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Falling and catching example - Did I get this right?

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  • Falling and catching example - Did I get this right?

    I did a trial today GM'ing for a couple of friends. One person was thrown out of a skyscraper window, plummeting to the ground. I may have worked this out incorrectly (but that is why I love the fine folks in this community forum after all) and so wanted to run a scenario past you to ensure that if it was wrong then I can make it right next time.

    The skyscraper is 1/2 mile to the top window. The hero was thrown through the window and plummeted to the ground.
    Using page 186 of the hero handbook, I add 4 to the distance rank of 7 (11 in total). I then added 15 and made the toughness save a 26. The hero was allowed to add acrobatics or agility to the roll (although this seemed abt weird as you cannot roll out of a 1/2 mile death dive...)

    Did I get this right?


    This then started the conversation over what if the hero was caught? I suggested that (once again using the handbook) we use dexterity 5 (plus 10) to make the DC 15 to attempt the cach. If successful, the hero catching (who had a strength 10) would reduce the toughness save to 16. Both heros would now roll to make sure they were not harmed against 16 (not the original 26). This didn't happen obviously as they were both in the top room at the time.

    I also mentioned that in the likelihood of the second hero being a flying paragon, if he had delayed his go, he could fly out the window and attempt to catch the falling hero. As long as he did not fail his toughnes save by four degrees then he would not also plummet to the ground (but both could still take damage).

    I tried to work out how long the first hero would take to fall half a mile (as the her did not hae a delayed action this turn)b could notwork it out as I amnt sure of the speed that peple or items fall.


    Does this sound in the right area?

    Cheers.

  • #2
    Re: Falling and catching example - Did I get this right?

    This is something that comes up an awful lot for me, actually. Might be because my favorite archetype of nocturnal, non-powered rooftop-dwelling heroes spends more time jumping off skyscrapers than anyone should... Or that my personal, signature heroine, Doctor Marvel, can only activate her Flight at the expense of something else, like the invulnerability needed to survive getting punched in the face by Namor a half mile above Delaware Bay. But, I digress.

    Here on Earth, everything falls at the same speed: 32.1740 ft/sec/sec.

    Mind you, air resistance and the size/shape of an object all futz with this basic, iron clad rule. Terminal velocity for your standard-issue human being peaks around 53-56m/s (about 170-183 ft/sec) or about 1,100 ft/round. If we fudge the numbers a bit for ease of gaming purposes, at 32ft/sec, it's about 5.7 seconds (essentially one 6 seconds round) before hitting terminal velocity.

    So, since terminal velocity is hit during Turn 1, we know that half that is the distance covered in Turn 1. So that's 550 feet in Turn 1, and each turn thereafter another 1100 feet.

    But as you can tell just by watching some YouTube videos of skydivers, there is a big difference between uncontrolled falling, spreading yourself out kite like, and assuming an aerodynamic, diving posture. Peak recorded speed for that is somewhere around 300 ft/sec.

    For simplicity, I've always just used it 500' (1st Round) and 1000' (Ongoing) for someone in a free fall and 500' (1st), 1500' (2nd), and 1800' (Ongoing) for someone actively diving.

    Those simple numbers don't precisely mesh with real world math (coming in at a standard gravity closer to .85 Gs) but unless you've got a NASA physicist at your gaming table, they're close enough.
    Last edited by Batgirl III; 10-06-2014, 10:51 AM.

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    • #3
      Re: Falling and catching example - Did I get this right?

      Wow that is a comprehensive answer, thanks that sounds perfect for our needs. By the way was the maths right for the scenarios?

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      • #4
        Re: Falling and catching example - Did I get this right?

        Originally posted by Batgirl III View Post
        Those simple numbers don't precisely mesh with real world math (coming in at a standard gravity closer to .85 Gs) but unless you've got a NASA physicist at your gaming table, they're close enough.
        *raises hand*, OK engineer, not physicist per se, and Space and Missile Defense, but NASA is just across the base from us.

        That said, while many of my friends and members of my local gaming group are also DOD and NASA engineers, even we round things off in game. We do sometimes get into the exact details as a thought exercise, but MOST of us learned long ago that it ruins the fun to try to get that exact in game (especially in a system like M&M where things aren't meant to be that exact).


        Originally posted by Denial View Post
        I did a trial today GM'ing for a couple of friends. One person was thrown out of a skyscraper window, plummeting to the ground. I may have worked this out incorrectly (but that is why I love the fine folks in this community forum after all) and so wanted to run a scenario past you to ensure that if it was wrong then I can make it right next time.

        The skyscraper is 1/2 mile to the top window. The hero was thrown through the window and plummeted to the ground.
        Using page 186 of the hero handbook, I add 4 to the distance rank of 7 (11 in total). I then added 15 and made the toughness save a 26. The hero was allowed to add acrobatics or agility to the roll (although this seemed abt weird as you cannot roll out of a 1/2 mile death dive...)

        Did I get this right?


        This then started the conversation over what if the hero was caught? I suggested that (once again using the handbook) we use dexterity 5 (plus 10) to make the DC 15 to attempt the cach. If successful, the hero catching (who had a strength 10) would reduce the toughness save to 16. Both heros would now roll to make sure they were not harmed against 16 (not the original 26). This didn't happen obviously as they were both in the top room at the time.

        I also mentioned that in the likelihood of the second hero being a flying paragon, if he had delayed his go, he could fly out the window and attempt to catch the falling hero. As long as he did not fail his toughnes save by four degrees then he would not also plummet to the ground (but both could still take damage).

        I tried to work out how long the first hero would take to fall half a mile (as the her did not hae a delayed action this turn)b could notwork it out as I amnt sure of the speed that peple or items fall.


        Does this sound in the right area?

        Cheers.
        You are pretty close, but I see some math errors in your numbers.

        3E (which you seem to be using based on your post) says falling damage is 4 + TWICE the distance rank (maximum rank 6 for a total falling damage of 16).

        Your distance rank was 7, so reduce this to 6 as per book.
        So the falling damage should have been 4 + (2*6) = 16 (the max the book says falling damage in normal gravity can achieve) = DC 31.

        The book says catching is DC 5 (not 15, although 15 is probably more realistic). If you want a game slightly more realistic (street level games for example), I'd keep using the DC 15 myself. If you want the more fantastic world of comic book use the DC 5 the books says.

        The rest you had right. You would subtract the Str 10 from the DC 31 falling damage to get DC 21 (damage rank 6), which both the falling character and the one catching them would need to make a save against.


        Note 1: Both characters could use Acrobatics (if they have it) to try to reduce falling damage (as you got). Each would make a DC 5 check. Each degree of success would deduce the damage DC by 1. So if they rolled a 5 on teh acrobatics check reduce damage by 1, by 2 for a 10 on the roll, by 3 for a 15 on the roll, 4 for a 20+ on the roll. 3E doesn't really go beyond 4 degrees on checks (which means Acrobatics can't negate a fall over 30 ft/rank 0 without something else helping you too). If you wanted to for your game (GM has final say after all) you could keep reducing the damage DC by each additional 5 on the roll. If they can reduce the fall damage (not the DC) to rank 0 (DC down to 15 from Acrobatics basically) then they are safe from the fall and come up on your feet with a free action. Normally you are prone after a fall and have to spend an action to get up.


        NOTE 2: The book talks about possibly using your Flight rank or Move Object rank in place of Strength. If you are using Flight or Move Object you can basically reduce the DC from falling damage by that much each round until you either hit the ground or manage to come to a stop. Using Move Object (depending on the power description) may also mean the character doing the "catching" is in no danger of damage from teh "catch".


        NOTE 3: Batgirl's numbers are a pretty good approximation of falling speed for game purposes. You may want to adjust them some up or down if your campaign is taking place on a planet with noticably higher or lower gravity than Earth.
        Classic car restoring, gun owning, martial arts practicing, military, gamer geek, kinky lesbian IT chick (has your brain exploded yet?)
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        • #5
          Re: Falling and catching example - Did I get this right?

          Also, when it comes to the subject of numbers, you should never be afraid to simply say: "Yeah, you got this." Skipping the dice entirely.

          If you have reason to assume that Jetpack Lad has the strength necessary to carry Freefall Lass and the speed necessary to catch up to her... Well, unless it'd be of use to the story to introduce a chance of failure, you can just let it happen.

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          • #6
            Re: Falling and catching example - Did I get this right?

            These are great responses and have helped loads. Thanks guys, it is appreciated.

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