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Old 12-30-2022, 06:11 PM   #1
sir-talen
 
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Default Damage From an Evil Vending Machine

So I'm trying to set up a simple opponent of a group of newbie GURPS players in a post-apocalypse game, and what I decided to use was a gang of berserk mobile vending machines, determined to provide "free samples" (ie: hurling cans of soda) at their victims.

So my question is: How much damage would a 16 oz can of 1,000 year old soda flung out at about 60 mph do if it hits a character? And what kind DX penalty would a character face trying to catch a can of soda? If a PC can successfully catch one of the free samples (alternating fire between the soda cans, hot cups of coffee, and harmless but stale muffins), the vending machines will cease their attack and back off.
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Old 12-30-2022, 06:19 PM   #2
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Default Re: Damage From an Evil Vending Machine

Considering the wide range of potential speeds, I would take a look at the player's stats and pick a target number that is doable for the experts but maybe out of reach for most of them. Though I would make the muffins easier to catch simply because they have a higher coefficient of drag.
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Old 12-30-2022, 06:53 PM   #3
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Default Re: Damage From an Evil Vending Machine

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Originally Posted by sir-talen View Post
So my question is: How much damage would a 16 oz can of 1,000 year old soda flung out at about 60 mph do if it hits a character?
A can of soda would be treated as homogenous. The aluminum can itself is such a small proportion of the item's weight we are probably safe to ignore it; 16 oz of water (soda has around the same density) would weigh 1 lb. A 1 lb homogenous object would have 8 HP. 60 mph is right around Move 30. In a collision, an 8 HP object traveling at Move 30 would deal (8*30)/100 = 2.4d, or around 2d+2 cr, which is roughly comparable to being shot by a 9mm pistol. If you think this is ridiculous (it is), an easy houserule is to divide the HP of Unliving objects by 2 and the HP of Homogenous objects by 4 when determining damage from a collision; in the above situation, that becomes 0.6d, or around 1d-2 or 1d-1 cr (around the level of a decent punch).

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Originally Posted by sir-talen View Post
And what kind DX penalty would a character face trying to catch a can of soda?
You typically can't catch things thrown at you, only things thrown to you (see B355). The Hand-Catch Parry cinematic Technique from Martial Arts could manage it, however. That requires you to be using Parry Missile Weapons, or have Precognitive Parry and be using an unarmed skill (typically grappling), and calls for a Parry at -3. As GM, you could waive the need for Parry Missile Weapons / Precognitive Parry in this situation, in which case it's a Parry -3 roll to catch an item, with Failure meaning the character is hit. For a soda can (which I think will survive the impact), I'd let a character who fails this by 3 or less (that is, they would have succeeded with an unpenalized Parry) follow up with a roll against DX, minus any Shock penalties from getting hit by the can; on a success, they manage to catch the can that hit them before it falls to the ground, ending the vending machines' deadly assault.

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Originally Posted by sir-talen View Post
(alternating fire between the soda cans, hot cups of coffee, and harmless but stale muffins)
At those speeds, a cup of coffee will burst on impact, likely resulting in minimal or no crushing Injury, but if sufficiently hot will cause 1 or more points of non-incendiary burn damage. Vending machines generally don't serve coffee quite that hot, I don't think (vending machine coffee is meant to be consumed immediately, unlike fast food coffee that is expected to sit in the car for a bit on the way to the destination). The stale muffin will similarly break apart in a 60 mph collision, and likely won't cause more than superficial damage.
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Old 12-30-2022, 06:54 PM   #4
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Default Re: Damage From an Evil Vending Machine

Quote:
Originally Posted by sir-talen View Post
So I'm trying to set up a simple opponent of a group of newbie GURPS players in a post-apocalypse game, and what I decided to use was a gang of berserk mobile vending machines, determined to provide "free samples" (ie: hurling cans of soda) at their victims.

So my question is: How much damage would a 16 oz can of 1,000 year old soda flung out at about 60 mph do if it hits a character? And what kind DX penalty would a character face trying to catch a can of soda? If a PC can successfully catch one of the free samples (alternating fire between the soda cans, hot cups of coffee, and harmless but stale muffins), the vending machines will cease their attack and back off.
The soda can will probably do a bit; the coffee, very little. Mythbusters tested hucking a slushie out of a car window and got satisfactory results, so I imagine 2d cr would be adequate.

As for catching, 60mph seems to be a typical fastball speed in baseball (maybe even a bit slow), so it should definitely be doable for moderately athletic PCs... assuming they see it coming.
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Old 12-30-2022, 07:46 PM   #5
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Default Re: Damage From an Evil Vending Machine

There are rules for thrown objects on pages 355 and 373 of the Basic Set (I was looking at them recently to see how much ST a mutant would need to throw a car engine).

Damage of a thrown object is calculated according to what fraction its weight is of the thrower's Basic Lift. Suppose the robots throw with the equivalent of ST 10. Then a 1 lb can is BL/20. According to the table on page 355, objects up to BL/8 do thrust damage minus 2 per die. For a ST 10 robot, that's 1d-3.
Same for the coffee, but you might add a point of non-incendiary burn damage to that if you think the PCs can handle it (or, as Varyon says, make all its damage non-incendary burn damage if the cup's flimsy enough to burst on impact).
There isn't an entry on the table less than "Up to BL/8", but given that 3oz muffins are less than BL/80 and they're muffins, it seems reasonable to put them down as 0 damage.
If that seems too much, reducing the robots' ST will give them lower thrust damage and reduce the damage.

According to the rules on page 355, a ST 10 robot can throw any of these objects up to STx3.5 = 35 yards. The thrown weapons in the thrown weapons list on page 276 seem to have ranges more like STx1/x1.5 for 1 lb weapons and STx0.5/x1 for lighter ones, though. Anyhow, bothering about ranges may be too much complication for a newbie game.

So, possibly -
Drink can, damage 1d-3 cr, 1/2D 10 yards, Max 15 yards.
Coffee cup, damage 1d-3 burn (non-incendiary), 1/2D 10 yards, Max 15 yards.
Muffin, damage 0 cr, 1/2D 5 yards, Max 10 yards.

Meanwhile, to catch it - page 373 says "A thrown weapon travels fairly slowly. Your target has the option of using a block or a parry active defense instead of a dodge. Success by 5+ (or critical success) with an unarmed parry means your target has caught the weapon!". So by RAW their chances seem to be very low unless they have high DX or one or more high unarmed combat skills, although an AoD might make it easier. As PTTG says, it might make sense just to set it to whatever is difficult but not impossible for the PCs.
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Old 12-30-2022, 07:51 PM   #6
Fred Brackin
 
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Default Re: Damage From an Evil Vending Machine

Quote:
Originally Posted by Apollonian View Post
As for catching, 60mph seems to be a typical fastball speed in baseball (maybe even a bit slow), .
Very slow. Anyone who can throw at 95 mph or faster is considered to be "hot stuff" and Nolan Ryan at 105 mph.....well there was a reason he had 7 career no hitters.

In the Majors I would expect that anyone who couldn't throw at 90 mph to be asking "Have you seen my curve ball?".

The poster above who brought up the Hand catch Technique of Parry Missile Weapoon was correct though soda cans at 60mph would probably give a bonus like thrown axes and spears.

The Throwing rules aren't really "good" rules but they should be relevant. Just give the soda machines a ST for Throwing and you've got Range and Damage (and probably at levels that won't kill PCs on lucky damage rolls).
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Old 12-30-2022, 09:37 PM   #7
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Default Re: Damage From an Evil Vending Machine

What do you think about the idea of having at least one soda machine with special ammunition? If it's been contained for that long who's to say that some of the questionable additives in that pre-apocalyptic soda hasn't broken down into harsh chemicals? So instead of just dealing crushing damage, the bursting soda can create a 1 yd diameter cloud of vapor which requires a hot+1 roll versus being nauseated for D3 turns?

Maybe let the players make an intelligence role to recognize what flavor the vending machines say they are about to launch so they know when to use their action to close their eyes and their mouths with their hand for a turn.
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Old 12-30-2022, 10:52 PM   #8
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Default Re: Damage From an Evil Vending Machine

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Originally Posted by Fred Brackin View Post
Very slow. Anyone who can throw at 95 mph or faster is considered to be "hot stuff" and Nolan Ryan at 105 mph.....well there was a reason he had 7 career no hitters.
Also how he gave me a concussion with a tomato. :(
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Old 12-30-2022, 10:58 PM   #9
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Default Re: Damage From an Evil Vending Machine

There's been more than one fatality recorded from people being hit in the head with thrown full beer cans. Getting hit with a 3/4 lb missile wrapped in metal at 60 mph is no joke.
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Old 12-31-2022, 02:53 AM   #10
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Default Re: Damage From an Evil Vending Machine

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Originally Posted by Apollonian View Post
As for catching, 60mph seems to be a typical fastball speed in baseball (maybe even a bit slow), so it should definitely be doable for moderately athletic PCs... assuming they see it coming.
I was going to suggest a baseball comparison too (simply because pitches are missiles of known speed). 60 mph is considerably slower than top-speed fastballs (90+ or even 100+ mph), but is impressive all the same. So if I had to make a quick call, I think I'd treat the soda can in question as a rock thrown w/ ST 12-14.
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