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Lethal damage and Final Death

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  • Lethal damage and Final Death

    First of all, I apologize if the answer is obvious (especially if there was already a related topic I missed), but the unlife of a PC is at stake.

    A vampire is surrounded by a group of witch-hunters. She has already suffered 6 levels of aggravated damage from vials of holy water, when one of the attackers stabs her with a sword and causes 5 levels of lethal damage.

    Does the vampire suffer Final Death immediately?

    V20 Dark Ages states:

    "If a vampire is Incapacitated or in torpor and
    suffers one more level of aggravated damage, she dies
    permanently. This can also come about through massive
    bodily destruction, such as full dismemberment. This is
    at Storyteller discretion."

    She was not in torpor, neither incapacitated when the last attack hit her, so she could say that first she falls into torpor only, and the next aggravated damage kills her. Furthermore, could she continue her arguments, if we interpret the rule above in a way that the converted lethal damage is already regarded as “one more level of aggravated damage” (that is, the rule requires the additional damage not to be further in time, only logically), then 8 levels of lethal damage would kill most vampire outright - as the last lethal damage is converted to aggravated, so it is actually one more level of aggravated damage.

    Nevertheless, she technically has all her health boxes full of aggravated damage, so she could die regardless of being in torpor or being incapacitated. It would seem odd to interpret the rules in a way which suggests that there is no way to kill a vampire who is not in torpor or incapacitated already.

    If it matters at all, the witch-hunters are more than OK with capturing her “alive”, but they wouldn’t risk their life on that. Still, were it up to the attacker, the vampire would only fall unconscious, but I’m not aware of any way according to the rules to do that intentionally with a simple attack with a sword - especially considering the fact that the attacker doesn’t know that much about vampire physiology, and the fact that he faces a frenzying vampire already tearing up the throat of his leader!
    Last edited by Shakeroyal; 06-11-2019, 02:33 PM.

  • #2
    I've always played it similar to the quoted rule: A vampire can take as much bashing or lethal that is dealt out provided it doesn't do something like completely dismember the vampire (beheading, destruction of their heart, etc.) provided that they do not sustain aggravated damage. Dramatically speaking it allows for PCs to play out "come back" scenes where they have to find a way to adjust to whatever happened to them such as a loss of both legs, partial bifurcation in the midsection or some such. And it also allows the ST to play up a big bad nasty villain with a lot of cinematic damage, without just rolling up a high agg damage NPC. Last time I did this it went over pretty well with the players and the suspense (they didn't know about how I used lethal)


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    • #3
      I don't think superfluous Lethal damage is converted into Aggravated, is it? That's the whole point: Torpor is a relatively resilient form - to actually send a vampire to final death, you have to either use one of their mythical weaknesses (-> Agg) or get medieval on their body far beyond what you'd usually use to make sure a human doesn't get up again.
      Personally, I would allow someone aiming at the head (higher Difficulty) and inflicting incapacitating damage to decapitate their victim without going throug torpor first, but it's relatively unlikely this will ever be much of a plot point.

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      • #4
        Decapitation, destruction of the heart or an eighth Agg damage.
        Lethal doesn't wrap to agg (Unless there's a rule I missed) - but pounding the body to a pulp will probably count as "Massive Bodily Destruction"

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        • #5
          I think that in V20DA it does roll over to Agg from lethal. However, it's not the last Health Box that gets it, it's the top one.

          8 Lethal in one hit would mean insta-torpor as it fills all the health boxes plus an additional. Any more lethal damage would roll over to Agg and when all the health boxes are filled with Agg you are but one agg away from Final Death.

          So if my math is correct it takes the following to insta-kill a vampire
          8 Agg
          15 Lethal (7+7+1)
          22 Bashing (7+7+7+1)

          If i interpret OP correctly it was the following scenario

          Before the last attack
          [*] Bruised
          [*] Hurt
          [*] Injured
          [*] Wounded
          [*] Mauled
          [*] Crippled
          [] Incapacitated
          [] Torpor/Death

          After the last attack
          [*] Bruised
          [*] Hurt
          [*] Injured
          [*] Wounded
          [*] Mauled
          [*] Crippled
          [X] Incapacitated
          [X] Torpor/Death
          Plus 3 additional Lethal


          Since Lethal Rolls over to Agg it should look like this.
          [*] Bruised (Converted from Lethal)
          [*] Hurt (Converted from Lethal)
          [*] Injured (Converted from Lethal)
          [*] Wounded (Previous Agg, pushed down)
          [*] Mauled (Previous Agg, pushed down)
          [*] Crippled (Previous Agg, pushed down)
          [*] Incapacitated (Previous Agg, pushed down)
          [*] Torpor/Death (Previous Agg, pushed down)
          Plus the last remaining previous Agg that would have checked a 9th healthbox below Dead


          In the case of this character i would rule Final Death as the last attack, when you roll the lethal over to 7 hitboxes full of agg plus an additional agg to cause final death.


          Edit: Dammit the layout didn't carry over
          Edit: fixed
          Last edited by Cadmiumcadamium; 06-12-2019, 06:24 AM.





          English is not my native language, so i apologize for errors in grammar or spelling.

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          • #6
            Interesting. Looks like the V20 and DA20 rules for death and torpor differ greatly - V20 has characters fall into torpor far easier (health track full of bashing damage +1 is enough) and there seems to be no "wrap-around" rules. In DA20, it seems you're "merely" incapacitated when full of Bashing damage and then would have to refill your entire health bar with overriding Lethal before going to torpor.

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            • #7
              Thank you all for the answers so far!

              The situation is just as Cadmiumcadamium presented.

              And yes, in V20 DA lethal damage can become aggravated damage:

              “Cainites with a health track full of lethal damage fall to torpor (see p. 351). Mortals die. Further lethal damage to a Cainite becomes aggravated damage.” (p. 345)

              Edit: But I still don’t really get how could a vampire (hypothetically) survive this way 8 levels of lethal damage. The last one becomes aggravated so from 0 levels of aggravated damage she would have 1. Am I to interpret the rule a way that the emphasis is not on the word “aggravated” but on “one more level” so she had 7 levels of damage (nevermind the type) and still has 7 levels, only different type?
              Last edited by Shakeroyal; 06-13-2019, 12:54 AM.

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              • #8
                Actually I believe it does wrap around, it doesn’t matter if your in torpor or awake it wraps around with excess damage converting the other health levels into Bashing. A few of he books talk about this and mention you can kill a vampire with just bashing if you just keep hitting them, the implication is you degenerate their tissue so much it becomes aggravated and they die. They say if you keep punching a torpid vampire it’s eventually all converted to agg and they die, it’s an abstraction representing you stomping their face in like the elevator scene in the movie Drive. Punching or stomping eventually turns their face into a greasy mess or caves in and crushes their heart.

                I would say if you localize the damage could say it just does crippling damage and essentially severs only part of their body.


                I think it was in V20 and revised. They mention a vampire caught in a landslide or in the deep ocean can enter torpor and then crushed by the pressure.

                Remember Chainsaws do agg because it’s sever tissue damage and it’s not fire or supernatural.


                It is a time for great deeds!

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Shakeroyal View Post
                  Thank you all for the answers so far!
                  Edit: But I still don’t really get how could a vampire (hypothetically) survive this way 8 levels of lethal damage. The last one becomes aggravated so from 0 levels of aggravated damage she would have 1. Am I to interpret the rule a way that the emphasis is not on the word “aggravated” but on “one more level” so she had 7 levels of damage (nevermind the type) and still has 7 levels, only different type?
                  8 levels of Lethal Damage becomes 7 Lethal and one Agg, but the Agg shows up at "Bruised", not "Torpor/Death". The worst type of Damage is always placed at the top when it wraps around, as it takes the longest time to heal (well, in a vamps case it's 1 BP for both Bashing and Lethal).
                  So you wouldn't die from 8 Lethal, just torpor.

                  But that statement is contradicted by the fact that one of the rulebooks (can't remember which one) says that you can beat someone into torpor with a baseball bat and then give them one agg to push them from Torpor to Final Death.





                  English is not my native language, so i apologize for errors in grammar or spelling.

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                  • #10
                    Eh, I just ignore it anyway. I'm not killing someone because a werewolf scratched their big toe or someone poked them with a candle while they were out. Conversely, a chopped off head is the end regardless of circumstances. Hell, I hate that those are aggs to being with. Sunlight and things blessed by true faith should be the only aggs. I'd be convinced that a called shot to the heart with wood was agg before I'd accept candles and werewolf fingernails.

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