Whenever characters engage in combat there will be physical effects, including injuries, impairments, and even death. That’s part of the game. Ultimately, the severity and degree of damage taken are determined by the type of attack and the character’s ability to avoid getting hit and resist damage.

It makes sense then that with various ways to cause damage in the game, there will also be a number of affects from damage and multiple ways to treat it. This section provides all the rules and general information for taking damage, dealing with attack effects, healing, and character death.

My Writing Distractions logo using the initials WD.

A character’s overall well-being is determined by their Condition. This factor includes any modifiers, positive or negative, that affect skill checks. There are four possible conditions for a character to be in, per the table below.

Condition         Modifier

While each Condition is described in more detail, there are numerous factors that can cause the character’s Condition to change during the course of an adventure.


At a base level, the concept of Condition adds an element of resource management to the game,  allowing players to plan when and where their characters can rest to ensure they are at their best. To achieve a Rested state, characters must meet the following criteria:

  • Uninterrupted rest period of at least 6 hours
  • Degree of comfort, i.e., bed or high-quality sleeping bag, protection from the elements, temperature control, etc.
  • Supply of food and water, i.e., enough food for at least two full meals and water to maintain hydration
  • Quality of cleanliness, i.e., no offensive odors, excessive dirt, bugs, etc.

While it is possible to achieve a Rested state while traveling, given the proper preparations, this state is typically reserved for those times when characters can enjoy the benefits of civilization.


Characters in this condition perform actions at their baseline physical capabilities, with no bonuses or modifiers. It includes engaging in physically demanding activities such as traveling, investigating, participating in combat, etc., with periods of rest and assumes a degree of readiness for physical challenges and combat. Unless under the effects of fatigue or damage, this will typically be the most common state for adventures and explorers.


Occurring when a character is physically taxed, this condition represents the toll of excessive physical strain on the character’s body. The -2 modifier to all actions represents a temporary condition of reduced energy, slower reaction, and impaired ability to concentrate.

The most common causes of a fatigue condition are:

  • Prolonged physical exertion from demanding physical activities such as trailblazing, climbing, and swimming, moving at a quickened pace, or failing to rest adequately
  • Participating in combat for a duration that exceeds the Stamina score in rounds
  • Exposure to some poisons, toxins, or spells.
  • The effects of some damage types, i.e., stagger, stun, etc.
  • Extreme environmental conditions, lack of sleep, inadequate food and water, etc.

Recovering from fatigue typically requires rest. The degree of rest can range from a significant rest period, such as a full night’s sleep, to two or more hours of uninterrupted downtime, depending on the cause. Consuming adequate amounts of food and water will typically reduce the amount of rest required by as much as half.

Other factors, such as receiving first aid, imbibing remedies, or getting magical assistance can hasten recovery, though the results are often temporary.


This condition reflects an impaired state caused by serious injury or other significant harm. In this state, characters abilities are compromised making it more challenging to perform activities or engage effectively in combat, carrying a -4 modifier to all actions. Characters enter a damaged state when:

  • Suffering damage to the Body point score
  • The after-effects of being knocked out
  • Exposure to some poisons, toxins, or spells
  • Starvation or dehydration

The damaged condition represents the consequences of intense combat and other mortal situations in the system. Recovering from this state requires characters to overcome the situation that caused it, i.e., heal all body points, rest and recovery, etc.

Taking Damage

Regardless of the setting, characters face many dangers that can cause damage and diminish their hit point score. The most obvious is physical combat with enemies wielding swords, firing arrows, and casting spells. However, these perils extend well beyond the battlefield. There could be environmental hazards such as falls, traps, or extreme weather conditions, and then there are poisons, toxins, or insidious diseases that can whittle down a character’s strength, requiring time and resources to cure.

Beyond these tangible dangers, there are potentially more esoteric threats. Curses can inflict suffering that drains a character’s life force over time, while psychic assaults target the mind, translating mental anguish into physical damage. Of course, the physical toll of adventuring isn’t only measured in wounds. Fatigue from relentless exertion without rest, or the basic needs of hunger and thirst can also cause a gradual decline in hit points.

Altogether, these different ways of taking damage are intended to challenge players to strategize and adapt to both the dangers of combat and the threats of the setting.

Health Damage

In this system, hit points are separated out into two distinct scores. Based on the Perception and Constitution attribute scores, Health represents the amount of damage a character can take before suffering modifiers. This damage typically consists of minor flesh wounds, such as bruises or lacerations, and doesn’t carry a serious threat of death

Unless otherwise noted in the attack type, damage is always taken from the Health score first, and when all the Health points are lost, characters will begin to take Body damage.

Body Damage

These are the more severe injuries that occur after characters lose all their Health points or suffer damage from specific types of attack. Body points are based on the Strength and Constitution attribute scores and are a measure of the amount of damage a character can take before finally succumbing to unconsciousness or death.

As noted previously in the Conditions, once a character starts taking Body damage, they enter a damaged state and are susceptible to Kill Shots. A character who loses all their Body points will bleed out, losing one Health point per round. Those who lose all their Health and Body points, fall unconscious and die.

Disable Damage

Different from Health or Body damage in that there is no specific score for it, this is the result of aimed attacks using Hit Location or Called Shots. Since the goal is to impair the function of a particular body part, damage from these attacks does not come off Health or Body points; rather the damage affects the ability to take actions. The degree of impairment is related to the amount of damage sustained, with a corresponding save modifier to resist the effects of the attack.

The Disabling Damage chart provides the Stamina save modifier based on the attack damage.

1-4Base (-)Difficult (-4)
5-8Difficult (-4)Very Difficult (-8)
9-12Very Difficult (-8)Amazing (-12)
13+Amazing (-12) 

Characters struck in one of the Called Shot or Hit Locations must make a Stamina save based on the damage sustained the attack. If the save fails, the body part is rendered disabled until treated.

Because the body part was hit, if the save succeeds, the target still has a modifier equal to the Stamina save modifier for any action taken that involves that that body part, until treated.

Disabling strikes made against the head result in a Knockout if the save fails, with the affects as listed with the Damage Effects. Should the Stamina save succeed, the character enters a fatigue state and suffers a modifier to all action equal to the Stamina save modifier.

A disabling strike to the arm (or a related appendage or joint) will cause the target to drop anything carried, and leave that body part completely useless. Such a strike to a leg (or a related appendage or joint) reduces the target’s overall move by the save modifier, with a corresponding modifier to any actions that require the target to move. Should the Stamina save be successful, the difficult (-4) modifier affects any attack, defend, or move skills using that part of the body, for a number of rounds equal to the amount of damage.

Those who are disabled cannot use that body part for the remainder of that encounter (unless treated), afterwards, they have a difficult (-4) modifier to any actions involving the disabled body part (affecting movement, skills, etc.) for ten days, less one day per point in healing rate (rounded up). Disable damage can be treated with the (M) Medicine skill.


Aside from taking damage, the next most likely effect of combat is death, so let’s just get this one out of the way first.

Death is a consequence in the game that is intended to add to it’s overall enjoyment. That may sound odd, but by giving players something to lose, their choice of actions during the game have more meaning. Which begs the questions, how do characters die?

As has been mentioned previously, a character falls unconscious and begins to die when both their Health and Body scores reach zero.

But they aren’t quite dead yet.

All characters have a Basic Hit score that represents their overall physique, and this is the total number of rounds that the character has to receive medical aid before death claims them. In order to save the character, they must have at least one Health or Body point restored before this time period lapses. However, unless at least one Body point is restored, the character will continue to bleed out at a rate of one per round until all Health points are gone, and the clock starts again.

This, of course, assumes that the character has not taken a devastating amount of damage, such as from a great fall; suffered an extreme physical injury such as decapitation or evisceration; or been the victim of an assassination or coup de grace. In all cases, the GM will determine whether or not the character can be revived.


There are two ways to kill an opponent without reducing the Health and Body scores to zero through back-and-forth combat. If the target is in a defenseless position, e.g., unconscious, held prone, restrained, etc., they are susceptible to a finishing move called a Coup de Grace. It doesn’t require a skill check, and might not even require a weapon. So long as the attacker has actions and can attack and the target cannot defend themselves, they are killed.

The second way is called a Kill-Shot — a vicious finishing move intended to quickly eliminate a target from combat. It is damage causing attack that can be used against a target in a Damaged condition or of a lower Character Rank. The attack itself doesn’t cause additional damage, rather it is a decisive strike aimed at a stricken or kill a lesser foe. The intent to make a kill shot must be announced before the attack skill is rolled.

There are two ways to make a kill shot.

Disciplined Strike. With a Disciplined kill-shot, an attacker makes a controlled, powerful strike that requires an extra action to intensify the hit. If the attack fails (whether on a missed attack roll, or if the target successfully defends against the attack), the attacker may not attempt another Kill Shot in that round, but if it succeeds, target is subject to the effects of the Kill Shot.

Devastating Strike. As much for presentation as effect, a Devastating kill shot is meant to intimidate foes with an impressive a knockout. This is a very aggressive, overwhelming strike, often accompanied by a shout or roar. If the attack fails (whether as a missed attack roll or if the target successfully defends against the attack), the attacker has been left overextended, is subject to an immediate attack of opportunity, and is not able attempt another Kill Shot in that round. If the attack is successful, the defender is subject to the effects of the Kill Shot. In addition, any opponents in the area that witness the Kill Shot are subject to a difficult (-4) modifier to their morale checks for that round and the next.

In both cases, a successful kill-shot immediately reduces both the target’s Health and Body scores to zero.


Too often in media, a knockout is something that characters just shrug off, but being knocked out is a big deal. Once a target loses consciousness, the fight, for them, is over. It takes a minimum of ten minutes (60 rounds) before any chance at waking up without intervention is allowed, and the target wakes in a damaged condition (-4 modifier to all actions until the encounter resets). While First Aide may be used to bring the target around sooner, only magical or divine healing can end the damaged condition any sooner.

There are three ways to be knocked out: losing all Health and Body points, suffering a Kill Shot, or taking Disabling Damage to the head. After the knockout, characters are susceptible to a coup de grace.


Caused by a specialized attack, attack skill, attack spell, or critical hit, a target who is stunned has essentially had the wind knocked out of them. After taking damage, those subject to stun effect must make a Stamina save to overcome the effect. Targets who fail their save immediately lose all remaining actions in the current round the round, and are only allowed two defend actions in the following round. The stun affect never lasts more than the second round effects.

There are some skills that can be used to overcome stun effects, e.g., Persevere. Also, if an ally spends one action and makes a successful First Aide skill check before the stunned target’s initiative, the second round effect can be negated.


A stagger effect is essentially a standing knockout. The force or intensity of the attack temporarily stupefies the target, putting them in a fatigue condition and causing them to lose all actions for the remaining round and the next two rounds while they recover their wits. While in this state, the target is considered prone and is susceptible to a kill shot, but not a coup de grace.

Aside from specialized attacks, skills, or spells that cause a stagger effect, there are a few combat scenarios that can cause it. First, if a target suffers an amount of damage that exceeds their total Health or Body score in a single attack, it is considered a devastating attack, which leaves them staggered. Next, if a target under an existing stun effect is stunned again (failed save), they are left staggered. Finally, if the target experience a traumatic shock that threatens their sanity, they are staggered.

This type of traumatic shock tends to be subjective and results as the culmination of a series of intense events. The most obvious is witnessing or experiencing an awe-inspiring event, such as a magical resurrection. Of course, facing a god-like supernatural entity could result in a staggered state, especially if it involves witnessing the sudden loss of allies or companions. Characters brought to the brink of death in a situation that appears hopeless, might prompt a staggered staggered. Likewise, a staggered effect may be triggered by the sudden betrayal of a trusted leader or ally in a dire situation.


This state occurs when a character is unable to breath due to an environmental condition. It may be the result of being trapped underwater or in an area filled with a deadly gas or no atmosphere. Regardless, if they can prepare, those in these situations can hold their breath for a number of rounds equal to their Constitution score. Once that time period expires, the character dies.

For those caught unaware or who take damage while in this state, a Stamina save is required at the start of each round, with a progressive -1 modifier per round. Once a number of rounds pass equal to the Constitution score or a Stamina save fails, the character dies.

Structural Strength


Armor Damage

At some point, characters will get injured. Whether its a missed defend action, falling off something, getting caught in a trap, or missing a save, its bound to happen. Those who suffer damage are likely to endure skill penalties, unconsciousness, or death. It could potentially leave players sitting around with nothing to do while the battle continues around them.

Medical Healing

As the game is intended to be fast and fun, there are multiple ambulatory options available to get an injured character back into the action. That being said, providing any kind of medical healing requires the First Aide skill. This includes bandaging wounds, setting a broken bone and placing it into a makeshift splint, or reviving and treating a character that has been killed. Without the skill, anyone trying to help can do little more than use smelling salts to revive an unconscious character or smear a healing balm on a wound.

With each type of damage, there is a modifier to the skill check based on the complexity of the action to be performed. The First Aide Difficulty Table is a quick reference guide.

Type of Damage         Modifier
StunSimple (+4)
HealthBase (–)
KnockoutBase (–)
BodyDifficult (-4)
DisableDifficult (-4)
DeathVery Difficult (-4)

Without the use of a healing kit, there’s an additional a difficult (+4) modifier applied to these checks and the skill can’t be used to treat Body or Disable damage, or to stabilize a dying character. However, at the GM’s option, a makeshift healing kit can be used to treat this damage, likely with an additional modifier.

Natural Healing

Without medical, magical, or metaphysical aid, there is the basic process of resting and recovering. This is, as one might expect, a much slower type of recovery. The amount of rest required is proportional to the degree injury that has been sustained. As a general rule, health damage is recovered at the character’s healing rate per hour, while body damage is recovered at the healing rate per day.

Without medical care, disable damage sustained to a specific limb benefits from the per day healing rate, however a Strength attribute check (per day) may be required to gauge the degree of healing. A success indicates that the wound is healing well, but two or more failures per injury may cause the wound to heal badly, leaving the limb maimed in some way (this is, of course, situational and up to the GM).

Disease Recovery

One of the more detrimental things that can happen to a character is contracting a disease. Rather than affecting the health or body scores, this provides a -4 modifier directly to a specified attribute, and will modify all skills based on that attribute. There may be obvious outward signs, e.g., trembling, (Agility), dementia (Knowledge), or it can be subtle, e.g., blindness (Perception), brittle bones (Strength).

Once a disease is contracted, a (modified) Stamina save is required each day; if successful, the attribute modifier is reduced by one, if it fails, the modifier is increased by one. A target dies when the modifier equals the attribute score. Complete rest (+2) and medical care (+4), provides bonus modifiers to the Stamina save. But by that same token, strenuous activity (-4) add negative modifiers to the save.

Poisons, Venoms, and Toxins

Characters will likely encounter toxic substances while adventuring. Depending on the severity and available antidotes, recovery from them typically involves a combination of saving throws, time-based effects, and healing resources. Each general effect of toxic substances is listed below, along with recovery rules naturally and using antidotes.

Paralytics leave the character unable to move or speak. The strength and duration is typically determined by the type. To recover naturally, characters get a Stamina save at the end of the duration, with the difficulty modifier decreasing over time. Paralysis usually lasts a maximum of five times the total duration without treatment.

Administering an antidote anytime during the paralytic’s duration will give the character an immediate Stamina save to recover, with the difficulty modifier decreasing over time. With an antidote, the paralysis usually lasts a maximum of the total duration.

Distress substances typically put the character in a fatigue condition, in addition to causing severe pain, nausea, and disorientation. Natural recovery requires a Stamina save every 30 minutes to overcome the effects, depending on type. If the save fails, the symptoms continue for another 30 minutes. The overall duration of distress varies depending on type, typically lasting between 1 and 6 hours.

Antidotes for distress substances provide an immediate Stamina save to overcome the effects. If the save fails, the recovery time is reduced by half, giving the character another save at intervals of half the normal duration.

Toxic substances put the character in a damaged condition, prevent healing, and cause damage over time. Each round, the character must make a Stamina save to fight off the effects of the poison, halving the amount of damage taken. If left untreated, it typically results in death.

Antidotes for toxins halt the damage and restore the healing rate. After a number of hours equal to the number of rounds the character suffered from the toxin, they get a Stamina save to recover from the damaged state, assuming that all Body damage has been healed.