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An Overly Complex Damage System (maybe)

amechra

Registered User
Validated User
Alright, since this isn't really attached to any sort of existing RPG, and is mostly for people to steal from if they see anything they particularly like, numbers are going to be a bit vague.

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YOUR HEALTH AND YOU
A given character has a hit-point pool which contains some number of hit-points. Whenever you are told to "lose" some number of hit-points, you remove that many from your pool - if you can't, reduce the maximum size of your hit-point pool by whatever's left. If your hit-point pool is reduced to 0, you're dead.

E.G. - You have a hit-point pool that can hold 10 hit-points, and currently have 3 hit-points. If you lose 5 hit-points, you'll be have 0 hit-points and your hit-point pool will only be able to hold 8 hit-points until you heal up later.


DOING STUFF
Whenever you do something physical, roll a d20 + your current hit-points, and try to roll a 20 or higher. If you do, great! If you fail, you can choose to take 1 SHOCK as well as PAIN equal to the difference to succeed instead, bypassing armor (see below for more on SHOCK and PAIN).

Reasoning - This exists solely for there to be a simple death spiral for the rules to sit on top of.

THAT RUSH OF ADRENALINE
Getting into a stressful situation trips off a nice surge of hormones that help you not get deaded. The first time in a scene that you are put into a life or death situation, you enter an ADRENALINE HIGH. This modifies how you take damage - however, you can only stay up there for a little bit. As soon as things calm back down, you're going to be hit like a brick.

HOW PEOPLE GET HURT

There are three types of damage - different things inflict them differently.

HARM - Whenever something tells you take some amount of HARM, you lose that many hit-points. Harm is bad stuff, and you don't want it in your life.

SHOCK - If you aren't currently on an ADRENALINE HIGH, treat any amount of SHOCK as if it were HARM. If your adrenaline is pumping, however, and you take SHOCK, just keep track of how much you were asked to take - you don't actually take it until your adrenaline runs out.

PAIN - Whenever you take PAIN, just jot it down on your sheet. If you aren't benefiting from an ADRENALINE HIGH and your total amount of PAIN is equal to or greater than your hit-points, you pass out. Yes, this does mean that you pass out when you hit 0 hit-points.

RECOVERING FROM BEING STABBED IN THE FACE
The easiest thing to recover from is PAIN - it clears out with a quick nap and a bite to eat. If you get a full night of sleep, take PAIN equal to the number of hit-points you lost the previous day (bypassing armor) and refill your hit-point pool. If you managed to get that full night of sleep somewhere safe and peaceful (a nice inn, a hospital, etc), you also increase your hit-point pool by 1 - this is permanent if your hit-point pool is smaller than it should be (due to losing hit-points).

E.G. - You have taken some beatings - you have 3 PAIN, 5 remaining hit-points, and a hit-point pool of 7 (it should have a maximum size of 10). You got to bed in a lovely little inn - this clears out your lingering PAIN, then you take 2 PAIN from your lost hit-points, increase your hit-point pool to 8, and are restored back to 8 hit-points.

THE ART OF WEARING ARMOR

Armor has hit-points, just like you - whenever you take damage of any type, you can choose to have some or all of it to be dealt to your armor unless it explicitly says that you can't. Additionally, different kinds of armor have an armor-value, based off of their weight. Whenever someone tries to hit you in a fight, they have to roll higher than your armor's armor-value + it's current hit-points, instead of just 20. Armor does not recover lost hit-points on its own.

Armor is also pretty bulky - whenever you take a physical action that would be impeded by weight, the maximum value your d20 can roll is equal to your armor's armor-value.

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Thoughts? Questions? Insults (I'd prefer that you didn't)?
 

Pladoh's Ghost

Registered User
Validated User
That looks really interesting except for the "Doing Stuff" death spiral. If a character does anything physical--say, hiking from town to the ruined hill fort an hour away--she takes shock/pain and starts a death spiral? Um...whut?
 
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LuciusAlexander

PalindromedaryRider
Validated User
Armor is also pretty bulky - whenever you take a physical action that would be impeded by weight, the maximum value your d20 can roll is equal to your armor's armor-value.
So, the lighter armor is more restrictive and the heavier armor is less restrictive?

That seems...counter intuitive.

Lucius Alexander

The palindromedary thinks you must not have meant that the way it came out
 

The Benj

Registered User
Validated User
It does seem like it might be a little complicated, but not obscenely so.

What kind of scale are you thinking of here? That death spiral of a lot more daunting if I start with 10 HP than if I start with 30.
 

amechra

Registered User
Validated User
@Phadoh's Ghost
You only take that damage if your d20+HP rolls 19 or under, in which case you can take damage to succeed anyway.

So, the lighter armor is more restrictive and the heavier armor is less restrictive?

That seems...counter intuitive.

Lucius Alexander

The palindromedary thinks you must not have meant that the way it came out
Ah, I see where the confusion is coming from.

The idea is that lighter armor has a higher armor value and less HP - leather armor might have an AV of 18 and 5 HP, while heavy plate might have an AV of 12 and 15 HP (to pull numbers out of my ass.) It looks kinda backwards, I'll admit, but it feels like the right way to go about it.

EDIT

It does seem like it might be a little complicated, but not obscenely so.

What kind of scale are you thinking of here? That death spiral of a lot more daunting if I start with 10 HP than if I start with 30.
I'm going to say 10-ish as a base, with more physically formidable people having 15 or so.

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Honestly, the DOING STUFF portion was kind of pulled out of my ass. I just needed a system with some kind of wound penalties, since otherwise there'd be no real distinction between SHOCK and HARM. My original idea for this was kind of bolted on top of D&D (SHOCK/HARM vs. PAIN is based off of how nonlethal damage works in D&D 3e), and it just plain missed something.

I will admit, though - the idea of using your HP as a modifier for stressful physical actions directly is growing on me.
 
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Brie-Beau

Brie/Beau - they/he
Validated User
Can I ask what the benefit of the death spiral is? (Not aiming for snark, asking genuinely!)
 

amechra

Registered User
Validated User
Can I ask what the benefit of the death spiral is? (Not aiming for snark, asking genuinely!)
It's mostly there as a way of distinguishing between Harm and Shock. Without it, Shock mostly becomes "you'll die at the end of the fight instead of during it".
 

Insertname

Registered User
Validated User
DOING STUFF
Whenever you do something physical, roll a d20 + your current hit-points, and try to roll a 20 or higher. If you do, great! If you fail, you can choose to take 1 SHOCK as well as PAIN equal to the difference to succeed instead, bypassing armor (see below for more on SHOCK and PAIN).
I like the idea of this, as it addresses ongoing difficulties and problems with being hurt in a way most games ignore.

There are two problems:

1) If the base HP is 10, then you gain Shock and Pain 25% of the time someone with the full base HP does something they gain shock and pain. Maybe this is intentional, to represent strains and bruises of a healthy person, but it seems a bit high at best.

2) You have to make 2 rolls for every physical action (1 to check for the death spiral, 1 to do the thing). While it's hard to define rules when we're not talking about a specific system per se, I think a better way of handling this is instead of rolling the d20+hit points you just roll normally, but then compare the result to your Harm.

In a game where you roll and add a skill/stat/whatever this can be as simple as, "if your roll is lower than your Harm" you gain the appropriate shock and pain. This does mean that the chances of getting Shock and Pain don't go down with more HP, but do go down with more skill/stats/whatever to add to the roll (which, to me at least, makes sense. Just because you can get stabbed more without dying doesn't mean you're more resistant to other aspects, but being highly trained at a task means you know how to do it in ways that minimize pain and shock)

Translating this to other rolling systems is a little more annoying.
 

amechra

Registered User
Validated User
I like the idea of this, as it addresses ongoing difficulties and problems with being hurt in a way most games ignore.

There are two problems:

1) If the base HP is 10, then you gain Shock and Pain 25% of the time someone with the full base HP does something they gain shock and pain. Maybe this is intentional, to represent strains and bruises of a healthy person, but it seems a bit high at best.

2) You have to make 2 rolls for every physical action (1 to check for the death spiral, 1 to do the thing). While it's hard to define rules when we're not talking about a specific system per se, I think a better way of handling this is instead of rolling the d20+hit points you just roll normally, but then compare the result to your Harm.

In a game where you roll and add a skill/stat/whatever this can be as simple as, "if your roll is lower than your Harm" you gain the appropriate shock and pain. This does mean that the chances of getting Shock and Pain don't go down with more HP, but do go down with more skill/stats/whatever to add to the roll (which, to me at least, makes sense. Just because you can get stabbed more without dying doesn't mean you're more resistant to other aspects, but being highly trained at a task means you know how to do it in ways that minimize pain and shock)

Translating this to other rolling systems is a little more annoying.
I'm afraid that that's not what I meant at all - "d20+HP, hurt yourself to turn a failure into a success" is the "pretend" resolution system that this is layered on. I needed something quick and throwaway.

That being said, I do like your "try to roll over your current Harm" idea - I could even see particularly dangerous or difficult tasks giving you temporary Harm to increase your chances of having to take Shock/Pain to succeed.
 
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