Altering combat lethality

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GypsyComet
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Altering combat lethality

Postby GypsyComet » Fri Mar 23, 2012 6:06 am

It's been discussed before: viewtopic.php?f=89&t=36857

It's being discussed now: viewtopic.php?f=89&t=50272

Leaving aside the argument part of it (whether or not the game is "too lethal" or "not lethal enough"), what are some approaches for stepping the lethality up or down that would be easy to implement without doing too much violence to the game as published?
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Re: Altering combat lethality

Postby Myrm » Fri Mar 23, 2012 9:11 am

To step it down:
Ignore Effect for skill rolls to hit in terms of damage bonus - OK its small but it makes a difference for smaller weapons and personal scale stuff - fine if you are running games with bodypistols etc.
Make Armour work like T20 - each point of armour knocks a dice off the damage, and only once down to one dice then goes point for point.
Add an endurance check for the hit person, difficulty of N (Tech level of weapon?), each point of effect they get counts as a point of armour - can be combined with above.
Introduce instant use medical devices that heal damage - a technological healing potion.

To Step it up
Add a penetration bonus to damage for every weapon equal to its tech level above the tech level of the armour its hitting (minimum of zero), more advanced weapons then cut through armour.
Make all armour ablative - e.g. each hit drops armour rating by 1
Make the effect bonus to damage per dice of weapon damage - bug guns become more lethal.

I make no comment on the suitability of any of these methods in the current rulesets balance - I simply offer tham as ways of stepping up or stepping down lethality without too much extra in the way of rules layered into the game.
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Re: Altering combat lethality

Postby Captain Jonah » Fri Mar 23, 2012 9:36 am

GypsyComet wrote:It's been discussed before: viewtopic.php?f=89&t=36857

It's being discussed now: viewtopic.php?f=89&t=50272

Leaving aside the argument part of it (whether or not the game is "too lethal" or "not lethal enough"), what are some approaches for stepping the lethality up or down that would be easy to implement without doing too much violence to the game as published?
In terms of what?

Less lethal is easy and is something that Terra/Sol may be putting out at some point. Traveller tech levels, medical science and the ability to clone or replace with cybernetics missing bits means that very few people "killed" in battle will be really Dead, in fact as long as the head is still there they are just mostly dead.

If you can get a medic to them, get a medical suspension drug (delivered by medical nanites called mites) into the brain and upper spine to prevent lose of higher functions and away you go. Evac to a low berth, thaw out in a decent hospital and rebuild.

Leaves the combats just as they are but reflects advances on our current medical ability to save just about everyone who can make to to a medical area.

Or allow END to act as a damage dump and go negative from a single hit, so as long as you have any END the whole damage from a hit goes to END and does not carry over. END 8 and 5 points of armour hit by a bullet doing 10, you have END 3 left. Then take a laser hit doing 17 damage, this reduces END to 0 (ignore any that goes below zero as it has no effect other than Role play) but does nothing else. Next hit after that hurts.

More lethal. Its a game where a shot from a pistol will half kill you. heavier weapons like ACRs and lasers will have a good chance of Dropping an unarmoured person in one shot never mind bursts. Traveller only becomes not lethal when you have one side in armour the other side cannot blast through easily. Combat armour against ACRs or assault rifles for example.

In terms of armour guns and grenades are a lot cheaper than combat armour. Just because the NPCs don't normally carry plasma grenades, shaped charge breaching packs or anti tank hand held rockets doesn't mean they don't have them. They are just saving them for a special event like a group of people in combat armour breaking down the door.

You could change the speed with which characters recover from damage. Make it take hours after the medic check rather than straight away. Recover a point a day or less of long term rest and nothing without proper rest. Restrict the medic healing strictly to END, and allow NO recovery of other stats till END is full again so you retain the DEX or STR penalties longer.

Lethal doesn't, in my mind anyway, relate strictly to the actual bit involving shooting people. You can make the consequences more or less lethal without changing the combat at all.
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Re: Altering combat lethality

Postby hdan » Fri Mar 23, 2012 5:23 pm

For a slight "step down", you could say that Effect acts as AP (that is, cancel Effect worth of Armor value before applying damage).

So a really good shot is going to go right past the armor, but still will only do the listed damage. Also, it means that in fights with no armor, you don't need to worry about effect.
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Re: Altering combat lethality

Postby far-trader » Fri Mar 23, 2012 7:58 pm

Good call on moving the discussion here Gypsy Comet. I'll just update my suggestion from the other thread here:

To make it more lethal change Unconsciousness to happening after the Endurance stat is reduced to zero. Add a bleed out effect for any damage below zero from the last attack. And after the next stat (player choice Dexterity or Strength, usually the highest) is reduced to zero the character is dead (but may be saved if quickly treated). When the third and last stat is reduced to zero the character is truly and irrevocably dead.

Bleed Out: Damage done below 0 Endurance is continuing damage. Each round subtract the amount from the next stat. Bleed Out is not necessarily actual blood running out a wound but a term for continuing trauma. It may be internal trauma. Bleed Out may be stopped with first-aid.

Example 1: Joe has stats 879 and gets hit for 7 points in the first round. Temp stats are 872 and he fights on. In the next round he takes a hit for 2 points and his temp stats are 870. He falls unconscious but is not bleeding out. He will revive on his own if not further molested.

Example 2: Jane has stats 798 and is hit for 10 points in the first round. Temp stats are 792 (red indicates negative). She falls unconscious and is bleeding out. The next round she takes an additional 2 points of continuing damage from the serious wound and her temp stats are 772. A friend administers first-aid and stabalizes her halting further bleeding out. If nobody had helped things would have gotten worse...

Example 2.1: ...as she continues to bleed out in the third round her temp stats drop to 752. In the fourth round she is 732. In the fifth round she is 712 and is critical, with no help the next round she will die. In the sixth round she is 712 and expires. She may still be saved if she gets full medical attention (more than first aid) before her stats all reach 0. She is now bleeding out at the rate of 3 points a round (the 2 of the original wound plus the 1 of the additional trauma to the second stat). In the seventh round she is 412. In the eighth round she is 112. In the ninth round she is beyond medical help and is irrevocably dead at 112.
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Re: Altering combat lethality

Postby Egil Skallagrimsson » Sat Mar 24, 2012 12:18 pm

far-trader wrote:Good call on moving the discussion here Gypsy Comet. I'll just update my suggestion from the other thread here:

To make it more lethal change Unconsciousness to happening after the Endurance stat is reduced to zero. Add a bleed out effect for any damage below zero from the last attack. And after the next stat (player choice Dexterity or Strength, usually the highest) is reduced to zero the character is dead (but may be saved if quickly treated). When the third and last stat is reduced to zero the character is truly and irrevocably dead.

Bleed Out: Damage done below 0 Endurance is continuing damage. Each round subtract the amount from the next stat. Bleed Out is not necessarily actual blood running out a wound but a term for continuing trauma. It may be internal trauma. Bleed Out may be stopped with first-aid.

Example 1: Joe has stats 879 and gets hit for 7 points in the first round. Temp stats are 872 and he fights on. In the next round he takes a hit for 2 points and his temp stats are 870. He falls unconscious but is not bleeding out. He will revive on his own if not further molested.

Example 2: Jane has stats 798 and is hit for 10 points in the first round. Temp stats are 792 (red indicates negative). She falls unconscious and is bleeding out. The next round she takes an additional 2 points of continuing damage from the serious wound and her temp stats are 772. A friend administers first-aid and stabalizes her halting further bleeding out. If nobody had helped things would have gotten worse...

Example 2.1: ...as she continues to bleed out in the third round her temp stats drop to 752. In the fourth round she is 732. In the fifth round she is 712 and is critical, with no help the next round she will die. In the sixth round she is 712 and expires. She may still be saved if she gets full medical attention (more than first aid) before her stats all reach 0. She is now bleeding out at the rate of 3 points a round (the 2 of the original wound plus the 1 of the additional trauma to the second stat). In the seventh round she is 412. In the eighth round she is 112. In the ninth round she is beyond medical help and is irrevocably dead at 112.
I like these ideas. Very interesting, and much better than completely re-statting all the weapons and armour, but certainly increases the lethality of combat, making the possession of effective (well, really, any) armour even more important.

One thing to think about is whether cumalative damage should have this effect, e.g. if Joe (above) 879 is hit 4 times for 3pt each time, he sould be on -3 end and bleeding out, which seems harsh as this is simply a number of minor wounds (Joe is certainly unconscious, but should he really be bleeding out and dying in the next 30 seconds?). If hit by a bullet and taking 12pts in one hit, fine, he is unconscious, badly wounded and likely to die without immediate attention.

Will definately have to do some play testing of these

A couple of additional ideas from me;

"1. Shock of impact. If a person is hit by slug weapon (e.g. slug rifle or pistol), energy weapon (e.g. laser pistol) or caught in an explosion they lose their next significant action in combat, even if the impact fails to penetrate their armour and inflicts no other damage. The target is knocked prone unless a successful Str roll made. If hit by muscle powered projectile (e.g. an arrow) or thrown (e.g. a rock or a javelin) lose next minor action, and takes knocked prone roll at +4.

2. Near miss. If any projectile or energy weapons miss a sophant humaniod by 1, the near miss causes the target to lose next minor action.

The above do not apply to animals (though, at the GMs discretion, these may be startled and need to make another reaction roll), vehicles, robots, people on combat drugs, or any creature specified as not effected."

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Re: Altering combat lethality

Postby Jame Rowe » Sat Mar 24, 2012 1:38 pm

Myrm wrote:To Step it up
Add a penetration bonus to damage for every weapon equal to its tech level above the tech level of the armour its hitting (minimum of zero), more advanced weapons then cut through armour.
Make all armour ablative - e.g. each hit drops armour rating by 1
Make the effect bonus to damage per dice of weapon damage - bug guns become more lethal.

I make no comment on the suitability of any of these methods in the current rulesets balance - I simply offer tham as ways of stepping up or stepping down lethality without too much extra in the way of rules layered into the game.
In addition:

Body pistols do 2d6 damage
Autopistols, revolvers, carbines and SMGs (whatever you call 'em) do 3d6
Rifles, autorifles, assault rifles, laser carbines ACRs and Gauss pistols do 4d6
Laser rifles, shotguns and Gauss rifles do 5d6

I don't care much for 3d6-3 damage as you can tell.
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Re: Altering combat lethality

Postby Egil Skallagrimsson » Sat Mar 24, 2012 5:09 pm

far-trader wrote: To make it more lethal change Unconsciousness to happening after the Endurance stat is reduced to zero.
Just remembered, this is in the CRB as an optional rule (p66), "If a character's Endurance is reduced from its starting value to 0 by a single attack", though without the blood loss rule you suggest.

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Re: Altering combat lethality

Postby Easterner » Mon Mar 26, 2012 10:55 am

I play RAW with one cosmetic change. Combat round is 3 seconds. Just changing the time, nothing else.

and

Combat: Combat is rather tame, few weapons can kill with a single shot.

Any natural double 'to-hit' dice are considered hits on vitals. All slug throwers double their damage on the double i.e. 12(Boxcars), 2x 5's or 2x 4's etc. If the doubles do not qualify as a hit no damage is inflicted. If they do qualify as a hit then double damage is inflicted. Fullbore rifles inflict triple damage, carbines and assault rifles do not.

If target has no head protection then roll 1d6 and on a 1 the hit is on the head bypassing armor.
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Re: Altering combat lethality

Postby Egil Skallagrimsson » Mon Mar 26, 2012 4:48 pm

Easterner wrote: Combat: Combat is rather tame, few weapons can kill with a single shot.

Any natural double 'to-hit' dice are considered hits on vitals. All slug throwers double their damage on the double i.e. 12(Boxcars), 2x 5's or 2x 4's etc. If the doubles do not qualify as a hit no damage is inflicted. If they do qualify as a hit then double damage is inflicted. Fullbore rifles inflict triple damage, carbines and assault rifles do not.
Very interesting, though allowing triple dam for a "fullbore rifle" seems excessive. Why not extend the extra damage to energy weapons (lasers) as well? After all a direct hit through the heart is still going to be extra lethal, whether with a burst of energy or a slug.

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Re: Altering combat lethality

Postby Easterner » Tue Mar 27, 2012 1:34 am

Need more testing to decide. Lasers seem more useful healing than killing these days plus they cauterize the wounds lessening/eliminating the bleed out factor.

As to 3x that raises the Avg 3d6 rifle to 27 hits, lethal on a lot but adding in armor still not as deadly as you can get. Bear in mind I did not factor in the +3 as that is possiblr MgT error even though most favor keeping it.
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Re: Altering combat lethality

Postby far-trader » Tue Mar 27, 2012 1:50 am

Easterner wrote:Need more testing to decide. Lasers seem more useful healing than killing these days plus they cauterize the wounds lessening/eliminating the bleed out factor.
Is that before or after they flash boil the high water content fat just below the skin and blow out a basketball size lump of meaty muscle? :twisted:

We are talking weaponized lasers, not surgical or even industrial lasers for cutting precise and exacting dimensions.
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Re: Altering combat lethality

Postby Easterner » Tue Mar 27, 2012 2:02 am

far-trader wrote:
Easterner wrote:Need more testing to decide. Lasers seem more useful healing than killing these days plus they cauterize the wounds lessening/eliminating the bleed out factor.
Is that before or after they flash boil the high water content fat just below the skin and blow out a basketball size lump of meaty muscle? :twisted:

We are talking weaponized lasers, not surgical or even industrial lasers for cutting precise and exacting dimensions.
And when in real life has that happened?

SNUB's are great in TRAVELLER...less so in real life. I've heard weaponized lasers as 'death rays' not looking practical. So till I see evidence to the contrary I'm wary of them. Last I heard there only use on battlefield is to cause blindness.
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Re: Altering combat lethality

Postby far-trader » Tue Mar 27, 2012 2:52 am

Easterner wrote:...
And when in real life has that happened?
There's your problem ;)

We don't have weaponized lasers in Real Life that do more damage than a combat rifle. We aren't concerned with the limitations of Real Life TL6 with respect to Traveller TL7+ Combat Laser Weapons. We are concerned with the science fiction possibilities that make a Combat Laser Weapon both man portable and lethal. We do not limit ourselves to blinding lasers.

In this case it has to a very brief high intensity laser that IS going to cause rapid heating and expansion of tissue when it hits "ugly giant bags of mostly water" and cause horrific wounds. Not neat little mm self-cauterizing sized holes clean through or surgical cuts across the body that don't bleed.
Easterner wrote:...till I see evidence to the contrary I'm wary of them. Last I heard there only use on battlefield is to cause blindness.
So dump them from your game :) And every other weapon developed after TL6 probably. No Guass Weapons, no Plasma Weapons, no Fusion Weapons, etc. etc. including Starship weapons of the same type since we don't have those either. Hmm, you gonna dump gravitics and jump and fusion power too? I'm just exaggerating to make the point :) It's a game, not Real Life.
Last edited by far-trader on Tue Mar 27, 2012 2:56 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Altering combat lethality

Postby GypsyComet » Tue Mar 27, 2012 2:54 am

That's an engineering issue. The physics of lasers makes them potentially very nasty once the delivered energy gets high enough.
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Re: Altering combat lethality

Postby Easterner » Thu Mar 29, 2012 12:57 am

I don't have problems with any of the things you mentioned, just lasers. I suspect they will turn into a weapons dead end like combat air rifles, gyro jets and semi-automatic revolvers. Of course that's opinion and Gypsy might be right. But till then I'll stick with 5D damage and not monkey around trying to change everything. Which was the original question! :)

What TRAV did is figured out you can put a bullet in someone and they drop. Other systems might do it better but cost or fragility will eliminate them as serious contenders.
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Re: Altering combat lethality

Postby far-trader » Thu Mar 29, 2012 1:32 am

Easterner wrote:I don't have problems with any of the things you mentioned, just lasers.
To each their own :)

I have a harder time swallowing man portable fusion and plasma guns as described than man portable laser weapons, much harder. Especially given real world lasers in use like THOR (only 700w but light vehicle mountable, about 800kg total I'd guess), and that's old tech. OK, it's not exactly a lethal shot weapon but then we don't have the tech (magic) or impetus to take it there, yet ;)

I always wonder what a genius* applied to the problem with an unlimited budget might develop.

* Evil(tm) optional :twisted:

More recently heavier developments of C-RAM laser systems of 10kw promise even better results and future developments.

Once we add Traveller gravitic tech (magic) to the mix I have no problem with Far-Future killing laser rifles and carbines (pistols on the other hand I'm not so comfy with, it's a minimum size issue, but they are too widely a sci-fi trope to ignore).
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Re: Altering combat lethality

Postby Easterner » Thu Mar 29, 2012 2:16 am

Ahh but ALIENS, UFO, TRAV, Serenity and some 4 episode Helen Hunt series all finally subverted that old EW trope. B5 went with plasma a weapon not usually seen on film but still an EW.


Oh and lasers are easily defeated in MgT with reflec and aerosols too.
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Re: Altering combat lethality

Postby far-trader » Thu Mar 29, 2012 2:28 am

Easterner wrote:Oh and lasers are easily defeated in MgT with reflec and aerosols too.
I'll have to check that out again, don't clearly recall it at the moment. Easily defeated as in always stopped cold, no damage? Or easily defeated as in reduced effect (like armour vs slug throwers) possibly up to stopped cold, no damage? Can't really see buying the first case, but the second certainly.
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Re: Altering combat lethality

Postby locarno24 » Thu Mar 29, 2012 7:16 am

Easily defeated as in always stopped cold, no damage? Or easily defeated as in reduced effect (like armour vs slug throwers) possibly up to stopped cold, no damage?
As in reflec is as good as Cr150,000, 12 Kg poly carapace plate armour (Armour 10) for literally 1% of the price, and can be worn on top of the latter at full effect.

If you know, or are reasonably confident, you'll be facing lasers, you can equip yourself with very cheap protection that will easily catch the worst of it. That said, a sufficiently powerful laser will still go through it; a military-grade laser rifle does 5d6+3 damage. Even ignoring effect, that's an average of 20-odd damage. Really, really cheap armour 10 is a nice thing to have, but you're a long way from invulnerable. Even stacked with decent combat armour, a well aimed laser rifle shot is still able to hurt you, even if the average hit won't. A vehicle calibre laser weapon will really mess you up.
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