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setzer9999's page

442 posts (445 including aliases). No reviews. No lists. No wishlists. 1 alias.


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Ninja in the Rye wrote:
I think the OP has it right by RAW, a ray spell has no target, it simply produces rays which are weapon like effects that you then target at enemies so you can target the swarm with a ray just like you can swing a sword at it. As elemental damage is not weapon damage, the damage from the ray would then harm the swarm.

You're the only one in this thread who agrees with me, but I've seen many other threads elsewhere where others take our position. I guess the others in this thread would call it a house rule, but this is why I don't play organized play...

@Ansel_Krulwich
NO, the devs do not have brains the size of planets, and if the rules make a creature that ridiculously powerful, its CR is wrong. This game, like any other, is riddled with holes, inconsistencies, and poor planning. The game would not work in the slightest as a computer program, and requires constant coaxing on the part of a good GM.

A lot of stuff got mixed up and muddled in the port from 3.5 to PF. PF is better in most ways than 3.5, a lot more streamlined and less clunky. However, there are specific points which are messed up, and this is one of them. In 3.5, a weapon with an enchantment does harm swarms with the elemental part (but just not the weapon damage itself), and mechanically there is NO difference between that dynamic and a ray attack.

Perhaps even in 3.5 rays weren't supposed to work, but I never said 3.5 was developed perfectly either, far from it. If a weapon enchant harms the creature, so should an elemental ray attack. Consistency is important, as well as not ramming impossible circumstances down new players throats... and we are talking about magic here after all...

EldonG wrote:


Just my $.02 on why splash weapons work - it's as if they target the square...if you just hit the square a creature was in, it would just do the splash damage to the creature, logically...and each component within a swarm takes no more than 1 hp to kill...seeing as it affects the surrounding squares, it surely affects the whole square for that 1 pt, making it for all practical purposes, an area effect attack.

By RAW, if you accept that rays do not work, no splash damage also does not work on swarms... well, only the splash part... 1 damage to the area. Re-read the splash weapon damage rules. There are two parts to it, one is a direct hit, the other is AoE, similar to a meteor swarm spell... which, stupidly, would also only hurt the swarm with the AoE portion, and not the direct damage portion by RAW with the reading supported by most in this thread.

So, I guess I have a rules answer from other players/GMs of Pathfinder, and I guess that is why I prefer to GM and stay away from organized play, because lots of the rules suck. You can call it houseruling or playing a 3.5/PF hybrid RAW, whatever... but rays, magic weapon elemental damage, and splash weapons all affect swarms normally in my games... whatever.


Corbin Dallas wrote:
setzer9999 wrote:
What about using only 1 claw of a 2 claw natural weapon?

To my knowledge there are no rules preventing use of natural attacks while having the grappled condition. They are not restricted to "two weapon or two handed" rules that I am aware.

The monk in my group likes to wrestle dragons and the like, I have put him down more than once with a full attack of natural weapons.
Unless you are pinned I use full attack natural weapons with the -2 grappled penalty all the time.

Improvised Greatsword-
Let's see. Assuming medium size(2d6), I would say it does 1d8 plus regular strength @ -6 to hit. Does that satisfy the improvised and inappropriate size rules without breaking any rules?

So, if the barbarian were still holding his greatsword, he could make his full attack with his claw attacks even though only 1 hand was free? Or would he need to drop the greatsword to make 2 claw attacks, and only get half the benefit of the attack if he held onto the sword?

As for the improvised part, are you suggesting that it is both improvised and inappropriate sized both?


Ansel Krulwich wrote:
setzer9999 wrote:
only spellcasters with an AoE spell can affect swarms at all, leaving many parties without a way to combat them period

I knew you'd agree with me eventually. Pretty much, yeah. Along with splash weapons as explicitly allowed in the swarm subtype rules. Remember, specific rules trump general rules.

This is why swarms are deadly to low level and unprepared adventurers.

There is no rule in the swarm rules that say splash weapons direct damage hurts the swarm... it says that AoE's do 50% more, including the splash damage AoE... but the direct damage from a splash weapon is not AoE damage, and the swarm is immune to it according to your interpretation of the rest of the rules. Nothing in the swarm entry makes it vulnerable to the direct damage portion of a splash weapon. 50% more damage to 0 damage is still 0.

It seems like this interpretation of the rules can't be right.

Bat Swarm... the CR 2 TPK machine.

Has a speed of 40 feet, so you are extremely unlikely to be able to outrun it.

If you don't have any AoE spells or very specific spells prepared or remaining, you can't hurt it.

TPK.

At least you can outrun a spider swarm, but you can't escape a bat swarm, and you all die.

If all this is true, wouldn't the Bat Swarm be CR 6?


Ansel Krulwich wrote:
The rules for the swarm subtype are quite clear on this. You have your answers. I recognize that you don't like those answers... But not liking them doesn't make those answers wrong.

If rays don't harm swarms, then you are breaking the rules just as much by having splash weapon initial damage be effective against them, and doubly so for upping it by 50% since its not an AoE.

The rules don't seem clear in any case because effects that produce rays and targeted spells are not the same thing. They are distinctly different things.

Do you consider an attack with a weapon an "effect"? Is swinging a sword an "effect"? That's essentially what everyone is saying, that attacking with the ray is an effect. The attack and the effect can't be the same thing.

Now, this is off the topic of the rules, but indeed I don't like it. The implications that you can't hit swarms with rays, splash weapon initial damage, magical weapon effects, or torches means that only spellcasters with an AoE spell can affect swarms at all, leaving many parties without a way to combat them period. Now that does get into house rules if everything people are saying is true... but are the rules really that poorly designed?


Is there an official position on if it is improvised or inappropriately sized?

The rules for two-handed weapons say

"Two-Handed: Two hands are required to use a two-handed melee weapon effectively. Apply 1-1/2 times the character's Strength bonus to damage rolls for melee attacks with such a weapon."

This seems to indicate you can still try to use it otherwise, but I just am unsure if its improvised or inappropriately sized. I just can't see it as completely unusable entirely though.

What about using only 1 claw of a 2 claw natural weapon?


Ansel Krulwich wrote:
setzer9999 wrote:
Rays aside, then, what of attacking a swarm with an magic weapon with an elemental effect? The swarm can be attacked by the weapon and its AC overcome. The weapon damage doesn't do anything, but is the magical effect "weapon damage"?

No. The magical effect is a--magical effect. Swarms are immune to effects.

It is a common house rule to allow the magical effects of an enchanted weapon to affect a swarm--it's even one that I would allow if I felt my players needed it because they got caught unprepared. But it is not one that is supported by RAW.

setzer9999 wrote:
The same question applies to splash weapons. Can you hit the swarm with a splash weapon? The splash damage from the splash weapon seems clearly to be AoE, but the initial hit part not.

Splash weapons vs. swarms has a special rule just for it which is why it "just works". Actually, the rules for swarms make splash weapons super effective.

Swarm subtype wrote:
A swarm takes half again as much damage (+50%) from spells or effects that affect an area, such as splash weapons

But the effect that deals the initial damage for a splash weapon does not affect an area, it affects a creature. So by what you have said previously, the swarm would be immune to the initial damage, and only susceptible to the splash damage.

"To attack with a splash weapon, make a ranged touch attack against the target." Sound familiar? Just like a ray.

"A hit deals direct hit damage to the target, and splash damage to all creatures within 5 feet of the target."

The 1d6 damage for the direct hit is an effect of the targeted attack. it is not an AoE. Nothing in the swarm text states that the swarm is susceptible to the splash weapon differently than to other target driven effects, just that it takes 50% more damage from AoE effects (which only the splash portion, not the direct portion, of a splash weapon attack is).

So, you are arriving at the same conclusion for how a splash weapon should affect the swarm that I am about rays, with no additional support for the position than I have. So, why does the direct hit damage from splash weapons work differently than rays in this case again?


You can fire a ray without targeting a creature though, just like you can a ranged weapon. People are saying that you can't fire the ray without a target, but that is false. You can just shoot the ray at nothing. or at a square, if you prefer. Based on that, again, I'd say at the least you can fire at the swarm's square, and then by RAW you have targeted no creatures. You should still be able to resolve the attack via the miss chance rules for firing blind. That however, seems unnecessary and fiddly to me.

Rays aside, then, what of attacking a swarm with an magic weapon with an elemental effect? The swarm can be attacked by the weapon and its AC overcome. The weapon damage doesn't do anything, but is the magical effect "weapon damage"? Shouldn't the swarm take damage from the elemental damage? Don't think in "real world" terms, only in mechanical terms... the swarm is a single creature for the purposes of combat... you can't hit "one of" the creatures, because in game rules terms, individuals don't exist in the swarm.

The same question applies to splash weapons. Can you hit the swarm with a splash weapon? The splash damage from the splash weapon seems clearly to be AoE, but the initial hit part not. If anyone is arguing that you can't actually hit the swarms with weapons that employ elemental damage, you'd have to also argue that only the splash damage applies, not the initial hit, or you are being inconsistent. And that makes splash weapons pathetically useless against swarms for a whopping 1 damage increased 50% to a whopping 1 damage.


Starglim wrote:

It can't attack at all with the two-handed weapon in one hand, any more than it could do so when not grappled.

A claw attack only requires one hand. edit: Taking two claw attacks is a full attack action and it requires both hands to perform that action, so the barbarian couldn't do it. It could take a claw attack and a bite attack, if it had one, since that full attack action doesn't require more than one hand.

It can't even attack with it as an improvised weapon at -4 used like a club?

It can't use 1 claw of its two claw attack? So, unless you can make two attacks, you can't use claw attacks? Can you supply support from the rules about that?


EldonG wrote:
setzer9999 wrote:
EldonG wrote:
setzer9999 wrote:
EldonG wrote:


*snip*

It's a targeted spell. It requires a roll to hit. A target. Sorry if you don't like it. *shrug*

Except that rays are specifically NOT targeted spells, as evidenced in the magic section of the rules.
Yes, they are. Fire off a ray without a target. Go for it. Tell me what happens.

I don't have to, the rules do that:

"As with a ranged weapon, you can fire into the dark or at an invisible creature and hope you hit something."

Have you not noticed the line up in the top of every spell that either says Effect or Target? See how no ray spells have Target in there?

Also, to your other post, a swarm being made up of multiple creatures is entirely fluff. Mechanically, it is one creature. It has one stat block, moves as one, occupies space as one, and (most importantly) has AC as one.

Well, enjoy your hoping. You'll fail an awful lot...but have fun!

The point is, you don't require a target to shoot a ray... you can just shoot it. Based on that, the spell doesn't require a specific number of creatures to target.

This is the argument, and I still don't see it refuted:

A spell that produces a ray doesn't have a Target, it has an Effect.

A spell that produces a ray can be used without a target, so it doesn't require a set number of creatures to target to use.

You can attack a swarm with a weapon.

A ray is a weapon.

The elemental damage caused by the spell is not weapon damage.

Therefore a swarm can be damaged by the elemental damage of a ray spell.

I'm not trying to house rule... I just really don't see the gap in the logic above.


EldonG wrote:
setzer9999 wrote:
EldonG wrote:


*snip*

It's a targeted spell. It requires a roll to hit. A target. Sorry if you don't like it. *shrug*

Except that rays are specifically NOT targeted spells, as evidenced in the magic section of the rules.
Yes, they are. Fire off a ray without a target. Go for it. Tell me what happens.

I don't have to, the rules do that:

"As with a ranged weapon, you can fire into the dark or at an invisible creature and hope you hit something."

Have you not noticed the line up in the top of every spell that either says Effect or Target? See how no ray spells have Target in there?

Also, to your other post, a swarm being made up of multiple creatures is entirely fluff. Mechanically, it is one creature. It has one stat block, moves as one, occupies space as one, and (most importantly) has AC as one.


EldonG wrote:


*snip*

It's a targeted spell. It requires a roll to hit. A target. Sorry if you don't like it. *shrug*

Except that rays are specifically NOT targeted spells, as evidenced in the magic section of the rules.


IejirIsk wrote:
setzer9999 wrote:


Can you attack a swarm with a ray attack?

So, if you can attack a swarm with a weapon, I'd argue that you can attack a swarm with a ray. The rules say swarms are immune to weapon DAMAGE not to weapon ATTACKS... can this distinction be made? If not, then it would seem that not only can you not attack a swarm with a ray, but you can't attack a swarm with a weapon either...

Yet, it seems like you are supposedly able to attack swarms with torches or with magic weapons that have elemental damage added and the swarm should be affected by that...

What about attacking a swarm with a splash weapon? Its a targeted attack, but the effect is not the attack, the effect is again "delivered" by the the attack...

Right?

Can you attack with weapon (ray/spell/stick/bow)? Yes.

Will it have an effect? No.
Just like sapping a skeleton because it is weaker to bludgeoning.

Swarms are thousands upon thousands (or hundreds depending on size)
if You kill / injure 1 or 2, it will not stop the swarm.

a Splash weapon attacks many at once, since they are all packed in, so it is the preferred method of attacking swarms. Same with spells.
Ray of frost/scorching ray: up to 4 targets, so no real effect.
Flaming sphere, burning hands, breath weapon, alchemical splash weapons, lightning bolts affect enough to be useful.

There is a repeating assertion in the arguments here that you would kill "1" or "2" "of the" creatures in the swarm... I know that is "fluff" in the argument, but still that is violating the rules right there. Mechanically, the swarm is not multiple creatures, it is one creature. If you can attack it (the swarm) any effect is done to the swarm, not to its "individual members" because mechanically there are no individual members.

So, if you can attack it, its not immune to the attack part of the effect... so the attack must be separate from the rest of the effect, not part of it. If you stipulate that you can attack the swarm, but are saying that the effect lists the attack as part of it, that is a contradiction!

Think about it this way... what if you wanted to use ray of frost against a creature that was immune to cold damage? Can you not make the attack because it is immune? No, you can make the attack. So, even though the creature is immune to cold, it isn't immune to the attack.

If you say the swarm is not immune to the attack, you can't use the fact that the word "target" is in the effect of the spell to say the swarm is immune to the rest of the effect, because you've already allowed for the attack part of the effect to take place. Conversely to the example with the creature that is immune to cold, if the swarm is not immune to the attack of the ray, and the ray doesn't deal weapon damage (swarms are immune to weapon damage, not elemental damage)... then why wouldn't it take damage if an effect it was not immune to was successfully delivered by an attack it was not immune to?


If a creature uses a two-handed weapon and becomes grappled, can it use the "two-handed" weapon in one hand as an improvised weapon?

What if that creature also has natural attacks that it normally doesn't use because it is wielding the two-handed weapon under normal circumstances? Say, a Barbarian with the Lesser Beast Totem power is grappled... normally it has a two claw attack... obviously by logic if one hand is not able to be used it would only get one, but mechanically, would it only get one claw attack? Or could it even use the claw attack at all?


Ansel Krulwich wrote:
I think you've been given the answers to your rules question.

I disagree... all focus has been put on the idea that swarms are immune to something, but not enough focus has been given to the fact that the mechanic by which that assessment is made is whether a spell or effect has a target or not.

The magic rules seem very clear to me that ray effects and targeted effects are distinctly different things. A ranged touch attack is not itself the spell effect any more than a melee touch attack is the spell effect. If you follow the logic that the attack and the effect are one and the same, you can't attack the creature at all... not that it can't be hurt, but you can't even make the attack, because if the attack is part of the effect, then the creature is immune to the attack too... which is clearly false, as stated by the rule regarding rays which say that you can fire blind.

I haven't seen anyone refute that yet.


Odraude wrote:

The Swarm Subtype specifically calls out disintegrate as unusable against swarms. Disintegrate is a ray, just like Scorching Ray. They are both almost exactly the same, except that scorching ray has more rays. Both do not, as you seem to point out, actually state they target a victim. They both just say they hit their targets. Same exact wording. Yet, disintegrate is still listed as not working. Therefore, I propose that scorching ray doesn't work either, since killing five+ out of 1,500 creatures is negligible, as is disintegrating one of the 1,500 creatures is.

So no, scorching ray does not work on swarms. You are wrong.

Disintegrate has additional text that says that the effect is limited to a specific number of creatures. That is different from being able to target the ray... I'm seeing "effect" and "target" as very clearly defined things in the magic rules. Rays don't have targets, ranged touch attacks do. I do see a distinction.

Similarly @Lab_Rat
You don't "sword" an enemy. Its not a verb. You make a weapon attack, and then there is an effect. The two are separate. You target a creature with an attack, you don't target a creature with the effect of the attack.


You mentioned that swarms can be affected by rays in a blog post here (the blog entry was not initially about swarms, but nevertheless)
http://paizo.com/paizo/blog/v5748dyo5lbjm

I was wondering if what you were saying here was that you interpret RAW to mean that swarms are affected by rays, or that you meant that by RAW they do not, but that you house rule that they do.


Ansel Krulwich wrote:

Cast a ray spell like ray of frost:

ray of frost wrote:
A ray of freezing air and ice projects from your pointing finger. You must succeed on a ranged touch attack with the ray to deal damage to a target. The ray deals 1d3 points of cold damage.

Can you affect more than one target with it? No. You "deal damage to a target." A target. One.

Is a ray an effect? Sure. It says right in the spell's statblock that it is an effect. Is ray of frost a spell? You bet it is. It's a spell.

Swarm traits wrote:
A swarm is immune to any spell or effect that targets a specific number of creatures

Therefore, a swarm is immune to ray of frost because it is a spell that creates an effect that targets a creature.

Repeat this argument with every ray effect spell.

I will grant you that it is a very common house rule to allow either all ray spells or some ray spells (subject to GM fiat) to affect swarms. But as written, you aim a ray at a swarm and you toast 5 or 6 mosquitos that happened to be in the way of the beam and that's it. The same thing would happen if you swung your sword or mace into the swarm. You'd swat a few but that's it. The other thousand are unaffected.

This is why swarms are a common cause of death among unprepared adventurers. Carry alchemist's fire. It's cheap insurance from becoming spider food.

Every time I read it, what I see is that the effect doesn't target anything... the ranged touch targets, and that is separate from the spell effect itself. The attack roll targets, and the spell has an effect, separate things.

It seems to me that at the very least, the effect only targets a creature if you indeed target a creature. It doesn't even sound like a house rule to me that if you don't actually target a creature with the ray, that the effect (on that casting at the very least) did not target any number of creatures. I'd say based on that, that it seems very RAW to say that if you fire "in the direction" of a swarm, that you should get a miss chance like you do for firing a ranged weapon blind.

Fluff wise, that would be like you are shooting toward the swarm, not at a specific one of the swarm creatures. There's a chance that as your ray elemental damage passes through the area of the swarm, you hit more than 6 of the creatures, or scare or disturb them enough to make them loose significant hp (remember, a swarm isn't necessarily defeated by killing every individual, it "breaks up" when hp is 0).


Joana wrote:
Quote:

ACID ARROW

School conjuration (creation) [acid]; Level sorcerer/wizard 2
Casting Time 1 standard action
Components V, S, M (rhubarb leaf and an adder's stomach), F (a dart)
Range long (400 ft. + 40 ft./level)
Effect one arrow of acid
Duration 1 round + 1 round per three levels
Saving Throw none; Spell Resistance no
An arrow of acid springs from your hand and speeds to its target. You must succeed on a ranged touch attack to hit your target. The arrow deals 2d4 points of acid damage with no splash damage. For every three caster levels you possess, the acid, unless neutralized, lasts for another round (to a maximum of 6 additional rounds at 18th level), dealing another 2d4 points of damage in each round.
Quote:

SCORCHING RAY

School evocation [fire]; Level sorcerer/wizard 2
Casting Time 1 standard action
Components V, S
Range close (25 ft. + 5 ft./2 levels)
Effect one or more rays
Duration instantaneous
Saving Throw none; Spell Resistance yes
You blast your enemies with a searing beam of fire. You may fire one ray, plus one additional ray for every four levels beyond 3rd (to a maximum of three rays at 11th level). Each ray requires a ranged touch attack to hit and deals 4d6 points of fire damage. The rays may be fired at the same or different targets, but all rays must be aimed at targets within 30 feet of each other and fired simultaneously.

But the SPELLS still don't target anything... the ranged touch attack targets something... or nothing even! The spell has no Target parameter... look at the magic rules... Target effects and Rays are separate things.

If we want to get ridiculous, I could cast the ranged touch attack at the wall behind the swarm, and by RAW I did not target any creatures! But because the swarm is between me and the wall, it would get hit by the ray, even though I didn't target it.


Lab_Rat wrote:

Ansel is correct. All spells are spells. Swarms are immune to spells that target a creature. Your making a ranged touch attack against said creatures touch AC when you cast a Ray so of course it targets a creature. THUS....swarms are immune to rays.

I may have been confused about whether a ray is a weapon or not because of the fact that you can apply Weapon Focus to them... but "as if" a weapon doesn't really matter. If something is "as if" then without other qualifiers, it works the same way... that's what "as if" means.

In any case, let's take a look at the rules for rays:

prd wrote:


Ray: Some effects are rays. You aim a ray as if using a ranged weapon, though typically you make a ranged touch attack rather than a normal ranged attack. As with a ranged weapon, you can fire into the dark or at an invisible creature and hope you hit something. You don't have to see the creature you're trying to hit, as you do with a targeted spell. Intervening creatures and obstacles, however, can block your line of sight or provide cover for the creature at which you're aiming.

This specifies that targeted spells and spells with ray effects are indeed separate things. This means a ray is not a targeted spell. If it isn't a targeted spell... then, forgive my understanding of English, but that would mean it has no target, and therefor it doesn't target a set number of creatures.


@Ansel_Krulwich
One thing you said is NOT correct by RAW though, and my wording was incorrect on that front as well... you do not aim a ray "as if" it is a weapon... a ray IS a weapon. Ranged touch attacks are weapons, and you can apply feats such as Weapon Focus to them. That is actually the entire argument for if rays can affect swarms... if the touch attack is the spell effect, then no, they can't... but a touch attack is not the spell, its the attack roll for a weapon.

Ray spells do not have a "Target" parameter, they only have an "Effect". The spell doesn't target anything, the attack roll for making a ranged touch attack is what targets.

Disintegrate has extra text in it that many rays do not. It specifies that "only one target may be affected per casting." That is found in the effect section for the spell, a line about the effect only being to a single creature. Most rays only damage a single creature not because the spell effect says so, but because when you make an attack with a weapon, you can only attack one creature with it.

Look at the text for acid arrow... it has an "Effect" but no "Target". You make a ranged touch attack, which is a weapon attack, not a spell, and if you hit, the spell effect takes place. The spell effect does not indicate a number of creatures. Seems to me like acid arrow would affect a swarm just fine.


Ansel Krulwich wrote:

The rules for swarms are fairly straight forward, I thought.

Swarm Subtype rules from the PRD

Fine and diminutive swarms are immune to weapon damage. Yes, one can make the distinction between attacks and damage. The fine/diminutive swarm isn't immune to the attack--swing at it all you want with your sword. The fine/diminutive swarm is immune to the damage from your sword so your swinging around does nothing.

All swarms are immune to any spell or effect that targets a single creature. Rays target a single creature. Therefore, all swarms are immune to rays.

The rules linked above for swarms describe quite clearly what happens when you attack a swarm with a splash weapon.

A ray spell doesn't target a creature though. You make a ranged touch attack, and if that weapon attack hits, then the spell takes effect. A ray is not a spell, its a weapon. You can apply weapon feats to it. It doesn't seem that cut and dry to me.

James Jacobs seems think you can hit swarms with rays:
http://paizo.com/paizo/blog/v5748dyo5lbjm

As I've even said in the past though, a post from one of the Paizo guys isn't strictly speaking an official rule unless its in print, faq, or errata, so I don't know how far that goes.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not 100% convinced of the side I seem to be taking here either, but I do contend it is NOT cut and dry.

In any case spells that require a ray attack do not have a number of targets... they produce an effect. The ray attack is a weapon attack, not the spell itself. A swarm is considered a single creature... so for purposes of weapon attacks, you can indeed attack them... so tell me how it is cut and dry again that you can't attack them with a ray if a ray is a weapon?

A spell that uses a ray isn't limited to attacking one opponent, rather you are limited by the weapon mechanics rules and the number of charges. For example, if you have a held charge that can be used multiple times, you can attack with iterative attacks and the spell damage will still apply multiple times. The attack is not the spell.

Also, how is the elemental damage caused by a spell (not the ray itself, but the spell delivered after having succeeded with the ranged touch) "weapon damage"? The same question would apply to magical damage from weapons... it doesn't seem like a "holdover" to me... weapon damage to me is slashing, bludgeoning, piercing damage caused by the weapon. The magical effect damage is a separate thing from that.


3 people marked this as FAQ candidate.

After searching and reading everything I can on swarms, I have to post my own thread about my questions... I am just unclear no matter how much I try to research it myself. There seems to be a lack of consensus on how this works, and nothing in the FAQ...

Assume "fine" or "diminutive" swarm for all issues below to not muddy the waters with "tiny" swarms:

Can you attack a swarm with a ray attack?

If you can't, I'd argue that you can't attack it with any other weapon either... since a ray is a weapon, not the spell itself, where the spell itself is "delivered by" the attack using the ray...

So, if you can attack a swarm with a weapon, I'd argue that you can attack a swarm with a ray. The rules say swarms are immune to weapon DAMAGE not to weapon ATTACKS... can this distinction be made? If not, then it would seem that not only can you not attack a swarm with a ray, but you can't attack a swarm with a weapon either...

Yet, it seems like you are supposedly able to attack swarms with torches or with magic weapons that have elemental damage added and the swarm should be affected by that...

What about attacking a swarm with a splash weapon? Its a targeted attack, but the effect is not the attack, the effect is again "delivered" by the the attack...

Right?


Now we're getting somewhere. These types of explanations, though not realistic, are explanations. I do not like the idea of it not making sense at all... it doesn't have to make real world physics sense, but it should make story sense.

I like these ideas of magical radiation and patterns. I think I also had an idea as to why not everything becomes hyper-magical that goes along with those explanations. Magical gravity. Magical things tend to gravitate toward one another, and not toward mundane things, causing areas with magic to pool, and to attract as if by instinct, creatures that already have magic. So, the magical get magicaller, and the mundane get mundaner.

Golarion has been visited and bothered by gods, demons, and such, so there are rifts into the material plane there which leaks this magic into the area, but even after it leaks, it pools into certain regions and creatures... it doesn't saturate 100% of the planet. Earth hasn't been bothered by other planes, so its mundane here.

Also, going back the T-rex issue, ALL T-rexes seem to become magical, whereas most humans do not. I guess an explanation for that is the stronger you are naturally, the more magic "likes" to pool with you, so I guess that is good enough.

One remaining issue though, is that a character that is above level 1, like 2 or 3, maybe even 4, might still bother with petty crime... but by the time a creature is level 5-7+, it seems pretty unlikely that they would still be a petty criminal... they should be the scourge of the region. Not sure how to reconcile that with published adventures...


TriOmegaZero wrote:
setzer9999 wrote:
I don't want to argue about the merits of my observations. I want to know if anyone has anything beyond GM fiat to offer to actually help.

Very well then.

Magic permeates everything in the world. From the merest blade of grass to the mightiest beast. Call it what you will, spark, essence, mana, mojo, everything has it. And the more a person gathers it, the more powerful it becomes. It lets you withstand the heat of a volcano, the weight of a giant, the pull of gravity. If it were ever fully removed, ogres would collapse and dragons would plummet. Not even dead zones are truly bereft of this force. It is literally the building blocks of the universe.

I'm not being combative, the following are actual questions.

As I understand it, according to the devs, Earth is actually in the same universe as Golarion. What is it that makes Golarion full of magic, and not Earth?

Why do most commoners not become magical on a world so packed with magic that some become insanely magical? What is the trigger to becoming magical?

KutuluKultist pointed out that the world should be very different than it is if it was so full of magic. Why if Golarion is so full of magic are there any places that are mundane. A place that can give rise to demigods for no apparent reason, and where magic is so abundant and reliable would indeed seem to be a setting that would preclude people living in huts and thatched roof houses, and be one entirely made up of incredible superstructures with magical force-fields and teleportation. A world with so much magic shouldn't have any "commoners" at all. Right?

Well, the last paragraph I guess is solved by making my own setting... it seems the published adventures just aren't to my taste, which is a shame, because I don't mean to deride them, they are good, better than what I can do I'm sure, its just that the system and the story told there seem at odds to me.


No reason to quote directly, as everyone is still missing the point... I will mention Rynjin's stab at my supposed lack of imagination as further evidence that people aren't understanding the basis of my problem.

I'll try once more to explain.

I am fine with things that can't actually happen happening in a fantasy game. I'm not only fine with it, I want that to be the case. That's the whole point. However, flinging fire from your hands isn't a problem because although its not possible, it has an "explanation"... the explanation is that it is a "spell". Is having HP a "spell"? No.

Let's take another example of the impossible... dragons fly even though physiologically, they can't. How do they do this? They are magical creatures. Exactly how the "mechanics" or "physics" of magic works isn't important, the fact is they are a magical creature, and that is enough. I can imagine it just fine.

Now, take human creature. This creature falls off a cliff or gets set on fire for a minute, and not only isn't even staggered, but fights on like nothing even happened. The kicker is, this isn't a freak accident. Because of the way HP works, this creature could do this RELIABLY. That is magical, not just "beating the odds". But the problem is, HP isn't described by the rules as "magic". Its described as "abstract".

"OK, so what's the problem then?" you might ask, because if it's abstract, I can call it magic, no problem. Wrong. The problem is that its not just a level 6, 15, or 20 PC hero, villain, or otherworldly horror that accomplishes these impossible feats, even some level 1 creatures can survive things that are ridiculous to survive. By 2 HD, forget it. Most things are super-biological already.

This notion that most people are commoners making this all OK has 4 main flaws:
1) Things that don't happen in game don't really exist, and you don't spend much time dealing with commoners
2) The activities of creatures in published adventures don't match their power level. Creatures with 5 HD or 5 levels shouldn't be harassing those level 1 commoners who are normal beings for a pittance of gold, they should be leveling cities... but they ARE harassing those commoners. It makes no sense.
3) If I make my own game and limit humanoids to 1 or 2 HD except for the PCs and the BBEG, it makes the PCs TOO powerful, and have a very short-term interaction with anyone of their same race that is meaningful
4) There are other creatures besides humans that shouldn't be super-biological. Big nasty brutish beasts and non-magical monstrosities shouldn't die easily from an arrow or sword blow, but there are numerous other things that should kill them relatively easily too.

I can imagine the figure of a human surviving things that can't or can't usually be survived. I can picture it in my head. I can picture it with the body being crushed and the character just barely surviving. I can picture it as the character's body being strong as steel like superman. I can picture the character phasing out of this reality for a brief moment into split second etherialness as the blade passes through him to no avail. None of this or any other example is the problem.

The problem is that why the hell is every mook henchman able to do things like this? Why is every animal, no matter how big, able to do things like this? And why isn't there some kind of guide for giving different published options for what it is exactly that makes creatures have these impossible characteristics? Well, the reason is simple: the 4 flaws can't all be reconciled and leave CRs intact. The game is getting in the way of believability. And remember, I don't mean "what is possible in real life without magic" when I say believable. I can "believe" in magic, it just needs to be called magic.

These problems lead to having to describe events I don't WANT to describe or imagine. I don't WANT to believe that the guy who is shaking down the local shopkeeper for a pittance of protection money can survive a fireball that can melt lead or leap confidently off of a 100 foot building. I want to believe that a character like that is fighting an army single-handedly, or fighting dragons yes. But that shopkeeper he is shaking down also shouldn't be able to leap from a cliff half as high reliably either... which, due to hp, unfortunately, he can.

If all of that doesn't explain my issues with HP, nothing will (provided anyone actually read it). I don't want to argue about the merits of my observations. I want to know if anyone has anything beyond GM fiat to offer to actually help.


Rynjin wrote:


Final Fantasy X had quite a few exchanges of dialogue mid-battle. So did IV and XII for that matter. Is VI the only one you've played?

Played 'em all.

And again, do you read? I don't consider one-liners or places where the battle is "suspended" anime-style to be significant examples of "story". The story in these games happens outside the game, in cutscenes, etc. Are the characters talking in a way that actually enhances the story in a cinematic fashion while they are swinging their swords? No. You don't continue to explore the room at the same time as you do battle in Final Fantasy... you are taken to another type of "existence".

Rynjin wrote:


Excuse me while my eyes roll wildly.

Excuse me while I return the expression, and state that you said absolutely nothing of any substance here. Refusal to acknowledge that this is a fact of how these games work is ridiculous.

Rynjin wrote:

Yes, they really can. I can boot up Skyrim and hit an old beggar with an iron dagger (I don't think...

Some of them can be killed with one blow, ooo you got me. Big deal. It only expresses the problem all the more. Just about anyone should be able to kill just about anyone with a club hit to the head. Its absurd to think otherwise. Also, so what if you can kill SOME beggars with that iron dagger... then some other beggar is still a deadbeat beggar, but for some reason is level 3 instead of 1, and you have to hack even that level 3 guy 5 times to bring him down.

Still think that's OK? With your attitude I bet you do... then explain to me how come there is a level 10 housewife a few doors down from where we just murdered the beggar who DOES absolutely have superhuman HP, requiring dozens of hits to kill, and can become a pincushion of arrows before dying? Does this problem sound familiar? Yeah, that's what happens at the d20 table. Someone is a "high-level" aristocrat, so they also happen to have 75 hp or some bs like that. The Elder Scrolls actually offers a glimpse through the window I look through in my mind's eye when playing d20... someone living in a shack, who can become pin cushioned with arrows and still keep swinging away with their fists at you.

People say I don't have an imagination, but the problem is I DO. And what I see looks like cartoony bullcrap unless there is some form of internal explanation for it. The lava was congealed is a terrible explanation... even congealed lava on top of a bed of molten lava would be extremely deadly. The hero clung with all his might to the edge of the cliff? What if the hero was dropped by a flying creature from the middle of nowhere in the air straight onto pavement?

Like I said before, it does appear that nothing short of GM fiat will fix the problem.

I don't understand why there are always people trying to claim that the problem doesn't even exist. Its ok if you don't give a crap about the problem, that's different from saying the problem isn't actually there. You don't mind, heck even like, a lime green refrigerator? Fine! Don't tell me it is white though.


Orthos wrote:
Rynjin wrote:
setzer9999 wrote:


I just don’t get how I am to describe the events that are happening. In a video game, you don’t have to describe it, you don’t worry about the realism. A little ticker of damage goes off above your toon’s head, and you look the same, but now your bar is a full of less red or green or whatever… but at the table, its not just “pure abstraction for the sake of playing a game”… there is a story in here somewhere right? How the hell am I supposed to tell a story when I don’t even understand what the hell just happened?

Excuse me?

Did you just suggest that video games don't have stories because things like health bars exist?

It's the same thing in this game,and if you accept that fact things will be a lot easier for you. Draw a red bar somewhere for each of the characters at your table and erase little bits if that helps you somehow realize that HP is a number that goes down the exact same way that a videogame's HP meter goes down as you take damage (protip: there are numbers involved in that too).

I think the best part of this is the fact that the guy in question got his username (presumably) from a Final Fantasy character.

I think the best part is you didn't read my posts. Final Fantasy would fall into the category of an "entirely abstract" battle system like I described above. Its so abstract, that even I don't care. The battles aren't actually part of the story other than that one side "won" or "lost". Story doesn't happen in the battle (unless you count annoying tutorials with character dialogue or one-liners as story) in an entirely abstracted video game.

With the roleplaying game, there is a story, the characters continue to be roleplayed inside of initiative. The world isn't described as evaporating into pixelated shattering glass and you enter a "battle dimension" when initiative is rolled like it does in Final Fantasy. The flow from "combat" to "not combat" doesn't really exist. You only break out initiative to start paying closer attention to things. The world doesn't actually suddenly change into a different format... the room you were just in peacefully studying an ancient wall mural is the very same room that a moment later you are fighting for your life against a mummy.

Video games with entirely and completely abstract systems don't bother me, but ones with more "realistic" interfaces do. Take the Elder Scrolls for example... I tried to like those games, I really did, but eventually it got to me there too. The same peasant that I was speaking to a moment ago, who doesn't have more than 2 septims to rub together, can't be killed by a single blow of ANY weapon in the game unless it is enchanted with magic. The game is immersive, but then the combat refuses to remain immersive. This is the break for me. Go all the way abstract, or don't abstract.


Rynjin wrote:
setzer9999 wrote:


I just don’t get how I am to describe the events that are happening. In a video game, you don’t have to describe it, you don’t worry about the realism. A little ticker of damage goes off above your toon’s head, and you look the same, but now your bar is a full of less red or green or whatever… but at the table, its not just “pure abstraction for the sake of playing a game”… there is a story in here somewhere right? How the hell am I supposed to tell a story when I don’t even understand what the hell just happened?

Excuse me?

Did you just suggest that video games don't have stories because things like health bars exist?

It's the same thing in this game,and if you accept that fact things will be a lot easier for you. Draw a red bar somewhere for each of the characters at your table and erase little bits if that helps you somehow realize that HP is a number that goes down the exact same way that a videogame's HP meter goes down as you take damage (protip: there are numbers involved in that too).

But, that aside, people have given you some good alternatives and the official fluff for HP.

HP can be fluffed however you want it, as long as you're creative. It doesn't matter at all really, but you can make it anything you want.

Edited for rudeness.

No, I don't mean to say that video games don't have stories. I mean to say that video games with out of control HP pools have entirely abstracted combat that doesn't in any way relate directly to the story other than that the art depicts the same "characters" from the story. That is, there are some video games that try to immerse the combat seamlessly with the story, but I also don't like those games just as much as I am having trouble with HP in tabletop.

When I do play a video game, I prefer a game where combat is ENTIRELY abstracted to the point where "believable" isn't even entering the remotest dreams of the worst example of someone like me. Turn-based rpgs where you fall into a "battle sequence" or games where hit points are so unbelievably stupidly high that it takes thousands of hits to bring down a boss are about all I can stand. With a game like that, my brain can just shut off the idea of the combat actually being part of the story, and instead is an entirely abstracted puzzle to waste time enjoyably.

In contrast, the closer something gets to being realistic without actually being entirely realistic, the more problematic it becomes for me... that is unless there is an explanation that satisfies internal verisimilitude. That explanation itself doesn't have to be realistic either, it can, and should, be magical, but it just has to be there. There is really no explanation for HP in d20. Yes, its "abstract" but so what? What "abstractly" can account for combat that isn't abstracted out from the rest of the world?

I don't want a story with roleplaying and greater depth and flexibility to have combat be entirely abstract. The things that happen can be impossible, but there should be at least some attempt to give an explanation even if that explanation is also not possible... just some type of consistent reasoning. HP just seems bizarre to me in any setting where the characters are "real" beings in and out of combat, rather than out of combat being text boxes or scripted dialogue, and in combat being number crunchers and menus.

I get that a PC is a "hero" of some kind that acquires impossible survivability. Perhaps that is storing up extra positive energy, or something like that. Fine. Good. But why does unnamed henchman 1-20 do the same? I can make my own adventure to not have those guys do that? OK. Then why is unnamed mammoth 1 and 2 a super-biological being as well, but unnamed horse isn't? The mammoth is super-biological just because it is bigger and needs to have a higher CR? What is magical about it? Why isn't the horse magical? Why don't commoners become magical if they live on the same magical planet as the heroes and all the cultists they fight?

When interacting with many damage sources, I feel like things are unreal in a bad way, rather than a good fantasy way due to HP. Perhaps I will just give up on all this after all... it's just making me upset.


TriOmegaZero wrote:
setzer9999 wrote:
The problem is there isn't anyone who isn't strong as iron. Every shopkeeper around is level 4.
Nothing in the rules says that has to be true. In my games, it isn't.

And this is one of the modifications I was trying to make. It worked for humanoids best. Basically, I allowed all other benefits of increased levels, but unless a character was flagged as "super-biological" they only got to gain HP based off of 1 HD. That way, you can have people who have experience, feats, etc, but rather than being "minons" with only a single 1 hp, which is too little, they get to have a normal human's hp value.

The problem I ran into was that its not just humanoids. Like I said, the standard T-Rex is also super-biological. I toyed with the idea of making different types also not be super-biological. The T-Rex is of the type "animal", which is not a super-biological type (like the type "undead" or "outsider" would be). For each size category above medium, I allow the creature 1 HD more to contribute to HP. This leaves us with a T-Rex with 34 HP and 19 negative hp.

This kind of works, I suppose, but the CR is totally screwed up at that point so you have to have your T-Rex hunt in a pack (like they probably did for real anyway). The issue is, adding a bunch of extra humanoid "minions" to battles for your big bad PCs to have epic hero battles with lots of normies is bad enough, clogging the grid to no end... but having 3 gargantuan creatures with lower hp can be a little hard to manage as well.

Does it just boil down to fiat? Do I really just have to play with the rules as normal, and when something happens to something I don't consider super-biological that I think should kill it, I just kill it, dice be damned? Is that the only solution?


I appreciate everyone's responses. There are too many to respond individually, so I'll try to sum up my response so far. Continuing with the T-Rex vs human analogy, yes, a T-Rex certainly should be harder to take down than a human, no doubt. However, the idea that a T-Rex can fall from a great height or into a pool of lava and survive better than a normal human to the degree that it does based on HP is ludicrous.

A T-Rex is not magical, not a real one when they were around anyway. Its tough, big, and bullets, arrows, and swords would have to get a very well placed shot to bring one down. But in terms of HP, a normal person like you and I should have somewhere between 3 and 6 hp, and between 10 and 14 negative HP, for a total of about 13-20 hp. Falling into a pool of lava is certain death. This isn't just about "realism", its about internal consistency. If a biological being that has no magical explanation to not die would die from something, so would another.

Being big doesn't make falling less damaging... in fact, it could very well have the opposite effect. A river of lava, depending on the depth, would not be being immersed in lava... it would be contact with lava. Being immersed in lava would be falling into a pool of it.

I'm more than OK with the idea that creatures that have enough HD start to be more than biological. The issue I have is that it just seems like everything you encounter in the game is. 153 hp is super-biological, by a lot.

The other issue is just describing the events. Super-biological or not, how do you describe losing "16-20hp" or more, and not describe completely fatal wounds? Is every "hit" not actually a "hit"? What about when a fireball fills 20 cubic feet with fire? A giant's club crashes down that would be far too big to dodge... I argued against these concepts before, but the more I think about it, the less I know how to explain what is happening other than to say, "Yep, you got hit, but you are" as someone put it above "strong as iron"...

The problem is there isn't anyone who isn't strong as iron. Every shopkeeper around is level 4. Pansy aristocrats in the court are level 10. Every hapless local brigand looking to shake down passers by for a pittance of gold is a level 5 rogue or some 5 HD hybrid warrior/fighter type. These people are all super-biological, by a wide margin, as well. Heck, anything over 1 HD becomes super-biological. Where is the rationale for that, and how do you describe the reasons why all of these people living meager, pathetic, medieval lives in the dirt are harder to cut down than a tree? What kind of descriptions should I be giving here?


I’ve tried numerous, and I mean numerous, times to make a house rule to deal with what I perceive to be an irreconcilable problem with HP. I had previously started a thread about how environmental damage was too low, and there was some discussion there about how HP is not supposed to be “realistic”. I picked on the infamous falling damage, and others pointed out issues like starvation, or area of effect blasts, etc. but the common thread is that HP is not just unrealistic, but I can’t really figure out how to describe the events at all.

No matter what I do, there are always anomalies, or extremely over-complicated bookkeeping to try to make a “realistic” world with “unrealistic” heroes. There were a few attempts that I made that were surprisingly close to doing the task, but again, way too much bookkeeping and changes to the system. A system is worthless if it isn’t usable at the table, even if a computer might be able to process it.

So, I’ve also explored trying to try to make some sense of things by leaving the game mechanics alone, but giving the events descriptive explanation. It’s OK, even preferable, for this fantasy universe to be unrealistic. Its high fantasy after all. I get it. Heroes should be unrealistically capable to survive. The key question though is HOW DO they survive.

Again, the explanation doesn’t have to be realistic. The explanation can be magical. The problem is that magic has its own place in the game already. Spells, supernatural abilities, SLAs, magical equipment, etc. all do specific things. If HP is magical, which it really is, how does it fit in with those other mechanics?

No amount of “dodging” or “toughness” can save you from a high fall… OK people hate the falling damage argument because some freak accidents happen where people survive high falls in real life… so, let me rephrase that… no amount of “dodging” or “toughness” can save you from a lava bath, and eventually “toughness” will not be able to save you from starvation or being on fire for a minute or 2… yet HP allows this to happen. Clearly, HP is magical, as it can’t be represented by normal physical properties of living beings as we know them.

The Game Mastery Guide insists that the majority of the population should not be magically heroic. Most of them should be commoners. Yet, very few characters the PCs interact with are commoners. The PCs seem to run into gobs of cultists and brigands who are super heroes (or villains as the case may be). Why are there so many “super” beings? Also, why is a non-magical animal a super being? What causes a T-rex to have “153 hp”? I know a Commoner 1 should die quite quickly in a lava bath, but so should a T-Rex. Are there no “commoner” T-rex? All T-rex are superheroes?

I just don’t get how I am to describe the events that are happening. In a video game, you don’t have to describe it, you don’t worry about the realism. A little ticker of damage goes off above your toon’s head, and you look the same, but now your bar is a full of less red or green or whatever… but at the table, its not just “pure abstraction for the sake of playing a game”… there is a story in here somewhere right? How the hell am I supposed to tell a story when I don’t even understand what the hell just happened?

I want to play a high fantasy game because I love the magic, the setting, all the cool nicknacks and the whole atmosphere…. But HP is just making me nuts. I don’t know how to describe anything after about level 2. Nothing makes any damn sense past there, so beyond just saying “You take X damage” I have no description that does anything any justice. This, and the fact that all the commoners in the world don’t matter, because they don’t actually exist at the table means that the entire world the PCs actually play in is just full of super-beings totally takes the bite out of BEING a super-being and makes it commonplace and worthless.

How do I do this?


DarkLightHitomi wrote:

But not modifying the DC at all is just as bad as what are talking about.

Example
1 and 2 use this
Con 12, lvl 2, fort save +3, WP 12
Hit for 1 then 3 wound dmg
--
3 and 4 use this
Con 16, lvl 16, fort save +12, WP 41
Hit for 1 then 30 WP dmg

Your first suggestion DC 21- current WP
1: 11 WP left roll fort +3 vs DC 10
2: 8 WP left roll fort +3 vs DC 13
This guy hits 50% CoS (chance of success) at 8 WP(4 dmg) and at 1 WP(11 dmg) has a 15% CoS
---
3: 40 WP left roll fort +12 vs DC -19
4: 10 WP left roll fort +12 vs DC 10
Even at 1 WP(40 dmg) this guy would still have a 55% CoS

My Suggestion, DC 10+WP damage
1: 11 WP left roll fort +3 vs DC 11
2: 8 WP left roll fort +3 vs DC 14
This guy hits 50% CoS at 9 WP(3 dmg) and at 1 WP(11 dmg) has 10% CoS
---
3: 40 WP left roll fort +12 vs DC 11
4: 10 WP left roll fort +12 vs DC 41
This guy hits a 50% CoS at 29 WP(12 dmg), 5% CoS at 19 WP (22 dmg), and at 1 WP(40 dmg) has minimal CoS.

Your second suggestion, static DC21
1: 11 WP left roll fort +3 vs DC 21
1: 8 WP left roll fort +3 vs DC 21
Straight 10% CoS.
---
3: 40 WP left roll fort +12 vs DC 21
4: 10 WP left roll fort +12 vs DC 21
Straight 55% CoS.

Your first suggestion made it too easy for mid lvl to survive and indeed not like to fall till death.

My suggestion made it a bit tougher for the low lvl and at mid lvl can take more dmg then low lvl but is more likely to collapse before death (which I see as being tough enough to survive lethal wounds)

Your second suggestion doesn't take anything into account at all and if you get to high lvl then no chance of collapse at all, and anything at low lvl will be unlikely to remain awake period.

My suggestion has the difficulty go up based on dmg so then con just decides how likely you are to collapse rather then die.

Your second suggestion has no scaling at all meaning your first WP hit is no different then your last regardless of ability to pass the save, and your ability to pass the save is directly your fort save which...

Thank you for your interest and help and working on all those use cases. Yes, though, the use cases you worked on did include a fort save, and mine didn't but you edited in that realization later.

But as for what you are saying about a high con or high level creature with eligible HD not only not being able to become unconscious, but not even have them have a chance to be phased by such damage... that is a good point. I guess, even if a super-biological creature could survive terminal velocity falls with ease, and even avoid being knocked out by them, that doesn't mean that they shouldn't be able to be winded by them... a very good point.

Maybe what I need to do is add another element to the check, or another mechanic altogether that allows for "temporary injury", like having the wind knocked out of you... staggered for only 1 round and cannot be immune to that staggering...

Maybe something like, if a creature takes wound point damage (direct or due to being out of vigor points) separate from any stabilization saves they may make per round, they make an immediate Fort save DC 10 + wound damage dealt or become staggered. Creatures cannot be immune to being staggered by this based on creature type.

This would make the average fall at terminal velocity (without falling on purpose it does 28 on average with my revamped numbers) require a saving throw of 38 to not at least be staggered for one round. Even a creature with 20 Fortitude Con would still have to roll at least an 18 to not be winded by that event, even if they weren't wounded. I want creatures at those levels to be super-biological... they already are in the RAW anyway. The average fall wouldn't even hurt a creature at those levels anyway... doing only 70 hp/vigor damage...

On the flip side, looking at low level, if a creature with 0 Fort save took 2 points of wound damage, they would have to beat a 12 to not be staggered for one round.

What do you think of that addition?


DarkLightHitomi wrote:
Your stabilization check DC is akward and has no minimum (you can literally get a negative DC with a con score of 23 or higher), instead I would make it either 10 or 15 plus wound damage taken. This way you won't end up with ridiculous negative DCs and taking wound damage is something to avoid for everyone and not just the weaklings.

I actually see a problem with the Con check for stabilization... thanks for brining it to my attention. The problem I'm seeing is a little different though.

If you add Con into the DC, the higher a creature's Con, not only do they have more wound points, but they also resist going unconscious better... which sounds OK on the surface, but its actually double-dipping a resource in a way that breaks the system. Creatures with insanely high Con mods would eventually get to where they couldn't become unconscious at all... but they already benefit from high Con making it already less likely that they'll reach the threshold for becoming unconscious.

So, I'm just going to make that a DC 21 check that has no modifier applied to it whatsoever. This way, any creature that reaches 10 wound points begins to have a chance to go unconscious. Creatures with high Con scores have a better chance to not go unconscious simply because they have a better chance to never reach 10 wound points or less in the first place.

The negative DC is intentional. If there are forms of damage that deal direct to wound point damage (there will be more than just falling damage), not having a negative DC possible for high Con creatures would end up being what would be on the ridiculous side. For example, you have a creature with a Con score of 20. This creature is massively tough. Almost no (I mean really really almost no) regular people would ever have a Con score like that without magic, 12 HD or otherwise.

For a creature like that, along comes a critical hit, or some form of environmental or other direct damage that does 2 direct wound point damage. It would be silly for there to be any chance that this creature should become wounded or unconscious in the face of a mere 2 damage. If you critted with a dagger against a dragon with 25 Con, and dealt 2 wound point damage, this shouldn't be enough to knock the creature out or stagger it. The DC for that creature with only 2 wound damage SHOULD be impossible to fail.

For creature's with more than 12 HD, including the illustrious PCs and their enemies and rivals who make it to such heights, I want to make sure that these creatures are well beyond the normal for biological creatures, especially the higher they go in levels, and especially the more they focus on Con score and hp increases. I want superheros, just later on.

For example, a level 16 Fighter with 16 Con who didn't even take Toughness or favored class increases would have 41 wound points. This character is working on being, if not already become, a demigod, and a demigod who focuses on the physical power of his body. A level 16 wizard with similar Con and bonuses wouldn't have the same type of physical resilience, but would use magic to protect himself. This Fighter SHOULD have a negative DC for much of his wound damage stabilization checks. Until that fighter has taken 31 wound damage, he shouldn't be able to go unconscious. He has to take 22 wound damage before he could actually become "wounded" at all...

Again, that is all intentional, but the Con mod to the DC was ruining it, so I'm taking it out.


Preamble:

Spoiler:
I've worked on the model further, and converted it to a variant of wounds and vigor, where damage can be applied from various sources directly to wound points. Instead of keeping track of a different set of information in the form of 1 HD hp values, wound points and direct to wound point damage, along with changing the damage dice and progression for various forms of damage, should provide a much easier to use system at the table.

There are lots of rules here, but they actually in large part mirror the rules in the published rules. If someone is willing to read hundreds of published pages of rules, a few pages of house rules shouldn't be too much to ask, especially since these rules are superseding rules in the published rules on the same points. In my view, this system isn't a complete rewrite of the d20 pathfinder system, it's just shuffling around hp values and tacking on a few simple mechanics.

If someone cares to read it, I think they will find that its actually not that complicated to remember and use on the fly at the table, it just all needs to be written down to account for all the conditions at once when the system is conceived. The biggest amount of rework that would be required would be updating the wounds and vigor point values for creatures with at least 13 eligible HD to be super-biological. For creatures with less than that many eligible HD, its actually easier than wounds and vigor, because wounds just equal Con, and vigor just equals hp... easy.

High level creatures with eligible HD types will start to become superhuman or super-biological by adding to their wound points instead of vigor points for each additional HD. This, along with the revamped damage sources and the fact that stabilization check DCs are calculated with a subtraction from a high value instead of an addition to a medium value has the potential to make such creatures that MORE heroic against damage sources like high falls, especially if that creature focuses on a high Con score and/or having lots of wound points.

I also fully intend to address other aspects of the system with this, not just falling damage. Again, that is just a good marker for how the system is functioning, not the only issue at hand. I also haven't had the time yet to finish the section for regaining wounds and vigor points through rest, but will get to that as well.

If you read all this, I am looking for constructive criticism... the operative word being constructive.

The Rules:

Wounds and Vigor

Wound points:
A creature has a number of wound points equal its Constitution score. There is no such thing as a “wound threshold”.

Wound points represent the amount of physical punishment a creature can take before it dies. If a creature loses at least 1 wound point (excluding temporary wound points), that creature must make a stabilization check (see Injury and Death: Stabilization) each round until it succeeds.

When a creature reaches 0 or fewer wound points, it is dead.

Temporary hit points:
Temporary hit points are applied to wound points, and are lost first. Any effect that grants temporary hp grants 1 temporary wound point per die used. For effects that do not use dice to generate the amount of temporary hp gained, and for the constants added to those that do, for every 5 temporary hp the effect provides, the effect provides 1 temporary wound point (minimum 1).

For example, in the official RAW, the spell false life grants 1d10 + 1 per caster level (maximum 10) temporary hp. With these rules, it grants 1 + 1 per caster level temporary wound points. If a level 3 wizard cast this spell, it would provide 2 temporary wound points. If a level 6 wizard cast this spell, it would provide 3 temporary wound points.

Vigor Points:
Creatures with one or more full Hit Dice or levels gain vigor points. With each level gained or each Hit Die a creature has, it gains a number of vigor points based on its Hit Die type. Use the creature's Hit Dice to generate its vigor points, just like you would hit points, and add the creature's Constitution modifier per level as well. A creature gains maximum vigor points on its first Hit Die if it comes from a character class level. A creature who’s first full Hit Die comes from an NPC class or from their race rolls its Hit Dice to determine its starting vigor points. A creature with less than one Hit Die has no vigor points; it only has wound points.

Favored class bonuses, points gained through the Toughness feat, and any miscellaneous hit points not outlined in these rules a creature gains are applied to vigor points.

“Super-biological” Creatures:
Creatures with more than 12 HD granted by a PC class or 12 racial HD (with the exclusion of HD gained through the types on the list below) add what would have been their vigor points per level at 12 HD and below to their wound points instead. Eligible racial HD and PC class levels stack for purposes of this determination.

HD gained through NPC classes are not eligible to apply toward the total of 12 HD required for this privilege.

Creatures whose types contain ONLY types from this list do not count their HD as eligible. If a creature has a type or types from this list, but also has a type NOT on this list, then their HD are eligible:

Animal*
Goblinoid
Humanoid
Monstrous Humanoid
Plant
Reptilian
Swarm
Vermin

* With the exception of animal companions for a creature with PC class levels. The animal companion only counts as many of its own HD toward the total required as its master has eligible HD.

Direct to Wound Point Damage:
Some damage is dealt directly to wound points.

If a source of damage indicates that it deals damage directly to wound points, the creature receiving this damage cannot apply the damage from that source to vigor points. Instead, wound points are damaged directly.

Unless the damage source has the ghost touch or similar property, incorporeal creatures do not take direct to wound point damage from corporeal sources of damage, instead taking damage normally by losing vigor points first.

Injury and Death

Stabilization:
A stabilization check is a Constitution saving throw DC 21 - the creature’s current wound points. If successful, the creature is considered stable, meaning it does not need to make any additional checks to become stable unless it incurs further wound point damage. If the creature fails this check, it takes 1 point of wound damage, is no longer stable, and is now wounded. If the creature fails the stabilization check by 10 or more, in addition to now being wounded and no longer stable, it also becomes unconscious.

Each day, a creature that has lost any wound points must make a stabilization check (even though stable) even without combat or if initiative is rolled during that time. For this daily check the creature only ceases to be stable and loses wound points if it fails the check by 5 or more. It is at the GM’s discretion when to make this check if the following is not possible or nonsensical, but typically this check is made when the creature wakes from a night’s rest (see Regaining Wound and Vigor Points).

Wounded
When a creature is wounded, it gains the staggered condition until it is no longer wounded. Creatures can never be naturally immune based on creature type traits to being wounded or staggered due to being wounded, but may gain this immunity through feats or magical effects. Furthermore, if a wounded creature takes any standard or move action on its turn, even if it was stable from a previous check, it must make an additional stabilization check for that round immediately after the results of its action.
Undead and other non-living creatures (such as constructs) cannot be knocked unconscious due to wound point loss, or for any other reason.

Environmental Dangers

Falling Damage:
Falling damage is 1d4 per step. Each step from 10 feet through 50 feet is 10 feet. Beyond 50 feet, each step’s maximum is the previous step’s value added to the total. The damage is capped at the 11th step (at 1601 feet and higher) at 11d4 damage.

The first 5 steps combined take 1 second to fall. Each step beyond the first 5 takes an additional 1 second to fall. Each 800 feet fallen after 1600 feet takes an additional 1 second to fall.

This is modeled after real falls, but has been greatly simplified in terms of acceleration or average time to reach terminal velocity. This progression is designed to mimic as closely as possible (much more closely than the official RAW) the damage at a given fall height reflected in deadliness data from real life, and still be relatively easy to remember and use at the table. Once you get used to it, this should be easy to remember as a pattern. This chart illustrates the progression:

10 – 1d4
20 – 2d4
30 – 3d4
40 – 4d4
50 – 5d4
51-100 – 6d4
101-200 – 7d4
201-400 – 8d4
401-800 – 9d4
801-1600 – 10d4
1600+ – 11d4

Unless the entire fall damage source is converted to non-lethal damage, falling damage is dealt as direct to wound point damage. Falling damage can be mitigated in the same way as in the published rules where intentional falls are concerned, but use the appropriate steps and dice prescribed in this rule rather than the 1d6 per 10 feet values found in the published rules for all actual values calculated.

In addition to the standard reductions possible for intentionally falling, falls from at least 101 feet can be mitigated by 1 additional step with an additional Acrobatics check, to account for slowing the fall with intentionally reducing aerodynamics.


DarkLightHitomi wrote:

You could instead use the con score as the massive damage threshold.

It is presented in unearthed arcana and makes characters more likely to die from high damage sources and without the complexity of anything else in this thread (beyond rule 0 anyway)

Average of 17 damage? Hope you have a high con.

(I should double check the PF rules on massive damage but I doubt it's changed enough to make this idea worthless)

Edit: Wow it's classified as an optional rule in PF (though the norm is still 50 points) and you make a DC 15 fort save or die.

I suggest,
If you take damage higher then your con score you need to make a fort save DC 15, and an additional fort save for every 10 points of damage above your con score.

If you fail 1 save, you are disabled, fail 2 saves and you are at -3 hp and dying (Unless your con score is 3 or less, in which case you are dead), fail 3 saves and you die.

I think I will use this, except in my game it will be double your con score.

That is an interesting approach. What about "slowly" dying from "direct" damage over time, like starving or burning to death?

Would you track the Con damage from that source and add together all the total damage that source causes in Con damage? If that meets the threshold, then die? Its a flaw in my above system too, now that I think about it, but that would mean the average person would starve to death in just 12 days, but also take 72 seconds to burn to death... hmm.

I do like your suggestion's direction, but I'm not sure why the save would be a Reflex save. The premise is that the types of damage involved are beyond skill, so I would think it would be a Con save if there is a save.

If you double the Con score as the massive damage threshold, you would (just as an illustration of a set of numbers, not to argue falling damage itself any further) need to do 24 falling damage on a 50 foot fall for someone with 12 Con to kill them from it, but there is only a 6% chance of that. Of course, if you stick to just Con, then the opposite problem is that you have a 94% chance to do 12 or more damage as well, so its too brutal on the other end.

I would suggest, that if you are using a massive damage approach, that you use Con + half the HD value + 1 as the number (Con + PFS HD hp increase per level values). This brings the amount of damage required to kill someone with 12 Con and d6 to 16, which is a little low, but you can't have all HDs be equal. It puts someone with 12 Con and d10 at 18, perfect 50%, and someone with 12 Con and d12 at 19, just a little better than realistic. Now what to do about those pesky characters that have 16 Con, or Barbarians who rage with that to get to 20... throws things out of whack... hmm.

This approach keeps people from double-dipping in the Con score the way they do in my initial outline, so that if someone has a high con score, they only benefit from the negative hp additions, but not the first HD Con mod. This makes sense to me, because Con on the positive HP side, to me, is Con enhancing capabilities, and Con on the negative side is the body's actual resilience. Direct damage bypasses all capabilities enhancements.

I'm just not sure about the extra saves... you are already factoring in the "save" in terms of the randomness of the dice.

None of the above is the final say, or saying I have it quite right yet, just to be clear. I'm just still poking and prodding at this to refine it all.


In thinking about the problem in an entirely different way, I think I may have come up with something that will fix most if not all forms of hp/damage abuse. Good enough for myself, if for no one else. Instead of fixing damage sources, and not even fixing hp in general directly, just remove the problem entirely below the threshold where “superhero” capabilities are acceptable.

More background thoughts/direction people may not want to read:

Spoiler:

To put it another way, the problem really boils down to 3 things: rapidly inflating hp, and “direct damage” (damage that cannot be avoided, in the eyes of those playing), and characters that shouldn’t be superheroes having that inflated hp which lets them “avoid” that unavoidable damage. We have to remove the cause of the problem, only where it is a problem. So, we have to remove hp inflation only where unacceptable direct damage is encountered, but not elsewhere.

Also, a twist on the 3rd issue is that high level creatures with NPC class levels, such as high level aristocrats, shouldn’t be superheroes either, no matter where you set the bar. They have those levels to make them better aristocrats, not better skydivers or grant them the ability to go weeks without eating, stand around while on fire, etc. Non-magical creatures should also not become super “human” (or super-biological), so some creature types also are exempt from surpassing mortals.

The following rules are scalable, because you can set the value of “X” in the Exemption Threshold to any cap where you wish the bar for superhuman beings. Also, it is up to each GM to determine what constitutes “Direct Damage”. Wherever you set the bar, 1 HD beyond that is where normal mortality is left behind, and any HD beyond that are delving into the early stages of demi-godhood for humanoids, and legendary magical creatures for monsters. This is where you “break through” and grasp a small portion of the power of the gods.

The rules:

Direct Damage:
Direct damage is damage that, in the opinion of the GM, cannot be mitigated by mortal skill in any significant capacity. Only sheer luck or magical/divine power could avoid the damage with any reliability, or at all, and the creature’s body physically DOES take the brunt of it in all likelihood.

Slowly Accumulated Direct Damage:
Damage sources that deal direct damage in the form of slowly accumulated damage, such as starvation, instead deal 1 point of Con damage per damage die, 1 point of Str and Dex damage per 2 damage dice. This damage and the number of damage dice this is based on is cumulative, and the same whether the standard damage is lethal or non-lethal.

If you are still sustaining the effects of slowly accumulated direct damage while trying to rest, you cannot naturally heal the through that rest.

Magic such as lesser restoration can sustain someone through such trials by relieving these damages.

Dealing Direct Damage:
Calculate all direct damage (other than slowly accumulated direct damage) as if based on that creature’s first HD worth of HP. If the creature would be killed due to this, the creature is killed. If the creature would be brought to 0 or negative hp due to this, bring the creature to 0 or that many negative hp. Otherwise, the creature receives the damage as normal to its current hp.

Exemption Threshold:
Creatures beyond X HD gained from PC class levels are no longer subject to direct damage.

HD gained from NPC class levels do not count toward the total needed to no longer be subject to direct damage. If a creature has NPC class levels, it must also have X HD PC class levels to no longer be subject to direct damage.

Creatures with racial hit dice stack their HD with any PC class levels they may have, and their racial hit dice count toward the total HD that count to make them no longer subject to direct damage (with the exception of the list below).

If a creature has ONLY racial hit dice from the following types, its racial hit dice do NOT count toward the total HD to make them no longer subject to direct damage (if it has another type in addition to one(s) on this list, it’s racial hit dice still count toward the total):

Animal*
Goblinoid
Humanoid
Monstrous Humanoid
Plant
Reptilian
Swarm
Vermin

* With the exception of animal companions and familiars for a creature with PC class levels. The animal companion or familiar only counts as many of its own HD toward the total required to no longer be subject to this requirement as its master has eligible HD.

--------------------------------------------

If anyone has any criticisms, please gods let it not be to just say, whether eloquently or otherwise, “realism is stupid”, or "I don't like dying so easily in my games". If you can see any way to improve upon the above to make it work, please let me know. If you don’t like the entire idea of a system like this in any way, your comments will not help me make my house rules… and this is what this part of the forum is for.

I'm honestly not interested, in this thread, in arguing even one more post on the subject of IF there is a problem with damage in the RAW, only in discussing how to solve the problem as defined by me. You don't have to agree that it is a problem, but if you want to help me refine my idea, then at least pretend you agree, and base your observations on the assumption that there is a problem with damage in the RAW.

For the purposes of this thread, I will ignore any further posts that are not in keeping with this. If that means no one posts further, then so be it. I got into it a lot with some folks, but honestly, that isn't what this thread is meant to be about. I want a practical solution. That is all.


The Black Bard wrote:

As far as the justification for the "It's Magic!" argument, here is what I use.

Will and Fate.

A character that levels up has overcome challenges, they have a stronger will. This does not mean a stronger will save, or some conscious application of willpower. Merely that their will to survive is strong.

This will reaches out to those who control fate: gods, fiends, angels, even the fundamental forces of good, evil, death, life. These beings react, perhaps consciously, perhaps not, and an exchange takes place. The bandit who has killed and stolen falls from a cliff, his will to survive calls out, and the abyss itself stretches out a strand of fate-altering power, and the bandit walks away from the fall.

A cleric rushes into a burning building to save the children inside, and his will calls out, not only to his own god, but to those others who value life, who oppose flame, who dislike destruction.

Etc etc.

If you need a reason for why the outer planes grant such boons, perhaps its an investment. The idea that a higher level character is a more valuable soul is well established. Why wouldn't the forces of the multiverse invest in souls with potential, growing them and shaping them into tools and weapons for the wars of the afterlife?

I don't have a problem with that at all... what I have a problem with is that every Joe Schmoe does this. Honestly, I don't think level 6 is even high enough for a character to do stuff like this. Look at the feats. You have to have at least 6 HD, 6 levels, just to knock someone's weapon away when you disarm them... yet you can survive impossible to survive things with routine ease at level 2.

It isn't just the PCs and the BBEGs that do this stuff. They say the demographics of the world are that everyone should be a level 1 commoner, but those don't really manifest in the game. Instead, you have level 1 expert/3 warrior, level 7 aristocrat, level 2 rouge/level 3 fighters, etc. running around ALL OVER the actual adventures and modules.

I honestly feel that with what feats are afforded by prerequisites, and by the types of characters portrayed in the official rules and modules/adventures by level, that you really shouldn't be superhuman until level 13 though. I don't consider a pirate captain to be a level 12 character, given how powerful a level 12 character is in the RAW, but that's what it is in the NPC gallery.

I want magic. I want superheroes. I just don't want level 2 and 3 characters being superheroes. Even level 6 being superheroic is too low for me, but I'd live with it if at least that was true... but it isn't. It's not just falling damage, that's just a classic one to pick on. All sorts of other damage sources cause the game to be out of sync with ITSELF, not with our reality. How can someone be such a mundane person, incapable of combat feats even I could achieve in a week of instruction, but yet be unable to die like a normal person?

That's all I want to solve for. Only a very select few characters should be able to be superhuman. I don't want every guard and cultist the game actually encounters to be a superhero. Yuck. But I also don't want a game where no one is a superhero. Also yuck. I used to think I hated 4E in part because of "minions", but now I kind of see where they were going with it... but its still too low.

Perhaps that's what I need after all... instead of changing everything, maybe I just need to add some version of "minionizing" characters that have no business being superhuman or supermagical... anyone have any thoughts on that instead? 1 hp is just not going to cut it, something else that "normalizes" the "normies" is in order though.


Roberta Yang wrote:

Try reading my post again; the 99% death rate applies to the first-level Rogue (who needs 24 damage to die), not the third-level one. The third-level one (37 to die) still has over a 50% death rate once you factor in bleeding out.

The comment about only focusing on average damage is based on stuff like this:

setzer9999 wrote:

Level 1 Commoner, basic array, 12 Con

HP 4, Negative HP 12
RAW: Average fall will kill outright
House: Average fall will kill outright
Conclusion: Though the new system will OVER kill on average, dead is dead, so even though the house rule kills them more easily, there is no difference to a Level 1 Commoner that really affects gameplay in any significant way. There is no reason to factor in the stabilization saves because average damage is enough to kill outright. This character’s survivability is neither harmed nor helped by the house rules.

See, you say the house rules don't affect survivability in any way. But that's clearly false. In the original rules, the Commoner has better than a 30% chance to survive the initial fall. Once you factor in bleed-out effects, that number starts to shrink, but it's still nowhere near a 99% death rate. The commoner's odds of survival aren't spectacular, but they actually do have a reasonable chance of avoiding death.

With your house rule? You'd need to throw more than twenty thousand of these commoners off the fifty-foot cliff before you'd find a single one who wouldn't be instantly killed on impact... and even then they'd probably bleed out a moment later. Such a commoner is pretty much guaranteed death.

You claim that overkill doesn't matter because the average damage is lethal either way. But average damage isn't the only thing that matters; a 55% death rate kills "on average", but you'd hardly say that's a guaranteed death. The commoner normally has quite a reasonable chance of survival, and you've pretty much denied them that save completely - and you're claiming it didn't even make a difference.
...

Look at the pot calling the kettle black... stop abusing numbers yourself.

If you have stabilization rolls, your odds of surviving INCREASE not decrease. Every stabilization roll gives you additional % chance to survive. If you are taken to disabled status on an average roll, and then get 13 stabilization rolls, your odds of surviving the fall are VASTLY higher than 50%... do you seriously not get that?

I am aware that commoners would die. That's why they are commoners. The LD50 cannot be geared for level 1 commoners and level 5 barbarians... and it can't even be geared for level 1 commoners and level 3 warriors the same way. If the system has hp given out per level in any fashion, you can't make the % equal.

Commoners are commoners in part BECAUSE they are fodder. Or they are fodder because they are commoners. Whichever direction you want to take the sentence. Who cares that commoners are dying from a 50 foot fall again? And what game is throwing 20,000 commoners off of a cliff and actually calculating falls with rolls? Have fun doing that.

Even in real life, the numbers reported for falls are likely over-reported for people who are more likely to survive the falls. No, I don't have anything to back that up, but it stands to reason. How many couch potatoes, slave laborers, professors, baristas, janitors, and housewives etc. do you think are falling 50 feet? The people who are doing the falling are people who would be up at such heights with the chance TO fall... so, your rock climbers, iron workers, daredevils, mountain bikers, criminals, and the like... people who might be more physically fit and attuned to survive a fall.

The fact that a commoner falls off of a 50 foot cliff and dies doesn't bother me at all. The fact that a level 3 guard falls off of a cliff and isn't even staggered does bother me.


Roberta Yang wrote:
Laurefindel wrote:
By curiosity, did you calculate death at 0 hp or death at -14 hp?

Death at -14 HP; 98.43% chance of 24 or more damage on a 10d6. And that's only counting instant deaths, not deaths from bleeding out; when you take bleed-out deaths into account, the calculation is a bit messier but the upshot is basically that you're just about guaranteed to die.

It's pretty disingenuous to only look at what an "average" fall does when you're talking about survival rates, because it paints a 51% chance of death as identical to a 99% chance of death.

... ??? What?

50% of rolls will do the average or more damage. You are double-dipping your logic. A character with 23 hp and 14 Con can withstand 37 total damage before dying. If the damage coming in is 35 ON AVERAGE, how does that equate to a 99% chance to die? How did 50% chance to roll 35 or more suddenly magically equate to 99% chance to roll 35 or more?

It doesn't.

10d6 has an average of 35 damage, or (roughly speaking) a 50% chance of doing 35 or more damage or a 50% chance of doing 35 or less damage. Even if that character took an average fall, they would still not be killed outright. Sure they might still die from bleeding out, but that would still only put them at the average result! That's what LD50 means.

There is still the chance that they would roll less than 35. I have no idea what you are talking about trying to turn 50% into 99%.

@Evil Lincoln
The fireball could have lots of random ways to describe it applied to it. It isn't necessarily a solid, unerring orb of flame. The axe can still miss actually cutting your skin or crushing your skull, no matter how big it is. The earth cannot miss you when you fall to it. Falling is uniquely qualified as being non-sensical to describe as "avoided". Doing the unlikely is one thing, but not hitting the earth when falling is not possible unless you actually cast a spell, which HP doesn't allow you to do, spells do.

I don't want to change HP for characters over level 5 either. Fall damage is, as far as I can tell so far, the worst offender by FAR. It was originally designed by the people who came up with the original HP system as well to be much more unforgiving, and accidentally changed and never corrected at editing anyway.

Edit: @Roberta Yang
I'm going to take another shot at what you said before, and actually do those stabilization rolls you said would be just too messy. The way you put it made it very easy to assert that you were saying that the fall would be 99% likely to kill you, very cleverly worded, but the claim is just false.

If you take 24 damage, what you say is 98% likely, you would then need to take a DC 11 Constitution check with a +2 to your Con for this character. You only need to roll an 9 or higher, giving you a 55% chance to stabilize. If you fail that, you lose 1 hp and get the next chance at 10/20, giving you a 50% chance to stabilize there... you would have to fail 13 stabilization rolls, each with only a 5% less chance of succeeding than the last... and you call that 99% chance to die? WTF.


DarkLightHitomi wrote:

First off on the first commoner example most anything less then average damge will not kill outright but with house rule it will. You need to look at the range of possibilities.

Second that first level commoner should be able to get a 50% survival rate so I don't see how increaseing damage is more realistic.

Third if you want higher levels to be better able to survive falls while still making them significant then multiply damage by half their level, min 1. Leaves commoners better able to survive the world (which makes it beleivable that they might actually be able to become high level someday just like PCs) and yet doesn't ever leave falls as insignificant because of level.

You just don't seem to understand. You cannot balance level 1 Commoners and Level 5 PCs the same. That isn't possible in a system with hp increases per level.

Your suggestion to make the damage based on level makes it so high level characters never are superheroic. Remember that the premise is to have low level characters not be superhuman, but allow high level characters to be. If you multiply the damage by half the level as you suggest, and leave the rest of the RAW system alone, you end up with a level 20 character taking an average fall damage of 700 damage for a 200 foot fall!

I can't think of a way, personally, that you can balance level 1 Commoners and level 5 PCs, as well as level 5-20 characters, and have it all be equal. I don't even want it to be equal.

What you are saying is that only level 1 Commoners are normal humans. So the LD50 should be geared for HP for a level 1 Commoner. What I'm saying is that level 1 Commoners are not the only normal humans. Level 5 characters might be "exceptional" humans, as you put it, but still "normal" as opposed to "superhuman".

If a level 1 Commoner only dies 50% of the time from a 50 foot fall, then a level 1 Warrior is already slightly superhuman, and a level 2 character can already be very superhuman. I don't want level 2 characters to be superhuman.

You are assuming that the majority of NPCs are level 1 Commoners. Perhaps the GM guide says that is what is supposed to be the demographics for the world, but that's not what actually occurs in game. I am trying to write rules for what ACTUALLY HAPPENS. Look at modules and adventures and at the list of characters in the NPC gallery. Think about what characters get into the circumstance where they would fall 50 feet. See many level 1 Commoners there? No? OK, but we do see lots of level 3-5 NPC bad guys (and good/neutral guys). Those people are not just superhuman, but CRAZILY superhuman in the RAW falling rules. They aren't just "exceptional", they are completely beyond what humans really are.

If you want level 2 characters to be superhumans, just say so. But don't be so insulting as to say that they aren't by RAW. They are, period.


As I said, there are limits to how balanced it can be. If I wanted to ensure that a level 5 character died 50% of the time, I’d have to push the damage up even further. The chart I created is better than the RAW in terms of modeling level 6 being a superhuman threshold, and preventing low level characters from being inexplicably superhuman. There isn’t a way to make level 5 and level 1 be balanced the same, AND allow levels to have increases. I don’t want a fall to be the same for a level 5 and a level 1, because that would actually be so unbalanced, it would ruin things even for me, and I am a “realism over balance” guy.

Let’s do some use cases, my system against the RAW, and see what the real story is here. I’m not going to give the exact percentage for survivability by actually calculating each potential stabilization roll, because that is just WAY too much additional work, but the initial stabilization roll for the first round after incurring the damage should tell the story pretty well.

What I have below may not be accurate down to every single HP calculated, but its close enough at least. I’m not saying it IS wrong, I’m just saying that this is a general illustration, and this post is quite long, and I have no proofreaders. This should illuminate the actual effect of my changes against real characters though.

Fall from 50 feet
RAW Average Damage: 17.5
House Rule Average Damage: 35

Level 1 Commoner, basic array, 12 Con
HP 4, Negative HP 12
RAW: Average fall will kill outright
House: Average fall will kill outright
Conclusion: Though the new system will OVER kill on average, dead is dead, so even though the house rule kills them more easily, there is no difference to a Level 1 Commoner that really affects gameplay in any significant way. There is no reason to factor in the stabilization saves because average damage is enough to kill outright. This character’s survivability is neither harmed nor helped by the house rules.

Level 1 Warrior, heroic array, 14 Con
HP 7, Negative HP 14
RAW: This character is already superhuman, though only just barely. 17 damage will leave the character with -10 hp. Since the character is not yet dead, stabilization saves are in effect. The first stabilization save would be DC 20. On the first roll, to lose only 1 hp, and still have 3 more chances, there is still a 15% chance he will stabilize. You have to do the math yourself to see how that 15% interacts with the 50% chance he should die from the damage, but it clearly brings the likelihood of survival above 50% by a not-insignificant margin.
House: Average fall will kill outright.
Conclusion: Yes, a less than average fall will also kill outright in the house rule, but you cannot balance level 1 and level 5 equally. This character is already superhuman in the RAW anyway as well, though only barely. This character’s believability is improved in the house rules. A Level 1 Wizard PC with 14 Con would only have 8 hp, and be comparable to this warrior.

Level 1 Barbarian PC, 20 Point buy, 16 Con
(I’m not factoring in raging to muddy the waters with what happens the moment you go unconcious)
HP 15, Negative HP 16
RAW: This character is already quite superhuman. The average fall will leave this character with -2 hp. While that is bad news in combat, survivability for that first roll to only be at -3 out of 16 negative HP for stabilization is only DC 12, and this character has a 55% chance to stabilize… and then 15 other rolls to go each with only a slight reduction in % chance.
House: This character would be killed outright by an average fall.
Conclusion: Level 1 Barbarians are not only PCs, but the system has to be balanced for PCs too. Yes, usually you don’t have 20 point buy for NPCs, but even reducing the Con score to the heroic array, this doesn’t change the story very much. A Barbarian might be supposed to be superheroic at later levels, but I say that doesn’t mean he should already be superheroic at level 1. Even in superhero movies, the characters have to learn to use their powers and hone their skills. You shouldn’t be doing superhero deeds at level 1, IMO, so the house rule makes things more believable.

Level 3 Commoner, basic array, 12 Con
HP 13, Negative HP 12
RAW: Character is superhuman. You should easily be able to extrapolate from the more thorough assessment in the previous examples to see how that is the case.
House: Average fall will kill outright
Conclusion: In the RAW, this character is superhuman, and in the House rule, this character is still killed outright by an average fall. The house rule makes this character more believable given the likelihood of such characters to fall from this height.

Level 3 Warrior, heroic array, 14 Con
HP 22, Negative HP 14
RAW: This character is already VERY superhuman. They won’t even be put at negative hp by an average fall.
House: This character is just barely superhuman, to a level that really isn’t even worth mentioning (1 hp above death).
Conclusion: This character is very superhuman in the RAW, in my opinion, disgustingly so. This isn’t even a PC class. A Level 3 Warrior is a guard for crying out loud. The house rule makes this much better. A Level 3 wizard PC with 14 Con, someone who is bookish and whose power comes from being able to cast spells, would be slightly weaker than this character at this level with average rolls, but still quite comparable. A Level 3 Wizard PC with 10 Con, someone really fitting the bookish archetype, would be even more likely to die from 50 feet, which makes sense to me.

Level 3 Barbarian PC, 20 Point buy, 16 Con
(I’m not factoring in raging to muddy the waters with what happens the moment you go unconcious)
HP 35, Negative HP 16
RAW: This character is massively superhuman. Even a maximum damage fall from 50 feet can’t put this character even at 0 hp!
House: This character would be disabled by a 50 foot fall on average.
Conclusion: Barbarians are supposed to be the toughest of the toughest of people, so just barely making it to disabled for an average fall from here makes some sense, but shrugging it off in the RAW is dumb. House rule makes this better.

Level 5 Commoner, basic array, 12 Con
HP 22, Negative HP 12
RAW: This character is VERY superhuman.
House: Average fall will kill outright.
Conclusion: Need I say any more? House rule all the way.

Level 5 Warrior, heroic array, 14 Con
HP 37, Negative HP 14
RAW: This character is massively superhuman. They won’t even be put at negative hp by an average fall.
House: This character is still a little superhuman, but eh, nothing is perfect, and it is still in the realm of believability.
Conclusion: This character is very superhuman in the RAW, in my opinion, disturbingly so. This isn’t even a PC class. A Level 5 Warrior is a vault guard or prison warden for crying out loud. The house rule makes this much better. Again, a level 5 PC Wizard is roughly comparable. The house rule wins again.

Level 5 Barbarian PC, 20 Point buy, 16 Con
(I’m not factoring in raging to muddy the waters with what happens the moment you go unconscious)
HP 55, Negative HP 16
RAW: This character is without any doubt, superhuman by a wide margin.
House: This character would shrug off a 50 foot fall average, but still have a chance of dying to a bad fall.
Conclusion: Barbarians are supposed to be the toughest of the toughest of people, so just barely making it to disabled for an average fall from here makes some sense, but shrugging it off in the RAW is dumb. House rule makes this better. If we are factoring in rage here, this character is shrugging off most falls this height with ease.

WAY TL;DR
The overall conclusion is that my house rule is actually geared for more perfect accuracy to Level 3 than it is to level 5, but still helps to pull level 5 characters into the realm of better believability. So, characters DO get stronger as they level, and struggle toward superhero powers. It doesn’t fundamentally change anything for Level 1 Commoners, they are likely dead in RAW as well. All the guards, bandits, prison wardens, cultists, and low level spellcasters you come across though will be placed into a much more believable category of “non-superhuman” or “barely superhuman” from levels 1-5 with my house rule. The use cases should prove that. The numbers may not be exactly perfect, but they are close enough to tell the story.

If you do not want level 1-5 characters to be superhuman, fall damage needs to be doubled for “short” falls. The rest of the system is complex to model actual acceleration, and allow higher falls to be made by high level characters more “realistically” as well.

I don’t think I can say any more about this… everything I’ve already said should suffice.


DarkLightHitomi wrote:
Setzer a level 5 with 35 hp is a physically oriented person who better able to time and roll there landing, I have jumped 20 ft and been able to land it without any trouble, so why do you want to say its impossible for me to do that?

You JUMPED down 20 feet. That's one part of the rule I haven't gotten to yet, but is in the falling rules too. When you intentionally jump, up to a certain level, you convert lethal to nonlethal damage. I'd say that onto a hard surface, between 20 and 30 feet is about the limit a normal human can mitigate their fall to any significant degree by intentionally dropping down. Beyond that, the returns are extremely diminishing. I'll get around to adding that to the system.

These are FALLS we are talking about. In fact, I've adjusted the 10 foot fall to just be 2d6, because it is a fall. Falling from 10 feet shouldn't be able to do an average of 3.5 and a maximum of 6. A maximum of 12 is more reasonable, because a fall from 10 feet should certainly be able to kill someone, but 1d6 can't kill someone.

@claymade
If everyone has the same kind of divine favor, a level 1 character and a level 6 character, what is the point of differentiating that favor or levels at all? It doesn't matter what in-game rationale is used to grant super powers. If its divine favor, otherworldly energy, mutant genes, or whatever other mechanism you want to use to grant superpowers, you can't just give the same thing to everyone from level 1 up.

There is no BAM! you are suddenly a superhero with no transition in my system. Yes, I want there to be a superhero threshold, but your strength level is not a progression from level 1, then leap to level 6 suddenly. A level 5 character is still far superior to a level 1, and a little stronger than a level 4. A level 5 character is more likely to survive falls than a level 1. The reason I am gearing things for level 5 is because I am more concerned about characters at levels 4-5 than I am for levels 1-3 for falling damage. Even with the low RAW falling damage, throwing huge falls at level 1-3 characters is pretty rude IMO, and you don't see much of it in published adventures.

I'll say again, the game has a touch of solipsism to it. I don't care that the average is well above 50% for death for a level 1 commoner to fall 50 feet, because I don't plan to throw level 1 commoners off of 50 foot cliffs all that often. If one does happen to fall off and inevitably die here and there, it really doesn't break the "realism" that a few commoners fell 50 feet to their death. I'm not planning on just sitting around playing a game where my players and I line commoners up on a cliff edge and shove them off for hours to see how many live.

And I find the very idea of a "Level 5 Commoner" offensive. Commoners shouldn't even ever be higher than level 2, and only a very limited few should ever achieve that.

In any case, there is a sliding scale where a level 5 is stronger than they were at level 1-4, and stronger each level through that process. I happen to like using published adventures, so instead of having to rewrite every single NPC stat block to tone down level 5 NPCs into level 2 NPCs (a level of work that makes me wonder why I'm using the published adventures) I need a solution that makes the dozens of level 4-5 NPCs out there not be superheros when the plot and their activities are such that they have no business being superheroes.


Evil Lincoln wrote:
I was agreeing with you.

I apologize.

I feel like there is an irrational opposition to this argument, and your response got caught up in what I'll admit is a growing bias I have against everyone's posts in this thread.

I understand if people don't want things TO be realistic. I understand if people like having the game be cartoony. But please, PLEASE, have the courage to admit that it is that. It isn't superheroic to allow level 2 characters to survive 50 foot falls, its looney toons.

I visualize what is happening in my head as I play tabletop games and read. When I get the information presented to me that someone fell 50 or 100 feet... (and the die roll is an average or higher value) I see them plummet with great violence and a sickening thud. If the dice rolled lower than average, then I might envision that they got a lucky fall of some kind. If not, to then have to be presented with the information that they do a kip and start waving their sword around 1 second later unscathed is an insult to my brain unless there is some internal explanation of WHY reality has been suspended (they are superheroes with unnatural capabilities and properties).

Its not just the PCs. Any NPC that surpasses a (very low in the RAW) hp value is a superhero. If you like level 2s to be superheroes, be my guest, but you have to admit that it is looney.


DarkLightHitomi wrote:

I hate dropped posts! Now I have to redo it.

setzer9999 wrote:
While I don't doubt that my math is often imperfect, as it is not my strongest suit, your math is based on a flawed premise. Your assumption is that the hp average matters first... this is false. Falling damage is the same for a level 1, a level 2, or a level 20 character. ...

Actually I am just coming at it from the other side (side 1, falling damage. side 2, hp.) I figured out how much damage an average person needs to match statistics. Above, before your post, the idea was that falling damage was not right. We could change hp to match falling damage but that entails many other changes as well, so lets stick with changing falling damage to match statistics.

In order to make falling damage match statistics we need to know at what amount of damage would result in particular survival rates. I did this above.

Now we just need to figure out how to make the damage rolls match that.
50' of falling damage needs to average 8-9 and 85' of damage needs to be ~19. Get the falling damage to match that then your problem is solved (for medium sized creatures anyway).

-------------------
Suggestion to match statistics
The dice get bigger the more you fall. The first 40' each adding a d2, the next 30' add d4s, the next 20' add d6s, the next 50' each step up the die size.

Distance/die/dmg range/average
10'/1d2 /1-2 /1.5
20'/1d2 /2-4 /3
30'/1d2 /3-6 /4.5
40'/1d2 /4-8 /6
50'/1d4 /5-12 /8.5
60'/1d4 /6-16 /11
70'/1d4 /7-20 /13.5
80'/1d6 /8-26 /17
90'/1d6 /9-32 /20.5
100'/1d8 /10-40 /25
110'/1d10/11-50 /30.5
120'/2d6 /13-62 /37.5
130'/2d8 /15-78 /46.5
140'/3d6 /18-96 /57
150'/3d8 /21-120 /70.5
160'/4d8 /25-152 /88.5 Max for Terminal Velocity could be a bit lower but I am not doing that math right now. Maybe later

The issue with this is that it still makes the threshold for being superhuman relative to fall damage extremely low. You can't balance a game where levels gain hp so that things are balanced for level 1 and level 5 the same way. It's just impossible.

So, you have to decide where the threshold for superhuman is first. With your system, you are superhuman if you have 9 hp if you assume everyone will not stabilize after a fall. If you account for stabilizing throwing the LD off even further for each stabilizing roll, and look at what it would take to kill someone outright, you can't even have an hp to Con relationship that is even possible (you'd have to have -3 hp max and 12 Con).

Regardless of how you slice it, your numbers make for superhuman survivability something that is attainable for characters less (far less) than level 6. With your system, a level 5 character that has 35 hp beats the odds of even being put at -1 hp by a 50 foot fall, let alone dead outright, by 4 times! That makes level 5 characters quite superhuman indeed.

If you want the threshold for being superhuman to be level 2 or 3, then your system might be OK. But if you want to make sure that you have to be level 6 to be superhuman, it is off the mark by a lot.


Evil Lincoln wrote:
Pathfinder RPG Core Rulebook wrote:
What Hit Points Represent: Hit points mean two things in the game world: the ability to take physical punishment and keep going, and the ability to turn a serious blow into a less serious one.

And this is different from what I said how?

Taking physical punishment is part of it. Turning a more serious blow into a less serious one is non-descriptive. It is up to the GM to describe that.

You can turn a more serious blow into a less serious one by parrying or dodging it, or because you are lucky and it just whizzes past your ear, or because you have a divine presence guiding you.

A low level character with 28 hp who just goes back and forth to market each day should not have the capacity to turn the earth striking them from a 50 foot fall into something to shrug off. A level 6, ok then, they can.

Again... how does someone who is not a superhero "parry" the earth hitting them in a fall exactly?


Maxximilius wrote:

D&D rules are not meant to represent realism, they are meant to vehiculate the feeling of a hero from a tale you are yourself writing as you play. Gaining levels means being abled to perform always more heroical deeds against more potent creatures and deadly situations. Saying it again : the rules are not a realistic simulation, but a way to answer to the question "how much of a chance could a guy like me in this story, be able to deal with this situation, without it to be totally anticlimactic ?".

HP represents the amount of physical harm you can withstand ; just because you are unarmored, suffer a critical hit from a claymore and are still conscious does not mean you should have been cut in half, just that you are THAT badass and combat-savvy enough to take the blow in a non-vital fashion.

Actually, the rules are meant to model realism... as much as the GM wants/is able to describe it as realistic. At some point, it is the CHARACTERS that become "unrealistic", not the rules. That is, with the exception of falling damage in particular. This is OK, and even desirable, for high level characters. High level being 6 and over. This really does seem a good transition point. Lower level characters shouldn't be superheroes.

You are incorrect about hp representing the amount of physical harm you can withstand. HP are abstract. HP is only the physical punishment you can take if your GM describes it that way. HP loss doesn't implicitly mean, by the rules, that you took physical damage. Your luck, morale, stamina, or divine favor could be running out, and this is modeled by hp loss.

You can lose HP in this sense in that a "hit" on the attack roll indicates that the attack against you was sufficient to reduce one of those abstract elements as described by the GM. The body of your character isn't actually injured, bruised, burned, or bleeding, etc. until the GM describes it that way. Rules-wise, HP are not physical punishment, they are an abstract countdown to when your character IS wounded or dead... not the amount of toughness or blood you have left or some such thing.

Falling damage undermines all of this because plummeting to earth because it indeed DOES strike you (the earth cannot "miss" hitting you when you fall into it).


Kolokotroni wrote:
setzer9999 wrote:

I know this... I admit I've come to realize this in the past several months, and didn't understand how powerful even a few levels was by comparison to a real person this time last year... but since I've come to understand that that is the relationship things are supposed to have, I still see a discrepancy even in that take on it.

A level 4 character is actually already much stronger than Batman. I WANT level 6 characters to be like Batman and Captain America, and then of course as you keep climbing the levels things get into totally unrealistic stuff (which is good!)... but the problem is that where falling damage is concerned, characters are already outdoing Batman at level 2! Not 4, not 6... 2!

As for other stuff that happens, hp is abstract. You don't have to view it as that you took that fire full in the face from the dragon. HP damage doesn't mean you are bleeding... it is abstract as you want it to be. Luck, morale, divine intervention, whatever it is, it isn't your body's ability to take punishment unless the GM decides to describe it that way. The issue with falling damage is that unless the story already described something like a cart full of hay (which in reality really wouldn't even help that much, but at least its something) or something else like that... you fall, and you simply take the falling damage.

So wait, you are willing to thematically explain what 'hits' mean with regard to a troll hitting a player with an axe, but doing that same thing with falling damage is unacceptable? Use that same description, with a soft landing, or the character slowing himself on the way down by grabing onto things, or a slope at the bottom that reduces the fall or any number of things. Why is falling damage or any hazard exempt from the behavior of every other kind of damage?

The ability to grab onto things, the surface fallen on, and all sorts of other factors are represented by the random dice roll. 10d6 damage could be 10 damage, or 60... there isn't always something to grab on to, and there isn't always a soft patch of mud on a slope to roll down. Sometimes there's a nasty sharp rock right where you land too.

As I explained before, which you apparently didn't read, I have a problem with fall damage because when you fall, the earth cannot "miss" you. A troll's axe can. A "hit" against your HP in the game doesn't have to mean that you actually got cut by that axe. HP are abstract. HP aren't your body's physical toughness necessarily... they are whatever the GM wants them to be... luck, morale, divine favor, your body's toughness, etc. You can lose hp without being struck by that axe. You cannot not be struck by the earth when you fall.


Roberta Yang wrote:

A fifth-level Commoner with 13 Con (aka the strongest any pseudo-normal person could be) has, on average, 22 HP - which means they have a better than 50% chance of dying from taking 10d6 damage even before bleeding out is accounted for. So how exactly does 10d6 match up to LD50? A standard Commoner 1 with Con 11 (aka that random unremarkable farmer who you fear will be jumping off cliffs for fun) has less than a 50% chance of surviving even 3d6 once you account for bleeding out.

Remember that when people say "being a superhero starts at 6th level", they don't mean "average people are usually fifth level". They mean "fifth-level characters would in the real world be incredible once-per-generation individuals of unparalleled strength and ability". If your goal is to make it so that fifth-level characters usually die from falling in the same way that real-world people do, you're missing that key point.

The issue is that a "once in a generation" person is still NOT a superhero. I absolutely am trying to calculate things to make sure that a level 5 is not superhuman. There are limits to the balance that can be achieved in any system based on levels. If the premise is that a character is a superhuman at level 6, then level 5s cannot be allowed to be superhuman.

Really, if a level 5 character is still not superhuman, than where falling from 50 feet is concerned, a level 5 and a level 1 should have virtually no difference between them. Even if you are very strong, the ways an impact like that will kill you will bypass your strength. Falling from heights like that can rattle your brain inside your skull and lead to hematoma, snap your spine, shove your spine into the base of your skull, or rupture any number of internal organs. Whatever factors make people survive a fall like that is just chance, not strength, in real life.

Levels where people gain hp cannot be modeled that way perfectly. There are limits. There isn't any way to make a level 1 and a a level 5 have the same chance of surviving a fall. How is that any different in my system from another system?

I'm just saying that the game RAW is not pushing that limit, or coming anywhere close. A level 1 character may be more likely to die than a level 5, but so what? And so what if a level 1 PC is less strong than a level 5 NPC? How is that fundamentally any different than the game was before my changes again?

Everyone is aware that the original falling damage equation written for DnD was 1d6 per 10 feet per 10 feet right? Meaning that 20 feet was supposed to be 3d6, and 30 feet 6d6, etc... And that it was mistakenly edited out? Everyone is assuming that 1d6 per 10 feet is "right" because that's the way it has been published and what you are used to. Even that original equation is way off though beyond 30 feet, because then you approach 20d6 WAY too soon. Still, falling damage was meant to be far more lethal to low levels than it is in the existing RAW, which is painfully off the mark.

Besides, as the GM guide says, these games have a bit of solipsism to them. If you don't see level 1 commoners falling from cliffs, it doesn't happen. Who does fall off of cliffs during play? Level 3+. Look at the NPC gallery or any NPCs from published adventures. Who are the PCs interacting with? Level 1 commoners? Where? Mostly they are interacting with level 4 and 5 NPCs.

I realize that you can write whatever you want into your own adventure, but published adventures are being written by those who have written the system. If that doesn't reflect the expectation, something is amiss. Either we have to say that characters are superheroes even if they are level 1, as long as they have enough hp to outdo survival rates for falls, or we have to adjust fall damage. I don't want level 1-5 characters to be superheroes.


OK, so no matter how I sliced it, messing with HP itself would never fix the problem without causing others.

Since HP isn't broken, don't fix it.

Since fall damage is broken, fix it.

This is what I came up with:

10 feet takes less that 1 second to fall - 1d6 damage (average 3.5)
20 feet takes ~1 second to fall - 4d6 damage (average 14)
30 feet takes ~1 second to fall - 6d6 damage (average 21)
40 feet takes ~1 second to fall - 8d6 damage (average 28)
50 feet takes ~1 second to fall - 10d6 damage (average 35) <- LD50 threshold for non-superheroes
60 feet takes ~2 seconds to fall - 12d6 damage (average 42)
61-100 feet takes ~3 seconds to fall - 13d6 damage (average 45.5) <- LD90 threshold for non-superheroes
101-150 feet takes ~3 seconds to fall - 14d6 damage (average 49)
151-250 feet takes ~4 seconds to fall - 15d6 damage (average 52.5) <- Only survivable by freak accident threshold for non-superheroes
251-350 feet takes ~5 seconds to fall - 16d6 damage (average 56)
351-500 feet takes ~6 seconds to fall - 17d6 damage (average 59.5)
501-650 feet takes ~7 seconds to fall - 17d6 damage (average 59.5)
651-800 feet takes ~8 seconds to fall - 18d6 damage (average 63)
801-1000 feet takes ~9 seconds to fall - 18d6 damage (average 63)
1001-1200 feet takes ~10 seconds to fall - 19d6 damage (average 66.5)
1201-1400 feet takes ~11 seconds to fall - 19d6 damage (average 66.5)
1401-1600 feet takes ~12 seconds - 20d6 damage (average 70)
1601+ feet is 20d6 damage (average 70),and each additional 200 feet takes 1 additional second to fall.

How I came up with that and the implications:

Falling speed over time and the time to reach terminal velocity does vary in different data sets. Real world science even shows that if you are extremely high up, the atmospheric pressure is lowered, so you can actually get going faster, and depending on how fast you are going, you might not decelerate to what would have been terminal velocity for a shorter fall. Astrological bodies colliding with each other, of course, can be moving at tens of thousands of miles and hour, crashing through the atmosphere at speeds far beyond what would have been terminal velocity had the fall began in the atmosphere instead of far outside it. All of that is really not helping to determine the average damage for a humanoid taking a fall though. If someone falls from outer space like a meteorite... they'd also burn up, and be going so fast I think we'd be safely in GM fiat territory.

I am 100% aware that the below is very approximated, and I am no trained scientist or math wizard. I am using data and graphs collected by other people. However, I am also aware this is a game. I think its a better game, and as you will see, actually doesn't reduce superheroicness at all for higher levels to change it the way I'm proposing. It just fixes low levels surviving too easily.

So, taking the basics of falling, from a few sources around the net for humans in standard free fall form (not trying to slow themselves, not trying to accelerate beyond terminal velocity by making themselves aerodynamic) you reach 80-90% terminal velocity at somewhere between 5 and 7 seconds... which is perfect for d20 since round are measured in 6 second intervals. I want averages after all too. Acceleration slows down tremendously after reaching that 6 second threshold, and the remaining time spent continuing to approach terminal velocity sees diminishing returns on time times damage in terms of calculating the damage increases, when compared to the earlier seconds. Terminal velocity is also reached roughly at a handy 12 seconds, which is 2 rounds. Neat.

The acceleration curve is relatively constant for the first second, but the difference between 10 and 20 feet is MUCH steeper in terms of percentage than any other interval. The jump from 1d6 to 4d6 is TOTALLY justified. Then, the acceleration is relatively constant but lesser than the first second for the second second, starting to taper off strongly by the 3rd second. The acceleration slows down even further toward the final seconds leading up to terminal velocity.

Again, I am willing to admit it is a game, so we can fudge some of the values from the real world data a little to make it easy to remember. The acceleration curve below isn't really representative exactly in terms of feet fallen, especially around the 250-350 foot mark and above, because otherwise the numbers become irregular and hard to remember... but its not that far off. The numbers prior to that are actually very close to the real curve. So, based on all that, I came up with above chart.

Those who complain about me wanting too much realism should note that the maximum damage possible is still 20d6... which doesn't change any balance issues with high level... but wait, it actually does... in FAVOR of high level characters, because actually the current system was unrealistic AGAINST them, making them LESS super-heroic than "reality" would have it. High level characters can fall from much greater heights before reaching the 20d6 cap now with this system while low level characters go splat from much lower heights. The dice are still randomized, and can therefore indicate different surfaces, conditions, flukes, and beating the odds.


Kolokotroni wrote:
setzer9999 wrote:

Yes... Yes it is FAR too much of a stretch that someone can train themselves to be a superhuman... Or just have that strong a will to live. Yes it is. Those are not magical explanations. Will to live and training cannot account for such feats. Otherwise, people could do so in reality, and they cannot.

I see that you think a highly trained soldier in real life has good odds to survive such events... That is false. The amount of force involved can't be shrugged of by going to the gym and eating your wheaties, and the fact that you think it can loses you all credibility entirely IMO.

Published adventures are a part of the system too and should reflect that.

The problem you have is that you are comparing an abstracted game that is very much NOT simulationist at its core to real life. This isnt real life. This is an adventure where a character has a reasonable chance of taking a hit from a troll that can throw a half ton boulder. Or to take a goute of flame from a young dragon. In real life people hit with a flame thrower die...horribly, people who get a half ton bolder dropped on them, die, horribly.

But for the sake of the game, a player needs after a couple level to have a reasonable chance of surviving these things. The game INTENDS for players to be unrealistically survivable. Consequently, since there is no 'minion' rule in pathfinder npcs have that achieved toughness.

This has nothing to do with some magic in world, or a campaign setting choise. It has to do with making a game where people fight dragons, trolls, giants, and more on relatively equal footing. It is neccessary for the game to work at all.

If you want a gritty realistic setting where injury death and disabilities mimic real life you are looking in the wrong place if you are looking at d20.

If you want properly calibrated expectations, comics, and action movies are a far more reasonable point of comparison then real life.

Your 4th level pc is not a navy seal, hes john mclain, or...

I know this... I admit I've come to realize this in the past several months, and didn't understand how powerful even a few levels was by comparison to a real person this time last year... but since I've come to understand that that is the relationship things are supposed to have, I still see a discrepancy even in that take on it.

A level 4 character is actually already much stronger than Batman. I WANT level 6 characters to be like Batman and Captain America, and then of course as you keep climbing the levels things get into totally unrealistic stuff (which is good!)... but the problem is that where falling damage is concerned, characters are already outdoing Batman at level 2! Not 4, not 6... 2!

As for other stuff that happens, hp is abstract. You don't have to view it as that you took that fire full in the face from the dragon. HP damage doesn't mean you are bleeding... it is abstract as you want it to be. Luck, morale, divine intervention, whatever it is, it isn't your body's ability to take punishment unless the GM decides to describe it that way. The issue with falling damage is that unless the story already described something like a cart full of hay (which in reality really wouldn't even help that much, but at least its something) or something else like that... you fall, and you simply take the falling damage.

Yes there are lots of factors that give that damage a range... but that's why you roll dice. But the fact is, the ground hits you... it doesn't miss. When you hit an object, it hits back, so when you plummet to earth, you DO get hit by the earth... no way to "describe" it away like you can describe hp loss from an arrow as that it whizzed past your ear... the earth cannot whiz past your ear.

I want unrealism, I just don't like that levels 1-5 are actually superheroic. I would love it if 6+ actually was the threshold for superheroes, but it isn't. I am working on a variant of wounds and vigor points that I hope will fix this problem and still leave high level characters able to do the impossible both. If I get it working right, I'll share.

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