Intent, Circles, and Treatment Rolls

Hi all,

Last session, one of the PCs had his neck cut open by an undead child (a Midi wound). The other PC dragged him back to town, and one of them tried to Circle up a healer. This succeeded, and I gave them the NPC surgeon I’d sketched in my notes. He rolled his G4 surgery skill, and fell short - the wounded PC took the failed treatment consequence (he lost a stat point permanently).

Is that how the rules are meant to work. It seems quite harsh (two tests to pass) and seems to violate the intent-task-test system: his intent was “get this wound treated” and the task was “find a capable surgeon in this town”, which was represented by a Circles test. If that’s the case, then succeeding at Circles (which you did) should have lead to his wound being treated.

Which interpretation is right?


I really dislike having the end of the world hinge on the rolls of the NPCs, so I usually let them choose - get a passing healing test (with no advantage dice), or risk the roll. If you want, you can spice it up with an in-game sentence like “I have this new herb/potion/techniqe - it might make you a whole lot better, but there’s a risk. What should I do?”

It depends. The GM can say yes to the treatment test (as the conflict was in finding someone to treat him), or he may have the NPC test. Neither is the absolute correct choice.

The intent was to find someone with the skills to treat the wound and that happened.

Also, a G4 skill? Is this an elven surgeon or something? Did the surgeon use FORKs or Advantages to call on? Or was this just the unluckiest roll ever?


When an NPC rolled to treat my PC’s wound in a game GM’d by Justin in Oz, he allowed me to spend Artha on the roll, and to count it towards shifting health. Goodbye freshly earned Deeds point, hello months in recovery.

Another game tactic used by a GM of mine was for a PC overcame lasting injury by making a deal with a Sorcerer you just KNOW is up to no good, owing him a great debt that will come in to play later in some horrible political manipulation. Set you PC’s take the wounds and then quest and deal to heal them, all the better to screw them over.

I was the injured player. Rob started describing the surgeon as being very feely. He was looking at the wound with his hands. I asked “Touch of the Devil trait?” Rob looked it up and gave a “sure, why not!” response.

We usually Circle up a surgeon then have him roll his skill with FoRKs, Help, and Advantage. If guaranteed healing came with every Circles roll, that would become the default, no? It’s far easier for characters to roll up a surgeon than it is to actually pass the healing test, in most cases. Also, how would you deal with extra Recovery dice granted by a passed test? That’s an important part of the process.

Finally, a G4 healer? I would’ve preferred a B6 healer with lots of FoRKing skills. And maybe an assistant for a Helping die.

This, by the way, is not in the rules and discouraged. Even if you were allowed to spend artha on an NPC’s test, you shouldn’t reap the benefit, especially doubly-super so because it went to Health. You’re gaining a huge benefit for relatively little risk. But this is probably best talked about in a separate thread.

There’s always the issue of a competant surgeon wanting to be payed. Medical bills are killer, and health insurance wasn’t really a thing back then.

Indeed, but even so, I’d prefer a failed resources test than a failed healing test.

By the way, would exorbitant fee did a heroic healer charge, even if he failed?

Thanks all. I’m now mostly happy with the way I handled it, although I didn’t think about help or FoRKs at all, which could have tipped it over the edge. For example the other PC could have helped with his (B2) Herbalism.

On the other hand, I didn’t think about what the surgeon would want at all.