A Monster for Every Season: Summer 2
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  1. - Top - End - #31
    Firbolg in the Playground
     
    GnomeWizardGuy

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    Default Re: Looking for ideas for alternate (more realistic) damage mechanics

    So it looks like you're replacing HP with SP, which ends up being the same thing except you get penalities at low SP values. And you're changing healing magic to "energizing" magic, and having it recover SP rather than the tossed HP value.

    And the damage is delayed and spread out over 10 rounds. (Good luck keeping track of that.) I can't help but think there's a more elegant solution than that - something like "If you are below half SP for four rounds, you become fatigued."


    You also seem to be requiring a lot of fortitude saves. A LOT of fortitude saves. I'd imagine a lot of attacks above level 6 or so would provoke one, at least when aimed at the PC party. A dragon with 60 CON may not have much to worry about, but most PCs will fall into the 12-18 CON range, and even a basic fireball at that level will be over that amount.
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  2. - Top - End - #32
    Ogre in the Playground
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    Default Re: Looking for ideas for alternate (more realistic) damage mechanics

    Quote Originally Posted by erikun View Post
    So it looks like you're replacing HP with SP, which ends up being the same thing except you get penalities at low SP values. And you're changing healing magic to "energizing" magic, and having it recover SP rather than the tossed HP value.
    No...the big difference is that whereas an HP system has a pool directly reduced by damage, this has a pool which loses points gradually depending on how much damage you have...the damage itself stays until it heals naturally or magically (but you can bind the wounds to at least keep it from draining SP.)

    And the damage is delayed and spread out over 10 rounds.
    No, you've got it COMPLETELY WRONG. The damage is not spread out at all. You have two values: A damage value, which is caused by being hurt and drains SP (without itself being reduced) until it is healed or bound, and an SP value which works more like HP, but is reduced over time by damage rather than being reduced as soon as you take damage.

    10 rounds is significant only in that's how long it takes to lose SP equal to your damage. If the damage lasts 2 minutes before being bound, you'll lose twice that much SP. If your cleric heals it after 5 rounds, you only lose half as much SP as the damage you took.

    You also seem to be requiring a lot of fortitude saves. A LOT of fortitude saves.
    Depends who you're fighting, but yes if you're fighting a giant you'll probably be making a save against massive damage every time it hits (well, unless you use armor or feat-equivalents to reduce the damage you take; against a giant you're probably better off trying to not get hit in the first place, though). Fortunately, even a failure on such a save isn't too bad, so combined with the resources available to an appropriate-level party, it'll make it a significant fight but not an unreasonable one.

    Saves against criticals are quite a bit more serious, but unless you're facing a sneak attack or a crit-easy weapon (which produces relatively low DCs on that Fort save) or are a caster or some other combat-poor class who's getting directly attacked for some reason, that's going to be quite rare.

    and even a basic fireball at that level will be over that amount.
    Yeah, a fireball is probably going to lose you some SP directly unless you manage to jump out of the way in time. So what?
    Last edited by Yitzi; 2012-03-04 at 01:35 AM.

  3. - Top - End - #33
    Ogre in the Playground
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    Default Re: Looking for ideas for alternate (more realistic) damage mechanics

    how about converting the system used in gurps?
    I only have very old gurps books; so i'm not sure how it's changed since first ed; but it was always a game fairly high on realism; and it should be feasible to convert the gurps system to d20.
    But really what's needed for solutions is for you to clarify exactly which gamist and simulationist features you deem necessary and which are more negotiable; and how you want to handle all the various rocket tag issues.
    Then its' easier to craft solutions. Also; high level situations are probably inevitably gonna be mass rocket tag in ANY more realistic system; due to the power of the abilities being tossed around.
    A neat custom class for 3.5 system
    http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=94616

    A good set of benchmarks for PF/3.5
    https://rpgwillikers.wordpress.com/2...y-the-numbers/

    An alternate craft point system I made for 3.5
    http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showt...t-Point-system

  4. - Top - End - #34
    Ogre in the Playground
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    Default Re: Looking for ideas for alternate (more realistic) damage mechanics

    Quote Originally Posted by zlefin View Post
    how about converting the system used in gurps?
    I only have very old gurps books; so i'm not sure how it's changed since first ed; but it was always a game fairly high on realism; and it should be feasible to convert the gurps system to d20.
    If you can roughly describe the system, it might be an option.

    But really what's needed for solutions is for you to clarify exactly which gamist and simulationist features you deem necessary and which are more negotiable
    For simulationist, I want to get as much as I can get, and in particular want to avoid the "high-level characters can shrug off attacks that instantly kill low-level characters" syndrome unless it can be justified as taking less actual damage. For gamist, I want something playable, meaning (among other things) that it's not too confusing, doesn't make things un-fun, that monsters can keep getting stronger without one-shotting the party, and that healing is balanced at all levels.

    and how you want to handle all the various rocket tag issues.
    Any equal-level attack should be either very difficult (i.e. generally not worth it) to pull off against the character, or the character should be capable of surviving an attack or two at that level, or (if the character is a defensive build) both.

    Also; high level situations are probably inevitably gonna be mass rocket tag in ANY more realistic system; due to the power of the abilities being tossed around.
    Not if defenses increase accordingly.

  5. - Top - End - #35
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    Devil

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    Default Re: Looking for ideas for alternate (more realistic) damage mechanics

    As mentioned, my system is probably too involved for tabletop play.

    Healing: Any change to the damage system would probably negate healing systems. As far as magic goes, here are some ideas for some basic spells:

    Clot: Reduce bleed effects by some number. May scale with level or have a mass- variant.

    Reinvigorate: Restores system HP, reducing the effects of shock. Either have multiple levels of the spell, or have it scale with level, or both. Mass- variant also good.

    Cure wound: Reduces a particular wound's HP value by a certain amount. Again, multiple levels of spell and/or scale with level. Mass- variant also good.

    Heal: Reduces ALL wound's HP values by a certain amount, AND restores system HP. May scale with level.

    Regeneration: Eliminate all wounds, restore all system HP, and restore destroyed body parts.
    I'm not an evil GM! Honest!

  6. - Top - End - #36
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    Devil

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    Default Re: Looking for ideas for alternate (more realistic) damage mechanics

    Quote Originally Posted by Yitzi View Post
    For simulationist, I want to get as much as I can get, and in particular want to avoid the "high-level characters can shrug off attacks that instantly kill low-level characters" syndrome unless it can be justified as taking less actual damage. For gamist, I want something playable, meaning (among other things) that it's not too confusing, doesn't make things un-fun, that monsters can keep getting stronger without one-shotting the party, and that healing is balanced at all levels.

    Any equal-level attack should be either very difficult (i.e. generally not worth it) to pull off against the character, or the character should be capable of surviving an attack or two at that level, or (if the character is a defensive build) both.
    .... in that case, let me suggest something along the lines of (old) WoD's attack/damage system. In it, a single roll is made to attack. Damage is determined somewhat by the degree to which you exceed what you needed to hit. This makes sense. Attacks that JUST BARELY HIT shouldn't kill a person outright, unless we're talking grenade launchers. You'd expect mild cuts from the greatsword that you ALMOST dodged or a graze from a bullet that nearly missed. Hell, even Luke only lost a hand when Vader's lightsaber hit. A just-barely-hit shouldn't take its target straight through the heart and kill him instantly.

    (I'm oversimplifying the system a bit. The actual system, IIRC, was based on dice-pools. Each die gave a chance for a success. Normally you only needed one success to hit, but a character could roll their pool for a defensive skill such as Dodge to negate your successes with their successes. THEN you'd roll damage, with a number of dice equal to your successes to hit, possibly modified by the weapon used. (Big heavy weapons might double your pool, explosive weapons might add a fixed number of dice, etc.) Things like armor and stamina could be rolled to negate your successes for damage, and some types of damage couldn't be negated by some types of rolls, ie, stamina could help soak damage from a punch, but not a sword unless you had some sort of magical resistance to slashing damage.)

    HP was fixed. The system was point-buy (kinda), so we didn't see the sort of imposed balancing where people improved their defenses at the same rate that their opponents improved the corresponding offenses. (That's one of the few things I think 4e got right.) Healing DID tend to scale, but somehow it worked out anyway. Healing also didn't play the same role in WoD as it did in DnD.

    I'd say for realism coupled with survivability and power-balance, go with damage being connected to how much you exceed to-hit rolls by, and scale defenses similarly with level. These defenses don't reflect your ability to absorb damage, but your ability to avoid taking damage, be it by way of dodging or by way of armor. If you want some classes to have specialties that give them advantages in making or defending against certain types of attacks, give them a fixed bonus to those attacks that stacks with all others but does not scale.

    The net result would be a system with fixed HP. Furthermore, given two character builds of equal level, the expected value of damage dealt by one to another should be fixed regardless of level. This could be explained by the target of the attack getting better at taking cover as the other gets better at attacking. However, against lower level characters, the expected damage goes up; I'd suggest linearly with level. Furthermore -- and this is something most systems miss -- the standard deviation of damage should remain fixed for same-level opponents. And finally, while new powers might be more effective than the old powers scaled, they should be matched by new defensive abilities in the target. Fiddle with the maths until you get that.

    In this system, healing probably shouldn't scale unless it comes at a greater cost, such as the higher-slot penalties of metamagic feats.
    I'm not an evil GM! Honest!

  7. - Top - End - #37
    Ogre in the Playground
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    Default Re: Looking for ideas for alternate (more realistic) damage mechanics

    Quote Originally Posted by Reltzik View Post
    .... in that case, let me suggest something along the lines of (old) WoD's attack/damage system. In it, a single roll is made to attack. Damage is determined somewhat by the degree to which you exceed what you needed to hit. This makes sense. Attacks that JUST BARELY HIT shouldn't kill a person outright, unless we're talking grenade launchers. You'd expect mild cuts from the greatsword that you ALMOST dodged or a graze from a bullet that nearly missed. Hell, even Luke only lost a hand when Vader's lightsaber hit. A just-barely-hit shouldn't take its target straight through the heart and kill him instantly.
    I was already planning to add the amount you're over as precision damage, and you only get a chance of insta-kills if your precision damage exceeds a certain amount.

    Making almost-dodged strikes be low-damage even with powerful weapons makes sense as well, but I'm not sure how to implement that. Any ideas (seeing as I don't want to use dice pools)?

    the sort of imposed balancing where people improved their defenses at the same rate that their opponents improved the corresponding offenses.
    I'd say for realism coupled with survivability and power-balance, go with damage being connected to how much you exceed to-hit rolls by, and scale defenses similarly with level. These defenses don't reflect your ability to absorb damage, but your ability to avoid taking damage, be it by way of dodging or by way of armor.
    Already planning something of that sort, in that your combat skill (replaces BAB) can be used to boost defense against a single target or boost attacks (or certain other bonuses as well), or some points toward each. Armor becomes a sort of DR instead. Still looking for ideas on how to smoothly connect damage to attack at the low end as well.

    If you want some classes to have specialties that give them advantages in making or defending against certain types of attacks, give them a fixed bonus to those attacks that stacks with all others but does not scale.
    I'd say there will be some scaling and some not, and some scale in unusual ways. For instance, Feint scales with the difference between your bluff check (or combat skill check with the right ability) and your opponent's sense motive check or combat skill check (whichever is higher). Sneak attacks double precision damage, but are nearly impossible to pull off against an opponent with any dodge or dexterity bonuses to defense.

    The net result would be a system with fixed HP.
    Now that I don't want, as it makes it too dangerous at high levels. Even a glancing blow from a demon lord is going to be more than a first-level character could take without being knocked out. Perhaps more importantly, while it might work for a low-healing game, a game that has healing on par with D&D (or even more; I feel healers in 3.5 aren't getting enough benefit) is going to mean that if the healers increase in power things will be pretty much impossible to balance, as you said, and having them not increase means they don't get to feel they're improving.

    Furthermore, given two character builds of equal level, the expected value of damage dealt by one to another should be fixed regardless of level.
    Firstly, I don't even want expected value of damage to be fixed for a given level; some builds are more defensive than others, and some find their strengths in noncombat or nondamaging abilities. Also, having increasing HP means of course it will increase with level.

    This could be explained by the target of the attack getting better at taking cover as the other gets better at attacking. However, against lower level characters, the expected damage goes up; I'd suggest linearly with level. Furthermore -- and this is something most systems miss -- the standard deviation of damage should remain fixed for same-level opponents.
    I'll be aiming for SD/expected to be what stays fixed, but still a very good idea.

    In this system, healing probably shouldn't scale unless it comes at a greater cost, such as the higher-slot penalties of metamagic feats.
    Unless the greater cost is one that they are more easily able to pay as they level (which runs into the same problems as if it improves outright), that's going to make level advancement not very much fun for the healers.


    So overall, there are some ideas in what you said that I don't feel fit what I'm aiming for, some that I already had in mind, one (scaling SD linearly with expected value) that I definitely do want to try to implement, and one (an attack roll barely beating the defense making for low damage) that I'd like suggestions on how to implement (although I'll also try to think of ideas on my own.)

    EDIT: I've thought of a way to make a low attack roll do low damage: Raise base defense by 2 and have a "graze" mechanic where if you miss the defense by less than 5 you do damage but a lot less of it (-20% for each point by which you miss it, applied before armor.) The scaling SD with EV idea, however, is getting very hard to work out, as both of the usual ways to increase damage (fixed bonuses and more dice) increase EV slower or not at all, and I really don't want to have a lot of d20s being rolled for damage or having too many "multiply the actual damage" multipliers. So ideas there would be greatly appreciated.
    Last edited by Yitzi; 2012-03-05 at 06:14 PM.

  8. - Top - End - #38
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    RedWizardGuy

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    Default Re: Looking for ideas for alternate (more realistic) damage mechanics

    Not sure how useful this will be to you, but here's the system I use in my own psuedo-d20-modern system:

    You have your Endurance score in Vital, Lethal, and Blunt health points, which represent general bruising, minor cuts and fleshwounds, and more critical hits, primarily with respect to the pain these injuries cause you. Most attacks deal Blunt or Lethal damage, depending on the weapon type. (this is somewhat similar to WoD.) Running out of Blunt HP means attacks dealing Blunt are rolled over into Lethal, and you risk going unconscious. Likewise, running out of Lethal means all damage taken is dealth to your Vital HP, and you are in critical condition.

    Two aspects are aided by class progression. Your Tough score (similar to a Fortitude save, getting bonuses from Endurance) is used as inherent damage reduction vs all non-energy attacks (everything but Cold, Fire, and Electricity damage, which deal blunt, lethal, and vital damage respectively), reducing the damage by one type, vital reduced to lethal, lethal reduced to blunt, and blunt ignored.

    You also get extra health dice from class levels. Your base health points don't change, unless your Endurance score improves, but health dice act akin to 4e healing surges, allowing you to work through the pain and injury and recover some of your health points. There's a 'second wind' basic action which lets you catch your breath at any time, rolling a HD+end and healing your least type of damage. The actual injury isn't gone, but you've worked through the pain enough that it doesn't matter any more. (Sorta Die Hard.)

    The one exception to this are Injuries, which are status concepts. A Concept is a mechanic which allows another character (or the GM) to inflict a penalty on you and your actions by expending some plot points (the system's XP), which you can work to avert by expending your own plot points. Injuries are things like 'Twisted Ankle' or 'Broken Arm', and can be invoked to cause a character to take a penalty to what they're doing (in my system, that uses 3d6, you lose a d6 on an affected roll attempt). Injuries can be inflicted with certain maneuvers, spells, or as the result of major success or failure on dice rolls. The offside benefit is, though, that when you have an injury inflicted on you, you get extra plot points for it, since you had to struggle through the challenge.

    It's more of a narrative-driven system, but I like to think it's got enough simulationist complexity to satisfy most.

  9. - Top - End - #39
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    Devil

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    Default Re: Looking for ideas for alternate (more realistic) damage mechanics

    Quote Originally Posted by Yitzi View Post
    I was already planning to add the amount you're over as precision damage, and you only get a chance of insta-kills if your precision damage exceeds a certain amount.

    Making almost-dodged strikes be low-damage even with powerful weapons makes sense as well, but I'm not sure how to implement that. Any ideas (seeing as I don't want to use dice pools)?
    Perhaps have damage dice be determined by amount you beat their defense by. For example, meet it exactly and it's 1 damage, beat it by 1 and it's 1d2, etc. You can "upgrade" or "downgrade" that for certain types of weapons by using the weapon-size tables.



    I'd say there will be some scaling and some not, and some scale in unusual ways. For instance, Feint scales with the difference between your bluff check (or combat skill check with the right ability) and your opponent's sense motive check or combat skill check (whichever is higher). Sneak attacks double precision damage, but are nearly impossible to pull off against an opponent with any dodge or dexterity bonuses to defense.
    The problem isn't scaling, the problem is scaling at uneven rates. Imagine you've got a dumb fighter type who isn't sinking ranks into sense motive versus a bard that's ALL about bluff. At level 1, the bard has... um, let's go with +6 to bluff, which is probably on the low side... and the fighter has +0 sense motive. If I'm doing my math right, the bard has an 81.5% chance of success, and will succeed, on average, by 6 points.

    Fastforward to level 20. The fighter STILL hasn't sunk any ranks into sense motive. The bard, due to ability increases, magic items, and more ranks, now has a +25 to bluff (again on the low side). The Bard's success rate is now 100%, and will succeed, on average, by 25. Because the fighter's (already weak) defense hasn't scaled at the same rate as the bard's offense, the Bard now has a sure-fire win tool. And if you say, "oh, it's just feinting, that doesn't guarantee a win", you don't know what a bard can do with good RP. (For example, the bard can convince the fighter that his party members and the bard's party have actually switched forms due to illusions, and the fighter's attacking the wrong people.) It's fine if the lvl 20 fighter has +19 to sense motive rolls vs the lvl 20 bard's +25 bluff. The Bard still has the same degree of advantage as at 1st level and can expect the same high rate of success. The problem is when the expected value between two different builds change as both level. Keep that sucker at +6 forever, unless one or the other pulls ahead in level.

    Similar problems exist in 3.x for BAB vs AC, bad vs good saves, damage vs HP, et cetera. Up to about 5th level, everything's fairly neatly balanced and it takes a few good wallops to kill something. But by 20th level, if you're the first to apply your opponent's kryptonite, you pretty much win. Fighters get will-or-suck-until-they-die, wizards get ambushed-and-die, etc.


    Now that I don't want, as it makes it too dangerous at high levels. Even a glancing blow from a demon lord is going to be more than a first-level character could take without being knocked out. Perhaps more importantly, while it might work for a low-healing game, a game that has healing on par with D&D (or even more; I feel healers in 3.5 aren't getting enough benefit) is going to mean that if the healers increase in power things will be pretty much impossible to balance, as you said, and having them not increase means they don't get to feel they're improving.

    Firstly, I don't even want expected value of damage to be fixed for a given level; some builds are more defensive than others, and some find their strengths in noncombat or nondamaging abilities. Also, having increasing HP means of course it will increase with level.
    Fixed HP does, indeed, only work if the expected damage taken vs a level's corresponding CR is also fixed. That demon could expect to smack a 1st level char around for, say, 50 HP every round. (Meaning 50 HP exactly once.) By the time the character's level is the same as the demon's CR, though, their defenses should reduce that to, say, 2 HP/round or whatever you settle on. Otherwise, yeah, fixed HP doesn't make much sense.

    However, I should emphasize that I meant that it's only fixed for certain builds vs other builds. I agree that a not-good-at-attack build versus a heavy-defense build should have a much lower expected damage rate than massive-offense vs wimpy-defense. What I'm saying is that FOR ANY PARTICULAR MATCH-UP, it should be the same rate at level 20 as at level 1.

    You could probably try for proportionate scaling, ie, all parties expect their HP to increase by roughly the same proportion as expected damage scales. But there are all sorts of curlicues that tie into that, and my sense is that the maths are easier just to keep HP and expected damage fixed.

    Your call, of course.


    I'll be aiming for SD/expected to be what stays fixed, but still a very good idea.
    Yeah, that's what you want if expected is variable.


    Unless the greater cost is one that they are more easily able to pay as they level (which runs into the same problems as if it improves outright), that's going to make level advancement not very much fun for the healers.
    ... since when has being the walking medkit been fun? The fun part is laying down buffs or debuffs or going Godzilla. And I did mean greater cost, easier to pay as they level. But if (if!) you have fixed HP and fixed expected damage, then scaling healing represents a HUGE relative increase in the healer's power. Think about it.

    Level 1: Fighter gets smacked by 4 foes for 5/9HP. Healer heals 2 HP.
    Level 20: Fighter gets smacked by 4 foes for 5/9 HP. Healer heals 21 HP.

    HUGE change in the healer's power level!

    If you do scale HP and expected damage, scale healing at a similar rate... and then scratch your head over why, exactly, the fighter regains LESS health (proportionately) from a 1st level healer as the fighter levels. (In other words, why does getting more awesome make you harder to heal?) This is one of the curlicues that I mentioned, and about the only good solution is 4e's healing surge mechanic, in which case the healing ability is "target gets a healing surge", and it's scaling with the target's level, not the healer's. I'd say let the healing abilities scale by adding extras, like being able to cast it as a ranged or quickened spell, being able to couple it with buffs or debuff-removers, etc.
    I'm not an evil GM! Honest!

  10. - Top - End - #40
    Ogre in the Playground
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    Default Re: Looking for ideas for alternate (more realistic) damage mechanics

    Quote Originally Posted by RedWarlock View Post
    You have your Endurance score in Vital, Lethal, and Blunt health points, which represent general bruising, minor cuts and fleshwounds, and more critical hits, primarily with respect to the pain these injuries cause you. Most attacks deal Blunt or Lethal damage, depending on the weapon type. (this is somewhat similar to WoD.) Running out of Blunt HP means attacks dealing Blunt are rolled over into Lethal, and you risk going unconscious. Likewise, running out of Lethal means all damage taken is dealth to your Vital HP, and you are in critical condition.

    Two aspects are aided by class progression. Your Tough score (similar to a Fortitude save, getting bonuses from Endurance) is used as inherent damage reduction vs all non-energy attacks (everything but Cold, Fire, and Electricity damage, which deal blunt, lethal, and vital damage respectively), reducing the damage by one type, vital reduced to lethal, lethal reduced to blunt, and blunt ignored.

    You also get extra health dice from class levels. Your base health points don't change, unless your Endurance score improves, but health dice act akin to 4e healing surges, allowing you to work through the pain and injury and recover some of your health points. There's a 'second wind' basic action which lets you catch your breath at any time, rolling a HD+end and healing your least type of damage. The actual injury isn't gone, but you've worked through the pain enough that it doesn't matter any more. (Sorta Die Hard.)

    The one exception to this are Injuries, which are status concepts. A Concept is a mechanic which allows another character (or the GM) to inflict a penalty on you and your actions by expending some plot points (the system's XP), which you can work to avert by expending your own plot points. Injuries are things like 'Twisted Ankle' or 'Broken Arm', and can be invoked to cause a character to take a penalty to what they're doing (in my system, that uses 3d6, you lose a d6 on an affected roll attempt). Injuries can be inflicted with certain maneuvers, spells, or as the result of major success or failure on dice rolls. The offside benefit is, though, that when you have an injury inflicted on you, you get extra plot points for it, since you had to struggle through the challenge.

    It's more of a narrative-driven system, but I like to think it's got enough simulationist complexity to satisfy most.
    It's also got a lot of complexity, and I don't see any advantage over what I've got so far.

    Quote Originally Posted by Reltzik View Post
    Perhaps have damage dice be determined by amount you beat their defense by. For example, meet it exactly and it's 1 damage, beat it by 1 and it's 1d2, etc. You can "upgrade" or "downgrade" that for certain types of weapons by using the weapon-size tables.
    The problem with that is that then the strength bonus is unaffected. Although perhaps making the weapon damage decrease (-1 size for each point you're under, down to -5 being a miss, seems good), and a flat -50% to strength damage for a glancing blow.

    The problem isn't scaling, the problem is scaling at uneven rates. Imagine you've got a dumb fighter type who isn't sinking ranks into sense motive versus a bard that's ALL about bluff.
    That's why you get to use your BAB instead of Sense.
    (Also, I'm planning to ditch bard; the ideal feinter would be a particular type of fighter, although a more general bluffer would be better as a rogue.)

    If I'm doing my math right, the bard has an 81.5% chance of success
    Easy formula: The chance of the underdog by x points winning an opposed d20 roll is (20-x)(19-x)/800.

    I'll probably be using a 3d6 system, though.

    and will succeed, on average, by 6 points.
    A bit more, as negative values don't count (well, unless you lose by 10 or more, then your target gets a boost to defense.)

    Because the fighter's (already weak) defense hasn't scaled at the same rate as the bard's offense, the Bard now has a sure-fire win tool.
    Hence the ability to use BAB instead.

    And if you say, "oh, it's just feinting, that doesn't guarantee a win"
    Actually, a sneak-attack-feint by that much at that level probably would nearly guarantee a win with a light pick and a good STR score.

    you don't know what a bard can do with good RP.
    Actually I do, which is why Glibness will have no equivalent. Of course, a well-built bluffer rogue can still do crazy things by 20th level, which is why using Aid Another for Sense Motive allows you to add a bonus equal to the "difficult to believe" penalty (up to a maximum of your own modifier) instead of just +2; so long as the party rogue (or monk, or nobleman) can talk the fighter out of things, there'll be no problem.

    The problem is when the expected value between two different builds change as both level. Keep that sucker at +6 forever, unless one or the other pulls ahead in level.
    I'd say that it'll stay similar if both are supposed to be good at that area (bluffing or combat or whatever); otherwise one will pull ahead, but party members good at an aspect can protect the less adept party members. The exception would be saves, where defenses tend to pull ahead faster for good saves and lag very slowly for poor saves (which saves are good, and what gets what saves, are getting major overhaul; suffice it to say that dominating the fighter is not a good plan.)

    Similar problems exist in 3.x for BAB vs AC, bad vs good saves, damage vs HP, et cetera. Up to about 5th level, everything's fairly neatly balanced and it takes a few good wallops to kill something. But by 20th level, if you're the first to apply your opponent's kryptonite, you pretty much win. Fighters get will-or-suck-until-they-die, wizards get ambushed-and-die, etc.
    The way I'm planning it, it's more a question of determining the terms of the engagement; a fighter's "kryptonite" isn't something as simple as "will saves" but more like "noncombat methods", and their rogue or monk buddy can help defend against that. A rogue can be beaten pretty easily in combat...but at high levels, getting to that point is the challenge (and let's not even discuss trying to catch a ranger...) Wizards or druids will die to a few good wallops if you're a fighter and can penetrate their shields, but if they team up with a fighter or monk that's not necessarily so simple. (Monks don't really have any weaknesses, but are offensively fairly weak in every area other than some aspects of diplomacy and will tend to lose to another class in that class's area of expertise.)

    However, I should emphasize that I meant that it's only fixed for certain builds vs other builds.
    Ah, for fixed build varying over level. Yeah, that should mostly scale. I do think having slightly longer fights as you level (perhaps going roughly as the fourth root of level) would be a good idea.

    You could probably try for proportionate scaling, ie, all parties expect their HP to increase by roughly the same proportion as expected damage scales. But there are all sorts of curlicues that tie into that, and my sense is that the maths are easier just to keep HP and expected damage fixed.
    I suspect it'll be harder for fixed HP and expected damage once you add in considerations such as vastly varying builds (high-hit vs. high-damage for instance.) Plus, it's makes levelling feel more like an achievement.

    ... since when has being the walking medkit been fun?
    Perhaps it's time that changed. It's not going to be a full-time job except for dedicated healers (and that will be fun for people who enjoy casually negating anything the enemy tries to do), but should be a serious option.

    And I did mean greater cost, easier to pay as they level. But if (if!) you have fixed HP and fixed expected damage, then scaling healing represents a HUGE relative increase in the healer's power. Think about it.
    Of course it does. And that's the problem, because non-scaling healing fails from a gamist perspective. I have thought about all this, and that's motivating the restrictions.

    If you do scale HP and expected damage, scale healing at a similar rate... and then scratch your head over why, exactly, the fighter regains LESS health (proportionately) from a 1st level healer as the fighter levels.
    This was exactly the dilemma at the root of this thread: How to fluff HP so that it does make sense and still fits the simulationist approach.

    and about the only good solution is 4e's healing surge mechanic, in which case the healing ability is "target gets a healing surge", and it's scaling with the target's level, not the healer's.
    My answer was to sort-of-replace HP with stamina, which does make sense that the fighter simply has more of it, and stamina replacement does scale. Actual damage healing also scales (although it's not available except as "speed natural healing" for the first few levels), and while damage does scale, it only affects stamina which scales with it.

    I'd say let the healing abilities scale by adding extras, like being able to cast it as a ranged or quickened spell, being able to couple it with buffs or debuff-removers, etc.
    Interesting idea, but one of the standard "extras" will be coupling spells together, and two copies of the same spell can be coupled together, so you still end up with more healing.

    I'd still appreciate ideas on how to make damage standard deviation scale with expected damage, though.

  11. - Top - End - #41
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    Default Re: Looking for ideas for alternate (more realistic) damage mechanics

    .... hrrrm. If one views healing as a "defense against damage" thing the way one views having a monk in the party as "defense against attack", that might work. In particular, if you have damage have delayed application (justified by, say, adrenaline, or time it takes to bleed out, etc), a healer's power can scale by reducing more-and-more severe wounds down to expected-damage. (Not that this is the actual healing power, just that this is what maths work out to in a typical case.) In particular, if you assume a balanced party includes a healer the way you assume it contains a defend-against-bluffs character... yeah. Then healing becomes a sort of retroactive DR from armor, and you can add the two together and have the sum scale at the same rate (or slightly higher, if you want longer-lasting battles) as expected damage. The problem with this is that spells that temporarily or permanently eliminate the healer (hold person, for example) open a huge hole in the party's defenses, and you need to make this hole scale with level as well.

    Probably the easiest way (from a maths perspective) to set up rolls that fix std deviation relative to mean is to forget straight roles and go with a z-table. (Actually, you probably want a curve that's weighted towards 0 damage to account for your misses and barely-hits, so go with an exponential distribution, the math's easier for that anyway.) Using percentile dice (or 3d6, or any roll really), create a table of results for each roll based on the std deviation of the die roll and identifying that with the standard deviation of your desired probability distribution for damage. The difficult part is figuring out how to account for different odds of hitting (which affect the std deviation as well as expected damage) and mechanics like your precision damage.

    I'd also suggest, from a gamist perspective, either nixing the fort save based on precision damage rule, or getting rid of the nat-1-autofails rule for saves.
    I'm not an evil GM! Honest!

  12. - Top - End - #42
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    Default Re: Looking for ideas for alternate (more realistic) damage mechanics

    Quote Originally Posted by Reltzik View Post
    .... hrrrm. If one views healing as a "defense against damage" thing the way one views having a monk in the party as "defense against attack", that might work. In particular, if you have damage have delayed application (justified by, say, adrenaline, or time it takes to bleed out, etc)
    Yes, that is what I planned for largely this reason.

    a healer's power can scale by reducing more-and-more severe wounds down to expected-damage.
    It'll be a mix of reducing more and more serious wounds, and undoing the damage done until then. But I'm not planning to have the difference be fixed, as that would still not work with increasing HP-equivalent.

    In particular, if you assume a balanced party includes a healer the way you assume it contains a defend-against-bluffs character... yeah.
    Yeah, it pretty much will have to have a healer; the best healer by far is cleric, with paladins and druids also having substantially weaker healing ability, and high-level monks will probably get a bit of healing ability too. Clerics will also be a very versatile class in a sense (essentially tier-2 levels of versatility; no particular cleric can do everything, but pretty much any role can be filled to some extent by the right sort of cleric, usually a cleric of a deity related to that role.)

    The problem with this is that spells that temporarily or permanently eliminate the healer (hold person, for example) open a huge hole in the party's defenses, and you need to make this hole scale with level as well.
    Actually, it'll get harder and harder to take out the healer as levels progress; even the druid and cleric (the two healer classes with the least defense against something like hold person) will be having their relevant saves grow faster than spell DC. Well, unless you can use charms or illusions against a druid or paladin, but they're tough to use in combat.

    Probably the easiest way (from a maths perspective) to set up rolls that fix std deviation relative to mean is to forget straight roles and go with a z-table. (Actually, you probably want a curve that's weighted towards 0 damage to account for your misses and barely-hits, so go with an exponential distribution, the math's easier for that anyway.) Using percentile dice (or 3d6, or any roll really), create a table of results for each roll based on the std deviation of the die roll and identifying that with the standard deviation of your desired probability distribution for damage. The difficult part is figuring out how to account for different odds of hitting (which affect the std deviation as well as expected damage) and mechanics like your precision damage.
    Yeah, but table lookups make for annoying play, I don't want to go that approach.

    I'd also suggest, from a gamist perspective, either nixing the fort save based on precision damage rule, or getting rid of the nat-1-autofails rule for saves.
    Firstly, it's not as big a problem as you'd think, as in order to get a crit even with something like a falchion you need to beat the opponent's AC by at least 7 (or 4 with a sneak attack, but most of the time that's not any easier), and that's moderately difficult if he's defending himself and nearly impossible if he's quite a bit higher in level than you, so it shouldn't cause the sort of problem I think you're thinking of.

    That said, I am planning to replace the nat-1-autofails rule; instead, because I'm using a 3d6 system, 2 1's mean you roll an exploding 6 and subtract it, and 3 1s mean you roll again and subtract 18. So there is the possibility of getting arbitrarily low, but it's extremely unlikely that you'll end up with a result lower than your modifier (and the lower it has to be, the more unlikely it is.)

  13. - Top - End - #43
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    Quote Originally Posted by Yitzi View Post
    I'll probably be using a 3d6 system, though.
    That may be a poor choice. Each +1 has a hugely variable effect. At the middle of the curve a +1 is worth 12.5%, at the extremes it is worth as little as +1.5% (ignoring 3 and 18 as automatics). That means a +2 is equivalent to a D&D +5 in the middle range. A +5 is equivalent to D&D +5 at the top/bottom and a huge +11.5 in the middle, far too powerful. Unless you envision a system where modifiers are kept very low the effects will be "swingy."

    If you want realistic you have to think outside the D&D box. You can't change the way hit points work and expect it to fit in the rest of the D&D combat mechanics. D20 can't even dream about being slightly realistic. That includes about 99% of combat feats. No apologies for using the word "realistic" instead of the politically correct gamer word "simulationist."

    Damage should have two classifications: Abstract (d20-like) hit points are bumps, scrapes, and singes. Physical damage points are lacerations, crushing bruises or fractures, etc.

    ***** Weapons normally do physical damage unless something (armor or other defense) modifies it into abstract hit point damage.

    ***** There are no vitality points or fixed reserve of physical damage. Physical damage accrues without limit (with increasing effects, see below).

    ***** Armor has no direct effect on attack roll. Armor has a base damage reduction of 1 to 4 (soft armor, flexible armor, semirigid armor, rigid armor), and has a base damage modification (turning physical damage into abstract hit points) double that value. Note that armor is normally worn over an arming coat or gambeson, compounding soft and hard protection.

    ***** Critical hits allow a number of points of damage to bypass damage modification to become physical damage, but not damage reduction. No other damage multiplication or bonus for crits.

    ***** Attacks include hit location. Armor coverage is tracked to the detail of hit location table used. A d20 table should be the minimum. There would be a very big difference between two armor types rated at the same AC in d20.

    ***** Encumbrance (including any defensive penalty) and movement rate for armor is based on weight, with a small bonus for good distribution (as opposed to mail where almost all the weight falls on the shoulders).

    ***** Shields are not armor, they are mobile cover. This system would require an Active Defense model for attack resolution. There are many possibilities.

    ***** Physical damage is subtracted from associated ability score when using the body part in question. Physical damage is tracked by broad location: head, torso, right arm, left arm, right leg, left leg.

    • For attacking, the arm wielding the weapon uses the modified Str.
    • For encumbrance, overbearing, and so on, damage to legs is deducted from Str.
    • For lifting, damage to arms, legs and torso might apply depending on lifting method.
    • For defense (which is not AC as used in d20) deduct damage to legs from Dex.
    • Torso damage applies to Con, but can also cause spellcasting failure chance as pain or shortness of breath interrupts casting. (Starting Con bonus is counted as +0, diminishing bonus becomes penalty.)
    • Blunt trauma to head mitigated by suitable protection (blows to helmet or mage armor that don't physically penetrate) is spread among all three mental stats, evenly with leftovers (which would include the first 1-2 pts) randomly assigned.
    • Damage to head without protection is applied to all three stats equally!!!

    Reducing an effective ability score to zero has no incapacitation effect other than perhaps making an attempted use futile due to high penalty. It is damage that has to be healed. At ability score of 0 the modifier is 5. Reducing below zero adds the negative number to 5 (essentially doubling the rate of penalization to the associated action).

    ***** Abstract (d20) hit point damage is not tracked by hit location. Physical damage counts against hit points, too. When hit points go below 1 creature must make Fort save against incapacitation, and each time damage is taken thereafter. Negative hit points have no other inherent meaning.

    Incapacitation is based on types and locations of damage: immobilization and unconsciousness would be common. In cases where only abstract damage has been suffered, immobilization of a body part can result from stunned nerves, and unconsciousness from a knock to the head that isn't severe enough to result in ability score damage.

    ***** Death occurs when a coup de grace is administered to an incapacitated creature. Critical hits to unprotected parts of the head and center of mass may be assigned to mortal wounds.

    ***** Bonuses to damage from ability score, magical enhancement, etc are added to the die size. Any method of resolving nonstandard die sizes that do not alter the average nor significantly alter the distribution are acceptable.

    For example, if your d8 sword has +5 by Str and magical enhancement, it would be acceptable to roll a d12 and add +0/+1 depending on a high/low die, or roll a d8 and add +0/+5 depending on high/low die. You could also roll a d16 and subtract 3 for any result over 8.

    Note: do not use the attack roll for high/low, since it is biased by the "to hit" value needed and critical hit criteria.

  14. - Top - End - #44
    Orc in the Playground
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    Sorry, double post.

    Note that such a system will encourage spellcasters to wear armor and put up with failure chance. Failure chance should be lessened somewhat to compensate, and applied (perhaps diminished a bit more) to non-arcane casters.

    I would combine this with an alternate magic system that uses spellcasting skill roll and many other mods anyway.
    Last edited by Straybow; 2012-03-08 at 03:41 PM.

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