While working on characters with my group, one of my players had a great idea. He wants to play a noble-born boy whose parents tried to kill him when it was discovered he was born crippled. Instead, he was sold into slavery where he eventually developed leprosy. Through a series of improbable events, he has learned of his lineage and wants to murder the family that tried to murder him at birth before he dies of his disease, but no one believes him and they think he is mad.
For his lifepath, we chose Born Slave > Leper > Deranged. He chose to lose a point from his physical stats from Born Slave, so that’s -2 to his physical stats already. Because his character is sickly, his Forte is 2. His character is bitter, and while intelligent, isn’t great with people. He put a 2 in Will as well. Great, so his Health exponent 2. No problem. Now, we answer questions about his Health to modify his exponent. He lives in squalor and filth, he is sickly, he has been wounded in the past, and he has been enslaved. His Health exponent is now -2. Ouch!
I couldn’t find much about how to handle this, other than the fact that a character with Health 0 is dead (or nearly so). Here are some possible solutions I have come up with:
- Simply don’t allow the character’s Health to drop below 1. It’s the easiest solution, but seems like it might be a little ham handed to me.
- Ignore the Health questions for this character. The character’s low Forte and lifepath choices already reflect his poor physical state, so the questions here might be redundant. The book does say that they “may” be used. I don’t like this solution as other characters will still be using the Health questions and I’d rather not hand wave them away to prevent a rules problem in this one instance.
- I could ask the player to retool his stats until his Health is at least 1. This would require him to reallocate points to Will and Forte. I think a higher Will could make sense; while the character isn’t particularly social, he must have a strong sense of self in order to have made it this far. I can see the case for Forte as well; perhaps the character is strong enough to survive his afflictions.
Have you encountered this situation before? How did (or would) you handle it?