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Old 01-04-2024, 03:57 AM   #1
Werethunder
 
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Default Clarification Needed: Homogeneous Object HP Calculation in Supers vs Basic Set

Hello fellow GURPS enthusiasts,

I've come across a point of confusion regarding the calculation of hit points (HP) for homogeneous objects in GURPS Supers compared to the Basic Set... I'm hoping to gain some clarity or insights from the community.

In the Basic Set (p. B558), the formula for calculating HP of homogeneous objects is given as 8x the cube root of the object's weight in pounds. This implies that homogeneous objects are quite sturdy (even compared to machines).

However, in Supers (p. 76), the method for calculating an object's cover value (which involves HP) suggests dividing the HP of homogeneous objects by 4. This seems to indicate that homogeneous objects are less sturdy in super-powered scenarios.

This difference leads to a confusing situation where a homogeneous object like a rock or a tree trunk appears more fragile in a super-powered context than in a regular one, which seems counterintuitive.

I'm looking for clarification on this point:

1. Is there a specific reason for this difference in HP calculation between the two books?
2. Should the Supers method override the Basic Set in superhero games, or is this a case where GM discretion is advised?
3. Has anyone else encountered this issue, and how have you resolved it in your games?

Any insights or explanations would be greatly appreciated. Thank you in advance for your input!
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Old 01-04-2024, 05:47 AM   #2
zoncxs
 
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Default Re: Clarification Needed: Homogeneous Object HP Calculation in Supers vs Basic Set

After reading the rules, the one in Supers is explaining how to determine cover DR, not the objects HP value.

The example Supers provides:

"if a super tried to punch through a tree 8” thick to hit
someone hiding behind it, his punch would have to get
through DR 8 to get through the bark; 30/4 HP to punch
through the trunk; and another DR 8 to get out through the
bark on the other side. The tree would give cover DR of 24."

Basic Set gives an 8' thick tree 30HP and cover DR 8 found on the "Structural Damage Table".

Again, the rules in Supers is not calculating HP, its using the calculation to find cover DR.
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Old 01-04-2024, 05:52 AM   #3
sir_pudding
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Default Re: Clarification Needed: Homogeneous Object HP Calculation in Supers vs Basic Set

Cover DR is DR+HP/4; B408
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Old 01-04-2024, 06:07 AM   #4
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Default Re: Clarification Needed: Homogeneous Object HP Calculation in Supers vs Basic Set

zoncxs and sir pudding have it right. I would note, though, that in classic four-color comics, human beings are much harder to damage than inanimate objects (or trees, which are treated as if they were inanimate); effectively everything inanimate is much more breakable. So I'm not sure that what you're pointing at really is "counterintuitive."
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Old 01-04-2024, 07:02 AM   #5
Varyon
 
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Default Re: Clarification Needed: Homogeneous Object HP Calculation in Supers vs Basic Set

For completion, HP provides Cover DR to people/objects behind the one being shot through, but Unliving things have twice the HP of living ones of the same mass, while Homogenous things have twice the HP of Unliving ones of the same mass. So, living things provide Cover DR equal to their HP, Unliving things provide Cover DR equal to HP/2, and Homogenous things provide Cover DR equal to HP/4. This way, a living pig, a pig cadaver (or pig zombie), and a pig-shaped block of ballistics gel (or a pig golem) all provide the same Cover DR.

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Originally Posted by whswhs View Post
zoncxs and sir pudding have it right. I would note, though, that in classic four-color comics, human beings are much harder to damage than inanimate objects (or trees, which are treated as if they were inanimate); effectively everything inanimate is much more breakable. So I'm not sure that what you're pointing at really is "counterintuitive."
It probably wouldn't be inappropriate to treat inanimate objects as having something like 1/4 DR and HP in a Four-Color Supers setting. This also means normal humans will take less damage from being thrown through brick walls (which should probably shatter most of their bones, but in Four-Color settings is something that at most will knock them out).
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Old 01-04-2024, 07:48 AM   #6
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Default Re: Clarification Needed: Homogeneous Object HP Calculation in Supers vs Basic Set

Quote:
Originally Posted by Varyon View Post
It probably wouldn't be inappropriate to treat inanimate objects as having something like 1/4 DR and HP in a Four-Color Supers setting. This also means normal humans will take less damage from being thrown through brick walls (which should probably shatter most of their bones, but in Four-Color settings is something that at most will knock them out).
Alternatively, you could give people Hard to Kill 4, and inanimate objects Easy to Kill 4.
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Old 01-04-2024, 08:22 AM   #7
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Default Re: Clarification Needed: Homogeneous Object HP Calculation in Supers vs Basic Set

Cover DR is the damage it takes to make a hole all the way through some object before you can damage something on the other side. Total HP is the amount of damage something can take before it's rendered functionless. (Dead, broken, dismembered, whatever is appropriate.)

To expand on Varyon's list
Quote:
Originally Posted by Varyon View Post
This way, a living pig, a pig cadaver (or pig zombie), and a pig-shaped block of ballistics gel (or a pig golem) all provide the same Cover DR.
it's about equally hard to put a bullet all the way through any of those three.

However, it's relatively easy to kill a pig, as it's got all those complex living systems and organs to disrupt, so the pig has fewer HP than the zombie-pig, which is much harder to stop (matching the typical fictonal zombie). Hardest of all to "kill" is the block of ballistics gel. It's not armored, or huge, or tough. It's just that carving little tunnels through it with a rifle bullet doesn't really affect it much. It's still mostly a block of ballistics gel, continuing to sit where it was before, just a little misshapen. You'd have to break it into a lot of little pieces before it became unrecognizable and you couldn't find a new bullet track through it, whereas the real pig would have died long before you inflicted that much damage on it.
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Old 01-04-2024, 09:27 AM   #8
Werethunder
 
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Default Re: Clarification Needed: Homogeneous Object HP Calculation in Supers vs Basic Set

Hello everyone,

I wanted to express my gratitude to all of you who took the time to respond to my query regarding the calculation of HP for homogeneous objects in Supers and the Basic Set. Your insights have been incredibly helpful.

Firstly, I'd like to thank zoncxs and others who pointed out the focus on cover value in Supers. While I understand your perspective, my original question was indeed concerning the calculation of HP contribution to cover value, especially the specific method outlined on page 76 of Supers which seems to differ from the Basic Set approach in a first glance ("The usual rule for an object’s cover value is to determine its HP from its weight using the table on p. B558; divide this by 2 for machines, or by 4 for homogenous objects").

A special thanks to sir_pudding for highlighting the correlation between Cover Value and HP as per B408. This connection is crucial and helps to put things into perspective.

Most importantly, I'd like to extend my deepest thanks to Varyon and Anaraxes. Your careful explanations about how living, unliving, and homogeneous things each contribute differently to Cover Value, depending on their HP, really clarified the issue for me. The distinction you made — that living things provide Cover DR equal to their HP, unliving things provide Cover DR equal to HP/2, and homogeneous things provide Cover DR equal to HP/4 — was particularly enlightening. This approach makes sense and resolves the confusion around the apparent contradiction in the rules.

Thanks to everyone's contributions, I now have a much clearer understanding of how to handle these calculations in my games. It's discussions like this that make the GURPS community such a valuable resource!

Warm regards,
Werethunder

Last edited by Werethunder; 01-04-2024 at 10:19 AM. Reason: Giving credits also to another contributor.
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