Anyone ever thought of doing away with hit points and going with using debilities as a core damage system instead? Something like:
“When you take damage, choose a debility. The GM describes the effects of the attack as it relates to the debility. If you currently have all 6 debilities and would take a 7th debility, you instead make the Last Breath move.”
You could adjust healing spells to cure a debility. Alternately healing spells could give you a bonus to roll to heal your ability when you Make Camp. I think this would make the game considerably more deadly though and would likely change the overall tone.
8 thoughts on “Anyone ever thought of doing away with hit points and going with using debilities as a core damage system instead?”
If I were going to do that, I’d just roll over entirely to Apocalypse World’s damage clock. Still brings injuries down just 6 and death at 7, but I like it better than the artificiality of “well you get stabbed in the leg, but since all that’s left is your Charisma debility, i guess… your limp is really not charming.” If the injury couldn’t realistically effect whatever that last debility is, you’re either granting the character immunity or you’re ret-conning the fiction to justify the injury. Not a fan of either of those options, so I’d go with the Harm Clock.
Thats not a bad idea but my players would have no idea what to do without their numbers. They seem to love those things.
Ah yes Paul T’s damage system! I saw this a long time ago and forgot about it. Thank you for the link Jeremy Strandberg
Alfred Rudzki Yeah I can see how that could be a bit jarring. I was thinking along the lines of not describing the injury until the debility is taken. So perhaps you are delirious from blood loss (-wis, or int) or you have a nasty scar now (-cha) or you could even go really abstract with it the way Mouse Guard or Torchbearer does and have certain encounters make you Angry, Tired, Depressed, or whatever. Perhaps you are losing hope that your quest will be successful or something similar. Just a thought.
This is designed for mundane Cowboys. It is adapted from Apocalypse world but discards the clock because I find it fiddly. It mimics the deadliness of a gun or knife fight. I decided to make it so deadly so that the characters would rather role play than draw guns – which is difficult for them since they are all fantasy RPG’ers who are used to attacking everything that moves.
We had two sessions with these rules so far and had heavy gun battles. We had two mortal wounds in two sessions. One character was successfully healed by the London trained doctor, the other player chose to let his character die a heroic death.
So far all the play testers have been very positive about the harm system, but it is still very early days…
When you take harm, roll + Body + modifiers
When the harm is caused by a shotgun or explosion, take -1
When the harm is caused by a revolver or rifle, take +0
When the harm is caused by unarmed brawling, take +0
When the harm is caused by an arrow or blade, take +1
When the harm is caused by an arrow or blade and you have armor, take +2
When the harm is caused by something else, the GM will add a modifier according to the cause.
Types of harm
–Lethal harm: Gun shots, explosions, knife wounds, sabre wounds, arrow wounds, falling off a cliff etc.
–Non-lethal harm: Unarmed brawling, being hit with a chair, falling off a horse etc.
On 10+: The harm is but a scratch or a bruise, but you cannot act for a moment. The GM describes why.
On 7-9: You take a wound. You cannot act for a moment and take -1 ongoing to Body rolls until you are healed.
–Lethal harm heals in a few days.
–Non lethal harm heals after a short rest. ( About an hour.)
— -1 modifiers to Body rolls stack as you get more wounds. This means that the more wounds you get, the bigger your chances are of being disabled.
On 6-: You are disabled and cannot act at all.
–Lethal harm: you are mortally wounded and will probably die, the GM will decide when.
–Non lethal harm heals after a long rest. (About three hours to a day.)
When you heal somebody who is mortally wounded, roll + Mind + Medical
When the doctor in town heals you when you are mortally wounded, roll + (The doc’s skill. The GM decides)
On 10+ the mortal wound becomes a debility that will heal in a few days. The patient takes -1 to all Body rolls until it is healed.
On 7-9 the mortal wound becomes a permanent debility. The patient’s Body modifier is permanently decreased by 1.
On a fail, the patient dies.
It is really up to the GM to decide when a mortally wounded person dies. It can be instantaneous or it may linger for a week…
And the rules above are just mechanics. The players still have to describe the harm in fictional detail.
Wynand Louw I really like this as a representation of old western style games with a lot of brutal reality thrown in. Very cool.
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