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Doc Democracy

Killing damage (yet again)

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We have had MANY discussions on these forums about killing damage and normal damage and what is right or wrong. 

I am currently engaged in writing a game based on HERO as a lockdown project.  I have had to face the issue of normal versus killing damage. 

 

Now, 15 points of normal damage, averages 10.5 STUN and 3 BODY.  15 points of killing damage averages 3.5 BODY and just under 5 STUN. 

 

So we accept that the 15 points in killing damage is worth an extra 0.5 BODY and gets less STUN but acts against a more limited type of defence. 

 

I am inclined to simply allow players to declare their attack as normal or killing.  Killing attacks work against resistant defences but STUN damage after defences is halved. I am inclined to treat all STUN inflicted as a free PRE attack.  I intend for the game to be more four colour and for killing attacks to be rare and notable. 

 

My intention is to eliminate a different way of generating damage and replace it with a different way of applying that damage.

 

See any problems??

 

Doc

 

 

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More information is needed to make any analysis.

 

What is the ratio of defenses to attack going to be on average? My answers will be much different for a campaign with average defenses at 1.5x DC(low) vs at 2x, 2.5x  or 3x or higher. Will you be using Hero generated "real world" weaponry and equipment and how much threat is it supposed to pose?

 

Will you be using Hit Locations?

 

What is the general tone of the campaign going to be? Street level, standard, or high powered? Gritty or cinematic?

 

I see you want to trend to four color, but British and American comics have slightly different takes on that.

 

 

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I have debated eliminating killing damage completely for 4 color games.  What we consider "killing" attacks might be better represented by either the Armor Piercing advantage, or by 3rd edition's Piercing, which just removed X amount of Def from the target (or both).

 

So let's say Batman has 20 PD.  The Joker grabs a tommy gun, 7D6 Energy Blast, Armor Piercing, 8 points Piercing, Autofire x5.  He shoots at Batman and hits 3 times.  The 8 points Piercing lowers Batman's PD to 12.  Batman isn't hardened, so it's reduced again to 6.  The Joker will inflict about 1 Body and 15 Stun per hit past defenses to the Caped Crusader.  Visually, Batman is grazed by the bullets and it hurts a lot, but he's okay.  His costume is torn and he's bleeding.

 

A normal person hit by such an attack would full damage from each attack.  Even a tough normal person (8 PD) would have all that stripped away.  On the other hand, Superman (40 PD, hardened) gets reduced to 32 PD and the bullets still bounce harmlessly off of him.

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1 hour ago, Grailknight said:

More information is needed to make any analysis.

 

What is the ratio of defenses to attack going to be on average? My answers will be much different for a campaign with average defenses at 1.5x DC(low) vs at 2x, 2.5x  or 3x or higher. Will you be using Hero generated "real world" weaponry and equipment and how much threat is it supposed to pose?

 

Will you be using Hit Locations?

 

What is the general tone of the campaign going to be? Street level, standard, or high powered? Gritty or cinematic?

 

I see you want to trend to four color, but British and American comics have slightly different takes on that.

 

 

So wrapped up in figuring numbers that I have obviously missed stuff off here.

 

It is truly four colour.  Any weapon with real weapon limitation will do half damage after defences.  The heroes are going to be running at 10D6 attacks and 21 defences on average.  Resistant defences will be 5 on average and few characters will have more than 10.

 

It is Golden Age, with all that entails.

 

Doc

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29 minutes ago, massey said:

I have debated eliminating killing damage completely for 4 color games.  What we consider "killing" attacks might be better represented by either the Armor Piercing advantage, or by 3rd edition's Piercing, which just removed X amount of Def from the target (or both).

 

So let's say Batman has 20 PD.  The Joker grabs a tommy gun, 7D6 Energy Blast, Armor Piercing, 8 points Piercing, Autofire x5.  He shoots at Batman and hits 3 times.  The 8 points Piercing lowers Batman's PD to 12.  Batman isn't hardened, so it's reduced again to 6.  The Joker will inflict about 1 Body and 15 Stun per hit past defenses to the Caped Crusader.  Visually, Batman is grazed by the bullets and it hurts a lot, but he's okay.  His costume is torn and he's bleeding.

 

A normal person hit by such an attack would full damage from each attack.  Even a tough normal person (8 PD) would have all that stripped away.  On the other hand, Superman (40 PD, hardened) gets reduced to 32 PD and the bullets still bounce harmlessly off of him.

 

An intersting alternative but I have not yet decided if I am using armour piercing - but if I do it might indeed be the option to think about.

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Get wiggy with it:

 

Killing Damage is 10pts per die.

 

You can add the +1/2 Advantage: Range

 

Or the +1/2 Advantage: Add STR bonus.

 

Or, for +1 (twenty points per die), you get both.

 

 

Have fun with that.

 

 

 

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1 hour ago, Duke Bushido said:

Get wiggy with it:

 

Killing Damage is 10pts per die.

 

You can add the +1/2 Advantage: Range

 

Or the +1/2 Advantage: Add STR bonus.

 

Or, for +1 (twenty points per die), you get both.

 

I am beyond wiggy.  I am putting a wrapper round the mechanics and leaving the players a limited amount of choice to facilitate them getting from picking up the book to playing the game.  Everything will be properly costed but as far as the players will be concerned it will all be black box stuff. 

 

Now this is a departure from rules as written but I think it will make for a lower barrier to playing the game.  If people liked the game they would eb able to homebrew it by buying the main ruleset and going to town...

 

As such, your suggestions are too detailed for the game (they offer too much detailed choice)...

 

🙂

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19 hours ago, Doc Democracy said:

So wrapped up in figuring numbers that I have obviously missed stuff off here.

 

It is truly four colour.  Any weapon with real weapon limitation will do half damage after defences.  The heroes are going to be running at 10D6 attacks and 21 defences on average.  Resistant defences will be 5 on average and few characters will have more than 10.

 

It is Golden Age, with all that entails.

 

Doc

 

This should play pretty much like any game using RAW. The only concerns i'd have would be if the PC'"s don't invest in PRE, then they may lose initiative to KA's and exceptional rolls(around 3%) or attacks from a master villain with 2 or 3 extra DC's could cost actions. But I gather that you want that effect and if so, this looks good.

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21 hours ago, Duke Bushido said:

Or the +1/2 Advantage: Add STR bonus.

 

I've always hated that "+1/2 to add STR damage" suggestion.

 

Why can't I pay +1/2 on a Drain or a Flash to add STR?  It's a no range eye poke.

 

Or pay +1/2 on my KA and add my Blast to it?

 

Why is it only the HTH damage of STR that can have a special mechanic to enhance another type of attack, and only that one other type of attack?
 

If I told you that combining my 1d6 Flash with my 10d6 Light Blast made the light brighter, you would not suggest an Advantage for my Flash - you would suggest I buy more dice of Flash.

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On 5/8/2020 at 11:08 AM, Doc Democracy said:

It is truly four colour.  Any weapon with real weapon limitation will do half damage after defences.  The heroes are going to be running at 10D6 attacks and 21 defences on average.  Resistant defences will be 5 on average and few characters will have more than 10.

 

So let's run the math.

 

Normal gets hit with a 10d6 Normal attack, and takes an average of 8 BOD and 33 STUN after defenses.  If it's a KA, they take 10 BOD and 17.5 stun.

 

Another Super gets hit with a 10d6 Normal attack, and takes an average of 0 BOD and 14 STUN after defenses.  If it's a KA, they take 5 BOD and 15 stun.  I am thinking KAs wil be pretty deadly to average Supers, and they are clearly superior at that defense level.

 

A high rDEF super, with 10 rDEF, takes 0 BOD or 14 STUN from a Normal attack, but 0 BOD and 12.5 STUN from the KA.

 

So the KA choice means I kill off most opponents, and do more STUN, at a slight cost if my target has exception rDEF.

 

I suggest the math fails.

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10 hours ago, Hugh Neilson said:

 

I've always hated that "+1/2 to add STR damage" suggestion.

 

Why can't I pay +1/2 on a Drain or a Flash to add STR?  It's a no range eye poke.

 

I don't remember saying you couldn't.   I just defined it as a +1/2 advantage, after all. 

 

The only reason that you couldn't is if you subscibe (as does the bulk of rules) to something I have hated for decades:

 

Advantages that only work with certain powers. 

 

We have threads over and over and over about the validity of this and that and how this edition folds all this under X and that one breaks out into pieces all the stuff that was once under Y, and endless conversations about how to bring things in line with each other, of the value (or horror) of doing so--

 

But none of it really goes all the way: everyone has an unspoken stopping point beyond which all is sacred. 

 

We know that Ranged exists as a published advantage.  It says its for powers that don't already have range, and it is a +1/2 advantage. 

 

We even acknowledge that we can take a "no range" limitation on powers that ordinarily _do_ have range. 

 

We don't ever discuss the pricing discrepancy between the two builds.  We talk about cheering and point shaving and various forms of abuse (well, usually _potential_ abuse, because every demon of abuse brought up as an example of the horrible things that must be regulated tend to be things I've never actually seen happen, so....  I'll just take your words for it., I guess.) 

 

Want to make it  all perfect and fair and math out the same?  Pull out the Advantages of things that "just have" advantages.  There.  That's what they cost.  Now add advantages. 

 

Curiously, this is how you discover that Killing Attack is 10 pts a die:  remove the "automatic" +1/2 advantage "ranged" and you get a cost of ten points. 

 

You can't add STR to an RKA, though, so it's not as good (at least at lower levels) as buying HKA for 15 pts.  Why?  Because those extra 5 points let you add an STR bonus.   The cost difference is 5pts; the in-game difference is STR bonus.   It's an easy trail to follow. 

 

We've gone so far to "create" (or re-cost, depending on your POV) HtH dice at 3 pits per die.  Why?  They are, in one way of thinking, Limited STR(take away Lift, leap, etc, and leave only damage) .  In another, they are Limited Blast (take away Range). 

 

Why is AoE an advantage for one power and an adder for six others? 

 

Rework them so you pay an appropriate cost for a base power, then add AoE as you see fit.   Range, too, for that matter. 

 

 

Okay- mostly that was snarky commentary on just why there will never be a mathematical balance / holy grail for HERO, and to point out that some of our cows are more sacred that others, and we all just pretend that this is fine. 

 

 

Still, I wouldn't mind a quick census, if you're willing:

 

 

Sound off if you've ever told Hugh that he can't have a +1/2 Advantage to add STR damage. 

 

Seriously; if you've told him that, speak up.  You're a horrible person for telling him how to have fun, and should be scolded by your peers. 

 

 

Hugh, I think it's okay if you go first. 

 

;)

 

 

Quote

Lots of stuff that I inadvertently erased with this tiny little touch screen.  My sincerest apologies; it was genuinely a error

 

As above, I don't recall anyone but you telling you that you can't.  I would, if pressed, restate that I am putting forward an Advantage specifically called "add STR bonus damage," though.  However,  for additional reading on your ideas of combining different powers into one bigger power, I would recommend taking a look at "Linked.". If that's not to your liking, sit down with your GM and review "Custom Advantage" and "Campaign Limits.".   Most helpfully though, stop telling yourself "no." 

 

 

 

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4 hours ago, Hugh Neilson said:

 

So let's run the math.

 

Normal gets hit with a 10d6 Normal attack, and takes an average of 8 BOD and 33 STUN after defenses.  If it's a KA, they take 10 BOD and 17.5 stun.

 

Another Super gets hit with a 10d6 Normal attack, and takes an average of 0 BOD and 14 STUN after defenses.  If it's a KA, they take 5 BOD and 15 stun.  I am thinking KAs wil be pretty deadly to average Supers, and they are clearly superior at that defense level.

 

A high rDEF super, with 10 rDEF, takes 0 BOD or 14 STUN from a Normal attack, but 0 BOD and 12.5 STUN from the KA.

 

So the KA choice means I kill off most opponents, and do more STUN, at a slight cost if my target has exception rDEF.

 

I suggest the math fails.

 

Yup - there is an incentive to use a deadly weapon.  I want it to be dangerous and so the math, for that purpose, does work.

 

My only issue is the similar (and in places) better STUN damage.  A 15 point PRE attack is not massive but will come into play enough to be interesting but not sure it is worth the STUN damage being better.

 

Back to the drawing board. 😞

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11 hours ago, dmjalund said:

Both punch and Killing Attack do knock back. I suggest you buy your Drain as doing knockback before you apply the +1/2 to add STR. also 5 pts of STR will only add 5 points of effect to your Drain.

 

Why?  I can buy an HKA that does No Knockback, and I can similarly limit my STR. 

 

If I have a 30 STR, I can buy a 2d6 HKA for 30 points and get a 4d6 HKA.

 

If I have the same 30 STR and I buy a 2d6 ED Drain, STR Adds , why shouldn't I get the same impact of a 4d6 ED Drain for the same cost of 30 points?

 

As the rules have evolved, most "auto-adders", like Growth Momentum and Stretching Momentum have been removed, and many advantages have been expanded to other powers, just as Duke suggests.  Further, Combat Maneuvers have become usable with things other than basis STR, as have Martial Arts.

 

This has left the structure of KA's more and more an outlier.

 

So here's an approach.  Ditch HKA and RKA entirely.  Just have Killing Attack,  5 points per DC, and Ranged by default.

 

Now, modify the Hand Attack model so that you can build it with Blast, KA, Flash, Drain, whatever.

 

OR (my preference) get rid of Hand Attack.  Price a limitation on STR for direct damage only (-1/2) and for combat erffects only (1/4, which is the same 4 points as a Martrial Arts DC).

 

You want a 4d6 KA?  You buy a 4d6 KA - it does 4d6 KA at range.

 

Those are claws - I want them to have No Range.

 

OK, make the No Range - you get a -1/2 limitation and they do a 4d6 KA at no range.

 

But I'm really strong, so they should do more damage.

 

Why?

 

Well, logically, they should.

 

Sure.  Logically, growth and stretching momentum should too.  And immunity to heat and cold should mean better defenses against heat and cold attacks.  That means you have the SFX that justify investment of extra points into those extra abilities, not that you get extra abilities for free.

 

Feel free to limit 2d6 of your HKA to require you use 30 STR with no other effects in order to get the KA damage.  That seems like it would be a limitation to me.  Maybe -1/4, consistent with Lockout and Unified Power.

 

Right now, the guy with 60 STR and no KA gets no benefit from STR adding to KAs.  The fellow with 10 STR and a 3d6+1 KA gets 4d6, and so does the one with 30 STR and a 2d6 KA.  The 30 STR guy gets +20 STR for free.  Balance is often hard to assess, but it's pretty easy to see that something for nothing is not balanced.

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14 hours ago, Doc Democracy said:

 

Yup - there is an incentive to use a deadly weapon.  I want it to be dangerous and so the math, for that purpose, does work.

 

My only issue is the similar (and in places) better STUN damage.  A 15 point PRE attack is not massive but will come into play enough to be interesting but not sure it is worth the STUN damage being better.

 

Back to the drawing board. 😞

 

It seems like we already have PRE attack bonuses for violent actions, etc.  If you hit a thug for a 10d6 Normal attack that gets 6 BOD after his normal 4 PD, is that so much less violent than your 10d6 KA that gets 10 BOD past his nonexistent rDEF?

 

What if we made killing a +1/4 advantage, so you get 8d6 versus a 10d6 normal attack?  Just pulling that out of the air...

So let's run the math.

 

Normal gets hit with a 10d6 Normal attack, and takes an average of 8 BOD and 33 STUN after defenses.  If it's a KA, they take 8 BOD and 14 stun.  Add on a standard 3d6+1 KA, which would have done 11.5 BOD and 23 STUN. But Normals are not standard opponents.  This will make Lois Lane and Doiby Dickles a bit less likely to require changing a DNPC to a Psych complication, which seems more four-colour anyway.

 

Another Super gets hit with a 10d6 Normal attack, and takes an average of 0 BOD and 14 STUN after defenses.  If it's a KA, they take 3 BOD and 11.5 stun.  I am thinking KAs will still be pretty deadly to average Supers, but won't be quite as good at KO.  3d6+1 KA means 6.5 BOD and 2 STUN - much more likely to be fatal and much less likely to KO.

 

A high rDEF super, with 10 rDEF, takes 0 BOD or 14 STUN from a Normal attack, but 0 BOD and 9 STUN from the KA.  Here the KA seems outmatched.  3d6+1 normal KA gets 1.5 BOD and 2 STUN, so it's more likely to injure, but still pretty outmatched.

 

Not sold, but we are getting closer, at least.  A normal is hospitalized either way - does this really create any difference, or is the person slamming 8 BOD to a Normal attempting murder either way?  A "standard Super" is bloodied, and probably does not want to stand-up duel the KA attacker.  The team will likely develop tactics to put that bulletproof teammate up against the KA enemy.

 

Comparing to the standard rules, your low level of rDEF would make a standard KA very bloody.  That's really why the game evolved to people having some rDEF.  Maybe the above gets what you're looking for a bit closer.

 

 

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Now you're talkin'!

 

 

Let's go deeper than that--

 

as you say, KA is becoming something of an oddball-- it gets more and more different from everything else every time we start trying to find "basic components" of powers.

 

Killing Attack has, since the introduction of "damage classes," one purpose-- 

 

let me back up; sorry: I don't know where anyone else is on this line of thought, so some filler to explain that comment:

 

Damage Classes have no actual function.  They are a construct added after-the-fact to proclaim that we have done the math and found that 'one of these' is pretty damned similar to 'three of those.'  Then we decided that these similar units needed a name so we can talk about them.

 

Sure-- on the way, _way_ large end of things, there's more and more spread.  But unless you're game is filled with planet-destroying attacks, it's moot at best.

 

That's not part of the discussion; it just explains where I'm coming from.  We good?

 

Allrighty then--

 

Killing Attack, since we grokked Damage Classes, has _one_ purpose, and one purpose only: bypass defenses.

 

Resistant Defenses has one purpose, and one purpose only: provide a defense Killing Attack can't bypass.

 

Ditch them both.

 

Make the proposed "Killing" a limitation of sorts: reduced / does no STUN.   Make it levels of a Limitation-- I don't care.  Say for -1/4 it does 1/2 STUN; for -1/2 it does one Stun per die.

 

The cost goes down a bit, allowing the user to buy a larger attack for the same points, meaning increased potential for BODY damage past defenses.

 

 

No; I have given this _zero_ thought, and have done no math.  I would just like to see this conversation-- which Hugh et al have pointed out has been visited numerous times-- go in a different direction this time.

 

 

 

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On 5/8/2020 at 7:40 AM, Doc Democracy said:

We have had MANY discussions on these forums about killing damage and normal damage and what is right or wrong. 

I am currently engaged in writing a game based on HERO as a lockdown project.  I have had to face the issue of normal versus killing damage. 

 

Now, 15 points of normal damage, averages 10.5 STUN and 3 BODY.  15 points of killing damage averages 3.5 BODY and just under 5 STUN. 

 

So we accept that the 15 points in killing damage is worth an extra 0.5 BODY and gets less STUN but acts against a more limited type of defence. 

 

I am inclined to simply allow players to declare their attack as normal or killing.  Killing attacks work against resistant defences but STUN damage after defences is halved. I am inclined to treat all STUN inflicted as a free PRE attack.  I intend for the game to be more four colour and for killing attacks to be rare and notable. 

 

My intention is to eliminate a different way of generating damage and replace it with a different way of applying that damage.

 

See any problems??

 

Doc

 

 

how does 15 points of killing attack average just under 5 stun?

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3 hours ago, Doc Democracy said:

1D6 BODY * 1D3 = 5.25 STUN on average.

 

isn't that just 7? (and also not just under 5?)

 

Oh, I get it, you think the average on a d3 is 1.5

 

it's 2.

 

I was weirded out by the numbers in the original post about a d6 of killing damage doing just under 5 stun and couldn't figure out how that would work.

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16 hours ago, Duke Bushido said:

Allrighty then--

 

Killing Attack, since we grokked Damage Classes, has _one_ purpose, and one purpose only: bypass defenses.

 

Resistant Defenses has one purpose, and one purpose only: provide a defense Killing Attack can't bypass.

 

Ditch them both.

 

Make the proposed "Killing" a limitation of sorts: reduced / does no STUN.   Make it levels of a Limitation-- I don't care.  Say for -1/4 it does 1/2 STUN; for -1/2 it does one Stun per die.

 

The cost goes down a bit, allowing the user to buy a larger attack for the same points, meaning increased potential for BODY damage past defenses.

 

 

No; I have given this _zero_ thought, and have done no math.  I would just like to see this conversation-- which Hugh et al have pointed out has been visited numerous times-- go in a different direction this time.

 

The 6e theory behind a reduced Stun Multiple was that the purpose of a KA is, or should be, to inflict BOD damage, not get a massive STUN

roll.  Issues I see with your model:

 

 - with a limitations model, frameworks don't work well, and AP limits or DC limits fail to permit a larger number of dice.

 

 - if we ignore that, the KA "1 stun per die" at 60 AP is 18d6, averaging 18 BOD.  It still does nothing, or next to nothing, against most Supers, but it now shreds Entangles, Force Walls/Barriers and Automatons unless we beef them up to be virtually immune to everything but killing attacks.

 

These issues tend to arise in a lot of suggested "fixes" to KAs.

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18 dice regular under the damage class model (assuming here that campaign limits are set by DC as opposed to #dice in a given power) is 6 dice KA, averaging 21 Body. 

 

Not a huge difference: still shreds entangles and doesn't really bother Supers.  There might be a diggerence in a protracted chipping away type battle, if course, but you're both likely to run out of END first. 

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That 6d6 KA is unlikely to be allowed in a game where attacks cap out at 12d6 normal damage.  As I read your suggestion, specifically

 

On 5/10/2020 at 2:02 PM, Duke Bushido said:

The cost goes down a bit, allowing the user to buy a larger attack for the same points, meaning increased potential for BODY damage past defenses.

 

it was to allow the higher-dice KA which did more BOD and less STUN.  If the intent is that the KA in that 12 DC game would also be capped at 12d6, and average 12 STUN and 12 BOD, we have an attack that probably serves no useful purpose at all, at least in any game where opponents will typically have defenses at or above 1 per typical DC.

 

That's not necessarily a bad thing.  The reduced stun multiple effectively made a 6e KA a bit better at inflicting BOD, but far worse at inflicting STUN, making it of limited, if any, use in a typical four-colour campaign.  An attack whose chief or sole purpose is to kill probably should not work well in a game where lethality is intended to be low to nonexistent.

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On 5/10/2020 at 4:08 PM, Doc Democracy said:

1D6 BODY * 1D3 = 5.25 STUN on average.

 

I must be missing something here.

 

1d6 averages to 3.5.

1d3 averages to 2

STUN on average would be 7.

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