Rules under consideration

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Rules under consideration

Postby Fetch » Wed Mar 02, 2011 11:03 am

As some of you likely know I have two great hatreds in regards to hit points/health boxes. One is "I still have 1 left" and the other is that death should not be the only nor even the most common long term damage caused by a fight. Related to the second most injuries can often be ignored when you get them but show themselves worse later when the adrenaline wears off. This would address the second.

After any scene in which a character took damage they make a test with a pool equal to the damage suffered. Successes on this test would translate to injury(s) as per Crippling Attacks with the severity based on damage type and number of successes (successes can be split between multiple Crippling Attacks). The damage of the Crippling Attack is the same as the most numerous damage suffered with ties going to the more sever (if I end the scene with 3L, 3B the crippling is L).

Severity Table
Successes - Organ Type
1 - unimportant or cosmetic, pinky, jaged scar
2 - redundant but important, hand/arm, eye
3 - non-redundant, important, non-lethal, spine, hip bone
4 - potentially deadly, brain/head, heart, ext
+1 Success - wound begins bleeding out
+1 Success - advance damage type (B -> L)
-1 Success - lower damage type (L -> B)
-1 Success - wound is not on the torso/head or was done in surprise attack (you'll throw anything up to protect the face if you see it coming)

This would also give a nice mechanical way of representing broken bones from falls and tissue damage from frost bite without much handwavium. Fell two stories and took 10 Bashing? That wraps to 3L, 4B. Test pool of 7 gives you success indicating that a leg is fractured(filled with B).


This concept could be taken one step further if full Agg were no longer death. Maybe it could simply be really bad with additional damage giving bonuses to the end of scene test. Death would be the result of deadly damage to vital organs like the brain and heart meaning that, like in the real world, people usually don't die from being hit but from the mass trauma afterword. Also it would make ambulances physically capable of showing up in time to save someone who is dyeing, a nice bonus in my opinion.
This would recast health more as shock and less as death countdown.

If full Agg is no longer death the test could also be modified as follows to represent the mass trauma that tends to come with near death:
Damage type in last health box - test mod
Bashing - 9-again
Lethal - 8-again
Aggravated - 8-again and Rote Quality(draw twice, use the better)

So, how would people feel about this change? Are there any strongly opposed? Potential problems?*

* I have thought of some of these but there might be something I'm missing.
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Re: Rules under consideration

Postby The Doctor » Wed Mar 02, 2011 2:23 pm

So, just so we're clear on this, test pool for is the total amount of damage on you? If so, it has a few problems with interactions with stamina levels. The higher the stamina you are, the more resistant you are to be dying - but here, it just allows an increased test pool for bad things to happen to you. The obvious counter is that with higher stamina, you'd be taking more damage before this happens to you, but that's really flawed. So, examples!

Example 1:
Two people both take 8 bashing. Person A has stamina 1, person B has stamina 5.
Person A ends the scene with 2 lethal (from wraparound) and 4 bashing. Person B ends the scene with 8 bashing.
Now, person A will have a fallout pool of 6 for determining whether or not they get permanent damage, whereas person A will have a fallout pool of 8, both at the same level of damage, even though the person with stamina 1 is out cold from the damage and the person with stamina 5 is barely suffering penalties at this point.
So, why does the most physically resilient human in the world have a higher chance of suffering a permanent injury than the least physically resilient?

Example 2:
Let's say these same two people both get hit by The Fatal Transformation at say, 1 success, which puts them both at (irrespective of stamina levels) 5-successes minutes away from dying.
Person A has 2 agg, 4 lethal on them now, while person B has 6 agg, 4 lethal on them (each 4 minutes away from bleeding out).
Well, first off, person A is much easier to stabilize (6 successes in 4 tests as opposed to 10 successes in 4 tests), but that's a completely unrelated issue to this mechanic change.
The issue with this is that say both people get immediately stabilized. Person A has a test pool of 6 for a permanent injury, while person B has a test pool of 10, almost double. Not only that, but the damage type for person A is only lethal, while the damage type for person B is aggravated.

Anyway, my thoughts on this are that high stamina becomes a liability with this mechanic change. I'm not against the concept, but the execution has some problems.
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Re: Rules under consideration

Postby Fetch » Wed Mar 02, 2011 3:59 pm

Yes, total damage would be the test pool. There are a limited range of values where the higher test pool is worse than the wrap around but once you hit Lethal it's worse. However that dose remind me of the original reason I thought of adding the 9/8/rote for having your health track filled.

Example 1:
At 6 Bashing the two are equal but one is out cold and the other isn't even suffering penalties yet. At 7 or 8 the Stam 5 character is worse off because of the higher numbers altho if we have the 9 again for being full of Bashing even that's mostly equalized. In either case once we hit 9 damage the low Stam guy is worse off due to the Lethal (worth +1 Success per injury inflicted). So by the numbers we're looking at a range of one(9A) or two total damage at which the high Stam character is worse off, assuming the falling unconscious didn't happen at an inconvenient time. At that I think we can chalk the rare occurrence up to the high Stam character pushing harder on injuries they won't feel until the adrenaline wears off.

Besides, it's not much different that the situation we have now where the EMT is more likely to be able to stop the Stam 1 character from bleeding to death than the Stam 5 character. 6 successes vs 10 successes needed is no joke even given the extra time you have before they die and anyone with a base pool under 7 the extra time doesn't even matter.

Example 2:
Fatal Trasformation should, under this system, be changed. You can't expect any system level change to work smoothly with every last published power. Besides, stabilizing someone hit by Fatal Transformation with a single Success already makes high Stamina a liability, as you note. We can discuss how to change specific powers to work with the new mechanic once we have a new mechanic. Off the top of my head Fatal Transformation could inflict one life threatening organ failure per success so one Success might induce heart attack(hear at full L) and a second might also cause cerebral hemorrhaging(brain at full L, bleed out).




If we go all the way to full Agg not being dead but just really beat up and full of shock we might get rid of wrap around damage and instead have bonuses to the injury test based on extra damage past your health track. Maybe:
every higher of Size/Stamina Bashing past the track is +1
every lower of Size/Stamina Lethal past the track is +1
every +1 Agg is +1 (Agg is really really bad)
There's still going to be a range where low Stam wins when taking excessive Bashing but excessive Lethal and beyond high Stam wins. I suspect that the pain penalties and blacking out are bad enough to give the high Stam character the edge in a fight, doubly so since staying active is based on Stamina, something the Stam 1 character doesn't have.
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Re: Rules under consideration

Postby The Doctor » Wed Mar 02, 2011 4:54 pm

I do like the idea of removing wraparound, although we'd have to look at staying conscious. Possibly. It may actually work out fine the way it is.

Though I don't entirely understand the +/- success modification on the table.
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Re: Rules under consideration

Postby Fetch » Wed Mar 02, 2011 5:23 pm

Severity Table
Successes - Organ Type
1 - unimportant or cosmetic, pinky, jaged scar
2 - redundant but important, hand/arm, eye
3 - non-redundant, important, non-lethal, spine, hip bone
4 - potentially deadly, brain/head, heart, ext
+1 Success - wound begins bleeding out
+1 Success - advance damage type (B -> L)
-1 Success - lower damage type (L -> B)
-1 Success - wound is not on the torso/head or was done in surprise attack (you'll throw anything up to protect the face if you see it coming)


So say you're full of Bashing and get 4 successes. To simply fill an organ with Bashing that could be one injury as high as potentially deadly, say a concussion from your head full of Bashing. Not good. However it could be modified. For example instead of getting hit in the head maybe you got hit in the back causing injury to your spine. That requires 3 successes so you could spend the last success on a +1 to upgrade from Bashing to Lethal and make that spinal injury really bad. 3 for the spinal injury + 1 for the damage type upgrade is 4 or your number of successes.

Those same 4 successes from being full of Bashing could alternatively be spent to cut a hand off because that would be 2 successes for the redundant organ, you got two, -1 for not being on the head/torso, +2 to upgrade damage twice (B -> A), and finally +1 to make the bloody stump bleed out. Grand total of 4 successes.

Of note 4 successes would require a draw of 10 - 14 for our Stam 5 guy so you're not usually looking at damage that bad.



Unconsciousness should, with this hack, be rebranded going into shock. Maybe with the higher penalties we don't need the old Stamina check to remain active. Instead higher penalties make you less capable as you slip into shock.

Maybe instead when you hit full damage of any type you make an injury test right then to represent hitting the end of what your body can cover with endurance and adrenaline. If you took a blow to the head you might pass out from being concussed, not from being out of HP. If you test again at the end of the scene then high Stamina should always be better as one test at 9 damage is better than two at 6 each.
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Re: Rules under consideration

Postby The Doctor » Wed Mar 02, 2011 5:41 pm

Who determines how the injury is calculated from this? Storyteller fiat? Player's own choice? Negotiation?
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Re: Rules under consideration

Postby Fetch » Wed Mar 02, 2011 9:20 pm

First step would be negotiation, naturally, with ST authority if needed. Really that's how everything works when you get down to it. Draw some cards and figure out what the successes mean with ST stepping in if needed or if they feel it's important.

In practice I expect it will mostly end up being the ST using the "dice" to translate damage into injuries just like most other challenges which could be described by players but often aren't. Player makes their crafting test and generally accepts whatever the ST decides but there is, in theory, room to negotiate.

It occurs to me we might want some rules on the subject as players might argue excessively over the potentially or outright deadly results at the top of the table. Obviously most PC's would rather loose 4 fingers to Agg than loose their head to it. Then again maybe it's not a problem. Losing 4 fingers is about like losing a hand with is 2 successes (or 1 after "not in the face" kicks in) and that leaves another 2(3) to cripple you further...
Maybe threat of losing both hands and both feet instead of dying is enough :/

Wow, just thinking this over makes combat feel a few orders of magnitude more dangerous. Matthew with his gaping chest wound under current rules was/will be fine in 10 days, no risk of death or dismemberment unless more damage takes him down. Under these rules the exceptional success could very well qualify for an immediate injury test as the attack was so amazingly successful probably giving him some penalty right there and then we test again at the end of the scene to see if the damage to the lung is filling it with blood...

That reminds me, injury tests should be able to burn successes to upgrade old injuries. If you beat someone in the head who's already concussed it should have a real possibility of getting worse.
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Re: Rules under consideration

Postby Capt. Hobbes » Wed Mar 02, 2011 9:39 pm

If you take healing within the scene, does this detract from your test pool or is that always based on the total damage you sustained, rather than the total damage you end up with? On one hand this could represent the benefits of timely treatment. On the other hand, it might be most practical to let it all stack as a single sum and reduce it all to one test per game, rather than per scene. This would allow injury assignments to be handled in downtime, and maybe people can expend DTAs to improve their chances of recovery.
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Re: Rules under consideration

Postby The Doctor » Wed Mar 02, 2011 9:55 pm

Also, it bugs me that statistically, people in the world will be dying quite frequently due to freak accidents with this change.

We've got what, 300 million people in the US? Let's say every 2 weeks (hey, like every game!) every 1 in 300 people will get a minor injury. Scraped knee, stubbed toe, cut finger cooking, whatever. So that's 1 million minor injuries every two weeks.

Drawing 6 10s in a row is what, a one in a million chance?
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Re: Rules under consideration

Postby Fetch » Thu Mar 03, 2011 6:13 am

Rebranding health as shock I'd probably go with the highest amount of damage any time in the scene. Given that the only way to heal more than a single Bashing within a scene is supernatural any degree to which terrible injury is avoided by healing every round can be chalked up to magic.


There's about 340 accidental deaths a day in the US. Besides, at least where PC's and game relevant NPC's are concerned you can always jump to the end and just say that the botch caused them to cut their finger or hand and declare the body part filled with Bashing and in need of treatment without risk of six tens ruining their life over a kitchen accident.
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