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Level Up (A5E) Injury and Death

I don't mind the d&d approach as either fine or down. I don't find it entirely problematic as I imagine it to be the effect of adrenaline on the PC.

If I were to do an injury system then, I'd be tempted to not have it take effect until the combat is finished and the adrenaline wears off.
 

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For a heroic game, I would prefer in fact a reverse death spiral. In the absence of desire to do too much game development there could be something like all party members get advantage on their next roll when they see a party member go down.

I think this would give a bit of a "last ditch" heroism/holywood feel, and the buffer it creats means you could push PCs closer to the edge without worrying as much about a TPK.

Bizzarely, this might make combat feel "deadlier"
 

tetrasodium

Legend
Supporter
It should be noted however that the same can be expected to happen to the enemy too.

On average, considering a hypothetical fair fight between equal sides, both sides get wounded, therefore weaker. What weakness, it might be random: maybe one side gets weaker in attack, the other in defense. In that case, perhaps nothing changes substantially. If both get weaker in defense, combat speeds up, if both get weaker in attack, combat slows down.

But D&D combats aren't fair, each combat is stacked in favour of the PC because they have MANY combats to face. So the most frequent outcome of a single combat should be a death spiral for the monsters.

OTOH the injury can carry over to the next encounter (depending on the rules and the possibility of rests, of course). So rather than a death spiral during a single encounter, the expected effect is consecutive encounters becoming more difficult, until resting is available.

Does this sound bad? Well, aren't we commonly already designing encounters of escalating difficulty in each adventure? :)

An injury system will steep'en the difficulty curve of the encounter sequence, so it will require some attention not to feature too hard BBEG at the end.

Nevertheless, beyond average/long-term considerations, we should not disregard the possibility of a short-term risk. If the injury penalties are too large, getting injured first can in fact doom the whole encounter. This is less of a problem for the PCs who are rarely alone, but if injuries are also too frequent then the chance that multiple PCs are affected increases.

These considerations lead me to be generally skeptic that injury systems last for long in most gaming groups. Because if you use an injury system you probably want to see people getting injured and significantly so, but for the system to be most stable they should be instead relatively rare and mild.
You could replace every use of the word injury with hit point and still apply just as well. You see people trying injury systems in 5e because the rest mechanic is totally bonkers and its really difficult to force the system away from feeling like everyone has Wolverine's mutant healing factor due to so many choices reinforcing that style.

I've run games with the wound type system presented in either wayfinders or moregraves misc (forget which). While it helped some, there was too much wrong with the system it was bolted to for most of the PCs to really care.
 

Stalker0

Legend
Though I've never been a huge fan of injury rules...I did like the early notion that any injuries don't take effect until after the encounter. That seems a reasonable compromise, it removes the death spiral but still adds in the longer term aspect of injuries. It also makes sense in flavor, during the encounter "adrenaline" causes you not to notice the initial injury. But once the fight is over, your body lets you know!!!
 

p_johnston

Explorer
The idea of having injuries only take effect after the battle is an interesting idea and one I've never tried. As I said I've used this system for years and never had it devolve into what I would consider a death spiral so at least with my DMing style it's not what I would consider a problem. However if it is a concern for you then adjusting injuries to take place after battle still preserves the intent of the system. In essence I see the injury system as a way to give more decision points about resource management while introducing a little more danger to what is at heart a fairly easy combat system.

I will also point out that most of the injuries are fairly mild overall. The one my players fear the most is the one that halves healing and that one doesn't directly effect combat at all. Short of losing a major limb of some kind the injuries will almost never make it impossible to win a fight.
 

Though I've never been a huge fan of injury rules...I did like the early notion that any injuries don't take effect until after the encounter. That seems a reasonable compromise, it removes the death spiral but still adds in the longer term aspect of injuries. It also makes sense in flavor, during the encounter "adrenaline" causes you not to notice the initial injury. But once the fight is over, your body lets you know!!!
Was that in a playtest packet? I didn't know about that.
 


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