of as Normal Damage), resulting in it causing much more BODY damage than it should have.

The only side effect my suggestion was is that nobody will buy Resistant Protection or Resistant Damage Reduction, and game elements that normally include Resistant Defenses by default (such as Entangle, Barrier, Bases, and Vehicles) are effectively 50% more expensive than the "need" to be (for the defense portion of those game elements). I devised the Lethal modifier to prevent the side effect described above when removing Killing Attacks from the game.

 

But at this point, it's changing the rules too much for me.

I find that statement very confusing. Your original post indicates you are willing to completely change the core mechanics of Killing Attacks, the Cost and base values BODY, and the rules for recovering BODY... yet including one custom modifier, which basically functions just like Armor Piercing or Penetrating does, is too much of a change?

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Not sure what you mean, can you give an example? It sounds like what I was proprosing in my first post.

[This was directed at Christopher Taylor, and I don't propose to speak for him...]

 

You use the exact same damage calculation as with Normal Damage; the only thing that changes is how defenses are applied.

 

Taking your Desert Eagle example, which does 6 Damage Classes: per current RAW it does 2d6K, the total on the dice is the BODY Damage, multiplied by 1/2d6* (or a flat STUNx modifier) to determine the STUN, BODY Damage ignores nonresistant Defenses.

 

Alternately: those 6 Damage Classes become 6d6 (that part is the same as what you propose), the total on the dice is the STUN Damage, BODY is calculated as per Normal Damage BODY; the only thing different from a Normal Attack is that BODY Damage still ignores nonresistant Defenses.

 

What's different from your proposal (as I understand it) is that this method doesn't radically change the amount of damage done: in the RAW example, an average roll does 7 BODY and 14 STUN. In the Alternate method, an average roll does 6 BODY and 18 STUN. So there's no need to completely re-jigger Characteristics to compensate.

 

* Assuming you're using 6ed; it was 1d6-1 in previous editions.

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If it was, that isn't how I interpreted it. The fact that you suggested modifying the BODY Characteristic, and how BODY is recovered, and your reasons for doing so indicated otherwise.

 

Perhaps you misunderstood me? I was talking about simply using Blasts instead of RKAs and HAs instead of HKAs. Doing so requires no changes to the core mechanics of combat or character generation; it would just mean that a 6 DC Desert Eagle or Greatsword causes 6d6 Normal Damage (Average: 6 BODY, 21 STUN) instead of 2d6 Killing Damage (Average: 7 BODY*, 14 STUN). *Which is only reduced by Resistant Defenses.

 

I misunderstood (but I think I get it now). Let me try an example:

 

Dark Archer has 30 STUN, 10 BODY, 5 PD, and 6rPD. The Avenger shoots him with a Desert Eagle (was 2d6, now 6d6) for 21 STUN and 6 BODY. This is reduced to 10 STUN (from the PD + armor) and 0 BODY (from the armor).

 

If I understand it correctly, I like it. No half dice, no stun multiplier-- it's achieves the goals I want, but in a more elegant fashion. Less modifications to the system.

 

Attacks which were previously Killing Attacks do not suddenly cause more BODY damage (they actually cause less BODY Damage)

 

Correct, 7 vs. 6.

 

Your example indicated that your Desert Eagle's 6d6 of Normal Damage was still being counted as Killing Damage (instead of as Normal Damage), resulting in it causing much more BODY damage than it should have.

 

Correct. My proposal is too lethal.

 

The only side effect my suggestion was is that nobody will buy Resistant Protection or Resistant Damage Reduction, and game elements that normally include Resistant Defenses by default (such as Entangle, Barrier, Bases, and Vehicles) are effectively 50% more expensive than the "need" to be (for the defense portion of those game elements).

 

I don't get this part. Can you explain?

 

I find that statement very confusing. Your original post indicates you are willing to completely change the core mechanics of Killing Attacks, the Cost and base values BODY, and the rules for recovering BODY... yet including one custom modifier, which basically functions just like Armor Piercing or Penetrating does, is too much of a change?

 

I meant that [my proposed changes + your Lethal variant] would change the game too much. I didn't mean that [your Lethal variant] changes the game too much. 

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[This was directed at Christopher Taylor, and I don't propose to speak for him...]

 

You use the exact same damage calculation as with Normal Damage; the only thing that changes is how defenses are applied.

 

Taking your Desert Eagle example, which does 6 Damage Classes: per current RAW it does 2d6K, the total on the dice is the BODY Damage, multiplied by 1/2d6* (or a flat STUNx modifier) to determine the STUN, BODY Damage ignores nonresistant Defenses.

 

Alternately: those 6 Damage Classes become 6d6 (that part is the same as what you propose), the total on the dice is the STUN Damage, BODY is calculated as per Normal Damage BODY; the only thing different from a Normal Attack is that BODY Damage still ignores nonresistant Defenses.

 

What's different from your proposal (as I understand it) is that this method doesn't radically change the amount of damage done: in the RAW example, an average roll does 7 BODY and 14 STUN. In the Alternate method, an average roll does 6 BODY and 18 STUN. So there's no need to completely re-jigger Characteristics to compensate.

 

* Assuming you're using 6ed; it was 1d6-1 in previous editions.

 

I think I get it. It does what I set out to do, but better.

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I think I get it. It does what I set out to do, but better.

 

 

There are some oddities to it (how does increased stun multiple work?  Is it even a thing any more?) but it seems solid.  Just as I said, never playtested it to find out.  I really like it on a theoretical level.  I'd like it even better if you had to have resistant defenses to avoid the stun like pre-6th.

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A (perhaps simpler) alternative to your proposed house-rule would be not to use Killing Attacks at all, just convert every Weapon (or other Game Element using Killing Attacks) into an equal number of DCs of Normal Damage (3 DCs = 1d6K or 3d6N). This does run into the issue of making Resistant Defenses largely irrelevant/overpriced, for which case I devised the "Lethal" Advantage:

 

Lethal

Applies To: Blast and Hand-To-Hand Attack

Value: +1/4

The BODY Damage of this Attack Power is only reduced by Resistant Defenses (STUN Damage is reduced by Defenses normally). This Modifier is counts as a modifier which affects how the target takes damage for the purpose of Added Damage.

Note: This is not considered a form of the AVAD Advantage, it is more like Armor Piercing or Penetrating. Therefore it does not have to be combined with Does BODY (+1)

 

I must be getting dumber as I get older (how do you stat that up in Hero)?

 

Basically, you're making KA's and RKA's dormant rules. Which makes buying Resistant Defenses pointless; you'd just buy normal PD and ED, since it's cheaper. But your Lethal advantage turns a Blast/HTH Attack into a "killing attack" by ignoring non-resistant defenses

 

Perfect.

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You use the exact same damage calculation as with Normal Damage; the only thing that changes is how defenses are applied.

 

What's different from your proposal (as I understand it) is that this method doesn't radically change the amount of damage done: in the RAW example, an average roll does 7 BODY and 14 STUN. In the Alternate method, an average roll does 6 BODY and 18 STUN. So there's no need to completely re-jigger Characteristics to compensate.

We bandied something like this around in SETAC. If you count 1-4 as 1 BOD and 5 and 6 as 2 BOD, or 1-5 as 1 and 6 as 2, you get the same 3.5 average BOD per 3 DCs that we have as present, but the volatility is sharply reduced. But if you count the dice as STUN, you have greater average BOD and the same STUN, so why ever have a normal attack? If you subtracted the DCs from the STUN damage, you'd average 2.5 STUN per DC, which is a bit better than the 2.33 from the present model with a 1/2d6 multiple, but a bit less volatile. That could work.

 

Hit locations then use the "normal damage" effects for both normal and killing damage. Increased Stun Multiple goes away. Want more STUN? Use a normal attack. Killing attacks are supposed to kill. Or perhaps we allow KA and normal dice to mix so you can have a bit of both in a single attack, but that would get complicated fast.

 

I've never been thrilled with KAs that get higher STUN when there is no option to boost the STUN of a normal attack, though. Maybe that means some attacks (weapons with bonus multiples) tack on a die or two of Stun Only damage.

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But if you count the dice as STUN, you have greater average BOD and the same STUN, so why ever have a normal attack?

 

 

The same reason you do now; you don't want to kill your target.  The damage is identical on both (since its using the same dice structure for both) but killing attacks will result in more body through defenses the way its supposed to.

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I must be getting dumber as I get older (how do you stat that up in Hero)?

 

Basically, you're making KA's and RKA's dormant rules. Which makes buying Resistant Defenses pointless; you'd just buy normal PD and ED, since it's cheaper. But your Lethal advantage turns a Blast/HTH Attack into a "killing attack" by ignoring non-resistant defenses

 

Perfect.

Yes it is. This makes Resistant Defenses important without bringing killing attacks into the picture. But in theory, you can keep killing attacks and keep Lethal (basically creating three tears of BODY damage).

 

Of course, the creater ment for Lethal to replace KAs all together. I'm just pointing out that you don't need to kick KAs to the curb.

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We bandied something like this around in SETAC. If you count 1-4 as 1 BOD and 5 and 6 as 2 BOD, or 1-5 as 1 and 6 as 2, you get the same 3.5 average BOD per 3 DCs that we have as present, but the volatility is sharply reduced. But if you count the dice as STUN, you have greater average BOD and the same STUN, so why ever have a normal attack? If you subtracted the DCs from the STUN damage, you'd average 2.5 STUN per DC, which is a bit better than the 2.33 from the present model with a 1/2d6 multiple, but a bit less volatile. That could work.

Yeah, at some point we have to ask if "Killing Attacks" should really be treated as just a type of AVAD? If we were creating Hero from scratch I'm honestly not it would be worth it to include an entirely different damage mechanic for such minimally-different results. But it's something that's been baked into Hero for 35+ years and at this point taking it out would probably cause more problems than it would solve.

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Yes it is. This makes Resistant Defenses important without bringing killing attacks into the picture. But in theory, you can keep killing attacks and keep Lethal (basically creating three tears of BODY damage).

 

Of course, the creater ment for Lethal to replace KAs all together. I'm just pointing out that you don't need to kick KAs to the curb.

Correct on all counts.

While Lethal's original purpose was to replace Killing Attacks, it should work just as well as a supplementary modifier.

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