Mortal Wounds: How to Deal with the Campaign Ramifications

As I mentioned in another thread, one of my players was dealt a MW last night. He suffered the blow when a three-headed Naga-like demon abducted his sister.

Now, the demon was more interested in fleeing with his sister than fighting, so he could’ve let it get away. However, one of his Beliefs was to “…protect [his sister] from the world and from herself.” Now, this damn demon was uber-fast, too, so he blew a bunch of Artha and somehow won the Engagement test to put himself between the thing and the exit, sword in hand and a hard look in his eye. Awesome, epic stuff…

…then the demon knocked him down and tore his guts out.

So, the demon absconded with his sister and will perform a ritual that unlocks the demon inside HER. The heroes failed and an innocent life suffered for it. They may still be able to bring her back, but it’s going to be damn hard.

But that’s the stuff that good drama is made for, right? You have to beat them down before they can rise back up.

Except… Well, now he’s going to be out of the game for at least 18 months while he’s on the mend. It feels kind of anti-climactic to have him sitting in a bed after all this insanity went on. Also, if I have him make a new character for the duration I think it will feel odd – he’ll be playing this character he doesn’t really care about, just waiting for his “real” PC to get healed up.

So, what do you guys do with situations like this? Dramatically, does all forward momentum stop when one of the PC’s is injured?

I should add that the game only has two players. The other player suffered a Severe wound, so he’ll be healing for a number of months, also. However, there’s a good chance that once he’s healed he might not stick around and will what to go off on another adventure while the other PC is healing.

Hm. Anyway, advice would be appreciated.

Great stuff. Now you have a demon inside a character’s sister body. That looks as an excellent villain to me.

You have two characters badly wounded. One of them is going to be all right first, but that don’t mean that the other character is in coma, so he can spend that time studying the demon, searching for help, gathering an army or whatever. If they want to recover the girl they have to make plans about it. How? When? Will they expect to be both well? If that’s the case, the first to recover can do a lot of Practice, preparing himself for the ordeal that awaits, until his friend is OK. And, on the other hand, what evil has the demon been doing during all this time? She is probably more powerful now (maybe through Practice) and has followers and… who knows? Getting political power perhaps? In other words, pursuing her own goals.

Decide as a group to what point of the recovery period they want to jump, and narrate accordingly.

Two options:

  1. Give the injured PC player another character to play with for the intervening adventures with the non-injured guy.
  2. Skip forward 18 months and give the non-injured guy 18 months of practice time (and, probably a Resource test or two). Don’t forget that’s 18 months of the villains also getting to do stuff.

Also: the injured player may decide not to take the full 18 months to heal - maybe they stop a little early (“a -1D penalty I can live with - My sister can’t wait any longer”).

The first option is more long term, and spins away from focusing on the demons, the second keeps it tight and brutal.

Because you have 2 players, option #2 is a lot easier because it’s already a very focused game.


In my last real BW game my Dwarf took a mortal one from a crossbow bolt. The other PC in the group was unscathed, but we decided we were both captured (I spent the Persona for Will to Live). We ended the session there to talk about where we’d go from there. If we wanted to play out the prolonged healing or what.

In the end what we did was burn up two new characters that were actually relationships of the original PC’s. So I went from my hate-everything-but-Dwarves character to his I-love-everyone-let’s-all-work-together brother. Ended up being one of my favorite characters ever. I eventually even murdered the brother (original PC).

Is this a good time for some downtime?

18 months recuperating (or maybe less time but not fully recovered). Rewrite the belief about the sister to incorporate what’s happened. When he’s able to travel he can go hunt down his adventurer friend who couldn’t be bothered waiting around for him and then get reveng or kill his sister or whatever his belief dictates.

Good advice, Alejandro. It will definitely require a conversation with the PC’s as to what the next step is.

That’s true, Chris. The only problem is that player 2 (who was severely wounded) has a whole other mission that he has going on that he might conceivably accomplish within 12 months of game time. I don’t think his character would wait around a year and a half – or even just a year – while player 1 gets off his ass. He would go out and try to tackle this demon-sister himself. Yet, if player 2 does that, I’m robbing player 1 of his character’s chance to rescue his sister. To me, that is a pretty big deal and I think a no-no in storytelling terms. Even having him play a new character would do exactly that.

I mean, I could pull a deus ex machina and have him miraculously healed within the same span of time as a Severe wound… But frankly that feels damn lazy.

Not really. :frowning: The demon is still out there, and Player 2 is going to have to either deal with it or walk away on his own quest that he was working on before he had the misfortune of getting tangled up in this whole mess (trying to locate an heirloom of his clan).

I guess agonizing story decisions is my punishment for MW’ing a PC. :stuck_out_tongue:

What does player 2 intend to do? Tackle the sister alone or finish his quest?

It’s always a “good” time for downtime. So the demon’s on the loose? OK, it’s 6 months later, and the demon has seized control of a criminal network. Now what do you do?

His character will not do anything, because he’s dosn’t exist. Ask the players what they want to do. You need an agreement.

If you do that then you will miss the point of recovery times. But if you do it as written the next time the character is faced with a possible fight the player will think twice before draw his weapon.

Well, the player can use another character for that “mission” if they want (maybe for a few sessions) but I think the new situation is a lot more compelling. You must to change the setting accordingly and ask the players help you to narrate the consequences of their actions. (For example, ask the dwarf player tell you what happened in the search for a heirloom for his clan. You don’t need to play that, just narrate, maybe make a test or two.) The dwarf can’t just walk away. Months have passed, and the demon has won the old King’s heart (by a wicked spell), and a new dark army devastate the land or whatever.

Also you can just jump to the point when the dwarf is fully healed, and the other character walks around with a walking cane, with months of recovery ahead. If he wants his partner stay with him and confront the demon together, but the dwarf wants to leave, maybe it’s time for a intense Duel of Wits.

It’s not a punishment. It’s a reward. You are in a good position to improve your setting and situations and characters.

Probably tackle the sister alone. Then, if I make that impossible (have her retreat to the shadows for now), he may well leave the other PC to recover while he does his own thing. What’s the use in him waiting around if it could be two years before his buddy is in good health?

Yeah, but you can’t just say, “Okay, it’s 6 months later!” Because, then Player 2 says, “Wait a minute, 6 months is a long time and I was gonna do stuff.”

I suppose the best option is to have the demon slink away and have the MW’d player burn up a new character to use for the next year or so. Thing is, we’ve played 8 sessions so far and only 2 months have passed in game time. Conceivably, it might be 20 more sessions before he gets to use his original character again and by then he might no longer give a crap.

It just seems like a lost opportunity for a good story, I guess. It feels like I’m saying, “Well, you lost. Tough luck. Next character!”

Yes, but he will make a decision based upon what his character would do.

Yes, but in this situation he got MW’d for playing his character’s Belief to the hilt and that’s exactly what he was supposed to do. He was saving his sister, after all – or trying to, at least. This wasn’t a random Orc that got him.

I think that would cheat the Dwarf character out of his story. I agree that this tale is compelling, but to the Dwarf, his story has taken a backseat for now. He’s dealt with this gracefully, but as a player I would be mighty pissed if my GM told me, “You know what? Your character’s history blows. Whaddya say we forget about pursuing it? Agreed?” :stuck_out_tongue:

I like that idea, but the Dwarf will be healed in 2 months and the MW’d character probably won’t even be awake for at least 6 - 8 months. Yikes.

I like your optimism, Alejandro. :smiley:

Thanks for the advice, guys. Very much appreciated.

Sounds to me like the bad guys won this round fair and square.
They got the girl and there’s no one left to stop them.
So push the campaign forward along those lines.
Things get BAD.
Advance time until the Severely wounded character is ready to get back into action and then assess the condition of the mortally wounded fellow. Can he stagger to his feet?
If not, what does his friend do? Does his friend stay by his side while he recuperates even though he knows that evil runs free? Or does he abandon his friend while pursues his own goals?
Those are both meaningful decisions.
Because and especially, if he abandons his friend, you know that the newly corrupted sister is going to come for her brother and turn him – while he’s too weak to resist.

I wouldn’t assume that player 2 wouldn’t like some training time while his friend recovers without asking. So, while their both injured, that’s downtime for both. If player 2 trains, that’s more recovery time for player 1. As luke says, he may be able to stagger to his feet by then and accompany him even though he’s wounded (or convince him to wait until he’s better with a DoW). Lots of options here besides having him sit out during multiple sessions.

Also, who is making the lifestyle maintenance rolls while the dwarf heals. Someone’s got to feed them right? And pay for medical treatment? Or is his family heirloom more important?

All good advice, guys. Thank you. I’ll let you know what happens!

  1. Couldn’t big bro go and offer himself as a vessel instead? Even badly wounded, he might be able to hire porters to carry him to the demon lair and offer himself in trade.

  2. Big bro could make a deal with a priest, a higher power, or sorcerer, to heal a bit more quickly, and to fight the demon. Remember, the enemy of mine enemy is a useful tool.

  3. Make a demon-hunter PC to go rescue the sister. Of course, then, his only goal is to slay and banish demons, and since she has one inside her it might not turn out well for the original characters goals. Good for story though.

  4. Yeah, wait it out and switch to the interaction with demonic sis and her new powers.

All the options above are sound. Also, once Big Brother can stagger to his feet, he could hire a mercenary or two to keep his wounded ass alive as he sets out to settle the score. Let the same player play one of the mercenaries in addition to Big Brother. After all, the Big Brother character will only be good for roleplaying, for at least a year of game-time. So, the player would have a second PC that would be fun to use in Fight scenes and whatnot.

Could also engage the character in different ways. Maybe he has a dream sequence while in coma. He meets the demon and duels it out in the astral plane. Might be fun.

If you really, really want to continue the story immediately with the same character, break the rules a bit, but make him pay for it. Maybe some surgeon approaches with a “miracle cure”, but it’s an expensive/rare medicine that creates a permanent dependancy. He can accept the medicine and be 100% cured of all his wounded dice, but he’ll have to finance and secure monthly doses of this drug for the rest of his life OR DIE. That’d throw a fun twist in the plot.

Any time you’re this hesitant, I think it calls for an out-of-character discussion, much as if they’d completed their shared goal and were mulling over writing a new set of beliefs. There’s no need to solve this from your seat alone with GMing panache.

That’s a great note on which to end this discussion, Michael. OP has called for a time out. Let’s wait to see what happens.

Yep, I will let you guys know for sure. Thanks much for all the tips!

Ok, so now that nearly 2 months has gone by … What happened? I am curious how you resolved this.