To soak or not to soak

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naloth
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To soak or not to soak

Post by naloth »

I'm considering a variant where Brawn doesn't add (or give any) to Soak. Instead Soak is only from the Armor, Equipment, or abilities that give a Brawn bonus (Growth, Density Increase, Heightened Brawn).

Armor moves from being 1-3 to a 1-8 ability.

This allows for a Batman or Spidey that doesn't bounce bullets without armor, and means that a hit will damage you if you aren't protected rather than being more like a second chance to avoid being hit.
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Re: To soak or not to soak

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This is pretty much how it does work in BASH! Fantasy and BASH! Sci-Fi Editions. In those, armor gives a flat +10/20/30 Soak, with a few abilities being able to increase that by +5.

One thing regarding RAW, you have a point that a character with a Brawn of 3 may seem to not be hurt by a gunshot that does x2 damage. But in an instance where the hero soaks all of the damage, this is not meant to indicate that they ignored the hit; it just was not a serious injury (it might be a graze). It is also possible they will still be hurt (the gun rolls an 11 x2 = 22 and the soaker rolls 3x3 = 9; taking 13 damage).

If you do decouple Soak from Brawn, be aware that it will make brick type characters much more expensive. So a guy with Brawn 5 and Armor 3 used to have x8 soak for a total of 13 CP. But now having Brawn 5, Armor 8 would raise that price to 18 CP.

Another way to go might be to have Armor rated from 1-4 points but each CP gives +2 Soak multiplier. So if we have a brick with Brawn 5, Armor 4 for x8 Soak, he has to pay 14 CP instead of 13. What do you think of that one? The downside is you never have an odd-numbered soak multiplier, but the upside is the point cost is less inflated.
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Re: To soak or not to soak

Post by naloth »

I haven't tried Fantasy or Sci-Fi, so I wasn't aware of that. It's good to know.

I've treated it more like an abstraction (like DnD HP). It just leads to an odd feel that more than one player has mentioned. It's much easier to envision a graze as a low damage roll than when you roll to see how you absorb the damage.

That's a valid point about PV. While x2/point of Armor fits pretty nicely to keep costs similar, your mention of Fantasy/Sci-Fi gave me a different thought.

Perhaps Amor works better as a static bonus like you do with the fantasy/sci-fi versions? It sounds that +10 soak per level of Armor give you slightly less but more reliable protection. Armor 5 = 50 soak is slightly worse than Brawn 5, Armor 3, avg roll 7 = 56 for the same cost, but doesn't suffer the highs/lows of rolling for soak. Armor 10 (if allowed) gives an impressive Soak 100 that fits Superman since he can pretty reliably ignore ship cannons (x10 + 20 or avg 90 dmg). It's also really easy to subtract multiples of 10. You give up rolling , so you can't break into doubles but I don't think it would be missed.
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Re: To soak or not to soak

Post by naloth »

naloth wrote: Tue Feb 14, 2023 6:08 pm Brawn 5 Armor 5 = 50 soak is slightly worse than Brawn 5, Armor 3, avg roll 7 = 56


for 2 points more* but it is much more reliable and would be faster for game play. I could see scaling the ability above 5 like I mentioned above, since attacks can go as up to x10 with bonuses on top even without exploding dice.
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Re: To soak or not to soak

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A short session with new characters yesterday to try out the change above (Armor = 10/lvl, revised equipment similarly) worked pretty well. Guns were suitably dangerous to unarmored heroes and civilians but not to tanky characters which could still absorb quite a bit of punishment. Rolling for soak wasn't really missed, and that sped up the combats quite a bit too. Less rolling, easier math. Exploding dice weren't really missed, but spending hero points to avoid a lucky high damage shot was missed. To that end we also added:

Flesh Wounds: You may spend hero points to reduce the amount of damage taken from an attack. Each hero point spent this way reduces the damage by 5*.

*5 seems fair. It helps ward of a big attack and if you're taking lots of small damage you can instead use 5 to buy a Hero Die that gets you 20 hits back.
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Re: To soak or not to soak

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naloth wrote: Thu Feb 16, 2023 11:06 am A short session with new characters yesterday to try out the change above (Armor = 10/lvl, revised equipment similarly) worked pretty well. Guns were suitably dangerous to unarmored heroes and civilians but not to tanky characters which could still absorb quite a bit of punishment. Rolling for soak wasn't really missed, and that sped up the combats quite a bit too. Less rolling, easier math. Exploding dice weren't really missed, but spending hero points to avoid a lucky high damage shot was missed. To that end we also added:

Flesh Wounds: You may spend hero points to reduce the amount of damage taken from an attack. Each hero point spent this way reduces the damage by 5*.

*5 seems fair. It helps ward of a big attack and if you're taking lots of small damage you can instead use 5 to buy a Hero Die that gets you 20 hits back.
That does seem like a nice option. Did you cap the ranks of Armor at 3 like normal, or allow it to go above 3?
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Re: To soak or not to soak

Post by BASHMAN »

There is one potential downside of allowing flat soak above 30 and that increases the odds of a character being un-hurtable in certain situations. RAW allows for a low Soak Roll at the same time as a good damage roll to make a dramatic and sudden shift in the combat (especially if this is the moment players choose to drop a Hero Die or use Attack Weak Point).

But the speed of play seems like a good trade off. This is also essentially similar to the "Iron Age" rules for soak, but there it was a flat 5 per point of Brawn and Soak as the default. So a guy with Brawn 2 Armor 2 would have a 20 Soak, and a guy with Brawn 1 would have a 5.
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Re: To soak or not to soak

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I've had a 5, and that did make the character extremely durable compared to the other characters some of which were 0 (relying on Deflect/Agility) or 20 (basically modern body armor). Of course, he still took a bit more damage than his prior character with Brawn 5 + Armor 3 for a x8 multiplier. My gut feel is that 5 isn't a bad cap for normal games. A cosmic variant might work get it higher for cosmic type games? (I also haven't allowed it to stack, so if you have multiple sources, you use the highest.)

My generally feel for players is that they need at least a x3 damage and either an area or x3 to hit to feel competitive. In a 30 pt game, we've seen mostly x4 or better for a primary attack, and it's not that unusually to see a x6 or more, though it's usually at the expense of being accurate.

The biggest balance issues so far have been:
1) Hyperspeed - most of the effects are better than you can buy with other powers for a similar cost. Take the +5 damage bonus/level - that's what Growing gets without the drawbacks - and it's only one of many options. I'm pondering doubling the cost for this power (effectively twice as many levels to get activate each option) or just going back to Superspeed.

2) Attack Weak Point. I like the idea, but we had someone dump everything in to accuracy (Agility 5, +5 Special Ranged), and it was brutal. Currently, I'm keeping this from stacking with powers.
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Re: To soak or not to soak

Post by naloth »

BASHMAN wrote: Sun Mar 05, 2023 4:16 pm But the speed of play seems like a good trade off. This is also essentially similar to the "Iron Age" rules for soak, but there it was a flat 5 per point of Brawn and Soak as the default. So a guy with Brawn 2 Armor 2 would have a 20 Soak, and a guy with Brawn 1 would have a 5.
Is this in the Bash Ultimate Edition rulebook? I looked through the settings chapter, but I couldn't find this. EDIT: I've started posting the PCs, but most wouldn't change appreciably using Brawn = 5pts / Armor = 5 pts. x8 = 40, and that's a good cap. On one hand, I really like giving more to Brawn. On the other, capping Armor at 3 really reduces the types of characters you can play since you can't get a high soak without also investing in Brawn. Perhaps a total multiplier for a game might work better than an armor level cap (i.e. cannot exceed 40 total soak regardless of the source).

So far, it's been a good speed an play trade off. Most players have been buying a protective costume of some sort (Armor 1 or limited Armor 2) that they can wear when expecting trouble but need to careful if surprised. Instant change went from being obscure to desired (about 1/3 of the characters have taken it).

Of course, characters that aren't using Brawn as a damage base really haven't had that much use for it under this system, so we've had a quite a few Brawn 1's. (Those that use Brawn for damage find the +5/lvl for weapons up to x3, throwing, and ability to use improvising weapons still sing its virtues.) That's not necessary a bad thing, but it has made me wonder the carrying/lifting aspect of Brawn should be emphasized more to give lower levels of Brawn more use. Perhaps there's another way to give something back besides Soak like encumbrance rules?
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Re: To soak or not to soak

Post by BASHMAN »

I personally wouldn't fool with doing Encumbrance myself.

As for where it is in the rulebook, it was in the Pulp section (not Iron-Age, my mistake); page 77.
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Re: To soak or not to soak

Post by naloth »

Thanks, I found it.

We've used it for 3 sessions and it's been well received. No one misses rolling for soak and 5 soak/lvl makes Brawn a good deal even if you're not relying on it for primary damage. The only tweak on that has been capping total soak at 40 regardless of where you get it (Armor, Brawn, Density, Growth, etc) at the "street level" where we're playing.
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Re: To soak or not to soak

Post by BASHMAN »

naloth wrote: Thu Mar 16, 2023 10:02 pm Thanks, I found it.

We've used it for 3 sessions and it's been well received. No one misses rolling for soak and 5 soak/lvl makes Brawn a good deal even if you're not relying on it for primary damage. The only tweak on that has been capping total soak at 40 regardless of where you get it (Armor, Brawn, Density, Growth, etc) at the "street level" where we're playing.
That seems like a good house rule. Sounds like it is going well!
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