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Old 02-13-2018, 10:02 PM   #1
jsbrewster1
 
Join Date: Feb 2018
Default Negative Hit Point effects

Hi all,

I'm trying to learn the GURPS rules by running some mock combats of various sorts. One question I have is about negative hit points. Unless I'm missing something, there are NO combat penalties for being in negative hit points, as long as you succeed in the HT roll to stay awake, and aren't suffering from a previous Stun. Is this correct?

Thanks.
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Old 02-13-2018, 10:12 PM   #2
AlexanderHowl
 
Join Date: Feb 2016
Default Re: Negative Hit Point effects

No, you are at 1/2 Basic Speed and Basic Move, and you must roll HT every turn to stay conscious.
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Old 02-13-2018, 10:16 PM   #3
jsbrewster1
 
Join Date: Feb 2018
Default Re: Negative Hit Point effects

But do either of those directly affect your ability to swing a sword, shoot a gun, kick an opponent? I ran a combat, one opponent was at -12 hit points out of 11, so a total of 23 damage, but still able to fight normally, with an HT of 12 he made his consciousness roll every time. It just seems like there should be a more significant penalty for going into negative hit points.
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Old 02-13-2018, 10:16 PM   #4
Anaraxes
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Default Re: Negative Hit Point effects

HP < 0 is also HP < 1/3, so you continue to suffer all those effects. Those categories stack; they don't cease to apply when you drop to the next lower category. Shock (if any) also still applies.

The roll to remain conscious (or else Do Nothing and do not defend, to automatically remain conscious) is the new effect starting at 0 HP or less.

If you prefer, think of it as "death" is really -5xHP, not 0. It's not that you're astonishingly functional even though you ought to be dead at 0. It's that you're struggling to remain conscious after having lost a mere 16% of your HP. And you might well die before you lose them all.
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Old 02-13-2018, 10:31 PM   #5
jsbrewster1
 
Join Date: Feb 2018
Default Re: Negative Hit Point effects

I don't see movement penalties as combat penalties, if a character has a relatively high health, he can fight pretty much normally until he keels over dead. That seems very unrealistic to me.
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Old 02-13-2018, 11:30 PM   #6
Kelly Pedersen
 
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Default Re: Negative Hit Point effects

Quote:
Originally Posted by jsbrewster1 View Post
I don't see movement penalties as combat penalties, if a character has a relatively high health, he can fight pretty much normally until he keels over dead. That seems very unrealistic to me.
Movement penalties are absolutely combat penalties, though. Consider - for most characters with Basic Move at or below 10 (which is quite high, I'd note), having that reduced to half means that someone with just the typical Move 5 is now faster than them. That means their opponents can now control the movement in the fight much more easily. If I'm at Move 2, and my opponent is at Move 5, they can spend one turn moving away from me at full Move, and then have a full turn where I can't do anything to them (unless I've got a reach weapon), during which they can ready weapons, use ranged attacks, and so forth, and then another turn where, if I want to attack them, I've got to Move and Attack, with all the penalties that implies. And the enemy can do something like a Wait, and attack again as I close.

And halved Dodge is not a trivial combat penalty either. Dodge, in a way, is the most reliable defense, because it doesn't go down with repeated uses. Blocks can only be used once per turn, and parries have fairly significant penalties for repeated uses. If a single character is facing multiple ones, they're soon going to be running into situations where parries are worse than their dodge, and wanting to fall back on that. Dodge being halved makes that a whole lot harder. And dodge is the only defense against a lot of ranged attacks - in a gunfight, halved dodge means you're suddenly going to get hit a lot more often. And since your Move is halved too, the enemies can more practically open up the distance between you and them, preventing you from turning it into a melee combat.

You are right that high HT means it takes a long time for someone to go down. But it may not be as long as you think. Consider, for example, someone with HT 14. That gives them a 90.7% chance of succeeding any given unpenalized HT roll. But the chance of succeeding 6 HT rolls is only 50.4%. So, having that high of a HT score means someone can say conscious and active reliably for about 6 more seconds than an average person when very badly wounded. Make sure enemies are using good tactics, and you can compensate for a lot. For example, if the foes are in a melee fight with the party, and they see one of the PCs is staggered and badly wounded (and this is something that should be pretty obvious), have them start backing off for a few turns, forcing the wounded PC to either drop out of the battle effectively, or try to keep up and roll HT rolls every turn, while they probably still fall behind due to halved Move. Then, once they either fall or drop out, the enemies can put pressure back on the other PCs.
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Old 02-14-2018, 12:27 AM   #7
Skarg
 
Join Date: May 2015
Default Re: Negative Hit Point effects

GURPS Martial Arts has other effects in its realistic effects of injury section, which include penalties for damage level that go up to -3DX at 1/3 HT remaining or less, but it says adrenaline keeps the pain from causing that for 2 x HT seconds... which conveniently means the GM doesn't have to think about them during most fights in progress. However, you could ignore that bit and/or add some DX penalties based on injury level and/or the number of Major Wounds and/or injured body parts or whatever feels right. (It seems to me like a trade-off between realism and complexity.)
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Old 02-14-2018, 12:46 AM   #8
VariousRen
 
Join Date: Apr 2015
Default Re: Negative Hit Point effects

Others have covered the effects of pure HP loss pretty well, but I think it's important to note that wounds to locations other than the torso can result in relatively little HP loss, but a great reduction in combat effectiveness. A hit to the arm that does HP/2 damage leaves it crippled and useless (perhaps even severed or destroyed!), the same hit to the leg puts you on the ground and fighting at severe penalties. Feet and hands are even easier to cripple, and usually harder to armour. If you have a decent cutting attack swinging for a random hit location is usually better than the torso because of the high chance to hit a limb and cripple it.
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Old 02-14-2018, 12:48 AM   #9
Tomsdad
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: Brighton
Default Re: Negative Hit Point effects

Quote:
Originally Posted by jsbrewster1 View Post
I don't see movement penalties as combat penalties, if a character has a relatively high health, he can fight pretty much normally until he keels over dead. That seems very unrealistic to me.
It's what Kelly Pedersen said. The person at negative HP is now not only on the clock much more than their opponent (they will fail a HT roll at some point even with high HT's) but as pointed out is less able to keep up due to reduced Mv.

So if they want to increase their chances of positive outcome they're going to have to take risks. And taking greater risks means they're more likely to get hit again, and so on.

The opposite is true for their opponent who can sit back and fight defensively or play "keep away" and wait for the inevitable collapse. This of course further reduces the chances for the person with negative HP's getting a positive out come here. A nice tactic here when playing "keep away" is depending on relative Mv scores to also build up evaluates for when you do want to attack the target


However there are a couple of optional rules out there that can add additional penalties in this situation, that you might want to look at. But they do add more complexity ("Realistic injury" from Martial Arts, and "Last Gasp" from Pyramid 3/44)

However I do suggest you use the rules from Campaigns as is first to see how they run but taking the points above and from other posters in mind.


Tl;dr 0 or less HP means something different in GURPS than it does in a lot of other systems, but in play the various knock on effects on combat choices will give you want to want.

As an aside this is an area where GURPS' reputation for lethality is wrong as unless all combatants are out to kill it allows for a lot of combats to establish winners and losers but without death being the default status of losing!

Last edited by Tomsdad; 02-14-2018 at 11:38 PM.
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Old 02-14-2018, 01:03 AM   #10
Maz
 
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Location: Denmark
Default Re: Negative Hit Point effects

Remember also, that each time you are hit you suffer shock penalties (up to -4 to dx skills). So if you have lost 23 hp, you must have been hit a bunch of times and have been suffering shock penalties for many of your turns.

Or, if you where hit a few timea by major wounds you would also have been forced to make knockdown and srunning rolls.
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