Multiplying damage

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jojodogboy
Patreon Supporter
Joined: 2017-09-04 12:05
Multiplying damage

 

What is everyone's experience with multiplying damage bonuses on backstabs?  I know it only happens a few times,  but since my assassin got acrobatics it started having a large effect on combat (he rolls well).  Assassins can get to +5 to +7 damage range pretty quickly.  I didn't like the fact that damage was a minimum of 24 hp for a backstab.

I feel that backstabs should be more swingy.  I have no problem with the possibility of ridiculously high amounts of damage if a backstab is lucky, but I don't want a backstab to reliably kill a 5 had creature.  If I don't multiply the damage bonus, the top of the range never seems like enough, even with exploding dice (if you roll a 6 on a die 6 roll again).

Any thoughts on this?

GMJoe
Barbarian Conquerors of Kanahu BackerACKS Heroic Fantasy Handbook Backer
Joined: 2013-01-04 12:56

It sounds like you're multiplying the strength bonus and class damage bonus. YOu're not supposed to do so. Alex has said that only the number on the die is to be multiplied. Thiis results in the kind of swingy result you've asked for.

jojodogboy
Patreon Supporter
Joined: 2017-09-04 12:05

I've tried that too and I feel it's not enough.  For my 2 assassins it's a range of 10 to 25 hp.  Not shabby, but not the 'oh sh!&' effect I'm looking for. 

In the ACKs 2e doc, they include the damage bonus in the multiplier. 

There may not be a middle ground. Maybe I'll try to say that you multiply the damage bonus by the damage die roll to a maximum of your multiplier.  That would give me a range of 15 to 75 hp damage for a lvl 13 assassin assuming a + 10 damage bonus and x5 backstab. (max is actually a 5 on the d6 which allows x5 mult. On the bonus)

This would actually result in assassins/ thieves using d4 or d6 weapons as they have a higher chance of increasing the damage bonus mult.  I'll try that out on the 13 th when we play next.

Aryxymaraki
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Patreon SupporterDomains At War BackerSinister Stone of Sakkara BackerLairs And Encounters BackerBarbarian Conquerors of Kanahu ContributorACKS Heroic Fantasy Handbook Contributor
Joined: 2014-01-04 02:20

I've tried that too and I feel it's not enough.  For my 2 assassins it's a range of 10 to 25 hp.  Not shabby, but not the 'oh sh!&' effect I'm looking for. 

In the ACKs 2e doc, they include the damage bonus in the multiplier. 

There may not be a middle ground. Maybe I'll try to say that you multiply the damage bonus by the damage die roll to a maximum of your multiplier.  That would give me a range of 15 to 75 hp damage for a lvl 13 assassin assuming a + 10 damage bonus and x5 backstab. (max is actually a 5 on the d6 which allows x5 mult. On the bonus)

This would actually result in assassins/ thieves using d4 or d6 weapons as they have a higher chance of increasing the damage bonus mult.  I'll try that out on the 13 th when we play next.


-jojodogboy

I have two problems with that, personally.

First, the upper bound on the damage is enormous, far more than I would consider right.  75 damage is enough to one-shot a 16 HD creature with average HP, and the character had a 33% chance of doing that much damage with a d6 weapon.

Secondly, there's no reason for them to use a smaller damage die there.  Rolling a bigger number is still better, and so you would still want the die with the highest average roll, which is to say, the biggest die you can get your hands on. Unless rolling above your multipliper penalizes you in some way, which seems....like a bad incentive to me.

Have you considered including class damage bonus, but not any other damage bonuses, in the multiplier?  This would allow assassins to have deadlier backstabs than thieves without bringing the maximum damage up to 'one-shotting dragons' levels.  (Although that said, assassins already have deadlier backstabs than thieves, thanks to their ability to use any weapon.)

jojodogboy
Patreon Supporter
Joined: 2017-09-04 12:05

 

 

Thanks for the input.  I don't want assassins to outshine thieves necessarily.  It just seems that with their damage bonuses that there isn't enough of a difference between a back stab and a regular attack.  Maybe that is o.k. and I can live with it.

maybe exploding dice and the multiplier are enough.  Using the example above, a 13th lvl assassin would have a 16% chance of rolling more than 40 hp and a 2.7% chance of rolling more than 70 hp.  Of course at that level he/she would be the greatest assassin in the world.  For a 6th lvl assassin w/+ 8 damage they would have  16% chance of over 26 and a 2.7% chance of over 44. With a minimum of 11 (which is the average damage of an attack) that's a pretty swingy range.

In my game it takes some work (or good rolls) to get a back attack.  I also house rule that a failed acrobatics roll results in you being prone, so it's risky.

 

Alex
The Autarch
Joined: 2011-06-30 18:10

Doubling the damage dice AND damage bonus has had an interesting effect on gameplay in my LOTR ACKS setting. I haven't decided yet if it's good or bad overall. At present I think either rule can work, but they do play differently.

Saturno
Joined: 2018-07-29 15:08
In my game we multiply everything, so there is a real possibility that any human or non-human can be killed by a particularly precise backstab, even kings. With monsters I had no problem until now, but one possibility would be to increase the creature's hit points depending on the circunstances.
Alex
The Autarch
Joined: 2011-06-30 18:10

Yeah, Saturno, I've found I have to "bump" the hp of important monsters to deal with some of the very high burst damage.

Saturno
Joined: 2018-07-29 15:08
But I really had no such problems until now. I think the low-HP sets a theme that anyone anywhere can be killed by a lucky strike. In my campaign one of the main antagonists is a cleric (a 9th level Patriarch) with only 25 HP. Even at level 1 the players could dispatch him with relative ease. I like this. It levels the ground. I believe the idea of "easy to kill, easy to be killed" is an incentive for creativity, strategy and diplomacy.
Loswaith
Joined: 2017-05-12 02:19

Personally we have gone with an extra d6s for each backstab multiplier past the first (as thats the typical 1 handed damage die).  We didnt like the idea that using a dagger was a poor choice while using the biggest weapon you could get your hands on was an optimal choice especially when it came to assassins.  IT seemed counter to the "prefers fast, concealable weapons"

Alex
The Autarch
Joined: 2011-06-30 18:10

That's a really cool rule Loswaith, I like it.

Loswaith
Joined: 2017-05-12 02:19

Just borrowed from the more recent versions of D&D. So I cant really take credit for it :)