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Implications of increasing damage?

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  • Implications of increasing damage?

    What would the implications be, on a campaign-wide scale, of increasing the damage of all weapons by +2 across the board?

    My aim would be to make combat more lethal. Increasing damage would serve that purpose, and in it it makes combat something players would (hopefully) want to avoid if at all possible. When someone pulls a knife or a gun, I want the players (or the NPCs) to step back and consider the gravity of the situation. I think that gets lost sometimes. But are there other considerations that I am not thinking about?

  • #2
    It disproportionately favors low damage weapons unless the damage increase is proportional to original damage.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by lnodiv View Post
      It disproportionately favors low damage weapons unless the damage increase is proportional to original damage.
      Good point, Inodiv. I could increase all +0 damage to +1, then double everything else. If I do it this way instead of the flat +2, I ponder the same question/concern.

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      • #4
        It would make Tilts much easier to inflict, which may or may not be a problem if your goal is higher lethality. Ironically, this would be more easily mitigated if you increased all weapon damage by a fixed amount, because you could increase the damage thresholds for Tilts by the same amount.

        It also increases the impact of the dice roll. With increased damage values, it becomes easier to end a fight in one hit, which means more fights will be decided by a single lucky roll. In a similar vein, it decreases the importance of Defense and increases the importance of Health and Armor - Defense is all or nothing, and no matter how high you get your defense, your opponent will never have less than a 1/10 chance of hitting you, so you're better of investing in making sure you can survive the hit when it comes than in making yourself harder to hit.

        It also significantly increases the importance of Initiative. If you can count on both parties being able to take the other down in one hit, it becomes a game of whoever goes first wins.
        Last edited by Charlaquin; 05-18-2017, 02:27 PM.


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        • #5
          Originally posted by Charlaquin View Post
          It also significantly increases the importance of Initiative. If you can count on both parties being able to take the other down in one hit, it becomes a game of whoever goes first wins.
          This is the biggest mechanical issue. Increasing damage doesn't make combat scary if you can reliably use that increased damage to kill your opponents before they can kill you back. Then all the sudden you want to get into combat because you'll always win, so the threat of damage back at you is decreased.

          It also makes stealth characters even more preferable because ambushes are that much more deadly.

          ------

          In general, you can't discourage combat with things like this. The "shock" value only lasts a long as it takes for the players to attempt to the new paradigm. If you want to make combat something players don't like to consider (which I'm not convinced is a good goal to enforce mechanically), you need to make combat less certain, not more deadly. The harder it is to predict who will come out on top of a fight, the harder it is to feel safe you have enough of an edge to win.

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          • #6
            True that heavy arms

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Heavy Arms View Post

              This is the biggest mechanical issue. Increasing damage doesn't make combat scary if you can reliably use that increased damage to kill your opponents before they can kill you back. Then all the sudden you want to get into combat because you'll always win, so the threat of damage back at you is decreased.

              It also makes stealth characters even more preferable because ambushes are that much more deadly.
              But isn't that the paradigm? Usually the one who draws first and fires usually (but not always, I understand) has the advantage? But I think it would be unwise assume that you would go first every time you get into combat. Now you bring up the subject of going first and I think that's where the focus would be: winning initiative would now become paramount.

              Originally posted by Heavy Arms View Post
              In general, you can't discourage combat with things like this. The "shock" value only lasts a long as it takes for the players to attempt to the new paradigm. If you want to make combat something players don't like to consider (which I'm not convinced is a good goal to enforce mechanically), you need to make combat less certain, not more deadly. The harder it is to predict who will come out on top of a fight, the harder it is to feel safe you have enough of an edge to win.
              Good point! What would you suggest? Initiative every round?


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              • #8
                Originally posted by Charlaquin View Post
                It would make Tilts much easier to inflict, which may or may not be a problem if your goal is higher lethality. Ironically, this would be more easily mitigated if you increased all weapon damage by a fixed amount, because you could increase the damage thresholds for Tilts by the same amount.

                It also increases the impact of the dice roll. With increased damage values, it becomes easier to end a fight in one hit, which means more fights will be decided by a single lucky roll. In a similar vein, it decreases the importance of Defense and increases the importance of Health and Armor - Defense is all or nothing, and no matter how high you get your defense, your opponent will never have less than a 1/10 chance of hitting you, so you're better of investing in making sure you can survive the hit when it comes than in making yourself harder to hit.

                It also significantly increases the importance of Initiative. If you can count on both parties being able to take the other down in one hit, it becomes a game of whoever goes first wins.
                Yeah, that was my thinking about Tilts, Charl.

                My objective is to try to (better?) stike a balance between playability and realism. Usually a person (in the real world) is lucky - or considered to be - when a single bullet doesn't kill them. I understand that's my opinion, and I understand the converse is true (as combat kind of is now) where many shot won't kill you. It just seems like the latter scenario is more likely as the rules stand. My thought is that, with a damage boost, a substantial attack roll (or a "lucky roll") will do terrible damage, but still most likely not kill someone outright.

                But your point about armor does cause some concern.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Lord Dynel View Post
                  But I think it would be unwise assume that you would go first every time you get into combat. Now you bring up the subject of going first and I think that's where the focus would be: winning initiative would now become paramount.

                  Good point! What would you suggest? Initiative every round?
                  This can be gamed by putting your Attributes into Initiative-boosting ones, Dexterity and Composure. Especially beneficial since weapons now do damage you might otherwise rely on Strength to bring.

                  And almost every splat now has a way to jump to the top of the Initiative queue or otherwise gain another boost to it.
                  Last edited by nofather; 05-19-2017, 09:52 AM.

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                  • #10
                    Yah instead just put your i guess humen players against were wolves in war form just 1 will do then they might face other supernaturals and for other humens just give them good guns and put 4 of them then just look at hurt locker

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                    • #11
                      Then they will be afraid

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Lord Dynel View Post
                        But isn't that the paradigm? Usually the one who draws first and fires usually (but not always, I understand) has the advantage? But I think it would be unwise assume that you would go first every time you get into combat. Now you bring up the subject of going first and I think that's where the focus would be: winning initiative would now become paramount.
                        While I don't particularly like how it's handled, the game uses a weapons initiative penalty to off-set its damage value. So the bigger the weapon, the worse it is in on initiative, so there's a game balance (that's not great for people concerned with realism) that occurs. You can take a bit honking weapon that'll probably take most things out in 1-2 hits, but you'll very likely end up going last. You can easily jack up the odds of going first (not even getting into supernatural powers that automatically do that), but that's going to put you with weapons that aren't as likely to end the fight quickly.

                        As well, the current 2e updates to defensive options make it a lot easier to survive someone trying to hit you hard before you can even go.

                        Going first and hitting hard is still the general best option, but it's not a sure win on purpose.

                        Good point! What would you suggest? Initiative every round?
                        No. Random Init is more of a trap than it seems. The odds of who wins Init skew extremely quickly once you have a +2 or greater advantage you'll statistically win way more than you'll lose.

                        Honestly, I don't really think there's much you can do in the system because I think the system is already pretty good for making combat not a great option due to the ease of getting in over your head (which is different from violence in general).

                        I'd also note that in reality the deadliness of combat is really focused on one factor: how good and how fast you get medical attention. "Instant" kills are exceedingly rare. Most people that die of gunshots die over an hour later, not in the moment. Hell, 1/3 of people impaled in the heart survive it with medical treatment. Guns casually killing people with one or two hits is fantasy, not reality.

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                        • #13
                          Well said man

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                          • #14
                            Really the only sure way to get players to take the threat of their character dying in combat seriously is to kill one, then make the player write up a new, starting character. After that every time he feels like the weak hitter on the roster will be a reminder to him and all his popcorn crunching buddies that combat really does come with negative consequences.
                            ‚ÄčIt's the unconscious belief in protagonist immortality that causes their cavalier attitudes.

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                            • #15
                              Two words: Lasting Repercussions.

                              Players will be much more reticent to leap into combat if a mistake stays with them longer than a few hours. Player gets shot, turn that into arm wrack and deny them an arm for a month. Player kills someone, slap them with a PTSD condition that rears its head whenever they come into later combats.

                              Be wary about killing characters though. That sounds like a good option, but frequently has the opposite effect. If players are afraid of losing their character in combat they'll deliberately spec to be better at combat. Which, in turn, forces you to turn up combat lethality. This spirals upward until the system splinters under combat optimization.

                              Consider also evaluating the goals of combat. Who are the players fighting? Why are they fighting? What will they gain from combat? A random group of mooks is just something to beat up for fun, but the beloved town sheriff mesmerized by vampiric magic is a tragic figure to save. Basically, the more deeply tied the action is to the characters and the plot the more likely they'll have reasons to avoid violence.


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