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Dramatic Damage II - Impacts

by: Belladonna A Legacy Article from Sanguinus Curae

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I don't know about the rest of you Storytellers, but I have found that the dramatic impact of a scene is often slowed or stopped entirely when I have to pause and try to decide what kind of an effect the character can have on their environment, or vice versa.

Continuing with my work in Dramatic Damage, the second question to arise is the one of the environment affecting the character. How much damage does being hit by a car do? What about a truck? What about a semi? What happens when a character falls a long way and hits water instead of ground - we know this can kill as quickly as ground, but at what distance? What happens when a character falls off a speeding motorcycle, or is pushed out of a speeding car?

This system is based on White Wolf's simple rule regarding falling damage.
1 Health Level for every 10 feet (rounded down) as Bashing Damage

In order to figure out what this meant, I had to return to a little math - calculating the speed of the falling character on impact for every Health Level of Bashing Damage up to 8 - the point where the character enters Torpor, and then up to 16 - the point where they splash all over the landscape. To take possible Soak rolls into account (up to a maximum Soak of 20 just for fun) I expanded the upper end of the table all the way up to a final value of 36 Health Levels.

Distance Falling Time Velocity on Impact
Feet Meters Seconds m/s mph
10 3.0 0.8 7.7 17.4
20 6.1 1.1 10.9 24.6
30 9.1 1.4 13.4 30.1
40 12.2 1.6 15.5 34.8
50 15.2 1.8 17.3 38.9
60 18.3 1.9 18.9 42.6
70 21.3 2.1 20.4 46.0
80 24.4 2.2 21.9 49.2
90 27.4 2.4 23.2 52.2
100 30.5 2.5 24.4 55.0
110 33.5 2.6 25.6 57.7
120 36.6 2.7 26.8 60.2
130 39.6 2.8 27.9 62.7
140 42.7 3.0 28.9 65.1
150 45.7 3.1 29.9 67.4
160 48.8 3.2 30.9 69.6
170 51.8 3.3 31.9 71.7
180 54.9 3.3 32.8 73.8
190 57.9 3.4 33.7 75.8
200 61.0 3.5 34.6 77.8
210 64.0 3.6 35.4 79.7
220 67.1 3.7 36.3 81.6
230 70.1 3.8 37.1 83.4
240 73.2 3.9 37.9 85.2
250 76.2 3.9 38.6 87.0
260 79.2 4.0 39.4 88.7
270 82.3 4.1 40.2 90.4
280 85.3 4.2 40.9 92.0
290 88.4 4.2 41.6 93.7
300 91.4 4.3 42.3 95.3
310 94.5 4.4 43.0 96.8
320 97.5 4.5 43.7 98.4
330 100.6 4.5 44.4 99.9
340 103.6 4.6 45.1 101.4
350 106.7 4.7 45.7 102.9
360 109.7 4.7 46.4 104.3

Working with this concept, it is fairly easy to come up with the various effects of certain kinds of impacts.
First let's deal with that question of hitting water. The farther you fall, the more solid water seems to be when you hit it. This has to do with relative factors including transference of energy and a lot of other things - but for an easy rule of thumb, follow this table for damage from hitting water.

Distance Damage
Feet Meters Ground Water
10 3.0 1 0
20 6.1 2 0
30 9.1 3 0
40 12.2 4 1
50 15.2 5 1
60 18.3 6 1
70 21.3 7 1
80 24.4 8 2
90 27.4 9 2
100 30.5 10 2
110 33.5 11 2
120 36.6 12 3
130 39.6 13 3
140 42.7 14 4
150 45.7 15 4
160 48.8 16 5
170 51.8 17 5
180 54.9 18 6
190 57.9 19 6
200 61.0 20 7
210 64.0 21 8
220 67.1 22 9
230 70.1 23 10
240 73.2 24 11
250 76.2 25 12
260 79.2 26 13
270 82.3 27 14
280 85.3 28 15
290 88.4 29 16
300 91.4 30 18
310 94.5 31 20
320 97.5 32 21
330 100.6 33 23
340 103.6 34 25
350 106.7 35 27
360 109.7 36 29
370 112.8 37 32
380 115.8 38 34
390 118.9 39 37
400 121.9 40 40

Next, Let's deal with being hit by a speeding vehicle. For this I have broken the Vehicle types down to a few simple benchmarks. Almost all vehicle types will fall into these ranges, but for those particular Storytellers out there, I have listed a weight range for the benchmark types.

Vehicle Bus / Semi Lrg Truck Truck Lrg Vehicle Lrg Car Car Sm Car Sm Vehicle
Speed 8 tons 5 to 3 to 1.5 to 2000 to 1500 to 1000 to 500 to
mph and up 8 tons 5 tons 3 tons 3000 lbs 2000 lbs 1500 lbs 1000 lbs
10 4 3 2 1 1 0 0 0
15 4 3 2 1 1 0 0 0
20 9 6 4 2 1 1 1 0
25 9 6 4 2 1 1 1 0
30 13 9 5 3 2 1 1 1
35 18 12 7 4 2 2 1 1
40 22 14 9 5 3 2 1 1
45 31 20 12 7 4 3 2 1
50 36 23 14 8 4 3 2 1
55 44 29 18 10 6 4 3 2
60 53 35 21 12 7 5 3 2
65 62 40 25 14 8 5 4 2
70 71 46 28 16 9 6 4 3
75 84 55 34 19 11 7 5 3
80 93 61 37 21 12 8 6 4
85 107 69 43 24 13 9 7 4
90 120 78 48 27 15 11 8 5
95 133 87 53 30 17 12 8 5
100 147 95 59 33 18 13 9 6
105 160 104 64 36 20 14 10 6

By the way, if you consider for a moment that vehicles hitting each other suffer from cumulative velocity (in other words, two cars hitting each other when each are traveling 55 mph suffer an impact as if they are traveling 110 miles per hour each), it is easy to see how vehicles can do so much damage to each other even at normal highway speeds. I won't even get into what happens to the people inside the car in a collision with another solid object - but a hint is this: when a car going 55 mph hits a pole, the driver hits the windshield at something very close to 55 mph. On the other hand - when a car is broad-sided by another vehicle traveling 55 mph, the driver hits the inside of his car at a speed very close to the speed of the vehicle hitting his car - in this case 55 mph again. Think about that for a while.

And finally - let's deal with someone being thrown from a speeding vehicle in some fashion and hitting the ground. Note that this is assuming they hit the ground and slide or skid or roll to a stop.
If they fly off and hit a solid object, refer to the impact velocity tables above for falling, and just look up the speed they were traveling at when flying into the solid object. You can also use the vehicle impact table if you refer to column 4 in these cases (Lrg Vehicle column). i.e.: a person flying off a motorcycle at 60 mph and immediately hitting a wall will take 12 Health Levels of Damage - quite deadly for the average human.
But - for those that don't hit something solid, use the following table for Health Levels taken when falling from a moving vehicle.

Vehicle Speed (mph) Health Levels
10 1
20 1
30 1
40 2
50 2
60 3
70 4
80 5
90 7
100 8
110 10
120 12
130 14
140 16
150 19
160 21
170 24
180 27
190 30
200 33

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