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Before we get started, does anyone want to get out? Combat Scene Analysis -- Winter Soldier

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Okay, I figured I'd try something new.  I have decided to start going through various movies and plot out their fight scenes in Hero.  Who knows how long this will hold my interest, but I thought it would be fun.  I'll pick some fairly well known films and well-known fights, watch the videos several times, and try to represent what we're seeing on the screen in the Hero system.  There will be some judgment calls, of course, and people are free to disagree with how they interpret the action on the screen. When available, I'll try to link to a video of the fight and include some time stamps for the action.


I'm not going to try to directly match the speed chart to the time of the film, especially when you've got dramatic pauses, dialogue, or switching the camera to bystanders, but I'll make an effort where I can.  I will try and note whatever assumptions I make so that people can better determine if they agree or disagree, and why.  Generally in cinematic action movies, I tend to give higher stats than a lot of people are comfortable with, so don't get too upset if I give a guy a higher Dex than you would.  This is all just for fun.  Oh, and obviously spoilers if you haven't seen it.


First scene -- the elevator fight in Captain America: Winter Soldier




Okay, so here are my starting assumptions.  By my count there are 10 Hydra guys in here with Captain America.  Brock Rumlow is a named character who gets his own stats, and the really big guy probably has higher stats as well.  All of these guys are going to have at least the same stats as a Viper agent, probably melee combat specialists.  In 5th edition that would mean they've got 20 Str, 18 Dex, and 4 Speeds, plus 2 levels in hand to hand.  Looks good for a starting point.  Cap would of course be stronger and faster, how much so is sort of part of the discussion.


My quick notes of the important aspects (basically the "actions" of the characters) of the video::

1:49    guy attacks with baton thing
1:51    cap dodges, throws guy into other people, other guy grabs cap from behind
    one of them kicks emergency stop
1:54    thrown guy blocks off two other guys, other guys start grabbing for cap
1:56    three guys have hold of Cap, one of them shocking him with baton thing
    two guys trying to clamp his arms with magnetic things
1:58    attempt to clamp his arm
2:01    Cap struggles to break out and keep it from clamping
2:04    cap yanks arm free and kicks dude in leg
2:05    cap punches guy in face
2:06    cap elboys other guy in face
2:07    cap kicks other other guy
2:08    cap palm strikes another dude, elbows another
2:09    cap backwards head-butts guy holding him, throws him over his shoulder
2:11    rumlow kicks cap's arm with mag clamp so it latches onto wall
2:14    rumlow attacks cap with baton thing, cap blocks
2:15    rumlow swings with fist and misses
2:16    rumlow hits cap in back with baton
2:19    cap elbows rumlow
2:20    cap grabs and flings dude into security camera

2:20    cut away to people in security room

2:23    guy attacks cap with baton, cap redirects into other guy
2:24    cap hits guy with baton
2:26    cap kicks two guys
2:28    cap blocks other guy then kicks him in the face
2:30    cap yanks clamped arm free from wall and does backflip
2:34    cap elbows one guy then ducks under another's punch
2:35    cap uppercuts the other one, then flings first one through the air

2:37    rumlow talks to cap (breathing heavy -- taking recovery?)

2:43    rumlow swings at cap with baton and misses, swings again and cap catches his hand
2:44    rumlow hits cap with second baton
2:45    cap knocks rumlow's hand free, swings and misses
2:47    rumlow hits cap in stomach again with baton
2:49    cap punches rumlow then throws him up into the ceiling
2:51    fight over


Coming soon... a breakdown of what the fight means in Champions terms.

Edited by massey

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So I'm going to assume that all the characters are holding their actions when the fight begins.  Cap has figured out what is about to happen, but the Hydra guys don't know that he knows.  Cap attempts a Persuasion roll/Presence attack to try and discourage them from the fight, but it doesn't work.  Cap is holding his action until after the first guy makes his move.


I can't keep track of who gets punched when.  A lot of the Hydra agents blend together, and much of the time I can't tell who is getting hit or how many times they've been hit before.  There's an asian guy, the big bald white guy, and Rumlow who are distinctive enough that I can recognize them, but in the blur of combat it's really hard to tell who is who (except for Rumlow).  So I'm not gonna bother tracking when agent #6 gets hit as opposed to somebody else.  By my count, there are about 18 distinct "attack" actions by Cap in this fight that are not directed at Rumlow (in other words, verses generic mooks).  Since there are 9 mook guys, that's two hits apiece.


From an overhead view of the elevator, it appears that it's only somewhat larger than a single hex.  To give a little more room, I'll say it's 2 hexes by 2 hexes, but basically some of the corners would be cut off (effectively the hexes extend outside the walls of the elevator).  I'm not going to calculate the strength of the glass or the walls -- nobody gets knocked through them.


--to be continued--


We've got a rain delay here.  Big hailstorm is coming through and the office is closing up early.  Have to continue the analysis of this later.

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This is gonna be interesting to work a play by play on.


The limited space of the elevator and the number of agents means the DCVs of the entire group may be compromised. With DCVs being artificially lowered, Cap could take advantage with performing a Sweep to attack multiple agents. I kinda always pictured Cap with high levels of Defense Maneuver so the agents don't get the multiple attacker bonus and have to act on Cap's 1/2 DCV but as trained HTH combatants, they are still good enough to manage to grab him even with the OCV penalty.

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10 hours ago, Chris Goodwin said:

I don't know, but that might just edge out "They Live" for best fight scene in film.

Don’t forget the trailer fight in Raising Arizona


And if if you have HBO, I have got to put a pitch in for the most recent episode of Barry. It is the funniest, craziest, extended half-hour fight scene you’ll ever see. Hands down. 

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Okay, so picking up where I left off.  Let's say the base Hydra agents are Dex 18, Spd 4 and 2 HTH levels.  I'm gonna assume Rumlow has an extra combat level and a 5 Spd.  Cap has a 26 Dex, 6 Spd and 4 HTH levels.  I'll be trying to match it to Hero as I type, so I'll be as surprised as you to see how things fit in.  I may adjust stats halfway through the analysis if something doesn't feel like it's playing right.



Cap makes a perception check to notice the odd behavior of the people around him.  One of the guys who gets on with Rumlow has his hand resting on a weapon. Other odd behavior, and the continued arrival of other clear combat-focused SHIELD employees puts him on his guard.  A few more perception checks basically confirm what he fears -- they intend to attack him.


pre-phase 12:

Cap tells the GM he is holding his action until someone attacks him.  He attempts a Persuasion check to convince these men not to attack, but the GM has decided that no matter the result, they can't be swayed from this course of action.  They are pretty confident that they can take down Captain America, and their psych lims go strongly against the idea of backing down.  Cap gives his short statement, letting everyone know that he's on to them.


Phase 12 (1:49 in the video to about 1:58)

Dex 18 - One of the agents attacks Cap with a shock baton.  OCV is 8.  Cap uses his held action to do a combined Martial Block + Martial Throw.  Total bonus is +0 OCV, +1 DCV.  Cap blocks and throws successfully, sending the first agent sprawling into Rumlow and two others.

Agent Big Guy (+5 Str and has Martial Grab and Chokehold maneuvers) moves behind Cap and attacks him at 1/2 DCV.  We'll assume Cap has his levels evenly divided (2 in OCV, 2 in DCV) at this point.  While Cap has Defense Maneuver 2, he hasn't used it because he was holding action.  Agent Big Guy goes all OCV (base 6 + 2 levels - 1 grab) and hits Cap's DCV of 7 (base 9, halved to 5, +1 Martial Throw, +2 combat levels) with an 11 or less.  Cap gets half his Str to resist (not sure how much that is, but Agent Big Guy is trying to hold him with a Str 35 (20 for combat agent, +5 cuz he's really big, +10 for martial grab).  Cap is grabbed.


(Note:  Phase 12 appears to be pretty long here.  We can cram everybody into this phase, or say that certain people are surprised, or say that they're holding action to act in later segments, but I think this is a situation in which the camera just needs to show each person doing something.  For game purposes, this is pretty much all taking place in Phase 12, even though it takes about 10 seconds on camera)


One guy can't reach Cap and so hits the emergency stop button on the elevator, presumably to keep Cap from "escaping".  Ha.

Another guy also grabs Cap's arm (1/2 DCV) and tries to help hold him.

One agent hits Cap with a shock baton, doing some Stun damage but not dazing Cap.

Last two agents pull out the mag clamps (1/2 phase action) and attempt to trap Cap's arms.  One misses (can't seem to get it on him before camera switches away) and the other connects.  The mag clamp appears to be a moderate Entangle, "one limb only, requires metal surface to connect".  Let's call it 6D6 for now.  He hits Cap with it, and attempts a Str contest to force Cap's arm into the wall.  Or at least, he and the other guy holding Cap's arm will do that, once they have an available phase.


Phase 2 (1:59 to about 2:06)

Cap goes.  First, he breaks free of the existing arm grab.  Two agents (both Str 20) were holding his right arm and were exerting their strength on their last phase.  The GM rules that two Str 20 guys will effectively be Str 25 (theoretically double the lifting ability of Str 20).  They have martial grab as well, so they're holding him with an effective 35 Str.  Cap pushes his Str by 10 points, and focuses on just freeing his one arm (optional +5 Str to the roll, 5th ed pg 423), and uses Martial Escape (+15 Str, although visually it looks like he does it with sheer muscle power).  So Cap has +30 Str to break free, which is good because unless he doubles their Body on his escape roll, it burns his entire phase.  Let's say he has 2 martial arts DCs as well, giving him another +10 Str.  If Cap has a 30 Str, that would give him 14D6 to escape.  Cap rolls average and breaks free from their arm grab, leaving him a full phase still to act on segment 2.

Cap now has a full phase action and performs a sweep maneuver, targeting 3 opponents -- the two who grabbed his arm and the other guy with the mag clamp.  Cap takes a -4 OCV from targeting them, meaning he's going to go with something like a Fast Strike that gives him an OCV bonus.  He leaves his combat levels split, so Cap attacks them at OCV 9, doing 30 Str + 2D6 + 2 DCs = 10D6.  All 3 targets are Stunned, but none unconscious.  The guy with the mag clamp drops it and it secures itself to the wall (GM ruling based on special effect).


Phase 3 (2:06 to 2:10)

Well... it looks like my estimate for Cap's Speed was too low.  Cap goes again before any of the other agents.  Does Cap have an 8 Speed?  Damn that's fast.

Cap performs another sweep and a multiple martial arts maneuver.  He Fast Strikes four people (Stunning all of them by the looks of it) and then performs a martial throw on Agent Big Guy.  Kick, open hand strike to the chest, punch to the face, reverse headbutt, followed by a throw.  The GM starts applying penalties and decides that's -8 to Cap's OCV.  Cap has a base 9, so he switches all his levels into OCV, and goes with a Fast Strike.  That's 9+4+2 for OCV 15, - 8 for a total of 7.  The agents have all their levels in OCV because Cap is hard to hit, so he's trying to hit 6 DCVs.  Cap needs three rolls of 12- in a row (Agent Big Guy is at 1/2 DCV since he's holding Cap), followed by 2 rolls against the big guy.  He's only got a 40% chance of hitting 3 times in a row on that.  So... it looks like Cap needs another combat skill level.  5 combat levels mean that Cap is hitting on 13s, and he's got a 58% chance of hitting the first 3 guys (I won't figure the odds against the big guy, because his DCV is only 3 and so Cap should hit pretty easy).

Cap stuns all 4 people he hit, including Agent Big Guy.  He then uses his Martial Throw to toss Big Guy onto the ground.


...Crap...  Multiple martial arts attacks use the lowest bonuses of all the manuevers.  Cap isn't getting his Fast Strike +2 OCV bonus against those guys.  I may have to raise his Dex and/or OCV levels.  Or maybe the two guys who were grabbing him are at reduced DCV, since they were grabbing.  So if they're only DCV 3 (half because they were performing a grab), then Cap only needs to hit one guy who was at full DCV.  His odds improve considerably now.  So let's say 9 OCV base + 4 levels, - 8 for a total of OCV 7.  Attacking two agents at DCV 3 (15-), one at DCV 6 (12-), and then the last one twice at DCV 3 (15-).  A 3D6 probability chart I found says that's (.95 x .95 x .74 x .95 x .95) a 60% chance of hitting.  So he's okay with his existing 9 OCV and 4 levels.  Good.


He's now Stunned 7 dudes who will miss their phase 3.  But not everybody is Stunned.


Dex 18

Rumlow attacks Cap's hand, aiming to knock his wrist into the wall and activate the Entangle mag clamp.  The GM rules that he doesn't really have to do knockback since he's just trying to move Cap's arm.  Rumlow goes full OCV (=3 levels) and does a martial strike.  OCV 9 vs Cap's halved DCV of 5.  Rumlow hits and overcomes Cap's casual strength in this "not really a normal combat manuever" technique.  Cap doesn't take damage, but his right arm flies backwards and locks onto the steel elevator wall.


Phase 5 (2:12 to 2:14)

Now it's just Cap and Rumlow for a few segments and things start moving pretty quickly.

Dex 26 - Cap has just had his arm Entangled, trapping him at effectively 0 DCV.  This sucks, so Cap spends his 5 (with his new 8 Spd, he goes on 2,3,5,6,8,9,11,12) to try and break free.  He rolls poorly and does nothing to the Entangle.

Dex 18 - Rumlow sees how tough Cap is, and how he's shrugged off the earlier shock batons.  He hesitates for a moment...


(Okay, now we've got a slight problem.  Rumlow swings at Cap with the baton (who blocks), then punches wildly at Cap and misses, then follows up with a lengthy shock baton blow to Cap's back.  This all happens in the span of about one second.  So what happened here?  It doesn't seem to match up with the Speed chart at all.  So we're going to work around a bit to make it fit right.  I've had to retype this section because my initial idea, that Rumlow haymakered so it landed on 6, didn't work out at all.)


Rumlow hesitates for a moment and decides to hold his phase.  He wants to get a Speed advantage on Cap if possible and wants back to back phases to attack.  Cap isn't going anywhere, so Rumlow holds until segment 7.


Phase 6 (still 2:14 to 2:15)

Cap is still trying to get his arm free.  He spends his 6 yanking at the Entangle, then looks worriedly at Rumlow.


Phase 7 (2:15)

Rumlow attacks Cap with a multiple martial art maneuver, a swing with the shock baton and then a swift punch.  Cap aborts his segment 8 to block.  He successfully blocks the shock baton, and the GM rules that the punch is therefore blocked as well.  Special effect is a swing and a wild miss.


Phase 8 (2:16 to 2:18)

Cap aborted his 8, so Rumlow goes again.  Rumlow swings his shock baton at Cap and connects.  He rolls good on the damage, doing a lot of Stun but not enough to make Cap loose his action.


Phase 9 (2:19-2:20)

Cap sweeps again, hitting Rumlow and then the first of the other agents who has recovered from being Stunned and moved toward him.  Effectively Cap sees the guy beginning to stand up (they're basically all in the same hex) and holds his action until the guy is within arm's reach.  Cap uses a creative special effect Offensive Strike to Stun Rumlow (losing his 10) and hurl the other guy into the security camera (putting him down for the count).


Phase 11 (2:21 to 2:22)

Now we cut to people watching on the security camera.  Cap is back to yanking at the Entangle.  Other people are staggering around, trying to get to their feet.


Phase 12 (2:23 to 2:24)

Cap sees two guys coming towards him and asks the GM if he can use a modified martial block to redirect the shock baton into the other guy.  The GM likes this idea and says okay.  Cap holds until one makes his move, then the GM has him roll OCV vs OCV to block, and then OCV vs DCV to hit the other guy.  Cap succeeds both times.



Next up... Turn #2



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Post-12:  Everybody gets recoveries.


Turn #2


Phase 2 (2:25 to 2:26)

Now there's a little half-swing that one of the Hydra guys does and Cap does something with his arm.  It's hard to tell from the camera angle but it looks like they're kinda hand fighting with each other.  I'm going to consider that incidental contact that doesn't really need an OCV roll.  I'm not considering those to be actual "attacks".

Dex 26 - Cap sweeps with a jump-kick and hits the guy who just got the shock baton and Rumlow (who is just standing back up).  Apparently Cap did more than Stun him last time, I think Rumlow had dropped to 0 Stun and had to use his 12 Recovering.  But that means he had 2 Recoveries in a row so now he's feeling pretty good (actually now he's feeling less good because he just got kicked in the face again and appears to be Stunned again).


Phase 3 (2:27 to 2:28)

One of the agents attacks, Cap does a block/counterstrike and knocks him into the wall.


Phase 5 (2:30 to 2:33)

Cap finally breaks free of the Entangle.  Presumably he's been slowly putting a Body or two on it every time he's tried to break out.  Now he finally manages to destroy it (freeing his arm from the wall) and does an acrobatics check to land with a backflip.  Rumlow is presumably taking another recovery now.


Phase 6 (2:34 to 2:37)

Cap sweeps again, hitting the two agents standing near him.  Visually he hits each one multiple times, but game mechanics wise it's just an Offensive Strike.  Cap is now focusing on damage because he doesn't need to worry about so many attackers at once.


Phase 8 (2:37 to 2:44)

Rumlow makes a soliloquy, taking no time.  Cap is holding action.  Rumlow attacks and rolls really well.  Cap uses his held action to block, but he blows the roll.  Visually, Rumlow throws a combo of blows and the last one hits, a shock baton to the gut.  Game stat wise, Rumlow hits and Cap fails his block.  After so many good rolls in a row, Cap gets a coupe of bad ones.


Phase 9 (2:46)

Cap swings and it's a miss.  Rolls like a 17 or something.


Phase 10 (2-47 to 2:48)

Rumlow goes.  He rolls well again and hits Cap with the shock baton.  He's starting to think he might pull this off.


Phase 11 (2:49)

Cap hits Rumlow with a Fast Strike.


Phase 12 (2:50 to 2:51)

Cap grabs Rumlow and performs a stylized Crush maneuver, hurling him into the ceiling and taking him completely out of the fight.  Rumlow is very negative Stun.


Post-12  (2:52 to 2:58)

Cap gets his free Recovery and takes the opportunity to make a soliloquy of his own.  He then retrieves his shield and smashes off the (now basically broken, but not yet visually broken) Entangle from his wrist.






Anyway, this was pretty fun, though it was time consuming.  Comments, thoughts, disagreements?  Anything I got really wrong?  I'm sure there will be people worried about giving Cap an 8 Speed, but that seemed to fit the flow of his actions verses those of the other guys the best.  I'm sure if other people had a 3 or something that Cap could operate with something lower, but I based the agents on the Viper HTH specialists.  I suppose if Rumlow was the only HTH specialist and everyone else was a regular agent that might work, but I dunno.  I kinda like it this way.

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"This is demonstrated in the movie when he is easily lifting a motorcycle while three women sit on it for an extended time. That should be between 800 and 900 pounds (360 and 400 kilograms). Olympic class power lifters can lift around four and a half times their body weight, with a great amount of exertion. That means a non superhuman Captain America, at peak performance could only lift around 800 pounds under optimal conditions and with a great deal of exertion."

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1 hour ago, massey said:

Okay, mine is done.  I nominate one of you guys to do the final battle from Avengers Endgame.

My only input--it's an epic 5 turn fight.  In the first couple of turns, it's just Cap, Thor and IM vs Thanos.  At the end of the second turn, the rest of the heroes show up.  At the end of the third turn, Captain Marvel shows up.  The fight ends abruptly at the end of the 5th turn.  

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I'm wondering if MCU Cap might be better represented by having only a 5-6 SPD but then adding on a couple of extra points of Limited SPD (only for use with melee maneuvers).


He must also have all of the multiple attack skills, probably limited to melee usage only (Rapid Attack, Defensive Attack (from APG) and Two-Weapon Fighting). He could then throw 2 attacks per phase at only a -2 DCV. If he has superior DEX, he can even use Blocks without aborting and still make attacks as a combo maneuver, so maybe he also has some Lightning Reflexes for usage only in melee.

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I'm wondering if MCU Cap might be better represented by having only a 5-6 SPD but then adding on a couple of extra points of Limited SPD (only for use with melee maneuvers).


4+4 is a good compromise, it gives you 8 speed in combat, but you're not super mobile on the battlefield, which represents him pretty well.


According to the Marvel Wiki, Ultimate Universe Cap (what the film is based on) can lift 2-5 tons ("can bench press a Toyota" quips Nick Fury) so roughly 30 strength, and push to 40?


Honestly for as good a fighter as Cap is, the fight actually took a little longer than I would have expected, but they probably emptied out their entire SHIELD Hydra talent pool for the most outrageously badass guys they could find and gave them their best gear.  Like an All Star SHIELD team wearing the latest body armor and using the latest gadgets.

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9 hours ago, Christopher R Taylor said:


4+4 is a good compromise, it gives you 8 speed in combat, but you're not super mobile on the battlefield, which represents him pretty well.


According to the Marvel Wiki, Ultimate Universe Cap (what the film is based on) can lift 2-5 tons ("can bench press a Toyota" quips Nick Fury) so roughly 30 strength, and push to 40?


Honestly for as good a fighter as Cap is, the fight actually took a little longer than I would have expected, but they probably emptied out their entire SHIELD Hydra talent pool for the most outrageously badass guys they could find and gave them their best gear.  Like an All Star SHIELD team wearing the latest body armor and using the latest gadgets.

I think Rumlow became Crossbones, so he might have been able to go at Cap by himself if he had been fighting any other place than an enclosed area where Cap could just body slam him hard.


It's like taking on Mike Westen in a bathroom.


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16 hours ago, Steve said:

I'm wondering if MCU Cap might be better represented by having only a 5-6 SPD but then adding on a couple of extra points of Limited SPD (only for use with melee maneuvers).


The only problem with this, unless GM handwaved, is that using Limited Speed RAW is extremely complicated to use. So much so that, the rare times we've actually used it in our games (and it was heavily limited) we've just let the character act on the new Spd.


14 hours ago, Greywind said:

[snipped video to preserve space]


At about the 2:30 mark seems Cap (and Panther) are pretty mobile on the field.


13 hours ago, massey said:

Yeah, remember him basically keeping up with cars on foot in Civil War.


Ya know, that's one of the things I like about the MCU portrayal of Cap. 


They use subtlety to show just how powerful he really is.  And most of the time, it's background stuff that might go unnoticed. Like jumping off the bike and throwing it at the jeep in Age of Ultron. Tearing the cord of wood in half with his bare hands (Age of Ultron again if I recall correctly). And my personal fave, in Infinity War's (See video clip further upthread) final battle.  Black Panther starts out running towards the enemy with Cap a good distance behind and then Cap catches up.  I believe that if they had just a bit more distance before meeting the enemy, Cap would've pulled ahead.

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