6. Wounds and Healing
There are two basic distinctions of injuries:
· Surface wounds: These commonly result from unarmed combats or light falls. The bruises or light cuts heal very easily and rarely encumber the character very much. The reduction in hit points is considered temporary and will affect the PC only for a few rounds. (The player might exploit the surface injury for some good role-playing by whining about it a lot and annoying the hell out of the other players, not to mention you, the GM.)
· Serious injuries: These result from combat, magic, but also from dangerous falls and the like. Their effects are very much lasting and directly affect the game. It’s very easy to imagine which wounds fall into this category, i.e. all those which would put a real person into hospital, such as splintered bones, deep cuts or any injuries caused by energy (also including fire).
In this section, we will only deal with the latter category. Light injuries are, as mentioned above, temporary and it is up to the GM how to run them in her game.
If a character gets injured, you need to consider whether there is an open wound, e.g. from a blade weapon or from an arrow. In that case the wound is bleeding and needs to be taken care of, i.e. it has to be bandaged to staunch the blood flow.
Naturally a character will heal a certain amount of hit points, which is represented by his constitution (CON) bonus, per day. That means, if a character has a CON value of 77 (and therefore a CON bonus of +7), he will restore 7 hit points per day.
If a character has only one wounds, the entire CON bonus is assigned to that wound.
But it gets more difficult when there is more than one wound. In that case, the healing effect is distributed among the wounds, by order of their severity. (The wounds are attributed to each hit zone. The seriousness is defined by the amount of hit points deducted from the nominal value.)
Let’s say the character has suffered two wounds, one for 15 hit points of damage, and one for 8 points of damage. That means his regular 7 restored hit points are distributed among the wounds, 4 going for the most serious wound, and 3 for the lesser wound. After one day the character would have two wounds, one for 11 hit points of damage, and one for 5 points of damage. (The same procedure is resumed during the following day.)
Please note that it is necessary for a character to rest in order to heal. If the character persists in moving around rather than recuperating, his wounds will not heal.
There is also the possibility of a character in the group possessing the healing skill. This skill has no connection at all with the magical healing of clerics. When this character tries to apply her skill, she needs to roll a check against her skill.
For each successful check, she can heal 1 hit point of damage for every wound the character has sustained.
If a character is seriously injured, his abilities will be impaired accordingly. Wounded legs force the character to limp, provided he can still walk at all. A hurt arm may keep the character from properly wielding a sword.
Whenever a character is damaged for 50% or more of their hit points in a specific body part, the character receives a penalty on every action associated with this body part.
Then there are wounds that carry a character to the brink of death, which we will refer to as critical wounds. More on that a few paragraphs further down.
Which effects are caused by the damages? Well, they depend on the hit zone where the wounds are sustained. The arms in particular suffer from these effects, therefore they receive a penalty of –20.
The penalties for losing 50% and more of the hit points in a body part are:
Legs character can only walk at half speed
The worse the damages, the more serious are the effects. If all the hit points of a body part are withdrawn, the body part is still present but can no longer be used at all. For instance, a leg without hit points may still be attached but it is for all intents and purposes paralyzed – the character can no longer walk or even move the leg.
There are two critical zones which can lead to deadly injuries:
If all hit points are destroyed in either of these hit zones, the character sustains a fatal injury. The injury does not immediately kill the character, that happens when the value of the hit points falls beneath –10. (Yes, it is possible to cause damages below zero. To illustrate, if a character has only two hit points left in a body part but sustains a blow for 10 points of damage, the hit zone value would sink to –8.) Until that happens, the character lies in agony and is dying.
Each round that the number of hit points in a body part is below 1, the character sustains an additional point of damage.
That means, unless treated with healing magic or the skill of healing, the character has a maximum of 10 rounds to live once his hit points reach zero.
Please note that both the application of healing magic and the skill of healing can only restore the character to a hit point count of zero. He remains in a critical condition, and further applications of healing are required for improvement.
It’s not quite easy to lose a limb in the GRPG, but it is possible.
When the hit points in a limb sink below 0, they can no longer be used. Should they reach –100%, there is a danger of losing the extremity. For instance, if a character has ordinarily 23 hit points in his right arm, but the body part has now sunk to –23 or below, the arm might be lost.
To find out what happens, the player has to roll a check against half his CON value. If the roll does not succeed, then the unthinkable happens and the limb is lost. (How it is exactly lost is defined by the last attack the character sustained in that body part; i.e. whether a sword slashed off the arm or an animal tore off the leg.)
There is also a lethal danger in a wound like this. If it is not properly treated (i.e. bandaged), the character will sustain an additional 1d10 hit points of damage in the torso for every round. (We discussed the danger of hit point loss to the critical zone of the torso in the previous section.)
Please note that we haven’t completed the magic system yet. Therefore we cannot offer you any specifics on how magical healing works. That will be taken care of in the coming months.
This kind of healing can only be executed by priests (who have acquired the class ability). It is the fastest and most effective form of healing known on Gushémal. The degree by which a priest can effect cures, though, depends not only on his advancement in the class ability, but also on the god or goddess he has chosen as his patron. Darawk priests, for instance, have the lowest efficiency, while a Decalleigh priest has devoted himself to healing, like his patron god, and therefore can work the best healing effects. (More details will follow at a later time.)
Casting a healing blessing on an injured person immediately closes and cleans the wounds, all bleeding ceases immediately. There is no need to bandage the wound or care for it in any other way. A goodly number of hit points are restored immediately.
Magical healing can also restore hit points should they have slipped into the negative. Meaning that if, say, the head has taken a critical wound (i.e. the hit points are in the range of –1 to –9), and the character is dying, a blessing can pull the character back into the land of the living. (It depends on the ability of the cleric whether the character receives enough hit points to immediately return to action; generally, though, when a character has been critically wounded, he needs more than one blessing for this.)
It would be ludicrous to apply the above rules to run-of-the-mill NPCs and creatures that the characters encounter in combat. Ordinarily, the opponents of the party are dealt with by simplified rules:
Whenever a NPC’s hit zone reaches zero, the according body part becomes unusable. It is up to the GM to declare that a limb was torn off or not; since the NPC or creature will (probably) not be healed, it is completely inconsequential for the game what the GM decides.
If either head or torso are damaged to zero or less hit points, the creature or NPC dies.
As always, there are exceptions: The more important and more interesting opponents of the party should have access to the same options as the PCs have. An advanced wizard can have healing potions at the ready, or the leader of an army might have a cleric ready to apply his magical skills.