Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Impact Damage

My recent thoughts on the matter of hand to hand combat and it's importance in full plate encounters has taken me to rethink the importance of hand to hand combat itself and in so doing reconsider the modelling of armour and damage itself.
Having a strong requirement for a rules light system I have between one and two pages to explain hand to hand combat and one quarter of a page to put relevant information on the GM's screen. I can not extend it to a full chapter of hand to hand rules and tables upon tables of modifiers.

With this in mind I'm lead to think that hand to hand combat should be an extension of the armed combat, or for that matter armed combat should be an extension of hand to hand. This makes me rethink the concept of damage, which so far I've considered as piercing, slashing or bludgeoning against the armour or protection. I'm thinking about these abstract points called hit points which are a representation of damage through the armour and into the body. But I'm not thinking energy transfer through the armour or more importantly momentum.

Take a moment to view the image I've included in this post. Notice the small bulge on the bottom. There's a pocket created in the metal due to the momentum of the impact. Of course this is a hyper velocity impact (4.25 miles/second, about Mach 22), but it makes the point. When hit by a bullet, the ballistic vest may hold, but the body will still receive an impact on the skin and underlying tissue. More so a ballistic vest will not save someone from a 30m (99 foot) fall, nor by being hit by a truck.

So, when an armoured knight charges another the sheer bulk of the impact will cause some damage inside the impacted knight. It will transfer momentum to the body and give him a speed vector in a direction he may not be able to compensate for, leading to a fall. Can combat damage be reworked based on "momentum"? Can this lead to a simplified set of hand to hand rules and weapon damage? Should typical concepts like piercing, slashing and bludgeoning damage be reworked around a more unified model around momentum? Would this lead to a more realistic modelling of weapons without a greater rule complexity?

Post a Comment