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Damage Capacity

In Fudge, Damage Capacity determines how wounds affect a character. Damage Capacity may be called Hit Points, if desired. It may be tied to a character trait such as Constitution (or Hardiness, Fitness, Health, Body, Strength, etc.), or it may be a separate trait (see Character Examples). It can also be treated as a gift/fault.

The GM decides how to handle the differing abilities of humans to take damage. It really does vary, but how much is open to debate.

As an extreme example, take the death of the Russian monk Rasputin, the adviser to Czarina Alexandra, in 1916. He was fed enough cyanide to kill three normal people, but showed no signs of it. He was then shot in the chest and pronounced dead by a physician. A minute later he opened his eyes and attacked his assassins!

They shot him twice more, including in the head, and beat him severely with a knuckle-duster. He was again pronounced dead, tied in curtains and ropes, and tossed into a river. When his body was retrieved three days later, it was found he had freed an arm from his bindings before finally dying of drowning! Clearly, the man could soak up damage well beyond most peoples’ abilities. He is not unique, however: there are many cases in history of people being hard to kill.

On the other hand, the phrase “glass jaw” is familiar to most English speakers, referring to those who are hurt from the slightest blow.

So there is undoubtedly some room for variation in damage capacity in characters.

If the GM is handling wounds in a freeform matter, make Damage Capacity an attribute and let players rate their characters in it like any other attribute. Or have a gift (Damage Resistant, perhaps) and a fault (Fragile, maybe), and let everyone without either the gift or the fault be normal in this regard. The GM can assess the character’s ability to take damage based on that information and the situation at hand.

If the GM wants a more numerical approach to wound determination, it requires some forethought. If Damage Capacity is an attribute, the easiest way to rate it numerically in Fudge is the standard:

  • +3 for Superb Damage Capacity
  • +2 for Great Damage Capacity
  • +1 for Good Damage Capacity
  • +0 for Fair Damage Capacity
  • -1 for Mediocre Damage Capacity
  • -2 for Poor Damage Capacity
  • -3 for Terrible Damage Capacity

However, since light metal armor, as listed in Sample Wound Factors List, only grants a +2 to defense against being wounded, it is easily seen that a Great Damage Capacity is equal to light metal armor.

Some GMs will find this absurd: a naked person of Great Damage Capacity can turn a sword as well as an armored person of Fair Damage Capacity. Others will remember Rasputin, and consider it within the bounds of reason it could be part body size (vital organs harder to reach) and part healthiness (muscle tissue more resistant to being cut).

For simplicity, any equation-driven approach to wounds in Fudge assumes the GM will use a Damage Capacity attribute, and it is rated from +3 to -3, as listed above.

If you are not happy with this, please make the necessary mental substitution.

Here are some other possible ways to handle Damage Capacity numerically:

1. Make Damage Capacity an attribute, as above, but instead of automatically granting a bonus, require a Damage Capacity die roll every time a character is hit for at least a Light Wound (Hurt result). On a result of:

  • Great or better: reduce the severity of the wound by one.
  • Mediocre to Good: no adjustment to the severity of the wound.
  • Poor or worse: increase the severity of the wound by one.

This adjustment can either be one wound level, or simply one damage point, as the GM sees fit.

For certain types of damage perhaps from a stun ray or a quarterstaff across the ribs the GM can use the values from +3 to -3 without requiring a roll.

2. Do not use a Damage Capacity attribute; instead allow the players to take a gift of Damage Resistant (reduces wound severity by one) or a fault of Fragile (increases wound severity by one). Again, this adjustment can be one wound level, or one damage point.

3. Use a Damage Capacity attribute, as outlined as the first suggestion under Recording Wounds. Each hit temporarily reduces your Damage Capacity attribute one or more levels.

4. Use a Willpower attribute instead of Damage Capacity.

GMs who believe that Rasputin was able to overcome so much damage because his will was focused on overcoming his enemies may use this method. Grant an adjustment to the wound level based on the result of a Willpower die roll. This can be temporary until the battle is over or actually have a permanent affect on reducing wound severity.