Risk of injury from low condition tools


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I make no great claims of bushcraft knowledge, but I do enough woodworking to know one key fact - This is that dull tools are far more dangerous to the user than sharp tools.

I was reading another forum topic about the "realism" of the condition decay for knives and hatchets.  The poster argued that it made no sense for a steel tool to "break" within the timeframe of the game when 50+ year old knives can still hold a keen edge today.  Obviously the mechanics of degradation are fine tuned in the interests of gameplay to force the player into action to maintain or replace material.

Perhaps there should be introduced a system where lower condition knives and axes take more time to complete tasks (this might already be in place - I've never noticed) and carry a risk of laceration.  Dull tools require more force to cut through the same material and can slip or skip unexpectedly, harming the wielder.

Edited by rla1974
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8 hours ago, rla1974 said:

I make no great claims of bushcraft knowledge, but I do enough woodworking to know one key fact - This is that dull tools are far more dangerous to the user than sharp tools.

I was reading another forum topic about the "realism" of the condition decay for knives and hatchets.  The poster argued that it made no sense for a steel tool to "break" within the timeframe of the game when 50+ year old knives can still hold a keen edge today.  Obviously the mechanics of degradation are fine tuned in the interests of gameplay to force the player into action to maintain or replace material.

Perhaps there should be introduced a system where lower condition knives and axes take more time to complete tasks (this might already be in place - I've never noticed) and carry a risk of laceration.  Dull tools require more force to cut through the same material and can slip or skip unexpectedly, harming the wielder.

You'll currently see a difference in harvest time between different tools(knife/hatchet), but not between the same tool at different condition levels. Right now the push to maintain them is so they don't become ruined and unusable.

I do like the idea of self-injury though, although balancing when and how it would occur would be key. Do you see a laceration happening if you try harvesting an animal/opening a can ect. and the knife "breaks" from low condition? Or could this happen with even decent condition (but I suppose in this case "dull") knives?

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18 hours ago, Patrick Carlson said:

I do like the idea of self-injury though, although balancing when and how it would occur would be key. Do you see a laceration happening if you try harvesting an animal/opening a can ect. and the knife "breaks" from low condition? Or could this happen with even decent condition (but I suppose in this case "dull") knives?

Thank you for the link to the other thread.  I had not considered making a mechanical distinction between the sharpness of a blade and the integrity of the tool.  After thinking on it and reading about the forums some more, I'm more favourably inclined towards a single abstraction of condition.  While the steel of the knife or the axe can rebound from decades of neglect with enough sharpening, the handles for these tools can break be they wood, plastic or horn.

Seeing as the means of recovering the condition of knives and axes is through sharpening, then for at least the first 50% or so we might treat the condition as a measure of sharpness.  Below a condition decided by people who know far more about game balance than I do, we start to abstract more serious damage to the integrity of the tool.  Maybe the condition should become irrecoverable below this threshold.

This system would, as I see it, come into play when using a hatchet to harvest wood or use either tool to open a can or harvest animal parts.  Basically any use of either tool (besides defending against a wolf - that would be insult heaped upon injury).  Injury can certainly occur when the tool breaks, but I was thinking more about injuries to the extremities from losing control of the tool. 

I imagine a "die roll" once per hour (my tabletop rpg roots are showing) that would roll against a chance for injury.  The chance of injury could be derived based on the difference from 75% condition (75% = 0, 70% = 5) x 0.25.  I invite the afore-mentioned game balance experts to fine tune this in the interest of fun and challenge level.

 

If you want to have even more fun, you could also factor the rank in tired-ness level (1-5) as a percentage multiplier (or make the checks more frequent) to represent the dangers of inattention, and the level of harvesting skill could divide the chance.

I've no doubt that the degree to which "reality" is abstracted in favour of fun has been argued long before even the kickstarter and perhaps it has already been considered and does not fit into the flow of the mechanics.

 

chanceofinjury.JPG

Edited by rla1974
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I would also like there to be hard limits on the quality of tools so that there's actually a difference between a pristine knife and one on the verge of breaking. Personally, I'd break condition into either 25% condition blocks or 33% condition blocks and prevent sharpening beyond the tool's condition level. That way you'd actually have a reason to keep your tools sharp as opposed to using them until they break. Injuries and extra time to complete tasks could then be abstracted to the tool's quality level (e.g. cared for, used, worn out) as opposed to checking based on the exact condition of the tool.

Such a system may need longer lasting whetstones to keep it fair though...

Actually, come to think of it, shouldn't the homemade knife and hatchet need to be sharpened before we could use them?

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13 hours ago, rla1974 said:

I imagine a "die roll" once per hour (my tabletop rpg roots are showing) that would roll against a chance for injury.  The chance of injury could be derived based on the difference from 75% condition (75% = 0, 70% = 5) x 0.25.  I invite the afore-mentioned game balance experts to fine tune this in the interest of fun and challenge level.

So, there i was, sitting on a log, enjoying the view and doing absolutely nothing, while suddenly i stabbed myself in a knee...

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I like the idea, but it shouldn't only be governed by the tool's condition but also by the task at hand - if you're chopping wood, a dull hatchet will just be bad at chopping wood, the condition doesn't make it any more likely to injure yourself unless the head flies off and hits you on the forehead. When you're cutting through things with a knife though, yes, bad things can happen and they do happen more frequently if the knife is dull/jagged or the blade gets loose. Maybe the chance of self-injury could also be checked against the corresponding skill? We don't have a wood-chopping skill, but hey, here's another idea ;). Then we can also add a smithing skill and add the risk of hitting our fingers or burning ourselves!

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For me this gets a +1.

Injury from the dull knife "slipping" while harvesting a carcass or opening a can is cool and the same goes for a hatchet.

As for tool condition not BREAKING the tool but just makes it too dull to use is a cool idea. I always hated the concept that tools just break unless you sharpen them.
Maybe it could get balanced by adding new uses and "break conditions" to tools. Like try to open a locker or a door with a knife, but it has a chance to break? I don't know yet, just throwing it in there. :)

The problem that does get added is complexity. Basically a hammer or a crowbar can't get "dull" so what about those? Does every tool need to get a personalized degradation scheme or something? Same with fixing everything with a whetstone, is that even logical?

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13 hours ago, rla1974 said:

You used to be an adventurer...

How did ya know ?!?! 8)

I think that there should be 3 parameters governing chance of self-injury. Minor penalty from tool condition, and average penalties from tiredness and temperature. And if tiredness is 0 and temperature below 0 degrees, then there should be an additional randomized penalty in place.

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