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  • Kinetic energy benchmarks

    (Important disclaimer: nearly every bit of data in this has come from Wikipedia, nothing more reliable, so you should take this with all the authority due to a rando on the internet telling you about something that was written by another rando on the internet. So no authority at all. That said, this might be useful to somebody someday, so here it is.)

    This is an attempt to make a weapon/damage benchmark list for Mutants and Masterminds. I've seen people make lists like these with the assumption that doubling energy will increase the Damage rank by one, like doubling anything in the Ranks and Measures table. Instead of that, my benchmark list is going to assume that rank increases as energy quadruples. Why? Because speed/velocity doubles with each rank, and kinetic energy uses the square of the velocity. The Slam attack action supports this: 1 rank of a movement power = double speed = quadruple kinetic energy = 1 rank of damage.

    I need a starting point, though. A basic rifle in Mutants and Masterminds is rank 5, and looking around Wikipedia, a 7.62mm NATO rifle has a muzzle energy of a little under 4 kilojoules. That's a nice round number, so I'll stick with it. A little under 4 kJ of kinetic energy causes Damage rank 5.

    Damage rank 4 should be 1 kJ, then, or a little lower. What has a muzzle energy of close to 1000 joules? Looking at Wikipedia some more, I get the 10mm Auto, with about 900 joules of muzzle energy. Apparently, the FBI decided it had too much recoil for general use, which sounds like a Heavy Pistol to me. So far so good.

    Rank 6 is 16 kJ, which fits an anti-materiel rifle like a .50 caliber BMG bullet. Rank 7 is 64 kJ, and rank 8 is about 250 kJ. These are autocannon numbers: the lightest autocannons are "only" a high rank 6 by this system, but most are rank 7 or 8. For example, the 23mm cannons on the Soviet "shilka" anti-aircraft vehicle fire a 184 gram shell at 980 meters per second, producing about 88 thousand joules of kinetic energy. A 40mm Bofors cannon fires a 900 gram shell at about a thousand meters per second for 450 thousand joules.

    One million joules is rank 9, and the sort of energy you'd get out of a medium caliber WWII-era tank gun. It's also the amount of explosive energy released by a stick of dynamite or an M67 fragmentation grenade, both of which the core rules benchmark at Area Damage 5. Four megajoules is a larger-caliber, more modern tank gun, and damage rank 10, which lines up again with the benchmarks in the core rules. The 5 inch gun on a naval destroyer fires a 70 pound shell at 762 m/s for about nine megajoules.

    There aren't a lot of modern kinetic energy weapons that put out 16 or more megajoules, mostly old naval guns or super-heavy howitzers, but the "Paris Gun" used by Germany in World War I fired 106 kg shells at 1640 meters per second for 142 and a half megajoules. It didn't work very well, but if you can get a superhero to stand directly in front of it you might be onto something. The 16 inch gun on an Iowa-class battleship fires a super-heavy 1,225 kg shell at 762 meters per second for a whopping 355 million joules of energy. On this chart, anything at 250 megajoules and up does 13 Damage, and once again that matches up with the core examples!

    So, here's my chart:

    16 J - Damage 1
    64 J - Damage 2
    250 J - Damage 3
    (Light pistol, .380 ACP and up)
    1 kJ - Damage 4
    (Heavy pistol, 10mm Auto and up)
    4 kJ - Damage 5
    (.30 caliber rifle)
    16 kJ - Damage 6
    (Anti-materiel rifle, heavy machine gun)
    64 kJ - Damage 7
    (Medium autocannon)
    250 kJ - Damage 8
    (Heavy autocannon, light anti-tank gun)
    1 MJ - Damage 9
    (WWII tank gun)
    4 MJ - Damage 10
    (Large-caliber cannon)
    16 MJ - Damage 11
    (203mm B-4 howitzer)
    64 MJ - Damage 12
    (10-inch naval gun, Paris Gun)
    250 MJ - Damage 13
    (Heavy battleship gun)
    1 GJ - Damage 14
    (800mm Schwerer Gustav railway supergun)

    I think it looks about right, but there's something that bothers me: a +1 on the DC of a d20 roll isn't a very big distinction to make when one weapon has four times as much energy as another one. I'm not sure there's much you can do to get around it in a system that wants to keep Superman and Jimmy Olsen within twenty points of each other. Still, I would humbly recommend that, if you want your game to pay a lot of attention to weapons and armor, you might consider preventing Equipment from beating Impervious defenses with the Power Attack maneuver. This leaves heavy weapons with an important role when super-tough enemies come to visit.
    [url=https://roninarmy.com/threads/6589-Builds-on-the-Sun]Builds on the Sun[/url]

  • #2
    This is pretty interesting.

    Where would you place an M1 tank's main gun? (It's 10 Damage in M&M.)

    Do you also have calculations, such as an estimate for a champion boxer or martial artist's punch?
    Last edited by Kimera757; 7th September 2019, 06:07 AM.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by Kimera757 View Post
      Do you also have calculations, such as an estimate for a champion boxer or martial artist's punch?
      Quick look has this article which claims a range of 37.5 J for an average punch and around 400 J for an expert. There's what looks like a reference link, but it seems to be broken.

      Also a Reddit thread with no cited sources claiming "Karate punches are ~150-450J, professional boxers have ~700-1000J+" which would all fit into the 3-4 Damage range in the OP's defined table, reasonably in the human range.
      My old [URL="http://www.atomicthinktank.com/viewtopic.php?p=743877#p743877"]Atomic Think Tank[/URL] thread
      My current character thread: [URL="https://roninarmy.com/threads/6194-The-Sound-of-My-Eyebeams-JDRook-s-builds-and-blather?p=233536&viewfull=1#post233536"]The Sound of my Eyebeams[/URL][URL="http://www.atomicthinktank.com/viewtopic.php?p=743877#p743877"]
      [/URL]
      I will build characters in HeroLab for you! Send me [URL="https://www.fiverr.com/jdrook/transcribe-a-mutants-and-masterminds-pc-in-herolab?funnel=6e71f15f-207e-49f4-bf35-9ceb23b979a7"]your finished design[/URL] or even [URL="https://www.fiverr.com/jdrook/create-a-mutants-and-masterminds-pc-in-herolab?context=advanced_search&context_type=rating&funnel=2014103117123522519608360"]your original concept[/URL]!

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Kimera757 View Post
        This is pretty interesting.

        Where would you place an M1 tank's main gun? (It's 10 Damage in M&M.)
        That's a good question! According to (again) wikipedia, the M829A3 sabot round fires a 10 kg depleted uranium penetrator at 1,555 meters per second for a little over twelve megajoules of energy. That's still a rank 10, but I would personally give it some Extended Range for its super-high velocity, on top of the Extended Range it would already get for state of the art targeting systems. Of course, the real goal of a sabot round is to focus all that kinetic energy on the smallest possible area to punch through armor, which is... kind of tricky to model.

        You can give some or all of the attack the Penetrating extra, but that won't actually make the round any better at its job, which is taking out other tanks. Stopping a rank 10 damage effect would take 19 ranks of Impervious Toughness, which is more than any tank I've ever seen modeled. What I might do instead is give the round some area damage, along with a Feature that lets the area pass through a barrier if the barrier fails its toughness save.

        Say you have a shell like this: Ranged Damage 10, Cone Area 6, Extended Range (some amount), and the Feature; call it Armor-Piercing. It hits a tank, the tank fails its save against damage 10, and the Cone Area 6 effect goes off inside the tank, forcing the crew to make saves, setting off stored ammunition, and probably disabling the tank regardless of how small the initial hole in the armor was. It would also be good for going through bunkers, piloted mecha, and people like Green Lantern or Iceman making use of Create.

        [url=https://roninarmy.com/threads/6589-Builds-on-the-Sun]Builds on the Sun[/url]

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        • #5
          I made a similar set of benchmarks, although they also cover melee weapons, bombs and explosives -but not battleship guns, because those aren't really in use anymore and I didn't want to concern myself with archaic millitary hardware, only things that might conceivably show up in play. They were made for use with 2E, based more on comparisons and less on a stringent formula. I think it's interesting to see where our progressions start to diverge:

          Damage:
          +0 punch*
          +1 knife*
          +2 club*, holdout pistol1
          +3 sword*, light pistol2
          +4 heavy pistol3 , submachine gun**
          +5 small caliber rifle4, assault rifle**, shotgun (shot)
          +6 (peak human strength) large caliber rifle5, sniper rifle, light machine gun6** shotgun (shell), hand grenade***, flamethrower, stick of dynamite***, dose of C4 or other explosive***.
          +7 heavy machine gun7**, elephant gun (e.g 577)
          +8 autocannon8 **/****
          +9 heavy autocannon9/automated grenade launcher**/****, anti-air, handheld grenade launcher9 ***.
          +10 light mortar10, medium mortar, medium mortar, recoil-less rifles11 ****, standard missile15 light anti-tank weapon, handheld ground-to-air missile****, light artillery/ light tank gun12 ****
          +11 heavy mortar, medium artillery/tank gun13****
          +12 main battle tank gun, standard artillery14 ****,
          +13
          +14 Mark 81 bomb***
          +15 Mark 82 bomb***
          +16 Mark 83 bomb***
          +17 Mark 84 bomb***, Tomahawk ballistic missile (conventional)***, «bunker buster»***
          +18 Daisy cutter bomb***
          +19
          +20 nuclear bomb^***, MOAB***

          Footnotes galore:

          * Mighty
          ** Autofire
          *** Area
          **** Payload (A custom Power Feat I use to model things like missiles and explosive rounds that are aimed at a target and also have a secondary Area effect)
          ^ A nuclear bomb is not just a Damage effect, but will also have all sorts of unpleasant environmental and secondary effects like radiation etc.

          1: e.g .22 handgun
          2: e.g .38 and .380 calibers
          3: e.g .45, 9mm.
          4: e.g 5.56mm
          5. e.g . 7.62, 308
          6: e.g .249 SAW (infantry-operated and portable)
          7: e.g M2 (typically vehicle-mounted)
          8: e.g 20-30 mm.
          9: e.g 40mm, RPG-7
          10: 60-70mm shells, M72-LAW, RPG-22, Stinger etc.
          11: 80-90mm shells, AT4, Carl Gustav, M67, etc.
          12: 105mm
          13: 120mm
          14: 155mm
          15: TOW, Sidewinder, Hellfire etc.
          Last edited by Nite_Owl; 14th September 2019, 05:03 AM.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Nite_Owl View Post
            I made a similar set of benchmarks, although they also cover melee weapons, bombs and explosives -but not battleship guns, because those aren't really in use anymore and I didn't want to concern myself with archaic millitary hardware, only things that might conceivably show up in play. They were made for use with 2E, based more on comparisons and less on a stringent formula. I think it's interesting to see where our progressions start to diverge:


            +11 heavy mortar, medium artillery/tank gun13****

            **** Payload (A custom Power Feat I use to model things like missiles and explosive rounds that are aimed at a target and also have a secondary Area effect)
            So, does this mean that you'd rank a medium tank gun as Damage 13 on a direct hit, and Area 11 around it? The damage ranks are definitely higher, but 2E in general seems to cover a narrower range of power than 3E, at least in regards to physical strength and damage.
            [url=https://roninarmy.com/threads/6589-Builds-on-the-Sun]Builds on the Sun[/url]

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by RainOnTheSun View Post

              So, does this mean that you'd rank a medium tank gun as Damage 13 on a direct hit, and Area 11 around it? The damage ranks are definitely higher, but 2E in general seems to cover a narrower range of power than 3E, at least in regards to physical strength and damage.
              Ah, no. The superscript numbers are footnotes to the list of example weapons, showing what I mean by "medium artillery" (in this case, a 120mm.) With such a long list of footnotes that gets pretty messy, so sorry about that. But it just means Damage 11. The way my Payload feat works is as follows:

              You take it on a General Area effect, and then whenever you use that effect you can make one attack roll against one target at the point of origin for the Area. If the attack hits, the target is considered to have failed their Reflex save against the Area, and takes full damage. If the attack misses, the target is considered to have succeeded on their reflex save and takes half damage (or none, if they had Evasion). As this is more or less a hybrid General/Targeted Area, it does not permit trade-offs in favor of Effect (because in that case the General part would break PL.) Tradeoffs in favor of attack bonus are fine because then you effectively have an at-PL attack stapled to a sub-PL Area effect. As always, Power Feats are optional to use - you can always use "indirect fire" to use the effect as a normal General Area attack.

              As far as physical strength and damage between editions, the trouble is that 2E is seriously inconsistent on the issue, because while the 2E progression table is actually faster than the 3E one (so one would think that e.g a rank 10 effect in 2E signifies more force than in 3E), Strength has its own progression that doesn't use the progression table at all. So in return for more granularity at low levels (negative up through "human-level" ranks) you get serious discrepancies elsewhere, while 3E is consistent. In 2E, 5 ranks of Strength (or 2,5 ranks of Strength bonus, which is the more relevant comparison with 3E) are needed to double lifting Strength (and thus by extension force), whereas 2 ranks up on the Progression table, which is used for everything else, gives a value 5 times higher.

              This is a source of headache for me in benchmarking strength-based effects with other effects that I mostly just have to sweep under the rug - in general I ignore the issue at human level, and at higher levels I give precedence to the Progression table and shore up the discrepancy in lifting with Super-Strength.

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              • #8
                I think that's an artifact from the game's Dungeons and Dragons roots. Strength operates on a system that was meant to have power increase much more slowly than the main progression table. I like your Payload feat, I think it's especially well suited for anything with a proximity fuse.
                [url=https://roninarmy.com/threads/6589-Builds-on-the-Sun]Builds on the Sun[/url]

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                • #9
                  (Just one more of these, I promise.)

                  If one stick of dynamite is about 1 megajoule of energy, and the core book ranks it as an Area 5 attack, that gives us another benchmark to try to work with. Other benchmarks for explosions are a bit harder to come by, but a good starting point is one gram of TNT. A gram of TNT is "defined by convention" to release 4,184 joules of energy for measurement purposes, although I couldn't tell you who's in charge of setting that definition. There are examples of explosive weapons in the core book, so let's try and figure out how much energy they release.

                  A rocket from a helicopter has Area 6 on its damage. This looks like the type of rocket being refered to. The most common warhead carries about a kilogram of Composition B-4, which is a bit more powerful than TNT. That's about 5 and a half kilojoules of energy.

                  A tank shell also has Area 6 on its damage. It's hard to find exact data for tank shells, so I'm going to look at a source even more dubious than wikipedia: War Thunder! It lists the TNT equivalent of a lot of old tank shells, so let's take a quick sample:
                  20mm KwK 30: 10.2 g - 42.7 kJ
                  45mm 20-K: 118 g - 493.7 kJ
                  57mm ZiS-4M: 220 g - 920.5 kJ
                  88mm KwK 36: 698 g - 2.92 MJ
                  105mm M4: 2180 g - 9.12 MJ
                  122mm D-25T: 3600 g - 15.06 MJ
                  152mm M-10T: 5830 g - 24.39 MJ
                  125mm 2A46M-1: 5780 g - 24.18 MJ. This is the gun on a T-80 tank, and it's probably the most modern HE shell on the wiki.

                  A destroyer shell is area 8. Looking around some more, I find that most destroyer shells are filled with about 3 and a half kg of some explosive that's probably more powerful than ordinary TNT. I'll estimate that at 20 megajoules.

                  A battleship shell has area 9 on its damage. According to this, 16" shells carry 151 pounds of explosive filler. Even if that filler is only TNT, it releases almost 290 megajoules. That's... a lot more than a destroyer shell.

                  If we start with our assumption that about one megajoule of energy is a rank 5 area attack, and from that we keep the rule that quadrupling the energy increases the damage by one rank, we get:

                  1 MJ - Area 5
                  (Stick of dynamite, small-caliber tank gun or howitzer)
                  4 MJ - Area 6
                  (70mm helicopter rocket, medium-caliber tank gun or howitzer)
                  16 MJ - Area 7
                  (Destroyer shell, large-caliber tank gun or howitzer)
                  64 MJ - Area 8
                  250 MJ - Area 9
                  (Battleship shell)

                  That's not too bad. Modern tank guns are one rank stronger than they are in the core, and destroyer guns are one rank weaker, but the battleship gun at the top is the same. Let's add more measurements to this scale and see what it looks like.

                  1 MJ - Area 5
                  (Stick of dynamite, M67 hand grenade, small-caliber tank gun or howitzer)
                  4 MJ - Area 6
                  (70mm helicopter rocket, medium-caliber tank gun or howitzer, 1 kilogram of TNT)
                  16 MJ - Area 7
                  (Destroyer shell, large-caliber tank gun or howitzer)
                  64 MJ - Area 8
                  (50 kg WWII bomb, 21 cm artillery shell)
                  250 MJ - Area 9
                  (Battleship shell, 500 pound Mark 82 bomb)
                  1 GJ - Area 10
                  (533mm DM2A4 heavyweight torpedo, GBU-28 bunker-buster bomb)
                  4 GJ - Area 11
                  (1 ton of TNT)
                  16 GJ - Area 12
                  (BLU-82 Daisy Cutter)
                  64 GJ - Area 13
                  (Davy Crockett nuclear recoilless gun)
                  250 GJ - Area 14
                  (W48 nuclear artillery shell)
                  1 TJ - Area 15
                  4 TJ - Area 16
                  (1 kiloton of TNT)
                  16 TJ - Area 17
                  64 TJ - Area 18
                  (WWII atomic bomb)
                  250 TJ - Area 19
                  1 PJ - Area 20
                  4 PJ - Area 21
                  (1 megaton of TNT)
                  16 PJ - Area 22
                  64 PJ - Area 23
                  (B41 three-stage nuclear bomb)

                  If these values seem too low, the core rules say to add one to the damage rank every time you double the amount of dynamite or plastic explosive, so you could increase explosive power at that rate instead. I want it to increase at the same speed as kinetic damage, though, so I'll leave it at this.

                  One last thing: Bigger explosions should probably have more than one rank of Area on their damage. That Hydra 70 rocket with Area damage 6 has "a blast radius of 10 meters and lethal fragmentation radius of around 50 meters." Let's round that down to three instances of Area, with a bit less each time.

                  Hydra 70 rocket: Ranged Damage 9, Burst Area Damage 6, Burst Area 2 Damage 4, Burst Area 3 Damage 3 * 31 points

                  And with that I think I have finally overanalyzed this bit of the game enough to be finished. I hope that it is somehow useful to someone other than myself!
                  [url=https://roninarmy.com/threads/6589-Builds-on-the-Sun]Builds on the Sun[/url]

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                  • #10
                    Does anyone have figures for a 30-40 mm grenade launcher? Are those just differently-shaped frag grenades?

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