Comments on 2020-05-08 Desperate Fights

Desperate Role-Playing Moments.

Jeremy Friesen 2020-05-08 18:50 UTC


I’ve been fiddling with a similar wounds table but I’m nervous about the effect of serious long-lasting wounds. I fear that my players will feel ineffective in a way that detracts from their fun.

How has that worked out in your game? Are players upset about having a character with a broken arm for several sessions?

deadtreenoshelter 2020-05-09 21:52 UTC


Yes they are. But we also use the traditional rules for retainers: every main character can have up to 4 + Charisma bonus retainers (1–7). Those play a more important role, then.

And yes, we’ve had a bunch of characters retire because they lost both legs, both arms, or both eyes. It’s harsh and gives the campaign a Napoleonic veteran vibe, as the party can return to a town to find former party members trying to make a living. It’s rare enough to not feel like a relentless grind and still happens often enough to make an impression.

I guess the alternative would be to simply roll up a new character. Players always have that option, too. In my game those new characters have 0 XP, though. The players will always opt to promote a retainer to their new main character.

– Alex Schroeder 2020-05-09 22:11 UTC


I have used retainers less (mostly I’m afraid they’ll bog things down) but I can see how they would mitigate a PC being semi-crippled. I’ve wanted to try a more old-school approach to hirelings but my usual group of players is already so indecisive...

During COVID I’ve been mostly running Mork Borg (<0 HP = DEAD) with a different group with a faster play style and so I may give it a go.

deadtreenoshelter 2020-05-10 02:05 UTC


You are absolutely right. I said above that we use those Charisma limits but in actual fact most players just run one, two, or three retainers and when things are important I often ask, so who is on the flying carpet or giant turtle or whatever, and then I write down a little list of characters, retainers, and pets. That still gets me about ten to twenty party members, and that is a lot. Fights need a certain discipline and feel like they’re long by the time they go into the third round. These problems are acerbated if you have an indecisive player who is obsessed about playing it safe. Due to that player, we have instituted a rule at the table whereby we can still have the number of retainers and pets as determined by Charisma, but we can only ever take up to two on adventure. This guy was so undecided, and so slow at rolling dice, it bogged everything down.

So yeah, there are drawbacks, definitely.

– Alex Schroeder 2020-05-10 07:21 UTC


The blog post got mentioned in a reply show. 🙂

– Alex Schroeder 2020-05-22 21:50 UTC


Hi! I found your blog from the Daydreaming reply show. I am currently working on my own Frankenstein of a ruleset for a hexcrawl game I hope to start running soon. I love the concept you’ve detailed here and I am going to steal it. It seems a lot more exciting than just dropping unconscious at 0 hp and I love imagining HP as a combination of luck, stamina, and will to survive. You mention losing eyes, noses, etc, but I don’t see that outcome on the tables you linked. Do you have an updated table that you use now?

– slimefool 2020-05-23 12:23 UTC


how about this...

5–6 serious injury; roll 1d6: 1 – broken sword arm, 2 – broken shield arm, 3 – broken leg, 4 – gouged eye, 5 - cut off nose, 6 - shattered teeth ; broken limbs heal after 1d4 weeks (sessions)

In addition to adding the more “cosmetic” injuries, I altered the healing time to fit the tone of my game more. The only playable ancestry is Dwarf so... maybe they heal faster?

– slimefool 2020-05-23 16:24 UTC


Welcome to the blog! 😀

Yeah, I do have an updated table. Below is the table I use right now. If I remember correctly, my problem was that 6 comes up pretty often and so I had way too many player characters that were “unplayable” because of broken bones. My players even joked how it would be easier to just amputate the broken limb and use a hook or a wooden peg instead of waiting for it to heal. So now broken bones only happen on a 5 and I use something less severe for 6.

page 13

(I discussed this page on my own podcast, episode 15, in case you’re interested.)

– Alex Schroeder 2020-05-23 17:45 UTC


Please make sure you contribute only your own work, or work licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. Note: in order to facilitate peer review and fight vandalism, we will store your IP number for a number of days. See Privacy Policy for more information. See Info for text formatting rules. You can edit this page if you need to fix typos. You can subscribe to updates by email without leaving a comment.

To save this page you must answer this question:

Please say HELLO.