Monday, September 15, 2008

Lava Burns in Scion

There's a touch of debate on lava stats at the Scion forums, which lead me to google "lava burns". I found this:
>>If you put your hand in activly flowing lava, will your hand just
>>burn, burn off completely, or will you die from severe burning?

>> Jennifer

> The serious injury might kill by causing shock.

>>Dear Jennifer,

>>I'm not exactly sure why anyone would WANT to put his or her hand into
>>lava, are you? If it happened by accident you would get badly burned
>>but your hand wouldn't just melt off. A geologist at the Hawaiian
>>Volcano Observatory fell into some lava up to his knees about 11 years
>>ago. He was wearing boots and long pants, and luckily there was
>>someone to pull him out immediately. He had mostly second-degree burns
>>- which were very painful of course and he spent the whole summer in
>>the hospital - but he was back at work in 5 months. It is a very scary
>>thing to think about, even after all these years.
>>-- Scott Rowland, University of Hawaii

> He had only 2nd-degree burns?

>>From liquid thats red-hot, I'd expect instant fourth-degree burns [all
> the way to the bone].

(quote from Honolulu paper at, about halfway down
the article):

On June 12, 1985, geologist George Ulrich had just taken a temperature
reading of fresh lava, 2,079 degrees. Suddenly a lava crust broke, and
Ulrich stepped into the lava over his boots but was protected by NOMEX
burn-resistant clothing.
Another geologist pulled him out in about five seconds. Ulrich was flown
to Straub Clinic & Hospital on Oahu for treatment of first-, second- and
third-degree burns. He recovered fully.

In my opinion, that suggests lava, in Scion terms, should be 10+X dice of Lethal, where X is the bonus to soak granted by NOMEX burn-resistant clothing. The GM would have to set the level of X. In the absence of further research, I'd be inclined to set X=2.

If a mortal takes 5 damage he's still looking at a month and a half of bed-rest before the pain subsides enough that his actions are no longer penalized. Each point of damage beyond that adds a month to recovery time.

As far as humans are concerned, Agg and Lethal are basically the same thing. I can't think of any mechanical difference between A and L for a mortal with no supernatural abilities. The differences between Agg and Lethal all involve supernatural healing and soak for characters that have Epic Stamina. As such, I'd make lava lethal, and save aggravated damage for supernatural sources.


Vampir said...

but wouldn't this mean that the more soak you are granted, the more damage you take?

Unless you change 10+X to 10-X or treat soak as a negative number so X=-2... otherwise it'd be better to jump into lava naked rather than in a protective suit...

r_b_bergstrom said...

No, no. Sorry if that wasn't clear.
Soak definitely subtracts from damage. I wasn't trying to solve how much damage NOMEX prevents, I was trying to figure out how much damage the Lava should do if you don't have NOMEX.

The debate (which has come up 3 times on the scion forums in the past year) has been how much damage should normal lava do. The books list two totals. One is 10 agg, the other is 20. But since lava doesn't have a Legend Rating, it's damage average is .4 x dice. So, if damage is just 10, a 5-second dunk in lava is unlikely to kill you. You'd take 4 damage and have 7 health levels.

The articles sited indicate that a 5-second dunk in lava shouldn't kill you, if you're wearing NOMEX. If he hadn't been wearing NOMEX, it may have killed him.

But the official rules don't define, stat, or even mention NOMEX.

So, what I'm saying is, first we need to stat NOMEX. I haven't done any research, so I'm unsure if NOMEX should +2 to Soak or +10 to soak.

What matters is that the damage from lava, after subtracting NOMEX's soak needs to be around 10 dice.

So, if we rule NOMEX is +2 to soak, then the ideal damage for lava is probably 12 or 14, so the NOMEX can save your life.

If, instead, NOMEX proves to be some amazing wonder product that stops bullets and lava (say, +8 soak) then we could interpret the ideal lava damage as 18 dice. It would fry you without NOMEX, but if you had NOMEX about 10 dice of damage would get past.

10 dice is enough to hospitalize any mortal, and typically for months, but it won't always kill them.
10 dice is almost certainly the level of damage that results in 1st to 3rd degree burns and 5 months away from work.
That's what the guy experienced, so 10 dice is what we want the post-soak damage to be.

Did that clear up what I was trying to say?

Vampir said...

Ah, yes, now I understand what you were getting at.

Thanks for the clarification.
(now I feel stupid)