Low Strength Characters in Combat

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cailano
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Low Strength Characters in Combat

Post Fri Apr 23, 2021 11:58 pm

So, I've got a halfling thief with a 4 strength, giving her a -2 to all things melee, and with thrown weapons and sling damage as well.

This is too bad because I can see her running around with her sling being deadly accurate, as she has a 16 dexterity.

But let's say she lands a shot on someone with her sling or, gods-forbid, she gets into melee and stabs someone with her trusty dagger.

Can her strength penalty lower her damage to zero? With only 1d4 to roll, her average damage would be zero in that case.
BusterBluth
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Re: Low Strength Characters in Combat

Post Sat Apr 24, 2021 4:46 am

Minimum damage is always 1.

Kudos for running a PC with low stats. I find it annoying when players insist on having characters with 13+ in all their abilities.

One of these days, I'm going to run a low Intelligence character, inspired by Otto from a Fish Called Wanda. He absolutely hates being called stupid but then gives those around him every reason in the world to call him that.
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cailano
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Re: Low Strength Characters in Combat

Post Sat Apr 24, 2021 8:08 am

Oh man, love that movie.

"... you really think you're an intellectual, don't you, you ape?"

"Apes don't read philosophy."

"Yes they do, Otto, they just don't understand it."

Thanks for the rules clarification! To me, low strength fits a halfling. They are three feet tall. A sixteen strength would seem to defy physics. Not to mention that they'd be capable of some pretty amazing feats of athleticism with that kind of strength-to-weight ratio.
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Tazer_The_Yoot
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Re: Low Strength Characters in Combat

Post Sat Apr 24, 2021 10:29 am

Why would it be abnormal to have a strong halfling? I went to school with a young man with dwarfism and nobody could beat him at arm wrestling. Shorter limbs confer great benefits for lifting, pushing and pulling.
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cailano
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Re: Low Strength Characters in Combat

Post Sat Apr 24, 2021 3:26 pm

That's a human, though, unless you went to a very interesting school.

According to the core rules, halflings are three feet tall and weigh all of sixty pounds. That's very small, and they aren't usually described as a heavily muscled people.

They're about the height of a 2 - 3-year-old human child and the weight of an 8 - 9-year-old one. Even if a halfling could carry twice his body weight (which seems strong), that would only be about 120 pounds. If we go with the formula of Str * 15 = carrying weight, the halfling would have a strength of 8.

Which seems about right to me. If I met a halfling and he was nearly as strong as a 5'10" adult man, I would be thinking, "these little guys are strong AF."

Now, think about a 60-pound person with the strength of an NFL linebacker. I'd expect that person to be able to run thirty miles an hour and leap twenty feet through the air. They'd just be so strong for their size. Which is actually kind of cool. I'd love to see a world where halflings were more like Elfquest elves, riding wolves and leaping deer-like over high obstacles.

But, you know, it's a world where three-ton flying lizards can breathe fire. So, play it as you feel it. The core rules would seem to be on your side of the argument.
Rosisha
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Re: Low Strength Characters in Combat

Post Sat Apr 24, 2021 3:49 pm

Smaller animals tend to be much stronger though - ants are at the extreme range of 5000 times their body weight. So it would make sense that a smaller sized humanoid, with the full development normally only seen in adult humans (i.e. lung capacity, vascular capacity, and muscle density) would be able to do some damn amazing things.

Edit for Science: https://physics.stackexchange.com/quest ... ative-to-t

I won't pretend to understand the math here, but basically a halfling or gnome should be stronger than a human or elf. A dwarf would be somewhere between those two - stronger than the human, but weaker then the smaller gnomes and halflings.

This is assuming that for all intents and purposes, the pulmonary and cardiovascular systems in the fantasy creatures works similarly to humans, and when they shift into adulthood from puberty, gain similar advantages based on equivalent endocrine activity.

But... we have three ton giant lizards that breathe fire so take this wherever you want to :)
Saltmarsh
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Re: Low Strength Characters in Combat

Post Sun Apr 25, 2021 4:58 am

On the subject of low strength in combat play to your advantage, Dexterity
You could use a short bow no minus to damage there .
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Clever_Munkey
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Re: Low Strength Characters in Combat

Post Thu Apr 29, 2021 2:11 pm

Rosisha wrote: Sat Apr 24, 2021 3:49 pm Smaller animals tend to be much stronger though - ants are at the extreme range of 5000 times their body weight. So it would make sense that a smaller sized humanoid, with the full development normally only seen in adult humans (i.e. lung capacity, vascular capacity, and muscle density) would be able to do some damn amazing things.

Edit for Science: https://physics.stackexchange.com/quest ... ative-to-t

I won't pretend to understand the math here, but basically a halfling or gnome should be stronger than a human or elf. A dwarf would be somewhere between those two - stronger than the human, but weaker then the smaller gnomes and halflings.

This is assuming that for all intents and purposes, the pulmonary and cardiovascular systems in the fantasy creatures works similarly to humans, and when they shift into adulthood from puberty, gain similar advantages based on equivalent endocrine activity.

But... we have three ton giant lizards that breathe fire so take this wherever you want to :)
You are misinterpreting the physics of this. The scientific use of "strength" is independent of size, and is only dependent on the material.

Scientifically strength is a measure of the maximum stress a thing can withstand. Simple stress is equal to the force applied, divided by the cross-sectional area of the object. The strength of an object does not change with size. What does change with size is the cross sectional area of the object, and the volume. A larger cross-sectional area allows the object to withstand more force before failure. a larger volume however increases the weight of the object, which the object must also support. The "square-cube rule" says that simply scaling all dimensions of an object causes the volume (and by extension the weight) to increase faster than the cross-sectional area. This means that the force the object needs to hold increases faster than the force it is able to hold. This puts an upper limit on how much we can scale an object before it collapses under its own weight. The strength for small and large objects of the same material is the same (the strength to size/weight ratio is not, however). This is something that is strictly ignored in fantasy and sci-fi simply because with it there would be no giant anythings, just as we ignore the fact that most giant insects would actually suffocate in a modern-Earth like atmosphere.

The Game's usage of strength is not the same as the scientific one. The game uses strength roughly as "maximum force a creature is able to apply," and then ignores the fact it must be able to support its own weight (because it would be boring). Halflings are not able to support as large of a load when compared to larger humanoids because they are smaller, so their game strength is lower. They might have a higher scientific strength to size/weight ratio, but they don't have a higher scientific strength either unless their skeletons are made of something other than bone.

As far as why ants and other arthropods are able to hold such large forces relative to their size, it is because they have exoskeletons (and several legs), which means they are able to distribute the load over a larger relative area (This is also ignoring the fact that the majority of exoskeletons are made of chitin, and not bone).

Back on topic:
Saltmarsh wrote: Sun Apr 25, 2021 4:58 am On the subject of low strength in combat play to your advantage, Dexterity
You could use a short bow no minus to damage there .
Do this.
Call me Joe. Mr. Munkey is my father.
Rosisha
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Re: Low Strength Characters in Combat

Post Thu Apr 29, 2021 3:46 pm

LOL I did state: "I won't pretend to understand the math here." Fair enough, but at the same time - I also ended with "We have three ton fire breathing lizards so do what you want." :)
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