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Tywyll

[Sell/Unsell]Deadly Blow and Combat Luck

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So, ever since 5th edition came out, these two talents have made me feel a bit... hesitant. One the hand, they are really cool and can make a character feel really powerful. On the other, it seems like the extra die could make damage get way higher than denseness can keep up with (especially stun). 

 

Am I over thinking this? Is it game breaking? Does someone slinging around a 4d6ka (greatsword, deadlyblow, plus some MA/skill levels)versus someone who has 'at best' 8PD + 11rPD (plate armor and combat luck) not just win if they hit (average damage of 14 Body and 42 Stun guarantees you Stun the target when you hit it)? 

 

Does it make two handed weapons kind of pointless (when you can jack your one handed weapon's base damage up and use a shield/second weapon, why use a two hander)?

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Combat Luck at 1 rank (3 rPD/rED) is great for the no armor and light armor types that want to not die instantly when they get hit.

Think Fantasy martial arts monks or Rogue McRoguerson who wears fancy attire and wouldn't be caught dead in armor.

 

One fun option - Allow up to two ranks of Combat Luck in a campaign with the limitation that they block damage points 2-4 and 6-8.  This means that damage points 1 and 5 get through.  This better simulates rolling with the hit or otherwise turning a lethal hit into a glancing blow.

 

Deadly Blow has to be carefully balanced.  I've allowed it with Rogues and Paladins in my campaign, but it has to be constrained so that it's not always in play.

* Sneak Attack - Requires an ally to be attacking the same target or an attack from stealth.  Only works on small damage finesse weapons (dagger, stilletto, short sword, etc.)

* Holy Smite - Only works against the undead or fiends (devils & demons).

 

Deadly blow rapidly gets out of hand if you allow it to be working all the time as each DC in a heroic campaign is a big deal.

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I don't like deadly blow at all, its just arbitrary damage to simulate a D&D/Pathfinder feat and really ought not be in the game. Combat Luck is problematic in that every character now always takes it with some lame justification by the player "My crippled mentalist is just good at predicting attacks and moving their wheelchair at the last second!"

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3 minutes ago, Christopher R Taylor said:

I don't like deadly blow at all, its just arbitrary damage to simulate a D&D/Pathfinder feat and really ought not be in the game. Combat Luck is problematic in that every character now always takes it with some lame justification by the player "My crippled mentalist is just good at predicting attacks and moving their wheelchair at the last second!"

 

What feat is that?

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I don't like them because to me it seems to turn characters into superheroes with swords.  That's not the power level I like running or playing at. 

 

If you're fighting opponents that are slightly too hard for you to affect, the answer isn't supposed to be Moar DC!!!  Figure something else out.  Research its weaknesses.  Use the environment.  Lead it into a pit or off a cliff.  Tie it up with ropes.  Or run away and live to fight another day!  Come back with a dozen mercenaries.  It's not like you get XP per kill... And if you have ordinary  Combat Skill Levels, you can put two of them into +1 DC anyway.  

 

I don't believe that Combat Luck is overpowered, because even three levels is more or less within the range of heavy armor or a wizard's defensive spell, but it just doesn't seem to fit into the power level I like to play or run at.  

 

I also feel similarly about Penalty Skill Levels or any Skill Levels bought with "only for (X)" Limitations.  If your special effect is "I'm so good with a sword that I can do more damage with it," buy more CSLs.  You can also use those CSLs to make it easier to perform a called shot, either to a Hit Location with higher damage multiples or one that has less armor.  

 

Edit to add:  Take a look at my Low Heroic Protocols document, which might give you some ideas.

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On 10/24/2019 at 5:58 PM, Chris Goodwin said:

If you're fighting opponents that are slightly too hard for you to affect, the answer isn't supposed to be Moar DC!!!  Figure something else out.  Research its weaknesses.  Use the environment.  Lead it into a pit or off a cliff.  Tie it up with ropes.  Or run away and live to fight another day!  Come back with a dozen mercenaries.  It's not like you get XP per kill... And if you have ordinary  Combat Skill Levels, you can put two of them into +1 DC anyway.  

 

In general I agree, though it does lead to the issue that if you want to be a precision fighter, with light weapons, you cap out your damage pretty quickly and then you can't improve. So a rapier fighter can max their damage very easily and then where do they go? I'm not too bothered by this but at least one of my players was really bothered by the fact that another character couldn't really hurt the golem they fought last night (I found that reasonable and the player in question wasn't too bothered) but I don't want them to eventually feel like they need to abandon their concept (swashbuckler) because they can't harm armored opponents.

 

On 10/24/2019 at 5:58 PM, Chris Goodwin said:

I don't believe that Combat Luck is overpowered, because even three levels is more or less within the range of heavy armor or a wizard's defensive spell, but it just doesn't seem to fit into the power level I like to play or run at.  

 

Which is fine...until they add worn armor or armor spells to it!

 

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On 10/24/2019 at 8:33 AM, Christopher R Taylor said:

I don't like deadly blow at all, its just arbitrary damage to simulate a D&D/Pathfinder feat and really ought not be in the game. Combat Luck is problematic in that every character now always takes it with some lame justification by the player "My crippled mentalist is just good at predicting attacks and moving their wheelchair at the last second!"

 

To me, it was intended to simulate the Rogue's sneak attack.  Many gamers do want that in their game, so a means of simulating it is, in my view, appropriate to the game.  If every player takes an ability, then maybe we have a problem with either the players or the game.  Perhaps that crippled mentalist does not belong in this game if the only way he can survive is with a "lame justification" rather than a simulation of what happens in the source material.

 

However, as I recall the source material, that crippled mentalist does not die in Issue 2 because an attack solidly connects, killing him instantly.

 

On 10/24/2019 at 10:58 AM, Chris Goodwin said:

I don't like them because to me it seems to turn characters into superheroes with swords.  That's not the power level I like running or playing at. 

 

If you're fighting opponents that are slightly too hard for you to affect, the answer isn't supposed to be Moar DC!!!  Figure something else out.  Research its weaknesses.  Use the environment.  Lead it into a pit or off a cliff.  Tie it up with ropes.  Or run away and live to fight another day!  Come back with a dozen mercenaries.  It's not like you get XP per kill... And if you have ordinary  Combat Skill Levels, you can put two of them into +1 DC anyway.  

 

I don't believe that Combat Luck is overpowered, because even three levels is more or less within the range of heavy armor or a wizard's defensive spell, but it just doesn't seem to fit into the power level I like to play or run at.  

 

I also feel similarly about Penalty Skill Levels or any Skill Levels bought with "only for (X)" Limitations.  If your special effect is "I'm so good with a sword that I can do more damage with it," buy more CSLs.  You can also use those CSLs to make it easier to perform a called shot, either to a Hit Location with higher damage multiples or one that has less armor. 

 

This, to me, is the bigger issue.  Most games have DC and defense ranges, and DC and defense caps.  So no, you don't get to exceed the campaign DC cap because you took Deadly Blow (or Combat Luck, or Martial Arts, or high STR, or anything else).  Deadly Blow is simply limited CSLs, so if you're more skilled overall, rather than focusing your training exclusively on delivering more hurt, you take CSLs instead.

 

It always feels like the fight on this breaks down into "a dagger should only be able to do so much damage", "I want players to be able to use a wider variety of weapons and still be effective" and/or "the source material features skilled characters who inflict huge damage with light weapons - and I can imagine that, so Hero's tag line says I should be able to build it".

2 hours ago, Tywyll said:

 

In general I agree, though it does lead to the issue that if you want to be a precision fighter, with light weapons, you cap out your damage pretty quickly and then you can't improve. So a rapier fighter can max their damage very easily and then where do they go? I'm not too bothered by this but at least one of my players was really bothered by the fact that another character couldn't really hurt the golem they fought last night (I found that reasonable and the player in question wasn't too bothered) but I don't want them to eventually feel like they need to abandon their concept (swashbuckler) because they can't harm armored opponents.

 

This, to me, is the most significant issue.  If the only characters (or even the only warriors) who can actually be effective are those who carry huge 2 handed weapons and wear heavy armor, then those are the only characters the players will want to play.  Players who want to play ineffectual characters only suitable for comedy relief are, in my experience, pretty rare. 

 

Just as being 3 DCs above the campaign norm is huge, being 3 DCs below campaign norm is "my character sucks - he cannot meaningfully contribute".

 

Armor + Combat Luck is pushing characters over campaign limits?  Then their total defenses need to be reined in.  Maybe that is achieved by adding a limitation to Combat Luck that "every 2 points of rDEF from another source reduces Combat Luck by 1 point".  But I will have a similar issue when Percy Platemail has a Shield of the Gods spell cast on him by Charlie Cleric, followed by a Skin of Stone spell cast by Marvin Mage.  Exceeding campaign limits is the problem, not the mechanics used to exceed those limits.

 

"Wow, every PC was Blessed by the Druids as a child and now has 6rPD/6rED.  What a coinkydink"

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2 hours ago, Tywyll said:

Which is fine...until they add worn armor or armor spells to it!

 

Limited Stacking rule I came up with roughly based on the fact that armor weight doubles every 2 points of resistant defense.

 

If your lesser defense is within 2 points of the greater defense then you can add one point only.  Defenses do not stack beyond that.

 

Ex:

You can put a chain shirt (5 rPD/rED) on top of your studded leather (3 rPD/rED) and it will stack to 6 rPD/6rED.

You can't put on 5 robes on top of your studded leather (3+1+1+1+1+1) to get ultra-light plate armor.

You can't put 1 robe on top of your plate armor (8+1) because the robe is so light and thin that it adds no appreciable benefit.

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12 hours ago, Ninja-Bear said:

I guess it must be a house rule but I don’t have combat luck stack with armor.

 

You honestly can't allow it to stack or your *lucky* characters become better tanks than the guys in plate armor (and all of its problems) for very few points.

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Its worth considering having encumbrance lower how much Combat Luck will provide rather than simply armor.  That way super special magical armor that is extra light can have an added bonus of "and you can use some of your combat luck!" and just encumbrance from other stuff negates the CL as well (you can't dodge around so good carrying Princess Peach and all that stuff in the backpack).

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How would you limit it exactly, with armor?

 

I know in Valdorean Age it didn't work with armor over 15kg weight I believe? I'm just setting a hard limit of 12 rDef for any character. How they get there is irrelavent, but anything beyond 12 just doesn't protect you any more.

 

I'm not sure if that will be sufficient to save a character vs a 12DC KA (my KA campaign limit). But I figured it was the best way to handle spells, armor, and Combat luck. 

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I discuss this topic a bit in these documents:

 

http://www.killershrike.com/FantasyHERO/HighFantasyHERO/armamentsNotes.aspx#DEADLY BLOW & http://www.killershrike.com/FantasyHERO/HighFantasyHERO/armamentsNotes.aspx#COMBAT LUCK

 

http://www.killershrike.com/FantasyHERO/HighFantasyHERO/shrikeLethalityOptions_BuiltIns.aspx (a couple of paragraphs at the bottom)

 

-------------------

 

That aside, a few stray thoughts...

 

Deadly Blow / Weapon Master are IMO best in lower pointed heroic level games where the cost of them relative to a character's total points helps keep them in check and gear doesn't cost character points. In campaigns that allow powers, consider making characters buy a KA based power instead. For instance, if the character is paying character points for their "sword", defined as an HKA, it makes more sense for the character to just buy the HKA higher vs buying Weapon Master (6e) / Deadly Blow (5e). 

 

Combat Luck works pretty well in both heroic and superheroic level games, but in superheroic situations a character that relies entirely on Combat Luck is playing with fire so to speak...very brittle in clutch situations. In a non-lethal superheroic level game it isn't necessarily that big of a deal if the player is ok with their character sometimes getting pasted into GM's discretion land. In a lethal superheroic level game, it isn't necessarily a problem if the player is ok with the idea that they will likely end up needing a replacement character. When combined with some other form of defense which in combination brings the character into "competitive" range for the power level of the campaign, it can work well to model a basically survivable but somewhat squishy character and maps well over the idea of an "exceptional normal"...for instance some not-ridiculous combat armor plus some combat luck is a pretty common and plausible set up for a superagent or gadgeteer.

 

A character with a lot of Deadly Blow is basically just a burst damage / boss killer as long as the Deadly Blow applies to point target attacks; such a character can still be mobbed up on and challenged by mooks because the amount of damage beyond what is necessary to remove a single combatant from the equation is X and anything beyond what is needful is irrelevant and they are not much better at grinding thru a lot of weaker opponents one at a time than a character with less total dice but enough to reliably meet or exceed X. Beware of allowing a character who can easily translate Deadly Blow / Weapon Master into multi-target attacks.

 

 

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I am somewhat okay with the concept of these two powers, just not as officially written up talents.  When its a "pick from" list, it becomes a matter of people grabbing them just because "dude, this is powerful!" rather than "I have an idea for my character..."  When they have to come up with the build or work with the GM to make it, its going to usually be more character and concept- based rather than going down a list and getting the broken parts to make your l337 Goblin Pwner

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On 11/1/2019 at 6:24 PM, Killer Shrike said:

I discuss this topic a bit in these documents:

 

http://www.killershrike.com/FantasyHERO/HighFantasyHERO/armamentsNotes.aspx#DEADLY BLOW & http://www.killershrike.com/FantasyHERO/HighFantasyHERO/armamentsNotes.aspx#COMBAT LUCK

 

http://www.killershrike.com/FantasyHERO/HighFantasyHERO/shrikeLethalityOptions_BuiltIns.aspx (a couple of paragraphs at the bottom)

 

-------------------

 

That aside, a few stray thoughts...

 

Deadly Blow / Weapon Master are IMO best in lower pointed heroic level games where the cost of them relative to a character's total points helps keep them in check and gear doesn't cost character points. In campaigns that allow powers, consider making characters buy a KA based power instead. For instance, if the character is paying character points for their "sword", defined as an HKA, it makes more sense for the character to just buy the HKA higher vs buying Weapon Master (6e) / Deadly Blow (5e). 

 

Combat Luck works pretty well in both heroic and superheroic level games, but in superheroic situations a character that relies entirely on Combat Luck is playing with fire so to speak...very brittle in clutch situations. In a non-lethal superheroic level game it isn't necessarily that big of a deal if the player is ok with their character sometimes getting pasted into GM's discretion land. In a lethal superheroic level game, it isn't necessarily a problem if the player is ok with the idea that they will likely end up needing a replacement character. When combined with some other form of defense which in combination brings the character into "competitive" range for the power level of the campaign, it can work well to model a basically survivable but somewhat squishy character and maps well over the idea of an "exceptional normal"...for instance some not-ridiculous combat armor plus some combat luck is a pretty common and plausible set up for a superagent or gadgeteer.

 

A character with a lot of Deadly Blow is basically just a burst damage / boss killer as long as the Deadly Blow applies to point target attacks; such a character can still be mobbed up on and challenged by mooks because the amount of damage beyond what is necessary to remove a single combatant from the equation is X and anything beyond what is needful is irrelevant and they are not much better at grinding thru a lot of weaker opponents one at a time than a character with less total dice but enough to reliably meet or exceed X. Beware of allowing a character who can easily translate Deadly Blow / Weapon Master into multi-target attacks.

 

 

 

Hey Killershrike, as always, great stuff. I do have some questions though-

In the first link, when talking about Combat Luck and stacking defenses, you mention that a character might on average need 18 rDef to be immune to goons (who do 2-3d6ka). The problem I have with this (or the part I am missing) is that while the deadly damage might not be a threat, the avg Stun damage (52 on the rare occasion they did max) would at the lest Stun most characters if not straight knock them out as that same character may only be able to avoid 26 Stun total. 

 

How do you avoid the game of rocket tag of PCs and villains doing so much stun it is guarenteed to overwhelm their normal available defences? 

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13 minutes ago, Tywyll said:

How do you avoid the game of rocket tag of PCs and villains doing so much stun it is guarenteed to overwhelm their normal available defences? 

 

I've found this problematic in Fantasy HERO when the killing attacks hit 3d6k and higher.  An average hit to the stomach/vitals does 44 stun and are fairly common.  This even with 8rPD/8PD - maxed out normal in full plate - results in taking 28 stun.  Then you're stunned and the next average blow to the chest/shoulders gets another 17 stun in and the fight is over.  The flip side is strikes to the arms/legs/hands do 6 stun and are easily ignored.

 

Granted 3d6k is a horrifying amount of damage in a heroic campgain as it represents and incredibly strong man (str 22 ish) using a great sword with 4 levels on damage.

 

It's hard to get just the right feel, but I very much enjoy that in Fantasy HERO campaigns the characters are actively blocking, dodging and trying to avoid face-tanking.

 

 

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1 hour ago, ScottishFox said:

 

I've found this problematic in Fantasy HERO when the killing attacks hit 3d6k and higher.  An average hit to the stomach/vitals does 44 stun and are fairly common.  This even with 8rPD/8PD - maxed out normal in full plate - results in taking 28 stun.  Then you're stunned and the next average blow to the chest/shoulders gets another 17 stun in and the fight is over.  The flip side is strikes to the arms/legs/hands do 6 stun and are easily ignored.

 

Granted 3d6k is a horrifying amount of damage in a heroic campgain as it represents and incredibly strong man (str 22 ish) using a great sword with 4 levels on damage.

 

It's hard to get just the right feel, but I very much enjoy that in Fantasy HERO campaigns the characters are actively blocking, dodging and trying to avoid face-tanking.

 

 

 

One of my PCs has a greatsword MA and only an 18 Str, so no extra damage from STR. With his heaviest maneuver, he inflicts 3d6+1. So it's not particularly hard to achieve. I'm terrified of what happens when he gets his hands on a magic sword. Granted, I have set a hard limit of 4d6KA, but he's already hit that once thanks to a magic buff from another character. Even a massive bone golem only survived 3 hits from him.

 

I think one of the issues is that I really get the feeling that the example monsters in the bestiary and M, M, & M were written with strictly beginning PCs in mind. They are either overwhelming or fairly negligible, especially in the OCV/DCV department.

 

Back to Deadly Blow... a single extra d6 can potentially generate 30 extra Stun. There is just no way to face-tank that damage. 

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2 hours ago, Tywyll said:

 

Hey Killershrike, as always, great stuff. I do have some questions though-

In the first link, when talking about Combat Luck and stacking defenses, you mention that a character might on average need 18 rDef to be immune to goons (who do 2-3d6ka). The problem I have with this (or the part I am missing) is that while the deadly damage might not be a threat, the avg Stun damage (52 on the rare occasion they did max) would at the lest Stun most characters if not straight knock them out as that same character may only be able to avoid 26 Stun total. 

 

How do you avoid the game of rocket tag of PCs and villains doing so much stun it is guarenteed to overwhelm their normal available defences? 

 

Well, yeah, stun lock is part of the Hero System default model and biases. If you are playing in a setting where lethal damage is more common than normal damage and fights are usually "to the death" that can really get in the way. 

 

For starters, characters should be budgeting their action economy to fight defensively...blocks, dodges, rolling w/ punch, dive for cover, and also consider maneuvers beyond strike that have some kind of enemy-inconveniencing element such as disarm / takeaway / target falls / etc, as well as paying careful attention to managing their own DCV...it is pretty common for things in the system that offer bonus offense to come at the cost of a hit to DCV. Having good resistances is good, but nothing beats not getting hit in the first place.

 

That aside, I have used a few different house rules over the years on and off in various campaigns where I wanted a different tone to 'adjust' the system to dial down the stun lotto / TKO grazing shot dynamics. However, they tweak the game in different directions and depend on specific operating parameters to function as intended in a holistic composition with other twiddled bits.

 

One of the simplest is to simply apply the stun multiple to the amount of body that gets past rDef and the target takes that full amount of stun without applying nDef...thus if 2 body gets past rPD with a x5 multiple, the target subtracts 10 stun...they do not apply the multiple to the full amount of body and subtract their rPD + nPD from that amount. This is an abstraction that speeds gameplay and prevents characters from getting TKO'd by attacks that do not penetrate or grazing wounds, and it is easy to remember at the table, however it has logical flaws...like a character with very high rDef will take no stun at all from most attacks. This can be mitigated on the bottom end by just saying that an attack does a minimum amount of stun equal to the number of dice rolled...thus a target hit by a 3d6 KA would suffer a minimum of 3 stun even if they bounced all the body or say 1 body with a x1 multiple. 

 

This approach, as I said, is an easy to remember hand wave, and it favors PC's over the long term as the average PC is in far more combats than an NPC, but it will make fights take longer if the GM stocks the world with a lot of high rDEF adversaries. This can be a pro or a con depending on what you are going for. The strongest con is that it is a hand wave and there are some wonky edge cases that will require you to either hand wave them too or make a spot ruling. Another potential con is that nDEF is of lower utility / is less significant in a campaign where this approach is used...although that can turn into a borderline pro if people build into that curve as it creates an interesting niche for blunt weapons purchased as normal damage...for instance a quarterstaff doing normal damage might have an interesting effect vs a target whose damage mitigation stance was optimized to take advantage of this lethal damage house rule.

 

But, yeah, you are correct that allowing killing damage to ratchet up ultimately gets to a point where the stun getting applied on even non-wounding attacks is crazy. I actually do talk about problems of increasing damage in this document, and suggest that to dial up lethality it is better to lower resistant defenses vs increase damage http://www.killershrike.com/FantasyHERO/HighFantasyHERO/shrikeLethalityOptions_Design.aspx 

 

The real world serves as an excellent example of that...as effective resistant defenses are very rare in the real world, a modest knife or pistol is reliably lethal vs the majority of targets. Unfortunately, this runs counter to most players expectations. So you have to balance what makes sense mechanically with what your players are going to expect or tolerate.

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29 minutes ago, Killer Shrike said:

 

Well, yeah, stun lock is part of the Hero System default model and biases. If you are playing in a setting where lethal damage is more common than normal damage and fights are usually "to the death" that can really get in the way. 

 

For starters, characters should be budgeting their action economy to fight defensively...blocks, dodges, rolling w/ punch, dive for cover, and also consider maneuvers beyond strike that have some kind of enemy-inconveniencing element such as disarm / takeaway / target falls / etc, as well as paying careful attention to managing their own DCV...it is pretty common for things in the system that offer bonus offense to come at the cost of a hit to DCV. Having good resistances is good, but nothing beats not getting hit in the first place.

 

That aside, I have used a few different house rules over the years on and off in various campaigns where I wanted a different tone to 'adjust' the system to dial down the stun lotto / TKO grazing shot dynamics. However, they tweak the game in different directions and depend on specific operating parameters to function as intended in a holistic composition with other twiddled bits.

 

One of the simplest is to simply apply the stun multiple to the amount of body that gets past rDef and the target takes that full amount of stun without applying nDef...thus if 2 body gets past rPD with a x5 multiple, the target subtracts 10 stun...they do not apply the multiple to the full amount of body and subtract their rPD + nPD from that amount. This is an abstraction that speeds gameplay and prevents characters from getting TKO'd by attacks that do not penetrate or grazing wounds, and it is easy to remember at the table, however it has logical flaws...like a character with very high rDef will take no stun at all from most attacks. This can be mitigated on the bottom end by just saying that an attack does a minimum amount of stun equal to the number of dice rolled...thus a target hit by a 3d6 KA would suffer a minimum of 3 stun even if they bounced all the body or say 1 body with a x1 multiple. 

 

This approach, as I said, is an easy to remember hand wave, and it favors PC's over the long term as the average PC is in far more combats than an NPC, but it will make fights take longer if the GM stocks the world with a lot of high rDEF adversaries. This can be a pro or a con depending on what you are going for. The strongest con is that it is a hand wave and there are some wonky edge cases that will require you to either hand wave them too or make a spot ruling. Another potential con is that nDEF is of lower utility / is less significant in a campaign where this approach is used...although that can turn into a borderline pro if people build into that curve as it creates an interesting niche for blunt weapons purchased as normal damage...for instance a quarterstaff doing normal damage might have an interesting effect vs a target whose damage mitigation stance was optimized to take advantage of this lethal damage house rule.

 

But, yeah, you are correct that allowing killing damage to ratchet up ultimately gets to a point where the stun getting applied on even non-wounding attacks is crazy. I actually do talk about problems of increasing damage in this document, and suggest that to dial up lethality it is better to lower resistant defenses vs increase damage http://www.killershrike.com/FantasyHERO/HighFantasyHERO/shrikeLethalityOptions_Design.aspx 

 

The real world serves as an excellent example of that...as effective resistant defenses are very rare in the real world, a modest knife or pistol is reliably lethal vs the majority of targets. Unfortunately, this runs counter to most players expectations. So you have to balance what makes sense mechanically with what your players are going to expect or tolerate.

 

That's a very interesting house rule! I'll have to mull that over. it does make armor much stronger. I wonder if you could apply it so that physical armor works that way, while things like Combat Luck and possibly magic shields work as normal. Might be too fiddly, but could be an interesting way to make armor really matter while still allowing dodging and magical defences to exist. So a mage might have a high force field, but still be susceptible to being stunned through it (as often seen in comics/movies at least, with Sue Storm and Violet from the incredibles both getting dazed by blows that knock out their force fields but don't hurt them). 

 

So a character wearing 4 point armor and 3 points of combat luck gets hit by an attack doing 8 Body to the head. 4 points are completely blocked by the armor, leaving 4. That turns into 20 Stun. The remaining CL blocks 3 body so they end up taking 2 (1 doubled) and because its resistant def, it stops 3 Stun, meaning 17 get through. Meanwhile if he'd had an 8 point FF, he would take no Body but 40 stun (minus 8 plus his nPD). 

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4 minutes ago, Tywyll said:

 

That's a very interesting house rule! I'll have to mull that over. it does make armor much stronger. I wonder if you could apply it so that physical armor works that way, while things like Combat Luck and possibly magic shields work as normal. Might be too fiddly, but could be an interesting way to make armor really matter while still allowing dodging and magical defences to exist. So a mage might have a high force field, but still be susceptible to being stunned through it (as often seen in comics/movies at least, with Sue Storm and Violet from the incredibles both getting dazed by blows that knock out their force fields but don't hurt them). 

 

So a character wearing 4 point armor and 3 points of combat luck gets hit by an attack doing 8 Body to the head. 4 points are completely blocked by the armor, leaving 4. That turns into 20 Stun. The remaining CL blocks 3 body so they end up taking 2 (1 doubled) and because its resistant def, it stops 3 Stun, meaning 17 get through. Meanwhile if he'd had an 8 point FF, he would take no Body but 40 stun (minus 8 plus his nPD). 

 

Seems like it could introduce a useful mechanical differentiator...it's worth a shot!

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4 hours ago, Killer Shrike said:

 

Seems like it could introduce a useful mechanical differentiator...it's worth a shot!

 

I think it's especially fitting for heavy plate armor.

 

Having watched the quite mediocre and entirely awesome Knight Fights I marveled at how little stun damage these guys took from repeated blows to the head.  The primary reason was they were wearing massive bucket helms and almost all of the impact energy was transferred to their armored shoulders.  Almost all of the KO's I saw were two-handed weapon strikes to the back or belly.

 

Some guys took blows across the helmet so heavy that their opponents weapon broke.  And it suddenly became clear why they favored metal shafts or metal reinforced shafts.  A battered sword may get all bendy and warped, but the hammers & maces & axes frequently broke.

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My own Fantasy HERO campaign is very heavily inspired by 80s barbarian action films of the lowest quality imaginable and  I encourage players to take Combat Luck. I don't require any special explanation, it's merely a consequence of "being good."  I have a soft cap of 9 DEF for characters, so 3 levels of Combat Luck will max you out.  I've also designed armor so that it requires Armor Familiarity, adds movement and dexterity penalties, and is generally annoying as heck (and stupid expensive).  I also make it clear through NPCs that only cowards and greenhorns wear heavy armor and that Real Men run around in leather pants and maybe a vest.  Most players start with 1 level of Combat Luck and chain mail (DEF 6), then move up to CL 2 and leather (DEF 3), then CL 3 and no armor.

 

I don't generally allow Deadly Blow however as I feel like it overlaps too much with Martial Arts to to justifying the stacking damage.  I would rather represent a "sneak attack" with an Offensive Strike from Surprise (to mitigate the OCV penalty) or a Naked Advantage: Armor Piercing (Only with Surprise Attacks).  I might allow Deadly Blow to represent a "divine smite," but it's never come up.

 

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