Oh, and he is also stunned for 1 round.
I have been spending most of my free time working on The Frontier, barring last weekend which I devoted on adapting x6 and Multi10 to use the open game license (you should take a look at the new versions if you haven’t already done so; x6 is much easier to read now owing to some layout tweaks) and visiting the Chiltern Hills (an extraordinary place by the way). The things I dealt with mostly were health, damage and the staging of battles.
As far as health and damage are concerned, I decided to go with a system of health levels which will make the application of damage quick and straightforward without the need to keep track of hit points on a little piece of paper. Players will probably get 1 health level per 10 points in their Guts attribute (representing their will to live and staying power) and each level will be able to absorb an amount of damage equal to their Muscles attribute (representing physical resilience) from each attack before it is marked off. For example, if you have Muscles 65 and you get shot for 150 damage, you will lose 2 health levels. Lose all of them and you are out of action, probably grievously injured or incapacitated, but your teammates may still be able to save you if they prevail over the opposition.
Armour gives automatic damage resistance against each incoming attack, but also has a number of integrity levels. These can be spent should you wish so to temporarily improve the protection offered at the expense of damage to the armour that has to be repaired later on. If all levels are lost, the armour is only good for the scrapyard. Energy shields offer similar protection: they have a limited number of power levels that will grant a DR boost as you see fit. Whereas shields don’t offer the continuous DR provided by armour, used shield levels slowly regenerate if you don’t take any damage.
Guns and other weapons do damage and may have other effects like stunning the target, setting him on fire, corroding armour, bypassing shields, dissolving bones etc. All these effects are arranged on a small table with tiers according to the score of the attack roll. A simple effect table might look like this:
0 damage 50
20 damage 100
40 damage 150
60 damage 200
80 damage 250
So by just looking at the number scored on your dice you can figure out exactly how much damage you’ve dissed out. There are of course provisions for criticals, double crticicals, triple criticals and uber-fanta-mega criticals.
The combat staging system is still being… erm, staged? While still at a very early stage of development, it will probably look like the abstract "zones" system used by old school hack, starblazer adventures and similar games. So instead of using a battlemap, you will have linked areas described by a relative size and whatever qualities make them different.
What is certain is that the game will support large numbers of enemies. The more numerous enemies, the cannon fodder if you like, will be organised in "gangs" acting like a single character to keep dice rolls by the GM at a minimum. As these gangs suffer damage their members are killed and they get weaker and weaker. Gangs will not only be useful as a direct threat to the players, but may also use other tricks like supporting or protecting the bosses of a battle.
Stay tuned for more news from The Frontier in the near future.