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Car Accidents are Meh

So… TIL that everyone in the future drives bumper cars.

To cause any significant damage to Passengers in a vehicular accident, you need to cause a Fault.

A Car (Size 1, Speed 2 and Arm 3) requires 6 Structure damage to Cause 1 fault.

Slamming into an immovable obstacle at speed 2 (the usual speed a Car will be going at) will cause 2+2[CD] Vicious 1 damage. On average that’s between 2-4 Damage. So, worst case, the Car takes 1 Damage. That’s hardly representative of ‘slamming into a wall’.

The passengers will be subject to a Jarring Stop and will take 1+3[CD], Stun damage. This does 1-7 damage so can cause a Wound, but realistically most characters are at worst going to be Staggered and will shake that off with a Challenging Absterge test.

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It strikes me that this is seriously underpowered, and makes the consequences of failing a Vehicle test relatively… well… meh…

I think that vehicular damage 4X[CD], Vicious 2 damage, where X is the number of zones the vehicle passed through in the last turn gives better results. This means that damage scales rapidly with speed.

Average Damage

Zones Core Proposed
1 2.66 3.33
2 3.33 6.66
3 4 10
4 4.66 13.33
5 5.33 16.66
6 6 20

This makes it so that at Speed 1 (1 Zone per turn) it’s not dissimilar to what we have at the moment: most vehicles will take no damage or only cosmetic damage. At speed 2, an extreme set of rolls will cause a Fault (particularly to lightly armoured vehicles) but it’s still quite low odds (once armour is accounted for). At speed 3 a crash has quite a decent chance of causing a Fault and sometimes even 2, but on average for an average Car it’s only a little worse than 50/50 odds to take one, and most larger vehicles will come away without a Fault.

OTOH crashing a Motorcyle at speed is risky: not only does it have low armour, but its small scale means that a bad crash at Speed 3 may do 2 Faults which is almost guaranteed to write off the bike and leave any passengers Wounded. Which is as it should be.

It also means that going ‘Flat Out’ and losing control is a Bad Day. Which, again, is something I don’t feel the present rules capture: there’s still a not insignificant chance that a Car which has traveled 5 Zones and then crashes won’t take any Faults (it needs to a minimum of 9 Damage, before Armour Soak, to inflict 1 Fault).

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Just to play devil’s advocate remember that this is several hundred years in the future. Not only are the cars made MUCH better, so are the people riding in them.

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That’s why I was thinking, I can’t totally imagine a futur where cars and such are way safer both for those inside and for those outside it. From shock absorbing foam being released, to AI overriding brakes and controls to maximize safety. However in terms of game balance I haven’t actually used the vehicle rules so I cannot provide advice or comments.

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The core book says cars have a movement of 2, and at careful maneuvering they move at the same speed as player characters who are running (1 zone per action). Assuming player characters are in typical Human Sphere top physical condition, that’s still between 5-10mph.

Assuming these are ground cars and not aerodyne, ramming speed should be 2-4 times that. It seems that crash damage is expected at lower speeds because vehicles combat is designed to interact with characters who are basically standing still surrounded by obstructions. That isn’t a car chase I want a part of.

About 99% of humans in Infinity are not tougher than today. Not many people are seriously augmented to take damage or are rocking Lhosts. They have cubes but that’s only handy when you’re dead, win the lottery, or know someone who knows someone to get you resurrected.

Usually how a passenger today walks away from a nasty crash is the car crumbling into worthlessness (ie. crumble zones). Best to do that instead of being rigid as all the force goes to the passengers instead of being absorbed.

Context behind why Inane came to realize that car crashes are meh is that his character in my PbP post game took over an enemy Rackham Buggy and crashed it into a tree intending to hurt the vehicle and passengers. Turns out it’s not really possible to damage vehicle that way with the rules as written. What hacker wants to feel like it was useless to take over a vehicle and not get anything out of it when ramming it into something?

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That’s precisely it: accidents should feel like a risk, but RAW there isn’t really any.

I probably ramped it up too fast, I think 4X[CD],Vicious 1 is closer, it’s at Speed 3 where you’ll reliably start causing a Fault:

Speed 2+X[CD], Vic1 3X[CD], Vic1 4X[CD], Vic1 4X[CD], Vic2
1 2.66 2 2.66 3.33
2 3.33 4 5.33 6.66
3 4 6 8 10
4 4.66 8 10.66 13.33
5 5.33 10 13.33 16.66
6 6 12 15 20
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Just noticed this, and I’m not very familiar with the vehicle rules, but shouldn’t you be adding the bonus damage for the car’s Brawn stat?

OK,

After reviewing the rules there are some issues with what you’ve presented. First, I’m not sure where you’re getting the 2+2[CD] Vicious 1 damage. I can’t find that anywhere.

Second, you can’t treat a wall as an obstacle. A successful skill check should not allow you to navigate a vehicle, undamaged, through a wall.

Because a wall isn’t an obstacle the failed terrain check condition of “Jarring Stop” doesn’t apply. Instead we have a Ram. The car is trying to do damage to another object.

This is where things get fuzzy. So I’m going to assume the driver is specifically trying to hit the wall. This means a Pilot check at D0 (walls are pretty easy to hit) which means the driver will possibly generate momentum than can be applied to damage or reduce whatever armor we decide to give the wall.

In a Ram, a vehicle does its Impact damage and gains the Backlash X (where X is equal to the vehicle’s Scale). For our car, that means it will do 2+5[CD] Knockdown, Backlash 1. This works great when the car is hitting other vehicles (cinematically, not necessarily realistically) but doesn’t work with an impact on a solid fixed object.

So here’s where the rules abandon us and I offer my ruling as a GM. I would apply the damage and effects of the ram to the wall AND the car (excluding Knockdown as that wouldn’t apply). Strangely, the rules don’t account for velocity which is probably fine in normal use but in our case, I would add either +1 or +1[CD] damage for every zone travelled through by the car prior to the impact that round. Not sure which would work best but would probably err towards the latter.

As for passenger damage the Bumps and Bruises sidebar on pg. 126 of the Gamemaster’s Guide covers that just fine.

By all means please pick this apart. I haven’t run the math so not sure if this is better or not.

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Inane did not hop in a vehicle and drive into a wall he caused a Breach from hacking and caused the accelerator to get stuck. In turn buggy goes speeding into a tree as the buggy is currently sitting in a large thicket of trees.

Oh and there is passenger damage… that was hidden in a sidebar and it near the attack section. No wonder I missed it. However, Bumps and Bruises doesn’t make sense as it needs a fault to happen (representing the failing of the structure or safety systems). Jarring Stop works fine for going from speed to 0 in a blink of an eye (even going slow and coming to a sudden halt is going to hurt). Representing inertia and whiplash (if they have inertia dampeners and anti-whiplash tech in cars color me surprised as even the flying vehicles don’t have that) to those in the vehicle even if the vehicle didn’t suffer a fault.

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That sounds like a good approach. In classic cinematic style, the vehicle may be mostly undamaged (which also allows PC to ‘borrow it’, while the occupants may be stunned, disoriented, and/or injured.

@JackOfShadows The 2+2[CD] damage - for a Vehicle that was travelling at Speed 2 - comes from the “Out of Control” rules in the Vehicle section of the GM Guide (p. 126).

A collision inflicts 2+X[CD] physical
damage with the Vicious 1 quality to the vehicle,
where X is the number of zones the vehicle
would have moved for that action.

Given the Breech, the most apt analogy was an Out of Control vehicle that “Skidded straight ahead into an impassable obstacle.”

@Solodice: Yeah, given that I didn’t cause a Fault to the vehicle it makes sense to me that in terms of damage it was only minor whiplash (ie. the Jarring Stop). So that bit (speed suddenly reduced to 0 means apply Jarring Stop damage) makes perfect sense to me. The Stun trait is useful in this context.

The major issues I have is how hard it is to do a Fault to a Vehicle at all (even going Speed 6 a Car is unlikely to take a Fault).

Once you cause a Fault then 2+4[CD] Stun, Spread 1, Terrifying 1 is a useful amount of damage (particularly since it will almost always hit everyone in the vehicle). Albeit you’re still going to want to cause 2 Faults to have a better than even chance of doing a Wound… which given a Car has 12 Structure and Arm 3 you’re really not likely to ever do under the current impact rules.

So in the context of our game, the damage is probably appropriate: it’s an ATV manoeuvring through dense terrain at no more than a human’s running speed. The benefit is more that the vehicle is stopped and possibly stuck while the passengers are Stunned: so it pins them in place for a follow up attack, without exposing my hacker to return fire.

The problem really is a different scenario with a vehicle that goes from “Speed 6” to 0 after losing control and colliding with a wall. In this situation the vehicle is unlikely to take significant damage (6 dam BEFORE armour), and neither is the rider. That feels very wrong.

I really don’t think armor should count against collision damage. Or perhaps collisions should have the Anti-Material X quality? Or maybe Piercing X?

The joy of straight damage rather than Piercing or AM on “collision damage” is it means you can make accidents extremely fraught for a fragile race car but not a bother at all for a tank.

In that context, I honestly think 4x[CD],Vic 1 is pretty much ideal.

Cars will, on average, take a Fault when crashing at Speed 3+. So low speed accidents are a minor inconvenience unless they manage to Stun the passengers. You’re also looking at particularly bad or multiple accidents required to destroy a Car (a car will, on average, require four Speed 2 accidents to reduce it to 0 Structure).

This I think would result in a cinematic feel while still punishing accidents sufficiently to make them meaningful.

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