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Old 07-28-2023, 08:32 AM   #31
Fred Brackin
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Default Re: Help a noobie understand critical hits

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Originally Posted by Colonel__Klink View Post

Lol well the core rules I am going with are 4th edition. I got the VTM book off ebay to have a jumping off point for the vampires in the campaign as I like they fit the theme of powerful, "magical" beings of the night. This is not to be VTM but I used it as an example here of the reasoning behind why I want to re-write all the damage models in the game for my campaign.
I don't think you need to do that. Gurps 4e has plenty of tools to achieve what you want. don't use rules from V:tM though. It's 30 years out of date and was a bit dubious to begin with.
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Old 07-28-2023, 08:51 AM   #32
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Default Re: Help a noobie understand critical hits

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Originally Posted by Donny Brook View Post
I feel you.

Calibrating lethality of encounters in an unfamiliar game system can be challenging.
This. I'm very sympathetic to this issue. This is always a big adjustment players make when coming to GURPS, particularly from The Other Game (tm): weapons are realistically deadly. Indeed, the problem isn't that GURPS models guns poorly; it's that it models them all too well. Rifles are exceptionally good at hurting and killing people, and that's reflected in the rules, and most people (including me) aren't used to that. The very first time I played GURPS, one of the PCs took a single hit from a gun and went down. One of the players turned to the others and exclaimed with some surprise "People can get hurt!"

What this means is that you can't approach combat in GURPS as an attritional battle of hit points. Rather, the first, best option is not to get spotted by your enemy. If you do get spotted, the next best thing is not to get hit. If you do get hit, the next best thing is to avoid damage.

Therefore, it's unwise to just go wading into a fight. Characters should try to avoid fights, and if they can't, they should attempt to engineer circumstances in their favor. Say, if there's a position they can't bypass, they should arrange an ambush, cause a distraction so that they can attack from an unexpected direction, or the like. Stealth (for straight-up sneakiness), social skills (for talking your way out of potential trouble), and in this case supernatural abilities to sway minds and such are really useful.

This has further implications for building characters. Pure HP are expensive and not necessarily that useful. A supernatural-ish character should look at advantages like enhanced defenses to avoid being hit, DR and Injury Tolerance to reduce the effect of hits, and Rapid Healing and Recovery to bounce back faster.

Also keep in mind that in order to do damage, Farmer John has to hit what he's shooting at. His skill level probably isn't very high. If he's rushed and doesn't have time to aim, he's not likely to hit, particularly if there's a vampire out there in the dark where he can't see or lurking around the farm with a high enough Move and level of stealth that the vampire can go from cover to cover without being detected until it's too late.

Then there's that "sauce for the goose" thing. You note that body armor can give mere humans a pretty high DR. All right. So why wouldn't the vampire put on a tactical vest as well?

Anyway, the point of all this is that combat in GURPS is very sensitive to environmental conditions and tactical choices. mburr referred to whiteboarding, which I think is a significant point. It is indeed the case, as you've figured out, that some bozo with a modern rifle can kill the hell out of all kinds of things. There's a classic example in discussions here of how character points don't equal combat effectiveness, with a 25-point child soldier with an AK effortlessly taking out a 200 point accountant. But one of the great and terrible things about GURPS is that it makes setting and player choices very meaningful. Sure, Farmer John can theoretically splatter the vampire's undead guts all over the side of the barn, but the vampire can see to it that he doesn't get the chance.
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Old 07-28-2023, 09:16 AM   #33
Varyon
 
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Default Re: Help a noobie understand critical hits

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Originally Posted by Colonel__Klink View Post
Everyone seems offended I would dare to pare down the weapon damage exactly as you recommended ;P.
I mean, if your players are fine with potentially getting one-shotted by a random farmer, there's not really a problem with that being a possibility. That said, I do think simply increasing the characters' resilience against such attacks is probably the way to go.

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Originally Posted by Colonel__Klink View Post
Specifically it's cyberpunk with Vampires as a contrast.
I'll note that, in a cyberpunk setting, nobody is going to look askance at your characters for using some low-profile body armor. A more consistently-performing version of Pinnacle Armor's Dragon Skin might be available. The stats for the Advanced Body Armor in High Tech would work for a TL 9 specimen (HT has it available at TL8, but that was released back when the only data for the armor were bad data, putting it as consistently performing much better than it ultimately turned out to). That protects against up to 10d pi (it's DR 35 against piercing), so you could get away with a thinner version if you're only expecting to go up against 7d or so. So that's another possible option you could use.
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Old 07-28-2023, 10:34 AM   #34
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Default Re: Help a noobie understand critical hits

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Originally Posted by whswhs View Post
Part of this is that hit points don't mean the same thing in GURPS and in D&D. In D&D, hit points reflect how large and tough you are, which is why ogres and giants and such have lots of them. But they also reflect how skillfully you move to avoid being hit or at least to minimize damage, which is part of why they increase as you gain levels; and they reflect your luck. Neither of those is handled by increasing hit points in GURPS. You can buy up your DX, which raises your Basic Speed and your Dodge; or buy up your Basic Speed, which raises your Dodge; or buy Enhanced Dodge; or buy Combat Reflexes, which gives +1 to all your defenses. If your Dodge goes, say, from 9 to 10, you have decreased your foe's chance of hitting you by one-fifth, which is like raising your hit points from 10 to 12.5. Or you can buy Luck directly.

If either dodging or Luck works, you avoid being hit. Entirely. So instead of having a certain increase in how much damage you can stand, you have a probable avoidance of all damage. In the long run, these reduce your average damage per combat similarly—but with the GURPS way, there's always that element of risk.

On the other hand, you can get pretty impressive results. Back when I wrote GURPS Supers (for 4/e), a friend of mine invited me into a campaign using it. I created a speedster, La Gata Encantada. She had DX 19, and Basic Speed 12, which gave her Dodge-15, and Enhanced Time Sense made this Dodge-16; and if she made an Acrobatics roll (using her Move!-19), that increased to Dodge-17. So she failed to dodge only once in 54 attacks. I did give her some DR—motorcycle helmet, leathers, and boots—as a little insurance; but I never actually saw her hit. (Though a critical success on an attack could have done a number on her!)
TBH, that is sort of what I was thinking overall with the setting. It's kind of sad that every character is just going to be spamming speed as much as they can (making all my mercs in my setting all the "burners" named such because they generally burn up when they are used almost entirely the same) but what can you do....

My concern was about a game going sour because of one lucky dice roll against the players. That's a BIG concern for me tbh!


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Originally Posted by Turhan's Bey Company View Post
Therefore, it's unwise to just go wading into a fight. Characters should try to avoid fights,
This is a type of campaign I'm not interested in playing. If the core rules are so realistic that people aren't allowed to be heroes then there isn't any point in playing the game (as it ceases to be fun, it's as boring an inanely oppressive as reality.) That's why I've talked about redoing the damage model to make this into a game to be played. Not sit around and drink tea while RPing hour. I write comics all day every day, I know people who just RP in discord. They don't need a game system to do that. The game system is to allow contests, contests including COMBAT to be resolved in the RP.

A TTRPG that tells you that combat is a fools errand and shouldn't be done belongs in a trash can.

Fortunately gurps basic structure for characters and skill contests is amazing. It allows me to build what I want and all it requires is adjustment of damage models...

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Originally Posted by Varyon View Post
I mean, if your players are fine with potentially getting one-shotted by a random farmer, there's not really a problem with that being a possibility. That said, I do think simply increasing the characters' resilience against such attacks is probably the way to go.



I'll note that, in a cyberpunk setting, nobody is going to look askance at your characters for using some low-profile body armor. A more consistently-performing version of Pinnacle Armor's Dragon Skin might be available. The stats for the Advanced Body Armor in High Tech would work for a TL 9 specimen (HT has it available at TL8, but that was released back when the only data for the armor were bad data, putting it as consistently performing much better than it ultimately turned out to). That protects against up to 10d pi (it's DR 35 against piercing), so you could get away with a thinner version if you're only expecting to go up against 7d or so. So that's another possible option you could use.
TBH low profile armor jackets being the norm were what I was thinking as I was doing my own equipment list and keeping in mind players can layer armor. Players could layer a vest under an armored jacket that is designed to look stylish. Maybe doesn't have rifle plate inserts but the two together can provide some decent DR.
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Old 07-28-2023, 10:52 AM   #35
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Default Re: Help a noobie understand critical hits

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Originally Posted by Colonel__Klink View Post
A TTRPG that tells you that combat is a fools errand and shouldn't be done belongs in a trash can.
Combat is a fools' errand if you don't have traits that allow you to consistently survive combat. If you want characters who are Big Damn Heroes, you'll need to build them as Big Damn Heroes, and use the optional rules that support playing as Big Damn Heroes. For your vampires, Injury Tolerance: Unliving and Unkillable 1 will likely cover them in most cases. Sure, that's [70] out of their point budget, but the former will make them much more resilient against firearms while the latter will keep them alive (albeit not necessarily in the fight, as once they drop below 0 HP they'll have to make HT rolls each round - penalized as they drop to -1xHP, -2xHP, etc - to avoid passing out), meaning so long as someone stays up, they should be able to drag the others to somewhere safe to heal (and even if everyone is beaten, their attackers could either just leave them for dead or capture them rather than finishing them off).

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Originally Posted by Colonel__Klink View Post
TBH low profile armor jackets being the norm were what I was thinking as I was doing my own equipment list and keeping in mind players can layer armor. Players could layer a vest under an armored jacket that is designed to look stylish. Maybe doesn't have rifle plate inserts but the two together can provide some decent DR.
I'll note Dragon Skin style armor essentially takes the jazerant concept and applies it to scale armor (rather than mail), and further makes those scales out of advanced ceramic rather than metal; the resulting armor is flexible (albeit not as much as just wearing Reflex armor or similar) but has no need of plate inserts. So they could easily get away with just that. Then again, a Reflex jacket over a Reflex bodysuit would give a total of DR 24 vs pi, which will stop an average hit from that 7d pi rifle (but only just - 7d averages 24.5 damage), if the characters are willing to deal with the IIRC -1 to DX from layering armor.
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Old 07-28-2023, 11:54 AM   #36
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Default Re: Help a noobie understand critical hits

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Originally Posted by Colonel__Klink View Post
TBH, that is sort of what I was thinking overall with the setting. It's kind of sad that every character is just going to be spamming speed as much as they can (making all my mercs in my setting all the "burners" named such because they generally burn up when they are used almost entirely the same) but what can you do....

My concern was about a game going sour because of one lucky dice roll against the players. That's a BIG concern for me tbh!
Make sure people have Luck, and they can reroll the dice when things go sour. Or Destiny Points. Or you allow spending CP to buy success. There are a lot of ways to handle narrative control.

Again, I ran a long-running series of fantasy, modern day, and sci-fi games online with a diverse pool of PCs, probably 70+ across all the games, and the games were generally intended to be quite lethal. PCs regularly went into the negative HPs, but I think I legitimately killed 4 PCs in combat, and never because of a single bad roll[1].

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Originally Posted by Colonel__Klink View Post
This is a type of campaign I'm not interested in playing. If the core rules are so realistic that people aren't allowed to be heroes
Properly built PCs, playing against not-overpowering opposition, can be foolish or heroic or whatever you want to call it. And not everyone has to be a high DX Dodge monkey to survive combat: it is possible to build an armored, high HP warrior who wades into the thick of combat and takes hits, it's just harder (especially in the modern day when armor is weaker and guns are more dangerous).

If you're really worried, Survivable Guns (all guns do half damage, but have armor piercing 2) is an official and likely sufficient house rule. If that .30-06 rifle that Farmer Joe uses to shoot the vampire with only does 3d+2 (2) pi, the unarmored vampire with Unliving takes an average of 4 injury per shot if the vampire is entirely unarmored. If you assume that a blood point heals HP/2 injury per point expended (which I would argue is the minimum correspondence between WW style wound levels and GURPS HP), then it's a mere 1 blood point to fix each bullet wound - and even less if you make vampires buy some extra HP as part of their template to represent additional undead resilience.


[1] Firefly the pixie had 2 HP (total) when her party missed spotting a tripwire and a load of poisonous gas poisons shattered in front of her and she failed to retreat out of the gas clouds and took 8 points of injury and was killed. But that wasn't a single bad roll: the scout's Danger Sense failed and 6 people failed Vision checks and Firefly botched her Dodge and then failed her HT check (and her Luck wasn't up for some reason, I forget why).
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Old 07-28-2023, 12:27 PM   #37
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Default Re: Help a noobie understand critical hits

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Originally Posted by Colonel__Klink View Post
My concern was about a game going sour because of one lucky dice roll against the players. That's a BIG concern for me tbh!
Seconding mlangsdorf - there is literally an Advantage that expressly and directly addresses that!

Luck is how you get the 'I'm too much of a main character to just eat a bullet here' effect in GURPS.
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Originally Posted by Colonel__Klink View Post
This is a type of campaign I'm not interested in playing. If the core rules are so realistic that people aren't allowed to be heroes then there isn't any point in playing the game (as it ceases to be fun, it's as boring an inanely oppressive as reality.) That's why I've talked about redoing the damage model to make this into a game to be played. Not sit around and drink tea while RPing hour. I write comics all day every day, I know people who just RP in discord. They don't need a game system to do that. The game system is to allow contests, contests including COMBAT to be resolved in the RP.

A TTRPG that tells you that combat is a fools errand and shouldn't be done belongs in a trash can.
GURPS doesn't tell you combat is a fool's errand. Necessarily.

It does do a couple of things:

- It has less infrastructure than some other games to make sure you've set the table so the players won't lose a fight. (That you should avoid fights you would lose is not a difference between GURPS and most games.)

- If you don't specifically take advantages or custom rules to mitigate it, it makes it significantly possible (though still to a less-than-realistic extent) that even a properly-weighted fight that the PCs win as intended will kill PCs, which many tables don't like. Especially if you're playing with firearms - it's a lot harder to get one-shot dead by humans with muscle-powered weapons. (Though quite easy if you're hit by a dragon or a giant or something.)


Also a third thing that you really want to have some exotic healing available if you're expecting PCs to get in fights and bounce back fast. You decidedly don't recover all your HP on a long rest here unless by 'long rest' we mean 'extended hospital stay'. You've likely already taken care of this, but if not heads up.



While you can hack the heck out of it if you really want to, GURPS base gun lethality fits fairly well with most media other than video games and Dungeons and Dragons - people who aren't very weird don't treat getting shot as a regular day-at-the-office experience, even if they are regularly involved in serious violence. Getting shot at might not be a big deal to them but getting shot is.
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Old 07-28-2023, 12:59 PM   #38
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Default Re: Help a noobie understand critical hits

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Originally Posted by mlangsdorf View Post
Make sure people have Luck, and they can reroll the dice when things go sour. Or Destiny Points. Or you allow spending CP to buy success. There are a lot of ways to handle narrative control.

Again, I ran a long-running series of fantasy, modern day, and sci-fi games online with a diverse pool of PCs, probably 70+ across all the games, and the games were generally intended to be quite lethal. PCs regularly went into the negative HPs, but I think I legitimately killed 4 PCs in combat, and never because of a single bad roll[1].



Properly built PCs, playing against not-overpowering opposition, can be foolish or heroic or whatever you want to call it. And not everyone has to be a high DX Dodge monkey to survive combat: it is possible to build an armored, high HP warrior who wades into the thick of combat and takes hits, it's just harder (especially in the modern day when armor is weaker and guns are more dangerous).

If you're really worried, Survivable Guns (all guns do half damage, but have armor piercing 2) is an official and likely sufficient house rule. If that .30-06 rifle that Farmer Joe uses to shoot the vampire with only does 3d+2 (2) pi, the unarmored vampire with Unliving takes an average of 4 injury per shot if the vampire is entirely unarmored. If you assume that a blood point heals HP/2 injury per point expended (which I would argue is the minimum correspondence between WW style wound levels and GURPS HP), then it's a mere 1 blood point to fix each bullet wound - and even less if you make vampires buy some extra HP as part of their template to represent additional undead resilience.


[1] Firefly the pixie had 2 HP (total) when her party missed spotting a tripwire and a load of poisonous gas poisons shattered in front of her and she failed to retreat out of the gas clouds and took 8 points of injury and was killed. But that wasn't a single bad roll: the scout's Danger Sense failed and 6 people failed Vision checks and Firefly botched her Dodge and then failed her HT check (and her Luck wasn't up for some reason, I forget why).
The survivable guns sounds shockingly close to what I was thinking. I have most pistols in the 1d range and most assault rifles as 2d(2) weapons.

A crappy little .32 being 1d6-1 giving a 50% chance of a roll of 2 or less which won't penetrate a heavy leather jacket in my equipment list (dr 2) . Surprisingly... that's fairly realistic (even though that isn't my goal) that's why so many armies stopped using .32s even though they were once the most popular self loading pistol cartridge in the world.

This thread has been very productive though. I don't know if I'd ever get zany enough in damage models to exploit it but now I know the more dice you roll, the more the results will drift statistically toward the median. So I can control and push toward the median by adding dice then doing a -6, -12 whatever at the end. Kinda weird to think about but it might be a terrible headache to deal with. Much like I'm trying to figure out how to make calculating all the wound modifiers bearable.

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Originally Posted by Varyon View Post
Combat is a fools' errand if you don't have traits that allow you to consistently survive combat. If you want characters who are Big Damn Heroes, you'll need to build them as Big Damn Heroes, and use the optional rules that support playing as Big Damn Heroes. For your vampires, Injury Tolerance: Unliving and Unkillable 1 will likely cover them in most cases. Sure, that's [70] out of their point budget, but the former will make them much more resilient against firearms while the latter will keep them alive (albeit not necessarily in the fight, as once they drop below 0 HP they'll have to make HT rolls each round - penalized as they drop to -1xHP, -2xHP, etc - to avoid passing out), meaning so long as someone stays up, they should be able to drag the others to somewhere safe to heal (and even if everyone is beaten, their attackers could either just leave them for dead or capture them rather than finishing them off).



I'll note Dragon Skin style armor essentially takes the jazerant concept and applies it to scale armor (rather than mail), and further makes those scales out of advanced ceramic rather than metal; the resulting armor is flexible (albeit not as much as just wearing Reflex armor or similar) but has no need of plate inserts. So they could easily get away with just that. Then again, a Reflex jacket over a Reflex bodysuit would give a total of DR 24 vs pi, which will stop an average hit from that 7d pi rifle (but only just - 7d averages 24.5 damage), if the characters are willing to deal with the IIRC -1 to DX from layering armor.
Well TBH the human players will have lots of points in cybernetics possibly. Unliving wouldn't be that bad of a scale for the vampires. What really got me on this trip against the damage model (people have talked me down from it before) was seeing how pathetic something like vampire fortitude which requires 16 points in the power, 10 fatigue points spent AND a skill roll against a M:VH skill (that they have to pay points out of the wazoo for) in order to activate... As I started editing and correcting so the vampires would work it really made me feel like there was a bigger problem I wasn't addressing. Armor in the game TL8+ has to start having absolutely INSANE levels of DR to compensate for weapons hitting with 7-8 dice as an example. Even though frankly a 5.56 bullet if you're being realistic isn't going to hit someone harder than a big ol axe to the chest....

Celerity (vampire haste) was easier to fix. That originally just gave additional attacks and a move bonus. I just gotta find the right balance of the basic speed bonus which will allow a vampire at max power level to dodge bullets like crazy, the human counterpart would be something like a sandevisitan implant out of cyberpunk 2077 that would just absolutely consume fatigue points but save a burner's life when caught with his pants down.

As a basic template I was imagining that my players would all have combat reflexes (+1 defense) and high pain threshhold. My understanding is that removes the defenses halved debuff when they have low HP correct? Sadly there doesn't seem to be much more to help other than dumping into HT , Dex and finally HP. High stat character not skill and HEAVY into 18 HT or something.....
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Old 07-28-2023, 02:18 PM   #39
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Default Re: Help a noobie understand critical hits

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Originally Posted by Colonel__Klink View Post
Even though frankly a 5.56 bullet if you're being realistic isn't going to hit someone harder than a big ol axe to the chest....
Why are you sure about that?
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Old 07-28-2023, 02:48 PM   #40
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Default Re: Help a noobie understand critical hits

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Why are you sure about that?
I was wondering that myself. The kinetic energy of a 5.56mm rifle round is in the neighborhood of 1800 joules. A human fist blow has a lot less energy than that; I've seen various estimates, but if you set aside blows from heavyweight boxing champions, it looks as if the order of magnitude is about 1/10 as much. I'd expect an axe to have less kinetic energy than a bullet.
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