Author Topic: Accidentally destroying the scenery in the heat of battle  (Read 2561 times)

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ImperatorK

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Accidentally destroying the scenery in the heat of battle
« on: September 12, 2011, 11:55:39 PM »
If I remember correctly, there's nothing mentioned in the rules what exactly happens when a fighter misses his hits. You can fluff it however you want. How cool would it be if combatants would accidentally do damage to their surroundings while fighting each other? If they're strong enough they could leave holes or even whole walls and floors crumbled in wake of their fight.
One thing that I don't like about it is that there are no rules for such occasions. When you miss an attack you just don't hit your opponent and nothing else. If for example a powerful barbarian would fight in a dense forest and would miss his PA-uped attack then I would have to homebrew/houserule that when his opponent dodged his strike it felled a nearby tree.
And there would be the problem: when invoke such effects? It would totally be DM fiat.

My question to you is: Did you ever feature or saw something similar in a game of yours? If yes then how did it work out? Was it cool or just unnecessarily complicated?
If not then how would you do it in your game? Homebrewing hard rules would be a little to much, I presume, so lets not go there.
Of course spells are even more capable of destroying your surroundings on accident, so please, go on and use them in your examples. :)
What sprung this thoughts in my mind was a scene in a manga that I read just a couple of minutes ago, where two powerful (most probably epic) unarmed martial artists where fighting atop a building and the concrete roof was being heavily damaged by their missed strikes and even two weaker fighters (only disciples) who where only observing the fight, where in big danger by just standing in their reach (though they weren't even targeted). :)
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Kasz

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Re: Accidentally destroying the scenery in the heat of battle
« Reply #1 on: September 13, 2011, 08:42:35 AM »
Well... realistically if two combatents went at it unarmed... they wouldn't damage much with unarmed strikes... maybe break some wood etc... Realistically with unarmed strikes its very hard to break something you didn't intend to... you don't just swing and follow through until you hit something you usually have an intended point of impact. This is so you can adjust your weight so you're striking with full force but allows you to readjust your weight to stay on balance.

That being said, if you want to anime it up go for it. It's down to your DM... DnD shouldn't be too limited by realism... after all MAGIC & FANTASY.

We tend to rule scenery damage from weapons in my campaign. For example we've an unlucky cleric of Nerull with Strength and Death as his domains and he tends to lodge his scythe in things on critical misses and cut things on normal misses.
He power attacked + strength domain power + Bulls strength + jumped off a shop roof onto a target once. Critical missed so hard he broke his scythe against the cobble pavement.

It's DM Fiat, we rule it in our games by describing our attacks. ie. "I swing my scythe in a horizontal arc aimed at the gnoll" rather than "I attack the gnoll" This way if they miss you know where the scythe could end up.

A missed horizontal swing? it might hit the wall.
A missed horizontal swing? it might hit the ceiling or become entangled in overhead vines.

DM Fiat basically.

oslecamo

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Re: Accidentally destroying the scenery in the heat of battle
« Reply #2 on: September 13, 2011, 12:18:18 PM »
What sprung this thoughts in my mind was a scene in a manga that I read just a couple of minutes ago, where two powerful (most probably epic) unarmed martial artists where fighting atop a building and the concrete roof was being heavily damaged by their missed strikes and even two weaker fighters (only disciples) who where only observing the fight, where in big danger by just standing in their reach (though they weren't even targeted). :)

"Only disciples"? The granddaughter of the "Man whitout enemies" and Kenichi, the strongest disciple in history I believe! Tecnically disciples yes, but both of top quality! :lmao

Otherwise, yes, DM fiat. There's just too many kinds of terrain and attacks to make a concise ruling. I usually describe that certain parts of the scenario may get damaged by powerful missed attacks, but if you want to take down that wall, you'll need to spend an action doing so. Finishing moves may however get dramatic scenario destruction attached,

Mind you, if you have two guys two/three-times your size brawling to the death with each other just a few feet from you, it really isn't healthy to stay nearby even in real life due to their sheer mass.

PhaedrusXY

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Re: Accidentally destroying the scenery in the heat of battle
« Reply #3 on: September 13, 2011, 12:32:38 PM »
We've certainly had Fireballs burn down forests, set off avalanches and cave-ins and the like in games I was in. It was, as you said, pretty much purely DM fiat, but it was still fun.
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rot42

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Re: Accidentally destroying the scenery in the heat of battle
« Reply #4 on: September 13, 2011, 12:59:46 PM »
Yeah, DM fiat. For the most part, it is simply not worth the bother to track damage to a stone wall or pillar, though critical fumbles are always fun. A pitched battle in the castle of a lord the PCs are trying to impress would have consequences, though - scorched murals, chipped tile, smashed vases, terrified servants, and other things you would really prefer your guests avoid. I am still looking for the right party to collapse a building around (preferably while on fire; fire makes everything better) to add another dimension to the fight - a hard time limit, changing terrain, randomly falling timbers, limited visibility, and temporary scuttle holes for small monsters. They need to have enough options that escape is reasonably likely, but low enough level that being trapped in rubble after being hit on the head with a roof is a meaningful threat.

Damaged terrain can also serve as a warning to canny characters that they have entered the domain of a dangerous monster. Great slabs of rock clawed out of the wall, odd puddles, and a squashed adventurer with a satchel full of alchemist's fire could indicate a high-strength cold-using fire-vulnerable critter ahead.

Unbeliever

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Re: Accidentally destroying the scenery in the heat of battle
« Reply #5 on: September 13, 2011, 02:05:26 PM »
Star Wars Saga Edition's "hazards" function a lot like this.  You can have a battle in a rickety building and where each stray shot triggers a falling chunk of the roof and so on.  I'd agree that it's mostly up to fluff, and players tend to be good sports about it if it's something that doesn't obviously punish them.  Or, you can work it into the specific encounter. 

You might also want to encourage the players to make their own suggestions to this effect, so that they are more engaged, and maybe let them take advantage of some of them a number of times per adventure or just if they are being creative. 

dither

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Re: Accidentally destroying the scenery in the heat of battle
« Reply #6 on: September 13, 2011, 03:28:29 PM »
While relying on a battlemat for combat, Dungeons & Dragons tends to be pretty weak on actual terrain features, since they rarely come into combat and/or don't do anything interesting. The DMG provides hardness and hit points for a lot of objects, maybe if someone were to compile a "monster manual" of common objects and some guidelines for including them in encounters, they would see more use on a tactical level?
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oslecamo

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Re: Accidentally destroying the scenery in the heat of battle
« Reply #7 on: September 13, 2011, 04:02:31 PM »
While relying on a battlemat for combat, Dungeons & Dragons tends to be pretty weak on actual terrain features, since they rarely come into combat and/or don't do anything interesting. The DMG provides hardness and hit points for a lot of objects, maybe if someone were to compile a "monster manual" of common objects and some guidelines for including them in encounters, they would see more use on a tactical level?

The DM guide in my sig includes a compilation of special terrain features, their sources and sugestions on how to use them.

veekie

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Re: Accidentally destroying the scenery in the heat of battle
« Reply #8 on: September 13, 2011, 04:11:15 PM »
One possibility is to make use of accuracy-in-excess. Basically, if the attacker rolled 5+ above the defender's AC, he gets to do something of his choice to the terrain on top of hitting the target. If he rolls 5+ below the defender's AC the defender gets to pick the collateral.
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borsniel

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Re: Accidentally destroying the scenery in the heat of battle
« Reply #9 on: September 13, 2011, 10:43:46 PM »
glad to see a Historys Strongest Disciple Kenichi fan, as for the question ive been in some epic battles that involved throwing people through building and destroying a town around us. it really came in to play with spells and ranged attacks where a miss would follow along its line till it struck its target. at 19th lv the archer was doing about 40 damage a shot with explosive arrows so you can see where that went.

Edit: forgot to add that something you should take into account whether they "hit" and it the opponent does not care or if the opponent dodges and the attack hits something else. id say using touch and flat footed ACs for this. if they didn't break the touch ac it miss completely, if the broke touch ac but not flat footed that means they hit but the blow did no damage due to thick skin armor ect., and if it breaks flat footed ac but not full ac then the blow hit but they moved enough to glance off diminishing its force.
« Last Edit: September 13, 2011, 10:47:45 PM by borsniel »

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Re: Accidentally destroying the scenery in the heat of battle
« Reply #10 on: September 14, 2011, 03:38:49 AM »
"Accidentally" is purely up to the DM,

I played in a party with multiple super strong characters who constantly tore apart their surroundings in order to fling it at their enemies. That was exquisite. My brother's character accidentally destroyed the plot-critical entrance to a secret passageway in this fashion.

The way we did it? The DM just gave us detailed descriptions of the area or we asked questions until he did (I do that with all of my DMs, I have a hard time imagining playing in a void). We then ripped off pieces of the most suitable object and threw the pieces at our enemies (often using the pieces for something more elaborate, like using a door to slide on ice).

It's all gonna be house rules and DM fiat because the game isn't designed for people to destroy environments. You just have to hope your DM can handle it. Another anecdote about the same character: He started tearing pillars apart in order to throw them, we saw what was happening and evacuated the vicinity, the ceiling fell on him. It would have killed him too but he rolled pretty well on his reflex save and the DM rolled badly on damage. It still brought him damn close to dead.

Even games with more advanced weaponry than D&D like Shadowrun and different Star Wars RPGs don't lay out how to destroy an area, because that's just too much detail for most DMs to handle. Most video games can't even handle it.

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dither

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Re: Accidentally destroying the scenery in the heat of battle
« Reply #11 on: September 14, 2011, 05:46:49 PM »
While relying on a battlemat for combat, Dungeons & Dragons tends to be pretty weak on actual terrain features, since they rarely come into combat and/or don't do anything interesting. The DMG provides hardness and hit points for a lot of objects, maybe if someone were to compile a "monster manual" of common objects and some guidelines for including them in encounters, they would see more use on a tactical level?

The DM guide in my sig includes a compilation of special terrain features, their sources and sugestions on how to use them.

Well, there you have it. :p
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A SECTION OF THE CAVERN HAS COLLAPSED!
dither, Miner, has died after colliding with an obstacle!
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