I like Everyday Heroes, I’m running a cyberpunk game in it. It’s kind of a Bubblegum Crisis thing with powered armor, but armor and penetration values just don’t work the way we want them to.
Without going into too much detail the Armor Value of body armor in EDH is absolutely worthless to you unless you’re already standing at death’s door. So your armor doesn’t stop anything until a shot that can kill you and it then acts like a death save and then the holes in the armor count because it can’t save you from that same kind of gun again, only smaller guns.
So maybe if you’re in a 1980s Hollywood action movie or John Woo movie you get the scene where the guy gets shot and everybody thinks they’re dead but secretly his vest saved him.
Think the first time Clint Eastwood or Marty McFly gets back up and dusts off the poncho, its an old trope, but that’s not how modern body armor works.
If you’ve seen any of the John Wick movies, you know that body armor can take a beating in that series, but also scenarios in real life where people in gunfights wearing body armor took numerous hits to their vest before eventually succumbing or even surviving. We want some of that. For my home game we’ve been using the PCs armor value as DR, and only using penetration value against opponents. Some o my players have abilities that add DR and others add PV. I don’t want to make those abilities irrelevant, so they continue to work by increasing DR or reducing it in the case of PV.
In the JW movies we see different levels of armor fending off handgun rounds, and in JW3 we see improved tactical body armor that they have to penetrate with shotguns and slugs. I’ll workup some scenes and see if we can map it out to see where the weak points of my approach are.
In another JW movie, and countless modern action movies, the hero is really hurt and can’t go on, they’ve lost some blood and somebody walks in with a thick unmarked needle, that looks like an Epi-pen but it’s supposed to stop all the bleeding, and get them back on their feet. In other movies the doctor sews up John and gives him something for the pain, but tells him not to tear his stitches. The EDH game has a battlefield medic that can let a character spend one of their hit dice, that’s one feat that’s an opportunity cost for a character to take. Otherwise, healing is not what you’re used to in the 5e genome. There are some character classes that can spend hit dice in combat, but for everyone else, I brought an epi-pen to a gunfight. I created a thick needle self-injecting goop full of clotting agents, painkillers, stimulants, and nanobots to knit together all the broken bits of people. Since I still don’t want the combat classes abilities to be irrelevant, I was thinking of doubling the effect of the hit dice they spend if they use the big needle.
I’m going to do a deep dive on some of the other modern and future 5e games as well a JW rewatch and see what more we need to cover.
Mounted Combat and Horse-Fu
JW3 People mounted on horses and motorcycles can take cover behind whatever they are riding, whether it’s hiding behind the length of the mount sideways or rearing up and using the underside as frontal cover. JW3 uses a horse to kick guys by slapping the horse’s side, animal handling? Later on, with JW3 on a motorcycle surrounded by other motorcycles, JW3 pushes guys’ bikes over (Grapple vs Driving/Piloting?), and things fall into the drive chain or get stuck in the rear tire and cause problems.
Something almost, but not quite, entirely unlike Grapple
In JW3 and other chapters, we see the main characters drag a still-walking minion around with them as a human shield that’s at least a grapple or something like it. Unfortunately, sometimes, the bad guys do this with innocents as well. So we’re looking for forced movement and soft cover rules.
JW3 grabs a minion’s gun hand and forces him to miss firing off several rounds or until the gun is empty and no longer a threat. JW3 also grabs a minion’s knife hand, and they struggle over the blade until the minion fails and is stabbed in the eye and dies? So we’re struggling over the same weapon; despite the weapon being in one person’s hand, the struggle is for control, not quite the same as a disarm. It’s quite possible these were protracted disarm attempts where the attacker and target were tied? OR the GM is just being dramatic, and our hero wins after some gratuitous description by the GM or Player if your table shares the narrative around.
At different points in the movie JW and Sophia both do the Flying Scissor Legs Takedown or Acrobatic Takedown that the Black Widow first made popular in Iron Man 2, she normally went for the head, but in JW3 we see JW and Sophia wrap their legs around their opponent’s chest, but the effect is the same. EDH, like most D20-derived systems would probably call this a Trip attack, that’s normally what you call anything that ends up with your opponent being prone. All these maneuvers in EDH are Strength (Athletics) checks against the targets Athletics OR Acrobatics. In the case of an Acrobatic Takedown, I’d kind of like to allow the attacker to use Acrobatics in this instance, which only stretches the skill use a bit, they are tumbling, but also grappling. If you can’t get your GM on board with that, an Athletics check made using the Dexterity modifier might also be a satisfying way to resolve this. What we want is a way for our tough and confident fighters who don’t look like Heavyweight Boxers or Wrestlers to be able to fight effectively, and sometimes we get the tiny fighter curled up around the huge guy’s forearm, hanging in midair and failing hilariously to take them down. If you straight-kick an opponent through a display case three times in a row, that’s just EDH’s Shove. If JW flying body tackles a Yakuza off his motorcycle, that’s also technically a shove because it moves him, though the guy does end up prone. If you tip a guy’s motorcycle over at highway speeds, that’s probably a Trip? which for you is Strength Athletics, but the Yakuza is going to resist/contest that with Dexterity Vehicles, which is used to avoid accidents, among other things. If you try to run someone off the road in your own vehicle, you’re probably using Vehicles and are resisted by Vehicles. If we do the same thing, but one of you has a motorcycle and the other is riding a horse, it’s Vehicles vs Survival.
Am I making this weird, yes, I’m trying to make this weird before my players do.-Paul
But what I’m like Flying, jumped out of an airplane without a parachute, or a hot air balloon, or dirigible, fell out of a Zepplin because an Archaeologist punched me in the face. Parachutes are Acrobatics or Vehicles, all the other examples are clearly vehicles, including a Wingsuit, a secret agent with none of these things in a button-down shirt and some khakis is going to have to make Acrobatics checks to increase or decrease their falling speed until they catch up with the slowly falling airplane or the guy who took the last parachute. The No-Ticket Nazi Indy punched has to go completely flat and hope for a deep lake to land in. Though people have survived falls from thousands of feet in the air and survived, that’s a lot of GM fiat in an RPG context.
If you somehow end up with an experimental rocket pack or alien gravity belt, that’s vehicles, you heard it here first.
JW3 doesn’t get shot much until Sophia shoots him third to halfway through the movie, he does take a lot of small knife wounds early in the movie, he gets knocked through panes of glass, but that doesn’t seem to phase him. JW3 introduces High Table Commando teams, and they have armor improvements that ignore 9mm handgun and 5.56mm rifle fire but still leave them vulnerable to Mark Dacascos’ sword and 12ga AP shotgun slugs. Those bigger weapons might just be overcoming DR or EDH’s Armor Value, but the armor takes multiple hits from the smaller weapons (something EDH’s Armor Value doesn’t allow) with the targets sometimes going prone but still getting back up again like zombies afterward. People in JW3 take dives like basketball players looking for a foul, even the dog takes a dive.
At two different points in the movie, in Morocco, JW and Sophia are taking cover behind large stone pillars there are chunks of the pillars crumbling off, but the pillar is not substantially degraded. In EDH, because objects don’t have hit points, as soon as cover takes damage higher than its Armor Value a 5ft section of it ceases to be useful as cover. Ideally, people keep moving around the battlefield to find new cover, and they don’t have to do substantial bookkeeping, in the movie, people move around because their opponents move or their objective isn’t behind that stationary piece of cover. Later in the shootout at the NYC Continental, the SMG and Rifle fire leaves small round holes in the walls of the lobby, but doesn’t substantially degrade the walls or make them unsuitable as cover. In my cyberpunk game if somebody was hiding behind a concrete wall or bulletproof glass half wall or podium, they’d see the shot hit and spiderwebs or cracks form, but for the duration of combat, those things didn’t just fall apart at the first hit. I am working on a scenario inspired by the short film Far Alamo which has bugs from Starship Troopers attack the Alamo, imagine how long Sam Houston and the rest would have lasted if Santa Anna’s men with their British Baker Rifles had just kept shooting the stone walls from out from under them. So for consistency’s sake, we’ll be reinstating object hit points and something like hardness. The brave soldiers at Fort Woebegone will stand against the bugs as long as their wooden palisade walls hold.
JW3 throws knives into minions’ heads, shoots armored commandoes in their helmets, commandoes shoots the Continental’s security guys in their heads, and anything to the head, including getting stabbed in the eye, seems to be fatal. So, what rules do we use for called shots, my Zombie survival game needs these rules badly. I would think the easiest way to accomplish this in 5e would be disadvantage since discreet modifiers went away in 5e. The result is what double damage, or full damage plus roll again, or death save? In JW3 and other chapters, one of the keen advantages is getting past the ‘nice suits’ and ending a named character or at least a lieutenant; minions never seem to wear armor. High Table Commandos might just be a variant minion.
Maybe when that’s over, I’ll tell you about the team’s hardsuits.