When Your Injury System Feels Too Complex

Hey everyone, Fawkes here!

I have been working on an injury system for "Torment of the Old Gods," and I finally feel ready to reveal it... Because I think it needs to be changed already - I may have gotten a bit carried away.

So, I will leave you all with the rules. Tell me why you hate them, how can I change them so they feel more fun and engaging for players?

Injuries
Investigators often find themselves facing perilous situations that can lead to injuries with dire consequences. These injuries not only pose a threat to their physical well-being but also directly impact their proficiency in various skills. Each injury category (Head, Chest, Arm, Leg) and severity level (Minor, Moderate, Severe, Critical) has specific effects on the investigator's abilities, presenting unique challenges and opportunities for character development. Here's a comprehensive and in-depth guide on how injuries impact the investigator's skills:

Skills Affected by Category

1. Head: Mythos, Occultism, Psychology, Spot Hidden

2. Chest: Firearms, Force, Piloting, Survival

3. Arm: Brawling, Climbing, Demolitions, Subterfuge

4. Leg: Acrobatics, Driving, Riding, Swimming

While the skills listed above provide guidelines, Narrators are encouraged to unleash their creativity by introducing additional penalties that go beyond skill impairments.

One example of such creativity is incorporating movement penalties for leg injuries. For instance, a severe leg injury may not only affect skills like Acrobatics and Riding but also reduce the investigator's movement speed or present challenges in navigating physical obstacles. This additional penalty adds a realistic and immersive element to the game, as investigators must adapt to their compromised mobility.

Injury Severity
Minor Injury
: When an investigator sustains damage greater than 20 points in a single turn, they incur a minor injury. Minor injuries are not life-threatening but can disrupt the investigator's skillset, imposing a minor penalty of 15% on skill checks related to the affected area. Examples of minor injuries include minor cuts, bruises, or superficial wounds.

Moderate Injury: Damage exceeding 30 points in a single turn results in a moderate injury. Moderate injuries cause more noticeable impairments to the investigator's skills, leading to a penalty of 30% on skill checks associated with the affected area. Examples of moderate injuries include sprains, deep cuts requiring bandaging, or burns that cause pain and hinder movement.

Severe Injury: Inflict damage surpassing 45 points in a single turn to cause a severe injury. Severe injuries significantly reduce an investigator's proficiency in multiple skills related to the injured body part, imposing a severe penalty of 50% on skill checks in the affected area. Examples of severe injuries include broken bones, extensive burns, or injuries requiring immediate medical attention.

Critical Injury: When an investigator endures damage exceeding 60 points in a single turn, they sustain a critical injury. Critical injuries have a profound impact, severely compromising an investigator's proficiency in a wide range of skills, as well as their mental faculties. Critical injuries impose a severe penalty of 75% on all skill checks, and may result in temporary or permanent loss of certain skills or attributes. Examples of critical injuries include major head trauma, severe organ damage, or extensive exposure to dangerous elements.

When an investigator sustains a severe or critical injury, their physical resilience is put to the test, and consciousness checks become crucial to their survival. To remain conscious and coherent, they must achieve a specific level of success on the Vitality (VIT) check.

For severe injuries:

Great Success: The Investigator remains conscious but still experiences the full impact of the injury. They suffer normal penalties and long-term effects on skills related to the affected body part.

Amazing Success: The Investigator remains conscious and manages to reduce the long-term effects of the injury. Additionally, they gain an "Adrenaline Surge," which grants them a temporary boost to specific physical skills or attributes, such as Athletics, Brawling, or Dexterity. This surge enables them to perform extraordinary feats until the end of the Investigator's next turn.

Critical Success: The Investigator remains conscious, manages to reduce the long-term effects of the injury, and inspires their allies, granting them "Inspiration." Party members gain a temporary morale boost, receiving a boon dice to use on their skill checks until the beginning of the injured Investigator’s next turn.


For critical injuries:

Amazing Success: The Investigator remains conscious but still experiences the full impact of the injury. They suffer normal penalties and long-term effects on skills related to the affected body part.

Critical Success: The Investigator remains conscious, manages to reduce the long-term effects of the injury, and grants all other Investigators "Inspiration." This display of courage and determination inspires their allies, granting them a temporary morale boost with a boon dice to use on skill checks until the Investigator falls unconscious or combat ends. Additionally, the Investigator gains a "Moment of Clarity." During this moment, they have insight into the situation, receiving a temporary bonus to mental skills or attributes like Psychology, Spot Hidden, or Intelligence. This insight lasts until the end of the Investigator's next turn.


Temporary Effects
Some injuries may have temporary effects that persist until the injury is healed or mitigated. These effects can range from reduced skill proficiency to impaired physical capabilities. For example, a severe arm injury may temporarily hinder an investigator's ability to perform tasks that require fine motor skills, resulting in penalties to skills like Brawling or Subterfuge.

During the recovery period, as the injury gradually heals, the investigator's skills can also start to recover. This reflects the character's progress in the healing process and their determination to overcome the obstacles presented by the injury. It is important for players to keep track of the status of their injuries and adjust their gameplay accordingly, knowing that their skills will gradually improve over time.

Injury Recovery
The rate of recovery from injuries is influenced by various factors, such as medical attention, rest, and the investigator's current Sanity level. It is essential for investigators to seek specialized medical care or magical healing to accelerate the healing process and reduce the effects of injuries. This opens up opportunities for additional challenges and character-driven narratives as investigators face the physical and emotional toll of their injuries.
 

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GMMichael

Guide of Modos
Hi Fawkes! I'm thinking that you did go a bit overboard. An injury system is something that potentially needs resolving after every attack, or best case, after a round or three. So at that frequency, PCs or GMs are going through this maze: does damage translate to an injury? How severe is the injury? Where is the injury? Which skills are affected by the injury? Is the character still conscious? What type of recovery does the consciousness check indicate?

I 'd rather just write "head wound" in a box somewhere and resume role-playing from there. But your plan is workable.
 

Fenris-77

Small God of the Dozens
Supporter
A list of skills by stat would allow a simple range of negatives to those skills with an associated injury. If I were you I wpuld probably look for ways to compress that system though. I think there's a lot of mechanic there if injury tracking isn't supposed to be a key feature of play.
 

A list of skills by stat would allow a simple range of negatives to those skills with an associated injury. If I were you I wpuld probably look for ways to compress that system though. I think there's a lot of mechanic there if injury tracking isn't supposed to be a key feature of play.
Based on some additional feedback I have received, I may be using the injury system as a complete HP system as well. Currently working out the logistics.
 

Hi Fawkes! I'm thinking that you did go a bit overboard. An injury system is something that potentially needs resolving after every attack, or best case, after a round or three. So at that frequency, PCs or GMs are going through this maze: does damage translate to an injury? How severe is the injury? Where is the injury? Which skills are affected by the injury? Is the character still conscious? What type of recovery does the consciousness check indicate?

I 'd rather just write "head wound" in a box somewhere and resume role-playing from there. But your plan is workable.
Thank you for the feedback!

My main gripe is definitely how it will slow down gameplay during combat. Granted, it is not intended to be a combat-heavy game - combat will be very fast and deadly - but I do believe that there is a large margin for me to work within to improve the system to a move refined and rewarding feeling system. How do you feel about the Injury System replacing HP all together? What if accumulated injuries translated to your overall "damage" in some other mechanically tangible way?
 

GMMichael

Guide of Modos
My main gripe is definitely how it will slow down gameplay during combat. Granted, it is not intended to be a combat-heavy game - combat will be very fast and deadly - but I do believe that there is a large margin for me to work within to improve the system to a move refined and rewarding feeling system. How do you feel about the Injury System replacing HP all together?
It's hard to make a judgement on this without knowing what the rest of the rules are.
What if accumulated injuries translated to your overall "damage" in some other mechanically tangible way?
Given the choice, I'd take a nominal broken arm and punctured intestine over 72 damage. But if 72 damage means I'm not wading through tables/charts for the rest of the session, it seems like the better option. (Also, if the bard is my only healer, I'll take the 72 damage instead.)

I just got my first look at Thirsty Sword Lesbians the other day. From my quick read, it seems you get up to 5 different debilitating conditions before, I don't know, your character retires? Each condition seems to be a different emotional stress, if I recall, but they effectively act like hit points in terms of counting down to doom. They're better than hit points, though, because each one gives you a different situation to role-play, making the conditions interesting.
 


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