I’ve been brewing on the issue of non-lethal damage in NASS.
One of the novelties of playing in a modern setting is the whole lethal / non-lethal damage equation: in a medieval setting, you don’t really think about it. You get into a scrap with the town militia, a band of brigands, some knights, whatever, and you don’t even think about not killing them outright – that’s your aim!
And when they’re down, you wander off and go about your business.
But in modern campaign, this issue _feels _different to me.
From time to time, the PCs might tangle with all kinds of adversaries that we may not wish to kill. Forget other agents (from adversarial organisations) – what about soldiers? Policemen? Private security?
And within game reality, if we _are _all masters of our respective martial arts, shouldn’t we be skillful enough to pull our strikes, to a degree?
If so, how would we handle it?
I wouldn’t propose to make it an exact science – even for a skilled fighter, in the free-for-all of live combat, errors can be made.
But equally, a skilled fighter _does _have the ability to assess an opponent and work out roughly what it would require to take him down without killing him.
So how about this: pre rolling dice, you can dictate 25% damage, 50% damage, or 75% damage?
So in NASS terms, if I declare 75% damage, then roll 20 points of damage, 5 go to SDC and 15 go to HP (unless my opponent has no SDC left, then the whole 20 goes to HP).
I also think it should physically show when the SDC / HP barrier is breached, simply because it becomes visibly obvious – that’s the point at which bones start to break etc. I express this in D20 by revealing (as you all may recall) when your opponents go into ‘first level hit points’.
So you would have some idea when your opponent was on the edge of defeat and (if you wished not to kill them) you might want to revert to non-lethal damage.
What does everyone else think?
I do not know if that is covered by the rules or not, but i would favour a
simpler system, take a penatly to hit, and the damage done, equals a %
chance of a knockout and recovery based on your toughness
C the windy
On 15 November 2011 20:31, Toddthegod <no-reply> wrote:
I’m not convinced. When you knock someone out, unless it’s a prolonged battle like a boxing match, you never know if you’ve hurt him enough to only knock him out or if you’ve actually killed him.
I was talking to Steve, who has a degree in medicine. He says that knocking someone out is a case of jolting someone’s head enough so the brain smashes against the inside of the skull and shuts down. Doing that just enough to knock someone out without doing lasting damage is remote. So remote, in fact, that that person is likely dead or permanently brain damaged. Note this isn’t the same as a boxing match where you do bruise damage to each other’s brains.
And why would I make it easier for you?
If I might butt in here.
My character can ‘disappear’ and was shot several times with a high calibre
After he’d brushed himself down, he went on to rescue someone and then make
his getaway by helicopter and car, which he crashed and walked away from.
This is not a realistic game. When Jack Bauer (24) hits some guard on the
head and knocks him out and the guard wakes up a little while later,
shaking his head as if a bit groggy, I don’t question the medical veracity
of that scene.
Just make it a declaration. No special rules. My character would like to
subdue that guard, so my damage will translate into the kind of trauma
that’s not lethal. If I managed to sneak up and take him by surprise, then
he’s knocked out and i’m just rolling to see if I fumble. And, of course,
the same can happen to us.
On 15 November 2011 23:48, Metempiric <no-reply> wrote:
I like this too. Nice and simple.
On 15 November 2011 21:34, CarlosStaffiero <no-reply>wrote:
I would disagree with Carlos and Lawrence that we need to go for something simple; whether you like Hit Points as a concept or not, NASS uses them, and you cannot have one ‘house rule’ that completely negates them, its too fundamentally against the core of the system.
Also, more importantly, everyone can then use the same rule against the PCs and all combats, rather than being exciting martial arts battles, will come down to opposed knockout checks – dull, dull, dull. And most likely to incapacitate the PCs, since we will very often be fighting multiple opponents, whose sheer number-advantage in terms of die rolls will inevitably overcome us.
Steve’s analysis of the bio-mechanics of a knockout is exactly right (and I could have told you the same), but it is not inevitable for permanent brain damage to result, otherwise boxers couldn’t have careers! Note, people imagine boxing gloves minimise impact damage but actually they were an aesthetic measure. As crowds grew less blood-thirsty during the twentieth century, gloves were first introduced, then grew gradually larger. But the effect of gloves is to lessen the amount of cuts and consequently bleeding that fighters suffer (bare fists are ‘sharp’ weapons, gloved fists aren’t). The impact damage is not substantially different, though (bear in mind, early boxing was conducted bare-hand, some of it still is). And as I say, boxers can have ten-year careers, during which they are knocked out many times, without automatically sustaining brain damage. And what we’re discussing here is an isolated occasion of knockout.
I agree that subdual damage shouldn’t be an exact science, but taking Nina as an extreme example, if she catches someone unawares, she is very likely to kick them in the head so hard that their neck breaks. Its a bit silly to rule that she only has the option to throw the most powerful technique she can, without any ability to pull it to an extent, or vary where it hits (below the ear is much more likely to cause fatal damage than above the ear, for example). Should the only options be kill or miss?
Even someone with my level of ability is able to exercise a degree of control in terms of power and target, otherwise sparring would be impossible.
As I say, we should work within the existing combat system (and within the SDC/HP convention), but it seems to me that allowing martial arts masters no control over the effect of their strikes is unnecessary, counter-dramatic, and (dare I say it) unrealistic….