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Penthau

House rule for killing attack stun

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As I was thinking about what stun multiplier to use for killing attacks, it occurred to me that not much hurts less than a killing attack that doesn't penetrate resistant defenses and not much hurts more than a killing attack that doesn't meet any resistant defenses. For instance, even a hard stab with a dagger against rigid armor that stops the body completely wouldn't hurt very much, but a deep wound with the same dagger would hurt a lot. So I thought about how to model that.

 

I am considering using a stun multiplier of 2 on the base attack, then the same multiplier on any body that gets past resistant defenses. The stun for the body done would be extra stun against no defenses. Increasing the stun multiplier would increase the multiplier on both parts of the attack.

 

For example, a killing attack that did 8 body, 16 stun vs 8 PD, 8 resistant PD would do 0 body, 8 stun. If it was vs someone with just 8 PD, 0 rPD, it would do 8 body, 8 stun, then another 16 for the 8 body done.

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For a very long time (over 20 years), in 4e and 5e campaigns I often used the house rule that the STUN multiple applied to BODY that got past defenses but the target took all of the STUN without applying any PD / ED against it.

 

So for instance if 12 BODY were inflicted on someone with 6 rPD with a xSTUN of 4, the target would take 6 BODY and 24STUN.

 

This was on of several tweaks I tried to normalize stun lotto and also to streamline play. Of the various approaches I tried, this one proved to be the most successful.

 

I feel like some of the concerns that I had w/ k vs n damage in earlier editions have been addressed well enough in 6e, so I have not used this or other house rules for k dmg in 6e so far, but the method would work the same if I did decide to use it aain.

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Yah...I too think it's a neat idea and feel that modelling the pain vs. damage vs. dramatic gameplay\genre emulation aspect of RPGs is still a thing that's pretty rudimentary in most games. Lots of room for improved realism, "realism", and more functional ways to divide the whole thing up and get it sorted.

 

But I also think it's more bookkeeping than I'd personally want to deal with and feel the default system is just fine for my purposes. 

 

Also makes me wish Champions Online had implemented the actual Hero System rules so we'd have a sweeeeeet online platform to run hex-based Hero games normal-style but with unlimited tiny rules mods like this one that you could plug in and get the computer to track for you. 

 

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1 minute ago, Killer Shrike said:

For a very long time (over 20 years), in 4e and 5e campaigns I often used the house rule that the STUN multiple applied to BODY that got past defenses but the target took all of the STUN without applying any PD / ED against it.

 

So for instance if 12 BODY were inflicted on someone with 6 rPD with a xSTUN of 4, the target would take 6 BODY and 24STUN.

 

This was on of several tweaks I tried to normalize stun lotto and also to streamline play. Of the various approaches I tried, this one proved to be the most successful.

 

I feel like some of the concerns that I had w/ k vs n damage in earlier editions have been addressed well enough in 6e, so I have not used this or other house rules for k dmg in 6e so far, but the method would work the same if I did decide to use it aain.

 

As a math guy what was the general effect of this change in combats?

I take it from the timespan of usage that it produced beneficial effects? Can you characterize them? Or did they go hand-in-hand with other stun lotto mitigations?

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The math wasn't "better" per se, it was just different, but it made some situations that I didn't like less common, and introduced some beneficial aspects which I did like. It was more of a sidegrade / tuning.

 

A few things. First, it sped up combat a bit and simplified the PD / rPD and ED / rED STUN math considerably. Secondly, it become a bit more likely that a character might be at negative BODY but positive STUN which is a feature of the Hero System I've always appreciated but which doesn't actually happen very often RAW...it creates really clutch and gritty situations when it does happen. Killing attacks were less likely overall to just knock targets out but it still sometimes happened which was particularly well suited to fantasy and urban games. Coup d' grace were rarely necessary; k dmg combats tended to be decisively lethal rather than end with one side or the other knocked out. It prevented the situations where a character took 1 or no BODY and got knocked out from a KA, which I never liked the feel of...the coma inducing paper cut. It moderated stun lotto without getting rid of it entirely, and it also made attacks vs an opponent without rDEF even more effective which was again genre appropriate for gritty heroic and gritty cinematic play. It was friendlier to the PC's, who are in more combats over their lifespan than NPCs, as they were less likely to get one shotted into stun comas. Combats tended to last a few phases longer with more back and forth body exchanges, but they were resolved faster so it didn't "slow combat down" in real time.

 

Basically the main theme there is it adjusted the propensity of k dmg to be more effective at knocking people out than actually killing them without getting rid of it entirely. Lets say someone is throwing a 2D6+1 K vs a target wearing Chainmail 6/6 rDEF. Average damage is 2 BODY past defense ad 6 STUN but sometimes the dice come up above average with a fat x5 STUN multiple cherry on top and you're looking at say 5 BODY and 25 STUN past defenses or worst case scenario max roll 7 BODY and 35 STUN. Meanwhile at the low end, attacks that fail to generate at least 6 BODY do no STUN preventing the death by a thousand cuts. 

 

I liked it, the players liked it (except for one player in my "Nine Arrows of the Machtig" fantasy campaign who complained about it, so I let him play his damage using RAW but damage dealt to him was also handled using RAW. He lasted one session after which he begged to go back on the house rule).

 

I'd suggest trying it for a session or two or do a fight club simulation and see what you think. It's an easy to implement adjustment as it doesn't require modification of character sheets or power builds and its commensurately easy to drop it again if you don't like it. 

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7 hours ago, Killer Shrike said:

 

Basically the main theme there is it adjusted the propensity of k dmg to be more effective at knocking people out than actually killing them without getting rid of it entirely.

 

I like the approach.  I may give it a trial run on my Wednesday night table tonight and see if they like it.  I do have some concern that it will make the already nearly invincible plate armor types (we have 2 in the party) even more invincible.

 

Current Rules:  Battle Axe to the face is 8 BOD / 40 STUN minus defenses = 0 BOD and 24 STUN - Seems too high.

Your House Rule: Battle Axe to the face is 8 BOD / -- STUN minus defenses = 0 BOD and 0 STUN - Seems too low.  I feel like this would be a balancing issue if they are relatively immune to stun damage unless facing enemies with 2.5 - 3 dice of killing damage.

 

We've been using the new 1d3 multiplier for AoE killing damage and it feels low.  I like that killing damage doesn't KO everyone left and right, but now it feels like it never KOs anyone at all.  I might bump the multiplier by 0.5x.

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8 minutes ago, Toxxus said:

 

I like the approach.  I may give it a trial run on my Wednesday night table tonight and see if they like it.  I do have some concern that it will make the already nearly invincible plate armor types (we have 2 in the party) even more invincible.

 

Current Rules:  Battle Axe to the face is 8 BOD / 40 STUN minus defenses = 0 BOD and 24 STUN - Seems too high.

Your House Rule: Battle Axe to the face is 8 BOD / -- STUN minus defenses = 0 BOD and 0 STUN - Seems too low.  I feel like this would be a balancing issue if they are relatively immune to stun damage unless facing enemies with 2.5 - 3 dice of killing damage.

 

We've been using the new 1d3 multiplier for AoE killing damage and it feels low.  I like that killing damage doesn't KO everyone left and right, but now it feels like it never KOs anyone at all.  I might bump the multiplier by 0.5x.

 

Plate would be 9 rDEF and Axes 2D6+1 I'm inferring?

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I have made both the 8 rDEF and 9 rDEF options available to the players, but they are using 8 rDEF to avoid the even worse encumbrance penalties that would come with 9 rDEF.

 

 

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In my current campaign of modern guns and knives and martial arts, I did make the rule that if a KA does not penetrate Hardened Defenses, it does no stun... flat out. Basically to simulate the "bullet hits the reinforced plate in your vest, you don't even notice" aspect that is duly documented in modern combat. It has served, when it comes up, to speed things up because the Body damage is clearly stopped by that particular hardened hit location... don't even bother calculating Stun.


This could be modified to something like "If Body done is less than half of the resistant defense, no Stun is done." Probably calculates out to be similar in effect as calculating the Stun for a bad body damage roll and have it be absorbed or minimal. Again... would speed things up.

 

Level II vest (7rPR without plates) gets hit with a 9mm, bad roll of 3 Body... "thwap, it hits, you barely notice" and move on.

 

On the other side of things, the low Stun multiple for limb shots and such is good for "unlikley to knock you unconscious" aspect, but bad for "holy $%!^ that hurts!" aspect. I'm loathe to increase the Stun multiple, because this is more a matter of Hero struggling for the effect of "Stunned" without taking lots of "Stun damage". That has been argued and debated in many other threads, but I think applies a lot to the "I just got stabbed and it hurts like hell and I'm staggered and not fighting back for the moment, but I'm not really close to be unconscious". 

 

It falls under the "Just how much simulation is good for the game, vs. bogging you down?" question.

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1 minute ago, RDU Neil said:

On the other side of things, the low Stun multiple for limb shots and such is good for "unlikley to knock you unconscious" aspect, but bad for "holy $%!^ that hurts!" aspect. I'm loathe to increase the Stun multiple, because this is more a matter of Hero struggling for the effect of "Stunned" without taking lots of "Stun damage". That has been argued and debated in many other threads, but I think applies a lot to the "I just got stabbed and it hurts like hell and I'm staggered and not fighting back for the moment, but I'm not really close to be unconscious". 

 

I think this is covered pretty nicely with the optional Wounding rule that requires an Ego roll at -1 per 2 BOD taken after being wounded or you can only take defensive actions on your next phase.  Basically simulates the defensive covering and reaction to being hurt w/out having to stun or KO the wounded party.

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2 hours ago, Toxxus said:

I have made both the 8 rDEF and 9 rDEF options available to the players, but they are using 8 rDEF to avoid the even worse encumbrance penalties that would come with 9 rDEF.

 

Are you using hit locations & sectional defenses? Are they plated head to toe? 

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13 minutes ago, Killer Shrike said:

 

Are you using hit locations & sectional defenses? Are they plated head to toe? 

 

The usual for northerners was  Plate Helm,  chest plate, bracers and greaves, over a calf length chain hauberk at 6dPD. Not too encumbering.

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1 minute ago, Scott Ruggels said:

The usual for northerners was  Plate Helm,  chest plate, bracers and greaves, over a calf length chain hauberk at 6dPD. Not too encumbering.

 

Wait, are you a player in Toxxus campaign?

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We have sectional armor available, but only 1 player is using it.  The others balked at the crunch of doing sectional armor weights and just took full suits.

 

The two plate armor wearers are head-to-toe 8 rPD (including eye cover) and we are using hit locations, impairing, disabling and modified bleeding (starts at 5 bod, not 1 bod).

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Ok, so: 

 

2D6 K vs 8 rPD, average bounces

2D6+1 K vs 8 rPD, average bounces

2.5D6 K vs 8 rPD, average 1 BODY, xSTUN determined by hit loc

 

Obviously above average rolls are necessary to punch thru the armor, which seems about right to me for 6-8 DC vs 8 rPD. Options such Haymaker (if you allow it), pushing (if you allow it), martial maneuvers with weapons (if you allow it), Deadly Blow / Weapon Master (if you allow it), and converting CSL's for damage apply, allowing success at a cost or success due to skill. Heavier weapons will also punch thru. 

 

I wouldn't have a problem with it, personally. However if you wanted to model the idea that getting hit imparts some amount of force even against a heavily armored opponent, another option is to institute a Battered rule: getting hit by an attack does a minimum of 1 unresistable STUN per die of damage. 

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1 minute ago, Killer Shrike said:

However if you wanted to model the idea that getting hit imparts some amount of force even against a heavily armored opponent, another option is to institute a Battered rule: getting hit by an attack does a minimum of 1 unresistable STUN per die of damage. 

 

This is along the lines of what I was looking for.  I suspect the problem with Killing Attacks in general is the multiplier aspect.

 

Using the above examples:

8 BOD to chest of 8 rPD/8PD tough guy = 24-16 = 8 STUN.  A moderate amount of stun damage representing a mighty blow barely thwarted by armor.  I can live with this.

8 BOD to head of 8 rPD/8PD tough guy = 40-16 = 24 STUN.  A very heavy and stunning amount of stun damage that feels very high for a blow that did not get through the armor.

 

If it wasn't so math heavy I'd run with this:  STUN mod is capped at 3x until you breach the armor.

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Yeah, the main issue in a lethal damage game is a stagger / CON stunning can be synonymous with dead, as I'm sure you know. Quite often it's not fight to first blood or fight to the death, it's fight to first STUN greater than CON. 

 

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27 minutes ago, Toxxus said:

If it wasn't so math heavy I'd run with this:  STUN mod is capped at 3x until you breach the armor.

 

That wouldn't work w/ hit locs as some of the locations have a lower xStun.

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10 minutes ago, Killer Shrike said:

 

That wouldn't work w/ hit locs as some of the locations have a lower xStun.

 

If I'm using a cap (not a fixed multiplier) then if they are struck in a x1 or x2 area I'd use that instead of the cap of 3x.

 

I'm just leery of adding even more math to the game.

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2 minutes ago, Toxxus said:

If I'm using a cap (not a fixed multiplier) then if they are struck in a x1 or x2 area I'd use that instead of the cap of 3x.

 

I'm just leery of adding even more math to the game.

 

Ah, I see. Well, I suggest you try my thing; I think you'll find it does reduce math for k dmg and is overall a streamlining mechanic that works well at the table. If the no body == no stun implication is a concern, the Battered rule addresses that (and tanking in general).

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On 3/6/2019 at 3:08 AM, Penthau said:

For instance, even a hard stab with a dagger against rigid armor that stops the body completely wouldn't hurt very much, but a deep wound with the same dagger would hurt a lot. So I thought about how to model that. 

I can not remember if it was HERO, Shadowrun or another System altogether but I once read a rule:
"Every attack does at least as much STUN damage as BODY damage".

You could adapt this to a multiple of the BODY damage done.

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On 3/7/2019 at 9:18 AM, Christopher said:

I can not remember if it was HERO, Shadowrun or another System altogether but I once read a rule:
"Every attack does at least as much STUN damage as BODY damage".

You could adapt this to a multiple of the BODY damage done.

 

That is HERO.  A minimum of one STUN taken per BODY taken after defenses and other modifiers such as hit location.  

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