Body (Action)

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Heroic Action Role-Play

Body is a measure of strength, mass, and resilience. It is closely linked to size and weight. Heroes sometimes have more body than their size indicates, but unless supernatural forces are at work, the difference is unlikely to be very large. Body is the only attribute that can have a negative value.

Body and Mass

Weight is a ceiling on Body values. The table below gives minimum weight (in kilograms) and length (in cm) for different Body ratings. This assumes a body that is very fit or heroic. Most creatures will be below these values, creatures leading comfortable lives as much as five points below. Depending on fitness, the actual Body can be as low as five points under the optimum and still function. A very fit hero weighting 100 kilos has a Body of 10; an overweight couch potato weighting 100 kg can have a Body as low as 5.

Length

Body is tied to weight, not length; certain worms can be prodigiously long yet still have comparatively low Body scores. Still, for creatures or reasonable builds, Body can be used as a benchmark of how large they are. Length is greatest overall length based on weight; the tails of animals are not included. Animals that are very thin and stretched out can be up to twice as long. This does not take the square-cube law into account; real-world animals tend to grow proportionally shorter and more bulky as they advance in weight while fantastic creatures like giants do not; this table is for non-realistic giants.

Unusual Creatures

The table covers common weights for living creatures, but can be used for items, vehicles and construction as well. As the table is logarithmic, it can be extended to greater or smaller values. For weights weights in excess of 1,000 kg, simply read the weight in tonnes and add 15 to the result. For weights less than 1 kg, read the weight in grams and subtract 15.

Some very small creatures have a negative Body score. For people uncomfortable with negative numbers, simply use a Body score of zero; body scores this low doesn't matter a lot anyway. As an optional rule, negative Body (Action) body scores can cover tiny creatures by extending the same math to negative values.

Space on the Map

Table: Body and Space
Body Space Comparison
1-10 1x1 medium
11-15 2x2 Large
16-20 3x3 Huge
21-25 4x4 Gargantuan
+5 (+1)x(+1) Colossal

If using maps and miniatures, a creature of high Body takes up more room on the map. A creature of body 11 to 15 or more takes up of 2x2 spaces, 4 times that of a normal creature. For every 5 additional point of Body, the multiple increases by 1, see Table: Body and Space.

A creature with Superstrength can ignore this size increase.

Encumbrance and Lifting

A creature can carry as much weight as the indicated mass for its Body score. That is, a perfectly physically fit creature can carry its own body weight and not be encumbered.

Dragging something along the ground reduces the effective load from one to three points, depending on terrain and the gear used. If you are on flat ground and using some sort of cart, you can pull weights exceeding your normal Body limit by as much as 5 points.

Carrying weight up to these limits is not an action and has no effect on movement or maneuvers. Carrying more is covered under Encumbrance below.

Body Weight Length Example
0 1.0 40
1 1.6 47
2 2.5 55
3 4.0 65 Cat
4 6.3 75
5 10 85
6 16 100 Dog
7 25 115
8 40 135
9 60 160
10 100 190 Large human
11 160 220
12 250 250
13 400 290 Riding horse
14 630 340
15 1000 400
16 1,600 500
17 2,500 550
18 4,000 650 Elephant
19 6,000 750
20 10,000 900

Encumbrance

Body determines how much a character can carry, per the Encumbrance and Lifting rules. But it is possible to carry more than this by accepting movement limitations.

You can carry gear up to two points above your normal Body limit simply by accepting a movement limitation on all actions; you no longer get a free move along with your Basic Actions, you cannot move as part of any other type of action, and if you spend a Basic Action solely on movement you move your Move in meters. This is similar but not identical to the Static weapon trait. Your overland movement rate is halved when carrying this much.

Also see the Feat of Strength and Strength Push stunts.

Equipment Issues

A very high Body score runs into the physical limitations of the setting. In a normal human milieu where equipment is made for characters in the 5-9 Body range, it is very hard to find gear appropriate for Body 12. Here are a number of proposed solutions.

  • Downgrade If there is no gear made for your Body, take what is ordinarily a heavier weapon and call it a lighter weapon. For example, take a Heavy Revolver for Body 9 and call it a Light Revolver for Body 13. There is nothing odd about this, as all weapons are on a sliding scale - what is a heavy weapon for some is always a light weapon for someone stronger. What it does mean is that the heaviest weapons will be unavailable if you have a very high Body.
  • Improvise The Improvised weapon quality is your friend. Improvised weapons can usually be found or adapted to any size.
  • Customize Characters in Action are heroes and can either make things for themselves or get people to help them, as outlined in the Contacts and Tinkering rules. This can be an adventure reward or a facet of your background. The drawback is a lack of flexibility; you have to get the gear ahead of time. Signature Items work very well here, helping you bring your outsize weapons along.

Stunts

Endurance

Inherent

The endurance rule is sketchy. Endurance is really a bit to gritty for Action.

You can work a number of hours each day equal to twice your Body. If there is no water or air is in short supply, reduce the multiplier by one. Exceeding this cause one Hit and one more Hit after additional hours each day equal to your Body. These hits need full rest to recover.

Example: Tim has a Body of 4. Under normal conditions, he can work 8 hours a day. If water or air (or both) is in short supply, he can work 4 hours a day. After he has worked up to his limit, he takes one Hit and then one additional Hit every 4 hours thereafter.

Marching, you move at a speed in kph based on your Move rating -1. Moving at full speed is much more tiring, and every 15 minutes spent like that counts as a full hour of normal exertion.

Feat of Strength

Basic Action

The Encumbrance rule covers how much a character can carry. But it is possible to make even more impressive feats of strength by spending a Basic Action on them. In this way a character can use his strength to push trough doors, walls, tangled wines and other hindrances. Toppling walls, statues and other heavy objects are also common feats of strength, along with many, many other stunts based on heroic strength.

  • Carrying heavy weights a short distance allows lifting at two Body more than normal.
  • Lifting something off the ground while remaining still allows lifting at three Body higher than normal.
  • Breaking trough doors and walls needs a Body equal to their Toughness.
  • Toppling something takes a strength based on its weight, with a bonus based on how precariously it is balanced. Reduce the required Body by 3 for a square block you want to tip up to 5 for something on the verge of falling.

It is possible to push these limits for short periods by doing a Strength Push stunt.

Feat of Strength Coordination

Basic Action

You can assist another on a Feat of Strength. If you have identical Body scores, this is automatically successful. To assist another character with a higher Body, you must use Strength Push to push your Body until equals or exceeds the Body of the person you want to assist; failure means your assistance did not in fact help. Each successful assistant gives a +1 bonus to the main character's body, to a maximum bonus of +3. Not that the main character can push his strength without changing the assistance difficulty, which allows truly impressive coordinated tasks.

Hold Breath

Inherent

You can hold your breath a number of rounds equal to your Body; for each round after that you take one Hit. An unconscious character that takes damage this way suffers a Damage Setback.

Vitality

Inherent

Using Limit breaks consumes a fair part of your stamina, giving an effective limit on daily Limit Breaks equal to your Body. Don't bother keeping track of this during action sequences; this limit is to prevent characters from working miraculous powers all day, not to stop heroic action.

Schticks

Bruiser

Inherent

You are very physically powerful and look the part. Your Body can be up to two points higher than the normal Race maximum.

Determination

Inherent

Use this if you run out of Hits. You can avoid collapsing when out of Hits, but at a price. Once you are out of Hits, you take damage setbacks when damage exceeds your soak attribute by five instead of ten. If you take a damage setback while at no Hits, you are unable to continue fighting.

Guts

Limit Break

You have a fierce will to live and fight on. Heal one hit. You can use this at the end of a round, even if unconscious due to lack of hits. You cannot use this to wake from unconsciousness if you have taken a damage setback.

Unnamed characters with this schtick have a 50% chance to recover at the end of a round. If playing with miniatures, leave the model on the tabletop and roll at the end of the round. If the roll fails, or if the unnamed creature takes a damage setback, remove the model.

Natural Reach

Inherent

You have long reach, most often because you are tall but sometimes just due to long limbs.

All your Melee attacks gain a Reach of 1 per 5 Body or fraction thereof, with a minimum of 2 meters.

Against creatures whose Body is lower than yours all your Melee attacks also gain Intercept.

One Last Shot

Inherent

When you take your last Hit, do one last furious burst of action. This can be a Basic Action or a Limit Break. After this your hits run out and you fall unconscious - you can heal yourself to help your survival, but you cannot heal yourself to stay in the fight. One Last Shot does not give you access to schticks and powers you don't ordinarily have, it only lets you use your normal powers out of sequence.

Unflappable

Inherent

A quiet but secure giant, you ignore the antics of smaller creatures. Your huge mass is hard to move or unbalance.

Superstrength

Inherent

You can freely exceed the normal Body limit based on your race and weight. You can choose to not take up more Space on the Map. You must decide how large you are in advance, Superstrength does not allow you to change your mass at will.

You still suffer from physical limitations on weapons, armor, and tools.

This schtick is considered a Power even tough it lacks a Form. To take it, you have to have a Tradition, and if the Methods of your tradition or a Power Loss Limitation makes you lose your powers, your attribute is reduced to the normal maximum value until your powers return.

Note that this is mostly a problem for Folk - more exotic creatures don't have attribute maxima anyway.

Super Leverage

Inherent

Your strength does not need leverage to work; in true superhero fashion you do not need to be solidly anchored to exert strength, and you can lift impossibly large objects that would ordinarily break if their entire weight was carried by one person.

You still suffer from physical limitations on weapons, armor, and tools, but you can use oversized gear sized for your actual Body.

This schtick is considered a Power even tough it lacks a Form. To take it, you have to have a Tradition, and if the Methods of your tradition or a Power Loss Limitation makes you lose your powers, your attribute is reduced to the normal maximum value until your powers return.

Note that this is mostly a problem for Folk - more exotic creatures don't have attribute maxima anyway.

Toughness

Toughness is a calculated value in Action, it is used to soak most physical damage damage. Some special abilities makes you ignore armor, and thus do damage directly to Body and ignoring Toughness.

Normally, Toughness equals Body plus armor. If you have no armor it defaults to Body. Armor can be worn, some power granting you armor, or the inherent structure of an object.

Object Toughness and Armor

Objects have a Body based on their weight alone. The Toughness of an object depends on its weight and structural integrity. This works just like armor for a creature, and armor is a more convenient term than structural integrity. Unlike most creatures, an object can have a negative armor value, indicating it is weaker than the norm and its Toughness is lower than its Body.

In some cases, a surface toughness value is needed. Hammering away at solid rock, the rock would be completely impenetrable if it's entire weight were included in the calculations. Yet we know tunnels can be chiseled by hand. In this case, use a surface toughness, which is 15 plus the armor value of the material, the Toughness of one ton of the stuff.

Some example materials are given here. This list is by no means comprehensive.

Object Toughness Table

Material Armor Value
Soft soil, Wood, plastic +0
Packed soil, thin metal +2
Soft stone, sandbags, sturdy civilian construction +4
Hard stone, soft metal, riveted steel armor (coal) +6
Hard metal, welded steel armor (combustion) +8
Composite armor (electronic) +10
Crystallized armor (fusion) +12
Force fields (hyperspace) +14

The armor ratings are for heavily armored military vehicles. An armored civilian or lightly armored military vehicle would be at least three points lower. Immobile fortified installations can be tougher than this, but usually do better as scenery.