How best to hurt the PCs

I’m talking situations where you go “Okay, and if you fail this roll, you get hurt.”
Unless I’m mistaken, the rules hold no opinions about whether it’s more appropriate to go
“If you fail this roll, take a B5 wound”
“If you fail this roll, take a midi wound”
though I do vaguely recall reading somewhere, in some context, that there’s at least nothing immediately wrong with taking either path.

Personally, I want to favor the first approach, so that tolerances come into play. But in practice, I have a hard time with this. I’m never sure what number to pick, and I find it hard to keep my eyes off the character sheet - it seems like it ruins the whole point if I pick out what would be, for that character, a midi wound (say), and give them that. But when I don’t, I feel like I have no basis for choosing a number.

How do you guys handle this? Which approach do you use? Any good rules of thumb for picking wound exponents?

I hear you. I’d like to know too. I dropped Wilhelm’s dwarf down a hole at burning con and called it a B7 but it felt arbitrary.

The tolerances are well described with respect to results but I’d love to see someone describe the coordinate inputs step by step.

B1 - Being cut by a leaf of paper, being hit by a falling tomato.
B2 - Being clawed by a cat, being hit by a falling apple…

This could be great fun!

The first method is best. It allows for heroic PC to brush off that which would maim lesser beings.

But how to determine what that number should be? There are some descriptors in the wound category descriptions in the book. And poison and firebombs obstacles will help too. Perhaps some examples can foster your imagination…

These are all Marks based on a 1-2/3-4/5-6 DOF.

Minor stuff you can usually brush off with a little healing
Stubbing your toe/Paper cut: B1
Broken Blister/First degree burn/spider bite: B2
A pretty bad cut/Pulled muscle/eating spoiled food/Raccoon bite: B3

Stuff you should get a doctor to look at:
2nd degree burn/A cut that needs stitches/Falling off a table: B4
Sprained ankle/broken (but not fractured) small bone like a finger/Stab Wound from a Knife/Wolf bite: B5
Fractured Arm/Falling into a pit trap or off a two-story roof: B6

Stuff that could kill you:
3rd degree burns/Broken Ribs/Typical Sword Wound: B7
Falling trees/rocks/losing a limb: B8
Ruptured organs/Rattlesnake Bite: B9
Caught in an avalanche/Falling from a tall height: B10

Anyone want to pitch in?


1 Like

Stubbing my toe makes me test my Steel. :frowning:

Last session, I told my player “If you fail, it’ll be a severe wound.”
The wound was from third degree burns,
which according to Kublai makes for a B7 wound,
which for the character in question is a severe wound.
So, that’s gratifying. Kublai’s judgement, my intuition and the game’s mechanics all line up nicely, there.

A stubbed toe or a papercut isn’t B1. It’s an annoyance, but I don’t think it impairs performance in any meaningful way. Unless you stub your toe hard enough to do lasting damage, of course. I’ve stubbed mine hard enough to break it, but that was by literally running into a wall.

I like throwing out B2-B4 for a variety of serious scrapes. It’s good enough to be on the Superficial/Light threshold, which makes characters with high tolerances feel more awesome. Yes, I use numbers rather than wound types most of the time—but not always. The usual exception is when the “wound” is resisting something, usually by Forte or Health test. Failure produces a type of wound; success does not, or produces a lesser wound. There’s already a stat test related to the threshold, so I’m okay with going by threshold rather than by number.

Good thinking! I probably should’ve just adjucated something like this, instead of a Bloody Versus, when one of my characters went for a single-hit knockout.

I also believe that the first approach (describe a wound by its exponent) is supported by an example in the text: killing an NPC with a simple test. In-text, the GM opts to dole out a B7 wound for it, as I recall.

I’m not sure. If a player wants a one-hit knockout, that’s the intent. The task is Brawling (or something like it). Success had better be that knockout or you’ve just blocked the intent on a successful roll.

Now, it’s reasonable to say you can’t intend something that your character just can’t do and you just do your superior hit damage at most, but I’ve always thought of IMS as applying in combat only. Outside of Fight and Bloody Versus even a weaklilng with a rusty shank can slit a throat quickly, quietly, and lethally on a good roll. I think intending a knock-out is reasonable for, say, taking out the local tough and impressing the rough crowd with the fact that you’re no scrawny scholar.

For me a paper cut or a minor knock is a B1, but I’d make a stubbed-toe or a whanged-funny-bone B2 at least. For most of us it’s a supie you can shake off after a few minutes, but it will interfere with the processes of Fight! by adding the +1Ob penalty until we shake it off.

But maybe it’s because I kick harder when I stub my toe. My gross motor skills are kinda overdoing the brawl most of the time.

But aren’t most of us around B4 Forte, with B3 superficial wound, so a B1 or B2 Wound just doesn’t register as anything at all anyway?

I must have the “Sensitive Big-Toe” trait in addition to my “Clumsy bespectacled nerd”.

Pedantic BW moment here. Something to the left of Superficial can still hurt, it just doesn’t cause enough pain/physical trauma to register a mechanical effect. For example, I mashed my bicycle headset into my thigh today like an idiot. In BW terms that’s a B1 injury at best, it wasn’t enough to make my eyes water or cause any sort of penalty but it hurt and left a nice bruse.

In short, just because it doesn’t slow you down mechanically doesn’t mean you don’t notice it.