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NENAD
2011-07-28, 11:57 AM
How many hit points is too many hit points? Is it better to end the game with hundreds, rolling multiple dice worth of damage on each attack? Or is it better to end the game with about ten, doing no more than two or three damage on a single attack? Alternatively, I Wanna Be The Guy: The Movie: The Game: the RPG. You have one HP. If you get hit once by anything, you die.

Circle of Life
2011-07-28, 12:02 PM
Well, in some games, hitpoints just stop mattering after a while. It depends on the system and the players, really.

That said, I feel that 10*level is a good amount for an average character. Not a walking tank, not a frail mage, just an average character. It allows you to feel tough as you shrug off blows that might fell a lesser man, while still keeping you on your toes when the big guns come out.

This obviously varies between systems, but that's my general rule for d20 games.

Gamer Girl
2011-07-28, 12:09 PM
It depends on the game and the danger.

The video game hit points: you have 4757676858 HP's and each hit does 3546 damage plus a 'special secret modifier' is just dumb.

In general, I like less HP as it equals more adventure and fun. The game gets very boring when a character has like 300 HP and something like a dragon only does like 10 damage.

Tyndmyr
2011-07-28, 12:16 PM
You want enough hit points that you have the needed level of precision. The reason that video game hit points are crazy is because they're arbitrarily large, and you could have just made both the hp pool and attacks proportionately smaller, and it would work the same.

Needless complexity and details is to be avoided.

So, if you only want three levels of health, "Happy, hurt, and dead", you can have a character with two hp, and call it a day.

D&D needs a bit more granularity, so it's hp amounts fit it. I can't imagine wanting much more granularity and thus, hp, than D&D provides, though.

Domriso
2011-07-28, 12:25 PM
A good example of an arbitrarily small hp mechanic is that of Paper Mario. I remember being a kid and being so confused that my hp was so low, but it was ultimately a fun way to do it.

CarpeGuitarrem
2011-07-28, 12:32 PM
By the time HP gets to single-digits, it's probably just better to call it something like Wound Points. That sounds more serious.

riccaru
2011-07-28, 12:43 PM
You want enough hit points that you have the needed level of precision. The reason that video game hit points are crazy is because they're arbitrarily large, and you could have just made both the hp pool and attacks proportionately smaller, and it would work the same.

Needless complexity and details is to be avoided.

So, if you only want three levels of health, "Happy, hurt, and dead", you can have a character with two hp, and call it a day.

D&D needs a bit more granularity, so it's hp amounts fit it. I can't imagine wanting much more granularity and thus, hp, than D&D provides, though.

It's an unconscious satisfaction of seeing the high numbers. It makes the characters seem stronger. It's a psychological thing as to why the numbers aren't lower. Hitting a 99999999999 is more exciting than hitting a 5, even if both attacks do the same percentage of damage.

NichG
2011-07-28, 01:04 PM
Linear hitpoints need to be big enough to resolve the difference between the smallest thing you should notice and the biggest thing you should be able to survive. This can also be used to create sub-resistances and variability, e.g.:

Someone with DR 5/- responds differently to a guy who hits 100 times for 1 each than a guy who hits once for 100.

However, non-linear hitpoints can do all sorts of amazing things that linear hitpoints could never dream of, and as such a handful is all you need. E.g. Nobilis wound levels, which go something like:

Damage is classed by three types (call them Light, Moderate, and Deadly). If you're at full health, only a Deadly wound does anything to do. If you've taken enough Deadly wounds, Moderate and Deadly wounds advance you along the track. If you've taken enough of those, Light wounds also advance you along the track. So basically its like you've got armor that is being eroded.

You could also do the reversed version of that, where light wounds can never deal a killing blow, but make you more susceptible to moderate wounds, etc.

Or 7th Sea where you basically have a small resolution (flesh wounds) scale and a big resolution (dramatic wounds) scale.

So what I'd say is, the right number of hitpoints for a PC is enough that you can take 2.5 solid and undefended attacks before you keel over. One to let you know how dangerous the thing you're facing is, one so you can choose to be heroic anyhow and rush in, or think better and stay back, and a last one so you can bite your nails about whether the monster will roll high or low.

Quellian-dyrae
2011-07-28, 02:04 PM
Very large numbers of hit points (and correspondingly, damage) with advancement can also be useful as a measure of power. If hit points scale very slowly, then assuming opponents always have at least some chance of damaging you, there's a much more significant cap on, say, the number of foes you can take on at once. Basically, if you're looking for a game where high-level characters are expected to take on armies, you probably need more rapidly scaling hit point and damage totals.

gkathellar
2011-07-28, 02:11 PM
It's an unconscious satisfaction of seeing the high numbers. It makes the characters seem stronger. It's a psychological thing as to why the numbers aren't lower. Hitting a 99999999999 is more exciting than hitting a 5, even if both attacks do the same percentage of damage.

QFT. The only exception is Disgaea, where you start out dealing 5 damage, and end up dealing several million damage as an aspect of character growth.

Yitzi
2011-07-28, 02:43 PM
I'd say that it's too much when it is always (or almost always) smarter to bypass it via save-or-lose, disarming, etc. Naturally, that depends a lot on the rest of the game.

CarpeGuitarrem
2011-07-28, 02:59 PM
So what I'd say is, the right number of hitpoints for a PC is enough that you can take 2.5 solid and undefended attacks before you keel over. One to let you know how dangerous the thing you're facing is, one so you can choose to be heroic anyhow and rush in, or think better and stay back, and a last one so you can bite your nails about whether the monster will roll high or low.
That's...a really cool way of putting it. I like it.

All told, I'm also in the camp that believes that high-level characters should not be able to soak much more damage than low-level characters, unless it's their specialty. If you're going to be able to avoid damage, it should be because of your special abilities, because you have super evasion or the ability to generate heavy damage resistance. There's gotta be a hard cap on "my body can take this much punishment". Because giving more HP to represent the fact that a hero can shrug off wounds...that's a lazy solution.

I'm also not a big fan of linear HP anyhow. It means that HP doesn't start mattering until the end, that the only hitpoint that really matters is your last hitpoint; none of the others are lethal damage, just padding against that one last lethal hit.

Tyndmyr
2011-07-28, 03:02 PM
Non linear hp can make fights much less likely to be challenging, though. In short, if you start off winning, you tend to start winning harder and harder.

It makes fights much, much more about the initial strike.

137ben
2011-07-28, 04:37 PM
I have played a d20 variant in which everyone had fixed health (for players, it was 5 health. For monsters, it varied, but very low.) When an attack hits, you then roll to wound (this damage roll is also made with a d20), and must beat a fixed value (specific to each creature) to deal one point of damage. Rather than increasing your health/damage reduction, you instead increase the value needed to hurt you at all. Similarly, boosts to damage instead give you a boost to your "to wound" roll. Critical hits actually give two damage dice (both d20s, each dealing a maximum of 1 damage), while rolling a natural 20 on a To Wound roll gives you a chance to score a "Critical Wound" (deals two damage).
The nice part about this system is that hp need not increase with level. An enemy intended to be "weak compared to the PCs" can always have 1-3 wounds, regardless of player level. But at the same time, when designing defensive monsters, you now have three simple numerical options: increase blocking/AC, increase the "to wound" score, or increase health.

NichG
2011-07-28, 05:31 PM
Non linear hp can make fights much less likely to be challenging, though. In short, if you start off winning, you tend to start winning harder and harder.

It makes fights much, much more about the initial strike.

This is often the case with systems that penalize you as you get damaged. I think this is a case where realism is making the game less interesting. On the other hand you could go with anime conventions: as you get hurt, you unlock powers. Then you could have lots of see-sawing as different members of the fight get their second wind powerup.

Imagine a 7th Sea variant where a villain (or hero) gains an extra kept die or free raise on all actions related to the fight per Dramatic Wound taken in that scene.

Stubbazubba
2011-07-28, 05:42 PM
I have played a d20 variant in which everyone had fixed health (for players, it was 5 health. For monsters, it varied, but very low.) When an attack hits, you then roll to wound (this damage roll is also made with a d20), and must beat a fixed value (specific to each creature) to deal one point of damage. Rather than increasing your health/damage reduction, you instead increase the value needed to hurt you at all. Similarly, boosts to damage instead give you a boost to your "to wound" roll. Critical hits actually give two damage dice (both d20s, each dealing a maximum of 1 damage), while rolling a natural 20 on a To Wound roll gives you a chance to score a "Critical Wound" (deals two damage).
The nice part about this system is that hp need not increase with level. An enemy intended to be "weak compared to the PCs" can always have 1-3 wounds, regardless of player level. But at the same time, when designing defensive monsters, you now have three simple numerical options: increase blocking/AC, increase the "to wound" score, or increase health.

In my homebrew system I'm doing something much like this. Everyone of a given race has the same # of HP; 4, 6, or 8. This is static, but your ability to first avoid taking damage by defending against blows and then your ability to soak damage varies based on your combat ability and your constitution/quality of armor, respectively. Armor also has a certain amount of Armor Points which absorb damage before you get to HP. Attacks similarly only deal one damage, except criticals or special class abilities which deal more. I think a maxed out martial character could deal a total of 9 damage on two critical rolls; first the to-hit and then the damage.

SowZ
2011-07-28, 06:44 PM
In my homebrew system I'm doing something much like this. Everyone of a given race has the same # of HP; 4, 6, or 8. This is static, but your ability to first avoid taking damage by defending against blows and then your ability to soak damage varies based on your combat ability and your constitution/quality of armor, respectively. Armor also has a certain amount of Armor Points which absorb damage before you get to HP. Attacks similarly only deal one damage, except criticals or special class abilities which deal more. I think a maxed out martial character could deal a total of 9 damage on two critical rolls; first the to-hit and then the damage.

Damage is modified by weapons, I assume.

Welknair
2011-07-28, 07:37 PM
In my homebrew system there is no "Hitpoints". They always seemed arbitrary to me. Instead you compare the "Raw" damage of an attack with the opponent's Resistance to see what level of hit you landed. This in turn determines the size of minuses which the target takes on... everything. Including Resistance. So the more you hit them, the greater the chance you land a more substantial blow. No "Hitpoints" involved.

Stubbazubba
2011-07-28, 08:33 PM
Damage is modified by weapons, I assume.

First there is an opposed 2d6+Armed Combat skill check to determine if you get past your opponent's defenses, then you roll [Weapon Die]+STR and compare it to opponent's [Armor Die]+CON (to use D&D Ability terms) to determine if you deal damage, typically 1. Something like Feats allow you to increase your base damage to 2, then 3. A critical hit (beat your opponent's roll by 7 or more) doubles the damage, and getting criticals on both the Armed Combat check and the Weapon vs. Armor roll triples damage.

Example: Sir Noah is a mid-level Knight. His base damage is 2. His Armed Combat skill has a +4 modifier. He roll 2d6+4 on his attack roll, his opponent rolls 2d6+3. Noah rolls a 7, as does his opponent, so Noah's 11 beats the 10 and we move to damage. Noah has a 2d6+1 Longsword, his opponent has 1d6+3 Chainmail. Noah rolls an 11 for a total of 12, his opponent rolls a 2 for a total of 5, difference of 7, it's a critical hit. Noah doubles his base damage and deals 4 damage.

So, no, the damage is directly dictated by the character's feats (for now, that exact element might change as I flesh out the character progression mechanic), but, a better Weapon Die will give you a better chance of multiplying your base damage, so also yes.

However...it might be nice to assign base damage to your weapon instead...I might experiment with that and see how it goes.

enderlord99
2011-07-28, 08:42 PM
In my homebrew system there is no "Hitpoints". They always seemed arbitrary to me. Instead you compare the "Raw" damage of an attack with the opponent's Resistance to see what level of hit you landed. This in turn determines the size of minuses which the target takes on... everything. Including Resistance. So the more you hit them, the greater the chance you land a more substantial blow. No "Hitpoints" involved.

When do they die?

Welknair
2011-07-28, 08:44 PM
When do they die?

If the damage exceeds the target's Resistance by 10 or more.

SowZ
2011-07-28, 08:44 PM
First there is an opposed 2d6+Armed Combat skill check to determine if you get past your opponent's defenses, then you roll [Weapon Die]+STR and compare it to opponent's [Armor Die]+CON (to use D&D Ability terms) to determine if you deal damage, typically 1. Something like Feats allow you to increase your base damage to 2, then 3. A critical hit (beat your opponent's roll by 7 or more) doubles the damage, and getting criticals on both the Armed Combat check and the Weapon vs. Armor roll triples damage.

Example: Sir Noah is a mid-level Knight. His base damage is 2. His Armed Combat skill has a +4 modifier. He roll 2d6+4 on his attack roll, his opponent rolls 2d6+3. Noah rolls a 7, as does his opponent, so Noah's 11 beats the 10 and we move to damage. Noah has a 2d6+1 Longsword, his opponent has 1d6+3 Chainmail. Noah rolls an 11 for a total of 12, his opponent rolls a 2 for a total of 5, difference of 7, it's a critical hit. Noah doubles his base damage and deals 4 damage.

So, no, the damage is directly dictated by the character's feats (for now, that exact element might change as I flesh out the character progression mechanic), but, a better Weapon Die will give you a better chance of multiplying your base damage, so also yes.

However...it might be nice to assign base damage to your weapon instead...I might experiment with that and see how it goes.

It looks like you have a strength stat that sort of builds weapon damage in, but only somewhat. The sword bonus to beat armor looks like it is almost an armor piercing/critical chance stat more then damage. A weapon base damage might be nice to add even if most weapons had a base damage of 1. But I like that skill with a weapon modifies defense unlike D&D where even a master with a blade can be easy to hit. /: I also like that weapons don't deal damage that just detracts from an arbitrary number but actually wounds the body. A little bit brutal, mechanically, but swinging swords at another person should be.

enderlord99
2011-07-28, 10:56 PM
If the damage exceeds the target's Resistance by 10 or more.

Should it NECESSARILY be 10? You still have the same issue of "Too much or not enough," just applied to a slightly moderately different statistic. Nonetheless, your system sounds awesome.

Stubbazubba
2011-07-29, 12:04 AM
In my homebrew system there is no "Hitpoints". They always seemed arbitrary to me. Instead you compare the "Raw" damage of an attack with the opponent's Resistance to see what level of hit you landed. This in turn determines the size of minuses which the target takes on... everything. Including Resistance. So the more you hit them, the greater the chance you land a more substantial blow. No "Hitpoints" involved.

Sounds like a great recipe for a death spiral, where whoever gets hit first is fighting a very uphill battle to win any fight. Is there a way to undo said penalties mid-combat? Is the RNG big enough to make the first negative point or two negligible? If that were the case, then so long as you could quickly bring your opponent down to where you are, you could avoid the death spiral.

SowZ
2011-07-29, 12:08 AM
Sounds like a great recipe for a death spiral, where whoever gets hit first is fighting a very uphill battle to win any fight. Is there a way to undo said penalties mid-combat? Is the RNG big enough to make the first negative point or two negligible? If that were the case, then so long as you could quickly bring your opponent down to where you are, you could avoid the death spiral.

If the game is going for realism, though, the death spiral seems reasonable.

Stubbazubba
2011-07-29, 12:43 AM
It looks like you have a strength stat that sort of builds weapon damage in, but only somewhat. The sword bonus to beat armor looks like it is almost an armor piercing/critical chance stat more then damage. A weapon base damage might be nice to add even if most weapons had a base damage of 1. But I like that skill with a weapon modifies defense unlike D&D where even a master with a blade can be easy to hit. /: I also like that weapons don't deal damage that just detracts from an arbitrary number but actually wounds the body. A little bit brutal, mechanically, but swinging swords at another person should be.

I think weapon base damage is probably a good idea I will look to implement. Right now Armor has both an Armor Roll and Armor Points, so giving weapons a Base Damage in addition to the Damage Roll would make them symmetrical, at least in that they both have two elements.

Taking a cue from Welknair's system, what if landing a blow added temporary penalties? Based on the success of the blow you would take varying degrees of penalties which dissipated in a couple of rounds. Then what if all it took to kill your opponent was achieving a certain success, like 10, in an opposed contest? Since I don't know the particulars of Welknair's system, I'll use my own as an example:

Suppose all combat comes down to opposed 2d6+Armed Combat rolls, and any degree of success n, equal to the difference of the attacker's total less the defender's total, results in the defender taking an n penalty to their defensive roll* for n rounds, which decreases by 1 for every round thereafter, until it is gone. The first to succeed by 7 (more reasonable than 10, given 2d6s) successfully kills his opponent.

*I added the defensive roll bit to try and mitigate the likelihood of a death spiral; you become easier to kill, but not less capable of killing. To take it one step further away from the death spiral, you could even say that only the highest success counted; if, after wounding your opponent for 4, you had a success of 3, it would not influence his penalties whatsoever. Things might drag out like that, or they may not, I'd have to test it and see how that actually worked.

This would work well in a fencing-style game, where armor is not common, and thus not represented and differences in weapon are negligible. I'm seeing some kind of The Princess Bride RPG, or maybe The Three Musketeers. The only way I could see to implement armor and weapon variations would be to make armor decrease either the value or the duration of the penalty, or both, and weapons to increase them, but even then, the ranges would not be able to be too wide.

The only real problem with this is that there's no after-combat effect left over. That might not be a problem to many people. But if you think it is, I suppose you could also have whatever the greatest penalty on you during the battle indicate wounds you received that would have to be treated, or else you start the next combat with penalties. So it would represent that your adrenaline is capable of deadening all the pain of your injuries during battle, but once you stop, it comes back up and you have to either treat it or start the next fight at a disadvantage.

Welknair
2011-07-29, 08:25 AM
Sounds like a great recipe for a death spiral, where whoever gets hit first is fighting a very uphill battle to win any fight. Is there a way to undo said penalties mid-combat? Is the RNG big enough to make the first negative point or two negligible? If that were the case, then so long as you could quickly bring your opponent down to where you are, you could avoid the death spiral.

Well I do have something that's the equivalent of a Cleric which should help somewhat. And the lowest degree of hit (That which you'll be getting a lot of if you're fighting an equally powerful foe) heal very quickly. Mid battle though.. In my Martial Arts system I'll likely have a couple of techniques that allow you a "Second Wind" which drops all of the Minor hits. Or other techniques with similar benefits.


Oh, and just for laughs I added in rules for bleeding and infection. It's a dangerous world. To balance all of the realism I also have a system for "Favor" which can, among other things, give you boosts and allow you to treat a hit as if it was one level lower. Usually used to save yourself from a Fatal hit. It's the only real reason the Heroes survive at all. And the name of this score (Favor) only makes sense if you know the background of my game, which I would rather not divulge at the present.

motionmatrix
2011-07-29, 10:20 AM
I actually really like the way Star Wars system d20 did HP, and its an easy conversion for I assume most if not all d20 games.

You have your normal HP from your class as per normal d20, but you also had Wound Points (don't quote me on the name) which was equivalent to your constitution (not the modifier).

Any time anyone hit you it comes off your HP, unless you have no HP, or they do a critical hit. In either of those cases it would come off your Wound Points. Dropping to zero Wound points (regardless of HP) meant you were dying.

Obviously Raising Wound Points is dramatically more difficult.

The critical hit values of weapons change, they don't do any extra damage, it just goes straight to the Wound Points now. I believe, but I am not sure, that all weapons critical hit range was only 20 now, but I am not 100% sure.

This is a very easy system you can adapt to your taste, whether you allow HP below zero, or however else you may want to modify it.

I adapted this system to a regular d&d game. Save or die spells now dealt damage directly to wound points rather than just autokill. most of my players were rather happy about that. Note that ad-hoc ruling was necessary for some spells.

Welknair
2011-07-29, 10:35 AM
I actually really like the way Star Wars system d20 did HP, and its an easy conversion for I assume most if not all d20 games.

You have your normal HP from your class as per normal d20, but you also had Wound Points (don't quote me on the name) which was equivalent to your constitution (not the modifier).

Any time anyone hit you it comes off your HP, unless you have no HP, or they do a critical hit. In either of those cases it would come off your Wound Points. Dropping to zero Wound points (regardless of HP) meant you were dying.

Obviously Raising Wound Points is dramatically more difficult.

The critical hit values of weapons change, they don't do any extra damage, it just goes straight to the Wound Points now. I believe, but I am not sure, that all weapons critical hit range was only 20 now, but I am not 100% sure.

This is a very easy system you can adapt to your taste, whether you allow HP below zero, or however else you may want to modify it.

I adapted this system to a regular d&d game. Save or die spells now dealt damage directly to wound points rather than just autokill. most of my players were rather happy about that. Note that ad-hoc ruling was necessary for some spells.

...

That's the Vitality and Wound Point (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/variant/adventuring/vitalityAndWoundPoints.htm) alternate rule.

Morty
2011-07-29, 10:42 AM
I don't see anything wrong with a "death spiral", so long as the game is supposed to be gritty and realistic. It's realistic that the person who's first to get hit often loses because of that.
Speaking personally, I adapted a "wound system" for my homebrewed game. When a successful to-hit roll is made, the attacker rolls a damage roll of his strength, skills and weapon properties against the defender's toughness and armor. If the roll is successful, the wound is major. If it fails, it's minor. Major wounds give penalties, minor wounds don't but three of them add up to one major wound. A very good damage roll would perhaps cause two major wounds. What I have to figure out is how many major wounds are supposed to kill you.

Phosphate
2011-07-29, 10:46 AM
I think of it this way: if you can divide all damage and hitpoint totals in the game by 10, and keep almost all of them as positive integers, then do it.

Knaight
2011-07-29, 12:17 PM
I don't see anything wrong with a "death spiral", so long as the game is supposed to be gritty and realistic. It's realistic that the person who's first to get hit often loses because of that.
Speaking personally, I adapted a "wound system" for my homebrewed game. When a successful to-hit roll is made, the attacker rolls a damage roll of his strength, skills and weapon properties against the defender's toughness and armor. If the roll is successful, the wound is major. If it fails, it's minor. Major wounds give penalties, minor wounds don't but three of them add up to one major wound. A very good damage roll would perhaps cause two major wounds. What I have to figure out is how many major wounds are supposed to kill you.

The death spiral encourages certain kinds of play. If you want these, go for it. D&D is clearly designed around semi random encounters, where you go in and beat the tar out of each other, so a death spiral makes no sense. But, if you want to reward sniping, ambushes, and surrender, death spirals work beautifully.

ScionoftheVoid
2011-07-29, 01:48 PM
It depends. As a rule, however, needless granularity is to be avoided *cough*Yu-Gi-Oh*cough*.

Grittier games tend toward lower values, but higher values could work so long as damage scales proportionally - which would allow for a buildup of very small wounds which is suitably gritty but hard to model with smaller values (though not using hitpoints at all is very popular for gritty games, as well).

D&D 3.5 has a fairly good scaling of hitpoints for a cinematic, high-action game where characters are supposed to survive jumping off of cliffs just by being sufficiently badass - though the damage scaling on attacks is a bit wonky, unoptimised. So, those kinds of numbers are decent guidelines if you're going for that kind of game.

But the most important thing is avoiding granularity that you don't need (does a sword stroke really need to involve rolling more than five dice, or would a flat multiplier or modifier work quicker and easier? Do we really need four digit health if we pay attention to the first two?) and fitting the feel of the game. Gritty systems probably have the most use for granularity, for example, but would rather do away with hitpoints than use higher values - because "grittiness" and big numbers just clash in some minds.

Morty
2011-07-29, 03:22 PM
The death spiral encourages certain kinds of play. If you want these, go for it. D&D is clearly designed around semi random encounters, where you go in and beat the tar out of each other, so a death spiral makes no sense. But, if you want to reward sniping, ambushes, and surrender, death spirals work beautifully.

Well, yeah, that's why I said it works if the game is supposed to be gritty and realistic. Obviously it doesn't work for heroic, cinematic games.
And besides, I think D&D handles hit points poorly even for a high-powered, heroic game. There's just too many of them. There's heroic and badass and there's ridiculous, and the amount of punishment high-level D&D characters can take, however you describe it, is the latter.

Knaight
2011-07-29, 03:26 PM
Well, yeah, that's why I said it works if the game is supposed to be gritty and realistic. Obviously it doesn't work for heroic, cinematic games.
And besides, I think D&D handles hit points poorly even for a high-powered, heroic game. There's just too many of them. There's heroic and badass and there's ridiculous, and the amounts of punishment high-level D&D characters can take, however you describe it, is the latter.

I agree on both points. D&D is clearly designed around a high-powered heroic game, but it has consistently been designed poorly by modern standards. Of course, holding anything before 3rd edition to modern standards is somewhat unfair.

Tyndmyr
2011-07-29, 03:40 PM
Imagine a 7th Sea variant where a villain (or hero) gains an extra kept die or free raise on all actions related to the fight per Dramatic Wound taken in that scene.

Such a system is included in White Rain, the rpg system I'm building. I presumed that wasn't Carpe was talking about though. He seemed to be going for a somewhat more realistic bent.