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Old 05-08-2019, 05:33 AM   #1
Sam Baughn
 
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Default Anecdotes of possible interest to the HT: Electricity & Electronics playtesters.

I'm not going to apply for the playtest group, since my knowledge of electricity and electronics beyond what I'm going to post here is very limited, but I have some specific insights which I think might be of interest.

I'm sure Mr. Stoddard is familiar with the various forms of quack medicine using electricity. You can still buy a bunch of weird electrical devices which make dubious claims of health benefits. There is even a subculture dedicated to collecting and restoring antique ones.

What you may not be aware of is that there is another community of people who use electrical shocks not for their supposed health benefits but entirely for fun. I'm one of those people.

I seem to have an abnormal reaction to electrical shocks, where they seem more like a pleasurable tickling sensation than a painful one. Very high powered ones or in sensitive places still hurt a bit, but I can easily function (albeit a bit distracted) while someone is shocking me with an (old-fashioned, not EMD) stun gun directly applied to bare skin. This doesn't seem to be linked to High Pain Threshold, since I know some people who seem to have HPT who can't function while being shocked and I don't have HPT to other forms of pain, but can. However, I've met enough other people who also seem able to shrug off such things that I think Resistant (electric stun effects) might be a reasonably common trait for normal humans.

The rules in High-Tech for cattle prods seem cinematic. I've been shocked by cattle prods on bare skin several times and never had much in the way of lasting injury. At most, 10-15 seconds of continuous shock would cause a small burn which might be painful if it was in a sensitive area and would itch for a while after. It certainly wouldn't risk a normal person collapsing entirely from damage and needing several weeks to recover which is what 1d-3 burn damage would do (15-20 points of injury). I'd suggest a realistic cattle prod should maybe do 1 point of burn damage on a failed HT roll at best. It mostly just causes pain for a few seconds.

I'd also say that a lot of the effects of electric shock seem to be psychological. Most animals are confused and frightened by them and a great many humans find them scary as well, often with an irrational fear that they can cause heart attacks, etc. which causes them to panic when shocked. Fright checks for unexpected shocks or from anyone who doesn't know what they are should be common and I think a lot of people effectively have a Phobia of some kind regarding them.
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Old 05-08-2019, 10:53 AM   #2
Black Leviathan
 
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Default Re: Anecdotes of possible interest to the HT: Electricity & Electronics playtesters.

Not all "Cattle prods" are built equal. Even if you're a heavy volt pig I doubt the "fun" cattle prods you're using are 10k volts and if they are your tolerance is far outside the norm. A Steer-grade prod is going to knock a regular adult down and it's going to leave burns, even through regular clothes.

Also your fun partner has a vested interest in minimizing damage to their fun target. They're going to ensure they have good contact with minimal spark-gap before they put voltage into you to reduce electrical burns on your dermis, but you're still cooking meat when that much juice is going through you even if you don't get scars. I've taken a jolt from a sheep prod through leather, it was muted but not insulated. At four times the voltage DR1 is most definitely not stopping that. So perhaps damage 1 but if so definitely with an armor penetration value.
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Old 05-08-2019, 02:20 PM   #3
Refplace
 
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Default Re: Anecdotes of possible interest to the HT: Electricity & Electronics playtesters.

Also not enough of an electronics expert that I'm applying to the playtest but I would like to make a few clarifications to these posts.
Its not voltage that hurts, its more the amperage (though the pulse width and frequency in say EMS or TENS has a large impact in perceived sensation).
A 12 volt car battery is far more dangerous than my 55K volt violet wand.

That said I agree that cattleprods are overly simplistic and likely cinematic. They are rated by animal type, and not being medical devices actual specs are hard to come by. Different companies even use different reference points.
But the kind that can cause a burn are typically powered by multiple C or D batteries and designed for cattle. They are unlikely to burn, certainly wont disable but the pain is pretty real. About like accidentally burning yourself on a stove sensation wise.
Cattle prods are used on pigs and up and tend to be high voltage (to overcome resistance from thick skin/hide) but low current devices.
Conversely a car battery is a low voltage, high current device. It does not worry about resistance since its wired but needs a lot of power to turn an engine over.
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Old 05-08-2019, 02:39 PM   #4
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Default Re: Anecdotes of possible interest to the HT: Electricity & Electronics playtesters.

If it's any reassurance to you guys, I thought about the physics underlying this, discussed it with Kromm, and added a few adjustments to the electric shock rules for increased realism. However, that aspect of game mechanics wasn't the focus of this book.
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Old 05-08-2019, 03:01 PM   #5
Refplace
 
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Default Re: Anecdotes of possible interest to the HT: Electricity & Electronics playtesters.

Quote:
Originally Posted by whswhs View Post
If it's any reassurance to you guys, I thought about the physics underlying this, discussed it with Kromm, and added a few adjustments to the electric shock rules for increased realism. However, that aspect of game mechanics wasn't the focus of this book.
I'd be disappointed if it was. I'm expecting details on communications equipment, maybe computers, hopefully surveillance and sensors too.
That said, its nice to see electric shock rules get some fresh attention.
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Old 05-08-2019, 03:11 PM   #6
whswhs
 
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Default Re: Anecdotes of possible interest to the HT: Electricity & Electronics playtesters.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Refplace View Post
I'd be disappointed if it was. I'm expecting details on communications equipment, maybe computers, hopefully surveillance and sensors too.
That said, its nice to see electric shock rules get some fresh attention.
There's electronics, but as the title says, also electricity: batteries, motors, generators, switches, relays, telegraphs, telephones, and so on.
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Old 05-09-2019, 12:57 AM   #7
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Default Re: Anecdotes of possible interest to the HT: Electricity & Electronics playtesters.

Will it have TL6-7 radars the size of an office block?
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Old 05-09-2019, 06:48 AM   #8
whswhs
 
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Default Re: Anecdotes of possible interest to the HT: Electricity & Electronics playtesters.

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Will it have TL6-7 radars the size of an office block?
Well, not as catalog items. They're not really practical for PCs to carry around on adventures.
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