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Vitruviansquid
2016-03-13, 08:43 PM
So I thought of this in response to meditations on hp systems, and how they can make combat in an RPG boring (DnD 4e is fairly guilty of everything feeling like great big bags of hp) and feel unrealistic (People keep getting hit, but they're not weakened until they're dead). This system is also a response to how a wide variety of RPG's have combat maneuvers that can make combat feel comically repetitive (for example, you build a character that is efficient at tripping monsters, and you keep tripping monsters who somehow never figure out to defend their legs, not to mention if those monsters are oozes).

So my idea is as follows:

Every character in an RPG has a table for damage effects. Whenever she gets hit, she rolls on the table to see what happens.

It looks somewhat like this, if you have a very simple d6 table for a humanoid character:



1: Head wound - unable to cast spells or speak, take normal damage
2: Vitals hit - take double damage
3: Arm hit - unable to make attacks next turn, take normal damage
4: Leg hit - unable to move next turn or make opportunity attacks, take normal damage
5: Flesh wound - take normal damage
6: Flesh wound - take normal damage


A PC for a game might have a very granular table using a d12 or d20 whereas an NPC could have an easier, more wieldy one, like a d4 or d6 based table. For weirdly shaped characters, like a giant squid, you could have entries on the damage table reflect the character's body shape (giant squid would have maybe 5 entries on the table for being hit in a tentacle, and 1 for being hit on the body)

This puts some drama into a fight, where something can randomly go seriously wrong that your players will have to adjust against (or something can go seriously right, and the players can attempt to capitalize). For example, the PC party might be fighting in a dangerous environment that requires constant movement, and then one player gets a leg hit at an inopportune time, or the PC party has a certain spell combo they want to use, but one of the casters takes a Head wound before they can get off the full combo.

There are also many ways you can play with the damage table. Characters can wear different degrees of armor that alleviate damage in certain body parts depending on coverage while the amount of damage alleviated is dependent on the thickness of the armor (you might wear a full leather suit or only a metal cuirass). A shield or a defensive stance could literally work by modifying an area on the character's damage table, so a character could his his buckler to his arm (or wherever) in order to prevent any nasty arm hits (or wherever). Different weapon types could interact with the damage table in different ways: a dagger might allow the wielder to add or subtract one for whatever the victim rolls, reflecting higher precision, whereas a battleaxe could cause the victim to roll twice when hit, reflecting a larger and nastier weapon.

Any thoughts? I don't know if this system would work if incorporated into a pre-existing RPG, or if it could be part of a wholly new RPG.

goto124
2016-03-13, 09:13 PM
So erm... Wounds? Death spiral?

Keltest
2016-03-13, 09:28 PM
So erm... Wounds? Death spiral?

Basically this. It makes initiative the most important thing you can have, because losing it potentially means you don't get any actions at all, or you die before you can do anything significant.

JoeJ
2016-03-13, 09:32 PM
This system is also a response to how a wide variety of RPG's have combat maneuvers that can make combat feel comically repetitive (for example, you build a character that is efficient at tripping monsters, and you keep tripping monsters who somehow never figure out to defend their legs, not to mention if those monsters are oozes).

Does "wide variety" here mean versions of D&D 3e?

Vitruviansquid
2016-03-13, 09:39 PM
Basically this. It makes initiative the most important thing you can have, because losing it potentially means you don't get any actions at all, or you die before you can do anything significant.

The above is an example of the principle I am trying to show you, where random negative effects could happen to you upon being hit. You could make the effects to be more or less severe depending on the context of your game.

Vitruviansquid
2016-03-13, 09:42 PM
Does "wide variety" here mean versions of D&D 3e?

No. That is an example pulled from DnD 3e to illustrate the silliness present in "combat maneuver" or "called shot" mechanics from a wide variety of RPGs. I was also thinking of Savage Worlds, where "called shots" rules gave the silly effect that there could be an entire battle with nobody ever getting hit in the arm unless someone specifically declared attempting to hit an enemy in the arm.

Keltest
2016-03-13, 09:51 PM
The above is an example of the principle I am trying to show you, where random negative effects could happen to you upon being hit. You could make the effects to be more or less severe depending on the context of your game.

Hit points are an abstraction. A fighter taking hundreds of HP in damage isn't (usually) actually getting stabbed 30 times, theyre dodging, taking glancing blows, and having their endurance worn down.

JoeJ
2016-03-13, 10:02 PM
You might want to look at how 3e Mutants & Masterminds does it. No hit points, just status effects if you fail your toughness check against the damage.

Vitruviansquid
2016-03-13, 10:02 PM
Hit points are an abstraction. A fighter taking hundreds of HP in damage isn't (usually) actually getting stabbed 30 times, theyre dodging, taking glancing blows, and having their endurance worn down.

This is undesirable in games that seek to be more gritty than DnD.

Donnadogsoth
2016-03-13, 10:08 PM
So I thought of this in response to meditations on hp systems, and how they can make combat in an RPG boring (DnD 4e is fairly guilty of everything feeling like great big bags of hp) and feel unrealistic (People keep getting hit, but they're not weakened until they're dead)...

To my limited knowledge of human response to injury, people don't get "weakened" from being cut or stabbed with swords unless they've sustained a mortal injury. To anything less they might cry "ouch" and go into a flight or submissive posture, or even faint, but they don't "weaken", especially not if they've got any amount of adrenaline and other natural stimulants in their bloodstream. For the hardened combatant, flesh wounds might not even be noticed and can be applied multiply with no effect (other than perhaps scalp blood getting into the eyes); crippling injuries take effect immediately (drop sword, fall down); and mortal injuries have a temporal countdown until unconsciousness. It's in this last one might find the combatant gets drowsy and ineffective.

Vitruviansquid
2016-03-13, 10:11 PM
To my limited knowledge of human response to injury, people don't get "weakened" from being cut or stabbed with swords unless they've sustained a mortal injury. To anything less they might cry "ouch" and go into a flight or submissive posture, or even faint, but they don't "weaken", especially not if they've got any amount of adrenaline and other natural stimulants in their bloodstream. For the hardened combatant, flesh wounds might not even be noticed and can be applied multiply with no effect (other than perhaps scalp blood getting into the eyes); crippling injuries take effect immediately (drop sword, fall down); and mortal injuries have a temporal countdown until unconsciousness. It's in this last one might find the combatant gets drowsy and ineffective.

Yes, this is why the damage table combines with HP so there are some effects (actually called "flesh wound" in the example) that don't really have an associated status effect.

The other entries on the damage table are meant in the first place to be representative of the "crippling injuries take effect immediately" bit.

Incanur
2016-03-13, 10:51 PM
To my limited knowledge of human response to injury, people don't get "weakened" from being cut or stabbed with swords unless they've sustained a mortal injury. To anything less they might cry "ouch" and go into a flight or submissive posture, or even faint, but they don't "weaken", especially not if they've got any amount of adrenaline and other natural stimulants in their bloodstream. For the hardened combatant, flesh wounds might not even be noticed and can be applied multiply with no effect (other than perhaps scalp blood getting into the eyes); crippling injuries take effect immediately (drop sword, fall down); and mortal injuries have a temporal countdown until unconsciousness. It's in this last one might find the combatant gets drowsy and ineffective.

Certain wounds can cause what you might call weakness or disadvantage. For example, some cuts and thrusts to the limbs can weaken the limb without completely disabling it. Cuts and, to lesser extent, thrusts to the face/head can impair brain function but not not cause total incapacitation. For gaming purposes, I think it's reasonable to have some attacks to the limbs and head involve a penalty to attack and defense. Accumulated blood loss can also eventually weaken a person.

I'm glad you understand that cuts and thrusts to the body typically don't do anything to hinder a dedicated combatant. (An exception to this could be if bone gets damaged.) One of the various things that annoys me about The Riddle of Steel is how most every injury comes along with a stiff penalty. That's not it works. Some wounds hinder; some wounds don't. Thrusts to the body almost never do.

lacco36
2016-03-14, 03:46 AM
So I thought of this in response to meditations on hp systems, and how they can make combat in an RPG boring (DnD 4e is fairly guilty of everything feeling like great big bags of hp) and feel unrealistic (People keep getting hit, but they're not weakened until they're dead). This system is also a response to how a wide variety of RPG's have combat maneuvers that can make combat feel comically repetitive (for example, you build a character that is efficient at tripping monsters, and you keep tripping monsters who somehow never figure out to defend their legs, not to mention if those monsters are oozes).

So my idea is as follows:

Every character in an RPG has a table for damage effects. Whenever she gets hit, she rolls on the table to see what happens.

It looks somewhat like this, if you have a very simple d6 table for a humanoid character:

A PC for a game might have a very granular table using a d12 or d20 whereas an NPC could have an easier, more wieldy one, like a d4 or d6 based table. For weirdly shaped characters, like a giant squid, you could have entries on the damage table reflect the character's body shape (giant squid would have maybe 5 entries on the table for being hit in a tentacle, and 1 for being hit on the body)

This puts some drama into a fight, where something can randomly go seriously wrong that your players will have to adjust against (or something can go seriously right, and the players can attempt to capitalize). For example, the PC party might be fighting in a dangerous environment that requires constant movement, and then one player gets a leg hit at an inopportune time, or the PC party has a certain spell combo they want to use, but one of the casters takes a Head wound before they can get off the full combo.

There are also many ways you can play with the damage table. Characters can wear different degrees of armor that alleviate damage in certain body parts depending on coverage while the amount of damage alleviated is dependent on the thickness of the armor (you might wear a full leather suit or only a metal cuirass). A shield or a defensive stance could literally work by modifying an area on the character's damage table, so a character could his his buckler to his arm (or wherever) in order to prevent any nasty arm hits (or wherever). Different weapon types could interact with the damage table in different ways: a dagger might allow the wielder to add or subtract one for whatever the victim rolls, reflecting higher precision, whereas a battleaxe could cause the victim to roll twice when hit, reflecting a larger and nastier weapon.

Any thoughts? I don't know if this system would work if incorporated into a pre-existing RPG, or if it could be part of a wholly new RPG.

As Incanur mentioned, Riddle of Steel has all of this - except for hit points. While the system has quite nasty learning curve, it is very detailed and still playable (combat system, not magic system - that is completely lost). You could also check its successors: Blade of the Iron Throne, Band of Bastards (in development, beta rules available); or Trauma (a pdf with rules for damage, according to the authors they tried to be as realistic as possible; it looks system independent but I haven't read it fully and no idea whether it could be adapted easily to D20).

My two suggestions to the system you use:
1. drop the "random hit on body" - when you attack someone, you are usually aiming for some body part - the standard one would be torso, but you can attack arms, legs, head, etc. Only if you want to abstract the combat more (which is the opposite you are trying to do - from my understanding) it works with "1d6, 1 = head, 6 = legs".
2. think about differentiating damage resistance/to hit penalty to specific body parts


Hit points are an abstraction. A fighter taking hundreds of HP in damage isn't (usually) actually getting stabbed 30 times, theyre dodging, taking glancing blows, and having their endurance worn down.

This is actually interesting point - what are the hit points? I have seen GMs taking the HPs as "fighter getting stabbed 30 times" and "it's just glancing blow, you dodged it but it was close, and noooow you're dead!". However, this abstraction ("not really damage, just wearing him down") takes several blows - healing spells? Cure light wounds?

It could work if you made the system with both HPs and the damage to specific body parts - the HPs mean "you dodged it but it was close", and as soon as you are out of it, you start taking real damage (crushed hands, cut off noses, etc.).


Certain wounds can cause what you might call weakness or disadvantage. For example, some cuts and thrusts to the limbs can weaken the limb without completely disabling it. Cuts and, to lesser extent, thrusts to the face/head can impair brain function but not not cause total incapacitation. For gaming purposes, I think it's reasonable to have some attacks to the limbs and head involve a penalty to attack and defense. Accumulated blood loss can also eventually weaken a person.

I'm glad you understand that cuts and thrusts to the body typically don't do anything to hinder a dedicated combatant. (An exception to this could be if bone gets damaged.) One of the various things that annoys me about The Riddle of Steel is how most every injury comes along with a stiff penalty. That's not it works. Some wounds hinder; some wounds don't. Thrusts to the body almost never do.

I must say - I don't know how it works in reality - never been on the receiving side of sharp weapon (but I got hit few times during sparring - mostly to the hands). The question really is - what is a dedicated combatant? From my point of view, in RoS it's a character with high willpower and combat pool - which means, that the pain/shock will be decreased by the willpower, and the combat pool will be large enough to not impair the character. If a player makes WP his dump stat, then it makes sense that even small scratch will make him recoil from pain.

On the other hand, I understand that they should have implemented the WP also to the shock values for thrusts to the chest since these are higher than thrusts to the head (which I think should have more of an impact...). Maybe allow WP/Battle or WIT/Battle roll to offset the shock (=experience from battles should allow the dedicated combatant to continue fighting).

But again - my combat experience is quite low (almost none) :smallsmile:.

Incanur
2016-03-14, 09:19 AM
You could also check its successors: Blade of the Iron Throne, Band of Bastards (in development, beta rules available); or Trauma (a pdf with rules for damage, according to the authors they tried to be as realistic as possible; it looks system independent but I haven't read it fully and no idea whether it could be adapted easily to D20).

Huh. I should look at these. I'm especially curious about Trauma.


1. drop the "random hit on body" - when you attack someone, you are usually aiming for some body part - the standard one would be torso, but you can attack arms, legs, head, etc. Only if you want to abstract the combat more (which is the opposite you are trying to do - from my understanding) it works with "1d6, 1 = head, 6 = legs".

This gets to another one of my problems with TRoS. In part, I just want a somewhat higher level of abstraction. Additionally, I don't think it's right that a combatant can simply aim for whatever spot they desire - not unless they're lucky or a significantly better than the opposition. Fencing techniques to hit specific parts of the body typically involve attack elsewhere first to create an opening. Joachim Meyer has a number of these if I recall correctly. In practice, combatants generally take whatever openings they can get. I find rolling a table useful for modeling this. If you're a hero of legend fighting mooks, sure, then you just say, "I cut for the head" and split skulls. In a more even contest, that should require a high roll, something along the lines of D&D critical hit. TROS does have penalties to attacking the same spot over and over, but I still find this insufficient.


This is actually interesting point - what are the hit points? I have seen GMs taking the HPs as "fighter getting stabbed 30 times" and "it's just glancing blow, you dodged it but it was close, and noooow you're dead!". However, this abstraction ("not really damage, just wearing him down") takes several blows - healing spells? Cure light wounds?

In D&D 3.x, 4, and 5 at least, hp always has physical component. Taking damage means injury, as you can see with injury poisons.


The question really is - what is a dedicated combatant? From my point of view, in RoS it's a character with high willpower and combat pool - which means, that the pain/shock will be decreased by the willpower, and the combat pool will be large enough to not impair the character. If a player makes WP his dump stat, then it makes sense that even small scratch will make him recoil from pain.

On the other hand, I understand that they should have implemented the WP also to the shock values for thrusts to the chest since these are higher than thrusts to the head (which I think should have more of an impact...). Maybe allow WP/Battle or WIT/Battle roll to offset the shock (=experience from battles should allow the dedicated combatant to continue fighting).

In TRoS, level five puncture wounds to the belly and chest have shock: all and pain: all. Hitting the heart causes "nearly instantaneous" death. I've never actually played TRoS, only examined the book, but is there any way to continue fighting after receiving a level-five wound with pain: all and shock: all? In any case, lots of thrusts to the body impart stiff penalties, nearly incapacitating anybody who's not seriously badass.

In reality (http://www.classicalfencing.com/articles/bloody.php), you can have a drunk/high person stabbed through the belly with a sword who hardly even notices for minutes or hours. Humans often continue activity for a least 10 seconds after getting stabbed in the heart. Historically you had duelists who thrust one another through the lungs with rapiers and moved on grappling, often with daggers. Sometimes folks even lived through such duels. As they say about guns, only damage to the central nervous system can quickly and reliably stop a motivated combatant. As far as I can see, TRoS models this poorly.

lacco36
2016-03-14, 02:30 PM
Huh. I should look at these. I'm especially curious about Trauma.

It's an interesting reading and also it could help the OP - it is very detailed source of information if you want to either play a healer (non-magical or low-magic) or you like detailed damage.


This gets to another one of my problems with TRoS. In part, I just want a somewhat higher level of abstraction. Additionally, I don't think it's right that a combatant can simply aim for whatever spot they desire - not unless they're lucky or a significantly better than the opposition. Fencing techniques to hit specific parts of the body typically involve attack elsewhere first to create an opening. Joachim Meyer has a number of these if I recall correctly. In practice, combatants generally take whatever openings they can get. I find rolling a table useful for modeling this. If you're a hero of legend fighting mooks, sure, then you just say, "I cut for the head" and split skulls. In a more even contest, that should require a high roll, something along the lines of D&D critical hit. TROS does have penalties to attacking the same spot over and over, but I still find this insufficient.

The thing is, in RoS you don't say "I cut for head" - you select a zone (e.g. diagonal cut similar to Meyer's Zornhauw), which covers several possible hit zones (for diagonal cut it's head, neck, chest and shoulders). While a player can take "accuracy" as gift, providing him with possibility to move the final hit zone, it's still 1 in 3 chance to hit head.

While I find these tables also insufficient sometimes (e.g. I would incorporate the arms into the diagonal cut) and was thinking about widening them several times, I did never have a complaint from my players.

But from what I saw in your profile, as HEMA practitioner (I am only enthusiastic amateur) - so I understand your point. I am talking mostly from theory.

What I don't like on most systems (especially if they model the hits with random tables) is - if I want to attack with Scheitelhauw (you mentioned Meyer - he's the only author I have read), I don't want to hit a leg. And I shouldn't.




Yes, that's how I understand it also. However, then it really means the "29 hits, all ok, 30 hits - dead". Which is...strange at least.

If anyone wants to use the HPs and damage tables, the HPs should be used as "buffer" - the scratches, near-hits, etc. After they are gone, you get hit for reals. Then this would allow the more cinematic approach (e.g. duel where nobody gets hit for long time, then one hit and he's down...).

[QUOTE=Incanur;20538516In TRoS, level five puncture wounds to the belly and chest have shock: all and pain: all. Hitting the heart causes "nearly instantaneous" death. I've never actually played TRoS, only examined the book, but is there any way to continue fighting after receiving a level-five wound with pain: all and shock: all? In any case, lots of thrusts to the body impart stiff penalties, nearly incapacitating anybody who's not seriously badass.

In reality (http://www.classicalfencing.com/articles/bloody.php), you can have a drunk/high person stabbed through the belly with a sword who hardly even notices for minutes or hours. Humans often continue activity for a least 10 seconds after getting stabbed in the heart. Historically you had duelists who thrust one another through the lungs with rapiers and moved on grappling, often with daggers. Sometimes folks even lived through such duels. As they say about guns, only damage to the central nervous system can quickly and reliably stop a motivated combatant. As far as I can see, TRoS models this poorly.

Well, I have never played TRoS, only GMed it if it helps :smallsmile:.
But to the point:
The levels determine the severity of the wound. Let's do it with chest. Level 0 means a scratch - nothing serious, no consequences. It barely punctures your armour and draws few drops of blood. You don't even notice that one in the middle of a combat. Level 1 is an equivalent of light wound - that's the hit between the ribs where nothing serious gets hit, but still you feel some pain (Shock 3 means that you lose 3 dice - if you are equally good as your opponent it may decide the combat, but if you are fighting a peasant who only knows to stab with the rapier, you should be ok). Level 3 is serious wound - lots of blood, the shock will put most people to their knees, and the pain is really terrible (Pain 10-WP means you lose on average 6 dice every round - from a pool usually between 10 and 16).

Level 5 wounds are the worst possible wounds. For illustration - the L5 wound could be best explained as a situation when two equally strong/skilled/agile/tough fighters with swords stand against each other, one lunges at full force, the other one of them gets hit while not amounting to a parry - and he hits "the heart". The "shock all pain all" means that you are unable to move - and most people would not move with rapier in their heart.

So - if you get several level 1-2 wounds, it can put you down as easily as one level 5 wound. A drunk/high person would have the "shock" or "pain" reduced due to pain tolerance, which would help offset the wound.
But a good hit will end you - especially if someone is lucky or very skilled.

To your question - level 5 wound with "pain all shock all" usually drops you to the ground where you slowly bleed out (or quickly). Other level 5 wounds usually just cost you so much dice, you will be dead in few rounds. But if you are a PC...

...you get the advantage of being the protagonist and... the "motivated combatant". TRoS models motivated combatants very well - the spiritual attributes (e.g. your drive to avenge your father, your hatred of the BBEG) help you with this. You add these to your combat pool if they are applicable - and so Indigo Montoya could get 5 hits into a chest, because his SAs would provide him with lot of dice - and after his opponent was dead, he would fall unconscious from them.
The "motivated combatant" usually receives additional dice due to the motivation - and it can add up to 25 in total (in game where good fencer has combat pool of around 16; however, I have yet to see this in game).

It all depends - if you want to play the "gritty" version without SA, it can turn into bloodshed quite quickly. However, with it - you can be lucky enough to escape the deadly blow, or you just take it because you don't care - you just want to finish him...:smallsmile:

...oh my, look what I wrote again...

TL:DR - you should check the system in work, it could surprise you pleasantly; and the Trauma book would be a necessity for OP if he wants to go down this road...

Incanur
2016-03-14, 03:14 PM
But from what I saw in your profile, as HEMA practitioner (I am only enthusiastic amateur) - so I understand your point.

I used to spar with Lance's Realistic Sparring Weapons and other padded simulators. I haven't sparred in a while, so I'm really just a scholar at this point.


What I don't like on most systems (especially if they model the hits with random tables) is - if I want to attack with Scheitelhauw (you mentioned Meyer - he's the only author I have read), I don't want to hit a leg. And I shouldn't.

That makes basic sense if you're modeling each specific attack. TRoS presents a valiant attempt in that direction. Personally, I want a bit more abstraction. The flow of even single combat (one-on-one dueling) is so complicated that sometimes targets just present themselves. Say you're attacking zone V in TRoS terms, a vertical swing at the head or shoulders. Depending on what your opponent does, even this attack could theoretically end up hitting the foot. For example, say your foe guards the head and steps forward too far. Depending on when this happens, if you're waiting until the last moment to commit as you do in Stephen Hand's interpretation of George Silver's system, then you might whip up your rear hand in order to cut into the exposed leg. Sure, you don't have to do this, you could just your sword into your foe's sword, but striking the exposed leg is occasionally the correct thing to do to win the fight. (It's dangerous because attacking the legs typically exposes your own head/shoulders.) You also might cut at zone V, get entangled in a parry, and then manage to hit your foe's leg as each of your are flying out (or as you're closing to grapple, or in a close-range back-and-forth of attacks.)

In my own system, I'm still trying to figure how to model dedicated attacks at specific areas, whether out of sheer stubbornness or because of armor, etc.


Yes, that's how I understand it also. However, then it really means the "29 hits, all ok, 30 hits - dead". Which is...strange at least.

Yeah, I hate hit points and D&D-style armor class with an all-consuming passion. With a system inspired by history/reality, receiving countless and then eventually falling makes sense. Humans can, at times, survive a few dozen wounds, depending on severity and location. It's reasonable enough for a warrior to take multiple thrusts in the body and cuts on the limbs and then only drop after a mighty blow to the head. You can try to explain hp loss this way, but it's profoundly awkward.


Level 1 is an equivalent of light wound - that's the hit between the ribs where nothing serious gets hit, but still you feel some pain (Shock 3 means that you lose 3 dice - if you are equally good as your opponent it may decide the combat, but if you are fighting a peasant who only knows to stab with the rapier, you should be ok).

Even this strikes me excessive. I don't think a poke to the body should do anything because maybe force a morale and/or willpower check.


Level 3 is serious wound - lots of blood, the shock will put most people to their knees, and the pain is really terrible (Pain 10-WP means you lose on average 6 dice every round - from a pool usually between 10 and 16).

I'm skeptical that getting skewered with a sword would actually bring most people to their knees in a situation where they're threatened with further injury. See the linked piece on dueling injuries in my earlier post: "The Dubious Quick Kill" part 1 (http://www.classicalfencing.com/articles/bloody.php) & part 2 (http://www.classicalfencing.com/articles/kill2.php). On the whole, both historical and recent evidence suggests that normal folks quite commonly remain active after serious stab wounds to the torso, including ones that prove fatal.


And again, the thrust being made through the hand, arm, or leg, or in many places of the body and face, are not deadly, neither are they maims, or loss of limbs or life, neither is he much hindered for the time in his fight, as long as the blood is hot: for example:

I have known a gentleman hurt in rapier fight, in nine or ten places through the body, arms, and legs, and yet has continued in his fight, & afterward has slain the other, and come home and has been cured of all his wounds without maim, & is yet living.

This sort of thing happened all the time in the period, and it still happens today in knife fights/assaults and so on. George Silver recommend using both cut and thrust in part because he considered the cut more likely to immediately/quickly incapacitate an opponent.

kyoryu
2016-03-14, 03:20 PM
If anyone wants to use the HPs and damage tables, the HPs should be used as "buffer" - the scratches, near-hits, etc. After they are gone, you get hit for reals. Then this would allow the more cinematic approach (e.g. duel where nobody gets hit for long time, then one hit and he's down...).

That's more or less how Fate works, except without having explicit tables and relying on the players to come up with appropriate wounds/consequences.

Donnadogsoth
2016-03-14, 04:06 PM
Certain wounds can cause what you might call weakness or disadvantage. For example, some cuts and thrusts to the limbs can weaken the limb without completely disabling it. Cuts and, to lesser extent, thrusts to the face/head can impair brain function but not not cause total incapacitation. For gaming purposes, I think it's reasonable to have some attacks to the limbs and head involve a penalty to attack and defense. Accumulated blood loss can also eventually weaken a person.

I'm glad you understand that cuts and thrusts to the body typically don't do anything to hinder a dedicated combatant. (An exception to this could be if bone gets damaged.) One of the various things that annoys me about The Riddle of Steel is how most every injury comes along with a stiff penalty. That's not it works. Some wounds hinder; some wounds don't. Thrusts to the body almost never do.

If a game is going to go so far as to model partial limb disabilities and blood loss weakening, shouldn't it also model fear? I recall the old D&D red box had rules for morale but don't remember it being tied to injuries. Most combatants, especially civilian and militia troops, are going to be very vulnerable to disorientation, shock, or simply voting with their feet whenever they're even modestly injured on a chaotic (i.e., leaderless) battlefield, or even feel threatened in general by their enemy's sheer waves of hatred. Cowards live longer.

Also, from what I know, historically, most of the carnage happened after the enemy was routed and could be attacked from behind. Not very heroic but if we're going for realism this all might be a consideration.

Incanur
2016-03-14, 04:21 PM
If a game is going to go so far as to model partial limb disabilities and blood loss weakening, shouldn't it also model fear?

This depends what you're going for. For realism, sure. Personally, I liked a detailed wound system in because wounding is so intimate and important. When you're hurt, you know exactly where the wound is and what it's doing to you.


Also, from what I know, historically, most of the carnage happened after the enemy was routed and could be attacked from behind. Not very heroic but if we're going for realism this all might be a consideration.

Note that this happened on battlefields significantly because close-combat with edged weapons was so terrifying and potentially deadly. Rout and pursuit isn't as applicable to the small-scale encounter you typically find in RPGs, though they could come up.

Donnadogsoth
2016-03-14, 05:14 PM
This depends what you're going for. For realism, sure. Personally, I liked a detailed wound system in because wounding is so intimate and important. When you're hurt, you know exactly where the wound is and what it's doing to you.

Note that this happened on battlefields significantly because close-combat with edged weapons was so terrifying and potentially deadly. Rout and pursuit isn't as applicable to the small-scale encounter you typically find in RPGs, though they could come up.

Why isn't it as applicable? Weapons are still sharp.

Incanur
2016-03-14, 05:31 PM
It depends on the details of the encounters in question, of course. Battlefields routs and pursuits were as deadly as they were significantly because of cavalry, constrained movement, and crowd dynamics. These factors won't come up if we're talking about, say, four heroes facing four villains in street fight in a Renaissance-style city. Now, maybe one of the villains and gets skewered, and the rest decide to book it. That's possible, depending on the willpower and motivation involved. The heroes could then pursue, but it'd be question a sprinting and medium distance speed, as well as of who knows the terrain best, who has friends, and so on. The villains would have plenty of potentially hiding spots. The heroes would have to be careful about getting separated and attacked by two or more villains, or by allies of the villains. The villains might get cornered, such as in a dead-end alley, and then have to either make a stand or cower. Etc. That's not quite the same as hacking up fleeing soldiers from horseback as happened in so many battles.

lacco36
2016-03-15, 03:13 AM
I used to spar with Lance's Realistic Sparring Weapons and other padded simulators. I haven't sparred in a while, so I'm really just a scholar at this point.

I did no real sparring, just few "stucke" with a friend of mine. I am really a beginner :smallsmile:

However, thinking about it, I remembered - I have been on a receiving side of a rapier once - my wife owns one, which should be blunt, but the tip is still a bit sharp (no idea why). When we were practicing a bit (just having fun with disengagements), she lunged forward, not really fast, and she hit - I wasn't really expecting it. While she just scratched me, the shock value was quite bad. My opinion is, that a combatant that is expecting to be hit/is used to some wounds will be able to ignore this most of the time, but the shock from being struck when not expecting it will be quite bad - and the worse the wound, the bigger the shock.


That makes basic sense if you're modeling each specific attack. TRoS presents a valiant attempt in that direction. Personally, I want a bit more abstraction. The flow of even single combat (one-on-one dueling) is so complicated that sometimes targets just present themselves. Say you're attacking zone V in TRoS terms, a vertical swing at the head or shoulders. Depending on what your opponent does, even this attack could theoretically end up hitting the foot. For example, say your foe guards the head and steps forward too far. Depending on when this happens, if you're waiting until the last moment to commit as you do in Stephen Hand's interpretation of George Silver's system, then you might whip up your rear hand in order to cut into the exposed leg. Sure, you don't have to do this, you could just your sword into your foe's sword, but striking the exposed leg is occasionally the correct thing to do to win the fight. (It's dangerous because attacking the legs typically exposes your own head/shoulders.) You also might cut at zone V, get entangled in a parry, and then manage to hit your foe's leg as each of your are flying out (or as you're closing to grapple, or in a close-range back-and-forth of attacks.)

I also lack sometimes the "he lunges at you, with flurry of quick but weak attacks, pushing you away" in RoS. However, it is possible to achieve this. I run a RoS combat arena here on the forum and one of the players already had something like that (I will try to find it and post link). The issue is, the system models each attack separately, but if you narrate the whole combat at once, it will come up.

And the whole exchange you proposed could be modeled in TRoS and even be tactically viable. Let's see:

Say you're attacking zone V - a vertical swing at the head or shoulders. Let's say you both have 12 dice and you use 4 of them for attack.
Your foe guards the head and steps forward too far. He is using "favouring" (protecting his head to gain advantage in dice; uses let's say 3 dice) and you know it - either you use body language skill or just know the enemy well. The "steps forward too far" = he used aggressive stance which gives him more dice for attacks, but higher cost of defensive manuevers. He uses parry for 5 dice.
If you're waiting until the last moment to commit as you do in Stephen Hand's interpretation of George Silver's system, then you might whip up your rear hand in order to cut into the exposed leg. You use feint manuever, changing the line of attack in last moment and putting more dice into the attack at cost of additional dice (e.g. you add 2 dice from your pool, you have to put away 3 dice as cost).

Basically - if he used 5 dice to parry which he gets to roll. The favouring dice he loses - you did not attack that way. He has 4 dice left for second exchange.
You on the other hand attack with 6 dice at his legs - giving you advantage. You have 3 dice left for second exchange (if you do not strike him, he will be in advantage - the "attacking the legs typically exposes your own head/shoulders" in this case.

The winding & binding is also possible, but that's a separate issue - it's really a small combat within combat.


In my own system, I'm still trying to figure how to model dedicated attacks at specific areas, whether out of sheer stubbornness or because of armor, etc.

Maybe have a random zone table with each body part, but depending on the "zone" of the attack the probabilities change? E.g. the diagonal cut has lower chance of striking leg, the unterhauw will most probably strike leg or belly, but also may (with low probability, let's say 12 on 2d6) hit the head? The cost for attacking specific area could be "to hit" penalty equal to the difference between the rolled bodypart and the targeted one (e.g. in case of the unterhauw, if he rolled 9 and wanted to attack head it would be -3?). Of course this assumes that the attacker states up front what he wants to attack and which penalty he takes...


Yeah, I hate hit points and D&D-style armor class with an all-consuming passion. With a system inspired by history/reality, receiving countless and then eventually falling makes sense. Humans can, at times, survive a few dozen wounds, depending on severity and location. It's reasonable enough for a warrior to take multiple thrusts in the body and cuts on the limbs and then only drop after a mighty blow to the head. You can try to explain hp loss this way, but it's profoundly awkward.

I don't hate it - I even like it a bit, as it provides the possibility for good narration if you use it well. If I wanted to play D&D, I would really use it as the buffer, with damage tables coming after you spend it - like in Fate. You take stress, but once the enemy wears you down, you get hit for reals.

It would also - in my opinion - enhance the narrative a bit. How does one parry the attack in D&D? Well, the enemy rolls badly enough. If the hit points were used this way, each "hit" would mean that you just parried, but you are bit shaken by the attack, your ears ring from the blow, your palms sweat and you know that 3 hits like that and you'll not be able to parry the other one...


Even this strikes me excessive. I don't think a poke to the body should do anything because maybe force a morale and/or willpower check.

Well, I also agree that it could be ignored by a strong-willed individual. The thing is, if you use the system without the SAs, each combat is just like a combat in D&D - I want to kill the monster to take it's loot. If you use the SAs, you combat the man who killed your father and want to kill him to avenge your family - and while mechanically you gain dice, narratively you are so determined that you may even ignore some of the wounds.

This way TRoS makes you think about each combat - a poke to the gut with a rapier for no reason (just because you got in a fight) is a bad thing. A poke to the gut from killer of your father is something you are willing to take - and which will not stop you because you are determined to bring him down...


I'm skeptical that getting skewered with a sword would actually bring most people to their knees in a situation where they're threatened with further injury. See the linked piece on dueling injuries in my earlier post: "The Dubious Quick Kill" part 1 (http://www.classicalfencing.com/articles/bloody.php) & part 2 (http://www.classicalfencing.com/articles/kill2.php). On the whole, both historical and recent evidence suggests that normal folks quite commonly remain active after serious stab wounds to the torso, including ones that prove fatal.

This sort of thing happened all the time in the period, and it still happens today in knife fights/assaults and so on. George Silver recommend using both cut and thrust in part because he considered the cut more likely to immediately/quickly incapacitate an opponent.

I went through the text quickly, will have to read it up - and can't really say. Never been stabbed :smallsmile:.


Why isn't it as applicable? Weapons are still sharp.

I would say - "because players". While I try to model my NPCs as people who surrender or run away, my players usually don't surrender. And while they are really good, accepting surrenders if they are offered (except for really bad enemies), letting the enemies run is something they don't usually do...

Why? I would say that PC games have "conditioned" them to do so - the encounter isn't finished until everybody is down and looted :smallbiggrin:


It depends on the details of the encounters in question, of course. Battlefields routs and pursuits were as deadly as they were significantly because of cavalry, constrained movement, and crowd dynamics. These factors won't come up if we're talking about, say, four heroes facing four villains in street fight in a Renaissance-style city. Now, maybe one of the villains and gets skewered, and the rest decide to book it. That's possible, depending on the willpower and motivation involved. The heroes could then pursue, but it'd be question a sprinting and medium distance speed, as well as of who knows the terrain best, who has friends, and so on. The villains would have plenty of potentially hiding spots. The heroes would have to be careful about getting separated and attacked by two or more villains, or by allies of the villains. The villains might get cornered, such as in a dead-end alley, and then have to either make a stand or cower. Etc. That's not quite the same as hacking up fleeing soldiers from horseback as happened in so many battles.

Yes, also - if there are four villains, one gets stabbed and the others turn away - there are still 4 PCs, who know that they can get them easily now.

They will pursue (if you don't give them really good reason why not) and they will not stop (why should they?). On the battlefield, you run and hope that the peasant right behind you will be more interesting for the enemy...

But this brought me to an idea, I will try it out on my players later. They will be approached after a combat like this, by the boss of the guys they killed, asking if they spared someone so he can buy him out... :smallbiggrin:

Incanur
2016-03-15, 08:39 AM
I like getting more info about the details of TRoS.

If I ever run it, though, I would alter the wound table at the least.

Here (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10335884) is a medical paper that examines the physical activity of twelve people who committed suicide via blade injury. Only one, one of the seven with a stab wound to the heart, experienced immediate incapacitation. Two of these seven continued activity for approximately 10 seconds, while four continued activity for 2-10 minutes.

Vitruviansquid
2016-03-15, 10:04 PM
Well... the point of this system isn't only hyperrealism, it's also about spicing up combat with random occurrences.

In this system, it's assumed that you opportunistically hit whatever part the enemy fails to defend or that combat is chaotic enough you'd commonly swing for one body part and hit another.

lacco36
2016-03-16, 02:29 AM
I like getting more info about the details of TRoS.

If I ever run it, though, I would alter the wound table at the least.

Here (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10335884) is a medical paper that examines the physical activity of twelve people who committed suicide via blade injury. Only one, one of the seven with a stab wound to the heart, experienced immediate incapacitation. Two of these seven continued activity for approximately 10 seconds, while four continued activity for 2-10 minutes.

If you ever decide to alter the wound table - I'd be glad to see the result :smallsmile:

I was already thinking about altering it myself, using the information from Trauma (realistic wounds) and Blade of the Iron Throne (they had these neat "circles" for hit locations), and decided to wait for the Song of Steel/Band of Bastards (they switched the name, currently in development).


Well... the point of this system isn't only hyperrealism, it's also about spicing up combat with random occurrences.

In this system, it's assumed that you opportunistically hit whatever part the enemy fails to defend or that combat is chaotic enough you'd commonly swing for one body part and hit another.

Well, then the RoS system does not really work - you should however definitely check Trauma.

Hyooz
2016-03-17, 04:56 PM
That's more or less how Fate works, except without having explicit tables and relying on the players to come up with appropriate wounds/consequences.

This is really one of my favorite things about Fate. Taking Consequences to mitigate Stress (the HP proxy) makes fights take on a really interesting dynamic, since those Consequences can be targeted further by your opponents. This does create a bit of a slippery slope in combat, but that helps Concessions become a real option in players' minds.