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Author Topic: Toughness  (Read 14807 times)
Mike Holmes
Acts of Evil Playtesters
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Posts: 10459


« Reply #15 on: August 13, 2002, 08:28:40 AM »

Quote from: Jake Norwood
TO prevents bigger wounds--it doesn't dull the ones you have. That's what we're missing. TO is metaphysical, in a sense. It isn't like more hit points, it just makes you harder to kill. It increase the chance that you're simily grazed and not swewered without increasing your CP. It does not dull-down the effects of a skewer, though! Think about it.


Personally, I see TO as size. It is just that much harder to hurt a large person than a small person. Or rather, the same wound on a large person is less harmful in effect than on a small person. Just more to cut through. Thi is borne out by forensic investigation. See the FBI sites on the subject. It's remarkable just how resilient skin actually is, for instance. Or, as Jake said, another interperetation is that some have this same reduction effect more metaphysicaly (if you want the high TO guy who is not huge).

That said I'd agree that the system over-compensates for this "reduction". No way anyone can reduce damage by being large by the amount that even leather armor can. That would mean that the toughest human would have a TO only 2 or so higher than the weakest.

OTOH, this is a fantasy game, and we can make allowances for heroism. One thing this does do is allow for the unarmored barbarian to have a chance against the armored civilized man. As such I think it can be swallowed just fine. At least I have no problem with it as it stands. As someone else said, to "fix" it would require a large amount or retooling of the system. This sort of thing never works (See Rolemaster).

Mike
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Durgil
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« Reply #16 on: August 13, 2002, 08:57:42 AM »

I haven't thought about relating TO to size.  I can picture that a lot better.  A strike that would probably kill a man may only serve to piss off a really big bear such as a kodiak, grizzly, or polar bear.  Thanks ;)
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Mike Holmes
Acts of Evil Playtesters
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« Reply #17 on: August 13, 2002, 09:14:51 AM »

Quote from: Durgil
I haven't thought about relating TO to size.  I can picture that a lot better.  A strike that would probably kill a man may only serve to piss off a really big bear such as a kodiak, grizzly, or polar bear.  Thanks ;)


Exactly. What do you think makes Hef as tough as they are? I love that sort of realism. Makes you fear them for the right reasons. In the case of Hef, not only do you have to worry about strength, but also about the fact that you might not be able to substantially hurt them.

This is also cool, because it means that you can describe that blow landing and doing more damage than the chart would indicate for a large opponent. In the end, however the game effect is the same.

For a detailed (over 100,000 words last I looked) treatise on how size affects RPGs see GULLIVER.

Mike
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Jaif
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Posts: 327


« Reply #18 on: August 13, 2002, 10:17:19 AM »

Quote
Forgive me, but how do you know this? Feats of strength are more common, that is true.. But that is, I believe, because strength is more glorious to demonstrate, easier to develop, and easier to observe and measure. Human toughness rarely ever gets a spotlight, though.


There are numerous cases to support this, but I grant it's subjective. Consider:

- A person high on PCP puts his fist through a car window, but he breaks numerous bones in his hand in the process.  He can exert more strength than his body can bear.

- Numerous football injuries, all related to the individual's strength overcoming tendons and joints.  This became prevalent in the age of steroids, where it became easy to grow strong individuals.  It continues still w/o steroids, because we know other ways to make people strong.

Again, it's subjective, but what I've seen in sports and read about lifting tells me that the human body is capable of generating more force than the underlying support can handle.

One last point - you can train yourself to make certain lifts, break objects, and so on, all of which would seem to defy this point.  However, these are specific, engineered motions; they are not things you could do in the chaos of a battlefield.  

-Jeff
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Lance D. Allen
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« Reply #19 on: August 13, 2002, 03:49:20 PM »

Quote
- A person high on PCP puts his fist through a car window, but he breaks numerous bones in his hand in the process. He can exert more strength than his body can bear.


Yet a martial artist, someone who trains himself in more than just strength, but also toughness, can put his hand through several bricks without significantly injuring his hand.

Quote
- Numerous football injuries, all related to the individual's strength overcoming tendons and joints. This became prevalent in the age of steroids, where it became easy to grow strong individuals. It continues still w/o steroids, because we know other ways to make people strong.


Again an example of those who develop strength over toughness. I've known people who could take a full-on tackle from a football player without even being particularly braced for it, and come off without significant injury, whereas the football player screwed himself up bad. It's a matter of emphasis. Steroids are also an entire other thing.. They, IIRC, actually reduce one's overall stamina and toughness to increase muscle mass and strength. Totally aside from the other side-effects, this makes it a nasty chemical.

Quote
One last point - you can train yourself to make certain lifts, break objects, and so on, all of which would seem to defy this point. However, these are specific, engineered motions; they are not things you could do in the chaos of a battlefield.


The point is that no one really does this, and that is why it isn't seen. I imagine it is perfectly possible, with the right training and exercises, to accomplish all of the same feats of toughness under duress and stress as not; Albeit, the chances of making a mistake, and thereby injuring yourself is still greater.

I am not attempting to disprove your point. You have a very good chance of being 100% correct. All that really strikes me as wrong is the evidence that you are basing it off of. There is evidence which supports your theory, but little to no evidence which specifically weakens the counter-argument.

I think you are probably correct, in the subjective world in which we live. Our capabilities for strength are far beyond our capabilities for toughness, because that is the way we have developed it. It is much the same with military technology. Weapons technology has outstripped armor technology by a vast amount. Though the Abrams is probably one of the best armored combat vehicles in the world, there are many weapons easily capable of bypassing it's primary armored positions (though most of them are not direct-fire weapons, nor are they cheap or easily available.. Which is why the Abrams is still one of, if not THE foremost MBT in the world..). I think, however, if more of our efforts had gone into armor technology than weapons technology, things might be considerably different.
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~Lance Allen
Wolves Den Publishing
Eternally Incipient Publisher of Mage Blade, ReCoil and Rats in the Walls
MTG
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« Reply #20 on: August 14, 2002, 06:27:51 AM »

Hi - new member, and I'll first make the obligatory genuflection to Mr Norwood for creating such a fine game!

On the subject of Toughness, I think I see it kind of like Jake does - to some extent a physical thing (i.e. not too many octogenarians have TO of 7, and relating TO to size makes sense up to a point), but also a metaphysical/luck thing, where the character with high TO just gets away with a flesh wound on a regular basis. Durgil used Arnie as an example, but I can't help thinking of John McLane in Die Hard - an ordinary joe who's just very difficult to kill.

As ever, YMMV.

Martin
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Mike Holmes
Acts of Evil Playtesters
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Posts: 10459


« Reply #21 on: August 14, 2002, 07:12:30 AM »

People have a maximum strength that they can project, and they do so very infrequently. Because when they do so, they tend to hurt themselves. PCP does not make you any stronger, it just makes you operate at this highest of levels for long periods, and ignore any negative repercussions before or after the fact.

Thus, the act of a martial artist breaking bricks is this maximum strength projected in a carefully engineered method designed to cause maximum damage to the bricks while leaving the MA unharmed. Note that when it is done improperly, that they do get hurt, and that even the best hurt themselves occasionally. Some people do train in the toughness of these body parts (some claim that a few actually break and heal their hands repaeatedly to form them into calcium clubs, essentially; possibly apocryphal). But this toughness is not nearly as important as doing the maneuver correctly. Bone and flesh are simply more fragile than brick, and unless directed correctly the brick will bite back. Any martial artist swinging his arm like a club at a brick is much more likely to break his arm than the brick.

The human framework is limited in size and strength. Your skelleton will never get any bigger after reaching maturity. Yet substances like steroids can make your muscle mass outstrip the skelleton's ability to withstand the forces that such muscles can generate. Or, rather, they can do this more often; anyone can hurt themselves applying force in the wrong manner (ask a guy with a herniated disk in his back). But this does explain the higher rates of injury that you see these days in sports (despite better training methods). Stronger opponents, and stronger people hurting themselves and each other. OTOH, I think that steroids are not available in Wyerth. Their cognates would raise ST to potentials higher than 7 or 8. As one poster said, probably around 10.

This all said, there is no way to accurately compare these things to each other statistically using the system. A person with a 4 ST can punch a person with a 4 TO and do damage. He just has to hit well enough. Given the vagaries of the resolution system, I think that we can just assume that the range given is as it is described. It works in play, and is fun. If it turns out that it is somewhat unrealistic, well then, that wouldn't be the only unrealistic thing we can find, and probably amongst the least glaring. Certainly something that we can ignore.

At least I will.

Mike
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Jaif
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Posts: 327


« Reply #22 on: August 14, 2002, 07:30:36 AM »

Quote
I imagine it is perfectly possible, with the right training and exercises, to accomplish all of the same feats of toughness under duress and stress as not; Albeit, the chances of making a mistake, and thereby injuring yourself is still greater.


What Mike said before for the skeleton is part of the issue.  There's also the matter of tendons & joints, and especially the points where the tendon meets the bone.  The best you can do is stretching to keep things flexible, but there's no way to make these areas *that* much stronger.  For muscle, otoh, you can keep just keep building, and more importantly you can train to gain greater neuro-muscular control, allowing to bring more of the muscle into play when you use it.

Quote
I think that we can just assume that the range given is as it is described. It works in play, and is fun. If it turns out that it is somewhat unrealistic, well then, that wouldn't be the only unrealistic thing we can find, and probably amongst the least glaring. Certainly something that we can ignore.


I agree with the sentiment, but I've playtested the toughness, and I don't like it.  Huge strength I can work with, but the level of imperviousness that a toughness of 10 can give just didn't feel right to me.

-Jeff
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Valamir
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« Reply #23 on: August 14, 2002, 08:17:40 AM »

I think capping it at 5 (Jake's earlier suggestion) is perfectly acceptable for a more gritty campaign and allowing it to range up from there is acceptable for a more cinematic campaign (where ribs seem to be made of admantium anyway).

Bear in mind though that survivability will plummet.  Reducing a Toughness of  7 to a Toughness of 5 just turned that level 3 wound into a level 5 "you are now dead" wound.

In the demos I ran with Jake 11 points of damage were common, 14 happened on occassion, and I think there was at least one 18 or 19.  

11 points will kill an unarmored TO 4-5 character in one blow and cripple the TO 7 guy.
14 points will kill a chainmailed TO 4-5 character in one blow
18 points will kill a platemailed TO 7 character in one blow.

11 points is not all that hard to get.  STR 6 Pole Axe with 2 successes against naked flesh.

14 points is not all that hard to get.  STR 6 Pole Axe with 3 successes against chain mail (+2 vs hard armor).

18 points is not impossible to get.  STR 6 Pole Axe with 7 successes agains plate mail (+2 vs hard armor).

Now thats a pole axe.  Lets take a lighter weapon, say with one that the STR plus weapon damage comes out to 5.  

Light weapons are generally intended to be used against unarmored or lightly armored opponents.  If the opponent is lightly armored (say 2 points of leather) your goal would be to hit an unarmored location.

A damage 5 weapon will exactly cancel out TO 5 meaning you need 5 successes to get a fatal level 5 wound.  Against a TO 7 character hitting a location with 2 points of armor, 5 successes will get you a level 1 wound.

The key here is how to get 5+ successes in a roll.  Its not really that hard.  Your CP is normally going to be 10-12 even with a beginning character.  Most light weapons have ATNs of 6 so your looking at 5-6 successes for a typical hit, a couple more if you get lucky.   The goal here is make sure your opponents defensive successes are minimal.  Which with adequate use of Counters, Feints, Binds, Beats, and of course Shock and Pain, is an achievable situation.  Once you've drained your opponents CP with Shock or Beats, prevented his parry with binds, tricked him into too low of a defense with a Feint, or Nailed him hard when he has few dice left in his pool on a Counter where you get a good number of bonus dice...you're in position to succeed with that killing blow.

Yes it is noticeably more difficult against a TO7 opponent than a TO5 opponent, but that is as it should be.  Its not, however, unreasonably difficult.

In practice TO5 and TO7 characters are just about as mortal as you would expect a particular swordsman to be.  The scores are not outrageously high.  

Higher than that and your get into the realm of professional wrestling where characters can be hit square on the head with a metal chair and shrug it off...

That returns us to Jake's original (and IMO best) solution.  Cap toughness at 5 (6 with a modifier) for a gritty campaign, and let it go up for a cinemagraphic one.  

It all works out well in play.
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Lyrax
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Posts: 268


« Reply #24 on: August 15, 2002, 01:01:00 PM »

I don't think we should limit toughness.

::gets bombarded by "realists"::

Hey!  Hear this out, first.

Okay, so here we are basing all of our speculations on "what-if."  What if the players decide that they want to make a character with 10 toughness?  Would it really unbalance the game?  I don't think so, because the spiritual attribute costs necessary to get a 10 in any stat are insane.  A munchkin with any sense will spend more time getting combat pool instead, because it can be used for offense AND defense, in addition to being cheaper.  The game has built in it's own mechanism to fend off munchkins.  There are NO toughness restrictions that are proper or even necessary!

Okay, you say, but what if a munchkin makes an 8-TO stahlner (actually happened in my game).  Here, you have several options.

1) Point out that the player might want another attribute to have actual value, particularly one like Wit, Per or Soc.  If the player refuses, simply capitalize on that weakness throughout the game.

2) Arbitrarily limit the toughness of the character because the player is being a munchkin.

3) Kill that character with a Gol Captain.

4) Play with it, and see how it goes, using one of the other methods if he gets out of hand (which I doubt will happen).

I think you'll find that #4 is actually a valid option because these players will get way too cocky for their own good.  Sure, you'll be capitalizing a little on the weakness of the players, but that happens to everyone.  Sooner or later, the 8-TO stahlner will either attack a raging horde of 10,000 celtic berzerks or pick his battles wisely (much like the other fighters).  Even if you start out with it, an 8 toughness doesn't come free.
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Lance Meibos
Insanity takes it's toll.  Please have exact change ready.

Get him quick!  He's still got 42 hit points left!
Spartan
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« Reply #25 on: August 15, 2002, 01:21:18 PM »

Quote from: Lyrax
I don't think we should limit toughness.

::gets bombarded by "realists"::


Bombs away!!! ;)

Personally, I think limiting Toughness is crucial if you're running a gritty, "realistic campaign".  However, I also think that toughness should belimited by species and mass.  IIRC, a grizzly bear has a toughness of either 8 or 9.  This makes sense to me... they are after all, hard to kill.  And they're frikkin' huge.  Same for polar bears.  They're monsters by any definition.  Recently I stood next to a stuffed polar bear up on its hind legs and the mass of these creatures really hit home.  I don't think any human could match the toughness of one of these beasts. *shudder*  I don't care how many spiritual attributes you dump into toughness... there should be a max of say 7 at the most.  Mind you, I can't think of too many humans that are only slightly less tough than a polar bear. ;)  

However, if you're running a more heroic (I hate that term) campaign, then all bets are off and having higher limits is perfectly fine.

And of course, this is all IMO and YMMV, etc. etc. ;)

-Mark
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Mike Holmes
Acts of Evil Playtesters
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Posts: 10459


« Reply #26 on: August 15, 2002, 01:47:29 PM »

Well, it is a fantasy game. If all else fails, just fall back on that old standard, "F^%$ you, i'ts magic!" if you have to explain the phenomenon. As far as balance goes, I see no problem with it. Each point of TO is just one more success I need to roll. If I can contemplate fighting Hef, I can contemplate fighting the TO 8 guy.

Mike
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Mokkurkalfe
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Posts: 340


« Reply #27 on: August 15, 2002, 02:00:42 PM »

How about this:

TO 1-2: Fairies, small Siehe and extremely frail people(because of age, disease, curses etc.)

TO 3: Weaker people or average smaller Siehe.

TO 4: Average human and tougher(small) Siehe.

TO 5: Tougher people(muscle-guys).

TO 6: Really tough people, as in really big thugs and Carrot from the Discworld novels. Anyone that has the shape of a body-builder, including Gol grunts.

TO 7: Absolute, definite maximum for human beings. Shaolin monks and people that eat airplanes.

TO 8: Supernatural(i.e. either sorcery or Siehe or trollspawn)

I let you decide how cinematic it is.

I've noticed that there are some quite strange TO values in the little beastiary. A dwarf warrior has TO 7? That's almost twice the TO of a normal horse(4).
The biggest and baddest of all warhorses have a TO of 6, about the same as a little-tougher-than-average-Stahner.

"The only thing tougher than the Stahlnish warhorse is the Stahlners themselves."
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Joakim (with a k!) Israelsson
Valamir
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« Reply #28 on: August 15, 2002, 02:11:58 PM »

It wouldn't be completely unreasonable in lieu of caps which can be restrictive to simply subtract 1/2 Toughness from damage instead of full Toughness.

That would make the "average" TO4 character have -2 to damage a below average character have -1, A tough TO 6-7 character have -3 and the super nasty Stahl brick a -4.

I would then be tempted to up the armor values by 2 on all pieces of armor to compensate so a Leather Wearing average guy still reduces damage by 6.  It would just be 2+4 instead of 4+2.

In the end it would have virtually no effect on 80% of game play, but it would address the odd extreme situations.  It would also help with attributes in general I think.  When I'm making up characters, knowing how important TO is to survivability its very hard for me to NOT put a 7 into TO.  The difference of 7 to 4 is 3 levels worth of wound or 3 enemy successes shrugged off.  Its significant.  

But if the effect is halved.  The difference between 7 and 4 is only 1 level worth of wound.  I'd be much more comfortable with a TO of 4 under this situation than the way it exists currently...freeing up 3 attribute points for other things.

Hmmm....I kind of like that solution...although it does mean unarmored rapier types will be eating the dirt alot more often...

Alternatively...instead of jacking up the armor by 2 to compensate...halving STR would have a similiar effect.
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Enoch
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« Reply #29 on: August 15, 2002, 02:34:01 PM »

Here's my experience with high toughness characters (TO 8).  Last night, we all built characters and sparred with them.  One guy created a massively tough, and massively strong character.  Not only that he was very fast.  But, the character only used his hands.  We'll call him Andre.

Now, we have him fighting a sword and shield user in leather.  We'll call him Bob.

Andre also wears leather armor.

Ok, so the fight started out normal enough for first time players.  They both attacked at the same time.  Bob easily defended against Andre by using Simo. Block & Strike.  In fact Andre could not get pass his shield for most of the combat.  Bob hit Andre quite a few times with his sword.  Averaging about 2 to 3 MoS.  His strength was around 5 I believe, plus the two for the weapon.  So every time Bob hit Andre he did a Level 0 wound.  Andre was immensely strong, and Bob knew it, so he tried not to overcommit himself, but eventually Andre got the better of him and smashed Bob's face in with his fist.  Instant death.

Now, I'm not really complaining about Toughness since this was the first time we played so we didn't have a strong grasp on all of the manuevers.  Still, it was difficult to explain what happened when Andre was hit.  I just explained them as flesh wounds and the like.  It felt kind of strange.

-Joshua
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omnia vincit amor
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