Tinkering with damgage ...

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Tinkering with damgage ...

Postby DnDChick » Mon Feb 27, 2006 12:04 am

(Forgive the fractured nature of this post ... whenver I try to send this as a single post, I get an error page. The way they are posted is the only way the messageboard will let me post them.)

Let me start off by saying that I truly like the damage system for True20. Bye bye hit points! YAY!

However, I playtested True20 once for a few of my regular group, and the one thing they were a little iffy about was the set damage. They like rolling damage, or the chance of doing more damage with a particularly high attack roll (not just a crit). The ideas I've roughly sketched out below do not change the way the damage system itself works. That I like, and so do my players.

I haven't had a chance to playtest these yet, but I wanted to toss them out there for discussion and input.

(Note that this system need not replace the critical hits system already in place in True20. You can keep that intact so that those low-level characters can still get that one lucky shot against tough opponents.)

Here are my ideas:
Last edited by DnDChick on Mon Feb 27, 2006 12:04 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby DnDChick » Mon Feb 27, 2006 12:04 am

Idea One: You do more damage with a high attack roll.

These players are fans of the CODA system used in the Lord of the Rings rpg, and asked if there was a way to incorporate scaling damage based on how much your attack roll exceeds your opponent's defense.

Attack roll up to 5 over opponent's defense: normal damage

Attack roll 6-10 over opponent's defense: +2 damage

Attack roll 11-15 over opponent's defense: +4 damage

Attack roll 16 or more over opponent's defense: +6 or +8 (since I haven't playtested it yet, I'm not sure what the best progression would be ...)

This system probably wouldn't have a great impact on opponents that are more or less equal, since the higher defense bonus cancels out much of a chance of rolling well over your opponent's defense. Characters fighting lower-level opponents will be chopping heads off left and right as they roll considerably more than their weaker opponents' defenses.
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Postby DnDChick » Mon Feb 27, 2006 12:05 am

Idea Two: You roll damage against a set Toughness Difficulty, rather than vice versa.

Perhaps a simpler way to let players roll damage is to just turn the Toughness save into a Toughness Difficulty. The Toughness Difficulty would be equal to 5 + Toughness.

Damage is rolled at 1d20 + damage bonuses.

Roll 0-5 over TD = hurt, 6-10 over TD = wounded, 11-15 over TD = disabled, 16+ over TD = dead.

Idea Two uses the exact same system and mathematics as the original system, just turned around a bit. Instead of damage being 15 + damage bonuses, the Tougness Difficulty is 5 + Toughness bonuses. The same d20 result applied to either system would produce the same level of injury to the opponent.
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Postby DnDChick » Mon Feb 27, 2006 12:05 am

Idea two continued:
Like so ...

Orc attacks with its axe to do +4 damage.
Human warrior has a Toughness of +6 for Con and armor.

Original method:
Human has to make a Difficulty 19 Toughness save (15 + orc's damage of 4). Say he rolls a 10, for a total result of 16. Having failed by 3, he is Hurt.

Alternate method:
Orc rolls 1d20+4 damage against human's TD of 11 (5 + Toughness of +6). Orc rolls a 10 for damage, for a total result of 14. Since the orc succeeded by 3, the human is Hurt.

The same d20 roll, a 10, provides the same result in either method.

The problem with this is that you will have nearly everyone burning Conviction to get a good damage roll, and it takes the 'safety net' of burning Conviction on Toughness saves away from the heroes.
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Postby DnDChick » Mon Feb 27, 2006 12:06 am

Comments? Questions? Rude suggestions? :D
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Postby FickleGM » Mon Feb 27, 2006 4:03 am

I like idea one, as it does reward higher skill, while still keeping the "convictional" roll on saving your hide. Of course, if you need to do more damage, you at least have the opportunity to spend conviction to achieve it.

I think that I may try idea on (although, I will increase damage in increments of +1, since every point of True20 damage is effective), because idea two changes the base mechanic too much (same outcome, different "roller").
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Postby Matrix Sorcica » Mon Feb 27, 2006 4:11 am

Funny, I’ve been toying with the same ideas for quite some time.

First off, my group uses the damage roll as you suggest. The players are much more into rolling damage than me rolling a save for the monsters. It works perfectly. At the same time, I let the players roll damage saves against attacks hitting them. That way, their fate is in their own hands!

I’ve been searching for a good mechanic for margin of success for my d20 games for a looong time. The same for True20. What I really like about the True20 combat is the way armor works. I like the way it helps you resist damage without being damage resistance. At the same time, you can be a viable fighter without wearing plate, a problem with regular d20.
IMO, armor as DR doesn’t work well for d20, as the damage dealt at high levels makes DR from armor almost useless. Increase DR from armor, and daggers and arrows become useless.

Your suggestion with more damage from high margin of success is something I’ve considered myself. I’ve stumbled onto a few problems.
Finesse attacks loses their appeal. And I like the way finesse attacks work.
Dex suddenly becomes very powerful, as it now gives you defense, better attacks, and better damage.

I still haven’t figured out the perfect system, and so would be very interested in hearing other ideas. It would make True20 perfect for me!

I know that the upcoming Mastermind’s Manual will contain rules for margin of success. Hopefully, this will satisfy me. Also, Blue Devil Games are releasing ‘Passages’ (that the submitted to the Setting search), which uses a d20-margin of success system. But it’s still in playtest and I don’t even know how compatible it will be with True20.

And I think that margin of success should apply to all rolls, not just attack rolls. It applies to damage already (in reverse), so skills should of course be included too.
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Postby FickleGM » Mon Feb 27, 2006 4:21 am

You are right Matrix, added damage for degree of success (DnDChick Idea One) does increase the power of Dexterity. It isn't a 1-for-1 increase, but it is still an increase.

Rolling for damage just places the die on the other side, while keeping the odds the same. Unfortunately, I do not like the idea of removing a player's ability to use conviction to reduce the damage he takes.

I'll try idea one and see how it works for me.
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Postby Matrix Sorcica » Mon Feb 27, 2006 4:26 am

FickleGM wrote:Rolling for damage just places the die on the other side, while keeping the odds the same. Unfortunately, I do not like the idea of removing a player's ability to use conviction to reduce the damage he takes.


Oh, but he still does. Since the player still saves vs. dam, there is nothing changed from True20 in that regard.
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Postby FickleGM » Mon Feb 27, 2006 4:58 am

Matrix Sorcica wrote:Oh, but he still does. Since the player still saves vs. dam, there is nothing changed from True20 in that regard.


Oh, I missed that. So, it's early and I'm still waking up...oops. Okay, Idea Two is that PCs only roll damage against NPC opponents, but still roll all Toughness saves for themselves (is that what you had in mind, DnDChick?). In that case, I stand corrected. This does seem doable and allows conviction on both sides of the equation.

I may try both ideas and see if either, neither or both add to the game (now that I have been steered in the right direction, I am leaning toward Idea Two...but heck, I am fickle)...
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Postby DnDChick » Mon Feb 27, 2006 11:34 am

FickleGM wrote:Oh, I missed that. So, it's early and I'm still waking up...oops. Okay, Idea Two is that PCs only roll damage against NPC opponents, but still roll all Toughness saves for themselves (is that what you had in mind, DnDChick?).


Not really, no, but it can still easily be done that way.

It would certainly speed things up on the Narrator's side of things as well by not having to make Toughness saves or damage rolls for the adversaries. That's an angle I hadn't thought of, thanks!

(Edit: Hmmm ... in this method heroes get the opportunity to boost damage rolls as well as Toughness saves [but not in the same round, of course], but the adversaries get to do neither. On second thought this might not be such a good idea after all. It weighs things a little too much in the heroe's favor.)


"Idea Two" just came about from some of the group I tested with asking if there was a way to roll damage instead of rolling a Toughness save. They liked the idea of having damage in their hands, even if it meant giving up the ability to spend Conviction to turn around a botched Toughness save.

Maybe once I get my True20 campaign off the ground I can playtest these to see which method works best in the long run.
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Postby johnrogers » Mon Feb 27, 2006 12:53 pm

I'd got for the +1/5 interval personally. It lays in close to the autofire rules, feels organic. Either works as a house rule, I'd say.
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Postby JBowtie » Mon Feb 27, 2006 1:38 pm

Let's look at it from a slightly askew angle. Mechanically, it makes sense to treat this as an opposed check. If we do that we can make things work for everyone.

Static Damage: 15+dmg (the current True20 model)
Static Toughness: 10+Toughness (ie Taking 10)

Rolled Damage: d20+dmg(+5 for true equivalence)
Rolled Toughness: d20+Toughness

The default situation is Static Damage vs Rolled Toughness. This is what True20 assumes.

Rolled Damage vs Static Toughness is closer to the d20 model; since the Toughness does not change the result is based entirely on the damage roll.

Rolled Damage vs Rolled Toughness; this is an opposed check in which the damage roll sets the DC for the Toughness roll.

Static Damage vs Static Toughness is pretty pointless in most situations, but could be used by the DM to quickly resolve larger battles NPC vs NPC combat; ie PC-controlled minions vs NPC minions.

The thing here is that we are basically working within the existing framework, so we don't need to change anything else; surprise attack, aid another, criticals, finesse, etc all continue to work precisely as written.
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Postby FickleGM » Mon Feb 27, 2006 2:16 pm

Now that I have had time to chew on this, I do agree with DnDChick that having the Heroes roll their own toughness and damage does skew it in their direction. So, I don't think I'll be doing that.

I also don't like the idea of rolling damage, since I want the Heroes to be able to use conviction to save their hides. So, I don't think I'll be doing that. I'm not concerned if it follows the d20 model, since I really like the mechanic as written.

I do like the idea of better hits doing more damage. I would prefer going with +1 damage/5 points of success. I will try this out and see how it works. I'm still not sold (the tinkerer in me is really at odds with the part of me that thinks things are fine as written).
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Postby DnDChick » Mon Feb 27, 2006 3:11 pm

FickleGM wrote:(the tinkerer in me is really at odds with the part of me that thinks things are fine as written).


To be honest, I think it works fine as written, too. Nothing *needs* to be changed. I was just coming up with some alternatives to try out for my group.

I think once they've played each version, they will like the system as written -- especially if one really blows a toughness save! :green:

I *might* go with idea one, and stick to +1 damage per 5 over Defense. You are rewarded for a good hit, but not much.
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Postby aaronil » Mon Feb 27, 2006 7:08 pm

I think you could use the challenge system from Monte Cook's Iron Heroes to produce some interesting combat challenges that would allow heroes to deal more damage. For example, something like +5 attack DC for +1 damage. Thus, it's a risky proposition.
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Postby Matrix Sorcica » Mon Feb 27, 2006 11:59 pm

DnDChick wrote:I *might* go with idea one, and stick to +1 damage per 5 over Defense. You are rewarded for a good hit, but not much.


But this messes with finesse attacks :-?
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Postby DnDChick » Tue Feb 28, 2006 12:38 am

But with finesse attacks you probably end up getting a higher damage result on the opponent anyway because they don't get the benefit of armor if you hit.

Sure, its a lot harder to get bonus damage when using a finesse attack, but when your opponent is essentially unarmored because of a successful finesse attack, you don't *need* bonus damage.
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Postby Matrix Sorcica » Tue Feb 28, 2006 1:00 am

DnDChick wrote:But with finesse attacks you probably end up getting a higher damage result on the opponent anyway because they don't get the benefit of armor if you hit.

Sure, its a lot harder to get bonus damage when using a finesse attack, but when your opponent is essentially unarmored because of a successful finesse attack, you don't *need* bonus damage.


Understood. But I think there can arise whacky situations where a +1/5 MoS will mess badly with finesse attacks. With the amount I need to succeed by to get some bonus to damage, I'm way better off finesse attacking.
So against unarmored opponents, I will always just hack, against armored opponents, I will always finesse attack. (a little black and white, but just to illustrate).
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Postby DnDChick » Tue Feb 28, 2006 1:24 am

Matrix Sorcica wrote:So against unarmored opponents, I will always just hack, against armored opponents, I will always finesse attack. (a little black and white, but just to illustrate).


Chop down unarmored foes, and look for weak spots in those wearing armor.

Sounds like solid tactics to me. Why wouldn't one fight like this?
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Postby Matrix Sorcica » Tue Feb 28, 2006 1:48 am

DnDChick wrote:
Matrix Sorcica wrote:So against unarmored opponents, I will always just hack, against armored opponents, I will always finesse attack. (a little black and white, but just to illustrate).


Chop down unarmored foes, and look for weak spots in those wearing armor.

Sounds like solid tactics to me. Why wouldn't one fight like this?


You're right. It's just that I think some of the point of Margin of Succes is lost this way....
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Postby FickleGM » Tue Feb 28, 2006 4:05 am

Hmmm...so, you finesse attack to avoid armor and you succeed by more than 6...ouch...

I tried some scenarios, and this precise situation, coupled with having to either give the players the target number to hit or keep track of it myself was more trouble than it was worth.

I think that I will stick with the RAW in this situation, but I'm not saying that this idea isn't worth pursuing for those interested in what it adds. The finesse attack situation may need to be looked at.
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Postby Warzen » Tue Feb 28, 2006 5:51 am

The problem with solution 2 with players rolling all the dice is that as a GM you have less control on the game.

W.
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Postby ddogwood » Tue Feb 28, 2006 3:16 pm

Warzen wrote:The problem with solution 2 with players rolling all the dice is that as a GM you have less control on the game.

W.


You could always use the "Villain Point" idea... basically, if a player hits or does really high damage on a lucky roll, and it doesn't suit the story to have the opponent die at that point, you add +10 to the opponent's Toughness or Defense and give the player an extra point of Conviction.
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Postby CatKnight » Tue Feb 28, 2006 10:19 pm

I don't know if Idea 1 will work well. While in principle I like the MoS idea, it makes dexterity far too powerful.

2 is interesting. I like 2 in principle (player rolls their damage vs static toughness, player rolls their toughness vs static damage.) Given that players have a lot of control over their die rolls with conviction and extra effort though, I think it gives them a major advantage. (Even the raw formulas slightly favor the players.) Toss in the minion rule and it's going to be hard to challenge them. I suppose much depends on your philosophy of how combat should run: Should PCs being mowing down anyone but other major villians, or is this a gritty setting?

I think the example given earlier might be too strong, but I do like the idea of giving out 'villian' points in the form of an increased difficulty to the player's DC. It might counterbalance the question of players having too much control.
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