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Old 06-01-2009, 01:17 AM   #21
David Johnston2
 
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Default Re: "Save or Die" effects in GURPS.

But does it kill (major characters) instantly or is Heart Attack sufficient to represent it?
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Old 06-01-2009, 01:32 AM   #22
Langy
 
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Default Re: "Save or Die" effects in GURPS.

I'm in the middle of re-reading The Dresden Files, and one thing in that series that auto-kills no matter what, including main characters, was Mordite. Only way you could avoid it would be not to touch it.

So yes, there are things that kill 'major characters' instantly. This could probably be represented by a Heart Attack affliction with Cosmic: No Defense Allowed or whatever it's called, and maybe another Cosmic to show that you don't actually need a heart to be killed by it.

Mind, it also turns anyone who touches it to ashes, but that's probably just a 0-point special effect. Maybe a small additional Cosmic.
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Old 06-01-2009, 02:43 AM   #23
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Default Re: "Save or Die" effects in GURPS.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ulzgoroth View Post
I'm not sure what should be said to that except 'yes'.

But for one example, the necromancer's bell Astarael from the Old Kingdom series kills, but doesn't cause damage of any kind.
"Kill" may mean damage without any wound to show for it. If it does 6xHP of damage you can always say "it kills but no wounds appear."

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Old 06-01-2009, 02:47 AM   #24
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Default Re: "Save or Die" effects in GURPS.

Quote:
Originally Posted by David Johnston2 View Post
But does it kill (major characters) instantly or is Heart Attack sufficient to represent it?
Heart attack is wrong to represent it, because what it does to characters is most definitely death. And yes, it works on major characters, and kills instantly. And on the side, it's effective against the undead.


I don't know that Affliction (Death) should cost all that much more than heart attack. They're equally useful in tactical terms, and in a low-tech setting there's not really any way to survive a heart attack.
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"Kill" may mean damage without any wound to show for it. If it does 6xHP of damage you can always say "it kills but no wounds appear."

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Problem the first: damage type. It works against anything remotely capable of dying, including the undead, which seems to rule out toxic or fatigue, and none of the others make sense.

Problem the second: it's got to do a ridiculous amount of damage, considering that the number of life or unlife forms in the setting that it doesn't work on can be counted on one's fingers. And some of the undead probably have Unkillable 2, though I can't swear to that.

Problem the third: It kills. It doesn't do half-measures. If the bell rang and you're still alive, it didn't do anything worth mentioning to you.

If you let it be magic untyped damage that kills unkillable things, as an area-effect sound-based malediction attack that uses a quick contest of 30 or so vs will, you might be able to model it as a huge damage attack. But it doesn't seem necessary to do all that.

Last edited by Ulzgoroth; 06-01-2009 at 03:03 AM.
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Old 06-01-2009, 03:57 AM   #25
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Default Re: "Save or Die" effects in GURPS.

Whether instakill items exist in fiction is not the same thing as whether they should exist in a game. Players just don't like being instakilled, because it's not any fun.
You DEFINITELY shouldn't put this kind of thing in the hands of players and almost as definitely shouldn't use it on PCs, so you can handwave the effects of something that kills people instantly despite any defenses they might have.

If one really must have this kind of thing, call it an extremely huge amount of damage (probably Cosmic Burning, that seems the most appropriate for something that turns you to ash) with a Limitation that if it doesn't kill you it doesn't do a lesser amount of damage: if you have 10 HP and it "only" deals you 59, you're unharmed (if you pass all 4 HT rolls). I'd probably call it -10-20%.

As to Unkillable, it would have to be something that all Unkillable things in the setting have as a very minor Achilles Heel. Or you can wave your hands and decide that it has an extra Cosmic that lets it ignore your Unkillable, whichever suits you better. You're already in the realm of "I don't care that you shouldn't die, I want you to die, so you will" at this stage.
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Old 06-01-2009, 06:17 AM   #26
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Default Re: "Save or Die" effects in GURPS.

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Originally Posted by The Benj View Post
Whether instakill items exist in fiction is not the same thing as whether they should exist in a game. Players just don't like being instakilled, because it's not any fun.
You DEFINITELY shouldn't put this kind of thing in the hands of players and almost as definitely shouldn't use it on PCs, so you can handwave the effects of something that kills people instantly despite any defenses they might have.
What makes Affliction (Death) so much worse than Affliction (Heart Attack)? They're equally incapacitating and equally fatal unless you've got a TL7+ doctor/medic willing to help and less than HT/3 minutes away. Or some kind of magic that works on heart attacks.

I agree that the presence of fictional examples doesn't mean much either way, I was addressing the question posed. But I don't see why they shouldn't exist in some games. If the players hate being instakilled that much, make sure they never play TL5+ combat.
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Old 06-01-2009, 09:33 AM   #27
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Default Re: "Save or Die" effects in GURPS.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ulzgoroth View Post
Heart attack is wrong to represent it, because what it does to characters is most definitely death. And yes, it works on major characters, and kills instantly. And on the side, it's effective against the undead.
GURPS Powers suggests that any effect which removes a character from play entirely should use the same +300% to Affliction as Heart Attack; obviously, specific effects will be different, and have different advantages, if any, that provide immunity or extra resistance to them.

So while it probably shouldn't be called Affliction (Heart Attack), it should probably be the same basic price.
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Old 06-01-2009, 10:42 AM   #28
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Default Re: "Save or Die" effects in GURPS.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ulzgoroth View Post
What makes Affliction (Death) so much worse than Affliction (Heart Attack)? They're equally incapacitating and equally fatal unless you've got a TL7+ doctor/medic willing to help and less than HT/3 minutes away. Or some kind of magic that works on heart attacks.
Well, mostly because in any game where you can have Affliction (Heart Attack), you usually have ultratech medicine, super heroes with super powers, psionics, or magic.

Afflictions are exotic abilities - rare is the campaign where you can have an Affliction but you can't have any other exotic ability. If you're GMing a game where the PCs have NO access to ANYTHING exotic AND have no access to TL 7+ medicine, AND the enemies have crazy supernatural powers, it's a horror game - and there's a reason why most horror games have some sort of magic accessible to PCs for their own self-defense.

Realistic toxins such as fugu and various snake and arthropod venoms are tox or fatigue innate attacks with onset, cyclic and side effect. Realistic digestive agents do tox or fatigue damage as well.
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Old 06-01-2009, 02:45 PM   #29
Langy
 
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Default Re: "Save or Die" effects in GURPS.

So make Affliction (Death) slightly more expensive than Affliction (Heart Attack). Say, 350% instead of just 300%. Maybe 400%, but I think that's pushing it.

I see no reason at all why Affliction (Death) shouldn't be available. Yeah, the GM will need to decide if he wants his players to be able to kill at will, but he should review people's characters anyways.
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Old 06-01-2009, 09:53 PM   #30
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Default Re: "Save or Die" effects in GURPS.

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Originally Posted by David Johnston2 View Post
There are?
Let's see.. Star Trek has phasers, instant kill.
Dungeons and Dragons, many monsters and casters have instant kill.
Princess Bride, Iocaine Powder, instant kill.
Paranoia, lots of weapons, instant kill.
War of the Worlds, Death Rays, instant kill.
Harry Potter, Avadra Kadavra, instant kill.
Many Martial Arts Movies, Dim Mak, instant (or very soon) kill.

So yeah.. a few great genres I've heard discussed on these forums from time to time have save or die matters come up all the time.
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