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Toxxus

DEF vs. Thickness of Object

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Let me preface by saying I like the HERO system handling of DEF vs. BOD more than any other system, but one thing that has always bothered me is DEF not being adjusted by thickness.

 

Ex:  If we're talking pine boards - it's a relatively soft wood and the defense would be low.  But in my daughter's TKD class the boards are so thin that the kids with 0 STR (or less) can blast through them with a single blow.

 

I can see at a standard thickness where additional thickness wouldn't add anything to the defense.  Such as a medium tree vs. a large tree vs. a chainsaw.  The thickness of the tree just makes it take longer to carve through.

 

But on the opposite end of the spectrum - if steel is thin enough - I can bend it with my old man strength (the real kind, not the mythical kind - STR 13 tops).

 

Block of glass vs. light bulb, etc.

 

Are there any rules for reducing DEF when materials are very thin?

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I don't think there are, 

 

but I am intrigued by your assumption.

 

My own assumption has always been a bit different:

 

I have taken DEF to be the point at which you begin to damage the material itself: it's an amount of damage to which the material is naturally "impervious," for lack of a better term.  Increasing the amount of the material (in this case, the thickness) does not alter the amount of energy needed to do actual damage to any given area of the material.  It does, however, alter the amount of damage that has to be poured in to destroy the item.

 

In game terms, I have always taken it that the thickness of something-- assuming no changes to the density of the thing-- does not alter the DEF, but _does_ increase (or decrease) the BODY.  Certainly there are exceptions on the extreme ends-- a .02 mil sheet of stainless tears easily, while you'd be hard pressed to dent a piece of steel 1/2" thick, but does it take considerably more energy to scratch that piece of 1/2" stock?

 

 

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One could illustrate this by looking at paper--a single sheet, a 500 sheet "ream", and a box of 10 reams.  You can punch a hole in a single sheet with a mere sharpened pencil(1 pip KA, at best).  That same pencil may break if you try the same stunt with a ream of paper.  Exertion of 5 STR would enable one to easily rip a sheet of paper in half.  Ripping a ream of paper in half would take near-superhuman strength.  A ream of paper might stop a .22 LR bullet from penetrating.  You'd need a high powered rifle bullet to go through a box of 10 reams.  

I do take the premise that thickness increases BODY, not DEF, though I'd suggest that a thickness below the standard guidelines might reduce DEF by a point (or two).  

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One of the GM screens you can download has a chart for body based on mass. As mass increases, so does body. I don’t know the original source for it, and there’s no way I’d normally remember something like this, but I happened to be looking at GM screens yesterday for my Pulp Hero game this afternoon, and noticed this particular chart. 

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The rules increase body based on increasing thickness (check under environment rules for walls).  I think rather than reducing Body to below one.  As one reduces thickness, the defense of the item should go down.  Personally, I just make an educated guess and just run with stuff pulled outta thin air using the environment values as guides.

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13 hours ago, dsatow said:

As one reduces thickness, the defense of the item should go down.

 

Makes sense to me. I can tear through aluminum foil by accident, with force that wouldn't deal a single pip of damage as measured against a human target. The foil is effectively 0 BODY and 0 DEF. Faced with a half-inch slab of aluminum (the same material), I couldn't damage it at all--it's DEF exceeds the maximum damage that I can deal with my bare hands.

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I'm with dsatow on this one... if the thickness of an object is relatively very thin, just make an educated reduction in the normal DEF and go with it. No need to over think it. All this is too much detail for a game to really address, because it really doesn't help the game play... just the programming code for a simulation. 

 

Now, if you really WANT to overthink it, the "thickness affects defense (not just Body)" issue... the fact that HERO really doesn't handle this well... is part of the bigger issue that "relative size of attack vs. target" isn't accounted for/dealt with at all in the game. Size matters, a lot (and thickness is just a variation of size) but in HERO, size, most importantly, relative size, is not a calculable factor. They use some stat changes to sort of reflect size differences in changes to STR and Def and perception, etc., but they don't even begin to accurately reflect the significant differences size makes.

 

Is the Energy blast a half-inch beam or a two inch wide beam or an 8 inch wide beam? That matters a lot in terms of how much damage it does. Is a larger beam more defuse, or just more power? Is a smaller beam more focused and therefore more penetrating, or simply weaker?

Let's take that tin foil vs. 1/2" thick sheet. If I'm Giant Man, at full size, that 1/2" thick sheet is basically tin foil to me, so now has its DEF gone down... or is my STR just so much that I ignore it?

 

Thus, "thickness" and all that is still just relative. There needs to be a standard that is the point of reference (let's say "relative to normal human size") or whatever, but then you have to figure out what that means.

All this is supposed to be generalized in the interaction of "number of dice of attack vs. DEF and BODY"... and for the most part, that works just fine... but if you want to get more complex, for a better simulation, you might need to do something like,

 

Attack = Xd6... you get those dice from a combination of 3 factors... raw power, size of attack, density (including shape) of attack vs. the strength, thickness and density (including shape) of the defense... and now we are just getting closer to basic physics, and doe we really want to go there? I certainly don't.

 

Ultimately, these thought problems bring me back to, "What am I trying to do here? Oh yeah, run an entertaining action adventure game... so the answer is whatever quickly and intuitively approximates what I need in the moment."  Now, if what you are trying to do is create a physics simulator..." 

 

It would be nice if HERO has some general rules on "relative size differentials" like a simple scale of Normal and One Size Level Up or Down, Two Size Levels up or down, etc. Give some generic "+d6 per size level difference" or whatever. It should probably be a lot more, but HERO has always had low, linear changes matched to large exponential changes (see STR chart) which I've never liked, but seem to keep some semblance of game balance. Something like this would be a nice general rule, good for a game, that was not resulting in physics simulator complexity.

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19 hours ago, dsatow said:

Personally, I just make an educated guess and just run with stuff pulled outta thin air using the environment values as guides.

 

3 hours ago, RDU Neil said:

he answer is whatever quickly and intuitively approximates what I need in the moment.

 

 

 

You two are not alone. 

 

I have a strong suspicion that this is how we _all_ handle it, guided by whatever logic crutches make us feel good about our decisions. ;)

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On 5/3/2019 at 12:53 PM, Toxxus said:

Let me preface by saying I like the HERO system handling of DEF vs. BOD more than any other system, but one thing that has always bothered me is DEF not being adjusted by thickness.

 

Ex:  If we're talking pine boards - it's a relatively soft wood and the defense would be low.  But in my daughter's TKD class the boards are so thin that the kids with 0 STR (or less) can blast through them with a single blow.

 

I can see at a standard thickness where additional thickness wouldn't add anything to the defense.  Such as a medium tree vs. a large tree vs. a chainsaw.  The thickness of the tree just makes it take longer to carve through.

 

But on the opposite end of the spectrum - if steel is thin enough - I can bend it with my old man strength (the real kind, not the mythical kind - STR 13 tops).

 

Block of glass vs. light bulb, etc.

 

Are there any rules for reducing DEF when materials are very thin?

 

Yeah, I agree that thickness should have an effect on DEF as well as BODY.  I just kinda adjust it as needed.  One thing that could help is The Ultimate Brick, which has an Expanded Object Table on pages 107-112.  For example it doesn't just have a DEF/BODY for a brick wall like the main rule book.  It breaks it down to Thin/Small Brick Wall, Average Brick Wall, and Large Thick Brick Wall and they have different DEF as well as different BODY.  It may not be as comprehensive as you would like but it does have a good number examples of various walls with DEF based on thickness in addition to BODY.  I think it is a good guideline.  Just note that if you use 6th Edition, The Ultimate Brick is a 5th Edition supplement but It is still quite serviceable for this matter.

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18 minutes ago, Zephrosyne said:

 

Yeah, I agree that thickness should have an effect on DEF as well as BODY.  I just kinda adjust it as needed.  One thing that could help is The Ultimate Brick, which has an Expanded Object Table on pages 107-112.  For example it doesn't just have a DEF/BODY for a brick wall like the main rule book.  It breaks it down to Thin/Small Brick Wall, Average Brick Wall, and Large Thick Brick Wall and they have different DEF as well as different BODY.  It may not be as comprehensive as you would like but it does have a good number examples of various walls with DEF based on thickness in addition to BODY.  I think it is a good guideline.  Just note that if you use 6th Edition, The Ultimate Brick is a 5th Edition supplement but It is still quite serviceable for this matter.

The issue I have with the object tables is that at the 60AP level, the "superhero level" for my group, they produce results that are utterly incongruous with what we'd expect narratively. 

The Brick, with his 60 STR has 30 casual STR, averaging 6 BODY.  We expect this super-humanly strong individual to be able to blindly charge through a chain-link fence, a normal wooden door, or a metal trashcan without slowing down.  But all these things are statted out such that The Brick has less than a 50% chance of breaking them with casual STR.  Similar issues arise with other expressions of STR, but the root issue is that the tables just make the world too durable for the narrative expectations that the word 'superheros' sets. 

I'm not sure if I should blame Heroic standards, where these BODY/DEF combinations seem reasonable, or the number-inflation shown in premade villains and heroes.  But either way, the example tables simply don't work as printed for my group.  So we're back at the "handwave it" stage of materials. 

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You'd also expect that someone with 60 STR to be able to tear an adult male human in half like wet tissue paper. The logarithmic damage is explicitly designed to allow high lifting strength without damage getting out of hand. Of course, such gamist decisions kind of conflict with the simulationist flavor of HERO, but . . . the whole point of this business is a game that you can actually play at the table, right?

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Perhaps going back to older edition Growth or Density Increase would give a good starting place if you're wanting to model increase in DEF to scale with increases in mass and BODY.

 

Old-school DI (only because I know the old rules by heart; I'd have to look up the new ones): Every level of DI doubled the mass (you'd have to wing it to make a "thickness" calculation: twice as thick?  Likely twice the mass, right?) and provided +1 BODY and 3rPD and 3rED.

 

Old-school Growth:  Every doubling of the mass provided +2 BODY and +1 PD and +1 ED.  Twice the BODY and far less defense.

 

I would postulate (perhaps incorrectly) that the BODY difference is related directly to the fact that in Growth the physical form is no more dense; there is simply more of it.  Much like making something thicker: you're increasing the volume taken up by the material, but are not increasing the material in the present volume.  Likely this is why the DEF climb is much lower as well: the increase in mass allows for some sort of "reinforcing" of the DEF, but as the density hasn't changed, the change is not drastic until the mass is _considerably_ higher.  Making the material _more dense_, however, has a radical effect on DEF in relation to mass, and I submit that this is because the physical properties of the matter in question have actually _changed_, as opposed to simply increasing the amount of it.

 

I don't know if there's any point in pursuing this line of thought; it was just something that occurred to me.

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1 mile = 1609.34 meters

average car is a speed 3

assuming a strength of 30 for a size 5 car (generous, since I think most cars are size 4)

 

(30mph * 1609.34)/(60 minutes * 5 turns to a minute) ~= 161 meters per turn / speed of 3 ~= 54m per phase

 

Assuming a move through = 6d6 for strength + 9d6 for velocity = 15d6  This would mean the car takes 12-13 body after a crash in to a wall at 30 mph.

 

Does this look like a car has take over 80% of its body?

 

 

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On 5/7/2019 at 4:59 PM, Gnome BODY (important!) said:

The issue I have with the object tables is that at the 60AP level, the "superhero level" for my group, they produce results that are utterly incongruous with what we'd expect narratively. 

The Brick, with his 60 STR has 30 casual STR, averaging 6 BODY.  We expect this super-humanly strong individual to be able to blindly charge through a chain-link fence, a normal wooden door, or a metal trashcan without slowing down.  But all these things are statted out such that The Brick has less than a 50% chance of breaking them with casual STR.  Similar issues arise with other expressions of STR, but the root issue is that the tables just make the world too durable for the narrative expectations that the word 'superheros' sets. 

I'm not sure if I should blame Heroic standards, where these BODY/DEF combinations seem reasonable, or the number-inflation shown in premade villains and heroes.  But either way, the example tables simply don't work as printed for my group.  So we're back at the "handwave it" stage of materials. 

 

Now we are getting into the classic "How do you stat a Tank?" discussion... where statting it "realistically" for heroic games makes them hideously powerful compared to traditional Champions supers... because traditional Champs had the unrealistic source material of comics, where the Hulk would casually destroy twenty tanks before breakfast, but wasn't turning people to red mist with a casual shrug. 

 

I've always said the biggest thing HERO ever did was to expose the ridiculous inconsistencies of super-hero comics source material by creating a logical, calculable simulationist system that highlighted these things.

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10 hours ago, RDU Neil said:

 

Now we are getting into the classic "How do you stat a Tank?" discussion... where statting it "realistically" for heroic games makes them hideously powerful compared to traditional Champions supers... because traditional Champs had the unrealistic source material of comics, where the Hulk would casually destroy twenty tanks before breakfast, but wasn't turning people to red mist with a casual shrug. 

 

I've always said the biggest thing HERO ever did was to expose the ridiculous inconsistencies of super-hero comics source material by creating a logical, calculable simulationist system that highlighted these things.

Lifting a 50 ton tank overhead requires around a 65 STR, higher if the super waving it around can actually throw it.  The potential energy of a 50 ton tank raised overhead(say, 2.5m) would be around 1.25 megajoules.  Assuming one could channel all that into a single punch, it's not enough to get through modern tank armor, not frontally anyway, but you could probably cave in the turret roof with a haymaker.  

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14 hours ago, dsatow said:

 

 

Does this look like a car has take over 80% of its body?

 

 

Considering that the main portion (the cabin) is completely hollow: nothing. UT sheet metal and a large ount of glass, and that the trunk is also completely hollow, I think a case can be made that the car has easily taken over half its BODY. 

 

But this gets tricky:

 

The _car_ is quite dead.  So is it at - 10 BODY? (negative starting BODY in some rules sets)?  If so, then it has taken over 100 percent of its BODY.

 

But it can still provide cover! 

 

Well of course it can: it lost BODY; it's PD is still fine. 

 

Maybe it's Bleeding: totally useless and effectively dead as a car, but repairable?  (in this case, no; not really). 

 

All this thought and examination work against our goals, though: while it's possible to develop a model using the rules (more or less), do we want to stop the game and run the math every time the environment takes a hit, or just go with what feels right? 

 

And that is why I suspect most of us just "wing it.". :lol:

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1 hour ago, Duke Bushido said:

Maybe it's Bleeding: totally useless and effectively dead as a car, but repairable?

I once witnessed a high speed front-on collision while waiting at the T intersection where two cars collided. I ran to the closest car, and as I was trying to get a door open to check on the woman, a huge pool of red fluid started flowing out from under the passenger compartment. I was horrified, and afraid of what I might find inside the car. It turns out it was only the transmission fluid “bleeding” onto the highway. So yes, bleeding rules do apply to cars. :stupid:

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57 minutes ago, Toxxus said:

I'd say the car is structurally intact, but functionally dead.  Same with a character at negative body.

 

Which always made me question... "How much Body do you have to do to disintegrate a character? If -10 BODY means the corpse can be "structurally whole, but had a myocardial infarction and just died"... what represents "no body, it was separated into constituent atoms?" or simply "blown to bits"?

 

That BODY is abstracted to represent both the structural integrity, mass and systemic functioning of a person or object... it lends itself to a lot of head scratching moments. SFX generally applies in a "whatever" moment... but if my SFX is "Disintigrator Ray!" and yours is "Shotgun!" but both of us have 3d6RKA... then things start to get dicey at times. One wipes out the entire body of the target, the other leaves a bleeding corpse, which all have game implications. One makes sense to create a hole in a concrete wall to walk through, the other doesn't at all. If I shoot the engine block of a car, it no longer runs, but you might be hard pressed to even notice it was damaged without a close inspection. 

 

There are a million places that HERO breaks down, because it was originally designed to simulate "Bronze Age Supers Combat" and not "semi-realistic world of objects and weapons" etc. 

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5 hours ago, megaplayboy said:

Lifting a 50 ton tank overhead requires around a 65 STR, higher if the super waving it around can actually throw it.  The potential energy of a 50 ton tank raised overhead(say, 2.5m) would be around 1.25 megajoules.  Assuming one could channel all that into a single punch, it's not enough to get through modern tank armor, not frontally anyway, but you could probably cave in the turret roof with a haymaker.  

 

Uhm... 65 STR with haymaker is what 21d6 at most... and I don't think 21 Body would be remotely high enough to beat a tanks rPD, let alone full rPD and any extra PD. This is one of the clear problems with the linear growth of damage next to an exponential growth in lifting and force applied. Most Tanks would be at the 40-50 Hardened rPD at least. The "realistic" statting of military grade weaponry has always made supers look... un-super. Which has in turn lead to some of the increased power creep, etc. At least IMO.

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23 minutes ago, RDU Neil said:

 

Which always made me question... "How much Body do you have to do to disintegrate a character? If -10 BODY means the corpse can be "structurally whole, but had a myocardial infarction and just died"... what represents "no body, it was separated into constituent atoms?" or simply "blown to bits"?

 

That BODY is abstracted to represent both the structural integrity, mass and systemic functioning of a person or object... it lends itself to a lot of head scratching moments. SFX generally applies in a "whatever" moment... but if my SFX is "Disintigrator Ray!" and yours is "Shotgun!" but both of us have 3d6RKA... then things start to get dicey at times. One wipes out the entire body of the target, the other leaves a bleeding corpse, which all have game implications. One makes sense to create a hole in a concrete wall to walk through, the other doesn't at all. If I shoot the engine block of a car, it no longer runs, but you might be hard pressed to even notice it was damaged without a close inspection. 

 

There are a million places that HERO breaks down, because it was originally designed to simulate "Bronze Age Supers Combat" and not "semi-realistic world of objects and weapons" etc. 

 

This is a good point.  I'd say if your disintegration ray is intended to convert targets to fine ash then it should be built as a severe transform.  If your disintegration ray is built on 3d6 RKA then I'd say that it just disintegrates enough mass to be deadly.  This would have inconsistent results on characters vs. cars and walls (which have rules for size of hole based on damage inflicted).

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1 hour ago, Toxxus said:

which have rules for size of hole based on damage inflicted

 

Oh, don't get me started on those rules... where shooting a wall with a .45 somehow causes a man sized gap in an interior drywall type wall.

 

In so many ways, they need to actually remove most of the rules and bring it back to "BODY is a reflection on what is needed to break/kill something... the actual in game effect of breaking/killing is an SFX determined as what seems reasonable for the shared imaginary space being described" and just leave it at that. As soon as you start trying to define 'mechanics' to cover what is otherwised a hand-waved SFX, things get messy.

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