Wound treatment and failure

I’m trying to put together some ‘wound cards’ for me and my player’s ease of understanding. Each card would detail a type of wound (Light, Midi etc.) where everything the player needs to know with regards to penalty, recovery and treatment is listed. While thus rummaging through the wound chapter in the book, I stumbled on some questions:

  1. Can someone explain what happens when a Midi wound gets failed treatment? I gather that the patient suffers a permanent -1d stat loss (which can stack with the penalty for the failed recovery roll, right?). What happens next? Obviously a recovery roll isn’t possible, since he hasn’t had successful treatment yet. He then requires another treatment roll (from a different healer?), which hopefully doesn’t fail, right? And I guess the bleeding isn’t stopped yet, either, from the failed treatment.

  2. It seems the spirit of the rules is that a failed treatment roll makes things worse, but this apparently only has a mechanical failure effect listed with regards to the Midi wound. What happens on a failed treatment for Severe and Traumatic wound? The book says that the patient needs medical help quickly, or he will bleed to death. Does this imply that the only consequence for failure is that he continues bleeding? (i.e. nothing new happens) If so, it seems odd that the penalty for failure is far worse with a Midi wound. Or is the text implying that the wound immediately progresses to the next stage on a failed roll (Severe becomes Traumatic, Traumatic becomes Mortal)? Another option is that the same stat loss happens on a failed Severe/Traumatic treatment, as that listed for Midi wounds?

  3. In both cases, I’m a bit unsure whether the healer can retry the treatment, on a failure. Although the patient needs successful treatment before he can recover, I’m guessing that no, he needs a new healer to step up and try a different treatment if the first one fails. Is this correct? And if the second treatment also fails, he suffers the same consequences as the first, right?

I put this together for BWR, and I think it’s largely correct for BWG, with the obvious exception that all the times have been replaced with scene counts.

Yeah, I saw that while going through the old threads on the topic - it’s really helpful, and very well done!

Unfortunately, I do not think it answers my questions (it answered some others I had, however!). For instance, your chart also implies that a failed treatment for Severe/Traumatic wounds result in continued bleeding and nothing else (unlike Midi), and it doesn’t clear up my confusion about retrying failed treatments and cumulative failures. Sorry if I’m misunderstanding something.

I’ve had some of the same questions as you, in this thread: Injuries and Lost Dice. This part of the rules is a little confusing, so there are different interpretations.

When you fail treatment of a Midi wound, the patient incurs a permanent -1D to a stat. As you say, yes, this is cumulative with the potential stat loss from failed recovery.

But what next?

[W]e usually only allow one treatment test [per wound, at each severity level]. (Luke)

If you fail treatment of a Midi wound, it bleeds out to Severe automatically. On the other hand:

If you fail treatment multiple times (e.g. another surgeon steps forward before the wound bleeds to Severe), do you lose multiple dice? (Fuseboy)

Yeah, but the bigger problem, will probably be bleeding times! (Stormsweeper)

Take your pick!

EDIT: This post sounds snottier than I really mean it to.

As per page 495: You can’t bleed to death from a Midi. You lose -1D from a failed treatment test.
If treatment fails for a Severe or Traumatic wound, you suffer a mortal wound after the appropriate bleeding times.

If you fail your Recovery test for a Midi wound, you also lose -1D permanently.
If you fail your Recovery test for a Severe or Traumatic wound, you lose -2D permanently.
Your stat cap is also reduced by one.

Let It Ride (page 32) applies to these tests as it does to every roll outside of Range and Cover, Fight and Duel of Wits.

There’s a certain elegance to the game that never ceases to surprise me.

Thanks for the replies, all.

Ouch, I thought you rounded down the Severe wound stat loss to -1d!

Luke, are you saying that a failed treatment for Severe and Traumatic automatically, irreversibly results in a Mortal wound (I’m guessing yes). Or is an alternate healer (with perhaps an alternate treatment skill) still an option? As the bleeding is measured in scenes, the healer has in practice already wasted a scene trying and failing a treatment (finding a new healer is at least worth a new scene).

I hope not, that would be really harsh! Those treatment Obs are high, and if you’re not letting the same surgeon another chance to treat again once the wound escalates, you’re talking about near certain failed treatment for a mortal wound. I suppose you do have a few scenes to circle up a better surgeon - quick, shift to epic time!

Humor me and work through the text on 495 and apply the Let It Ride rules for me.

I’ve got my understanding of that now, but I’ll give fuseboy a chance to come up with it on his own.

In the meantime, I have a couple questions about the abstract deadlines:

  1. “next scene”: is that the next scene the wounded character is part of? Particulary, I am wondering, if the PCs are split a bit, does a scene involving the other group count? My thought is no.

  2. For staunching the bleeding of midi wounds, if you do that as the last scene of a session, do you now have to the end of the next session to get treatment?

I’m going to guess that reason prevails.

Actually, for midi wounds it seems to only make sense that staunch the flow would get you through the next session, otherwise staunching the flow of a midi wound really has no effect.

I’m also going to assume that parallel scenes don’t count. Now obviously, if you drop due to a wound, and your friends go off in search of help, their scene DOES count.


  1. Any scene involving any character counts.

  2. Stopping the Bleeding lasts for one scene, not for a session.

Right stopping the bleeding lasts for one scene, if you get a midi wound at the last or second to last scene of a session, and the last scene is staunching the flow, does the midi wound still bleed out at the end of the session… or does the staunching the flow get you into the next session?

Maybe “session” needs some flexibility in definition…


Ok, I think I had a brainfreeze when I reacted to you writing “If treatment fails for a Severe or Traumatic wound, you suffer a mortal wound after the appropriate bleeding times”, which sounded more harsh than I originally thought.

As per Let it Ride (p. 32), a player shall not retest the same obstacle. Once a wound progresses, it’s no longer the same obstacle and thus the player may retest once a Severe wound degrades to a Traumatic, fx. And I think you agree that a different healer may step up and try, should the first one fail (it’s no longer the same PC, as per page 32). Of course, if that is simply another PC who waited in the wings, well dammit, he should have helped his buddy to begin with (if he was in the same scene). But backpedaling out the dungeon, running into town and circling up an expensive doctor is alright, though it may just end up taking too many scenes, before the wound worsens.

So, a failed treatment for a Severe/Traumatic wound will often in practice result in a wound progression, since the PCs may not retest, and since finding a healer could wind up taking too many scenes.

Midi wounds are a slightly different beast, as failing a treatment will apply a stat loss, and as the wound stops bleeding once it reaches Severe. Here, Let it Ride would sort of serve to protect the patient from suffering multiple f*ck-ups by the same, unskilled doctor - though if a different doctor were to operate on him (and fail as well), he could potentially lose several stat dice. However, once the wound bled to Severe, he would be safe from further harm (a failed treatment here would only prolong the period before he could make his recovery roll).

Is this reading correct?

It seems reasonable to me.

Seriously dogg? You can’t work this one out on your own?

If the session comes to an organic close, you bleed out. Tough luck. If the session ends because Tom gets a call and has to go back to the hospital before you can finish the scene, sure, pick it up next week.

In our game last year we went straight from the failed battlefield First Aid roll with our encounter with a guard post to the PC’s kicking in the door of a Surgeon and dumping my bleeding out PC on his table. The GM then very Kindly let me spend my brand shiny new deeds point to re-roll the large number of failed dice on the Surgeon’s treatment roll.

It only took one scene and it suited the drama of the end of the session.