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Old 05-21-2010, 05:51 PM   #1
TJA
 
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Default Rationale for the progression of ST-based damage

Hello,
again, i am wondering about the ST-based progression of damage in GURPS.

The following is JUST about the game mechanics and the game system itself.
It has *nothing* to do with playability or realism or whatever ...

Please reply, if you are interested in such ramblings about game-systems and how to change them :)


OK:

swing damage starts at 1d for ST 10, thrust damage at about half of that.

Then, this progression balances around this relationship: swing damage about double as high as thrust damage (ST 22 with thr 2d and sw 4d).

Then, both align more and more till they are nearly the same.

It ends up with 15000d sw damage and 14997d thr damage for an M Super.
Just the same ...

BUT:

Should swing damage not *always* be better than a thrust?
You can only swing with a large weapon - depending on your ST, this can be a huge thing.

Would hammering someone with the Eiffel tower, swinging it, not be much more efficient than stabing with the same tower?

Sheer physically, it seems to me that swing should do more than thrust.
About double as much damage (like from the first ST levels from the Damage Table) seems not wrong ...

I do not know enough physics to be sure that swing damage should be about double as high as thrust damage - but it seems a usable way to handle it.


Why is the GURPS system instead build around the above progression?
Is there a physical explanation beyond my knowledge and understanding (which is easy)?

I am thinking about another progression:

swing damage: ( ST - 10 ) / 3.5 + 1 dice

thrust damage: ( ST - 10 ) / 7 + 1 dice

Round that up or down on the borders using regular -2/-1/+1/+2 boni

Taking only the straight numbers of dice from this table, you get:

Code:
ST 10: sw 1d, thr 1d
ST 17: sw 3d, thr 2d
ST 24: sw 5d, thr 3d
ST 31: sw 7d, thr 4d
ST 38: sw 9d, thr 5d
ST 45: sw 11d, thr 6d
ST 52: sw 13d, thr 7d
ST 59: sw 15d, thr 8d
ST 66: sw 17d, thr 9d
ST 73: sw 19d, thr 10d
ST 80: sw 21d, thr 11d
ST 87: sw 23d, thr 12d
ST 94: sw 25d, thr 13d
ST 101: sw 27d, thr 14d
[...]
So, every 7 levels of ST, thrust gets +1d and swing gets +2d
A bit more generous than the original table, but mostly the same for thrusts:

You could modify thrust damage to start a bit lower - like in the Damage Table, but this shall be an example only.

This is *quite* similar to the regular Damage Table (B16) at the "human" levels and ends up with nearly the same damage for thrusting attacks at ST 100 (which is 13d at ST 100).

It gives swing damage constantly the double damage.

The table is logical and can even be remembered / calculated on the fly.

So, it has the flair of being elegant :)

What do you think?

Ending with swing at the same level as thrust does not seem to be realistic.
Or?


(This is just an example of calculation and progression - i was wondering about the existing damage table)
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Last edited by TJA; 05-21-2010 at 05:56 PM.
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Old 05-22-2010, 01:43 AM   #2
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Default Re: Rationale for the progression of ST-based damage

Well, in my games, I house ruled that the table "does not slow down", and continues as +1d thr/+2d sw per +8 ST, forever. Only weapons can do sw damage (I know there are a couple unarmed techniques that also deal sw damage, but they're nasty grapples, and I completely agree with that), and weapons have min ST and max ST=3xMin ST. If you can get a weapon massive enough that it allows you to make use of your huge ST, then you should be allowed to gain a significant benefit. Levers are after all force multipliers.

That, along with forbidding Super Effort for damage, and providing other force multipliers such as Karate, Weapon Master or Imbuements allows ST-based heroes to compete fairly with innate attack based heroes in my games
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Old 05-22-2010, 11:51 AM   #3
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Default Re: Rationale for the progression of ST-based damage

I have to admit, I've wondered about this for a long time but I've never needed ST levels high enough for it to be noticeable.
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Old 05-22-2010, 12:55 PM   #4
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Default Re: Rationale for the progression of ST-based damage

Quote:
Originally Posted by TJA View Post
Should swing damage not *always* be better than a thrust?
You can only swing with a large weapon - depending on your ST, this can be a huge thing.
Since you indicated that you're not talking about realism or balance, only mechanics: no, if the book says they even out then that's what happens.
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Old 05-22-2010, 01:01 PM   #5
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Default Re: Rationale for the progression of ST-based damage

Quote:
Originally Posted by TJA View Post
Why is the GURPS system instead build around the above progression?
Legacy tables. ST damage at low levels is unmodified since at least 2nd edition, and probably since 1st edition. High ST (26+) was modified during 3rd edition, probably so you could have a reasonably strong character who did only high instead of ludicrous damage (not sure if Supers originally modified the tables, or something else).
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Old 05-22-2010, 01:16 PM   #6
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Default Re: Rationale for the progression of ST-based damage

If we're going to muck with stuff, one can really do a few things that would be big changes to current GURPS, probably ripple through the system costs a bit, but would be very interesting.

for example, one of the issues with ST-based damage is how quickly it adds up to "I can punch or hit you with a stick with more wounding and penetration than an assault rifle." this is especially egregious with swing damage, particularly in combination with things like Weapon Master.

Fundamentally, the damage scale in GURPS is wargamy...one point of ST is one point of swing damage; everything else is secondary.

But it doesn't scale well with much else.

One "fix" I've been tempted to try is to make basic damage equal to ST/10 dice. Swing would be (say) double this (though that represents 4x as much energy in the blow...double damage is a big deal).

This would mean ST10 is 1d, ST20 only 2d thrust; at 1.5x, that would be about 1d+2 and 3d, respectively, for swing.

The modifiers (like broadsword doing sw+1) would then also scale, as (say) +1/die.

This makes low ST have higher damage than usual, and high ST have lower damage. ST50 would only be 5d thrust, ST100 is 10d, etc.

Bows would then scale better and could use the ST scale without immediately outclassing guns.

We'd have to look at what that does for practical requirements for DR, encumbrance, and cost of ST.

But it also puts the progression of damage more in line with the other things that go into ST, like applied force.
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Old 05-22-2010, 06:50 PM   #7
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Default Re: Rationale for the progression of ST-based damage

I slapped together a table to analyze this for 4ed: http://darekun.dnsdojo.net/BasicDamage.html
(uses JavaScript and <CANVAS>, only tested in Firefox 2)

Basically, from ST: 10 to ST: 27 swing is twice thrust, and thrust is roughly linear; up to ST: 10 the same is true, but with a different line, so it hits the origin; and above ST: 27, swing settles down to thrust+2d.

Quote:
Originally Posted by TJA View Post
Should swing damage not *always* be better than a thrust?
I think this is one of those abstracted assumptions of GURPS; swing damage is "thrust damage with a longer lever arm".

Which points out one of the answers I saw in 3ed for this - it's characteristic of the human body. Which would mean the damage table is wrong for housecats and rhinoceroses.

Back in 3ed, for games like Here There Be Dragons(where the PCs are all dragons awakening in a vaguely-Shadowrun-esque world), I linearized damage - there was a base roll(I think it was 2d), which was multiplied by ST, multiplied for lever arm(swing was double thrust, but large weapons had higher multipliers instead of plusses), and then divided by a constant(100 or something round like that). Usually each weapon's net multiplier would be precalculated. I still think something like that is a more-accurate way to go.



For the "GURPS in quadrature" idea I've been working on(squaring all damage and DR, probably with a scaling constant, for reasons of realism), it may be convenient to use a calculation like the one for Basic Lift.
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Old 05-24-2010, 05:50 AM   #8
TJA
 
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Default Re: Rationale for the progression of ST-based damage

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kuroshima View Post
Well, in my games, I house ruled that the table "does not slow down", and continues as +1d thr/+2d sw per +8 ST, forever. Only weapons can do sw damage (I know there are a couple unarmed techniques that also deal sw damage, but they're nasty grapples, and I completely agree with that), and weapons have min ST and max ST=3xMin ST. If you can get a weapon massive enough that it allows you to make use of your huge ST, then you should be allowed to gain a significant benefit. Levers are after all force multipliers.

That, along with forbidding Super Effort for damage, and providing other force multipliers such as Karate, Weapon Master or Imbuements allows ST-based heroes to compete fairly with innate attack based heroes in my games
Physically, i think the lever effect depends on the length of the weapon.
But doubling thr damage to get sw damage seems to be an acceptable shortcut for such calculations.

I wrote down such an calculation:

http://www.server.de/DamageTableST.html

So far, i like it :)
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Last edited by TJA; 06-04-2010 at 07:07 PM.
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Old 05-24-2010, 05:51 AM   #9
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Default Re: Rationale for the progression of ST-based damage

Quote:
Originally Posted by Anthony View Post
Legacy tables. ST damage at low levels is unmodified since at least 2nd edition, and probably since 1st edition. High ST (26+) was modified during 3rd edition, probably so you could have a reasonably strong character who did only high instead of ludicrous damage (not sure if Supers originally modified the tables, or something else).
Thanx for the information ...

That helps me to get away with it for myself :)
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Old 05-24-2010, 06:05 AM   #10
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Default Re: Rationale for the progression of ST-based damage

kinda skimmed through the posts, but a thing to consider:

weapon damage, is largely based on two different things for thrusting and swinging.

Thrusting get's a bonus for small, pointy surfaces... for example, thrusting a warhammer with a flat top isn't very efficient, and doesn't get thr+3 like a spear.

Swing damage of the weapon however, is based on mass, and can vary a lot. The Eiffel Tower probably gets a BIG swing bonus.

So that'll increase the difference a little.

Granted, at some point this becomes irrelevant, you use weapons for the cutting or impaling modifier... to conver, rather than increase damage.

Also, by your proposal, you end up with incredible differences in damage. Which means a guy with half the ST can do as much damage as a guy with double the ST if the first is using swinging weapons and the second is using thrusting. This sort of makes everything extreme.

I'm kind of comfortable with the current model, can't say if it's logical or not, but it works for me. The very few times that I stated gods in my settings, it played rather well, and allowed our divine/demonic entities to use whatever weapons fit their style, instead of all using warhammers or something.
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