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Wounds and Healing

Wounds and Healing

Inevitably, combat results in one or more opponents becoming injured, or wounded. In Psi-punk, we use an abstract method of documenting wounds called a Wound Track, described below. Wound- ed characters must either receive medical treatment or allow a certain amount of time to pass before their wounds can be healed or erased from their Wound Track.

The following section describes how we put all of this together.

Damage Levels

Damage to a character can be described as being at one of seven stages of severity:

  • Undamaged: No wounds at all. The character is not necessarily healthy — he may be sick, for ex- ample. But he doesn’t have a combat wound that’s recent enough to be bothering
  • Scratched: No real game effect, except to create tension. This may eventually lead to being Hurt if the character is hit enough times.
  • Hurt: The character is wounded significantly, enough to slow him down: -1 to all traits which would logically be affected. This condition lasts until the character is healed (see Healing below).
  • Very Hurt: The character is seriously hurt, possibly stumbling: -2 to all traits which would logically be affected. This lasts until the character is healed.
  • Incapacitated: The character is so badly wounded as to be incapable of taking any action, except possibly dragging himself a few feet every now and then or gasping out an important message. A particularly tough hero (one with a Body of Great or better) may be able to open doors or slowly drag himself to safety, but he is incapable of performing any normal combat actions, including mental actions such as activating psionics. Characters with an appropriate gift such as “Hard to Kill” might be able to remain active even while they have an Incapacitated wound.
  • Near Death: Not only is the character unconscious, he’ll die within hours without medical attention.
  • Dead: The character is no more; all you can do is go through his pockets and look for loose change.

Mental and Physical Damage

There are two types of damage: mental and physical. Mental damage results from psionic attacks that directly attack the mind. Physical damage results from bullets, knives, fire, electricity, psionic attacks that directly alter a creature’s form and anything else that could conceivably cause harm.

Mental and physical damage are tracked separately but have similar effects. The key difference is that when a person is at a mental wound level of Hurt, for example, he would take a -1 penalty to all abilities and actions that require thought (including using psionic abilities, reasoning skills, etc.).

Characters at a physical wound level of Hurt would likewise take a -1 penalty to all physical skills (including physical combat, lifting objects, balancing, driving, etc.). When in doubt, ask the GM which penalties apply in which circumstances.

Note that it is just as possible to become Incapacitated, Near Death, or Dead from mental damage as it is from physical damage; the mind can only take so much trauma and psionic attacks can be very deadly indeed.

Tracking each ability separately means you can get a good idea of the character’s overall health; if he is physically Very Hurt but has no mental damage, he can still act responsibly and reason just as well as he could before he was hit by that last bullet. If a character is mentally Very Hurt but physically unharmed, he may be able to jump over the pit in front of him, but is it really a good idea? Characters who are both physically and mentally Very Hurt are likely to soon become Incapacitated.

Wound Factors

When determining how wounded a character is when hit in combat, take into consideration all of the following factors.

 

Offensive Damage Factors

Offensive Damage Factors (ODFs) are all applicable game statistics used to determine how well your character can deliver an attack. They are an indication of how offensively powerful he is. Total your regular ODFs and write them down on your character sheet for ease of reference, but remember that there are often other modifiers to these numbers, such as your attack roll, positional modifiers, range penalties, and so forth.

Your attack roll is one of the most important ODFs. The degree of success by which an attack succeeds is one factor — the better the hit, the greater likelihood of damage. A degree of success of +1 means you probably hit somewhere that isn’t life-threatening. Scoring a hit with a +3 could mean you hit something vital. Add your attack’s degree of success to your other ODFs to determine your Total Damage Factor.

The weapon used is also a factor. For thrown objects, the material value adds to the damage—the harder the substance, the more it hurts when it hits. Otherwise, it’s relative to the nature of the weapon: a shotgun deals more damage than a pistol and a .38 usually does more damage than a .22. Example weapon Offensive Damage Factors can be found in Equipment.

Weapon damage factors are usually “static,” meaning they do not change unless you change weapons. A weapon’s damage factor is an example of an ODF that can be added to your character sheet for quick reference.

It is important to point out that while many games add a character’s attributes to damage (such as Strength for melee weapons or Dexterity for ranged damage) this is not the case in Psi-punk.

Instead, a character’s skill with a weapon helps determine how much damage he is able to deal with a given hit, and the weapon itself has its own damage rating to add to ODFs. Attributes are used to help determine how many dice may be rerolled when using Luck Points.

Defensive Damage Factors

Defensive Damage Factors (DDFs) are an indication of how well the character can avoid or absorb an attack. These factors may be mental or physical, so it may be important to note the differences be- tween the two. Tally up your character’s DDFs and write them down on your character sheet for ease of reference.

Characters subtract their Body attribute value from any physical damage that they suffer. Note that this means characters with negative body values actually take more physical damage than normal; they’re especially fragile and easily hurt. Characters with a Gift that would make them more resistant to physical harm, such as Damage Resistant, may add a +1 to their defensive factors.

Similarly, use a character’s Mind attribute as a defensive factor against mental attacks. Likewise, characters with a negative mind modifier may take extra damage from mental attacks; their weak will leaves them susceptible to psionic attacks. Characters may have Gifts, such as “Mental Resistance”, which also grant +1 to their defensive factor against mental attacks.

Armor, Force Fields, and other defensive powers add their level value to DDFs against physical damage. Example armor levels can be found in Armor. Certain types of psionic abilities and psicraft armors may be used to add their level value to their Defensive Damage Factors against mental damage.

Finally, your defense roll is a DDF. When you are the victim of an attack that you are aware of (i.e., if the attack is an opposed action), you get to roll 4dF and all other applicable DDFs to try to avoid being damaged.

Determining Wound Level

To determine how much damage is done in a given round, the following formula may be used: Damage = attacker’s offensive damage factors—defender’s defensive damage factors The damage is compared to a chart to determine what kind of wound is received.

The numbers above the wound levels represent the amount of damage needed in a single blow to inflict the wound listed under the number. For example, a blow of 3 or 4 points Hurts the character, while a blow of 5 or 6 points inflicts a Very Hurt wound. If it’s zero or less, no Wounds result.

 

 

Table: Determining Wound Level

Damage = winner’s offensive damage factors—loser’s defensive damage factors                                                                                                                 

Damage

0

1-2

3-4

5-6

7-8

9

Wound Level

None

Scratched

Hurt

Very Hurt

 

Near Death

 

Recording Wounds

Once the final damage is determined, it is recorded on the wounded player’s character sheet. When a wound is received, mark off the appropriate box.

A character can suffer up to three Scratched, one Hurt, one Very Hurt, one Incapacitated, and one Near Death result. If a character takes a level of damage that’s already checked off, it becomes one level higher. A character that has already suffered three Scratched results and suffers another Scratched result is Hurt instead.

  • A Scratched result has no game effect; the character took some minor damage, but isn’t impaired in any way.
  • A character who is Hurt is at -1 on all appropriate actions (mental or physical) for 1 turn.
  • A character who is Very Hurt is at -2 on all appropriate actions until their Very Hurt wound is healed.
  • A character who is Incapacitated is incapable of taking any action except very minor activities.
  • A character who is Near Death can do nothing unless someone offers them medical

Never add boxes for cannon-fodder NPCs (though you may wish to do so for major NPCs). In fact, NPC minions don’t even need the system above. A simple three-stage system of Undamaged, Hurt, and Incapacitated is good enough for most of them. Simply make a mark under an NPC’s name for

 

Hurt, and cross out the name for Incapacitated.

 

Table: Example of the Wound Track found on a character sheet.

Damage Dealt

1,2

3,4

5,6

7,8

9+

Wound

Scratched

Hurt (-1)

Very Hurt (-2)

Incapacitated

Nr. Death

 

O O O

O

O

O

O

 

 

Knockout and Pulling Punches

The GM may decide that a successful Good blow (or better) to the head knocks someone out instead of inflicting a wound. In an opposed action, the Good blow would also have to win the combat. Likewise, a player may choose to have his character do reduced damage in any given attack. This is known as “pulling your punch.” To pull your punch, simply announce the maximum wound level you will do if you are successful. A player can say he is going for a Scratch in order to deliver a warning to a villain, for example. In this case, even if he wins the opposed action by +8, the worst he can do is rough up his foe a little.

Healing

Wounds are healed through time, medical skills, or psionic powers. The amount of time it takes to re- cover varies based on the source of healing. Psionic powers tend to act much more quickly than medical science and characters who are left untreated to heal on their own may take longer still.

Medical Treatment

If a character receives medical treatment, he heals much more quickly than if he is left to heal on his own. Characters who are Near Death require trained assistance to heal; if left untreated, a Near Death character will die in a matter of minutes or hours (depending on the nature of the wound that caused him to reach Near Death status; the GM can determine how much time the character has to live.)

Treating a character requires the use of a medical skill and appropriate tools. A field medic’s kit may be sufficient for stabilizing a Near Death character, but may not help him recover any wounds until he has been treated at a hospital with sufficient equipment. However, the same field medic’s kit will help reduce all other wounds with an appropriate medical skill check.

The difficulty for the check is equal to the level of the wound, with Hurt being level 1 (Good difficulty) and Near Death being level 4 (Wonderful difficulty).

A Scratch is too insignificant to require a roll. Scratches are usually erased after a battle, provided the characters have five or ten minutes to attend to them.

A Good degree result from use of a medical skill heals all wounds one level—one Hurt to one Scratch, Very Hurt to one Hurt, and so on. A Great result heals all wounds two levels, and a Superb result heals three levels. Scratches do not count as a level for healing purposes.

Note that it is possible to botch a healing roll and further wound a character. Any result of Mediocre

or less has the opposite effect (wounds are added by 1, 2, 3 levels, etc.) This does mean that, at the GM’s option, an Abysmal healing check could kill the character (I hope you have malpractice insurance!).

A result of Fair on a healing check means that the character’s health does not improve, but he is not harmed either. A new check may be attempted provided there is sufficient time to do so.

Treating a character’s wounds takes a number of minutes equal to 10 times the highest wound level that character possesses, with Hurt being level 1 and Near Death being level 4. As long as emergency first aid treatment has begun on a Near Death character before he dies, the treatment may be allowed to continue for the full duration (40 minutes).

Medical Treatment Example

Kathy, Frank, and Nolan just barely survived a tough firefight. Kathy sustained a Very Hurt wound, but Nolan is Near Death due to having sustained several bullet wounds and Frank, the medical expert, needs to tend to him right away.

The GM determines that Nolan has about four minutes to live without treatment, so Frank wastes no time getting out his tools and going to work. He knows Kathy is in a lot of pain, but she’ll just have to wait.

Frank’s Superb skill is going to be tested. He rolls a total of +2 on the dice and gets a Phenomenal result or a Good degree of success (since the difficulty for a level 4 wound is Wonderful). It’s going to take 40 minutes to stop the bleeding and ensure Nolan’s survival, but because he got started right away Frank was able to save Nolan’s life.

None of Nolan’s other wounds can be healed, however, until he receives medical treatment with more advanced equipment than that found in a field medic’s kit; he may go to a hospital or be dragged to some back-alley street doc, but either way he’s probably going to need an operating table.

A medic’s job is never done. Any Scratches that Kathy may have sustained have gone away by now, but she’s still Very Hurt. Frank spends the next 20 minutes (10 minutes times a level 2 wound) and rolls a medical skill check. Knowing that the difficulty is Great for a level 2 wound, he knows he needs to get at least a Superb result to heal her by even one wound level.

Frank rolls a total of -1 on the dice and adds +3 for his Superb skill, which only gives him a level of Great. That’s not enough to hurt Kathy, but it doesn’t help her either. Trying again, he gets a +2 on the dice for a Phenomenal result, or a total degree of success of Superb (+3).

With renewed dedication, Frank manages to fix up Kathy’s Very Hurt wound and reduce it to just a Hurt wound. However, because he was able to heal up to three wound levels with this result, he also clears up that Hurt wound and now she’s feeling good as new.

 

Table4: Wound Level Summary

                                                                          Time to Heal                                                                 

Wound

Level

Difficulty

With Treatment

No Treatment

Hurt

1

Good

10 min.

1 week

Very Hurt

2

Great

20 min.

2 weeks

Incapacitated

3

Superb

30 min.

3 weeks

Near Death

4

Wonderful

40 min.

4 weeks

Time Heals All Things

All wounds are healed between missions. If natural healing during a mission is a concern, wounds heal on their own at one wound level per week of rest. That is, after a week of rest, a Very Hurt charac- ter becomes Hurt, and so on.

The GM may also require a successful roll against his Body attribute: Fair difficulty level for Hurt, Good difficulty level for Very Hurt, and Great difficulty level for Incapacitated. Failing this roll slows the healing process, but a result at least two steps higher than the target can speed up the healing pro- cess (one wound level healed per four days of rest, for example). Having a Gift such as “Fast Healer”might grant the character a +2 bonus on such checks.

Healing Mental Damage

Healing mental damage is harder to quantify, since a scalpel and suture won’t repair damage to a character’s psyche. Psionic powers or magic devices may be required to heal a character’s mental damage (see individual powers for examples). A character who is brought to Near Death from mental damage is not in immediate danger of dying (since he is not “bleeding out”). Mental damage heals naturally over time in the same manner as physical damage.

Many hospitals are equipped with the appropriate medical technology to treat mental trauma, usually through the aid of magic devices. Note that magic devices have a high rate of failure when used on mentals (people with psionic abilities) and therefore very few doctors will agree to operate on psionicists with mental trauma. Using a magical device to heal mental damage on a psionicist imposes a -3 penalty on the healing check.