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Modiphius > Mutant Chronicles RPG
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Armor and Hit Location Proposal

posted Jun 29, 2013 08:48:51 by Jason
In lack of a dedicated combat mechanic topic (read: I am requesting one) I wasn't sure where to put this, so forgive me for opening up a new topic. Fell free to move into a more appropriate section, if nescessary.

Mutant chronicles characters are all more or less combat professionals. As such, it is fair to assume that they act accordingly. That includes target selection with firearms as well as melee weapons. Main target is in both cases center mass, expecially at longer ranges. Few people outside of hollywood movies actually aim for the head or legs of a target.

This led me to an idea of how to handle hit locations and armor in a way that allows for fast paced combat, yet retains the individual variety in armor selection and target locations:

1. Combine the "Chest" and "Stomach" areas into one category named "Torso".
2. Use the armor value of that region as your general armor value (this assumes the acting character is aiming for center mass by default)
3. Use the "Called Shot" spend from your attack spends to target any of the individual locations, using the approriate armor for that location

This way, the additional hit location roll is no longer required, while at the same time, combat hit results are far more realistic and reliable.

[Last edited Jun 29, 2013 08:52:34]
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14 replies
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Carl Matthews said Jun 29, 2013 09:31:00
I like this idea. Hit location is good but it's one more thing to look up. No hit location unless you take a called shot seems good to me.
UK gamer; I have more books than most game stores!
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AmazingOnionMan said Jun 29, 2013 11:46:20
@Jason.

"In lack of a dedicated combat mechanic topic (read: I am requesting one)"

Good idea. Now why didn't I think of that?;-)
And I agree, there is no point in having separate Chest and Torso with the system as is.

Further proposals on the fly:
-Rework the possible actions one can take in combat - incorporate tactical choices instead of relying on whiffy Slide-successes.
-Remove the DT-mechanic. Seriously, remove the DT! Create a pure hitpoint-mechanic or wound-slide or whatever. But remove DT and reserve it for armor.
Example:
_Roll to hit
_Potensial defence-roll (dodging bullets should be made Difficult. Take a note from the old game)
_If you hit, roll damage and apply effects
_Next one goes.
As many of you probably already has caught up on, I'm all for a gritty game. Combat should be scary, getting hurt should hurt.
-Don't use a general wound-track, take another note from the old game. Let PC's stagger about with concussions and broken arms.
-Ablative wounds are bad
I'm not always right!
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Jason said Jun 29, 2013 16:20:57
I actually like the DT-mechanic. I also happen to like gritty games of violence, hence my fascination with Mutant Cronicles.
However, gritty doesn't nescessary mean highly lethal. The possibility of permanent death with no revive mechanic alone does its fair share of making combat something to be mindful of. A combat system with a very high probability of actually dying (I am looking at you, Warhammer!) doesn't lead to a more gritty atmosphere, though. It leads to character angst. Players will not only be mindful of combat, they will avoid it at all possibilities.

That may be what some GMs are looking for but it curbstomps any cinematic feel the game might otherwise have had. Especially in the case of Mutant Chronicles, I see it as more of a horror action flick (like Aliens, Predator (the original one), Event Horizon or Priest (to name a newer one), as opposed to a survival horror flick or a more traditional monster horror flick, where the protagonists are more or less impotent pieces on the board, about to be swalloed whole by the big bad *insert trope*.

Turning the damage mechanic into a more ordinaty hitpoint mechanic or severe wound mechanic (like WoD, SR 1/2, Warhammer, etc.) leaves two probable outcomes. Either it will be too many hitpoints, in which case combat will be trivial and a waste of a lot of valuable playing time, or too restrictive, causing character angst.

I think the current DT serves as a good middle ground between the two. Sure, the actual thresholds can be debated (although I am fine with them for the moment) but overall I think the DT mechanic is superior to the more traditional hitpoint mechanic.

Take a look at Call of Cthulhu. In that game you die fast. That's part of the design. The entire mythos is based around the impotence of mere mortals in a universe of things far beyond their understanding. But you also die the slow death of a thousand cuts. You bruise your knee a couple of times, suddenly you drop dead after spraining yet another ankle. It makes no sense and it often leads to frustrated players that die, because they literally just fell down the basement stairs.
[Last edited Jun 29, 2013 16:21:16]
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BryanStewart said Jun 29, 2013 19:44:53
I'm all for hit locations, it makes mutant chronicles different, because so few games use hit locations. Hit points only, would make the game faster but not better.
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AmazingOnionMan said Jun 29, 2013 21:37:00
@Jason

Call of Cthulhu and it's bigger, more intimidating, grandfather RuneQuest are my two favorite games.
It might explain why I'm coming down as hard as I am on MC, as it's design is directly opposite of what I'm used to and what I like.
BRP forces roleplaying and innovativity(is that an actual word..?) out of the player, whether they want to or not. Because they learn real quick that drawing weapons and cupping the dice mean bad things are about to happen.
The new RuneQuest is brilliant in this regard, as it allows for a lot intuitive gameplay to try to make the bad things happen to your opponent instead of you, where as core-BRP is more dependant on core numbers and luck of the dice.

Right now, MC relies on the dicegods and a strong rolling arm.
I'm not always right!
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William Gauthier said Jun 30, 2013 01:15:44
I really like the proposal by the OP. Make all shots hit center mass unless otherwise targeted by extra successes seems like a great idea.
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Rodney said Jul 07, 2013 21:34:03
While I do think the rules presented by the OP are well thought out. I prefer to roll for hit locations. I know my players do as well. They love rolling that D20 and scoring a natural 20 and a hit to the head. Playing pretty much nothing anymore except BRP games like RuneQuest, Call of Cthulhu, etc. I use them in everything.

The OP is correct in that trained professionals tend to aim for the center of mass, but the hit location table already takes that into account with a 45% chance that any hit is going to strike the abdomen or chest. Plus aiming for the center of mass only takes into account the first shot of a burst fire weapon. Seldom would every shot strike the torso, they would instead tend to hit different locations.

I'm the writer of my own fantasy roleplaying game that uses pretty much the exact hit location system used in MC. I understand that people tend to love them or hate them as my own playtesters have attested to on many occasions.

I would like to say that I do like the OPs idea. I do think it should be included as an option. They are too good to ignore and while I wouldn't use them in preference to rolling randomly, I know many would.

The only thing I really disagree with would be his statement that "This way, the additional hit location roll is no longer required, while at the same time, combat hit results are far more realistic and reliable."

There are loads of statistical information available on the web released by police departments and news agencies that shows that in an actual gun battle, where both you and the target are scrambling around trying to remain in cover and not be hit, that the actual hit rate drops as low as 18 to 35%. Its pretty safe to say, that if your chance to hit is that low, your chance to hit the location aimed at is even lower. In these cases, random hit locations would be the more realistic results and not the other way around.

Rodney Leary

[Last edited Jul 08, 2013 01:13:58]
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Jason said Jul 08, 2013 07:00:01
@Rodney
Accuracy in real combat situations is low. A low hit rate doesn't equal random pattern distribution, though. The target is still center mass and it is still going to be mostly center mass that is hit, simply because it is significantly easier to hit than a moving arm or leg. Also, legs tend to be in cover ;)

I do see room for optional rules, though. It's my experience from pervious games with hit locations that it tends to slow down the combat, though and combat is slow enough as it is. Not just in MC, but other systems as well (e.g. Dark Heresy, Riddle of Steel, Aftermath!, One-Roll Engine, etc.).

That's just my opinion, though.
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ChrisBirch said Jul 08, 2013 12:22:08
In the v1.2 rules we're suggesting people optionally roll hit location at the same time as the attack roll, this reduces die rolls if people want shorter combat.
Founder & Publisher
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Rodney said Jul 08, 2013 16:16:37
@Jason
I'm not trying to turn this into a debate as I do agree with your rule in its simplicity and will more than likely use it in games I run where players don't like hit locations. However, I do want to back-up my statement with facts.

This quote is from an article published by the "Front Sight Firearms Training Institute". The one paragraph covers both realistic accuracy and shot grouping.

"And don’t think that the 13 hits out of 100 rounds fired from law enforcement officers in a lethal confrontations are fight-stopping “center hits.” Most of the 13 are peripheral hits in the arms or below the waist due to the officers not focusing on the front sight and mashing the hell out of the trigger."

Here is the entire article. http://www.ignatius-piazza-front-sight.com/2008/12/29/if-cops-cant-hit-in-a-gunfight-how-good-are-you-going-to-be/

Again Jason. I like your rule. I want to use it myself. It's just if I make a statement that gets questioned I want to be able to back it up. That said, it still is going to boil down to "your opinion/my opinion". And there is no debating that. :)

Rodney Leary
[Last edited Jul 08, 2013 16:17:49]
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Jason said Jul 08, 2013 17:05:33
@Rodney
I can accept that =)
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ChrisBirch said Jul 08, 2013 23:31:40
We are simplifying the combat somewhat - the cover bonus applies if you're in cover, and it doesn't if you're not (check the new rules you can be 'out of cover' for several reasons). The concept is during combat people are moving around in cover, trying to get a shot off, different body parts may or may not be visible, but generally someone is trying to keep as much of themselves in cover as possible. As a result cover always counts BUT you can 'bypass cover' with 1 success spend on top of a damage spend now. You caught them as they went to shoot you, as they moved to get a better position etc.

We've changed the range rules too - see the new 1.2 rules sent out tonight
Founder & Publisher
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Angelic_Voice said Jul 11, 2013 00:09:45
We played with the 1.2 rules and we're getting there. Really good. Tsuyoshi-San's Car-24 (or Submachine gun) blasted 4 wounds (4d8) into a ganger in the hallway of the apartment block and sent him sliding down the wall. Fast combat, had my players pull a few avoid succes's in favor of my Symmetry pool growing. ;)
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theofrid said Jul 26, 2013 04:53:08
The hit location usage within MC has been a hit with our group, since the first time we played. It is not a matter of slowing combat down in our game, we simply roll hit location at same time as damage.
Locations should not be bundled, such as the suggestion of stomach and chest, being called torso, but I do agree with a larger percentage of the hit location chart, should be to the stomach and chest and less to of a chance to arms, legs and head.
The idea of in and out of cover, and the called shots is something we have liked.
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