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Incapacitation rules

 
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Mylon
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 10, 2010 12:10 pm    Post subject: Incapacitation rules Reply with quote

Just me, or are the incapacitation rules a bit harsh?

When a wild card goes down, they need to make roll a TN of 7 on a vigor roll to be wounded but fine. If that fails, they need to roll a TN of 7 on a spirit roll to not die. If that succeeds, (as per the linked errata) then the character gets one more vigor roll (at the same TN of 7), where a failure means death.

And to add insult to injury, there's also the injury table. Even if a hero does survive, he still has to roll a TN 7 vigor roll to not become crippled.

For a novice, unless they focus on vigor making that TN of 7 is a bit difficult. It really makes soak rolls one of the most appealing uses of bennies if combat is expected.

I'll talk to my GM about having failure be continued vigor rolls and only snake eyes meaning immediate death and tossing out the spirit roll altogether. I mean, there should be some time to get to someone and patch them up, else first aid is only useful for turning wounds into flesh wounds instead of saving lives. Likewise, the injury table ought to be success = flesh wound, lasts a few days, failure means a lasting wound lasting a few weeks, and critical failure being permanent.

I think the incapacitation rules from the core book (as opposed to the explorer edition) seem more forgiving, where any individual attacks of 1 or 2 wounds won't kill a wild card. 3 wounds can however, and short of some magical six second healing, there's no way to intervene (in which case it becomes much like the table from the errata).

What's everyone else's thoughts on the rules? Do I have something wrong, or are saving bennies for soak rolls really that important?
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Clint
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 10, 2010 12:40 pm    Post subject: Re: Incapacitation rules Reply with quote

Mylon wrote:
Just me, or are the incapacitation rules a bit harsh?


No, they are, by design. The character has taken enough damage to kill a normal person; survival is rare and sometimes requires luck/fate (Bennies) or being above normal in some way (higher Vigor, Hard to Kill, Nerves of Steel/Improved NoS, etc.).

Mylon wrote:
I think the incapacitation rules from the core book (as opposed to the explorer edition) seem more forgiving, where any individual attacks of 1 or 2 wounds won't kill a wild card. 3 wounds can however, and short of some magical six second healing, there's no way to intervene (in which case it becomes much like the table from the errata).


Actually, the old rules killed more PCs than the new ones. By the old rules, there was no way to mitigate the Incapacitation effect except by Soaking. At some point eventually, a PC will face a 4+ wound damage result and it will be almost impossible for them to Soak it regardless of how many Bennies they have.

By the new rules, they can save those Bennies and use them to reroll the Incapacitation result, and while the odds are long, they are not impossible. Even with the -3 penalty (ignoring Hard to Kill and Nerves of Steel), a result of 11 allows the character to stay in the fight with a minor Injury.

Mylon wrote:
Do I have something wrong, or are saving bennies for soak rolls really that important?


Well, Soaking damage as opposed to taking it is pretty much always preferable, but so is having Bennies for the Incapacitation roll when Soaking isn't feasible.

And all that said, that's just to baseline rules for Incapacitation. Adjusting it is actually one of the most common Setting Rules in the game. Here are some options I posted when the latest version came out to tweak Incapacitation to fit other styles of play...

http://www.peginc.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=25190

Hope that helps.
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77IM
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 10, 2010 11:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Clint, are you talking about SWEX 2nd Printing or about some earlier edition? In the 2nd Printing rules the Incapacitation was a Vigor roll at -3 (unless you have Nerves of Steel or Hard to Kill) and could be rerolled with a benny, right?

Thanks,

-- 77IM
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GranFalloon
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 11, 2010 2:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Advice I give out to my players: ALWAYS save a benny for a soak roll or the incap roll. You really don't wanna blow those.
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jonnywaistcoat
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Joined: 02 Jun 2010
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 11, 2010 5:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Often different settings have mitigating factors as well. In Slipstream, of course, you have the fact that heroes never truly die and will probably just be out of action until a really good dramatic moment, while in Deadlands RL you have the fact that Blue and Red fate chips ADD to the roll, meaning if you save one of them, it's a lot easier to survive.
Also, my group have always had a surprising amount of fun when rolling on the injuries table. It really adds something to a character if they've got a war wound or two...
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islan
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 11, 2010 7:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Honestly, I would prefer Incapacitation to be harsh just because it can be really hard to get them to that point. From experience, it can sometimes seem impossible to kill a PC in Savage Worlds, to the point where players start to feel invincible. But when that rare occasion where a player gets one-hit killed by a goblin, that feeling of invincibility immediately vanishes. Ah, it's a good thing Very Happy

Of course, different settings would want different levels of ease-of-death or ease-of-wounding. I particularly like the rules for a Toon universe: all damage is non-lethal.
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Mylon
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 11, 2010 9:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Maybe the rules are only so harsh because soaking means they rarely come into play? I mean, 70% chance of instant death seems a little too harsh.
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Clint
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 11, 2010 10:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mylon wrote:
Maybe the rules are only so harsh because soaking means they rarely come into play? I mean, 70% chance of instant death seems a little too harsh.


Think of it this way; the character has already taken enough damage to die, but he has a 30% chance to survive and an 11% chance to remain in the fight.

Also keep in mind how one factor alone significantly alters those odds. With one Benny to spend, the d6 Vigor character's odds increase to a 52% chance of survival. Increasing Vigor just one die type to a d8 increases the odds to 48%. Taking Hard to Kill increases the odds of survival to 75%.

Again, each of those is just a single factor that could be combined. Add a d8 Vigor with spending one Benny and the odds are nearly the same as Hard to Kill.

But really, it's not the chance to die, but a chance to avoid death.

Another way to look at it would be to apply another system's terminology and say the character has reached 0 or -10 hit points (whatever would normally mean instant death), but instead of automatically dying, the character gets a roll with a chance to survive another round for help, perhaps only be unconscious, or possibly gain a few hit points in exchange for a temporary drawback.

But as I originally said, the odds are, well, savage and they are savage by design. A d6 Vigor character who is out of Bennies and doesn't have any other modifiers is in serious trouble. Combat is deadly... unless the setting doesn't call for it to be; in which case, Setting Rules apply like the Heroic or Cinematic options in the link above.

The real key is what style of game the GM is running; it might be helpful to point out the base Incapacitation rules are ones we use for settings like Weird War 2 not settings like Slipstream or Necessary Evil.
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77IM
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 11, 2010 12:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mylon wrote:
I mean, 70% chance of instant death seems a little too harsh.

It's not instant death -- in order to become Incapacitated you need to take enough hits to build up 4 wounds OR take one massive hit (in which case you probably still have a few bennies). So like Clint says, by that point you should be happy to have two checks (even hard ones) standing between you and the abyss. ;}

-- 77IM
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Mylon
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 11, 2010 12:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

My stance on the matter is a single wound isn't enough to kill a person, merely enough to make most people stop trying to fight. It takes someone of hero quality to keep on fighting.

GURPS for example treats people as not being in danger until they've taken twice their health in damage. Automatic death only happens when they've taken 6x their health in damage. I don't think D&D makes a suitable comparison for other RPG systems unless they're also highly abstracted in how they deal with health.

The default rules are fast and furious, but I wouldn't say they're fun. I prefer hospitals and medics to save lives, not just help sick people get better.
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77IM
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 11, 2010 2:22 pm    Post subject: Re: Incapacitation rules Reply with quote

Mylon wrote:
I'll talk to my GM about having failure be continued vigor rolls and only snake eyes meaning immediate death and tossing out the spirit roll altogether. I mean, there should be some time to get to someone and patch them up, else first aid is only useful for turning wounds into flesh wounds instead of saving lives.

FYI, that is very close to the SWEX 2nd Printing's Incapacitation rules, so you might want to look those up. (I like them slightly better than the 3rd Printing's rules for the reasons you mentioned.)

-- 77IM
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Clint
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 11, 2010 3:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mylon wrote:
My stance on the matter is a single wound isn't enough to kill a person, merely enough to make most people stop trying to fight. It takes someone of hero quality to keep on fighting.


Not sure I understand. It takes 4 accumulated wounds to potentially kill a Wild Card, not one. Confused
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JoeGun
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 11, 2010 4:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

yeah in theory to Kill someone in one shot, you would need to roll 4 raises, or 16 points over their toughness, figuring the average toughness of 5, thats 21 damage roll. Pretty big numbers really. And then even if you get it, they have to fail a vigor roll at the least. Don't get me wrong, it is more harsh than say a Hit Point system where you can't die from a single hit, but it isn't like any hit is going to put you out either.
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Mylon
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 11, 2010 9:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

A wild card isn't a person, they're a hero. A single wound is all it takes to down a normal person. But only down, not necessarily killed. It's not necessarily the one shot kill for a wild card, but the little ding at the end that finishes one off and forces those rolls. I just find it odd that a wild card is so likely to die on their feet.
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Clint
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 11, 2010 10:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mylon wrote:
A wild card isn't a person, they're a hero. A single wound is all it takes to down a normal person. But only down, not necessarily killed.


We don't roll for Extras until after combat is over because it's typically not important to know the result until then. Wild Cards get a roll during combat because they have the opportunity to actually stay on their feet and fighting, and because it is important to know what happens to them.

Mylon wrote:
It's not necessarily the one shot kill for a wild card, but the little ding at the end that finishes one off and forces those rolls. I just find it odd that a wild card is so likely to die on their feet.


If you mean taking a one wound attack after already suffering three other wounds, yeah, that's how it happens. The character is standing there with three wounds just one step away from death. To use the same analogy above, they have already taken enough damage to possibly kill a "normal person" three times over, and they are still standing, but the hero is seriously seriously hurt. If he has allies, someone should already be on their way to help, and if not, he better hope his foe is almost beaten as well cause things are bad.

And to clarify my statements earlier, a character with a d6 Vigor doesn't have a 70% chance of dying. They have a 70% chance of failing the initial roll, but then they also have to fail the Spirit roll to die instantly, which if figuring a d6 Spirit as well, reduces the odds of instant death to 49%. The odds I mentioned above were just about failing the first roll, not including if they succeeded at the Spirit roll or follow-up Vigor roll (if someone else didn't stabilize them before then). Realized I wasn't clear on that.
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AFDia
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 12, 2010 1:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I like the new incapacitation table (after the errata). The original SWEX table was way too "friendly". The only chance for an instant death was critical failure on the vigor roll which almost never happens.

But I also like the SWR table which is based on the number of wounds you take from the incapacitating attack. It was simple and it reflected deadly mass damage blows better than now (there was a difference between a 10 wound hit and a 1 wound hit).

At the moment I'm using the SWEX table, but in my next campaign I will try the SWR table for comparison (I haven't played much with it).

Another interesting point is the change of the healing rules from SWR to SWEX.
The main difference is that in SWR you cannot take additional wounds from healing rolls which result is <=1, but one failed healing roll made the remaining wounds permanent so that they can only be healed by natural healing.
SWEX is more forgiving. Of course you can inflict additional wounds by rolling <=1 but that almost never happens if the healer has an appropriate skill level and the Healer edge.
So basically the difference is that in SWR you had a much higher chance of remaining permanent wounds, while in SWEX a good healer can heal anything because of the 5-6 tries he will always have (golden hour).

I think both systems work fine and the decision which one is "better" depends on the style of the setting.
If you like the SWR inc table more just use it. Wink
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77IM
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 12, 2010 10:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mylon wrote:
I just find it odd that a wild card is so likely to die on their feet.
With a -3 Wound penalty to everything (including Pace), I think that they are just barely on their feet.

-- 77IM
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velikch
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 16, 2011 10:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Right, to echo what everyone else is saying, I think the problem is that the impact of taking 3 wounds is either not being vizualized by the players/GM, or (worse yet) the penalties are not being applied.

If you are applying the penalties, then you should really be feeling the gravity of the situation. A -1 penalty hurts. Think of a boxing match or an MMA fight when someone gets hit hard enough that they can't afford to be so aggressive anymore. Take that a step further for -2 penalties. Now they're badly beaten; their muscles ache, they're struggling to quickly process what's being thrown at them in order to react. One step further for -3. They can barely fight; they're moments from unconsciousness, the room is spinning and their muscles don't want to move - he can't hardly keep his arms up to protect his face, he has virtually no strength left, one more solid or well-placed hit and he's done for.

BOOM - that final hit lands, and he's completely out. Was his jaw shattered? Or did the blow strike the carotid artery? Whatever the case, he's a bloody mess and he's on the incap table now.



Soak rolls help slow the process of going from 100% to incap, making one-hit KOs rare and allowing a wild card to endure several hits. I always save a benny for incap no matter what character I play. But Bennies give you that edge in combat.

Think of this: Wild Cards are the heros not just because they can take 3 wounds before incap, but also because they get BENNIES. If you really have trouble with incap, you need to consider either how you're building your characters or when you're spending your bennies. Did you really want to make that beastly fighter that could shake off punches from professional boxers? If not, spend bennies wisely.
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