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On a first read, Dark Heresy seems really good, and a sensible system given 40K. But it was all overshadowed by the horrific mistake that is the critical injury system. I actually felt physically ill while reading how it worked (not the descriptions of the injuries themselves, which was a neat idea).
Can anyone explain to me how the cumulative nature of the critical injury total is meant to work and reflect reality at all? It seems that you can get critical hits on any one location and then have the effects anywhere else multiplied up hugely purely by virtue of the previous damage on a totally different location.
For example, a hit with a bludgeoning weapon does 7 levels of Critical Damage to a target, This shatters several bones in a character's arm. On the next hit, the same character suffers 1 level of damage to the head. This takes his critical damage total up to 8, causing blood to "pour from [his] nose, mouth, ears and eyes as the attack pulverises his brain." How does one level of damage, which would otherwise only "[fill] the target's head with a ringing noise" do so much damage by virtue of wounds on a totally unrelated part of the body?
Can anyone rationalise this for me? The only sense that I can see it working is if Mortal Kombat-style fatality moves are meant to be a central part of the combat system.
And as an aside, a possible alternative system: have Critical Damage do its effect only from the ground up each time they punch through, ie the effects of Critical Damage do not stack. However, also keep a total of the Critical Damage done, and when a certain multiple of the target's Toughness Bonus (possibly x3) is done, then the character dies from system shock/blood loss etc.
Does that work better? Or am I in the wrong universe for that sort of thing?
*looks pointedly at Inquisitor rules*
Well, I must say I agree to a certain degree. DH has a good idea of criticals, but it is a little dumb and unrealistic when you come to think of it...This Saturday, I'll will ask my gaming to try a variant, we shall track the critical damage of each body location, so two hits in a same location will add up, but two hit in a different location will not, so if they bang your head a few times, you won't have a nice day!
Are you sure it works that way? It doesn't in Fantasy RP.
In fanatsy RP once you get to 0 HP every hit is a crit, but if you only roll a 1 its still only crit #1, it has nothing to do with the previous attack.
Maybe you should just use the Fantasy system. To be fair both systems are fairly harsh, it isn't supposed to be like DnD where the DM holds your hand. The game is supposed to foster teamwork and good planning, you aren't the 100+ HP fighter who shrugs off stab wounds.
Last edited by frozencore; March 27th, 2009 at 02:13.
I agree with the DnD part, but Xerxes is right about the rules though...it is a little silly, 'cause a little stab in the belly, after a painful hit in the leg, shouldn't spill your guts out!
I'll try the variant I mentioned earlier and I'll notify you how it went!
Let's just hope that the players would get their butts kicked! XD XD XD
Blast, no DH this Saturday...
Oh well, we'll have to wait for next weekend!
I actually prefer to leave it the way it is in the game that I run. It ramps up the excitement when the players know that they can be literally wiped out at any time.
I think it offsets pretty well with Fate Points.
"It takes a vast amount of self control to be this dangerous."
---Ogvai Ogvai Helmshrot, Jarl of Tra, VI Legion Astartes
I agree with psichotykwyrm. I quite like the system as it is at the moment but I would imagine the current system keeps the bookwork neat so the GM doesn't have to stack up criticals for each part of the body.
You could also not look at it as stacked damage but treat each hit as a seaprate entity, it could be that one strike to the arm did shatter bones (enough to stun the character lets say for fluff purposes if it happened to be in the same combat phase) but the blow after that was so hard the head pretty much explodes. Make sense (to me at least) when the numbers are taken out and each peice of damage is counted as a separate entity.
Ah, the damage system was indeed sucky (to me). But I liked the critical tables (nostalgia, really), so I figured I'd cobble up something that would keep the criticals and still make the system more suitable for my personal tastes.
The end result is that the players (and enemies) are a little tougher.
Anyway, what I did was that I put in a new variable called "Critical Threshold", which is simply the Toughness or Strength bonus of the character, plus 1. Any damage that gets through armour and is more than CT is considered critical. The amount of critical damage received is equal to the amount that got over CT. Straightforward enough, even though it calls for a bit of math.
Then I had to rework the Wounds system too. Now, the base Wounds remain as they are, but they are also used as a base value. When received damage exceeds Wounds * 1.5 (including critical damage), the character gets -10 to about everything. When the number is more than Wounds * 3, the penalty is -20. Wounds * 5 and you're incapacitated.
This obviously gives everyone a lot more hit points, but the way I figure it, the real hurt comes from critical hits, and the rest is just bruises and stuff; armour's primary function now is to prevent (serious) criticals. I also dropped Toughness' ability to reduce damage, just to make sure that in longer battles the accumulation of small hits would take their toll. Also, tracking the damage per location is also required, but is pretty simple if allocated its own space on the character sheet.
Adjustments to the recovery system was required at this point as well, and basically means that non-critical damage is recovered at the rate of modified (penalties from fatigue, received damage and so on) Toughness bonus per day (minimum of 1 point), while critical damage heals at similar rate per three days, and can be negative (Medicae skill helps to offset the penalties), resulting in death if critical damage in any single wound reaches 10.
All this works for me; your mileage may vary.
If crits are really hurting, another option would be the characters trying to get true grit as an elite advance (and other various skills and equipment that may help).