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Toxxus

Stun Lock

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I'm gonna just respond in general.

 

I denote that I treat recovering from stun as an attack action in SUPERHEROIC games and games that border on the SUPERHEROIC.  In contrary to some posts about the combat effectiveness or strategic value, I just do not use the house rule because of neither of those reasons.  In my opinion, the games where I use the house rule are genres where continuous beat downs do not prevent a response.  In other words, just because Superman gets stunned by Doomsday or Darkseid, he still has a chance to fire his heat vision or punch back if he can recover from being stunned.  I would not use the rule in a game where you are WWII soldiers storming the Nazis in Europe.  I might use it in a James Bond style game depending on if I wanted the game more Roger Moore ERA rather than Daniel Craig ERA.

 

Just to clarify, when I mean an "attack action", I effectively mean that using the action ends your phase and it can not be aborted to.  This also means that right after getting unstunned, you can abort to a defensive action.  If that caused any confusion, I apologize.

 

Finally, in play, it hasn't caused any problems.  In fact, even when used against the players, the players prefer it over continually being stunned.  But again, I am running most superheroic level combat.

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6 hours ago, Christopher R Taylor said:

 

That's exactly what I'm describing.  In game terms that's using a delayed phase and other meta gaming tricks tactically in a fight to gain an advantage.

 

So Cap and Jameson should be equally good at such tactical combat?

 

6 hours ago, Toxxus said:

 

Smashing on a stunned target is tactically very sound and against powerful opponents is a desperate window of opportunity for the heroes to exploit (in a good way).  It's a very common tactic and completely logical.

 

The idea that an enemy could be stunned for infinity - while recovering to full STUN from post-segment-12 recoveries - due to taking 1pt of STUN damage each phase is silly beyond reckoning to me.

 

Anti-cinematic Example:

 

Hero:  After delaying my phase I crit a body punch to the liver.  Tyson is crushed.

Hero:  I jab Tyson for 1pt of STUN damage.

Hero:  I jab Tyson for 1pt of STUN damage.

--------  5 Turns and 20 Phases Later --------

Michael Buffer:  Tyson has fully recovered.  He's breathing easy and looks as fresh as ever!

Hero:  I jab Tyson for 1pt of STUN damage and I mock him - each - and - every - phase.

Hero:  I inform Tyson they should deliver his mail to this corner of the ring because this is where he lives now and I jab him for 1pt of STUN.

 

 BARF!  There's nothing dramatic, heroic or cinematic about being permanently locked down by 1pt of STUN damage.  Does not compute.

 

How does one "jab Tyson for 1 point of damage" rather than rolling damage and either getting STUN past defenses, or not?  How did you choose to succeed with a critical hit after your delayed action? 

 

Michael Buffer:  Tyson has fully recovered.  He's breathing easy and looks as fresh as ever!

 

No he isn't.  He is on the ropes, reeling from a rapid succession of jabs from his opponent. 

 

When the bell rings and the boxers move to their corners, Tyson will be coming back into the next round with full STUN and END.  You were lucky enough to get through the first round, though!

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10 hours ago, Christopher R Taylor said:

 

They're equally bad in your system.  Which is more fun to play and simulates superheroes better?

 

Where you say "they are bad", I say "neither can read the phase timer".  Cap already has a high SPD and DEX, which he can use to delay his actions, waiting for the right moment to strike (for example, after an opponent moves, leaving himself open for a counterattack).  When the opponent moves, Cap has the choice to take his delayed action or continue delaying.  If he continues to delay, he maintains a Held Action until someone else does something (that is the nature of a held action).  If he chooses to delay after activity in Segment 5, and we then move into Segment 6, it's now Segment 6.  He can't "undelay" his action and ret-con what he did last phase, any more than, when his opponent aims at the Mayor, he can retroactively have attacked that opponent before he took aim.  All he can do is use his delayed action now, likely requiring a DEX roll-off.

 

Now, who is more likely to win that DEX roll-off, Cap or Jameson?  That makes Cap better than Jameson at this kind of tactical/strategic combat.  Maybe Cap's player wants to be even better, so we discuss whether he can buy up his DEX roll for this one specific purpose - that is, invest his in-game CP resource to focus on that skill, rather than more damage with his Martial Arts or more defenses with his Shield.

 

 

Which is more fun to play and simulates superheroes better, special abilities unique to those superheroes,. or superheroes possessing the amazing ability to do what everyone else can do?

 

 

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Which is more fun to play and simulates superheroes better

 

The one which simulates the comics and gives the players the benefit of the doubt, wouldn't you say?  After all, no player is running J Jonah Jameson, he's running Spider-Man.  If JJJ is showing great tactical skill, that's on you as a GM and possibly your role-playing skills, not the players or the system.

 

You don't like metagaming; okay I don't think any of us are really fond of it.  But a certain amount of it is simply the game system simulating things and banning players from taking advantage of that for their character just because you find it distasteful is not a method I like, either.

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There is just no way to sell to a player the concept that taking a SINGLE POINT of stun damage makes them lose their turn - again.

 

If I use that tell my players - well, that's what the rules say - I'm going to have a group of unhappy players.  Maybe they like the rest of the game enough to tolerate it, but that is in spite of the stupid rule, not because that rule is fun or supportive of heroic adventure.

 

13 hours ago, Hugh Neilson said:

How does one "jab Tyson for 1 point of damage" rather than rolling damage and either getting STUN past defenses, or not?  How did you choose to succeed with a critical hit after your delayed action? 

 

The critical hit was just part of normal play - a roll of the dice.  But it shows how abusable the current stunning rules are.  Character holds phase - goes twice in a row afterwards.

 

Power - Stinging Jab:  1 pt HTH attack (STR does not add damage, NND, 0 END) combined with +4 OCV = 30 Active Points = Other character is stunned permanently by ONE POINT hits.  I honestly find it incomprehensible how it would be fun or cinematic to have a player pinned down permanently by an amount of damage that doesn't even keep up with their recovery score.

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22 minutes ago, Toxxus said:

There is just no way to sell to a player the concept that taking a SINGLE POINT of stun damage makes them lose their turn - again.

 

Continuously being pounded when you are on the ropes is not disadvantageous?

 

22 minutes ago, Toxxus said:

The critical hit was just part of normal play - a roll of the dice.  But it shows how abusable the current stunning rules are.  Character holds phase - goes twice in a row afterwards.

 

Going twice in a row is pretty advantageous regardless.  Do you find players often hold their phase for that benefit, or do they tend to take their actions as soon as their turn comes up?  What prevents their opponent also holding his phase, so that they just stand there, bobbing and weaving, waiting for an opening?

 

22 minutes ago, Toxxus said:

Power - Stinging Jab:  1 pt HTH attack (STR does not add damage, NND, 0 END) combined with +4 OCV = 30 Active Points = Other character is stunned permanently by ONE POINT hits.  I honestly find it incomprehensible how it would be fun or cinematic to have a player pinned down permanently by an amount of damage that doesn't even keep up with their recovery score.

 

Other than a build to say "oh, look how dumb this rule is", why would anyone build, or permit, a construct like this?  What does this power simulate in-game, from an SFX perspective?  What is the defense, and why does it prevent this jab from landing with any impact when, otherwise, it could punch through full plate mail, or even 30 rPD of armor, to inflict a bee sting on the person inside?

 

From a purely mechanical perspective, why not just buy +4 OCV with the attack that inflicted the critical hit in the first place, so it can hit and do real damage more often? 

 

I find it far more incomprehensible that anyone would bother with such a construct, but maybe every two or three hits stuns an opponent in your games.  That has not been my experience.  Even then, I'd rather invest the points to improve the chance I will hit, enhance the damage I will do, or enhance my own defenses to avoid a retaliatory strike, increasing the number of stunning blows I will land and/or reducing the number that will hit me.

 

Even with that stinging jab and the critical taken for granted, if we are actually in a boxing match, great - you run out the round, we retire to our corners and both come out to start the fight as if that round had never even happened.  Maybe you delay again, so I punch first, get a critical and you are now stunned.  I won't be wasting my next phase trying to do exactly 1 stun - I'll be trying to turn that Stun into a KO and actually win the match.  In combat I actually see in games, Jab Man would get pounded into the ground by other members of the PC group, even assuming he got lucky enough to get that first stunning blow in, and was fast enough to get a jab in right afterwards.

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2 minutes ago, Hugh Neilson said:

Continuously being pounded when you are on the ropes is not disadvantageous?

 

Taking an amount of damage so low that it doesn't keep up with your recovery score is not "being pounded".  I'll admit this power construct in an absurdity made purely to point how how inconsistent and odious I find the current recover from being stunned rules.

 

I just can't stand the idea of stunned = dead because you'll never get another chance to act unless the villain misses you at 1/2 DCV.  I want a chance for heroes and villain alike to rally from one bad hit and continue the fight.

 

Even in MMA (which I'm big fan of) the best fights have solid back and forth action.  When a guy looks ruined by a savage blow and finds his composure and is able to fight on and even win.

 

The first variation of the rule where you get stunned before your DEX on your Phase and fully recover on your DEX (so less than 1 second) is the way I like stunned to work.  You lose your turn.  That is bad enough.

The second variation where you hold your action - get stunned - and lose the held action and DO NOT recover from being stunned - I like this less, but I can live with it.

The third variation where you take any damage at all on a segment you have a phase in and you can't recover at all is just - and I'm reluctant to be this forceful about it - stupid.  It's dumb.

 

SPD 4 character example:

Segment 3 - You use your phase.

Segment 3 - You get stunned.

Segment 5 - You take another massive blow (but not quite enough to KO you).

Segment 6 - You recover from being stunned.

 

VS.

 

Segment 3 - You use your phase.

Segment 3 - You get stunned.

Segment 6 - You take a SINGLE point of stun damage.

Segment 6 - You lose your phase and DO NOT recover from being stunned.

 

This makes ZERO sense.  None.

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1 hour ago, Christopher R Taylor said:

 

The one which simulates the comics and gives the players the benefit of the doubt, wouldn't you say?  After all, no player is running J Jonah Jameson, he's running Spider-Man.  If JJJ is showing great tactical skill, that's on you as a GM and possibly your role-playing skills, not the players or the system.

 

You don't like metagaming; okay I don't think any of us are really fond of it.  But a certain amount of it is simply the game system simulating things and banning players from taking advantage of that for their character just because you find it distasteful is not a method I like, either.

 

I don't agree that your model simulates the comics.  Cap has great tactical skill.  How about that rookie Super on the same Avengers squad?  Everyone has exactly the same tactical skill as Cap?  That seems very far from the comics I have read.  I don't find this "gives the players the benefit of the doubt".  Being perceptive enough to react and have a shot to disrupt the one opponent on the field who is about to attack with your held action gives the benefit of the doubt. 

 

"OK, that was his action on Phase 5, DEX 18.  Anyone want to use their held action?  No?  OK, next move is Segment 6 - anyone move earlier than 27 DEX?"  If the answer is no, it is DEX 27 on segment 6.  If it is yes, it is their DEX on Segment 6.  The players all had the benefit of choosing whether to use their held actions or wait and see what happens next.

 

This is no different from "OK, that was his action on Phase 8, DEX 35.  Anyone want to use their held action?  No?  OK, anyone move before 27 DEX?  No?  OK, Lazer levels his rifle, aiming at Captain Paragon".  "Oh, wait, I want to use my Held Action at DEX 28 to Grab Lazer's rifle."  No.  It is now DEX 27, he is taking aim, so if you want to beat him to the punch, you make an opposing DEX roll. 

 

You had the option of acting earlier, and chose not to take it,.  You could have spoken up right after DEX 35, or right before DEX 27.  You chose not to, at each point in time.  Time moved on.  Now it is DEX 27 (or Segment 6).

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26 minutes ago, Toxxus said:

I just can't stand the idea of stunned = dead because you'll never get another chance to act unless the villain misses you at 1/2 DCV.  I want a chance for heroes and villain alike to rally from one bad hit and continue the fight.

 

But it's not just "one bad hit".  It's "one bad hit followed by a series of further hits".  Now, I may be less sensitive to the issue because, practically, the defeats I see don't come because a series of tiny hits keeps the character Stunned, but because the opponents take advantage of that half DCV opponent to take him right out of the fight.  I also don't see a lot of Stun results on credible combatants.

 

26 minutes ago, Toxxus said:

Even in MMA (which I'm big fan of) the best fights have solid back and forth action.  When a guy looks ruined by a savage blow and finds his composure and is able to fight on and even win.

 

Does that guy get ruined by a savage blow followed with a flurry of further blows?

 

I'll admit I don't find Hero simulates sports in real life very well.  Design two boxers as normal humans in Hero terms.  Will a typical fight last for 3 minutes - a single boxing round?  I think in "real life", DCV tends to be higher than OCV and far less than 2/3 of attacks hit home.  You tell me - in a typical MMA bout, will each opponent hit the other about 10 times a minute (3 SPD x 5 turns x about 62.5% chance to hit), or are the fights a lot more defensive?  In Hero terms, those defensive fights probably mean lower DC attacks with higher OCV and/or DCV bonuses, reducing the possibility of a stunning blow.

 

26 minutes ago, Toxxus said:

SPD 4 character example:

Segment 3 - You use your phase.

Segment 3 - You get stunned.

Segment 5 - You take another massive blow (but not quite enough to KO you).

Segment 6 - You recover from being stunned.

 

VS.

 

Segment 3 - You use your phase.

Segment 3 - You get stunned.

Segment 6 - You take a SINGLE point of stun damage.

Segment 6 - You lose your phase and DO NOT recover from being stunned.

 

This makes ZERO sense.  None.

 

Again, I question whether the issue is Stunning rules or SPD chart.  Somehow, combat does have to be divided into discrete periods of time.  Maybe the first example is the problematic one, and further hits after being stunned should draw out the period over which you are stunned.  Maybe we should follow Chris' logic, and give every combatant the "benefit of the doubt" so the attacker knows to wait until the start of segment 6 to hit you, or gets to see you are just about to recover from being stunned, so now is the time to use your delayed action and hit again.

 

The biggest issue, however, is your first comment - what do we want "being stunned" to mean?  Pre-6e, it was 0 DCV, but now it is half DCV.  Which one should it be?  The rule for taking damage is similar, and plenty of other options could be imagined.  Maybe any STUN from the moment you are Stunned to your next action means you can't use that action to recover from being stunned.  The current rule uses only the segment of that phase.  We could better parallel REC if you recover from being stunned on the same basis you would get a recovery if you used your action for that purpose.  Maybe it's not 1 STUN in the appropriate timeframe, but some de minimis (whether fixed or variable, like "4 STUN" or "REC or greater" STUN).  Should taking BOD prevent recovering from being stunned?  If so, should it only be 1 BOD?

 

Lots of options exist, but only one can be the "default rule".

 

Perhaps a stunned character should have their actions restricted, but not denied entirely (the boxer can't strike back, but can bring up his gloves and ward off further strikes, perhaps buying time to fully recover from being stunned).

 

Lots of options exist.

 

To set this in context, how often in a typical combat, in your own games, do you see a Stunning blow land?  How often is that defeat anyway because the target gets KOd while he is reeling?

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1 minute ago, Hugh Neilson said:

I'll admit I don't find Hero simulates sports in real life very well.  Design two boxers as normal humans in Hero terms.  Will a typical fight last for 3 minutes - a single boxing round?  I think in "real life", DCV tends to be higher than OCV and far less than 2/3 of attacks hit home.  You tell me - in a typical MMA bout, will each opponent hit the other about 10 times a minute (3 SPD x 5 turns x about 62.5% chance to hit), or are the fights a lot more defensive?  In Hero terms, those defensive fights probably mean lower DC attacks with higher OCV and/or DCV bonuses, reducing the possibility of a stunning blow.

 

I've seriously considered setting the base for OCV vs. DCV to 10 instead of 11 so that it starts at a 50/50 shot. 

 

MMA Fights are typically 3 rounds of 5 minutes each.  Landing 50 strikes a round is very high output and generally only happens with the higher skill level end of the lighter weight classes.  Most fights are substantially less as I suspect that the normal flow of events is the slower fighter always goes for block or dodge and then counters when they can.  If you pace the fight for strike-block-counter the numbers work out better.

 

One of the coolest eye-opening training encounters I did for my D&D converts consisted of the Witcher character and his guard captain dueling with great swords.  They blocked and countered each other 4-5x without a single blow landing until the Witcher took a stunning blow to the stomach, recovered and took a knockout blow to the helmet.  The players hadn't had advanced options like block, dodge, pinning limbs with a Grab, etc. in D&D.

 

Similarly one of the characters got grabbed (both arms) by a were rat who then spent each phase trying to bite their face and was screaming for help from his allies.  Great times!

 

I'd say in MMA you see roughly 3 levels of stunning strike:

1-  Wobbled - Fighter takes a hit that causes a brief cringe, cover or makes their legs go rubbery for just a split second.  Much like stunned - recover at lower DEX on same segment.

2-  Stunned - Fighter takes a hit that causes them to go rubbery legged or takes a body shot so bad they can do nothing but cover up and back-pedal for their lives.

3-  Rocked -  Fighter takes a hit that causes them to collapse and leaves them desperate to remain in the fight.  I would consider these shots that take them to zero-to-minus-nine STUN.  Survival rate from these shots is under 50%.

 

Then of course there are critical hits and these usually result in an INSTANT full-health to deeply unconscious hit.

Classic Example:  Fighter drops his arms to defend a body kick which turns out to be a head kicks - oops! - sleepy time.

Another Example:  Conor McGregor KO'ing decade long undefeated Jose Aldo in 13 seconds.  They trade right hook vs. counter-right hook and only one of them rolled a crit.

 

I think HERO models those pretty well (plus or minus my issue with parts of the recovering from being stunned rule).

Highly trained martial artist with 15ish STR landing martial strikes in the 5-7d6 damage range plus several levels for OCV/DCV/damage.

 

A critical hit from a 7d6 punch or kick is 14 BOD/42 STUN and with mortal PD being in the 5-7 range for lighter weight classes you're looking at taking 35+ STUN and possibly a major injury (beyond the concussion) such as a fractured orbital, broken ribs, ruptured liver, etc.

 

 

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I just can't stand the idea of stunned = dead because you'll never get another chance to act unless the villain misses you at 1/2 DCV.

 

Well, and they have to get past your defenses but yeah.  My problem with it is that it doesn't make sense.  I'm fine with not getting to take a regular recovery but recovering from stun is automatic, its like a system reboot.  Unless you take another catastrophic hit like that you will always be recovered.  Yes it kind of simulates what you see in some movies (the boxer on the ropes, can't seem to recover, but is still on his feet, getting blow after blow) but also in the movies, they rally and turn around and can fight again, like they recovered despite the punishment.

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3 hours ago, Toxxus said:

MMA Fights are typically 3 rounds of 5 minutes each.  Landing 50 strikes a round is very high output and generally only happens with the higher skill level end of the lighter weight classes.  Most fights are substantially less as I suspect that the normal flow of events is the slower fighter always goes for block or dodge and then counters when they can.  If you pace the fight for strike-block-counter the numbers work out better.

 

50 strikes a round would be 10 per minute, or 2 per turn.  Not exactly how most Hero combats flow, but not out of line if one is also blocking, dodging, etc.  Tack on the possibility that higher skilled fighters may be using Multiple Attacks to land more than one blow as a single attack action, and Hero seems a bit too speedy to model this.

 

3 hours ago, Toxxus said:

I'd say in MMA you see roughly 3 levels of stunning strike:

1-  Wobbled - Fighter takes a hit that causes a brief cringe, cover or makes their legs go rubbery for just a split second.  Much like stunned - recover at lower DEX on same segment.

2-  Stunned - Fighter takes a hit that causes them to go rubbery legged or takes a body shot so bad they can do nothing but cover up and back-pedal for their lives.

3-  Rocked -  Fighter takes a hit that causes them to collapse and leaves them desperate to remain in the fight.  I would consider these shots that take them to zero-to-minus-nine STUN.  Survival rate from these shots is under 50%.

 

Wobbled could be a variant on the Wounded rules - if you take more than x STUN, make an Ego roll to stay in the fight, or suffer some brief disadvantage.  Or, it may simply be SFX of someone getting hit.

 

That "cover up and backpedal" is an issue that comes back to "maybe Stunned should not mean lose an action".  Moving to full defense is still taking an action.  This is also how the boxer "recovers from being stunned" with his gloves up to ward off further hits while he catches his breath. 

 

I like your interpretation of rocked - it's too easy to forget those small negatives are not unconscious, but deeply stunned and may leave the target still standing.

 

3 hours ago, Toxxus said:

Then of course there are critical hits and these usually result in an INSTANT full-health to deeply unconscious hit.

Classic Example:  Fighter drops his arms to defend a body kick which turns out to be a head kicks - oops! - sleepy time.

Another Example:  Conor McGregor KO'ing decade long undefeated Jose Aldo in 13 seconds.  They trade right hook vs. counter-right hook and only one of them rolled a crit.

 

I think HERO models those pretty well (plus or minus my issue with parts of the recovering from being stunned rule).

Highly trained martial artist with 15ish STR landing martial strikes in the 5-7d6 damage range plus several levels for OCV/DCV/damage.

 

A critical hit from a 7d6 punch or kick is 14 BOD/42 STUN and with mortal PD being in the 5-7 range for lighter weight classes you're looking at taking 35+ STUN and possibly a major injury (beyond the concussion) such as a fractured orbital, broken ribs, ruptured liver, etc.

 

This assumes we have criticals that max out on damage.  Of course, if that's a head or vitals hit, then the same average damage levels apply, for the same results.A great damage roll coupled with a good hit location is even worse.

 

How well does Hero simulate this?  Who can take 50 average hits that do 7d6?  Low end of damage is still passing 15 or so STUN through defenses for each hit.  Normal human REC and STUN are not going to hold up nearly that long. 

 

Of course, games have to factor in playability.  If equal opponents need to land several dozen hits to end a fight, the game will drag out a lot.

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1 hour ago, Christopher R Taylor said:

 

Well, and they have to get past your defenses but yeah.  My problem with it is that it doesn't make sense.  I'm fine with not getting to take a regular recovery but recovering from stun is automatic, its like a system reboot.  Unless you take another catastrophic hit like that you will always be recovered.  Yes it kind of simulates what you see in some movies (the boxer on the ropes, can't seem to recover, but is still on his feet, getting blow after blow) but also in the movies, they rally and turn around and can fight again, like they recovered despite the punishment.

 

Perhaps a middle ground would be more suitable, and could even address the timing issue.  Track your stun damage taken since you were stunned, or since your most recent previous phase.  If you took none, you recover from being stunned (no change).  If not, and no single attack stunned you again., perhaps you get a CON roll, or an EGO roll, modified for the STUN damage taken, to recover.  So, if our Boxer is stunned, then takes a hit for 1 STUN, perhaps he needs to make an EGO roll to recover from being stunned.  Apply a -1 per extra STUN taken, or -1 per 2 or 3 STUN taken, and harder hits make it tougher to recover.

 

More rolling and more tracking, of course. 

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