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 Post subject: Getting Scarred While Getting Killed
PostPosted: Tue Mar 04, 2003 10:13 am 
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Joined: Sun Dec 01, 2002 2:41 pm
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Location: San Jose, CA
So I was DM'ing a D&D game last night and one of the characters - a gnome bard - was reduced to negative hit points for the second time in less than a week (game time). He was successfully stabilized and was soon healed, but it got me thinking. Being reduced to negative wounds surely must have some "real" side affects. Aside from getting bruised from such constant beatings, could the character end up with scars or other marks? I'm thinking of implementing a system like this: each time a character ends up at -1 hit points or worse, you roll on the following table and subtract the hit points at which they bottomed out. The lower the roll, the worse, with the results something like this:

Roll (d20) Result
-5 or worse Grotesque, permanent scarring in the facial area (imagine the worst scar you've ever seen, right on the cheek or forehead or nose)
-1 to -4 Scar on the scalp; hair affected (bald spot or odd growth)
0-3 Minor facial scar
4-6 Noticeable limp (but doesn't affect movement)
7-9 Arm, wrist, or other joint now naturally rests at a disturbingly odd angle -- no game affects but it weirds people out when they notice it
10-12 Broken nose, scarred eye that is now slightly misshapen, torn lip, etc.
13-16 Nasty scar in easily concealable location (belly, leg, etc.)
17+ Minor scar in easily concealable location

There are no Charisma penalties to these because, although they clearly affect appearance, some might be just as good as bad. An intimidation check would certainly be easier if you had a prominent scar on your forehead, for example. And they don't affect strength of personality.

Does anyone else use anything like this?

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Mar 04, 2003 4:13 pm 
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Hard-Bitten Adventurer
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Joined: Tue Dec 17, 2002 12:18 pm
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But he does get healed up pretty nice by the cleric (in most cases).

I might implement the system if the characters suffer massive damage or don't have access to magical healing, but if a character is healed within a few moments of the wounding, there's probably nothing much permanent. All said, that's only magical healing. A quick binding so the character in question can limp back to town may produce a permanent effect.

Of course, then you get into infection, time periods of infection, and other strange tables.

Not sayin' it's a bad idea, mind you. Adventuring is dangerous, and folks are going to come out with bangs and scars. White Wolf's [i]Werewolf: the Apocalypse[/i] has a system for scarring (battle scars) that works pretty well, but there your poor Wendigo Ahroun may end up gelded and unable to have children.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Mar 05, 2003 11:27 am 
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Location: San Jose, CA
Ouch! I think I'll leave "spayed and neutered" off the table. :)

That's a good point about magical healing. The second time, the bard got healed right up... but the first time, he had to be bound and carried back to civilization. That's good for scarring, I bet.

I'll have to check out those Werewolf tables...

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Apr 18, 2003 10:39 am 
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Far-Sighted Wanderer

Joined: Tue Apr 15, 2003 12:25 pm
Posts: 13
As someone who has little to no forms of magical healing in my games scares are a normal part of my player character's lives.
While I would never castrate a player's character with out there permission, several characters have had to deal with radical amputations, chronic pains and plagues.
On the whole I tend to deal these out with an eye to the source of the injury and how it will affect game play. My players know that I will not burden them with a flaw that severly restricts their ability to play their character and most charts are a little to arbitary for my liking.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Mar 17, 2004 8:51 am 
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Ill-Fated Peasant
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Joined: Mon Mar 15, 2004 2:34 pm
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Location: On the road.
I dig it. Scars are great. Suddenly that guy in the back of the inn with all the scars seems more imposing than when the scarification was just for descriptive fluff (although I'm a fan of that, too).

While I'm not in favor of 101 tables, do you guys use any home rules for breaking weapons and what not? I'm running a low, low, low magic/high, high, high, demonic presence "fantasy dark age" game - usually I just adjuncate lousy weapons breaking in the mix of combat, but I'm wondering how you guys do it.

Damaging armor and weapons is a tough balancing act. You don't want the party to spend all their time in the weapon shop, but sitting back and letting a player passionately describe how his beserker reacts when he snaps off his blade in the spine of a devil-spawn is priceless.

(Note to self: maybe crit fumbles are actually crit hits, but the weapon is damaged/lodged in the target. Give each weapon a break range dependent on quality?

Pulp note: Seems like Conan had a different sword each time we met him.)

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Mar 17, 2004 9:56 pm 
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Joined: Sun Dec 01, 2002 2:41 pm
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Location: San Jose, CA
I now use a simpler scar system -- when the character dips below 0 hit points, have the player roll d6. 1=head, 2=torso, 3-6=various limbs, and the resulting scar is gruesome. The scars don't affect stats, but of course they affect how people perceive the PC, and I always tailor the scar to the attack... one guy got a charred, blackened handprint on his torso after a cleric felled him with an inflict wounds spell.

As for weapon/armor damage, I haven't done much with it, although I like the idea. That'd be a good thing to throw at the group out of the blue next time they roll a 1. "We don't play with fumbles!" -- "Well, we do NOW!" :)

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Mar 17, 2004 10:32 pm 
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Far-Sighted Wanderer

Joined: Tue May 20, 2003 10:53 pm
Posts: 31
Joe why not make a whole book of stuff like this for d20?zephyrmev. :) You know knick-nacks.Add ons.


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 Post subject: *SNAP* Latest Attempt at Weapon Breaks
PostPosted: Thu Mar 18, 2004 8:40 am 
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Ill-Fated Peasant
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Location: On the road.
<disclaimer> I play with a pack of experienced gamers so our combats go relatively smoothly. I'd think twice before I tried this with a new group. </disclaimer>

Foundation Argument
I'm trying to run a heroic/gritty fantasy dark age game. Translation: "low magic for the good guys, but I still want them to think and behave with a dramatic flair."

I feel uncomfortable with most crit failure tables; Conan never hacked himself in the foot on an off-day, although he did slip and fall on occassion. It may be realistic to expect warriors to hurt themselves, but realism isn't my goal. (Now the illusion of realism is something else altogether.)

Last night I tried out this system for weapon breaks and it seemed to go fairly well: the roll of a 1 on a to-hit calls for another roll. If that falls within a weapon's crit failure range the weapon is broken/damaged.

A rusted long sword - or one made by a shoddy smith - might have a crit fail range of 1-5.

Example: Torgo the beserker swings at the priest, misses and hits the altar. His second roll = 3. The blade snaps in half as the priest cues up his inflict wound spell.

A "good" blade might have a failure range of 1-2. A masterwork blade has a failure range of 1. Wooden weapons, 1-5 (lots of broken spears/lances!).

And of course magical weapons never break accidentally, but who wants them? They're all cursed by eldritch blood-magic anyway. :twisted:

Kink for Heroic Games: A roll of 1 followed by a roll of 20 calls for a critical hit with complications. The blade lodges in the spine of the devil-spawn. The mace handle snaps from the brute force of your powerful smite. Whatever.

Last night we only had 3 crit breaks, but they all came at dramatic moments. Very quickly it became important what sort of backup weapon the players had scrawled on their character sheets all those months ago. That and "improv" weapons got really popular:

Player 1: Torch sconce! Martial weapon?
DM: It's a -1 club. Go!

... but then the sconce shattered against the skull of the demon-childe with a crit break/hit and things got really messy:

Player 2: I throw Torgo my sword!
DM and Torgo: What?!

The other side-effect was one of the players called her NPC sidekick forward to serve as spear-maiden/weapons-caddy. I've always liked the idea but it was never important enough to encourage in and of itself, so it was great when a player came up with it in game.

Why Bother?
I remember playing with MERPS crit failures and the dread/frustration that came as a player knowing that I had "slipped on an imaginary turtle" again. By keeping the chance of a crit hit (along with the break) in the mix, it keeps my players on the edge of their seats with their thread of hope, pavlov style. :)

(For the record, I don't know the first thing about smithing techniques/materials, but I hope to amend that this weekend with a visit to the local library.

Sorry if any of this duplicates/imitates material from any of the newer books (Unearthed Arcana, maybe?). Haven't had a chance to check it out yet.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Oct 12, 2004 4:21 am 
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Ill-Fated Peasant

Joined: Tue Oct 05, 2004 10:50 pm
Posts: 6
I love that chance for hit on a weapon breakage. Course I'd have to reverse it as well. Chance for breakage on a critical threat.....


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Oct 12, 2004 10:30 am 
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Cold-Hearted Immortal
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Joined: Mon Apr 05, 2004 6:30 pm
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Location: In a galaxy far, far, away (Missouri)
Nah, that justs adds more complexity to an already complex game. Gets in the way of heroic deeds and fighting the bad guys!

Now if one of the gang WANTS his character to have a "war-wound" from a major fight, I'm not going to stand in his way.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Oct 14, 2004 9:31 pm 
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Far-Sighted Wanderer

Joined: Mon Aug 09, 2004 8:06 pm
Posts: 49
Location: LAS VEGAS
I think scars and war wounds would be up to the players. If your character get beat down alot I think it would be good role playing to make up a minor scar, limp, etc....


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Nov 01, 2004 12:31 am 
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Far-Sighted Wanderer

Joined: Mon Oct 18, 2004 1:13 am
Posts: 29
Grimbones, that's an absolutely groovy system you've got there.

my group uses a much simpler Crit Fail setup that follows the same general procedure as Crit Successes: after a 1 is rolled the player rolls an unmodified d20. the lower the result of this roll, the worse the crit fail was. as a general rule of thumb, a result above 15 loses the player the rest of the turn but doesn't really do much else; they slipped, hit their elbow on the wall, someone else got in the way...whatever's appropriate for the situation. a result between 10 and 15 generally means that the player is in a slightly vulnerable position in addition to losing his turn. usually this takes the form of a small AC penalty until their next turn, but sometimes it's a free attack of opportunity for the target of the failed attack. a result between 5 and 10 means that the player has either fallen prone somehow or dropped/lost his weapon in some way; usually this means that it's been knocked away but is recoverable. a roll below 5 is essentially GM fiat to do something nasty, but i rarely invoke damaging themselves or their companions unless it's fully justified. rolling a 1 on this second roll is just like rolling a 20 on your crit-confirmation roll; you get to roll -again-, and the process keeps on going and getting worse and worse.

we had a great game session one night when a PC dropped his enchanted spear off the edge of an enormous cliff in a fight. since the spear was both a family heirloom and a fairly important plot element, the party spent the entire session in an impromptu recovery mission that turned into a really good side-quest all on its own. it was great watching them try to figure out how to get the spear out of the middle of the -large- orc encampment it'd fallen into.

-c


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