Injury system for Codex

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Injury system for Codex

Postby Galloglaich » Thu Oct 31, 2013 1:54 pm

So I have avoided this quite intentionally for many years with the Codex. But I thought of a possible niche for it.

There is a standard house-rule in DnD that a lot of people use, where you don't die at 0 hit points but can linger until -10

I actually use this house-rule in my own games, and the assumption is that anything below 0 hit points is a "serious" (potentially lethal or maiming) injury which may bleed and may put the player unconscious. I usually require a Will or Fortitude saving throw to keep functioning.

So what if, once you went below 0 hit points, so long as you were still above -10, as an optional rule you could roll on a table for some kind of major injury. Some of these would be semi-incapacitating like a broken arm or leg, or disfiguring (an ear cut off), or seriously life-threatening (gut wound for example). I could get ideas from actual accounts of battlefield wounds from some sources I have. Most of these injuries would require some kind of long term healing to get over.

Many would also cause some kind of permanent problem even if you do heal: a limp and -10' base movement, or a bad left arm and -1 Dex, or -1 Con from the not quite fully recovered wound, or -1 Cha from the scar on the face and the missing ear, or -4 on Spot checks due to your missing eye.

I think there could be some role playing benefit to having veteran characters maimed a little bit, it would be more like real life, and at the same time give them more of a chance to survive a bad fight.

the tables would be based on the attack type: Bludgeon, Slash, Chop, or Pierce.

Thoughts?

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Re: Injury system for Codex

Postby zarlor » Thu Oct 31, 2013 5:03 pm

We tended to play with hitting 0 or lower HPs is incapacitated and bleeding out, and -10 is death. No rolls or anything, as being at 0 or below simply meant you were completely dysfunctional. I want to say there was something in some edition of DnD where Barbarians could operate up to -10 HP, though. At any rate, that does make me think of the Savage Worlds incap rules. Take 3 wounds then you have to roll on the Incap table and make a Vigor roll. The table give the potential for temporary and permanent injuries and seems to work well enough in my experience, without really disrupting play. Essentially one extra Trait roll and roll on a table lookup, with the potential for bleeding out I think being on the table as well. So I think if you keep it to something relatively simple like that, just one table, I would think it would work well.
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Re: Injury system for Codex

Postby Daeruin » Fri Nov 01, 2013 4:05 am

I love detailed injuries, so I would automatically love anything like this you come up with. I think acquiring a specific, serious injury at 0 hp or below is a decent compromise. It shouldn't happen too often, and when it does a single roll and lookup shouldn't be too disruptive. Besides, hitting 0 hp is a pretty big deal. It ought to have lasting consequences.

In Pathfinder the standard rule is that you are unconscious once you hit 0 hp. You can take additional hits up to your Con score before actually dying. While you are at negative hp, you are "dying" and take 1 hp per round unless you make a Fort save to stabilize. Barbarians don't have any special abilities to stay conscious below 0 hp. There is a feat called Diehard that accomplishes that. I think official DnD 3.5 is the same except you die at -10 hp instead of -Con hp.
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Re: Injury system for Codex

Postby Galloglaich » Fri Nov 01, 2013 8:46 pm

I kind of like to Con rather than to -10

I think it would need to be different charts for different wound types ...? Or does that seem unreasonable? Like 1 for slash, one for chop, one for pierce, one for bludgeon..

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Re: Injury system for Codex

Postby zarlor » Sat Nov 02, 2013 12:04 pm

I say stick to one chart then if you really want to detail it just list examples in the description of what some wound to that location might be. I think leaving it fairly generic (crippling wound to the leg, lose 20' of pace) is the better way to go leaving it to the player and GM to decide exactly what that wound is. Besides I think most folks have at least some idea of what the wound from a particular weapon would look like so you probably don't need to detail it. "That nasty hammer blow to the side of your head took your character down and *rolls* you have hearing loss from your new permanent wound so I guess it chopped your ear off!" Yeah, I don't really see people being THAT dumb about it. ;)
Lenny Zimmermann

"A soldier uses arms merely with skill, whereas a knight uses them with virtuous intention." - Pomponio Torelli, 1596.

- Systeme D'armes, New Orleans, Louisiana
http://www.sdanola.com
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Re: Injury system for Codex

Postby Galloglaich » Mon Nov 04, 2013 4:07 pm

Well but the flavor of it (vs just the -2 this and -1 that) is kind of what makes it fun.

And having done a few of these in the past, it's hard for it to make any sense if you don't differentiate by attack type.

Bludgeon weapons cause broken bones, rapiers don't. A broken bone is a very specific type of injury obviously. Chopping weapons sever limbs. Which can lead to interesting permanent wounds for survivors (think pirates) etc.

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Re: Injury system for Codex

Postby zarlor » Tue Nov 05, 2013 1:46 am

I really prefer something more generalized (it's a leg hit, based on what you were hit with have your DM figure it out). That's just me. Other folks like all those tables and things, but I might argue that starts to become contrary to your general attempt at keeping things more simplified. Maybe some of the others here have some thoughts, though?
Lenny Zimmermann

"A soldier uses arms merely with skill, whereas a knight uses them with virtuous intention." - Pomponio Torelli, 1596.

- Systeme D'armes, New Orleans, Louisiana
http://www.sdanola.com
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Re: Injury system for Codex

Postby Galloglaich » Tue Nov 05, 2013 2:24 am

yeah that is a good point...

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Re: Injury system for Codex

Postby Daeruin » Wed Nov 06, 2013 1:21 am

Actually that's not a good point, in my opinion. Obviously it will be an optional rule, and obviously the GM is always free to change or ignore what the table says. Providing something more specific can still work for guys like Zarlor while also working for those who desire more.

Definitely provide different results for different attack types. You're already looking up something on a table. Having to pick between four tables will only add an extra 2 seconds and provides a lot more realism.
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Re: Injury system for Codex

Postby Galloglaich » Wed Nov 06, 2013 3:50 am

You are both right, the simple approach is to follow the usual codex path and make a simple and a more detailed option, and the gamer can choose which one they prefer.

So the simple option will be, if you get below 0 hit points, you roll D6 - that gives you an attribute score. If you fail to get proper healing (heal DC equal to the total number of hit points of damage you took) then you suffer d4 permanent damage to that attribute score after you recover. If the healing roll succeeds you suffer 1 point of damage instead to the attribute score. Recovery takes d6 x10 days but this is halved by another successful heal skillcheck, and halved again if you are in optional conditions (clean, warm, dry bed, plenty of food etc.) and halved yet again if you have appropriate medicine.

The more complex option will be the 3 or 4 tables (chop and slash can maybe be combined?) which will have more colorful results: broken leg, lost an eye, severed a finger, etc. with associated DC's for healing and full recovery. There will still be a chance for permanent damage but rather than just attribute scores these could also be other things like being slowed down (a limp drops your base speed by 5' or 10') or being blinded in one eye or partially deaf or what have you.

One thing I believe is that there shouldn't be any instant healing, it should take some time to recover from a broken arm or whatever. Getting dropped below zero hit points should be a big deal.

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