Dying from Massive Damage

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Dying from Massive Damage

Postby Zaki » Sat Oct 20, 2012 1:08 pm

I see no rule about dying from massive damage. How do you guys handle this? anyone with a nice house rule?
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Re: Dying from Massive Damage

Postby Neith » Sat Oct 20, 2012 2:39 pm

For me, it depends on the story. As a friendly GM, I'm on the player's side, and unless it's absolutely necessary to plot, group dynamics, etc. I don't let the PC "just die". But that's just me; all GMs are different. How you choose to handle that depends on your GM style and your group's play preferences. If you like crunching numbers and letting a game system determine the number of broken bones you got from the large rock landing on your head, then do that! 8d6 penetrating?

Again, for me it depends on what's happening. What sort of "massive damage" are we talking about here? Maybe the bolder puts the PC in a coma? Maybe he's trapped and his friends have to figure out how to keep it from killing him. Or maybe he just dies and rolls up someone new. :P
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Re: Dying from Massive Damage

Postby Zaki » Sat Oct 20, 2012 3:03 pm

Its a dark fantasy and death is a threat that lurks in the shadows. I want my players to feel that

What I mean is that you die when you reach 0 HP(after 3+con rounds) but what if you had like 1 HP and took 30 damage? I am looking for some rules on Massive damage
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Re: Dying from Massive Damage

Postby Neith » Sat Oct 20, 2012 3:17 pm

Remember that Health in this game isn't necessarily hit points...it's more of an abstract well-being barometer -- fatigue, physical health, mental anguish. Health doesn't go below 0, and after the rounds, it's death.

That said, if the numbers matter to you, you can try to describe them in game terms. In other words, what does 30 damage look like? That much damage to me feels like a brutal occurrence...in the vein of extensive dismemberment.

I think I see what you're saying now...taking that much damage when you're extremely feels different than "just one more hit".

Player X is at 1 Health, coughing up blood and crawling away; Big Scary does 30 damage...should Player X get saving rounds, or flat out die from the flaying claws and probable decapitation? Again, it would depend on how you'd want to play it. If you describe that damage as something that could be salvaged, then I'd give them the 3+CON rounds. But if Big Scary cut them open from tooth to toenail, they might not have any other option but to met their Maker.
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Re: Dying from Massive Damage

Postby Zaki » Sat Oct 20, 2012 4:50 pm

What about something like:

If the players current Health is below his lvl+con and he takes damage equal to or greater than his maximum Health he die from massive damage
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Re: Dying from Massive Damage

Postby Vaelorn » Sun Oct 21, 2012 5:20 am

How about: if a character takes damage equal to or greater than half his maximum Health from a single damage roll then he must make a TN 13 Constitution (Stamina) roll or die instantly.

There are many ways you could play this, but I'd be on Neith's side here! I might use a massive damage rule for monsters and NPCs - or at least require them to make a Morale check to keep going (depending on their nature).
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Re: Dying from Massive Damage

Postby Neith » Sun Oct 21, 2012 10:53 am

Yep, something akin to a saving throw -- if you're willing to let the dice determine the finality of the character. I personally don't like using randomness to determine such "big" events, but to each his own.
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Re: Dying from Massive Damage

Postby Zaki » Sun Oct 21, 2012 11:07 am

Still if you do it like I said and add a save then it will almost never happen
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Re: Dying from Massive Damage

Postby shonuff » Sun Oct 21, 2012 7:12 pm

Well, ideally, it shouldn't. Unless every gaming session starts in a tavern with "Hey, I just met you but do you wanna go kill a dragon?"

IMO, the problem with lethal rules like massive damage is that as soon as they're introduced, massive damage happens to the wrong character. And even then, it doesn't make the campaign lethal. Kill children, spouses, lovers. Give them choices to which there is no correct answer. But, IMO, introducing more ways to kill your PCs will more likely have your players detach from the characters.
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Re: Dying from Massive Damage

Postby Zaki » Sun Oct 21, 2012 9:06 pm

Well its not about killing the players, it just seem a bit odd that a player who has 1 HP can take a massive hit from an ogre or a dragon(for instance) with anything happening, other than the usual
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Re: Dying from Massive Damage

Postby Loswaith » Sun Oct 21, 2012 9:42 pm

Well a character can effictivly be on 1 health and be just as effective as at full health. As mentioned by Neith it's abstract, so up to the 1 health point it could simply be fatigue and minor wounds, while the major telling blow is then done putting the character out of commision (to a downed state), thus indicating taking some form of major wound.

One thing is dont worry too much about the realism of the damage amount a hit does, as a single hit from a weapon reguardless of the character having 100 health or just 1 could realistically "kill" (in this case down) a person (character). The actual damage number is purely a mechanical factor for tracking the abstract health system, ie a vitality/fatigue/injury resource.

Another thing to keep in mind though there isn't much reason for a dragon, ogre or any other somewhat intelligent creature to continue attacking the character once downed. As far as the creature is likely concerned a downed character is as good as dead, and no longer a threat. So it's most likely to change it's focus to those characters that actually are a threat.

If there are no further threats then, thats likely a situation where the entire party is out of commision and they will likely all die off before they would recieve any help they may need to survive (though that would depend on how an individual GM wishes to handle ).

If you want to make lower health more of a danger/threat, adding penalities as health gets lower could likely have the desired effect. say something like -1 under 50%, -2 for under 25%, -3 for under con.
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Re: Dying from Massive Damage

Postby Zapp » Mon Oct 22, 2012 1:54 am

Zaki wrote:I see no rule about dying from massive damage. How do you guys handle this?

In my campaign, if you take half your original Health total in damage from a single hit, you suffer a critical hit no matter what.

This assumes a starting Health total of around 25-35 or so, and that you don't gain many hit points each level (if any at all). In my campaign, you can just about double your original Health total and that's about it.

The rule would still work if you run the game as written, you only say something like each level adding only one point to the threshold, and not 1d6+Con.

For example. Your character starts out with 32 Health. Any blow dealing (after armor etc) 16 points or more is "massive".
You could still be hit twice for 15 points of damage each time without suffering massive damage. Damage is counted per blow, not per round etc...

Ten levels later, the Health total of your character is through the roof (probably at least eighty if not a hundred). But for the purposes of this massive damage rule, you have 32 + ten levels, in Health.

The massive damage threshold is then 32 + 10 = 42 / 2 = 21. If your character takes 21 points or more actual damage at once, he's "massively" injured.

Do note that it is much more likely for a new character (with poor armor and other defenses) to suffer 16 points of damage, than it is for a veteran character (with excellent armor and possibly magical defenses) to suffer 21 damage.
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Re: Dying from Massive Damage

Postby Zaki » Mon Oct 22, 2012 5:13 am

Zapp, what happens if a player takes massive damage in your campaign?
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Re: Dying from Massive Damage

Postby Zapp » Mon Oct 22, 2012 10:46 pm

Zaki wrote:Zapp, what happens if a player takes massive damage in your campaign?

Well, IMC I don't use the term "massive" and my goals are a bit different.

For purposes of this thread, I'd imagine you'd have to make some sort of Constitution Test or be killed outright. (So, even if you have 75 Health, if you take 25 damage in a single blow, you could still die from that).

As a suggestion, put the Test Number (i.e. test difficulty) at 9 + the ten's number of the damage taken.

In the above example, the ten's number of 25 damage is 2, and so you'd have to make a Constitution TN 9+2=11 test or die.

Even if you make the test, everyone around the table still sees the character as having taken massive damage, and so he or she could still be described as "winded", "reeling from the impact", "shocked silent" or some such. (I wouldn't go so far as to put a mechanical penalty on this, because of death spiral issues. Just the knowledge you narrowly cheated death could provide a roleplaying angle while you fight out the rest of the combat).

Just a thought!
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Re: Dying from Massive Damage

Postby Zaki » Tue Oct 23, 2012 12:52 am

I just want massive damage to feel diffrent than just another hit. Its not about killing the characters

What about if you take massive damage make a constitution test... if you fail the test you take penalties to attack or defense or whatever, kinda like what Star Wars Saga Edition did with threshold
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Re: Dying from Massive Damage

Postby Etarnon » Tue Oct 23, 2012 8:52 pm

I don't want it to feel like D&D.

Until your PC is at zero, they are up, fighting, worn out, tired.

at 1 point, you are not down, you are just right at the point of exhaustion.

When that 30 point wahtever sails in and connects, it blows the PC off their feet, and they are dying. To me, dying is dying. If the crew can't make it to them in time, they die. If they can, it just looked like it was lethal enough to kill them.

Cinematic "reality" as it were.

If I went the other (D&D) way, saying, 30 hit points to a PC with one left is gonna leave them in a pulp, then I'd be really jacked off at the idea of a PC with 30 hit points left getting 1d4 from a dagger (in regular D&D). The fact that crossbows have muzzle energy similar to a pistol but don't do a lot, and that, unless you use critical hits, you are not very likely going to kill a warrior with a dagger, even if his armor is off when fighting you bare chested.

So I accept the dying is dying of Dragon Age.
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Re: Dying from Massive Damage

Postby Inschskye » Wed Oct 24, 2012 2:03 pm

[quote="Zapp"]In my campaign, if you take half your original Health total in damage from a single hit, you suffer a critical hit no matter what./quote]

I like your idea Zapp, its nice, quick and simple and adds a little spice. Kinda along my style of play.

Consider your idea nabbed :)
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Re: Dying from Massive Damage

Postby Dragon Son » Fri Nov 02, 2012 10:08 pm

Intro
Health points are an abstract thing that tells you how tough your character is, it might not be realistic, but it's a cool and standard choice for most sword and sorcery games. Depending on how grim and dark you want the game to get you can vary with the number of health points, or even add critical injuries as the damage potential goes up. Massive damage in a health point system is an inelegant solution in my opinion. Usually in games that use health points you have to accept the fact that you receive an attack that deals 25 damage out of your 26 health and you are left standing, you then suffer 1 damage and you fall unconcious. The fact that after 2 hits you died is massive enough damage for me!

On the matter
Personally I disagree with any rules for massive damage, it is not needed in a system that you accept and uses health points. Massive damage would work better I think in a system where instead of health points you only have a Toughness threshold, that threshold is equal to (x + constitution + armor) if an attack deals more damage than that threshold you suffer an injury that makes a limb unusable, if the damage is lower than your threshold, it is reduced by -1, thus making it more likely that the next attack that hits you kills you, if the damage is double your threshold you die in a gory way, splattered around!. Obviously, stunts that increase damage in any way would have to be revised in this sytem which goes away with health points alltogether. This is a reverse toughness sytem that that used in MnM 2nd, heere you roll for damage instead of toughness.

Hope that helps, cheers!
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Re: Dying from Massive Damage

Postby Vaelorn » Sat Nov 03, 2012 2:25 am

Dragon Son wrote:Massive damage would work better I think in a system where instead of health points you only have a Toughness threshold, that threshold is equal to (x + constitution + armor) if an attack deals more damage than that threshold you suffer an injury that makes a limb unusable, if the damage is lower than your threshold, it is reduced by -1, thus making it more likely that the next attack that hits you kills you, if the damage is double your threshold you die in a gory way, splattered around!.


True20 has just such a system: the higher your degree of success on your attack the harder it is for your foe to resist the damage, and the more likely he'll fail his resist roll by a large margin. The larger the amount of damage done the more penalties your foe takes to subsequent rolls. Etc.

So I think I agree with Dragon Son on this one, especially with a system like Dragon Age that's supposed to be kept simple. But YMMV of course!

One thing I might do is make (sentient) NPCs pass a Willpower (Morale) test if they take massive damage (e.g. half their Health) or retreat.
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