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Old 04-19-2016, 02:58 AM   #1
Bicorn
 
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Default Snakes and Size Modifier

The SMs given for snakes on the writeups on p. B458 seem to imply that a snake's SM is 2 less than the SM determined by their length. Is this explicitly stated anywhere in the books?
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Old 04-19-2016, 04:56 AM   #2
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Default Re: Snakes and Size Modifier

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The SMs given for snakes on the writeups on p. B458 seem to imply that a snake's SM is 2 less than the SM determined by their length. Is this explicitly stated anywhere in the books?
I don't think so, no.

There is a rule (BS550) that if an object is much smaller in 2 of 3 dimensions, which is...pretty accurate for a snake, you use the smallest dimension instead of the largest. But that would make snakes a lot more than -2 SM relative to their length.

(That bit also only really makes sense when SM is viewed solely as a modifier to projectile or thrusting attacks. It's really easy to hit a stick with another stick!)

Does the SM line up with their mass? (To do SM by mass, not actually recommended: calculate HP/ST by mass per BS558, using half the value for Unliving objects to get the value for a living creature. Then divide that by 5, retaining fractions, and use the resulting number as a linear measurement in yards on the Size and Speed/Range Table.)
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Old 04-19-2016, 07:46 AM   #3
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Default Re: Snakes and Size Modifier

I always found it a little weird that Basic has rules for increasing effective SM for thick objects (+2 for box/sphere, +1 for elongated box) but nothing for the opposite. -2 for a long thin object feels like a good houserule of thumb.
(Also I've never liked any of the mechanics that try to match hp with mass. I find the system works better when the mechanics based on abstracted characteristics and the ones based on real-world measurements are kept largely separate.)
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Old 04-19-2016, 07:49 AM   #4
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Default Re: Snakes and Size Modifier

When you look at the modifiers for shape, it shows that SM is really more about volume than length/height. Adjusting by -1 or -2 for slimness is entirely appropriate in my opinion.
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Old 04-19-2016, 08:34 AM   #5
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Default Re: Snakes and Size Modifier

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(Also I've never liked any of the mechanics that try to match hp with mass. I find the system works better when the mechanics based on abstracted characteristics and the ones based on real-world measurements are kept largely separate.)
Not achievable. Damage is based on real world measurements, at least nominally. (And pretty strongly in the case of bullet damage.)

Also, HP needs to be linked to real-world measurements for it to be possible to stat any real thing...
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Old 04-19-2016, 11:25 AM   #6
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Default Re: Snakes and Size Modifier

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When you look at the modifiers for shape, it shows that SM is really more about volume than length/height. Adjusting by -1 or -2 for slimness is entirely appropriate in my opinion.
I agree with this assessment.

In the case of snakes, I often think, "what would the snake's SM be if it was curled up for support and only the front 1/3 was 'erect'?" This isn't a hard-and-fast rule with a formula backing it up, though, as it is an eyeballed guideline.

YMMV
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Old 04-19-2016, 11:28 AM   #7
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Default Re: Snakes and Size Modifier

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When you look at the modifiers for shape, it shows that SM is really more about volume than length/height.
Given its mechanical effects, it really should be about area.
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Old 04-19-2016, 02:44 PM   #8
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Default Re: Snakes and Size Modifier

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Given its mechanical effects, it really should be about area.
Except that would make snakes require more food and water than comparably massed mammals, which is of course silly.
SM is all over the place in Gurps for anything not human shaped.
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Old 04-19-2016, 02:48 PM   #9
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Except that would make snakes require more food and water than comparably massed mammals, which is of course silly.
The primary effects of SM are modifiers to attacking and perception. However, a mammalian snake would require more food than a more compact mammal of the same mass.
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Old 04-19-2016, 05:53 PM   #10
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The primary effects of SM are modifiers to attacking and perception. However, a mammalian snake would require more food than a more compact mammal of the same mass.
I never said mammalian snake. I said mammal of comparable mass, which is still silly. 30 lb snakes will not eat anywhere near as much as 30 lbs mammals.
Primary effects are for attacks, but that would mean we need SM for each dimension rather than R.A.W.'s longest only.
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