The 2nd Edition AD&D books specifically discourage players from tracking specific injuries, which I generally agree with. After all, I'm not a kid anymore and I don't get a giggle over the fact that every hit has a 1-in-6 chance of whacking some poor shmuck in the jewels, or neck, or whatever. It's just not necessary and is, in many ways, puerile. It also adds a whole lot of "all the time" complexity that the game just doesn't need.
After all, one of the biggest draws of the D&D type systems for me is the level of abstraction. Whether or not hit points represent purely physical punishment, or a mixture of luck, near misses, and minor wounds sapping a PC's will to go on or something else entirely really isn't all that important. The system is an abstraction for the sake of gameplay and, in the end, it's a completely self-referential one. It's only there to provide a numeric system to govern when your character can no longer function. It makes no real appeals to realism except in that more physical and martial classes get more HP while more "bookish" or "crafty" type classes receive fewer. It's verisimilitude, not realism.
The same goes for the 1 minute combat rounds (of which I am still a strong supporter by the by), the class and level system in general, armor class, and much of everything else in a lot of ways. Everything there sets an acceptable (to us at least) comprimise between realism and abstraction for the sake of game flow.
However, one of the alures of D&D is the loosness of its framework and the ability of the players to "hang on ornaments" so to speak. That's, I think, one of the greatest and most marvelous lessons that TSR learned during the run of AD&D 2ed: that the only thing that separated the core AD&D system from being something else was ornamentation and decoration. Dark Sun, one of the wierdest settings for the game, is little more than AD&D 2ed with a few moderate rules tweaks thrown in (i.e., retooling the attributes charts to account for the concept of Survival of the Fittest run amok, everybody's got psionics, an insanely harsh environment, and so on). That's the strength of 2nd edition, in my mind, it's chameleon like ability to change on the face to
That's a long way to go, I suppose, to get to the purpose of today's post.
Thylia, though I know I've put so little of it up here owing to life going absolutely berserk of late, is at present a bit grim, dark, and gritty. Those phrases have largely lost meaning, especially in WOTC's wake of using them to apply to their new material (one imagines purely in a humerous intent). Things in that world are going badly: monsters lurk in the wilderness, petty warlords claim control over wide expanses of land or just city states, cats and dogs living together . . . But of course, whisper me the difference between that and just about any bog-standard D&D setting?
In order to reflect the darker, somewhat grittier nature of things in Thylia, I'm employing both the modifications to the Vancian spell casting rules I talked of earlier, and a minor system for lasting and permanent injuries.
Simply put, while employing the "at death's door" rule (i.e., you have until -10 hp before you actually die for good), any character or monster/NPC that is reduced to -7 HP or less must make a system shock check or be forced to roll on the chart below to determine what, if any, lasting consequences are assessed.
1. Injury to the face/head. Suffer -1 to WIS/INT/CHA (equal chance of any of them).
2. Torso/Abdomen. Suffer -1 to CON, max HP reduced by 1d20%.
3. Fore/Upper Limb (includes arms (all if multiple), wings, and any other appendage other than a head above body midline). Determine which randomly. Limb is useless unless successfull save vs. death. To-Hit and Damage are -1 with that limb. If quadraped or limb otherwise used for mobility, see Lower/Hind Limb entry below.
4. Lower/Hind Limb (includes legs and other mobility appendages, tails, etc.). Save vs. death else limb is useless. Suffer -1d4x10% loss in movement rate. Limb is -1 to-hit and DAM if appropriate. May require crutch, cane, or other assistave device at DM's discretion.
All effects persist for 1d3 weeks at the end of which the character must make a System Shock check or the effects become permanent unless powerful healing or regenerative magics are applied successfully. At DM's option, surgical arts may be attempted to repair such damage, though they obviously carry significant risks of their own.
I think this will help to bring across the brutality of combat just a little more, and leave open my options open for when truly greivous wounds need inflicting.
Example: Hamlet the fighter is snatched up by a Roc intent on making the hapless adventurer its next meal. Through pure piss and vinneager, Hamlet is able to land a few telling kicks and bites on the bird before too much altitude is gained and the beast drops him. The fall reduces the fighter to -8 HP where he is luckily discovered by a friendly band of elves who bandage his wounds before he bleeds out. Rolling on the chart above nets him a result of 3 and the DM determines that his left arm has been severely broken when Hamlet fell on it. He has failed his saving throw and so the arm is useless for anywhere from one to three weeks. If he fails a System Shock test at the end of that time, the arm is permanently lame and of no use to him at all: a dangerous vulnerability to say the least.
More Little Treasures
10 months ago