Non-human Scale in Combat
The attacker’s Strength Scale is added to his offensive damage factors, and the defender’s Mass Scale is added to her defensive damage factors. If you have combat with beings weaker than humans, remember what you learned in school about adding and subtracting negative numbers. . . .
Armor and weapons affect the damage done normally, since they are scaled to the folks using them. Hits be- come Scratches, Hurt, etc., as usual (see Determining Wound Level).
However, an extremely small character is not likely to be able to wound a large one in the numerical value wounding system. The GM may allow a point or two of damage to penetrate if the small character gets a critical success. Poison-tipped arrows and lances are also a possibility: the small character can aim for joints in the armor and merely has to break the skin to inject the poison.
Also, this system treats Mass Scale like armor, which isn’t quite accurate. In reality, a small opponent may be slowly carving the larger fighter up, but each wound is too petty, relative to the large scale, to do much damage by itself. To reflect a lot of small wounds gradually inflicting a hit on a large-scale foe, allow a damage roll when Scale prevents a hit from doing any damage that is, when Scale is the only difference between getting a Scratch and no damage at all. See Damage Die Roll.
There are also “scale piercing” weapons, such as whale harpoons and elephant guns. These don’t have massive damage numbers: instead, if they hit well, simply halve the Scale value, or ignore it all together. Of course, if such a weapon is used on a human, it would indeed have a massive damage modifier. . . .
Non-human Combat Examples
In the following examples, each fighter’s Strength Scale equals his own Mass Scale, but not his opponent’s. (E.g., Wilbur’s Strength is Scale 0 and his Mass is Scale 0.) Also, it is assumed the GM is not using the optional damage roll, which could vary damage in all three combats discussed.
Sheba, a human warrior, has just kicked McMurtree, a wee leprechaun. Sheba’s offensive damage factor = +1:
Fair Strength: +0
Unarmed Combat Skill, with thick boots: +1
Scale: +0 (Sheba’s martial art skill normally earns her a +0 to damage, and boots normally earns a +0. The GM rules that using both together allows a +1, however.) McMurtree’s defensive damage factor is -3:
Light Leather Armor: +1
Fair Damage Capacity: +0
Sheba’s damage factor against McMurtree is 1-(-3) = +4. (Subtracting a negative number means you add an equal but positive amount.) If Sheba wins the first combat round with a relative degree of +2 she scores a total of 4 + 2 = 6 points. McMurtree’s player looks up 6 on the wound table on his character sheet: Very Hurt he’s at -2 for the next combat round, and in grave danger if she hits again.
McMurtree’s friend, Fionn, now swings his shillelagh (oak root club) at Sheba’s knee.
Fionn’s offensive damage factor is -1:
Good Strength: +1
Shillelagh: +2 (medium sized relative to Fionn, not sharp) Scale: -4
Sheba’s defensive damage factor is +2:
Heavy Leather Armor: +2
Fionn’s damage factor against Sheba is -1-2
If Fionn wins by +3, a solid blow, he adds – 3+3 = 0. Unfortunately for Fionn, she takes no damage from an excellently placed hit.
Fionn had better think of some other strategy, quickly. Fortunately for Fionn, he knows some magic, and if he can dodge just one kick from Sheba, she’ll learn the hard way why it’s best not to antagonize the Wee folk. . . .
Wilbur, a human knight with a sword, is attacking a dragon. Wilbur’s offensive damage factor is a respectable +6:
Great Strength: +2
Two-handed sword: +4 (+3 for size, +1 for sharpness) Scale: +0
The dragon’s defensive damage factor is +8:
Fair Damage Capacity: +0
Tough hide: +2
Wilbur’s damage factor against the dragon is therefore 6-8 = -2.
If Wilbur hits the dragon with a relative degree of +3, he does 3-2 = 1 point of damage.
Given his Strength, weapon, and the amount he won by, this would be a severe blow to a human, even one wearing armor. But this is no human opponent. Only one point gets through the dragon’s Scale and tough hide.
The GM checks off a Scratch for the dragon, and the fight continues. Since there are three Scratch boxes for a major NPC, Wilbur will have to do this thrice more before he finally Hurts the dragon. He may need help, or have to go back for his magic sword.