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Author Topic: Hitpoints as morale  (Read 3404 times)
Bankuei
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« on: June 22, 2002, 11:20:36 AM »

Since hitpoints are considered to be fighting spirit as opposed to actual damage ratings, more questions have popped up:

•Is it reasonable to say that hp can be raised/lowered by encouragement, ridicule, dialogue, threats, intimidation, etc?  Hence good leaders will rile up their troops, creating bonus hp, while terrifying foes or threatening illusions alone could reduce hp?  Would it be fair to say hp could fluctuate based on what the character is fighting for?(Watch the mother jump up 100 hp to fight for her child!)

•Also in this case, would it make traditional weapon damage less influential on the hp damage done?  Perhaps to reflect pain/incapacitation/intimidation values of weapons more?

•How would you treat zombies or other mindless undead?  With "infinite" morale, the only damage they really take is physical.  Perhaps instead of hp, they just get a mook rule and drop if a weapon does 5 or more points in one hit?

Thanks,
Chris
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Le Joueur
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« Reply #1 on: June 22, 2002, 01:40:33 PM »

Quote from: Bankuei
Since hitpoints are considered to be fighting spirit as opposed to actual damage ratings, more questions have popped up:

I think I've let a bit of misunderstanding crop here.  "Fighting spirit," I think would be more related to will power.  I realize I am using a bit of peculiar language when I call it 'the fight left in ya,' but that was a convenient way to suggest a large amalgam of factors not too closely associated with wounding or blood loss.

Ever have surgery?  Admittedly, at first you're weak because of the wounds, but have you noticed that there's this lingering 'weakness?'  Or during the influenza?  You've puked out your guts and feel as weak as tissue paper; that would be low Hit Points.  Last week I had an emergency root canal (the abcess swelled up my face until it looked like I was eating a softball); after the swelling went down, I was still...it's hard to explain.  Let me put it this way, the next day (because I missed a few meals by the restrictions of the antibiotics) I suffered a vaso vagal syncope (a fainting spell due to low blood pressure, accompanied by seizure-like symptoms).  I hadn't been wounded, but my hit points were really low.

You can be conscious, aware, and even able to move around, but fighting is more than is possible.  The rationale is that Hit Points are largely the resource managed during battle thus they represent any hindrance of one's ability to fight.  Fighting spirit, morale, and dedication are a slightly different coin.

Quote from: Bankuei
•Is it reasonable to say that hp can be raised/lowered by encouragement, ridicule, dialogue, threats, intimidation, etc?  Hence good leaders will rile up their troops, creating bonus hp, while terrifying foes or threatening illusions alone could reduce hp?  Would it be fair to say hp could fluctuate based on what the character is fighting for?(Watch the mother jump up 100 hp to fight for her child!)

Since we're talking about to levels of Scope here (personal as in mano-a-mano and squad level) we'll need to separate the effects.

First the squad level, when the leader riles up the troops, when the coach inspires the team, they are using their Leadership-type skills to create a Combat Advatange for their troops/players.  When the squad/team hits the field 'psyched,' if the other side is 'losing the mental battle' then this becomes an advantage.  The way Scattershot is written, you aren't capable of 'taking more damage,' you are less affected by damage done (remember the Combat Advantage comes off all the rolls made by the 'disadvantaged' side).  Things which 'demoralize the troops' are actually a Combat Advantage against the Leadership of that side.  When his leadership fails, his troops don't act as they should; a morale Telling Blow can cause the loser to rout.

It's a lot more complicated (but the application is simple) at the personal level.  Given the Genre Expectations include it, trading insults becomes a valid way of taking Advantage of your opponent.  The very nature of Combat Advantage is highly reactive and constantly flunctuating.  (And as far as the 'mother' example, I think you'll agree that it goes a lot farther then just being able to take more hits.  Since the non-magical/preternatural applications of Power include this kind of Willpower 'stunts,' the 'mother' will be using those in the appropriate Genre Expectation.)

Quote from: Bankuei
•Also in this case, would it make traditional weapon damage less influential on the hp damage done?  Perhaps to reflect pain/incapacitation/intimidation values of weapons more?

You'll notice the practical mathematical application of Combat Advantage causes the 'disadvantaged' party's weapons to 'do less damage.'  An "intimidating...weapon" will have this effect on it's victims too, retarding their defense MIBs.  Scattershot does not use 'ongoing,' progressive 'being damaged' penalties; there is some argument for them, but ultimately it causes disinterest even in especially cinematic combat.

Don't forget when a weapon 'takes you out with one hit,' this is a result of a Telling Blow.

Quote from: Bankuei
•How would you treat zombies or other mindless undead?  With "infinite" morale, the only damage they really take is physical.  Perhaps instead of hp, they just get a mook rule and drop if a weapon does 5 or more points in one hit?

Since Hit Points (with Strength, Agility, and certain advantages) are a specifically physical Stat, they model physical damage well.  They also manage all the other things that are physical that ultimately make it impossible to fight.

Zombies on the other hand are a supernatural occurance.  Their 'drive' is completely due to their Power Stat (that's why doing physical damage doesn't stop them).  Telling Blows dismember them but do not defeat them, their Power does not allow them to 'stop.'  (I haven't worked out the specifics of zombies yet; we can if you need them.)

Scattershot's "mook rules" work on a couple of levels.  First of all, when there are equal to or more characters (or significant entities) in play than twice the number of people playing, play has to switch to a Scope level higher than personal (or whatever is current).  This means you begin treating things on a squad level of 'resolution.'  (And yes, you can have a 'squad' of one.)  At the higher level you aren't resolving actions and doing damage, you're resolving combat maneuvers and inflicting losses.  That way your superheroic character (a squad of one) can 'wipe out' a whole gang of "mooks."

Whoops, family emergency, gotta edit and run.

Fang Langford
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Bankuei
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« Reply #2 on: June 22, 2002, 02:09:56 PM »

Quote
I realize I am using a bit of peculiar language when I call it 'the fight left in ya,' but that was a convenient way to suggest a large amalgam of factors not too closely associated with wounding or blood loss.


Actually, perhaps I was misstating myself when I said morale.  I was seeing hp as a combination of physical energy as much as the willpower to keep fighting, but not necessarily a completely physical stat as in "6hp means you lose an arm!"

I was curious about the zombie factor because it covers a wide range of fantasy and sci-fi creatures, such as golems, animated statues, robots, elementals(and other quasi-living things), etc.  

Funny you should mention both family emergency and surgery.  My dad's been in the hospital for a week now, and I've been watching him slowly get the hp just to lift an arm...  Thanks for the clarification though!

Chris
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Le Joueur
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« Reply #3 on: June 22, 2002, 07:25:51 PM »

Quote from: Bankuei
I was curious about the zombie factor because it covers a wide range of fantasy and sci-fi creatures, such as golems, animated statues, robots, elementals (and other quasi-living things), etc.

All of these (and a good slice of zombies too) have very potent defenses on top of 'unshakeable morale.'  The zombies who aren't supernaturally resilient tend to get chopped up easily but keep coming (though hardly as combatants).  I'm comfortable that Scattershot can reach each of these examples, as long as it's clear that the Genre Expectations that each exist under make the application of the mechanix wildly different.

Quote from: Bankuei
Funny you should mention both family emergency and surgery.  My dad's been in the hospital for a week now, and I've been watching him slowly get the hp just to lift an arm...  Thanks for the clarification though!

Now there sounds like a description of someone with negative Hit Points ala Scattershot.  I'll have to keep that in mind as an example; 0 Hit Points means you can no longer attack, negative something Hit Points means you can't even sit up or take care of yourself.

Still, I want to make it clear that Hit Points are the sum of physical factors empowering you with 'fight.'  Many things will overlap here, health, wounds, exhaustion, poisoning, fatigue, and et cetera.  Likewise, the things that bring you into battle are also numerous, having your wits about you (although stunning is probably a Combat Advantage enacted like damage), limberness, proper ventilation, and so forth, all very physical.

Both sets of these have large areas of overlap and that's probably going to be the hardest thing to explain.  Say you are more than half you Hit Points diseased and now awakened barely into your sleep schedule; exhaustion puts you out, right?  No, because of overlap; however, that first hit you take will probably put you down for the count.  (Boxing is one of the better examples of Scattershot Hit Points in action; if both fighters are still standing after a knock-down, drag out fight, they're pretty low on Hit Points.  Because of the nature of the damage, 'healing' takes relatively short amounts of time.)

Fang Langford

p. s. What we'll probably do for overlap is this; take the worst category of Hit Point loss, index the others on the UE Chart for Bonus, and add that bonus(es) to the worst category's total.  The following battle's damage comes straight off the top of what's left because 'it is new' and 'what is left' is your current score.  (Hit Points is a Resource Stat remember?)
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Bankuei
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« Reply #4 on: June 23, 2002, 09:46:06 AM »

Great.  Here's another related question:  Can Benefits translate into more damage?  Or is all damage capped at the Critical Juncture?  In a way, it kinda makes sense, since the more cinematic games will have lower Crit. Junctures, and therefore less damage.

Chris
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Le Joueur
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« Reply #5 on: June 23, 2002, 01:14:37 PM »

Quote from: Bankuei
Can Benefits translate into more damage?

Certainly.  That's the idea.  With the 'afterwards' modifications in Scattershot's FitM system, you can load on the Benefits until your blow is 'big enough' to 'take out' the arch-villain at the appropriate time.

Quote from: Bankuei
Or is all damage capped at the Critical Juncture?  In a way, it kinda makes sense, since the more cinematic games will have lower Crit. Junctures, and therefore less damage.

This depends on what Genre Expectations you have.  It works in the 'action hero' sense because they're always taking horrible wounds and then getting up, next scene, with just scratches.

On the other hand, when you are playing in a fairly Joueur fashion, more on the Ambitious side of using the mechanix to 'beat' opponents, your going to want those points (of damage) at and above the Critical Juncture to be reflected in a fashion that mechanically influences further play.  Here the Critical Juncture functions to create more Detail than simply having more damage.  You can 'burn' those extra points (of damage) buying a crippling injury (like using the 'maimed' disadvantages) or you can just take them as damage (or both or more); the Telling Blow soliloquy allows much latitude.

This is one of the reasons to get everyone 'on the same page' at the beginning of play.  That way, when these things happen, no one has their 'feelings hurt' by foiled expections.  How are these 'extra points' going to be handled?  Make sure everyone know that.

Fang Langford
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