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Guest Usagi

No Recoveries For Dying Characters

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Guest Usagi

Just what the title says.  I feel like Dying is not significant in HERO.  There's no real consequence of being at negative BODY, and that just seems silly to me.  Considering a house rule that characters who are Dying (i.e. at 0 BODY or less) cannot take Recovery actions and do not get their Post-Segment 12 Recovery, but may still recover from being Stunned.  If you are reduced to 0 BODY and 0 STUN, you're toast, it's game over (unless someone else heals you).  If you go to 0 BODY and still have STUN remaining, you can keep acting as long as you still have STUN (and END).  This would be primarily for Fantasy HERO and Star HERO games.

 

Thoughts?

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Hero System has its foundations in, well, heroes (a la Champions) … and what you describe is decidedly un-comic-booky.  However, if it suits your desired gaming style or perhaps your genre (a la a really lethal, heroic level Dark Champions game), by all means, house rule away.

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Guest Usagi
1 hour ago, Surrealone said:

Hero System has its foundations in, well, heroes (a la Champions) … and what you describe is decidedly un-comic-booky.  However, if it suits your desired gaming style or perhaps your genre (a la a really lethal, heroic level Dark Champions game), by all means, house rule away.

I'm not sure it would really make the game all that more lethal.  You're still much more likely to be knocked out than killed.  It's just that there's this scenario that is weirdly common in HERO.  It works like:

  1. A Thug (13 DEX) gets the drop on Guppy, heroic kid sidekick of the Goldfish, who has 10 DEX, 10 CON, 2 PD (0 rPD), 20 STUN, 10 BODY, 4 REC. 
  2. On segment 12 of Turn 0,  the Thug shoots Guppy with a .44 Autmag (2d6 RKA) in the Thigh location. Guppy takes 12 BODY (22 STUN) after Defenses.  Guppy is Dying (-2 BODY), Stunned and KO'd (-2 STUN).  His leg is Disabled if that rule is being used.
  3. Guppy has not acted yet this turn, so he uses his action to take a Recovery. This removes the Stunned condition and restores 4 STUN (he's now 2 STUN).
  4. Guppy then takes his Post-Segment 12 Recovery, regaining 4 STUN (he's now at 6 STUN).
  5. On segment 4 Guppy takes a Recovery,  regaining 4 STUN (he's now at 10 STUN).
  6. On segment 8 Guppy takes a Recovery,  regaining 4 STUN (he's now at 14 STUN).
  7. On segment 12 Guppy takes a Recovery,  regaining 4 STUN (he's now at 18 STUN).
  8. Guppy then takes his Post-Segment 12 Recovery, regaining 4 STUN (he's now at 20 STUN). He loses -1 BODY to Dying (-3 BODY).

That just...I dunno.  It bugs me.  Guppy will bleed out and die in 1.4 minutes, during which time that mortal wound will have no more significant effect. He can completely shake off the effects in about 12 seconds.  He can basically just ignore it.  I don't think the situation becomes any more lethal necessarily, because once shot he'd die in 1.6 minutes regardless of whether he's conscious or not.  If he has no means of healing himself, then he's unlikely to reach medical aid in that 1.6 minutes and he's dead, conscious or not, and if a healer can get to him in that 1.6 minutes, he'll live, conscious or not.  It's just a bit nuts that he can get up and keep fighting for that 1.6 minutes with no real penalties.

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Funny: the complaints about the nigh-unkillability of Champions and Espionage characters was a complaint way back when.  Well obviously way back when, since Espionage was a 2e game.    :lol:

 

Now keep in mind that this was back during the era that there was _no_ negative BODY:  zero BOD was dead, period. 

 

Having skipped the 3e rules books (never came to a store near me) until picking them up right before 5e came out, my next experience after 2e was straight to 4e, with the idea that 0 meant "you're in bad shape" and my first thought was my space opera game, which led to "there is no way in Hell we are doing that.  These guys have a hard time grasping their mortality as it is!".     🤣

 

I really don't remember what it was in 3e (only read it twice, looking for differences between the box set and the perfect bound all-in-one), but even if it didn't start until 4e, it has, at this point, been the rule longer than it hasn't, and I don't like it simply because it makes dying even harder. 

 

I am reminded of that old Murphy's Rules comment in Space Gamer that pointed out a character in Car Wars could not kill himself with a handgun: a handgun did 2 points of damage, which would render the character unconscious, making him unable to try again.     :lol:

 

 

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I think the main reason there's no more complexity to body damage and stun damage is just that... complexity.  It would be a lot more work.  I could easily see having a -1 to your skills etc for every half Body you suffer (so if you're 10 body you are -1 to all skill, stat, and attack rolls at 5 body, -2 at 0 Body, etc).  You could do the same thing with STUN if you wanted, and even END (getting tired makes you less effective)

 

But the truth is, that kind of thing cripples you as you're at your worst, and no matter how realistic it may be, it sucks a lot for players to watch their character horribly degrade and be even more likely to die as they get hurt.  And its not terribly heroic or like the source material where people fight wonderfully even when tore up.  And its a lot of work to keep track of everything.  Not really worth it, in my opinion.

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One unintuitive aspect of HERO is that 0 isn't down and out like it is in most systems.  In HERO, getting somebody to 0 means you can, and have to, hit them to keep them down.  Because HERO was built for superheroes, and in superhero fiction people get back up all the time. 

In your example, if this thug wanted to keep Guppy out of the fight he'd need to put another shot into the poor boy.  Or a good swift kick to the ribs if he didn't want to be a murderer. 

 

Fundamentally, HERO is built for four-color superheroic action.  It can handle gritty lethality, but it doesn't do so as elegantly as it handles what it was built for. 

 

Another aspect of HERO is that it just doesn't handle Normals well.  You want GURPS for that (or so I'm told, no personal experience with GURPS).  Basically any example of a normal guy doing anything is going to have issues in HERO context.  The scale just falls apart at the low end. 

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2 hours ago, Gnome BODY (important!) said:

One unintuitive aspect of HERO is that 0 isn't down and out like it is in most systems.  In HERO, getting somebody to 0 means you can, and have to, hit them to keep them down.  Because HERO was built for superheroes, and in superhero fiction people get back up all the time.

 

Not just supers; modern-day action-movie, fantasy (Boromir's death, anyone?)... Hero System's default is heroic actions from larger-than-life source material.

 

But there are consequences to being at negative Body; they just aren't instant. That may strike someone as being unrealistic, and if that's problematic for a particular game group they should change it (and that's always been Steve Long's mantra in his Hero writing: you should feel free to change whatever would make your game more fun for you). However -- and I say this with respect, Usagi -- IME the "unrealism" of Hero damage tends to be more of a concern for Game Masters than for players, usually for the conceptual reason you cite. Players usually don't want their PCs to die sooner than they have to, and want to soldier on to show how tough they are. ;)

 

But one alternative I did experiment with which is in line with that sentiment, is to require characters who have reached 0 Body or less to make a CON or EGO roll (whichever stat is higher) every Phase, due to pain/shock/bloodloss/etc. If they fail the roll they can take no action that Phase. To reflect their deteriorating condition, you could add a penalty to their roll of -1 for every Body they fall below 0.

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Guest Usagi
3 hours ago, Greywind said:

Isn't getting unStunned the end all and be all of that first Recovery?

No, and that's one of my other issues with the game.  It's often better to get Knocked Out than it is to get Stunned.  A Stunned character cannot take any actions until they take a full phase action to recover from being Stunned, and that action only removes the Stunned condition, it's not also a normal Recovery.  However if you get Knocked Out, then on your next action you automatically take a Recovery, and this Recovery ALSO removes the Stunned condition.  So it's better to be Stunned and reduced to 0 STUN than it is to be Stunned and reduced to 1 STUN.  You will actually recover faster from being Stunned and KO'd than just Stunned.

 

I'm also seriously considering only allowing KO'd characters to recover on Post-Segment 12.  I find that the combats that tend to drag the most are the ones where everyone keeps just barely getting KO'd and recovering over and over, and it gets to be a real drag.  You have to pummel people to -30 STUN just to keep them KO'd long enough to get them in a paddy wagon, and it leads to these very genre-inappropriate scenes where one of the heroes has to squat over their unconscious foe, periodically punching him in the face to keep him out.

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6 minutes ago, Usagi said:

  A Stunned character cannot take any actions until they take a full phase action to recover from being Stunned, and that action only removes the Stunned condition,

 

...which is what I was saying.

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Guest Usagi
19 minutes ago, Greywind said:

 

...which is what I was saying.

You asked if getting unstunned was the "end all and be all" of Guppy's first Recovery.  I was explaining why it is not.

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37 minutes ago, Usagi said:

So it's better to be Stunned and reduced to 0 STUN than it is to be Stunned and reduced to 1 STUN.  You will actually recover faster from being Stunned and KO'd than just Stunned.

 

One key difference of hitting 0 STUN is that after your recovery and your STUN is back to 10 or 11, your END will also be 10 or 11, unlike stunned which does not affect your END.

 

Doc

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31 minutes ago, Usagi said:

I'm also seriously considering only allowing KO'd characters to recover on Post-Segment 12.  I find that the combats that tend to drag the most are the ones where everyone keeps just barely getting KO'd and recovering over and over, and it gets to be a real drag.  You have to pummel people to -30 STUN just to keep them KO'd long enough to get them in a paddy wagon, and it leads to these very genre-inappropriate scenes where one of the heroes has to squat over their unconscious foe, periodically punching him in the face to keep him out.

Quote

If a character is only barely Knocked Out (down to -10 STUN), he’s not completely unconscious — in fact, it’s more like he’s deeply Stunned. Depending upon the character and the nature of the attack, he may even be on his feet, wobbly but still standing, as he tries to shake off the effects of the attack.

Quote

Typically, you should only use the guidelines in the Recovery Time Table for PCs, not NPCs. Once an NPC is Knocked Out below the -10 STUN level, even by a little, he should normally remain unconscious until the fi ght ends (unless it would be dramatically appropriate for him to wake up). Characters shouldn’t have to keep hitting an unconscious opponent “just to make sure he won’t wake up”; that’s unheroic and undramatic. The GM shouldn’t force them to do this by constantly having NPCs wake up and start fighting again.

HERO already has you covered!  (FRED pg 411-412)

 

34 minutes ago, Usagi said:

So it's better to be Stunned and reduced to 0 STUN than it is to be Stunned and reduced to 1 STUN. 

Getting KO'd leaves you at 0 DCV and taking 2x STUN from everything.  Being KO'd is much worse because you won't get that Recovery, somebody's going to hit you again and keep you down. 

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5 hours ago, Usagi said:

Guppy will bleed out and die in 1.4 minutes, during which time that mortal wound will have no more significant effect.

 

Just reading it again.  Guppy has just 84 seconds to live...how much more significant does it have to be!  🙂 If the dying character is not heroic, that is maybe three frantic attempts to save their life...no agent or minor NPC is going to do anything else.

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Guest Usagi
2 minutes ago, Doc Democracy said:

One key difference of hitting 0 STUN is that after your recovery and your STUN is back to 10 or 11, your END will also be 10 or 11, unlike stunned which does not affect your END.

That's true, but tends to not mean much in heroic games, where typically characters have enough REC to cover moving and fighting in a turn.  If you're 3 SPD, 13 STR, with 12m Running and a sword or pistol, then a 6 REC will cover all the END you'll spend half-moving and attacking.  Which means it doesn't really matter as long as your END is above 7.

3 minutes ago, Doc Democracy said:

Guppy has just 84 seconds to live...

That's practically forever in HERO combat time.  I don't know how y'all run your games, but in my games it's a rare fight that lasts more than 24 seconds.  Going over 60 seconds is essentially unheard of.  With 84 seconds to live, the chances of someone getting to him an making a Paramedics roll is really, really good.

 

Another cool thing about No Recoveries While Dying is that it allows for forced bedrest, which is super, super genre appropriate in almost all genres, but I've never seen handled well by any game system.  A character at -5 STUN is "deeply Stunned" but still semi-aware of their surroundings and minimally able to communicate.  If a character goes down to -7 BODY and has a 4 REC, it will take 2 months before they are back in positives, which means they'll stay at -5 STUN for those 2 months.  Just like a character on life support should!

 

This allows for situations where a PC gets shot, ends up in the hospital, and stays there under medical care for several weeks, only leaving when they are still weak (i.e. at 1+ BODY).  This creates a strong incentive to not let yourself get shot, without imposing the ultimate penalty (since killing characters is boring).

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Guest Usagi
5 hours ago, Greywind said:

Actually, it is. They get unstunned. Only.

You are incorrect, sir.

 

6E2 106: A character who’s both Stunned and Knocked Out by the same attack (or who’s Stunned by one attack and Knocked Out by another in the same Phase) begins taking Recoveries in his next full Phase; he doesn’t have to spend a Phase recovering from being Stunned (that’s part of waking up from being Knocked Out).

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14 hours ago, Usagi said:

I'm not sure it would really make the game all that more lethal.  You're still much more likely to be knocked out than killed.  It's just that there's this scenario that is weirdly common in HERO.  It works like:

  1. A Thug (13 DEX) gets the drop on Guppy, heroic kid sidekick of the Goldfish, who has 10 DEX, 10 CON, 2 PD (0 rPD), 20 STUN, 10 BODY, 4 REC. 
  2. On segment 12 of Turn 0,  the Thug shoots Guppy with a .44 Autmag (2d6 RKA) in the Thigh location. Guppy takes 12 BODY (22 STUN) after Defenses.  Guppy is Dying (-2 BODY), Stunned and KO'd (-2 STUN).  His leg is Disabled if that rule is being used.
  3. Guppy has not acted yet this turn, so he uses his action to take a Recovery. This removes the Stunned condition and restores 4 STUN (he's now 2 STUN).
  4. Guppy then takes his Post-Segment 12 Recovery, regaining 4 STUN (he's now at 6 STUN).
  5. On segment 4 Guppy takes a Recovery,  regaining 4 STUN (he's now at 10 STUN).
  6. On segment 8 Guppy takes a Recovery,  regaining 4 STUN (he's now at 14 STUN).
  7. On segment 12 Guppy takes a Recovery,  regaining 4 STUN (he's now at 18 STUN).
  8. Guppy then takes his Post-Segment 12 Recovery, regaining 4 STUN (he's now at 20 STUN). He loses -1 BODY to Dying (-3 BODY).

That just...I dunno.  It bugs me.  Guppy will bleed out and die in 1.4 minutes, during which time that mortal wound will have no more significant effect. He can completely shake off the effects in about 12 seconds.  He can basically just ignore it.  I don't think the situation becomes any more lethal necessarily, because once shot he'd die in 1.6 minutes regardless of whether he's conscious or not.  If he has no means of healing himself, then he's unlikely to reach medical aid in that 1.6 minutes and he's dead, conscious or not, and if a healer can get to him in that 1.6 minutes, he'll live, conscious or not.  It's just a bit nuts that he can get up and keep fighting for that 1.6 minutes with no real penalties.

 

This is where you call the Paramedic, or have a Doctor just happen to show up and save Guppy's life. 

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13 hours ago, Duke Bushido said:

Funny: the complaints about the nigh-unkillability of Champions and Espionage characters was a complaint way back when.  Well obviously way back when, since Espionage was a 2e game.    :lol:

 

Now keep in mind that this was back during the era that there was _no_ negative BODY:  zero BOD was dead, period.

 

Just for the purpose of setting the historical record straight - absolutely no disrespect intended! - the negative BODY rule has been around since 1st edition (p.34, "Effects of Damage"): "A character whose Body Pip total has been reduced to 0 or below will die. Death is not immediate, and the character may survive if he can get medical aid. Every turn at the post segment 12 Recovery, all characters with 0 or negative BODY totals lose and additional BODY. If a character has ever lost twice his total BODY then he is considered dead."  The paragraph that follows gives an example explaining that a 10 BODY character will be dead upon reaching -10 BODY.

 

Was "dead at 0 BODY" a house rule, maybe?

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38 minutes ago, Usagi said:

You are incorrect, sir.

 

6E2 106: A character who’s both Stunned and Knocked Out by the same attack (or who’s Stunned by one attack and Knocked Out by another in the same Phase) begins taking Recoveries in his next full Phase; he doesn’t have to spend a Phase recovering from being Stunned (that’s part of waking up from being Knocked Out).

 

We weren't discussing "knocked out" beyond it being said that being knocked out is better than just being stunned.

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1 hour ago, rravenwood said:

 

Just for the purpose of setting the historical record straight - absolutely no disrespect intended! -

 

And none taken.  I mean--thanks and all that, but if I was particularly thin-skinned, I couldn't enjoy these discussions the way I do. 

 

Summed up otherly: I am the eldest of thirteen siblings.  I don't have any feelings left!    :lol:

 

 

 

1 hour ago, rravenwood said:

 

the negative BODY rule has been around since 1st edition (p.34, "Effects of Damage"): "A character whose Body Pip total has been reduced to 0 or below will die. Death is not immediate, and the character may survive if he can get medical attention

 

 

Yep.  Just had a minute to double check (I keep a copy of 2e Champions and 3e's Fantasy Hero in my phone.  I had forgotten they were there). 

 

You are correct.  Though 2e doesn't offer the example (space/layout issues?) and is less precise about taking additional damage. 

 

1 hour ago, rravenwood said:

Was "dead at 0 BODY" a house rule, maybe?

 

I expect so, and we've been using it so long-- it was in play from my original GM-- that I hadn't given it much thought until I read the detailed entry in 4e.

 

We just sort of focused on the "without medical attention" part:  no doctor?  No first aid?   You're out. 

 

I enjoy these things: you never know what you don't know until someone else points it out.  ;)

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Guest Usagi
17 hours ago, Usagi said:

Guppy is Dying (-2 BODY), Stunned and KO'd (-2 STUN).

Guppy has not acted yet this turn, so he uses his action to take a Recovery. This removes the Stunned condition and restores 4 STUN (he's now 2 STUN).

 

16 hours ago, Greywind said:

Isn't getting unStunned the end all and be all of that first Recovery?

2 hours ago, Greywind said:

We weren't discussing "knocked out" beyond it being said that being knocked out is better than just being stunned.

I'm sorry, you confused me when you said "that first Recovery."  I assumed you meant the first Recovery taken by Guppy, who was KO'd at the time, since that's the grammatical convention.

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