I have a problem with the Messy tag. How do you use it in play?

I have a problem with the Messy tag. How do you use it in play?

I have a problem with the Messy tag. How do you use it in play?

If Messy really means messy in the sens of grievious bodily harm, how do you represent it in play? i.e. does your PC actually loose limb every time they get hit by a weapon or monster with a messy tag?

What happens when the messy weapon roll a 1 for damages? Not so impressive anymore.

Personally, I am toying with the idea of letting dices explode when you roll damage with a messy weapon or monster. Or roll damages twice and keep the highest. Hence, the truly horrendous injury your PC will receive in the fiction will correspond also to a truly horrendous loss of HP as well.

So how do you go about representing a messy tagged weapon or monster in your games?

Any suggestions are welcomed.

4 thoughts on “I have a problem with the Messy tag. How do you use it in play?”

  1. It comes from the fiction! I think it’s my favourite tag, and it’s definitely dangerous enough without tying in dice mechanics.

    The key thing is: why is that particular weapon or monster messy? Messy just implies the results of an attack are fairly gruesome. A ghoul’s shark-mouth might bite out a chunk that won’t stop bleeding, or will get horribly infected if the character doesn’t deal with it, or that leaves one of the character’s organs exposed and ready for the ghoul to chomp at again!

    Some monsters do have messy because they rip limbs off, but remember that’s just part of describing them and it all comes from the fiction. In some situations an ogre will rip off a limb, while in others they might tear off armour or a pack, or eat a character’s ear, or stuff them in a cooking pot.

    Messy weapons are the same! A jagged dagger is going to leave a wound that bleeds profusely, whether it does plenty of HP damage or not. The repercussions of messy creatures and weapons are great and completely fictional, they don’t need a dice mechanic tied in! Just up the monster’s damage dice a bit to represent a nasty potential.

  2. Don’t think of HP as Points Till Dead. They’re more like Luck and Exhaustion.

    So, its totally reasonable to activate the Messy tag and shred the fighter’s arm on 1 point of damage — she’s the Fighter, she’s hardcore, and she’s a hero. She’s not slowed down by a mere loss of an arm! She still has a lot of luck and stamina, and losing a limb doesn’t have (necessarily) much to do with losing your momentum in a fight. (Except for how it totally changes how you interact with the fiction — the fighter is hardcore though, and its not my job to be mean to them).

    OR! And this is how I do it, I wouldn’t necessarily activate Messy on the first hit or a weak hit of a weapon. I’d broadcast how bad the weapon could be, and then bring the Messy on a large damage roll or once HP has been whittled down, and the PC is tired and running out of luck.

    You ought to announce badness on the monster’s Messy tag anyway, so why not do it when the heroes have plenty of HP and then deliver on it later. Just my thought 🙂

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