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RDU Neil

Sectional Body Armor: Reality vs. Game Play

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tl;dr version (I need some commentary from any gun/military/law enforcement/body armor experts on how actual gunfights play out... to compare to how Hero simulates them.)

 

So I've long been a fan of the "Heroic" level of Hero system, playing out the cinematic and closer to "real' levels of combat. I've never found a system that works as well for detailed (but not TOO detailed) resolution of attack maneuvers, defense maneuvers, hit locations, damage effects, etc. For all Hero's flaws... this remains the coolest "combat action resolution" system out there.

 

That being said, last night I did a side adventure in my Secret Worlds campaign, where I gave my players "Pre-gens" of three US Marshall SOG team members, and put them in the position of hitting a boarded up ranch house where three fugitives had been tracked down... gunfight chaos ensued... it was loads of fun. The characters were 125 points, built using BATF template in Dark Champs, a few more points spent to tweak them out... none had more than two combat levels, 3 and 4 SPDs, 5-6 OCV max... no super powers... keeping it pretty "real"... as much as a game can without becoming totally unfun.

 

I gave these characters full tactical body armor, based on the 5th Ed stats... Level II Kevlar (covering 9-14), ceram plates (+3 to 10/11), Helmet (covering 4), with arm and shin guards (covering 7-8, 15-16)... max armor was 10 hrd (covering 10-11) based on how the book established it. The point was to play out a chaotic gunfight clearing a house, see how the dice go and if the "feel" of it is right.

 

Over all it was fun and felt scary and dangerous and full of chaos and bullets punching through drywall and awkward misses and lucky hits and a lot of blood. One great moment right at the beginning was a panicked meth-head started the whole thing firing from a bedroom into the living room at one of the PCs. Hit in the lower leg, but rolled badly and it "spacked!" off his shin guard. Return 3-round burst from a 7.62 Galiil punched through the half-open, cheap bedroom door and hit gut and thigh, basically insta-killing the unarmored guy. Felt very accurate for the moment.

 

Later though, one of the guys got hit by three high velocity .357 rounds... thigh, chest, shoulder (I rolled really well for the main, well trained bad guy). Even with slightly higher damage than standard .357 rounds... not a single round penetrated (ceram chest plate, ok... but Kevlar shoulder and thigh?) while on the other hand, the stun was massive and put him from full to negatives, after all defenses... due to the built in +1 Stun Multiplier (which almost every assault rifle has, and certain other guns). There were many times where it felt like "not enough body is being done, but way too much stun is getting through" as in one shot to the vitals with a CAR-15 that only did 2 body, but dropped the PC to negative 15 stun due to stun multipliers on gun and hit location.

 

That was one thing that felt "not quite right"... while the other thing was the "assured" nature of the body armor... that if the hit location was covered it always gave full defense... for example, the ceram plates don't cover every inch of a chest or back, so what about a bullet just half and inch to the side of the plate, or hitting between plates, at a seam, etc.?

 

I guess I'm wondering if there are people on the boards who have law enforcement/military experience... and whether or not there is information on how well body armor works. Is it really that good? Do 5.56 and even 7.62 rounds get generally stopped cold by today's body armor? High velocity magnum rounds? Is it really a matter of shooting an armored guy until they are unconscious? Is armor that reliable, or does it have more seams and chances for bullets to penetrate?

 

All in all the adventure was a blast (literally, in many ways) but there were some things that felt "whoa, that armor is way too good!" and a helluva lot more stun than body being done, that just doesn't seem to be quite how bullets really work. Again, i'm not looking for perfect, realistic simulation here, but just getting a sense of what real gunfights, between armored/semi-armored opponents, actually looks like.


Thoughts?

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On 3/8/2018 at 6:39 AM, RDU Neil said:

Even with slightly higher damage than standard .357 rounds... not a single round penetrated (ceram chest plate, ok... but Kevlar shoulder and thigh?)

 

Level II Kevlar should defeat .357 magnum, according to spec.

 

On 3/8/2018 at 6:39 AM, RDU Neil said:

while on the other hand, the stun was massive and put him from full to negatives, after all defenses... due to the built in +1 Stun Multiplier

 

If you're looking for real life comparison, I doubt that three hits from a .357 to soft armor will KO someone. Kevlar is good at dispersing energy. Let's look at the hits:

 

First one to the ceramic plate: Should do no stun. There was a demo video going around in the 80's of a guy in a Second Chance vest with a trauma plate taking shots from a .308 while standing on one foot. He was unfazed by the hits. (The intent was to show that the bullet impact wouldn't have enough energy to knock someone over.)

 

IMO, if the armor value from a hard plate isn't enough to nullify the vast majority of the stun from up to a medium rifle round, then some additional non-resistant defense should be built into the armor to account for this. Let's say you have a relatively tough normal agent at 4 PD. Adding in 10 rPD, that's 14. I'm not sure what a medium rifle round is. Let's say 2d6 for the sake of argument. That's going to do an average of 7 Body and max of 12. So, given the rarity of the 11 or 12 roll, 10 rPD seems good for a hard plate. You could rule hits that get Body through as hitting on an edge or between plates, etc.

 

Now, as to Stun: If an attack doesn't do Body on a plate, it shouldn't be doing much Stun, either. But that's not the way Killing Damage works in Hero. Going off of 4th/5th edition, the Stun Multiplier will roll a 3.5 average given the +1 Stun X on most rifles. So, the 10 Body attack that should be mostly resisted by the plate would do about 35 Stun on an average Stun (but high Body) roll. Take the 14ish PD away from that leaves 21 Stun getting through on a very solid hit. That seems high, going by my feeling that a round stopped by a plate should still do minimal Stun. But this is a game, and in a game, that's a very good roll, so the Stun should be good. Looking at 5th Edition (Not revised), page 276, the fixed Stun Multiplier by chest hit location is x3, so that'd be 30 Stun on a 10 Body hit, or 40 Stun if you factor in the +1 Stun multiplier. Those numbers also seem a bit high. On an average hit of about 7 Body, we're looking at 28 Stun going by the hit location chart and the +1 multiplier. That still lets 14 past our guy's defenses, which still seems high for a trauma plate. The average hit essentially dazes the victim, which doesn't match reality (or, you know, an armor manufacturer's demo tape from thirty odd years ago).  It seems to me that perhaps adding a bit of non-resistant PD would be a better way to buy "realistic" body armor.

 

The hits to the shoulder and thigh? Two locations seriously unlikely to knock someone unconscious regardless of armor IMO. People get shot in the extremities all the time and continue to function. Were you using stun multiplier by hit location rules? IIRC, the rules for stun multipliers by hit location give greater stun multiples to vital areas, but smaller stun multipliers to extremities, which seems appropriate. (They'd only get x1 by the book, or x2 if you're also supposed to apply the bonus stun multiplier, which is likely.)

 

TLDR: The Stun numbers seem a bit too high, even if you're using the multipliers from the hit location chart. This is probably OK, since it's a game and a cinematic reality is the default setting for the rules. Bigger rolls should produce more dramatic results, and all that. If you wanted to add more realism, then adding a little extra non-resistant PD to the armor write ups might be a good way to go. Kevlar is good at dispersing energy, and that's not reflected in the Armor power itself.

 

Edit: Here's a link I found to an interesting article on body armor, with more  up to date details than my limited and dated knowledge:

 

http://www.policemag.com/channel/patrol/articles/2013/01/understanding-armor-plates.aspx

 

 

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Thanks for the thoughtful response... and for the most part I agree... bullets get "stopped" and unlikely so much stun gets through when they are stopped.

 

Question though... the way body armor is laid out in the game... plus the way you are describing it here... and the way hits and locations play out in Hero... it essentially makes even normal agents darn near invulnerable (not exactly, of course) to guns.

 

From another perspective... while yes, a second chance plate can completely stop a bullet, you don't see soldiers and cops with them in the real world just wading into gunfire without a care, "Hey... second chance plate! I'm good!"

 

So we are caught between one version of "simulating reality" which makes body armor look amazing... vs. another simulation of reality in that people get killed or shot up badly while wearing body armor all the time.


So where is the disconnect?

 

If 7-10 rPD is realistic for Kevlar plus plate in terms of theoretical armor stopping bullet... what is missing to balance out the fact that clearly body armor hasn't made guns useless in the real world.

 

Some thoughts:

  • Taking the plate out of the equation, while Kevlar can "stop a .357" does that mean stop it from penetrating, but damage is still done (welts, bruises, broken ribs, etc.)... or does it literally just "poof" like it never hit you?  Seems the former to me, but... 7rp basically makes almost every pistol shot (except max damage) a marshmallow. Really?
  • What about reliability? While a pistol or rifle shot hitting the armor directly is stopped, it seems that there is a clear level of unreliability, where the round hits off-center, from an angle, etc., and the armor simply doesn't fully apply.
  • What about blow-through? It also seems, reading up on officer related shooting deaths, that when body armor is penetrated, it might as well have not been there... like the round was too much for it, so full damage went on to the body underneath.

Hero by the RAW doesn't account well for the second and third points above... and the first one, well max damage is less likely in Hero than in real life... so you need to assume "average damage" and it seems that armor is a bit high vs. average damage.

 

Now... say we kept body armor as written in Dark Champs, but added an activation to ever hit location. This complicates the die rolls, but it comes down to 1) did you hit? 2) what section did you hit? 3) was that section armored? 4) did the armor activate?


So... fire on agent, hit, roll 10 hit location. Agent has armor there, high quality 7rpdKevlar plus 4rpdPlate... he rolls an activation of 14- for the Kevlar and 12- for the plate, to see if it actually applies.


That is a lot of rolls to just resolve a single shot. Is that what is necessary?

 

Also, what about arms, and legs. I've been looking up a lot of body armor, and I see very little that seems to actually cover forearms, upper arms, thighs and shins, an much of it leaves the groin area open... plus there are lots of gaps and creases, and the plates only cover part of the chest and back, not the whole things, etc.

 

So again... would be interested in your opinion on balancing the two realities... that Kevlar and Plate and pretty good at stopping bullets... but they hardly make people casually invulnerable to guns, which is what happens when applied as written in the books.

 

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1 hour ago, Pattern Ghost said:

Level II Kevlar should defeat .357 magnum, according to spec.

 

And just to emphasize... what does "defeat" mean?  Is this "Kevlar made getting shot with a .357 like getting hit with a marshmallow!" or "Kevlar stopped the bullet from penetrating, but there was still intense pain, bruising, welts, cracked ribs, etc."

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9 hours ago, RDU Neil said:

And just to emphasize... what does "defeat" mean?  Is this "Kevlar made getting shot with a .357 like getting hit with a marshmallow!" or "Kevlar stopped the bullet from penetrating, but there was still intense pain, bruising, welts, cracked ribs, etc."

 

I'd say in game terms, a good roll should let a little Body damage through, and significant stun, depending on where you get hit. Soft kevlar is good at preventing serious damage from a bullet, but when I was an MP, I used to just punch guys in the gut who were too cocky about their vest protecting them from everything. Judging by their reaction, Stun could definitely get through. :winkgrin:

 

I haven't looked over the book equipment write ups for a long time, but I think they're good enough for game purposes, barring really high stun multiplier rolls. If you're using hit locations, then the table's stun multipliers seems reasonable to me. Sure, you can get weird results from really high rolls, but weird stuff also happens in real life, too. If someone gets incapacitated from a hit to an arm location due to high a high Stun roll, just say it hit their funny bone an roll on. It can be fun to describe the edge cases, I think.

 

10 hours ago, RDU Neil said:

it essentially makes even normal agents darn near invulnerable (not exactly, of course) to guns. 

 

Normal agents don't wear full coverage body armor most of the time. Give them chest and vitals stomach coverage (or an 11- activation roll) soft Kevlar and that'd reflect more normal circumstances. Kevlar is HOT (and itchy), and miserable to wear. I'd look around at what police are actually using in your area, and maybe talk to one if you know one (because discussions of their armor will probably make police you don't know just a bit suspicious) and see what's being carried. What I'm seeing from casual observation around here is that most police don't wear any armor, and carry a heavier soft vest with a trauma plate in their trunk. When I was an MP, we had soft level 2 vests that we wore all the time (HOT, itchy), and carried a flak vest (good for flak, not so much bullets), riot helmet and baton in the trunk (the latter due to war protestors during Desert Storm).

 

The full body coverage body armor described in your OP should actually make agents immune to most small arms fire. If they're on an entry team, that's reasonable, because law enforcement is going to stack the odds in their favor. However, if they run around much beyond storming a building, they're going to get overheated pretty fast, I'd imagine. And driving a car in that get up is likely out, too.

 

I didn't read through the entirety of your longer post yet, but I'll come back to this thread in a bit. Keep in mind, I'm not an expert here, and haven't got experience with the latest tech.

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7 hours ago, RDU Neil said:

So again... would be interested in your opinion on balancing the two realities... that Kevlar and Plate and pretty good at stopping bullets... but they hardly make people casually invulnerable to guns, which is what happens when applied as written in the books.

 

There are a lot of articles on the North Hollywood shootout, where police had a protracted gun fight with two bank robbers who were heavily armored. It's probably worth looking at. I'll try to find something on it that talks about the gear angle, but here's the Wikipedia article for a start:

 

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

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8 hours ago, RDU Neil said:

Now... say we kept body armor as written in Dark Champs, but added an activation to ever hit location. This complicates the die rolls, but it comes down to 1) did you hit? 2) what section did you hit? 3) was that section armored? 4) did the armor activate? 

 

I think I'd just go with one or the other between hit location and activation rolls. They both have benefits and drawbacks. I'd personally lean toward hit location, since it allows the GM to describe the results of edge case rolls easier. If someone gets a hit location shot to the arm that knocks them out, that's weird. If they get shot in the soft armor over the liver, below the hard plates, then that's a description that makes it easier to maintain suspension of disbelief.

 

8 hours ago, RDU Neil said:

Also, what about arms, and legs. I've been looking up a lot of body armor, and I see very little that seems to actually cover forearms, upper arms, thighs and shins, an much of it leaves the groin area open... plus there are lots of gaps and creases, and the plates only cover part of the chest and back, not the whole things, etc.

 

I'd say this is a good case for using activation rolls.

 

 

 

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On 3/8/2018 at 6:39 AM, RDU Neil said:

I gave these characters full tactical body armor, based on the 5th Ed stats... Level II Kevlar (covering 9-14), ceram plates (+3 to 10/11), Helmet (covering 4), with arm and shin guards (covering 7-8, 15-16)... max armor was 10 hrd (covering 10-11) based on how the book established it. The point was to play out a chaotic gunfight clearing a house, see how the dice go and if the "feel" of it is right. 

 

OK, busting out the book again . . . let's see:

 

Soft Kevlar on 9 through 14: That's shoulders, chest, stomach, vitals, thighs.

Ceramic Plates on 10 and 11: That's the chest.

Helmet on 4: That's the noggin.

Some arm and shin guards on the arms and legs.

 

My first reaction is [Takei]"Oh my!"[/Takei] that's a lot of armor.

 

Here's how I'd break down armor. Not considering concealed vests, just the plate carrier stuff:

 

Basic plate carrier vest. These seem to be constructed of soft armor, with pockets to insert trauma plates. That's the base, and covers the front and back of the torso. So, that's 10 to 12 hit locations. If you add in the large sized trauma plates, the coverage is about the same. The sides of the torso get decent coverage, but the armpit holes, and lowermost abdomen (vitals on the hit chart) are vulnerable spots. (Just to be pedantic: Of course the heads, arms, etc. are vulnerable. Just noting the vest doesn't extend far down into the vitals area and the armpit hole here.) Many vests/plate carriers also have high collars, providing some protection to the neck.

 

Looking at real cops, most of them seem to have one of these, either worn or carried in their vehicle around my area. It probably depends on department, etc.

 

Looking online at SRT and entry teams, including ATF, the heaviest-armored guys I'm seeing are wearing upper arm protection to protect the armpit hole, a helmet, and a piece that hangs down covering the vitals. I haven't found any pics of anyone wearing lower arm or leg armor. Many just wear the additional upper arm protection and a helmet. Entry teams also are fronted by one or more guys with large shields.

 

Here's a pic that shows both a front and back view of the heaviest-armored ATF agents I could find:

 

ATFraidsters.jpg

 

So, looks like chest, stomach, vitals (note the flap hanging down on the one on the right, looks like soft kevlar, but I don't know), head (not the face, but for game purposes, close enough), part of the arm (I'd just count that as full torso coverage, b/c as noted the purpose is to prevent arm hole shots into the torso, though it incidentally protects part of the arm), and that's about it. So, maybe 10 through 13 and head (it looks like head takes 3-5, so two out of three of those might be reasonable to reflect the open front of the helmet)?

 

 

 

 

 

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10 hours ago, RDU Neil said:
  • What about reliability? While a pistol or rifle shot hitting the armor directly is stopped, it seems that there is a clear level of unreliability, where the round hits off-center, from an angle, etc., and the armor simply doesn't fully apply. 
  • What about blow-through? It also seems, reading up on officer related shooting deaths, that when body armor is penetrated, it might as well have not been there... like the round was too much for it, so full damage went on to the body underneath.

 

I can't really comment on these two too much. As far as reliability goes, I'd think armor in good condition is going to be reliable, regardless of the angle of approach. However, improperly stored armor can go bad, and armor that has already taken hits should be replaced, but over the course of taking hits in a prolonged fight could conceivably be weakened.   

 

As far as blow-through goes, Hero just doesn't seem to model this outside of just having either armor piercing or flat out higher DCs. I think this one gets down to how you construct your guns and armor, and that it's a good idea to think about how the two interact if you're building from scratch. IIRC, Steve's write ups in 4th edition Dark Champions for weapons and armor seemed pretty decent and well-researched. I don't remember looking at the numbers on those and having any strong disagreement at the time.

 

Here's how I'd tend to break down firearms into broad categories, as a starting point:

 

Moderately strong airgun or .22 short: These can kill you, but they're highly unlikely to. 1 pip RKA (1 DC).

Mouse Guns: Things like .25 ACP, .22 LR, .32 ACP, 9mm Makarov, and .380 ACP. I'd say maybe 1/2d6 RKA (2 DC) .

Service Caliber Pistols: Things like .38 spl, .45 acp, 9mm, .40 S&W, etc. These I'd lump into the 1d6 RKA (3 DC) to 1d6 + 1 RKA (4 DC) range, depending on the actual weapon used.

Magnum Revolver Loads: Things like .357 mag, 10 mm, .44 mag, etc. from a pistol. These I'd go 1.5d6 RKA (5 DC).

 

Up to this point, it's just vanilla damage. All of the above do their damage by simply poking a hole through the target, with the main determinant of the damage done being what the hole ended up being in. I would not give magnum handgun rounds an extra stun multiplier. The lighter end of the scale lack penetration, while service caliber and up have adequate penetration, which is really the main determinant of their damage class. I think at this level, damage class is best used to represent penetration because no handgun rounds in this range are powerful enough to merit AP, Penetrating, or extra Stun multipliers, IMO.

 

Moving up the chart, I'd go with pistol caliber carbines. For those in the service caliber range, I'd leave the DCs alone. For carbines in the magnum range, I'd go up one damage class.

 

For rifles, I'd  start giving out a +1 Stun multiplier.  I'd probably leave AP as an ammo property. I'd probably break them down into Light, Medium, Heavy, Elephant, and Anti-Vehicle. I'd treat oddball very light loads like .22 Hornets like service caliber revolver loads. So:

 

Light: 5.56 NATO, 7.62x39, etc. Probably about 2d6 RKA, with a +1 Stun multiplier.

Medium: 7.62x51, 30-30, most non-magnum Deer rifles, etc.: About 2d6+1 to 2.5d6 RKA with a +1 Stun multiplier.

Heavy: Belted magnums, like .300 Win Mag, 7mm Remington magnum, etc. About 3d6 to 3d6+1 RKA with +1 Stun multiple to +2 stun multiple for the heavier end of the spectrum.

Elephant: Big bore, slow moving rounds. 3.5d6, +2 Stun multiplier.

Anti-Vehicle: .50 BMG, etc. I'd build the AP right in to these. 3.5D6, +2 Stun multiplier, AP. 

 

That's just spitballing. What I'd actually do is probably go with most of the book write ups, and tweak things I disagree with, like extra stun multipliers on magnum handgun loads.

 

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Really, really, REALLY appreciate your thoughts on this. Great replies all along, and much of it matches what I've been thinking. 

 

  1. The pic of the ATF guys was very helpful. The PCs in my scenario were "best-of-the-best" US Marshall assault unit, fully equipped with the best load-out armor and weapons to take a house full of bad guys down. (This game is also a bit of X-Files/weird science, so assuming these guys had the very best, fitted Type II-A Spectra, with ceramic plates, etc. I overdid it on having extremeties armored, etc. This mattered, because one shot from a standard 9mm was stopped by 4rpd shin guards, which may or may not be realistic, and at least two major hits to the "9" shoulder, I'm not sure if armor covers that as well, but gave it to them.)  Still, that pic shows no forearm armor, no leg armor, etc. 
  2. We do play Hit Locations and definitely use them as written, which can lead to some very high Stun rolls, as Stomach and Vital shots (12 and 13) come up a LOT on 3d6. I consider the 3-5 to be 3 = Face, 4 = noggin, 5 = throat... so those can be armored separately. (I love Hero for its hit location/damage resolution because of the ability to get really cool descriptions out of it (type of weapon, amount of damage, where it hit, etc.)  Best moment in this particular scenario. The big bad was a psycho special, better with knives than guns. He'd emptied his pistol, and pulled his wicked, nasty combat knife and leapt on a PC, stabbing him and hitting in the 5. I have a house rule "luck chits" that PCs have, and they can spend them for various defensive actions... in this case, the PC spent it to move the hit location one spot... 5 to 6... basically he threw his hand up at the last second.  Hand was unarmored, and full strength psycho knife attack was 2.5d6K... rolled 10 body. Basically ruled the blade stabbed right through his palm, and then tore the blade upward, basically slicing his hand in two (5 body, 20 Stun with +1 stun multiple... PC collapsed screaming, hand ruined and nearly severed, bleeding rules kicked in... he spent several rounds groping the dark for a roll of duct tape to hold the pieces of his hand together as his partners continued the fight... gruesome but very cool scene.)
  3. Just glancing at 5th Ed Dark Champs, your gun write-ups are generally 1 DC lower than what is in the books. Plus, the books give +1 Stun Multiplier to many handguns in the Magnun and .45 and up range. That, coupled with Hit Locations, makes for a lot of Con Stunned, nearly out cold hits, so I'm wondering if removing the increased Stun Multiplier is a good idea, as you stated.
  4. Your description of a 7.62 round above, were the stats I used for a .357 with frangible rounds (the big bad in the house)... so basically 2d6+1 damage was completely soaked with above average rolls by this armor. That was where I was kinda head-scratching, as those are the same damage as a rifle, but this armor shouldn't be proof against rifle rounds... should it? The difference in velocity is tremendous between pistols and rifles and thus penetration is greatly increased.
  5. Does this mean we should consider rifles as "light AP" which I interpret as "AP vs. soft armor and non-armor defenses (things like walls, car doors, etc.) but not vs. anything that would be considered "hard armor" (which is not "hardened" as per the rules, but just of a substance that is harder/denser than lead bullets).  Then there is actual "Hardened" armor, which would be like ceramic plates and vehicle armor, etc., that is designed to specifically stop high velocity, steel core, penetrating rounds, etc.  Again, it just starts to get really "crunchy" and often requires split second judgement, based on roll, hit, which I'm fine with... really good at, actually... but I want to have some general guidelines in place so players don't feel like I'm just making stuff up every time.)
  6. I do have a Blow Through house rule. If the attack hits a non-armored object with defense (like an home interior wall, or car door), and the attack is a logically penetrating kind of attack (bullet vs. a baseball bat), then I look at the amount of damage done, and if it doubles the defense it bypasses the defense, and if then it would do more than the Body, it passes through with full velocity. If an unarmored object is hit with a penetrating attack and does more than the full body, it continues on.  Example: Interior wall, 3 def/4 body... a 6 damage pistol shot will pass right through it, unhindered, but a 5 damage shot or less would get stopped. Also, the wall is still standing, just with a little hole in it.  (Breaking things in Hero is kinda wonky, in that the default is "beat defense and body you've created a human size hole in the object" which makes no sense with guns and knives and even sledge hammers against walls, car doors, etc.) Anyway... this general guideline is cool, and works well in some house to house fights we've had where automatic weapons are punching through walls and cubicles and those things don't provide defense, and it is lots of fun. I even rule that guns vs. a human body... if the single shot does 1 more body than the person had (11 Body vs. unarmored 10 body person) then it does full damage to the target AND what it hits next. Had a great moment in a raging gunfight on a large cargo ship, where a PC with a 7.62x51 assault rifle got the drop on two Tong soldiers running past him on a narrow walkway. He came out behind them and fired twice. One round rolled 12 Body, punching through one guys chest and blowing a hole in the guy in front of him as well. Again, cool scene created by the combination of scene, PC action, weapons, hit location, body damage done, etc., 

 

Anyway... this is all great stuff you've put out here, so it helps me adjust what level of normal vs. cutting edge amazing... body armor should be. I think in most cases, body armor just doesn't cover as many hit locations. (like only the heaviest most complete stuff covers 9 shoulder... mostly it is 10-12, with 13 only if added pieces... 9 only if added pieces, etc.) 

 

Fun stuff, and thanks, seriously, for your time on all this.

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3 hours ago, RDU Neil said:

Just glancing at 5th Ed Dark Champs, your gun write-ups are generally 1 DC lower than what is in the books.

 

That actually sounds better than my list above. The last time I did something similar, my base premise was that the first item on the list should be the smallest projectile capable of killing a healthy human, same as here. But then I looked at how much Body that would take. Today, I just set the lowest category to 1 DC and started adding DCs, thinking that I didn't want to be hitting 4d6 and 5d6 RKAs on the higher end, or at least not too fast.

 

So, a 1 pip killing attack, with the highest Body multiplier on the hit location can only do 2 Body. If you use the base couch potato stats of 8 BODY, that's only a quarter dead. If you bump the pea shooters up to 1/2D6, they can do up to 6 BODY on a really good roll. Not instantly fatal, but close enough for gaming purposes, and still works if you progress the DCs into other broad categories of firearms. (Said categories could be debated, too.)

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16 hours ago, Pattern Ghost said:

Hero just doesn't seem to model this outside of just having either armor piercing or flat out higher DCs

 

Blow Through is in Dark Champions pg 192

 

But it sounds a bit confusing as well as time consumng to adjudicate.  But i do find it's a good baseline to go off of.  I think we did something like if 1/2 the damage of the weapon was equal to or greater than the Def of the barrier.  You got blow though . . . 

 

15 hours ago, RDU Neil said:

That, coupled with Hit Locations, makes for a lot of Con Stunned, nearly out cold hits, so I'm wondering if removing the increased Stun Multiplier is a good idea, as you stated.

 

Either that or just reduce the value of the Stun X multiplier for the hit locations.  That way you don't have to alter the guns (unless you want to).  You can also use other types of defenses. In one of our older games, we had access to "kinetic dispersion gel" that was 50% Damage Reduction, stun only" but it would only protect the stomach/chest/vitals.  And it was only issued during/when the team were gearing up for assault type missions and knew the poop was about to hit the fan.

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On ‎3‎/‎8‎/‎2018 at 9:39 AM, RDU Neil said:

Even with slightly higher damage than standard .357 rounds... not a single round penetrated (ceram chest plate, ok... but Kevlar shoulder and thigh?) while on the other hand, the stun was massive and put him from full to negatives, after all defenses... due to the built in +1 Stun Multiplier (which almost every assault rifle has, and certain other guns). There were many times where it felt like "not enough body is being done, but way too much stun is getting through" as in one shot to the vitals with a CAR-15 that only did 2 body, but dropped the PC to negative 15 stun due to stun multipliers on gun and hit location.

 

That was one thing that felt "not quite right"... 

This sounds like you're using 5th Edition.  If so, a switch to 6th Edition would resolve this issue (huge STUN damage), since the base STUN multiplier on a Killing Attack in 6th Edition is 1/2d6 (i.e. 1d3) rather than 1d6-1.

 

i.e. 6th Edition did away with the so-called "STUN Lotto" on Killing Attacks and made them mode BODY-centric.  That +1 STUN multiplier would cap out at x4 STUN in 6th Edition instead of x6 STUN a la 5th Edition.

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18 hours ago, Pattern Ghost said:

 

ATFraidsters.jpg

 

So, looks like chest, stomach, vitals (note the flap hanging down on the one on the right, looks like soft kevlar, but I don't know),

 

The so-called 'flap' is a ballistic groin protector.  These tend to be level IIIA soft body armor.

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26 minutes ago, Surrealone said:

This sounds like you're using 5th Edition.  If so, a switch to 6th Edition would resolve this issue (huge STUN damage), since the base STUN multiplier on a Killing Attack in 6th Edition is 1/2d6 (i.e. 1d3) rather than 1d6-1.

 

i.e. 6th Edition did away with the so-called "STUN Lotto" on Killing Attacks and made them mode BODY-centric.  That +1 STUN multiplier would cap out at x4 STUN in 6th Edition instead of x6 STUN a la 5th Edition.

 

Yeah... I've done away with the stun lotto years ago. Made it a flat x3 for supers and bought powers, flat x2 for real weapons in a supers campaign. That worked well.


My current campaign uses hit locations, so that is multiplier applied... which again is usually fine, until a weapon with +1 Stun Multiplier shows up. I'm just thinking that should be more rare, and, as Pattern Ghost indicated, a good way to differentiate rifle rounds. (Though I think rifle rounds also have better penetration, there are just exponentially better than pistols in most cases.)

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5 hours ago, Vanguard said:

Blow Through is in Dark Champions pg 192

 

Thanks. I only have 4th Edition Dark Champions, and no idea what box it's in at the moment.

 

3 hours ago, Surrealone said:

The so-called 'flap' is a ballistic groin protector.  These tend to be level IIIA soft body armor. 

 

Thanks. I thought they looked like a soft armor piece. And "ballistic groin protector" sounds better than the first thing I thought of . . . codpiece. :D

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Just read the 5th Ed Dark Champs blowthrough... 1/2 Damage exceeds both defense and body... blowthrough.  Easy enough, but pretty restricting. Would require a 14 damage roll to blow through a 3def 3body interior wall. That seems extreme, but likely balanced for most games. My rule would make that much more easy to blow through, and I'm ok with that.

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On 5/16/2018 at 12:19 PM, Surrealone said:

This sounds like you're using 5th Edition.  If so, a switch to 6th Edition would resolve this issue (huge STUN damage), since the base STUN multiplier on a Killing Attack in 6th Edition is 1/2d6 (i.e. 1d3) rather than 1d6-1.

 

On 5/16/2018 at 12:49 PM, RDU Neil said:

Made it a flat x3 for supers and bought powers, flat x2 for real weapons in a supers campaign.

 

We switched to x3 before 6th because of the Stun Lotto.  Then were tickled when we saw that 6th pretty much did the same.  If I recall correctly, I think the flat x3 is one of the optional rules.

 

@RDU Neil

 

Never thought of dropping it two x2 for Supers.  But then I haven't played in a super heroes game in a long time.

 

In replying to Surrealone, I'm wondering if sticking with the 1/2D6 for Stun in the heroic games might be a better way to simulate glancing blows and/or blows that might do much body but slammed into the chest plate at around the solar plexus as 1200 m/ps.

 

Food for thought . . . 

 

On 5/16/2018 at 3:50 PM, Pattern Ghost said:

 

Thanks. I only have 4th Edition Dark Champions, and no idea what box it's in at the moment.

 

 

Thanks. I thought they looked like a soft armor piece. And "ballistic groin protector" sounds better than the first thing I thought of . . . codpiece. :D

Welcome. If/when you do unpack your 4th Ed DC, I don't think much has changed.  But it's a been a long, long time since I've played 4th.  Also, in looking over the PDF, I can't find an Edition label so it could well be a 4th Ed book that I'm assuming is a 5th.

 

I know that, since some of the rules between 4th and 5th never really changed, some of the books never saw reprints as they were perfectly compatible.

 

Well, that's technically what it is. . . :)

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On 5/16/2018 at 6:13 PM, RDU Neil said:

Just read the 5th Ed Dark Champs blowthrough... 1/2 Damage exceeds both defense and body... blowthrough.  Easy enough, but pretty restricting. Would require a 14 damage roll to blow through a 3def 3body interior wall. That seems extreme, but likely balanced for most games. My rule would make that much more easy to blow through, and I'm ok with that.

 

Yeah, I think we went with something along the lines of if 1/2 the attack exceeded the Def then there was blowthrough.  Otherwise,  it either didn't occur often enough and/or, as you mentioned, was nearly impossible to do without cheese on your ammo or really powerful attacks.

 

It most certainly requires seasoning to taste to get it just right though.

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2 hours ago, Vanguard said:

It most certainly requires seasoning to taste to get it just right though.

 

This is the big truth. It has to be a quick, situational judgement on when it applies and "feels right" for the moment... compared to a hard, fast, mechanical rule you try to layer in all the times. "You just unloaded half a clip from your Galil at the guy in the living room? Ok... then... let's see who was in the bedroom on the other side of that wall!"

 

I personally think this is true of a lot of "rules" in that they only should apply when it feel appropriate for the scene/situation you want to play out... compared to "the rules force a certain scene" 

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6 minutes ago, RDU Neil said:

 

This is the big truth. It has to be a quick, situational judgement on when it applies and "feels right" for the moment... compared to a hard, fast, mechanical rule you try to layer in all the times. "You just unloaded half a clip from your Galil at the guy in the living room? Ok... then... let's see who was in the bedroom on the other side of that wall!"

 

I personally think this is true of a lot of "rules" in that they only should apply when it feel appropriate for the scene/situation you want to play out... compared to "the rules force a certain scene" 

 

Hmm, I'm not sure about that. While some rules can be adjusted on the fly or applied only in a given situation, some of them need to enforced at all times.  Otherwise you have a consistency problem.

 

Take your example, if a player wantonly (or heck even accidently) and you don't worry about the stray rounds, then say you have a hostage scene and the exact same thing plays out but this time you check for blow-through, they may wonder what's going on since it wasn't an issue last time.

 

Plus it's nice to have at least some kind of guideline set down so players know that it is an option if they need it.  Before we changed the blow-through rules, we wouldn't even attempt it because unless it was the sniper with his .50 there was no way our assault rifles or pistols would have a chance.

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15 minutes ago, Vanguard said:

Plus it's nice to have at least some kind of guideline set down so players know that it is an option if they need it.  Before we changed the blow-through rules, we wouldn't even attempt it because unless it was the sniper with his .50 there was no way our assault rifles or pistols would have a chance.

 

This is more what I mean. The players know what the general rule is as an option... and yes, judgment requires consistency. I just meant that because in certain situations where it is dramatically appropriate to check for the effects of inadvertent blow through doesn't mean we are going to check every missed shot, every time.

 

I do tend to like rules that help adjudicate "when to apply"   i.e. taking the classic luck roll... I tend to use a "chance" roll in certain circumstances.  Player knows the battle is in a relatively crowded street, I'll say "Ok... remember, if you are blazing away, or doing big knockback in this scene, there is a chance to harm bystanders, destroy property... every miss or big knock back... if you roll unluck, you hit something you didn't want to."


In that way, you don't roll all the complex rolls for every shot, but if unluck comes up, then blow through or whatever might apply.

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15 hours ago, RDU Neil said:

 

"You just unloaded half a clip from your Galil at the guy in the living room? Ok... then... let's see who was in the bedroom on the other side of that wall!"

 

I believe you meant 'magazine', not 'clip'.
 

Magazine-vs-Clip-Firewoodhoardersclub-10

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On the bit about armor not fully covering a location...  that is all part of the damage roll.

 

A low BODY roll = you hit the plate dead on, shot fully deflects, target takes some STUN at most.

 

High BODY roll = you hit a less armored spot.

 

If you feel guns are doing too much STUN, then up their damage slightly (+1 DC) and add -1 STUNx to them.

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On 5/18/2018 at 8:19 AM, RDU Neil said:

 

This is more what I mean. The players know what the general rule is as an option... and yes, judgment requires consistency. I just meant that because in certain situations where it is dramatically appropriate to check for the effects of inadvertent blow through doesn't mean we are going to check every missed shot, every time.

 

I do tend to like rules that help adjudicate "when to apply"   i.e. taking the classic luck roll... I tend to use a "chance" roll in certain circumstances.  Player knows the battle is in a relatively crowded street, I'll say "Ok... remember, if you are blazing away, or doing big knockback in this scene, there is a chance to harm bystanders, destroy property... every miss or big knock back... if you roll unluck, you hit something you didn't want to."


In that way, you don't roll all the complex rolls for every shot, but if unluck comes up, then blow through or whatever might apply.

 

Exactly.

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