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Rules variant: Killing Damage uses same scale as Normal Damage


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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.

 

There is an option in APG 1 to allow the Increased Stun Damage on Normal attacks, at +1 STUN per die.

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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.

How important it is to keep your target alive depends a lot on genre and game tone. Even in "pure Supers", more BOD against objects, automatons, barriers and entangles is a significant benefit. 

 

There is an option in APG 1 to allow the Increased Stun Damage on Normal attacks, at +1 STUN per die.

There's the answer for the "1d6 per DC" killing attack as well, then. Whether the math works reasonably is another question entirely, of course.

 

One possibility I've considered over the years has been a "volatile" option. The 1d6/DC KA described above, and a normal attack, are "non-volatile". The STUN Mult KA (and I did my thinking at 1d6-1) is "volatile. Now, consider an attack that acts vs normal defenses, rolls 1d6-1 BOD (same calc as stun multiple, so 2 2/3 BOD average per die) and a 1d6 STUN multiple, which becomes a "Volatile" punch or blast. Average STUN per 3DC falls from 10.5 to 9 1/3, but volatility rises markedly.

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How important it is to keep your target alive depends a lot on genre and game tone. Even in "pure Supers", more BOD against objects, automatons, barriers and entangles is a significant benefit. 

 

 

 

Sure, and having killing attacks gives you those options. Flexibity is good, I think.  In Champions, KAs may seem usually pointless but in other genres they make a lot more sense.  One thing I like about Hero is that the damage is different for different kinds of weapons, without turning into Phoenix Command where you need a slide rule and a compass to roll damage.

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Lets look at this from another angle.

 

You've raised Body to 20 and made death at -20.  I jump off a building 325' (100m or about 30 stories) tall building.  It takes me 4 seconds to hit the ground for 20d6 normal.  On average, I am unconscious (-48 Stun) with probably a few broken bones but I am not in danger of dying as I will have 2 Body left.  In the old system, I'd have two turns before I bleed to death.

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Sure, and having killing attacks gives you those options. Flexibity is good, I think.  In Champions, KAs may seem usually pointless but in other genres they make a lot more sense.  One thing I like about Hero is that the damage is different for different kinds of weapons, without turning into Phoenix Command where you need a slide rule and a compass to roll damage.

Unquestionably. So I think making KAs equal or superior in all ways to normal attacks, at the same point cost, is not a good approach for any genre. In a Fantasy game, why should anyone choose a normal attack (be it weapon, a choice to fight bare-handed or spells) if the KA will be superior in all ways. Lethality is pretty common in Fantasy games anyway.

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Lets look at this from another angle.

 

You've raised Body to 20 and made death at -20.  I jump off a building 325' (100m or about 30 stories) tall building.  It takes me 4 seconds to hit the ground for 20d6 normal.  On average, I am unconscious (-48 Stun) with probably a few broken bones but I am not in danger of dying as I will have 2 Body left.  In the old system, I'd have two turns before I bleed to death.

 

True. I gave up on my original proposal a few posts back. Too many problems (and you've found another). 

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In a Fantasy game, why should anyone choose a normal attack (be it weapon, a choice to fight bare-handed or spells) if the KA will be superior in all ways.

 

 

This is a challenge in a lot of different ways, not because of imbalance, but because a lot of abilities in heroic games aren't paid for with points.  Why take a blast when you can take NND if the active cost isn't an issue?  But Lethal necessarily increases the active cost of a blast by applying a +1/4 advantage.  So technically its more spendy and you pay more for it.  Its just a question if that is an issue for your campaign or not.

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So I think making KAs equal or superior in all ways to normal attacks, at the same point cost, is not a good approach for any genre.

It makes sense for 4-color supers, but I agree it's problematic in other genres. That's one place where Hero's "Champions roots" show, for better or worse. "I don't want to kill them" should ideally be driven by Psychological Complications (CvK) not by standard pricing.

 

...because a lot of abilities in heroic games aren't paid for with points.

Right, that does change the question a little when the question of which attack should I use is driven more by equipment availability than by point costs. But even in heroic SF, if my blaster has both Kill and Stun setting which one I use should be situational, or if one consistently does more damage it should cost more.

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IIRC, I suggested something like +1/4 lethal advantage on the forums before 6th came out.  But I likened it to +1 stun rather than AVAD.  The main difference would be the amount of body done assuming knockback rules for killing attack applies to lethal.  The body amount difference would be minimal.  I also suggested +1 stun be applicable to blast, increasing each die by 1 stun.  Neither idea obviously went into 6th.

 

The math works out like this

 

1d6 KA +1 Stun = 22 pts

average 3.5 Body and 10.5 stun

4d6 KA +1 Stun = avg 14 Body and 42 stun

6d6 KA +1 Stun = avg 21 Body and 63 stun

 

3d6 Blast Lethal (+1/4) = 22 pts

average 3 Body and 10.5 stun

12d6 Blast Lethal = 12 Body and 42 Stun

18d6 Blast Lethal = 18 Body and 63 Stun

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Now is the time on Hero Forums when we math*.

 

I ran a bunch of numbers comparing body/stun with the Lethal advantage and using the present KA system.  The conclusion is that the more dice you use, the closer it adheres to the old system.

 

but what about active cost?  Lethal necessarily increases the cost of the attack by a +¼ advantage.  How do similar active costs compare?  Using 6th edition rules, first by straight damage class:

 

1 DC

Old: 5 points, 1 body, 1-3 stun

New: 6 points, 0-2 body, 1-6 stun

 

2 DC 

Old: 10 points, 1-3 body

Old (d6-1), 1-5 body, 1-9 stun

New: 12 points, 0-4 body, 2-12 stun

 

3 DC

Old: 15 points, 1-6 body, 1-18 stun

New: 19 points, 0-6 body, 3-18 stun

 

4 DC

Old: 20 points, 2-7 body, 2-21 stun

New: 25 points, 0-8 body, 4-24 stun

 

5 DC

Old: 25 points, 2-9 body, 2-27 stun

Old (2d6-1): 1-11 body, 1-33 stun 

New: 31 points, 0-10 body, 5-30 stun

 

6 DC

Old: 30 points, 2-12 body, 2-36 stun

New: 37 points, 0-12 body, 6-26 stun

 

8 DC

Old: 40 points, 2-15 body, 2-45 stun

Old (3d6-1): 2-17 body, 2-52 stun

New: 50 points, 0-16 body, 8-48 stun

 

10 DC

Old: 50 points, 3-19 body, 3-57 stun

New: 62 points, 0-20 body, 10-60 stun

 

12 DC

Old: 60 points, 4-24 body,4-72 stun

New: 75 points, 0-24 body, 12-72 stun

 

15 DC

Old: 75 points, 5-30 body, 5-90 stun

New: 94 points, 0-30 body, 5-90 stun

 

20 DC

Old: 100 points, 6-39 body, 1-117 stun

Old (7d6-1): 6-41 body, 4-123 stun

New: 125 points, 0-40 body, 20-120 stun

 

Oddly enough, for most dice, the stun averages and peaks higher but the body averages almost identical but lower with more dice (because you can roll 0 body on normal dice).  Of course the choice between ½d6 and d6-1 changes this significantly.

 

As you can see, eventually the active cost of the Lethal advantage system ends up wrapping around to higher damage classes, and the more dice you get, the more the discrepancy occurs.  So here's a comparison by Active Cost:

 

20 active points

Old: 4DC (d6+1) = 2-7 body, 2-21 stun

New:  3 DC (3d6) = 0-6 body, 3-18 stun

 

25 active points

Old: 5 DC (1½d6) = 2-9 body, 2-27 stun
Old: 2d6-1 = 1-11 body, 1-33 stun 

New: (4 DC) 4d6 = 0-8 body, 4-24 stun

 

30 active points

Old: 6 DC (2d6) = 2-12 body, 2-36 stun

New: 5 DC (5d6) = 0-10 body, 5-30 stun

 
50 active points
Old: 10 DC (3d6+1) = points, 3-19 body, 3-57 stun
New: 8 DC (8d6) = 0-16 body, 8-48 stun
 

75 active points:

Old: 15 DC (5d6) = 5-30 body, 5-90 stun
New: 12 DC (12d6) = 0-24 body, 12-72 stun

 

Conclusion: your killing attacks will be slightly less lethal and as you go up levels, deal slightly less stun in exchange for a much simpler system of building killing attacks and teaching the game.  No more "damage class" confusion, just dice.  Its less powerful at higher end dice, but simpler to use and more streamlined.

 

For me, that's not a particularly great concern, but for others it might be frustrating.  To accurately simulate weapons, you might need to add some dice to some (a Barrett Model 82A1 rifle maybe should have 10-12d6 rather than 3d6 KA as now.

 

*caveat: I am an author and artist, so math is not my strong point, as my SAT's attested.  So these numbers might be off.

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75 active points:


Old: 15 DC (5d6) = 5-30 body, 5-90 stun

New: 12 DC (12d6) = 0-24 body, 12-72 stun

 

While the numbers look better for 5d6K, the chance to actually get 30 body and 90 stun is 1 in 46656 (or 0.002143347050754%).  If you weight the averages, you'll find the the killing attack averages about 17.5 Body and 35 stun.  The 12d6 will turn in less body at 12 but the stun rises to 42.
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I can't quantify what the effect of rolling more dice is, because I'm no mathematician, but I suspect the curve is so much better with using Lethal over KA that you're going to see more comfortable averages and less scatter.  How profound that is, I couldn't say.  In the likely ranges you'll see in heroic games (6-9 Damage Class probably a peak) the differences will be greater than in Superheroic with 12 or more damage classes.

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There is an option in APG 1 to allow the Increased Stun Damage on Normal attacks, at +1 STUN per die.

I'll assume +1/4 per level, so

 

12d6, no advantage, average 42 STUN, 12 BOD

 

9 1/2d6, +1 STUN per die, average 43 STUN, 9.5 BOD average

 

8d6, +2 STUN per die, average 44 STUN, 8 BOD

 

6d6, +4 STUN per die, average 45 STUN, 6 BOD

 

4d6, +8 STUN per die, average 46 STUN, 4 BOD

 

Not much impact...

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I'm not sure what you mean by "adding 1d6 of STUN". Moving from 12d6 Blast to 9 1/2d6 Blast, +1 STUN per die, carries no cost variation. Adding 5d6 of STUN to the normal Blast would cost 25 points, and add an average of 17.5 STUN, so 0.7 STUN/CP. Adding 4d6 with +1 STUN per die costs the same 25, and adds 18 STUN, so an average of .72 STUN per CP (at the cost of losing 1 BOD).

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I'm not sure what you mean by "adding 1d6 of STUN".

 

An alternate method of increasing stun multiples proposed would be to add dice which give only stun.  So an 8d6 blast with Increased Stun Multiple would be 8d6, plus 1d6 which only gives stun and no body.  But its even worse than +1 stun per die in the math.

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An alternate method of increasing stun multiples proposed would be to add dice which give only stun.  So an 8d6 blast with Increased Stun Multiple would be 8d6, plus 1d6 which only gives stun and no body.  But its even worse than +1 stun per die in the math.

Why would we need an advantage to add 1d6 STUN that does no BOD? 8d8 Blast + 1d6 Blast, STUN Only seems like a partially limited power. Given the limitation is -0, the math is certainly worse than "Increased STUN".

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Why would we need an advantage to add 1d6 STUN that does no BOD? 8d8 Blast + 1d6 Blast, STUN Only seems like a partially limited power. Given the limitation is -0, the math is certainly worse than "Increased STUN". 

 

 

Well first off, the idea is to simulate "increased stun multiple" so any added damage would necessarily be stun only in order to represent this effect.  But mathematically, it doesn't work to add just 1d6.

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Well first off, the idea is to simulate "increased stun multiple" so any added damage would necessarily be stun only in order to represent this effect.  But mathematically, it doesn't work to add just 1d6.

What does work?

 

If we start with the KA, we have +3.5 STUN per 3 Damage Classes for a +1/4 advantage. The math is simple - every 3DC is an extra 1d6 of BOD, with an average roll of 3.5. +1 STUN Multiple adds the BOD rolled to STUN, so that is 3.5 STUN per 3 DCs.

 

1d6 of STUN damage averages 3.5, and will cost 5 points. If we started with a 12DC attack, we need to add 4 x 3.5 = 14 STUN. That means adding 4d6 that only does STUN, or 20 points. The cost is 5 points more than a +1/4 advantage, so this is a bit more pricy.

 

This discrepancy exists because "Does no BOD" is considered a -0 limitation - the benefits and drawbacks balance out. But if we have 12 DC that already does BOD, we are already at risk of collateral damage, knockback we didn't want, killing the target accidentally, etc., so not getting more BOD from those added dice is, perhaps, more a cost than a benefit. If we allowed "does not increase BOD" as a -1/4 limitation provided we are adding these dice to an attack which already does BOD, maybe with a limit that you can't increase the attack by more than 50% of the base attack's DCs and still get the limitation (to prevent a lot of "1d6 Blast, + 11d6 No BOD blast" point whoring), then the added 4d6 of STUN damage would cost 16 points. That's about as close as the math is ever going to get.

 

Should I spend that 15 points to buy another 3 DC of killing attack instead? Well, that would add 3.5 BOD and 7 STUN on average (6e) or 3.5 BOD and 9 1/3 STUN (pre 6e) on average. +7 STUN for 1 point seems like a pretty good deal. Actually, +7 STUN for 5 points seems pretty reasonable too, but would be more pricy that the current advantage model, so if we think +1 Stun Multiple for +1/4 is reasonably priced, we need that limitation to keep the cost close to level.

 

Now, what if we apply this to a Blast? Now I get +14 STUN on average, but +4d6 Blast would give me the same STUN, and 4 more BOD on average. If we believe that +4 BOD would be valuable, the -1/4 limitation to get the price down to 16, and our Blaster gets to boost his average STUN damage by 0.875 per character point spent, rather than the usual 0.7 provided by a standard Blast. If we require the dice for a Blast to be standard effect, we are now adding the same 12 STUN that the APG suggested +1/4 advantage would have added, but for 16 points instead of 15 points.

 

So, I think that it works, mathematically, to add 1d6 of STUN for 4 points each rather than have a +1/4 advantage to add 14 STUN per 3 DC of the attack.

 

It does, however, create the odd result that these added dice should cost 5 points if adding to an attack that does no BOD in its base form. That's an oddity of the decision that removing BOD from an attack entirely balances out to no net advantage or limitation. If we felt an attack which does no BOD should be a -1/4 limitation on a KA or Blast at the outset, that issue would be resolved. This would indicate that we pay 4 points for +3.5 STUN (0.875 points) and 1 point for +1 BOD damage, as long as they are bundled up in a neat ratio.

 

hmmm...+3DC killing costs 15, averages 3.5 BOD and 7 STUN. That would work out to 3.5 + 6.125 = 9.625. Looks like BOD working against rDEF is a pretty huge implicit advantage. Pre-6e, hat would be 3.5 BOD + 9 1/3 STUN, so 3.5 + 8.167 = 11 2/3 CP, a smaller implicit advantage, with the added benefit that higher damage volatility worked to the attacker's favour.

 

Pre 6e, that slight drop in average STUN damage was more than offset by the benefits of much higher volatility. In 6e, that volatility works against the attacker, as the best he can do is match the average STUN of an equal DC Blast. The Hit Locations rules seem to work in all editions, in part because they also add some volatility to normal attacks.

 

BOTTOM LINE: We are used to adding a Stun Multiple as an advantage, and I think that biases us to think that is the "best way". Maybe it is not the best way.

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I agree that stun multiple, while having a very nice feel to it, may not be the ideal system.  I use it for things like hammers to set them apart from swords, for example, but is it the best way?  With a system that replaces killing with normal dice, maybe just a few more dice is better.  I'm not feeling up to it but I wonder if a multiple would work, like 25% more stun for +1/4 or something.  Probably too big, particularly on the high end.

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A 4d6 HKA will average 28 STUN. For +1/4, it adds 50% more STUN, averaging 42 STUN, under the present model.

 

Adding 1 STUN per d6 to a Blast for +1/4 would mean a 12d6 Blast goes from an average of 42 to an average of 54, which is a bit more than 25%. The same 15 point cost could just buy 25% more dice, though.

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