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Maiming rules showcase and review

   
All right. Even without the degeneration I would suggest backing up a bit here.

A lot of what has been said in this thread is either moving the goalposts a bit (which type of dog, etc) or just wrong (I would advise you to look up the CR rules and understand them before we continue that bit of the discussion, etc). However, it's also sort of not the point. You're getting bogged down in the minutiae and arguing about stuff almost for the sake of it, when it's really not helping.

In fact, I would suggest that this focus on the minutiae is part of the problem. You've seen that the standard 3.5 rules have some shortcomings, especially in the fringe cases. So OK, one approach here is to tweak those fringe cases a bit (maybe you just add 5ft to the height at which you take falling damage - actually, people die frequently from 0ft falls, but minutiae again - etc). Your approach has been essentially to throw the baby out with the bathwater and start from scratch.

My question to you, then, is how did you derive these values? You said that it was hard to come up with concrete numbers for how much DR people are likely to have. Well, that's kind of understandable - but if you don't have at least a rough idea, and you also don't know how much damage people are likely to deal, then how can you know if your other numbers are at all appropriate?

In this sort of situation you need to get representative numbers, and also consider the edge cases. Here, it seems that minimum DR is 0 even when people have invested in it because of the damage-type bypass. Max DR could be quite high but probably not a patch on max damage. To make it easier, I suggest limiting the number of variables. Get a rough idea for what the DR system would look like using normal D&D weapon damage, and then if you really want to change weapon damage too adjust them both - but for the most part (not including any special extra rules you add) this is just a matter of an arbitrary offset (that is, if everyone has DR 1 and does 2 damage on average, that's the same as if everyone has DR 11 and does 12 damage on average, or if everyone has DR 5 and does 10 damage on average but has 5x as much health). Since you already have the system all worked out, though, you may prefer to just roll with what you've got, but it still behoves you to run those numbers.

(And yes, you did post some numbers before and I think that's a valuable step, but you probably need to think more widely than just picking specific point cases and also I'm not sure about all your assumptions - do it like ensemble forecasting and think more in terms of ranges)

I'm just curious as to how armor reacts to force damage seeing as force damage negates most DR?

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Originally Posted by TheFred View Post
My question to you, then, is how did you derive these values? You said that it was hard to come up with concrete numbers for how much DR people are likely to have. Well, that's kind of understandable - but if you don't have at least a rough idea, and you also don't know how much damage people are likely to deal, then how can you know if your other numbers are at all appropriate?
Oh no, I can give you numbers, just not to something as vague as "how much DR will people have". If you asked, say, "about how much DR will a medium-armour fighter have at level 5", I can answer that. (Depending on investment usually about 9, but 6 or 12 would not be strange.)

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In this sort of situation you need to get representative numbers, and also consider the edge cases. Here, it seems that minimum DR is 0 even when people have invested in it because of the damage-type bypass. Max DR could be quite high but probably not a patch on max damage. To make it easier, I suggest limiting the number of variables. Get a rough idea for what the DR system would look like using normal D&D weapon damage, and then if you really want to change weapon damage too adjust them both - but for the most part (not including any special extra rules you add) this is just a matter of an arbitrary offset (that is, if everyone has DR 1 and does 2 damage on average, that's the same as if everyone has DR 11 and does 12 damage on average, or if everyone has DR 5 and does 10 damage on average but has 5x as much health). Since you already have the system all worked out, though, you may prefer to just roll with what you've got, but it still behoves you to run those numbers.
I did run those numbers. DR performs more or less how I want it right now, taking off most (but not all) damage from appropriate attacks at any given level, generally defeating weaker attacks entirely barring crits and events that bypass it and underperforming (but still functioning) against attacks that are too strong for it.

For example, a steel breastplate provides a DR 9. An appropriate weapon to compare it to would be a musket, which can be expected to be about +1. So we're looking at about 14 average damage. The breastplate drops that to 5, making it very effective against this weapon. In the case of a critical hit the breastplate is far less effective, and it's supposed to be, dropping the 42 average damage to 33 if the soldier has a helmet and doing nothing if they don't.

The numbers I haven't run are for maiming itself.

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(And yes, you did post some numbers before and I think that's a valuable step, but you probably need to think more widely than just picking specific point cases and also I'm not sure about all your assumptions - do it like ensemble forecasting and think more in terms of ranges)
As far as this thread, it's not the focus. I've got the DR handled. It's the maiming rules that need work, and right now I've got five models to compare once I have time.

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Originally Posted by Landid View Post
I'm just curious as to how armor reacts to force damage seeing as force damage negates most DR?
Sorry Landid, didn't see you there. Force damage is not affected by armour.

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Originally Posted by Avianmosquito View Post
As far as this thread, it's not the focus. I've got the DR handled. It's the maiming rules that need work, and right now I've got five models to compare once I have time.
Well, not quite. Until you have the DR numbers down, you can't really look at the maiming ones. Maiming at 2hp is a bit ridiculous in any kind of combat where 2hp is going to be a really common amount of damage to deal, after all. And your DR system still seems to allow quite a lot of variation in the damage dealt.
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Originally Posted by Avianmosquito View Post
Oh no, I can give you numbers, just not to something as vague as "how much DR will people have". If you asked, say, "about how much DR will a medium-armour fighter have at level 5", I can answer that. (Depending on investment usually about 9, but 6 or 12 would not be strange.)
Well, there are two points here.

Firstly, you do need to have an idea of how much "people" will have - at least, the sorts of people that other people are likely to be fighting. At L5, will most fighters be wearing medium armour, or heavy? And what about e.g. wizards who wear none?

Secondly, most of your armours appear to have a weapon type bypass - so 0 DR is actually still quite a common value. I don't think this really works; it means that a person might be able to shrug off a mace to the face, but a blowgun dart will hurt them and possibly even (in some weird cases, though admittedly blowgun darts are weird anyway) maim them! The problem is that you have what may be a large amount of DR - and you're relying on that DR to make the numbers work - being completely ignored maybe 1/3 of the time. That makes these low damage thresholds particularly deadly.

And then look at e.g. ubercharging. You're obviously changing the weapons stuff so adjust this appropriately, but a guy with a lance on a horse can deal a hell of a lot of damage. 1d8 for the lance, let's say +4 from Str (two-handed), so that's 8.5 damage average. But then it's tripled because of Spirited Charge - so 25.5. This is already more than you had, and this is at L1, potentially (human Fighter to get those feats, I guess) with a 16 in Str. Add a couple of levels, a +1 weapon, a +2 Str item maybe, some Power Attack, hell, even Weapon Specialisation, and this gets pretty tremendous (I currently have a L6 gnome who is dealing ~60 damage sometimes and ~30 damage frequently, and OK he's using ToB but Spirited Charge is doing the heavy lifting).

I think you've also done yourself a disservice in the presentation of these rules. It sounds like, actually, you don't mean "dying" you mean "bleeding" when they get maimed? And are you leaving in the Fort save? If it's take 2 damage and you're knocked out, no save, that's pretty awful. If it's just take that damage and you suffer a serious but not necessarily life-threatening penalty (you are maimed and start losing hp) and you even get a save against that, that's a lot more amenable - it means you can afford for this to come up more often since it's not necessarily going to be an instant-win all of the time. Though the flat DC 15 Fort save is kind of silly IMO, I'd probably make that scale with damage (which also works because then, OK, 2 damage, my foes has to save but gets quite an easy save; if I do big damage, it's almost guaranteed to maim them).

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Originally Posted by Avianmosquito View Post
Except for the 2nd level spell that cures most of these status effects, the 4th level spell that cures most of the remaining ones, and the 7th level spell that cures the last ones.
Well, 7th-level spells are rare enough that we can consider those an exception, which leaves the other two.
Those other spells do help, but consider that if a combat causes 2 hits to the same limb (as 1 in 9 combats that causes 2 of these injuries does), the player will be beyond their help.
From the math presented here, it seems to be reasonable to assume that every 2 out of 3 fights or so will cause 2 such injuries - all it takes is 2 consecutive successful attacks from an enemy of your level, and every enemy will have several such attacks, usually several per round.
That's an average of ~13 fights before character loses a limb within the span of their career. That's about the amount of encounters in a level, if your XP progression is like vanilla D&D. So, your characters will lose about one limb per level.

I might be wrong. To account for that, let's slap a factor 3 on there - let's estimate characters lose one limb within one fight every ~3 levels.
Between level 5 (your starting level) and level 13 (the level where Regenerate becomes available), your characters are still likely to have between 2 and 3 encounters in which a limb has been lopped off within one encounter.
Of course, this does not take into account the fact that once you've lost one body part, losing the next becomes ever more likely.

This is, of course, just an order of magnitude estimation, and it appears to be an optimistic one at that: the maths presented here by others suggest more than 2 maiming strikes per combat per PC, but the estimation tells us one thing - unless you give a ton of non-combat XP, with these rules, your characters will definitely be missing several limbs by the time they can regenerate them.

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Originally Posted by Avianmosquito View Post
Also, when the forum goes up, why not try playing some characters with various maiming injuries and see how debilitating they really are? I think a good player can compensate, but I'll have to see it in action to be sure.
If you don't have a hand with which to perform magical motions, whether because it's missing or because it's holding a crutch without which you fall over, you can't play a spellcaster. No player can compensate for that.

But more problematic is the structure of D&D: it rewards specialists... until it doesn't.
A character has to invest in a certain style of combat because trying to specialise in 2 or 3 will make you bad enough at each that you're not relevant at your level, whether that be a good mounted charge, chucking about fireballs, or creating illusions out of shadowstuff.
Wizards suffer from this less, but they do, too.

Once you take that specialisation away (and usually such a specialisation does not account for missing body parts), the character's drop in power is enormous. They lose many levels of investment in one fell swoop.
It's perfectly possible to make a 5th-level chararacter who's missing an arm or a leg and do something cool with it. I know I have. But having a 5th-level character who loses a limb means you can mothball that character and replace them because D&D requires specialisation and does not allow significant respeccing.

Note: All percents are thanks to anydice, a free online dice probability program that is heavily used by the D20 community for situations like this.

I'm not 100% certain what your goal is with them since the math behind it makes it look like combat would flip-flop between a massive slog of little to no damage to suddenly gibbing things with a crit, but I will concede that it rewards smart weapon choices and gives martials an edge over Standard-Op
Say that out loud. It's great.
Blaster Casters.

But I will operate with the concession that your damage numbers vs. DR are fine.
Even so, HDx2 is a terrible benchmark for maiming.

You presented a few numbers, but they're all sub-standard numbers coming from what I would assume is a generic 14 Strength whatever with generic +1-at-best weapons.

Let's take an Iconic character, Tordek the Dwarf Fighter, and just level him up to 5th instead of 1st (I don't own the Iconics book, but you can find their 1st level stats online).
All Iconics pack the Elite Array and WotC-OP, so the only relevant feats Tordek will be carrying are Weapon Focus/Specialization and Power Attack. He starts level 1 with 15 Strength, so we can assume he's swinging at 16 by 5th level. In his 1st level block, he's using a Dwarven Waraxe in one hand. Probably a +1 weapon, at 5th, as well.

This means, with no other confounding factors, Tordek the
Iconic Characters are largely considered well below par for many, many reasons. That is something very important to consider for this experiment.
Iconic Character has a perfect 90% chance of doing maiming levels of damage per hit, assuming no DR or DR that he is able to defeat.

The problem arises when you consider your house rules. It would not be unusual to see him packing the military standard Steel weapon, meaning his perfect 90% suddenly becomes a 100% chance of maiming per hit. Even against your Steel Breastplate with DR 9, that's still a 32.81%.

But what if Tordek has Gauntlets of Ogre power and starts using his axe two-handed? Both of which are fair assumptions for a 5th level character.

This brings his chance to maim 56.25% against Steel Breastplate.

Again, this is an obscenely "normal" build.

If I go to my sheet list and grab the first 5th level character, I get a Wood Elf Dungeoncrasher Fighter with 22 Strength (18+2 Race+2 Gauntlets). This means when he Bullrushes someone into a wall, he does 4d6+12 damage. This is outside your house rules entirely. He still has a 98.84% chance of maiming someone with Steel breastplate. On the high end of your assumed scale (12), that's still a 90.28%.

Although Phil Shiftly is a more optimized character, he's still an unfocused character I made half a decade ago. Even with his non-bullrush weapon (A +1 Greataxe), he still has a 33.33% maim chance against Steel Breastplate. 72% if he's using a Steel Greataxe.

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On Force Damage:
For the most part, the lower damage dice of force spells should mean they're unlikely to maim, but the numbers say otherwise. Many damaging Force spells are 1d6/2 levels, which translates to 16.67% maim chance at 5th level and 37.5% at 6th. However, certain spells, such as the 2nd level Cleric/Druid spell Alicorn Lance does 3d6 Force damage as a touch attack at Short range. So our 5th level Cleric or Druid can maim with that spell 62.5% of the time.
I would consider that an outlier.

Other energy types fare quite a bit better.

---

In conclusion, your threshold kinda-sorta works when combat plays exactly like your example, where everyone is using guns of "standard" sizes, which have shockingly low damage, and everyone is wearing relevant, level-appropriate armor and are Experts, Warriors, and Fighters.

If you wanted me to do this with a ranged character or three to better fit your setting, I could do that, as well. It would be a bit difficult with your gun rules, since most ways of getting modifiers to ranged damage are limited to specific weapons or the Dragon Compendium, so I'd likely use really any other ranged weapon. But it is certainly not impossible.

---

Also, as a tangent, I'm a little confused on some of the events in your example. Is everyone using Rapid Shot? How did Otto get an AoO with a ranged weapon? Why did the officers attack an armored man with their fists?

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Originally Posted by TheFred View Post
Well, not quite. Until you have the DR numbers down, you can't really look at the maiming ones. Maiming at 2hp is a bit ridiculous in any kind of combat where 2hp is going to be a really common amount of damage to deal, after all. And your DR system still seems to allow quite a lot of variation in the damage dealt.
It really does. It's part of why one of the new maiming models (knockout only) is starting to look like my favourite, the other cadidate being 1/2hp. But I'll run all the numbers before a decision is made.

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Well, there are two points here.

Firstly, you do need to have an idea of how much "people" will have - at least, the sorts of people that other people are likely to be fighting. At L5, will most fighters be wearing medium armour, or heavy? And what about e.g. wizards who wear none?
1. That depends on if they are melee or ranged fighters. Melee fighters tend to prefer heavy armour, ranged fighters tend to prefer medium since they have the dex for it and the DR is generally sufficient. And ranged fighters are a thing here, because guns get some really potent abilities at high levels. (Like getting up to a 300ft range increment and becoming a touch attack. While dealing 2d8+7 plus elemental and bane effects five times in one round, though with a reload next round.)

2. Wizards wear clothing. It's something, but it's not much and they are very squishy without their abjurations.

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Secondly, most of your armours appear to have a weapon type bypass - so 0 DR is actually still quite a common value. I don't think this really works; it means that a person might be able to shrug off a mace to the face, but a blowgun dart will hurt them and possibly even (in some weird cases, though admittedly blowgun darts are weird anyway) maim them! The problem is that you have what may be a large amount of DR - and you're relying on that DR to make the numbers work - being completely ignored maybe 1/3 of the time. That makes these low damage thresholds particularly deadly.
Fair. Though it seems odd to me that blowgun darts deal damage in the first place.

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And then look at e.g. ubercharging. You're obviously changing the weapons stuff so adjust this appropriately, but a guy with a lance on a horse can deal a hell of a lot of damage. 1d8 for the lance, let's say +4 from Str (two-handed), so that's 8.5 damage average. But then it's tripled because of Spirited Charge - so 25.5. This is already more than you had, and this is at L1, potentially (human Fighter to get those feats, I guess) with a 16 in Str. Add a couple of levels, a +1 weapon, a +2 Str item maybe, some Power Attack, hell, even Weapon Specialisation, and this gets pretty tremendous (I currently have a L6 gnome who is dealing ~60 damage sometimes and ~30 damage frequently, and OK he's using ToB but Spirited Charge is doing the heavy lifting).
The main issue with ubercharging is you can only hit once per round, but even so, I made assault armour specifically for charge builds. Drop one more feat, get more AC and DR with heavier armour. (Since the weight of your gear is largely irrelevant on horseback.) So that'd be that armour you want to compare to.

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I think you've also done yourself a disservice in the presentation of these rules. It sounds like, actually, you don't mean "dying" you mean "bleeding" when they get maimed? And are you leaving in the Fort save? If it's take 2 damage and you're knocked out, no save, that's pretty awful. If it's just take that damage and you suffer a serious but not necessarily life-threatening penalty (you are maimed and start losing hp) and you even get a save against that, that's a lot more amenable - it means you can afford for this to come up more often since it's not necessarily going to be an instant-win all of the time.
That is exactly the proposition on the table right now, and new ones will be presented.

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Though the flat DC 15 Fort save is kind of silly IMO, I'd probably make that scale with damage (which also works because then, OK, 2 damage, my foes has to save but gets quite an easy save; if I do big damage, it's almost guaranteed to maim them).
Hm. Okay, how about 10 + 1/2 damage?

I'm only going to cover a couple points, because I already said what I intended to in this thread, including wishing Avianmosquito best of luck.
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Originally Posted by Avianmosquito View Post
No, you have 60% odds to miss, that's 40% to hit. So actually, that's a net of 24%.
Well, I went and checked. You wrote 60% to hit, I didn't bother checking the numbers.

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Well, a character using magic can just be enhancement. And remember that in this they have three enhanceable armour items with which to raise their AC by 3 for three grand. That 40% chance to hit is now a 25% chance. Oh, then they drink a potion of Shield of Faith, for another 2 AC, and that's down to 15%.
OK, which part of "I'm not interested in how it works with magic" did you not understand? Keep in mind, I see martial classes having to rely on magic to do their job as system design failure.

Also, unless I'm missing it, you didn't answer why this system makes a fighter no more likely to avoid a crippling hit than an equally fast wizard, when neither one is in armour.

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Originally Posted by AsenRG View Post
I'm only going to cover a couple points, because I already said what I intended to in this thread, including wishing Avianmosquito best of luck.

Well, I went and checked. You wrote 60% to hit, I didn't bother checking the numbers.
It was +9 vs AC 22. That requires a roll of 13, so 1-12 are misses. Hence 60% to miss.

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OK, which part of "I'm not interested in how it works with magic" did you not understand?
You're the one who brought up potions and druids.

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Keep in mind, I see martial classes having to rely on magic to do their job as system design failure.
They aren't relying on it, it just helps a lot.

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Also, unless I'm missing it, you didn't answer why this system makes a fighter no more likely to avoid a crippling hit than an equally fast wizard, when neither one is in armour.
They aren't, under the listed version. The fighter is just way less likely to die from it.








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