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> What do the various damage levels mean?, Let's share our opinions
Wounded Ronin
post Oct 4 2004, 04:03 AM
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Forgive me if this issue has been brought up before. I did a search on "damage" and nothing obvious came up.

What do the various wound levels mean to you in terms of what they would correspond to in real life?

Here is my take on things...

Light Wound - this is what you get when someone shoots you with a 9mm round. You get a bloody hole in you but you are relatively unlikely to die. Anything less than this amount of damage is so small so as not to register on the shadowrun damage system. So, if you scrape your knee or someone claws your face and draws blood, it dosen't actually register until the damage reaches the level of a relatively low key gunshot wound.

This ties in with the low Power of hold-out pistols, i.e. 4 L. Most people would have to be shot a couple of times at least with, like, a .25 in order to get blood loss and shock comparable to a 9mm plinking. That's why hold out pistols don't actually succeed in doing an L wound a lot of the time.


Medium Wound - this is like a wound from a .45 which not only makes a bloody hole and temporary cavity but also shatters some of your bone structure. The actual structural damage of your body is the big defining characteristic between L and M wounds.


Serious Wound - this is for all intents and purposes something that incapacitates you. Grenades and shotgun blasts do S damage. Usually, if someone is exploded on by a grenade, or eats a shotgun blast, they're done. Limbs sometimes come off. A character who still keeps operating with an S wound is like a crawling crushed roach. Once I read "We Were Soldiers Once And Young", which was a book filled with firsthand accounts of the Vietnam war. One person described in the book was someone who was so badly wounded that he couldn't move. He was just this bleeding mangled mess and he was propped up against a wall. But he was still doing his best to help his comrades by operating the radio. In the same way, a character with an S wound is continuing only by sheer hardcore force of will. Most NPCs I would consider defeated with an S wound, much like most people who get part of their leg blown off by a hand grenade would be considered defeated under most circumstances.

Deadly Wound - this is something that can actually gib you. For example, in real life, a shotgun loaded with 00 shot that is fired into you at close range may sever your limbs. A shotgun loaded with shot in Shadowrun fired on an unarmored person at close range has a D damage code, so D damage code represents things that literally tear you apart. Using a 50 caliber machine gun on human bodies tends to tear them into moist confetti very quickly, so that's why HMGs have D damage codes when fired in anything but single shot mode. The way I see it, the difference between an S wound and a D wound is that the D wound has physical destruction of the body to the extent that no amount of willpower can make any further use of the body in combat; you're so torn up you can't even just lie on the ground and fire your weapon listlessly. The way I interpret it, the only reason that characters ever recover from D wounds is because medical technology is so advanced that tremendous reconstruction of the human body is possible.
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Kagetenshi
post Oct 4 2004, 04:23 AM
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That's not quite true, there are rules for continuing to be active (relatively speaking) after D damage. They're not particularly forgiving, however.

~J
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Wounded Ronin
post Oct 4 2004, 04:25 AM
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Yeah, but aren't those in Man and Machine? I always felt like those were tacked on later after the original ruleset was already conceptualized and written.
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FrostyNSO
post Oct 4 2004, 04:28 AM
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Light wound- you sprained your wrist

Moderate wound- that wrist might be broken

Serious wound- that wrist and the arm it's attached to has been mangled in a farm implement

Deadly wound- the farm implement took your arm completely off and the blood loss is prolly gonna do you in.
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Austere Emancipa...
post Oct 4 2004, 05:01 AM
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QUOTE (Austere Emancipator @ http://forums-temp.dumpshock.com/index.php...?showtopic=4776)
A Light wound might be a 4" long, 1" deep gash across your abdomen. Or a 0.4" hole through your left forearm, shattering your ulna, bleeding at a respectable pace and causing extreme discomfort -- that's about the least dangerous kind of wound that a human can receive from a low-powered firearm that still causes a significant decrease in performance.

Similarly a Moderate wound could represent a 0.8" hole through your abdomen, making short work of your intestines. That's a sub-par hit with a Heavy Pistol, and could conceivably make Routine tasks Challenging (TNs from 3 to 5). Nothing immediately life-threatening, unlikely to bleed to death, but bound to make living slightly more difficult if nothing is done about it.[...]

Having your leg blown off at the knee is, IMO, a nice example of a Serious wound -- same for an arm blown off, or a flattened lung, or a ruptured kidney, or having most of your intestines riddled. None of those can reliably kill an adult human in less than a minute, let alone 18 seconds, and one can still function (shoot back) after receiving any of them. By definition, they cannot be Deadly wounds.

Then Moderate is one step down. Shattered lower leg, tricep torn to shreds, the aforementioned 0.8" hole in the gut, the obiquitous pistol/AR shot in the shoulder, etc. [...]

Deadly: Reliable near-instant incapacitation and death in less than 30 seconds.
Serious: Damage typified by a solid hit with a powerful handgun or an assault rifle.
Moderate: Damage typified by a decent hit with a powerful handgun or an assault rifle.
Light: Damage typified by a decent hit with a low-powered handgun. The least dangerous types of wounds that cause a significant, immediate drop in performace.

The point is, the defining factor of Light through Serious wounds is the degree of performance drop they cause, not the actual lethality of such wounds (since the latter is rounded to zero always). [...]
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Austere Emancipa...
post Oct 4 2004, 05:36 AM
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QUOTE (Wounded Ronin)
Light Wound - this is what you get when someone shoots you with a 9mm round. You get a bloody hole in you but you are relatively unlikely to die. [...] Medium Wound - this is like a wound from a .45 which not only makes a bloody hole and temporary cavity but also shatters some of your bone structure. The actual structural damage of your body is the big defining characteristic between L and M wounds.

Bullets fired out of a 9x19 will crush through bone just fine. Especially when you load the 9mm with some rather heavy bullets -- a 200gr .45 has the same sectional density as a 124gr 9mm, and the 9mm is likely to be moving faster. The .45 makes a slightly larger hole in the bone, just like it makes a slightly larger hole in everything else, which is why it's more likely to kill you per random hit.

Is the difference between the wound cavities caused by different 9x19 Luger and .45ACP hits significant enough to warrant the separation to Light and Medium Wound Levels? IMO absolutely not. Using ammunition that will reliably penetrate the often quoted 12" of ballistic gelatin, the .45ACP might cause a .66" (16.8mm) permanent cavity and the 9mm a .55" (14.0mm) cavity. With non-deforming ammunition, you're looking at .45" (11.5mm) vs 0.36" (9.02mm). This is certainly not a big enough difference for me to put one down as Light and the other as Medium.

Now, if you were to compare something like a .50 AE and a 9x19 Luger, it would work. The .50 AE JHP is likely to put a close to 1" hole in the target, and is absolutely guaranteed to penetrate deep enough in an unarmored target even if he's got arms extended in the path of the bullet in a prone position.

In my games, anything between low-power 9mm (.380 ACP, .38Spl) deforming ammunition and a .454 Casull (or similar high-power handgun caliber) solid is clearly within M base damage. The fact that the some of the 9mms are only barely in there is represented by the rather low Powers, as low as 5M, which allows many average humans to stage the damage down once. The difference between Medium and Serious is more problematic for me. For game balance reasons, all handguns that do Serious damage suck for penetration IMG, and nearly all handgun solids are Medium.

Note that both the 9x19 and .45 ACP JHP wound cavities are somewhere between Light and Medium when using the definitions in my above message, the FMJ cavities are clearly Light. This is because SR canon seems to represent 9x19 Luger as a basic Light Pistol cartridge (unless you start looking at SMGs as well, which will just make your head hurt), while Heavy Pistols are immensely powerful.

A realistic definition for handgun wounding effects vs Wound Levels in SR is really hard to get at. For example, Light Wound could be a ~0.35" cavity and penetration deep enough to get to the vitals in most cases, while Medium could be a ~0.65" cavity with same standards. But then you're basically saying that a 9mm FMJ is Light and a 9mm JHP is Medium, while a .44 Magnum solid and JHP might both be Medium. This type of thing causes serious problems when you try to make up a full list of cartridges, ammunition types, etc, while keeping the Damage Codes logical and balanced.

[/rant]
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mfb
post Oct 4 2004, 06:11 AM
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the wound levels in SR cannot necessarily be linked to a certain level/percentage of damage to the body. a 9mm hole through the outside of your thigh might be an L wound; that same 9mm hole through the inside of your thigh could very well be S or even D.
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Austere Emancipa...
post Oct 4 2004, 06:35 AM
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I absolutely agree with you, and I see now how my last message was a bit misleading in that regard. Yes, a .22 FMJ through the middle of your head will always start at at least Deadly.

I was really thinking about the most average of all hit locations, the less important bits of the abdomen and the shoulders as well as rather important bits of the limbs. A shot near the edges of the abdomen that avoids all the vital organs (spine, liver, kidneys being the most important around there, AFAIK), a decent hit (ie not a scrape) in most parts of the leg/thigh and arm, etc. Whether you're hit in one of these locations with a 9x19 or a .45 ACP doesn't matter all that much, especially if we're talking about quality JHPs.

Whether a simple thigh shot which severs the femoral artery can be considered a Deadly wound or not depends on whether you start adding Over-Damage boxes at 10 or 11 boxes of Physical damage. If you start the additional damage at 10, a Deadly wound kills the average human in 27 seconds -- severing the femoral artery will not kill you nearly as fast, you should have several minutes. On the other hand, unless it kills Average Joe in 27 seconds, it will never kill anyone.

I'd rather define all Deadly and greater wounds as destroying a vital organ or a major artery in the thoracic cavity, the abdominal artery, seriously damaging the central nervous system or massive trauma elsewhere. And then start looking for ways to implement accumulation of damage for other wounds, as described in the thread I linked...
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Voran
post Oct 4 2004, 09:46 AM
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Just my opinion of course, but given the ease of access to bullet resistant/armored material in the SR universe, it seems to me if you're wearing armor, every attack should do stun dmg first. Only doing physical if it penetrates.

Now I'm hoping people more familiar with the way guns and getting shot actually works can help out here. But in regards to the game context does making a successful hit in SR mean its bypassed armor? Cause that's the only way I'd see it doing dmg. And then what happens when you run into full armor situations like security or milspec suits?
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Austere Emancipa...
post Oct 4 2004, 10:35 AM
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QUOTE (Voran)
But in regards to the game context does making a successful hit in SR mean its bypassed armor?

Nope, obviously not when wearing armor does not reduce the possibility of getting hit. However, taking damage from a hit might mean it bypassed armor. If you're wearing an armored vest with plates, that's most likely the case -- a non-armor piercing handgun bullet simply wouldn't hurt someone through that at all.

It could also mean the bullet hit the armor, but in a spot where it still managed to crack a bone, causing internal bleeding and extreme unpleasantness -- especially when you're wearing something like a Form-Fitting suit against Light Pistols. Or it could mean the shot simply penetrated.

Making bullets stopped by armor always cause Stun damage would certainly make sense. Serious damage resulting from blunt trauma caused by bullets stopped by armor is extremely rare -- usually there's just a sharp pain and some bruising, and perhaps a broken bone. There are anecdotes about lethal damage through a soft body armor vest even when the projectile has been completely stopped, but I've never seen any proof. In any case, the damage is less severe than you'd get from any clubs or maces, which are Stun-damage weapons in SR.

But what it boils down to is that with SR canon rules you have no way of knowing what happened -- penetration, blunt trauma, hit in an unarmored location, scared and fell face-first in the curb. There's no logical reason to use rules for making shots through armor cause Stun damage, or indeed any way to make them realistic, unless other rules are also modified (adding hit locations, modifying armor ratings and Power/penetration).
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Ombre
post Oct 4 2004, 11:21 AM
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Then again...who cares after all: it's an abstract way of accounting for damage. The Wound modifiers give a feeling on which you can base your descriptions...it should be cinematic, not scientific...I personally don't care for the subtleties of Ballistics (unless I get shot at in real life :D ) in a roleplaying game (there are certainly better game systems for that kind of things imho)
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Critias
post Oct 4 2004, 11:38 AM
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I generally find it's easier to describe in detail a wound that's taken after the wound's been taken -- look at what shot them, look at if it was a called shot or anything, look at what they did to avoid the damage (did they nearly soak it all, or just rely on high Body and implants or Armor spells), and then look at what their total damage level is when it's all said and done.

Then you can describe a shotgun blast as being stopped by a lucky trauma plate but cracking a few ribs (Moderate wound), almost being averted as the target twisted out of the way, but still being grazed by it (Light wound) and blood being drawn, as being taken straight on in the center of the chest with their armor being shredded and the chest beneath it torn up (Serious), or taken full-on in the face (Deadly).

Likewise for, well, any other attack. I don't worry about damage level descriptors/weapon effects 'till the dice are done rolling.
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hyzmarca
post Oct 4 2004, 11:42 AM
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In my opinion, the damage levels relate directly to the level of profanity uttered by the average metahuman upon recieving the wound or, in the case of Deadly, the average dockwagon worker who scraps him off the street.

Light Wound - "Drek, I'm hit"

Moderate Wound - "FRAG! I've been shot"

Naval Damage - Makes Sailors Blush.

Considering the countless number of things that can go wrong in the metahuman body, there is no way to make an abstract damage level anagelous to any class of wound. In reality, a 0O tap to the chest can kill if the timing is right and a 2L stun hit to the head can cause a fatal brain embolism that lies dormat for months. In reality, there are counless possible complications to any wound, most of which occur during healing. Unfortunatly, SR doesn't have any good mechanics for dealing with these things.
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Austere Emancipa...
post Oct 4 2004, 11:53 AM
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QUOTE (Critias)
Then you can describe a shotgun blast as being stopped by a lucky trauma plate but cracking a few ribs (Moderate wound)

I think it's worth noting that shotgun shot rounds are easily stopped by most modern soft body armor, and I would give them the benefit of the doubt even against some slugs. If hit with shot in an armored vest with a soft trauma plate, it's very unlikely to you'd get injured at all. If it's a slug, it's about 50-50 whether it feels like someone poked you hard with a stick or you get a hole in your abdomen.

Shot will not shred any body armor, unless it's an ultra-light (NIJ level I) vest in crappy condition. Steel or tungsten buckshot at very close ranges might get through some light vests.

I agree that description of a wound should only really happen once you know what's happened. I was mainly discussing this sort of scenario: Average Joe with no armor is hit with a gun 3" right (from his PoV) of his belly button straight from the front at 5 meters and does not manage to soak the damage at all. With what kind of firearm and ammunition will the resulting wound be Light, when Medium, when Serious, and when (if ever) Deadly?
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Kagetenshi
post Oct 4 2004, 02:29 PM
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QUOTE (hyzmarca)
In reality, a 0O tap to the chest can kill if the timing is right and a 2L stun hit to the head can cause a fatal brain embolism that lies dormat for months. In reality, there are counless possible complications to any wound, most of which occur during healing. Unfortunatly, SR doesn't have any good mechanics for dealing with these things.

Wound effects.

~J
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GrinderTheTroll
post Oct 4 2004, 05:28 PM
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Here how I look at it:

10 Light wounds = Death

3 Moderate wounds = Death

2 Serious wounds = Death

1 Deadly wound = Death

So keep all that in mind:

For a series of Light Wounds to lead to my death, I'd guess a mild-concussions, bruising, deep cut, sprains, etc., things that could heal in 24 hours.

For Moderate wounds, dislocated things, internal bruising, major-concussions, gashes requiring stiches, etc., things that could heal in about 10 days.

For Severe wounds, broken bones, gaping wounds, organ damage (punctured lungs, spleens, bowels, etc), things that might take 20 days to heal. I relate Serious Wounds to what happens when you get sliced open for minor surgery.

For Deadly wounds, well, this one is rather explainitory.
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Jason Farlander
post Oct 4 2004, 05:46 PM
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QUOTE (GrinderTheTroll)
3 Moderate wounds = Death

[nitpick] actually, its 4 Moderate wounds = death. 3 Moderate wounds = 9 boxes. [/nitpick]
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Austere Emancipa...
post Oct 4 2004, 05:50 PM
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[Jason Farlander got there first.] And you aren't going to die if someone dislocates all your limbs at the shoulders & hip. Internal bruising has to be pretty severe to kill you -- unless you're talking about "bruising" the CNS, you're going to be beating someone with a baseball bat for a really long time before he dies.

They might work as examples of Moderate Stun wounds, though. Maybe that's how you intended them.

A Serious Physical wound would result from being implanted with a Wired Reflexes-1, rating 4 Muscle Toner or Muscle Augmentation, rating 9 Damage Compensators or similar things. That's far from minor surgery. A rating 1 Synaptic Accelerator requires a Moderate wound to implant, same for Muscle Augmentation and Toner at rating 1. You can implant small brainware, commware, senseware and most cosmetic bioware with nothing but 1 box of Physical.
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GrinderTheTroll
post Oct 4 2004, 06:36 PM
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Don't get to crazy and specific now, this is Shadowrun, remember? ;)

Just my take on it, I rarely describe damage in these terms unless it's after combat. Soon as you say, "Your leg is broken" everyone expects a movement penalty (good-guys or bad-guys).

I only annouce it if the runners ask or to add some spice to a dramatic wound.
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Arethusa
post Oct 4 2004, 06:41 PM
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QUOTE (Kagetenshi)
QUOTE (hyzmarca @ Oct 4 2004, 06:42 AM)
In reality, a 0O tap to the chest can kill if the timing is right and a 2L stun hit to the head can cause a fatal brain embolism that lies dormat for months. In reality, there are counless possible complications to any wound, most of which occur during healing. Unfortunatly, SR doesn't have any good mechanics for dealing with these things.

Wound effects.

~J

I'm going to have to disagree there. Screw wound effects; that's what the GM is for. God forbid I play in a pen and paper system that includes rolls for embolisms and deep vein thrombosis. I think most people who know me know my feelings on realism, but there is undoubtedly a point where it's absurdly counterintuitive to take more control away from the GM and attach what amounts to a joyless, obsessive mechanical ball and chain.

As for my feelings on wound effects, I tend to agree with Austere, though my view of the wound ratings is a fair bit more forgiving. Then again, I've created new mechanics for staying alive at Deadly and taking longer to bleed out, among others, so my approach is, at least in some respects, less lethal.
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SaddMann
post Oct 6 2004, 12:15 AM
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QUOTE (GrinderTheTroll)


Just my take on it, I rarely describe damage in these terms unless it's after combat. Soon as you say, "Your leg is broken" everyone expects a movement penalty (good-guys or bad-guys).


Just curious. Does anyone else impose movement penalties from wound effects?

I reduce a persons movement by 1 less than the init peanlty. IOW, a human with a quickness of 3 and a moderate wound walks 2 and can run 8. Not much, but enough in some cases.
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GrinderTheTroll
post Oct 6 2004, 04:45 PM
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QUOTE (SaddMann)
QUOTE (GrinderTheTroll @ Oct 4 2004, 06:36 PM)


Just my take on it, I rarely describe damage in these terms unless it's after combat.  Soon as you say, "Your leg is broken" everyone expects a movement penalty (good-guys or bad-guys).


Just curious. Does anyone else impose movement penalties from wound effects?

I reduce a persons movement by 1 less than the init peanlty. IOW, a human with a quickness of 3 and a moderate wound walks 2 and can run 8. Not much, but enough in some cases.

NO. That's why I try and avoid giving detailed descriptions of wounds beyond, "Your hail of bullets stitch him like a scarlet side of beef."
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Austere Emancipa...
post Oct 6 2004, 04:57 PM
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ASCWINWOTYTSD. This doesn't have to be in your leg to slow you down. When badly enough hurt you will become weaker and things like moving will become more difficult, even if your legs are (superficially) OK.

Less signficant wounds might not have this kind of effect, because the impact of blood pressure loss and other factors is lessened by the human body's defense mechanisms, such as pumping out a lot more adrenaline. You get dizzy and fine manipulation gets more difficult, but you may still be able to run as fast or lift as much weight. But at some point, such as when there's a 4" across hole in your torso, your body just can't cope anymore.

SaddMann's house rule works well, because it doesn't really reduce the maximum speed of a fit human being too much. Even at Serious + 3, right before losing consciousness, a QUI 4 character can still run at 10 meters per CT, 83% of his maximum speed. The fact that he can't "walk" very fast might only describe the fact that moving takes a lot of deliberate action on his part, and thus he has to suck up the additional penalties that normally accompany running even when he's moving relatively slow.

Whether such a rule is necessary is another thing completely. I haven't used such a rule so far, but I might.
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