Gary Gygax Q&A, Part IX - Page 89

# Thread: Gary Gygax Q&A, Part IX

Damn!

I wish I'd have read your post, Gray Mouser, before I responded to so many of those before it

So, RIGHT ON Brother!

Ciao,
Gary
Heh, thanks Gary. I tried anyway

BTW, I have a question for you regarding the World of Greyhawk setting. I was just perusing the encounter tables in the glossography recently and noticed that a fait amount of them include results for "Men, Cavemen" (areas such as Blackmoor, Sterich, Valley of the Mage, the Barrier Peacks, Crystalmist Mountains and Jotens, the Clatspur Range and Yatil Mountains, the Hellfurnaces) and even a "Use Plestocine Conditions Encounter Table" (Sulhaut Mountains).

Did you envisions these as the WoGH's "Lost World" type areas (particularly the Sulhauts)? I noticed they were fairly spread out on the map so it could also have been simply considering the Cavemen as a less developed subset of humans. Also, did any of the OC's in your campaign ever encounter their Neanderthal brethren or any Plestocine creatures in the WoGH proper (not, for instance, in Isle of the Ape)?

Gray Mouser

• Originally Posted by dcas
Of course, if one really wants to get into the Law of Gravity then it is the time (not the distance) of one's fall that should dictate the damage taken, since velocity is a function of time (v = 32t). I think a simple method could be 1 point of damage per foot for the first 20 feet, two points of damage per foot for the next 50 feet, and 3 points per foot for the next 80 feet. (It only takes about 3 seconds to fall 150 feet.) A character falling 15 feet would take 15 points of damage; one falling 50 feet would take 20 + 60 (30 * 2) = 80 points of damage; one falling 100 feet would take 20 + 100 (50 * 2) + 90 (30 * 3) = 210 points of damage. One might allow a saving throw for 1/2 damage. Anything over 150 feet would result in automatic death (barring really extraordinary circumstances).
It doesn't matter how far you've fallen, it matters how fast you're going when you hit the ground. Because velocity increase is linear, it means that a damage system tied to velocity ought to be linear as well. In the original system of 1d6/10 ft, the damage increased faster than linear with respect to time - ie. faster than gravity as it was. A munchkin would have physics on his side when arguing against the original 1d6/10 ft system as being too much damage! The "exponential" system is even more of a departure from the actual physics of a fallen body. The distance fallen (increasing exponentially) is not relevant to the force of striking the ground.

But the implication of either system is that damage is proportial to force - which IMO is probably not the case. To keep things simple, I don't see anything wrong with a damage system based on distance fallen - whether it is linear or exponential. The point is that neither system "correctly understands" the physics of v=at.

• Originally Posted by gizmo33
It doesn't matter how far you've fallen, it matters how fast you're going when you hit the ground. Because velocity increase is linear, it means that a damage system tied to velocity ought to be linear as well.
dcas' point is that velocity is linear with respect to time, but not with respect to distance. Since distance is quadratic (faster than linear) with respect to time, that means time (and therefore velocity) only increases with the square root of distance, somewhat *less* than linear.

Originally Posted by gizmo33
The "exponential" system is even more of a departure from the actual physics of a fallen body. The distance fallen (increasing exponentially) is not relevant to the force of striking the ground.
How did exponential growth come into this? Distance isn't exponential in any quantity I can think of. It's quadratic (more than linear but much less than exponential) in time.

• Originally Posted by orsal
dcas' point is that velocity is linear with respect to time, but not with respect to distance. Since distance is quadratic (faster than linear) with respect to time, that means time (and therefore velocity) only increases with the square root of distance, somewhat *less* than linear.
Actually, DCAS' pointed seem to be to propose a falling damage system - which was the subject of my post. The bottom line is that DCAS's system IS NOT a linear system, it proposes a non-linear increase in damage based on distance fallen (which is compounded by the non-linear relationship of distance to time, as you point out). I agree with what you're saying above about the relationship of distance to velocity - but this seems to have played no part in the final falling damage system that he proposed. Look at the numbers - you take 15 pts of damage for hitting the ground at 31 ft/sec, and you take 80 pts of damage for hitting the ground at 56 ft/sec.

(BTW - I put *quotes* around the exponential - call it quadratic or whatever you want. Regardless, what DCAS proposes is not anything close to a linear relationship of damage with respect to time - which I'm not sure was his intention but the proximity of the physics to the rule proposal implied some relationship between the two.)

but having armor is usual in REH's tales, save for Conan and a few other of the lesser protagonists, and the Barbarian class covers that pretty handily.
Admittedly I've only read half of REH's tales so far, but didn't Conan always use the best armor available to him?

• Originally Posted by gizmo33
Actually, DCAS' pointed seem to be to propose a falling damage system - which was the subject of my post. The bottom line is that DCAS's system IS NOT a linear system, it proposes a non-linear increase in damage based on distance fallen (which is compounded by the non-linear relationship of distance to time, as you point out). I agree with what you're saying above about the relationship of distance to velocity - but this seems to have played no part in the final falling damage system that he proposed. Look at the numbers - you take 15 pts of damage for hitting the ground at 31 ft/sec, and you take 80 pts of damage for hitting the ground at 56 ft/sec.
Oops! I missed the "per foot" part of his proposal. If instead of multiplying at the end by distance he multiplied by some constant (or some fixed random range, such as 1d6), it would fit the physics. Assuming that damage is proportional to final speed, it should be proportional to the square root of the distance fallen.

Oh, and just to return this thread to its intended topic:

Gary, if you were writing the AD&D core rules all over again, is there anything you'd change?

• [QUOTE=Col_Pladoh]As an amateur historian of Anglo-Saxon england, one who favors Wessex, the Cornwell novel sounds interesting, and I will probably pick it up.

Heh, even the qualified histrorians would have to support Wessex - but then that's my birthplace....

My eldest son came in minus half a front tooth the other day having "fallen out of a tree". An ear to the ground revealed that a certain over-enthusiastic knight bested him with a trusty wooden broadsword!
How little times change sometimes

Have recently been assigned to doghouse for filling his head with nonsense

Solution appears to be more intensive dice-work to focus his energy. Result!

• Originally Posted by dcas
Anything over 150 feet would result in automatic death (barring really extraordinary circumstances).
Of course, you could add a little believability into your game and just say any fall of 40' or greater is automatically lethal unless you land on a forgiving surface or can slow your decent somehow (as it is IRL... actually 30' is generally considered the cutoff point, but I'll be a little generous here. ). Anything between 10 and 40' you can just say inflicts 3xft fallen % of your total hp in damage... Save for 1/2). There, and I got it to sound somewhat 1st eddish too!

Cheers!

A'koss.

• Originally Posted by RFisher
Admittedly I've only read half of REH's tales so far, but didn't Conan always use the best armor available to him?
Later in Conan's career, when he had become more civilized, he took to wearing armor, even heavy plate armor (as King of Aquilonia). If you are reading the collected Conan stories published recently, remember, they are arranged by order of publication which is definitely not the chronological order of Conan's life.

• Originally Posted by gizmo33
Actually, DCAS' pointed seem to be to propose a falling damage system - which was the subject of my post. The bottom line is that DCAS's system IS NOT a linear system, it proposes a non-linear increase in damage based on distance fallen (which is compounded by the non-linear relationship of distance to time, as you point out).
No no. I was simply using numbers (20, 50, 80) that are easier to remember than 16, 48, and 80. In the first second of fall one falls approximately 16 feet (distance ~= 16*t^2), the second second 48 feet, and the third second 80 feet. One has a velocity of 32ft/sec. in the first second of fall, 64 in the 2nd, 96 in the third, etc. I know my system doesn't model the real physics exactly. I didn't want to make the calculations to heavy. Of course one could determine the exact velocity from the distance fallen. But who has time to do this at the gaming table? I wouldn't want to extract a square root at the table (that is, unless I could do it in my head). I suppose one might create a table that listed distance in increments of 10 feet, along with velocity, and then approximate damage from that. For example

10 feet ==> t ~= 0.8 ==> v ~= 25.3 ft/sec.
20 feet ==> t ~= 1.1 ==> v ~= 35.8 ft/sec.

IOW one wouldn't take much more damage from falling 20 feet than falling 10 feet.

30 feet ==> t ~= 1.4 ==> v ~= 43.8 ft./sec.
40 feet ==> t ~= 1.6 ==> v ~= 50.6 ft./sec.

Falling 40 feet would cause about twice as much damage as falling 10 feet. And falling 160 feet would cause four times the damage. Oof!

Yes, I guess my proposed system did a poor job of estimating. Oh well. I didn't really think about it too much when I came up with it (this afternoon). Sorry. In this light I would argue that the first ten feet cause approx. 3 points of damage, the next 30 about 1 point each, and anything over 40 is automatic death. I would be inclined to give the first 10 feet "free," then have 3 points per foot from 10 to 20, and 1 point per foot from 20 to 50. ::shrugs::

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