*
*
Home
Help
Login
Register
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.
June 30, 2022, 10:48:26 AM

Login with username, password and session length
Forum changes: Editing of posts has been turned off until further notice.
Search:     Advanced search
275647 Posts in 27717 Topics by 4285 Members Latest Member: - Jason DAngelo Most online today: 76 - most online ever: 565 (October 17, 2020, 02:08:06 PM)
Pages: [1] 2
Print
Author Topic: Death and Dying  (Read 7275 times)
Inner Circle Inc
Member

Posts: 24


« on: September 11, 2004, 01:59:02 PM »

After contemplating Strifeís combat system, as well as discussing the benefit and disadvantages of said combat system, Iíve come up with the following models of character injury and death, note, most of my models are based on LARPING, however, I donít think that it is too far from table top as my models will show.  

Model one - damage is persistent but unaffecting to character ability

The HP system, where each hit deal a certain amount of damage, and said damage stays, however hits do not detract from performance.  Systems using this type of combat would be NERO or D&D.

Model two - damage is persistent and affects character ability

The damage level system, where each hit lowers the characters general ability to fight, either by where the hit has landed or by a set ranking system.  AMTgard, SCA, and White Wolf games

Model three - Damage is not persistent, but affects character ability

Rarely if ever used alone, this would be knocking a character out rather than killing him, or combat in a medium where damage can be healed up between battles without any special or extra abilities.  The best example I can think of would be the Stun system from the little known DeadEarth game, where each point of stun you took removed an equal amount of actions.

My question to you, is thus.  What flaws do you find with the system?  What falls outside of the parameters set forth?  Are there any novel combat systems that have not been taken into consideration, or are there any points that should be added in classification?  And finally, are there any of you who can offer a better or revised version to this model?  Simply something to contemplate, thank you for your time.

Paul of Inner Circle
Logged

Ron Edwards
Global Moderator
Member
*
Posts: 16490


WWW
« Reply #1 on: September 11, 2004, 02:40:24 PM »

Hello Paul,

I think this question needs to back up a little to the more play or goals oriented level.

What does damage or death to the character mean for the player? Typically, character damage means the player can have less impact on the later events of play, e.g. the character misses more often, can't run as far, etc. Also typically, character death means the player simply ceases to play; in classic game terms, he or she is "out."

There are two ways to look at this, so bear with me.

1. One might adopt either or both of these typical/classic ways to role-play. However, they can be instituted in ways which are not especially fun (only familiar), or in ways which are actually very fun.

Ever see a player grin with delight because his character just got his leg crippled? It happens. Consider how it happens so that it's different from the player scowling and saying, "All right, might as well stop playing, I'm hosed." I suggest that it's not solely a matter of player attitude.

So if you go with the typical/classic approach, as I described above, then you need to consider the answer to "how can this be fun." Fortunately there are many different kinds of answers.

2. Neither of these typical/class ways are actually necessary to role-playing; they are merely techniques, not baseline must-do-it principles.

In some games, the character becomes more effective when he or she is wounded; in others, the character becomes less effective but then has access to resources that are usually unavailable, for a net gain.

In some games, the player may continue to participate after the character has died, because he or she has resources to spend which affect (for instance) other people's rolls. Just because the character is dead doesn't mean the player can't still manage these resources.

The above two paragraphs are merely a snippet of the possible available variety to explore, but it's hard to express that broad range without a better idea of the basic goals of play for this particular game.

Best,
Ron
Logged
Doug Ruff
Member

Posts: 445


« Reply #2 on: September 11, 2004, 02:48:04 PM »

Hi Paul,

It appears to me that you are describing two aspects of 'damage' in games: the increment and the effect.

An 'incremented' system measures an abstract number of 'hit points' or 'wound points' for each blow taken; once a pre-determined number of points are taken, an 'effect' is triggered.

In vanilla D&D, the only effects are unconscious (dying) and dead.

(Note: D&D damage can be healed up between battles without special assistance, it just takes a long time.)

RuneQuest (and also many LARPs) have a two-layer system: increment and effect are considered for the whole body, and also for each section (head, torso, limbs etc.)

In White Wolf, there are several effects on a single incremented scale.

There can be more than two layers: TRoS uses BP, Pain and Shock. Rolemaster used Consciousness(?) Points, Stuns, and Activity Penalties, and had rules for blood loss too.

So, all damage affects character ability - eventually. I think the question boils down to complexity, and whether a system delivers the right balance of realism vs. 'handling time'.

Would you agree with this, or have I missed a particular aspect that you want to focus on?

Regards,

Doug
Logged

'Come and see the violence inherent in the System.'
Inner Circle Inc
Member

Posts: 24


« Reply #3 on: September 11, 2004, 05:14:17 PM »

Doug, what your post seems to be implying, and correct me if I'm wrong, is that Effect and Increment are ussualy blended together in some form or anouther, and rather than being two opposing models of combat, they are rather ussualy blended together in some form or anouther?  If this is the case, then is there anouther or multiple other factors that can be used other than Incriment (D&D) and effect (SCA)?  I agree with your post as a whole, however this post came about because of a discussion on two purist systems, Nero, where the character dies at 0 HP but suffers no effects from damage before that, and AMTgard, where the character loses whatever limb is hit and dies when either torso is hit, or two limbs are lost.  Larps, by nessessity must be simplistic, meaning that they generaly do best if they run under one pole or the other. . .  as I am developing this game, I have come to the question of "is there a third combat system?".  Thus this model was born, to create the poles and for an idea for a novel LARP combat.  

Ron, I had considered applying it right off the bat, however I thought it would be more important to deal with the base mechanics of systems before application, however if it seems firm enough to take dirrectly to application, then I'll run with it.  I've not heard of  those systems though the thought intrigues me. . . I'll definatly look further into it.
Logged

Lathan
Member

Posts: 30


« Reply #4 on: September 11, 2004, 10:48:56 PM »

I developed a table-based effect-only damage system for one of my games; given how much I've changed everything else about the game, it probably won't be in the final text, but could still be useful for something else.

It's fairly close to your Model Two (persistent and affects ability)..  Damage is applied to the character's stats directly, without any abstract health measurement; and, beyond a certain minimum, the character has to roll on a table to determine any additional effect.  I'm not sure whether it'd count as a dual Model Two, or something else entirely, but at the least it might be interesting.

The specifics:

Each weapon has a few different dice attached; for instance, a knife could have 1d8, 1d6, and 1d4.

Each hit location has a ranking of stats -- for the torso, Endurance, Strength, and Agility.

When a character is struck, the weapon's dice are each rolled and applied in order to the stats; someone who took a knife to the gut would take 1d8 damage to his Endurance, 1d6 to Strength, and 1d4 to Agility (any that go over are ignored).

That by itself is pure #2, as far as I can tell.  However, the victim of the attack then has to roll for the effects of the injury on a table, based on the amount of damage done and hit location; there are different tables for edged, blunt, and piercing weapons... which is what?  #2 a second time?  I don't know how to call this.

If the knifeman managed to roll perfectly for his damage, the character would suffer 18 damage to his various stats, check for the 11-20 block on the edged weapon table, and roll for the physical effects.   He might end up nauseous, have the wind knocked out of him, or any of a few other things.

Higher damage results in more spectacular wounds listed on the tables; at a certain threshold, it's possible for a character simply to die from the damage.  And eventually, death is certain.

After rolling a certain number of times on one block of the table, any further damage is automatically kicked into the next higher block.  Characters who keep fighting will die, since taking damage for long enough will eventually go to the "automatic death" block.


So... where do you think this fits?


Gordon
Logged
Doug Ruff
Member

Posts: 445


« Reply #5 on: September 11, 2004, 11:48:54 PM »

Good morning!

Paul, I guess I'm attempting a (shudder) definition of a damage model: damage has to have an impact, or contribute towards a later impact, or it's not damage.

I was going to say 'negative effect' rather than impact, but Ron came up with a very good point, being hit can make you more effective under certain circumstances, I guess the classic example of this is berserk frenzy. The character is still hurt, but he's fiercer as a result.

As you are loking for LARP options, I'll stay away from tabletop damage models. I'm asuming you don't want to pause combat every time someone gets hit so they can update their character sheet.

From your description, Nero is a system with lots of damage increment, but only one effect (dead). AMTgard has only one increment for each limb, and a very simple layering, it's like having a character with 2 HP, each of their limbs has 1 HP, weapons do 1 HP each (double damage to the torso.)

To change either sysem, you can:

- change the increment
- add different effects
- add more layers

I'd avoid more layers as it islikely to disrupt the flow of play. I would suggest that your best way of getting inventive is to be novel with the effects of damage.

How about a Toon like system, where if the character takes a certain number of hits, they are 'bonked' and out of action for a few minutes. This is a bit like delayed 'respawning' in computer deathmatches.

Tis may not be a useful system for you, but I hope it stands as an illustration of how the combat model can be altered significantly while retaining simplicity.

Regards,

Doug
Logged

'Come and see the violence inherent in the System.'
Erling Rognli
Member

Posts: 23


« Reply #6 on: September 12, 2004, 12:18:16 AM »

We had a slightly similar discussion on the norwegian larp forum some time back. Concern was expressed among larpers, from more action/boffer oriented circles than those I belong to, about players not taking damage into account, playing as if they were not hit. Better systems for simulating damage was brought up as a possible remedy. I pointed out that making damage work out in a larp context is very often not a question of better systems, but a question of player willingness to let their character be hurt. Often, and especially in an action-oriented larp where most of the interaction is centered around fighting, character injury means instant deprotagonization. If you get hurt, you're out of the game. As all players by default desire to play, this makes it easy to be a bit unperceptive concerning hits. I'm not saying that people are conciously cheating, only that when the sensation of getting hit is very unwelcome it'll very easily get overlooked when the adrenaline is pumping. The remedy I suggested was making injury interesting. Make sure that playing injured won't deprive the player of the opportunity to roleplay. Whispered bedside conversations about fear of death; an injured character should never be let alone, as the player cannot seek out other players. Making arrangements before playing, having doctor or nurse characters with a ready plan to handle an incharacter injury, some fake blood for the gritty realism etc. Of course, this necessitates that your players are actually interested in roleplaying as well, not only in hitting each other with rubber sticks. If that's the case, you'll have to find another solution, but as it's  closer to sports than to roleplaying a referee might be a better idea for those occasions.

-E
Logged
Doug Ruff
Member

Posts: 445


« Reply #7 on: September 12, 2004, 02:56:01 AM »

Quote from: Erling Rognli
Making arrangements before playing, having doctor or nurse characters with a ready plan to handle an in character injury


If the nurses (or doctors; take your pick) were too nice, I'd probably want to get injured and be made a fuss over!

- Ahem -

In all seriousness, Erling's made an excellent point here. The dramatic (and social!) potential of an injury is way beyond what I had anticipated as a damage 'effect'.

I don't LARP any more, but if I were running one, I would be looking to give bonuses (XP, or kudos or whatever) to anyone who convincingly RP'd an injury, and anyone who attended to fallen comrades at the expense of their own progress.

IMHO, this is a much less contentious approach than punishing 'borderline' cheating issues. Of course, blatant cheating still has to be addressed.

Regards,

Doug
Logged

'Come and see the violence inherent in the System.'
Inner Circle Inc
Member

Posts: 24


« Reply #8 on: September 12, 2004, 07:58:50 AM »

Doug and Erlang, the only problem we are running into trying to blend the two systems is streamlining everything so that it not only flows on the battlefield, but also on the tabletop environment. . . call me insane, but I like the thought of a character being able to be taken directly from LARP to Tabletop and more or less retain his efficiency and effectiveness in both environs.  The "Reward for injury" system is interesting, though looking back on what we've got, I was a little surprised to see that we had already incorporated elements of it *abilities that only activate after a certain amount of damage has been taken, abilities that deal damage to both player and his target, even an ability that requires the user to commit suicide to kill his target.*.  The AMTgard vs NERO debate has gone on for quite a while, and the consensus we've gotten from it is thus, AMTgard allows Player skill to carry you through battle, where as NERO allows character skill to carry you through battle.  If in AMTgard a newbie were handed an ascendant character and were sent against a more experienced player with a first level character, then the more experienced player would defeat him easily based on sheer player skill.  If you were to run the same experience in a NERO based LARP, then you would find that the new player, assuming he knew how to use his character skills to his advantage, would be able to defeat all but the best of experienced player. . . simply put, a NERO system levels that playing field, and generally makes for a more balanced and more open LARP.  The AMTgard system requires the players to focus almost entirely on their player skills in boffer combat, and while it's not a bad thing and will produce a high grade of fighter, it's not as level.  I agree with you that it would be nearly impossible to have the degree of complexity in character injury that a tabletop offers in a LARP environment, as I've attempted to play systems like that, and while the system was well designed, the game was a complete flop as most people just guessed at what was supposed to happen when they were hit. . . though in retrospect, having only a limited number of vulnerable points based on Kendo was probably a bad idea to begin with.

Gordon, you've got an interesting system on your hands there, I'd say it would be a pure model 2.  If I'm understanding it correctly, when your character is hit, then they lose a set number of attribut based on where it is hit, as well as having a secondary damage effect based on the type of damage and total amount of damage taken, though the more times you take damage, the worse damage you take overall until your character dies.  It would seem to me that if you graphed this along with D&D's damage, the D&D model would have a straight line where are yours would be more akin to an exponential curve. . . very interesting and very realistic. . . though if I may ask, what is the effect of armor in your preliminary system?  does it absorb a set amount of damage from each blow, does it make him harder to hit, or does it act like a second level of hit points?

Paul of Inner Circle Inc
Logged

mindwanders
Member

Posts: 106


WWW
« Reply #9 on: September 12, 2004, 08:15:34 AM »

It strikes me as going against the point of using a boffer combat system to design it so it can also be played tabletop.

I had ideas of doing a portable Larp/TT system a while back and may still do that, however the reason that I was going to make it portable to table top was because I wanted the actual larp sessions to be social/political and I wanted to be able to run all the combat based sessions of the game as TT sessions.

Why is it you want to be able to run TT sessions of your larp? just so that you don't always have to treck people out to the woods?

I should point out that a couple of ideas I'm working on at the moment simplify the whole idea right down. Your character is eather Healthy or Injured, if you are injured, you act like it, if you are healthy then you act as normal. Dying is banned because the game is not about the life and death struggle or combat, it's about the politics.

Probably not something that would be of use to you, but it is another option.
Logged

Doug Ruff
Member

Posts: 445


« Reply #10 on: September 12, 2004, 09:23:18 AM »

Quote from: mindwanders
It strikes me as going against the point of using a boffer combat system to design it so it can also be played tabletop.


Unless of course, you bring your LARP gear to the tabletop!

Newbie player: Which dice do I roll?

GM: No dice in this system?

Newbie: So how do I know if I've succeeded at anything?

GM: All skill checks are resolved through trial by combat... would you prefer a sword or a mace?

-grins evilly-

Seriously though, I like the idea of LARP/Tabletop crossover.

Just one question first. I'm assuming that boffer-based is part of the fun when you are LARPing, and that you are just looking for suitable 'conversion rules' for using the same characters in tabletop?

Regards,

Doug
Logged

'Come and see the violence inherent in the System.'
Inner Circle Inc
Member

Posts: 24


« Reply #11 on: September 12, 2004, 10:12:17 AM »

Simply put, some people would much rather play a LARP than a tabletop and others would much rather play a tabletop as opposed to a LARP, meaning that it would be up to each player group individually to decide wether they wanted to play the game as a LARP or as a Tabletop game, or have a mix of both (as nothing is worse than trying to LARP in 90 degree weather, heavy rain, snow, etc.) The system has two combat systems, the first in the tabletop system, where rolling is only done to see if you hit or if your opponent is able to dodge it or parry it aside. . . damage from weapons, HP, armor points and all the skills transfer over exactly as they are in the LARP. . . it's really an innovative idea if I say so myself. . . though it's not done, if you are interested I could send you what we are working with in PM, as I would rather not go off on a tangent posting such a long section in here. Also, while your system is interesting, I would have to say that it falls under Model two, though the effect of "injured" status has, is resolved by what the player determines to be his role.

Paul of Inner Circle
Logged

mindwanders
Member

Posts: 106


WWW
« Reply #12 on: September 12, 2004, 10:43:02 AM »

Ah, I think I understand now.

I'm assuming that by groups of players you are talking about players with a game organiser that isn't you rather than a few players in your game. So the intention would be to publish the game system for wide use rather than just locally.

I'm used to writing LARP systems for a single group, so I always design things specifically so that I can run things the way I want to rather than the way another person running the game might want to.

The whole two combat systems idea does seem to be a good idea, and I believe a few table top games have had a similar idea but with non-boffer systems.

I'm not the best person to talk to about any combat system that is linked to boffer combat because I don't play them, but you might want to post it up for thoughts on the indie-rpgs when you have it more nailed down.
Logged

Lathan
Member

Posts: 30


« Reply #13 on: September 12, 2004, 03:42:30 PM »

Quote from: Inner Circle Inc
Gordon, you've got an interesting system on your hands there, I'd say it would be a pure model 2.  If I'm understanding it correctly, when your character is hit, then they lose a set number of attribut based on where it is hit, as well as having a secondary damage effect based on the type of damage and total amount of damage taken, though the more times you take damage, the worse damage you take overall until your character dies.  It would seem to me that if you graphed this along with D&D's damage, the D&D model would have a straight line where are yours would be more akin to an exponential curve. . . very interesting and very realistic. . . though if I may ask, what is the effect of armor in your preliminary system?  does it absorb a set amount of damage from each blow, does it make him harder to hit, or does it act like a second level of hit points?

Paul of Inner Circle Inc


You've got it pretty well, I think.  Since it's not a complete system, I hadn't done much with armor at all before the game outgrew it.

If suddenly forced to come up with armor rules for it, I think this (or something similar) would be the result:

Any type of armor is most effective at blocking one form of attack (crushing, slashing, or piercing), though offers some protection against all.  

If armor is being worn in the area the opponent hits, the effects table isn't rolled -- unless the armor was penetrated, represented by the hit requiring a roll on the higher-damage blocks.  What counts as penetration depends on the strength of the armor relative to the attack type.  If the armor is strong against piercing (fine chainmail, for instance), a stab would only penetrate if it did enough stat damage to require a roll on the highest or near-highest block; however, a slashing attack could break it more easily.

The armor in that location is broken and will no longer protect the wearer.  If you're unlucky enough to take another hit in the same place, you have to roll for the effects as well, even if the armor is still dangling by its straps.

I'd also, I think, put in something for weapon damage -- say, a perfect roll results in the breakage of the weapon from stress, unless it's exceptionally well made.

So even if you're wearing armor, you'd still take damage to your stats; but you wouldn't have to worry about losing a limb or breaking a bone until it broke.
Logged
timfire
Member

Posts: 756


WWW
« Reply #14 on: September 12, 2004, 04:13:09 PM »

Hi y'all,

I want to take a step back and return to Ron's comments. Remember, characters don't exist, a RPG is an activity between real people. So, as Ron said, what is the effect of damage for the player? How does damage fit into the overall design of a game?

Here's an example. My own game, The Mountain Witch, actually uses your type 3 system -"Damage is not persistent, but affects character ability." Resolution is 1d6 vs. 1d6 with degrees of success. All damage acts as a (-1) penalty on future rolls, though the severity of the wound dictates how long this penalty will stay in effect - either 1 action, 1 scene, or the entire adventure. (I view this as a cinematic representation of damage. You know, like in the movies when the hero is hurt one scene but is seemingly fine the next.) Death/incapacitation only occurs when one combatant rolls a 6 and the other rolls a 1 (with or without damage penalties).

Now, the main feature of the game is a Trust mechanic, where players award each points that can be used to either aid or betray one another. But here's the important thing - Trust is the ONLY thing that ever increases a player's roll. Nothing ever adds a positive modifier, only penalties. What this means is that the only way to counteract the effect of damage is to get other players to aid you.

So what does damage mean in MW? Damage means a character's/player's (already fragile) independence is weakened. Damaged character's/player's must rely more on other characters/players, which means they must open themselves up to possible betrayal.

Another example. In TROS, both the combat and damage systems are really brutal. Because of this, players are discouraged form getting into conflicts unless they have a clear advantage. In most situations, the only way to gain an advantage is to utilize SA's. Thus, damage (& combat) in TROS contribute to promoting the use of SA's.

Anyway, so while the way damage works is significant, it's more important to consider what damage accomplishes. If damage affects character ability, does it affect the tactical choices a player can make? Does damage contribute to the dramatic flow of the game (I think this is the effect in MW)? Is damage simply a limiter on how long a player can 'go at it' (I think this is the way damage acts in DnD)? Or, is damage simply an amount to promote 'realism'?
Logged

--Timothy Walters Kleinert
Pages: [1] 2
Print
Jump to:  

Powered by MySQL Powered by PHP Powered by SMF 1.1.11 | SMF © 2006-2009, Simple Machines LLC
Oxygen design by Bloc
Valid XHTML 1.0! Valid CSS!