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Archive => Indie Game Design => Topic started by: ghostwolf on April 26, 2004, 06:05:34 AM

Title: [Eschaton] Damage Mechanics
Post by: ghostwolf on April 26, 2004, 06:05:34 AM
Hi guys.

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I've been bashing my head against the wall last couple weeks trying to come up with a usable damage mechanic for my Sci-fi RPG.

Here's what I have, I'd like opinions and comments.

First off, this is not the whole of the combat system, just the damage mechanics.

Every weapon will be assigned a Damage Rating (DR). This will range from 1 (a Knife) to 10 (A Vehicle Mounted Pulse Cannon) or something like that.

Armor Rating(AR) is used in resisting damage, ranging from 1(a leather jacket) to 10 (Mechanized assault suit)

The other half of the Resistance factor is the characters Brawn trait, which ranges from 5(Normal Human) to 10(Body builder)

After scoring a successful hit, the player/gm rolls to damage vs. a target number of the defender's Resistance (Brawn+AR). Sucess is determined if the roll of 2d10+DR is >= Resistance.

Seems simple, right? Here's where it gets wonky. I wanted to stick with a single roll for damage. What I came up with for amount of damage done was this...

If the roll succeeded, the damage done is the total of the roll (2d10+DR) - resistance.

The problem is, an average player (7 brawn) would have 14 Health Points (Brawn x2). The way I worked the numbers, a Heavy Pistol (DR3) shot against said average person, wearing an armored vest(AR2) would have a small chance of killing the character in one shot. 20+dr3 = 23 - resistance of 9 = 14 dmg.

Now...Is this too lethal? Checking dice probability, there's only a 1% chance of this happening, but the chance scales heavily depending on the DR and AR.


Title: [Eschaton] Damage Mechanics
Post by: Ben O'Neal on April 26, 2004, 07:13:44 AM
Now...Is this too lethal?

No. Yes. Depends. The degree of lethality should be directly proportional to what you want it to be. If the mechanics you've devised are too lethal, make new ones. If they aren't lethal enough, make new ones. Make mechanics that give you the lethality you want.

If you are going for gritty reality, a 1% chance of killing someone with a single pistol shot is fantastically small, and frustratingly unrealistic.

If you are going for "here he comes to save the day" heroism, then a 1% chance of killing a character with a single pistol shot means players will be likely to be creating new characters every 100 times they get hit, and thus would be frustrating for that fact alone. The goals of your game will become the goals of your players, and when actual play inhibits or doesn't support those goals, then frustration ensues. If they expect gritty quick-draw deadly combat, dying becomes part of the game. If they expect their characters to live through thousands of battles and emerge as heroes, then dying destroys that expectation. What are your expectations for this game?

IF your system provides alternate conflict resolution methods other than combat, then you don't need to worry about lethality so much, because if they die it will be because they made poor choices given the options.

You also mentioned that this was only to kill an average player. This can factor heavily in your decision, because players will rarely fit the average. Create a few characters, and make them fight a few times. See if the feel of combat is what you want. If it is too quick, consider scaling damage down (most easily done by increasing the AR of the armor), and if it's too slow, then you know your mechanic is not too lethal.

But at any rate, think how lethal you want your game to be, and adjust your mechanics to duplicate this. You'll probably only need to alter some scales here and there, but you may need to re-think the entire mechanic.

Title: [Eschaton] Damage Mechanics
Post by: ghostwolf on April 26, 2004, 07:22:35 AM
Thanks for the response, Ravien.

The characters in this game are pretty much meant to be heros in the space-adventure sense, but I do want some level of grittiness and lethality, but not to kill off the player-characters left and right ;)  Basically, right now I just want to get my mechanics all layed out for a playtest to see how it works, and damage is the last part of the equation that I have to figure out.

I think what I have, as relates to Armor and Damage ratings, should be pretty scalable to adjust the lethality, just wanted a last stop 'sanity check' before I write things up and inflict it on my friends.

Title: [Eschaton] Damage Mechanics
Post by: Jack Aidley on April 26, 2004, 07:24:16 AM
Why do you want to have the ability to kill players in the rules? Do you really want players to die because of a couple of unlucky rolls?

Title: [Eschaton] Damage Mechanics
Post by: ghostwolf on April 26, 2004, 07:29:41 AM
Quote from: Jack Aidley
Why do you want to have the ability to kill players in the rules? Do you really want players to die because of a couple of unlucky rolls?

In short, it's just not a space-adventure is you don't have guns blazing and starship battles, etc.  Putting it in GNS terms, the players Step on up and try to save the Colonies, risking their characters lives for the greater good of humanity.