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hydrargium

Fist fight to the De.. err... moderately severe trauma?

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I've seen this scenario referenced in a few threads so far but have yet to see it called out and addressed directly so here I go.

 

I'm looking for opinions on how a fist fight would progress between two characters according to the EotW mechanics. Now, I am a long time role player (started with AD&D) and do understand this is easily remedied by a house rule and/or GM call. However! This scenario came up during my very first run through the game and I was surprised the rules didn't detail this so I assume I must be missing something.

 

Alice and Bob are two characters (PC or NPC is irrelevant) and an argument has escalated between them to threats of physical violence. Alice is a trained martial artist (positive physical feature) and has a dexterity of 4. Bob is a long distance runner (positive physical feature) with a dexterity of 3. Neither has any weapons or existing stress. They are in a (relatively) safe place, we can pretend it is a well-lit padded room or empty deserted street or something of the sort to remove any threat of environmental danger.

 

The argument erupts into combat as talks fail and the two characters begin to attack one another.

 

The first round Alice throws 2 positive dice (one for her attack and one for the Martial Artist feature), resulting in a 2 and 5, and no negative dice. Bob suffers 1 physical stress from the damage.

 

On Bob's turn he throws only one positive dice for his attack, getting a 3, and no negative dice. Alice suffers 1 physical stress from the damage. 

 

With no one else around to stop it, the fight continues and my problem arises. After a few rounds like described above, both Alice and Bob have suffered 3 stress physical stress each and have the first tier of their stress box filled, granting them both a physical resistance of 1. Now, unless Bob goes all out and "pushes himself" (p.19), he is incapable of causing any additional stress to Alice because he only gets one positive die for his unarmed attack. Yes?

 

Let's say Bob is truly seeing red and uses this optional rule for multiple turns, or Alice continues fighting with her 2 positive dice and they fill the second stress box tier. Now even with the risk of Bob optionally pushing himself, he is completely incapable of causing any additional harm. Likewise, even with a relevant positive physical feature, Alice is now in the same situation Bob was one tier ago. 

 

...how do you guys read and interpret this scenario?

 

Again, just to be clear, I understand that as a GM I can rule around this many, many different ways. However, I don't want to assign additional dice for the stress itself (isn't part of what traumas are for?) or for some kind of growing fatigue as an afterthought. I know the game is rules-light and not intended for detailed/technical combat. But this seems like a pretty big conceptual flaw with the system and I really want to know how it was intended to work out of the book.

 

So, using the RAW, it is impossible for one human to inflict a severe injury upon another without a weapon or outside factors? 

 

I am looking forward to the community wisdom on this, thanks in advance! :-)

 

 

 

TL;DR - How do you guys treat resistance from the stress tiers outpacing a PC's damage potential without outside factors like weapons?

 

Thanks!

Edited by hydrargium

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Hmm, that's a good question; I think the system is definitely broken in this example. I'm not really a huge fan of the resistance rules to begin with, and I usually allow it if it seems to make sense but ignore it if it doesn't. Honestly, in the scenario you've presented, it just doesn't make sense. I think I'd ignore the resistance rule in this case. if the players are going to insist on fist fighting to the death, and they're at full health, it's just not realistic to assume that they're going to develop resistance over the course of a relatively short fight.

Edited by funfungiguy

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Personally if two people are going to persist in beating each other to a pulp I would probably have them acquire traumas and/or situational hindrances that would build up until they drop. I mean if they're going to keep fighting after a couple tiers of stress they deserve whatever they get. I don't see it as a flaw but more something left to each group to decide for themselves. For the most part it will be the players vs the world. And for the most part all things will not be equal. But that is the point.

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In this situation you're not just getting physical stress, you're getting social stress as well from the fact that you're fighting a group member. That stress just keeps on increasing, as a GM, I'd add extra social stress dice.

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Add brass knuckles or boxing gloves to up the damage?


 


In longer fist fights that beyond one punch in the throat, one body on the floor, exhaustion and pain endurance (your unprotected knuckles start to swell from the damage. 


 


Thinking it over, this is one mostly RAW way to do it. The MA fighter has sparred and maybe even competed in fights, so he's going to get resistance because he's probably going to walk into the fight with a plan or the confidence he need to take on the untrained  dude. The untrained brawler is still running on anger, adrenaline and no real plan. The MA guy gets resistance and basically wears the other fellow down.


 


When two MA fighters of the same level meet, resistance is "off" again because their still learning and nervous about what the other person can do.  It's not an air tight solution, but it does cover one corner case. 


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I would probably add more negative dice as time went on, representing that they're becoming more tired and weary and bruised, and are more and more likely to cause injury to themselves as they force their battered bodies to work. Eventually one or both will drop from exhaustion, pulled muscles, sprains, bruised ribs, concussion, etc.

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Using just RAW, I'd say that after so many rounds, the Long Distance Runner feature might add a positive die. I haven't been in any real fights that lasted particularly long, mind you, but I've been a martial artist for years, and any sparring match that lasts more than, say, 45 seconds you need good cardio or you're basically done. Any long distance runner is good at keeping their body working after that kind of exhaustion and should get some benefit. Or, at least, it should remove one of the negative die you'd give out for fatigue.

 

Any other solution I can think of would just be some kind of house rule or edit to the system. I agree removing physical resistance might work in this case; after the fight were over I could see it applying to a different situation (like falling or tripping while sprinting - after a certain point, all the pain just merges into one terrible feeling), but while fresh blows are falling and your body hasn't really had time to settle into a state that justifies the stress = resistance rule. All of my personal experiences with fighting seem to agree. During a match each blow hurts even if I'm having a bad day and have been hit lots already, but walking to the convenience store to get something to drink after, I'm just too exhausted to care if I stub my toe or something. The drive home is probably the equivalent of converting it all to trauma.

 

I'm also of the opinion that, depending on the level of training, martial artist as a positive feature ought to award two positive dice, but then again I'm biased. =P

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In a situation like this, why not just resolve the issue with an opposed test?

 

What's more important:  how much trauma they take or the fall-out/result of what happens after someone wins the fight?  Just decide what the outcome will be for the winner/loser and roll the dice once.  A long, drawn out fight seems like lots of pointless dice rolling when you could move the game forward quicker.  This way a fight could end in a draw, which would would also have interesting role playing possibilities.

 

Alternately, just finish the fight when someone reaches their second row of stress boxes.  Are they fighting to the death or just trying to knock the other person out?  Chances are the loser will go unconscious or get their bell rung hard enough to quit long before they take enough stress to die, so no need to use all 9 boxes.

Edited by Lecram

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I would think that maybe running an alternate check in either mental or social as a means of making one (or both) of the combatants realize that they are hurting their overall chances of survival by, well, hurting each other.  Either that or make sure that there is an NPC or two around that you can interject into any such conflict to keep players from killing each other... before you can have the zombies do so.

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