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I have an electrified baton.

Normally a baton only gives +3 bashing damage to attacks, but with it being electrified with the same amount of juice equal to a protective fence (per "The World of Darkness: Core Rulebook" pg.178) that would imply either:

  • a +6 blunt bashing, overriding the +3 bonus of the baton itself,
  • or it deals a flat +6 bashing for being in contact with an electrified object right?

My GM and I are debating this back and forth. It became a pivotal point of contention when I got into a fight with a rather nasty NPC.

We started following the GM's thoughts on the mechanic: that it just overrode the bonus. I got 4 successes, leaving the NPC bruised and angry.

Now, if it had been according to my thought process on how it would work, then the NPC would have taken 6 bashing damage points for being in contact, meaning that as I succeeded on touching him (I hit him for 4 successes), he would have taken 10 bashing damage points and then be knocked out.

Thoughts? Am I just trying to break the system or is my GM totally right? (Will abide GM's decision either way, that is the rule XD)

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You must have a very impressive power source on you. Does your game care about that, or should people start by presuming an "electric fence on a stick with a very long extension cord"? –  Brian Ballsun-Stanton Jul 9 at 6:00
    
See, now, my first thought wasn't even 'extension cord'. I just assumed he had an electrical spirit (harvested from an electric fence) bound into a fetish weapon. But then, my game of choice is Werewolf. –  Wolfman Joe Jul 9 at 15:54
    
I am actually currently lugging around a backpack full of batteries to charge the baton, but I am a member of the Transhuman Engineers Legacy, and at some point in the future the third tier legacy, Activation will come into effect, and I will not care about charge, as essentially I am the extension cord! And to you Wolfman Joe, that is an excellent idea, and is actually being utilized to a different degree by a member of our group. –  Pethrax Jul 10 at 1:09

2 Answers 2

The book Armory has official rules for stun batons, a paragraph under Stun guns, on p. 36.

The entry describes how stun guns work (short: the electricity doesn't cause damage, it knocks the target unconscious for a specific number of rounds), and

A baton version of this weapon [of the stun gun] exists. The baton can be used as a club to cause damage (+1 modifier to attack, does bashing damage only) or it can be used to deliver a charge from its tip. The baton cannot be used to do both.

Armory p.93 has an entry on Ranged Stun Guns, though, in whose description you'll find that firing the probes of a ranged stun gun causes a level of bashing damage besides (that is, simultaneously) having the effects of a standard stun gun.

If your weapon is a standard issue stun baton, use the rules presented in Armory. If it's something specific, an experimental piece that you and your GM cooked up in and for the story, use it as your GM says, because, as you've said, he's the GM. :)

If you're interested in my subjective opinion, I'd say a mad scientist's super-advanced stun baton would cause bashing damage along with the stun effect described in Armory.

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Of course it's worth noting that according to those Armory rules you're probably far more likely to be able to kill a vampire by knocking them unconscious with a stun gun than using a sword. Something just seems wrong about that. –  Wesley Obenshain Jul 9 at 7:00
    
@WesleyObenshain Well, advanced technology is one of the reasons for the vampires to try and stay hidden, isn't it? :) –  OpaCitiZen Jul 9 at 7:15
    
Does electricity knock out Kindred? Bashing damage can't by itself. –  Cthos Jul 9 at 15:03
    
@Cthos It's a special rule of the stun gun that seems really odd to me. Its basically an extended Dexterity+Weaponry check that knocks out the target when you reach their Size. Very odd. –  Wesley Obenshain Jul 9 at 18:36

Before going into the mechanics in detail:

You might have noticed that Electric Damage is very lethal in nWoD. It is also broadly speaking inaccurate, but that is ok. In nWoD Damage is related almost solely to voltage, in reality current takes a more important effect. A Shock Baton or Electric Fence is actual high voltage, low current. So is kinda more dangerous in WoD than in real life, maybe. That doesn't really matter. Perhaps in the this dark mirror of the world, protective fences were made to harm animal brushing against them, rather than merely scare them.

Remember you God Kills a Kitten every time you try and introduce real world physics into a RPG. So don't get too distressed.


Ok, for a start I just want to make sure you have the damage mechanics for electric shock correct.

Electric shocks deal flat damage, no rolled damage. (Page 178, top of left column)

Electrocution automatically causes bashing damage per turn of exposure. No attack roll is made.

So assuming you just took someone and held them up to an electric fence, they would take 6B every turn, no roll made.

Now hitting someone with a baton is going to hurt, electrified or not. Just like hitting someone with a touch that is on fire will leave bruises and burns.

Naive Approach

So extending all this, the logical progression is: Do bashing damage equal to: Strength + Weaponry + 3 (baton) - Defense - armour*. if you get at least 1 success, then deal an additional 6 Bashing damage.

Now automatic damage like this is a thing in WoD. it is normally reserved for explosives. For example a Stun Grenade is 1B+2 automatic (page 104 of armoury). But look at those numbers, clearly 3B+6 automatic is completely unreasonable.

*Technically things get weird here, because armour doesn't apply against electric shock, I suggest allowing it in this case, cos otherwise things are too confusing.

Automatic Damage Level

I think asserting a stun baton packs as much punch as a Electric Fence is a bit excessive. Bearing in mind sticking a fork into a toaster is only 3 Bashing, no one (except a PC) is going to make a weapon that is worse than sticking a fork in a toaster. That is not a "less harmful alternative to shooting them"

It could also be argued that when hitting someone it doesn't get held for a full turn. So perhaps it should be an additional 2 or 3 bashing damage.

If it is packing a full 6 Bashing each turn I would say battery life at least should be a concern, eg. 3 shots before it is flat.

I would also say any weapon of this type (doing automatic damage) is illegal, and police would confiscate it, probably with just a stern warning unless it was used in a crime.

Compare similar weapons

These all present Options you and your GM can work with.

Stun Baton (Armoury)

Beyond the actual Stun Baton rules in OpaCitiZen's Answer. I recommend reading (and upvoting) his answer. It is the correct solution for using something that is standard.

There are the other similar weapons with rules presented in WoD books.
Which you and your GM might like to use to guide you in making rules for such a weapon.

Range Stun Gun (Armoury)

Ranged Stun Gun is a thing: on page 93 of Armoury. The mechanics on that is basically (paraphrasing)

Shoot at them with Dex + firearms -1 (weapon penalty) If get any successes they take exactly 1B damage, no more, no less Each turn after may press the taser trigger to deal a automatic 3B Removing is difficult

Stun Gun (Hunter)

Hunter on page 248 present the same weapon, but with the modification:

Once damage accumulated exceed targets size, they become unconscious

Hunter also presents a Held held Taser (not ranged) page 248:

Handheld Taser/stun gun: Has a similar effect [to range stun gun], except that the user makes a Dexterity + Weaponry roll to hit the target. No damage is inflicted, but successes count toward the knockout effect mentioned above. The user must make successive Dexterity + Weaponry rolls to continue applying the electricity; successes on each round are subtracted from the target’s efforts to break away (Strength + Brawl, one success ends the attack).

This is pretty weird as it has a hidden damage pool that doesn't count. and need to be tracked. I wouldn't use it.

My Homebrew

I would like to present One more option

Ok, it is a Stun Baton, so it stuns people, that makes sense right? The stun effect is a thing:

If the damage caused by the attack meets or exceeds the target’s Size, the target loses his next action.

Lets make the Weapon bonus is +5B (instead of +3B) to represent the extra shocking, with the Stun effect. So if you do damage exceeding their Size (ie for most people get a exceptional success will do it), they are Stunned. I would lean towards using this, purely cos it is simple.

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You make great points in this, and I would like to clarify and say yes battery life is extremely short, that is one discharge before I need to swap out. And you are correct that the weapon is illegal, which is why it is concealed at all times. –  Pethrax Jul 9 at 14:50

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