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 Falling objects as weapons

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PostSubject: Falling objects as weapons   Thu Aug 25, 2011 5:08 pm

As dropping rocks from on high was mentioned as a possible
strategy lets start the conversation before we end up at the table.

I donít know what the 2nd edition says about
dropping rocks but it would appear by the 3.5 rules we could conceivably pour bags
of bricks on the heads of our enemy doing considerable damage with a hit. Now I would accept that hitting a single body with
a single brick from 100 ft would be moderately hard and that difficulty would
be compounded by movement by either the attacker or target. Letís say Base Thaco , no mod for strength

-2 if one of you is moving -4 if both -6 if the target is
dodging (and ignoring the knife man sneaking up on him)

However unless dodging or actively protecting with a shield this
type of attack should nullify all soft armour types and perhaps reduce plates
protection somewhat

If this is an attack on a mass of people there has to an
adjustment for the fish in a barrel factor, Just as there would need to be an accommodation
for the number of rocks dropping. This
could be handled by removing or lessening the movement penalties and or giving
a density bonus to hit when attacking a large group. This would not adequately
deal with the number of targets in the area and the spread of Many rocks.

The other option would be similar to the caltrop rule that
in an attack that adequately saturates an area everyone in that area has to
save vs ______ to dodge, failure means you got hit,, over saturation of the area could either
modify the save or cause multiple saves resulting in several hits. Under saturation improves the save.

First you roll an attack to aim the drop using the scatter rules.
(Against a large mass of troops hitting an occupied area would be damn near
automatic but it will not necessarily hit the actual people you targeted.)

Everyone in the area saves vs _________ and you calc damage
as per the falling object rule.

When using Caltrops, 10/25sq ft is considered normal density
of placement, With a body being much bigger
than a foot, and a rock being somewhat bigger than caltrop it should take no
more than 20-25 softball sized rocks to pummel a 10x10 sq. Such a load would be considered 40lb(no one
should be allowed to game the rules and find unlimited 1 pound rocks. In our
case Ĺ broken bricks would weigh in at nearly 2 lbs each.

In order to limit the instant kill factor of long falls vs
large monsters Iíd propose scatter doubles every 100 ft of elevation

And that huge and bigger creatures can shrug off rocks of
the 1-5 pound category

Longer falls would also cause the stones to spread outside a
defined 10x10 area increasing the saving rolls of to avoid being hit.

What does we think?????

falling objects

Just as characters take damage when
they fall more than 10 feet, so too do they take damage when they are hit by
falling objects. Objects that fall upon characters deal damage based on their
weight and the distance they have fallen.

For each 200 pounds of an object's
weight, the object deals 1d6 points of damage, provided it falls at least 10
feet. Distance also comes into play, adding an additional 1d6 points of damage
for every 10-foot increment it falls beyond the first (to a maximum of 20d6
points of damage).

Objects smaller than 200 pounds also
deal damage when dropped, but they must fall farther to deal the same damage.
Use Table 8-4: Damage from Falling Objects to see how far an object of a given
weight must drop to deal 1d6 points of damage.

Example: A magic flying ship tilts to
one side and drops a 400-pound stone statue (a petrified comrade) overboard.
The statue deals 2d6 points of damage to anything it strikes by virtue of its
weight alone. If the ship were 100 feet in the air at the time, the falling
statue would deal an additional 9d6 points of damage, for a total of 11d6.

For each additional increment an
object falls, it deals an additional 1d6 points of damage. For example, since a
30-pound metal sphere must fall 50 feet to deal damage (1d6 points of damage),
such a sphere that fell 150 feet would deal 3d6 points of damage. Objects
weighing less than 1 pound do not deal damage to those they land upon, no
matter how far they have fallen.

Table 8-4: Damage from Falling



200-101 lb.

20 ft.

100-51 lb.

30 ft.

50-31 lb.

40 ft.

30-11 lb.

50 ft.

10-6 lb.

60 ft.

5-1 lb.

70 ft.

3.5 DGM
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PostSubject: Re: Falling objects as weapons   Thu Aug 25, 2011 10:01 pm

101 to 200 pounds falling 20 feet will only do 1d6 damage??? WTF?? Methinks not. If I fell on you from 20 feet - you are not walking away (neither am I).

I think a linear damage model is over simplified as it ignores the acceleration of objects in free fall. A straight exponential model would ignore the impact of air resistance and terminal velocity but would be more correct than a linear model especially in distances that are under 50 feet.

Items under a pound not doing damage is a convenience thing. An 8 ounce item (say a stone) would have a terminal velocity of about 75 m/s which would be around 156 mph. 8 ounces hitting you at that speed would not only hurt, it very well could be lethal. A 2 ounce rock hitting the windshield of a car doing 60 mph typically cracks safety glass. A falling 8 ounce stone would be faster and of greater weight - more energy.

I don't like the model. Damage should be much greater than it is indicating. I think hitting would be a bit harder than indicated unless you can hover (or fly straight up/down). Estimating forward momentum for the release would take practice to hit a target. I think we should consider it an area of effect weapon and try to release items only when flying straight up or down. We could also think of it using the weapon proficiency tables. None of us are trained in performing bombing runs. When dealing with area of effect stuff it could be easier to hit a target.

Maybe it should be a dexterity roll for the target (assuming they can move) to avoid or take 1/2 damage.
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PostSubject: Re: Falling objects as weapons   Thu Aug 25, 2011 11:23 pm

The damage levels are purposly low to defeat game killing ideas like 5 guys with 40 pound rocks killing a red dragon in 1 round. In reality it should work but in gameplay it would make the abilty to fly and drop things the most valuable power we have. I don't think that's the game we want to play,.

That's also why 1 big rock would have a much lower chance of hitting someone than my proposed scatter shot rules,, to further complicate things perhaps the lager the rock the larger the - to hit.. the larger rock being harder to hold and might not release as cleanly.

The proposed scatter shot proposal that fills a 10x10 square, potentially damaging everyone in it and being subject to scatter rules fits in with the rules for holy water, burning oil and catapults shoot buckets of grapeshot.

Don't forget 6 hp will kill most normal people,,(non classed peasants) We just have the skill and where withall to roll with the punch,, we are not physically toughter.

I agree its probably to low in some instance , example a 20 lb rock would do no damage dropped off our walls onto the enemy but if thrown it suddenly would hurt...

I did some research and the force to fracture a skull ranged from 17 to 200 psi depending on source,, a .5 kg rock from 100 ft exerts a sizable 361 pound of force but the force at 20 ft was not so significant that you could not count on death from anything but a perfect bulls eye to the noggin

The 100 lb rock could even hit you at certain angles where it pushes you rather than crushes you, yes you'd be damaged but not dead. The mechanics of the game don't allow the range of damage real life does. IN real life babies get picked up dropped by tornados and some don't die suprisingly,, in the game none would survive.

I'm just looking for a compromise that allows a resonably expected type of attack to be usefull without being a game killer. Don't forget , what comes around goes around,, At this point Rild will never live in a cave under sea level.
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PostSubject: Re: Falling objects as weapons   Sat Aug 27, 2011 9:41 am

I see your point...

In doing a bit more research it would seem that an object would need to fall 44 meters to attain a speed of around 100 km/h on impact. I'm not sure how accurate we could be from that height. Given how high we would have to get to attain some real velocity, I think the weight of the objects is a more important factor if we want to maintain a chance of hitting something. I'm not saying we need to drop 100 pound rocks but as you've indicated, I don't think 2 pounders will cut it unless we are so high up that the chance of hitting becomes really low.

Assuming we are dropping stuff from 20 meters in height. This represents a good compromise of accuracy and damage potential - after that the extra height required is affected by the exponential nature of acceleration (ie you have to go more than twice as high to get a 50% increase in final speed). Rocks dropped from 20M would hit at a speed of about 70kph. Given the PSI calcs below the one pounders will be doing low damage (say 1-3). However, if we make those rocks 5-10 pounders we are increasing the energy release/psi by 5 to 10 times (say 1-20 for simplicity). One pound rocks will be irritating. 5 pounders have the potential to be lethal. We can still do the scatter damage effect with 5 pound rocks.

Take this to a 5 meter high castle wall and I don't think we will be doing any damage with anything but the largest rocks. If your target is 2 to 3 meters tall the rocks will only fall 2-3 metres before they hit. The final speed will be under 20 kph.

Here's a handy table
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PostSubject: Re: Falling objects as weapons   Sat Aug 27, 2011 11:03 am

here's a good little program for calcing impact in jouels


use the first half of the equation machine to J

and then you use this one to convert to psi


and you get a 1kg item from 23m (7Oish ft) it hits with 225 psi /450 psi for a 5lb rock

by these rules this would be 1d6 at 70-139 ft , 2d6 at 140-219 , 3d6 210- etc

I think damage does kick in at too high a drop, 225 psi is in the high range to brake any bone or crush any skull. Especially because the high end of that range a 5 lb rock would be 450 psi

Too bad we don't have access to a fire tower so we could collect rocks and investigate spread patterns.

Hitting a single person would not be very easy so the saturation shot is the only reasonable way of dealing with it. Against a mass group that dilema is irrelvant, you use the scatter rules, aim for the middle and if you don't this group of orcs you hit one of the adjacent groups.

I don't expect this to be a strategy we use against lone citters, other adventures, etc. but if we did it would be a mass of smaller items that would only hit once or twice with small damage rather than the dinosaur killer, that works for game balance. Or we'd be dropping trolls, fire, etc where velocity was not an issue.

I agree with your assessment on the walls, apparently that's why people didn't just drop rocks but threw them down to make up for the lost acceleration. Its also 1 attack per round rather than dropping 20 stones for a mass attack.

but on the walls the carring capacity of a fly spell is irrelevant, you can have tons of rocks waiting in piles, bigger rocks would be the norm

with 30 ft walls and a ditch around it, the average fall would be 30 ft requring 50lb rocks,, another variant is logs- 200 pound logs rolled off the edge would do 1d6 per 10 feet, and likely hit more than one attacker. cover them in oil and toss them for extra damage and to make that section of wall hard to access for the remainder of the fire.

dropping or swinging logs from the trees make good booby traps,,MMMMM boobies. As do trip wire xbows and we have several hundred orc suplus bows around for such things.
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