Book:Life and Death
An optimist's oft-repeated tag line: "at least you still have your health!" On the road to adventure, there are many downs in the form of aches, pains, and bludgeonings. There are also many ups in the form of rest, healing, and relaxation. This chapter attempts to detail them both and explain how characters live and die.
Health and Healing
As mentioned earlier, a character's life-force is measured in Health Points (or HP). A creature's Size determines its total HP. Most characters begin the game with 30 HP.
A creature's size represents its mass and how much space it occupies. The following table lists the size modifiers, as well as some typical weights (in pounds), and typical heights (in feet). Size is more about a creature's mass than its dimensions, therefore there are examples which may fall outside these ranges.
|Size1||MUS2||HP||Typical Weight||Typical Height||Example|
|−5||−25||3||0.5–2||0.25–0.5||Bat, gray squirrel|
|−4||−20||5||2–10||0.5–1||Human infant, brown rat, cottontail rabbit|
|−3||−15||10||10–25||1–1.75||Human toddler, falcon, house cat|
|−2||−10||20||25–50||1.75–3||Lynx, beaver, border collie|
|−1||−5||25||50–100||3–5||Firna, grey wolf, cheetah|
|0||0||30||100–250||5–7||Human adult, mastiff, wild boar|
|1||5||35||250–500||7–9||Kulgeri, Gorilla, black bear, bull shark|
|2||10||40||500–1,000||9–11||Grizzly, tiger, bottlenose dolphin, alligator|
|3||15||55||1,000–2,500||11–13||Horse, bison, tiger shark|
|4||20||75||2,500–5,000||13–16||Hippopotamus, white rhino, great white shark|
|5||25||100||5,000–10,000||16–20||Juren, elephant, stegosaurus, colossal squid|
|6||30||200||10,000–25,000||20–25||Tyrannosaurus rex, triceratops, orca|
|8||40||675||50,000–100,000||30–40||Sperm whale, humpback whale|
|9||45||1250||100,000–250,000||40–60||Argentinosaurus, fin whale|
|10||50||2500||250,000–500,000||60–90||Amphicoelias fragillimus, blue whale|
|11||55||5000||500,000–1,000,000||90–150||Rampaging radioactive reptilian monsters|
- The Size gets subtracted from Attack Rolls and Evasion Rolls. Therefore, a positive number is a penalty and a negative number is a bonus. When creatures of different sizes engage in combat, the smaller one is harder to hit and inversely, the larger one is a bigger target.
- The Muscle bonus is added to Might and Grip when opposing a creature of a different size. In feats of strength, larger creatures are many times stronger than smaller ones.
When a character rests at the end of a day, chances are that character has lost some Health Points. A character regains a number of lost HP equal to his Endurance score plus his Vitality score for each night he rests peacefully. Resting peacefully requires at least six hours of sleep in a non-hostile environment. In addition to gaining back HP, a rested character awakens to replenished Magic Points and Spirit Points. It is important to remember that a character can never regain more HP than he has in total.
Injured characters can also be tended by healers and medics overnight, which yields more HP recovery. The character attempting to administer overnight healing to the wounded one rolls a Healing check against a DL of 10. For each point of success, the attended character regains an additional HP (that is, in addition to the usual HP they usually regain). Healers may tend to themselves overnight in this way, but cannot tend to more than one person per night.
Poorly rested characters do not regain HP from their Endurance and Vitality scores. He can still be tended to overnight and regain HP that way, but his own body is too exhausted to heal correctly without a little help. Characters who get poor rest still regain MP and SP.
This means that the characters have been going strong for over 24 hours, without reprieve, without a chance to rest at all. Characters who get no rest in a given day obviously have no chance to regain HP while resting and will begin to move down the Knockout Track. For each day a character does not rest at all, he moves one stage down the Knockout Track. Characters who get no rest do not replenish their MP or SP as a result of resting.
It is said that there exist elixirs which instantly heal wounds and restore life force. Some elixirs are rumored to enhance the prowess of the drinker or to restore youth. The availability of these elixirs is most certainly rare and they would be pricey at best. Only practitioners of magic or experienced alchemists would have the knowledge of the workings of these concoctions, let alone be able to produce them.
The natural world, as opposed to the magical one, however, is rich with verdant energy. Finding herbs and nectars that can help in restoring a character's health is much easier. If an adventurer is seeking it, he or she should be able to purchase things like herbal salves, ointments, poultices, etc. that can be applied to a wound. Legends tell of flowers that cure specific illnesses. Some say that the fruit of rare trees can heal in much the same way. Generally speaking, these items assist the process of healing when a character rests overnight. The GM should be the final authority on the availability of healing supplements and their price.
A character who regains HP, MP, or any other similar score from a healing item still needs to rest that day unless the item specifically states that it is a substitute for rest.
See the sections below on Diseases and Poisons for information on creating healing items.
Damage and Death
When a character suffers injury, whether from the actions of foes in combat, bad luck, or naturally occurring hazards, they suffer damage. Whereas Harm is a term used to describe the lethal power of weapons and the like, Damage means the amount of injury a character sustains in the form of lost Health Points. When a character reaches 0 HP, he dies. Cry you may, but die you must.
When a character dies, there's no denying, that kind of sucks. The dead character is not playable anymore and the player has to create a new character if he wants to continue playing with that group of gamers. Some GMs will allow for things like resurrection, so maybe it isn't the end for your character. Often, however, these magical rites are costly and rarely performed. The main thing to remember is not to get discouraged. This happens to even veteran gamers innumerable times. There are even some gamers who have come to embrace the fact that their characters never seem to last long. Just draw up a new character and keep playing. The reaper comes for us all, eventually.
Tainted Damage is a form of damage which cannot be healed in the normal fashion of resting and healing. It is so insidious that it must be healed by magical, supernatural or highly specialized means. Forms of healing will always say if they heal tainted damage. Tainted damage is often caused by dark and destructive magic, the natural weapons of monsters, or cursed items and traps. When a character suffers tainted damage the GM should be sure to point it out. The player may want to jot down somewhere obvious how much tainted damage the character has accrued, since those lost HP will not be recovered in the normal way. Some GMs decree that characters who die as a result of Tainted Damage cannot be resurrected, if that sort of thing is commonly practiced.
A creature can sustain a wound so grievous that blood will continue to pour from it after the initial injury. Left untreated, a bleeding creature will eventually die of blood loss.
Only certain types of attacks can deliver a bleeding wound. After receiving such a wound, a creature takes 1 damage per round. This damage comes directly out of the creature's HP, and no amount of Endurance, Guard, or Armor can help. The damage per round increases by 1 for every subsequent bleeding wound the creature receives.
A character with ranks in Healing can apply pressure to the wounds and stop the bleeding. See the Healing section in Chapter 6: Skills for more details. In addition, natural remedies exist, and characters can leverage any item which restores HP to immediately cease bleeding damage.
The Knockout Track
As a character becomes increasingly exhausted, ill, dazed, or punch-drunk, that character moves further down the Knockout Track. The further down the track a character is, the more penalties are applied to skill checks, attacks, and defense rolls.
Removing Knockout Penalties
When a character rests at the end of the day and heals, any and all penalties she is suffering as a result of moving down the Knockout Track are negated. A character with ranks in Healing may make a check against a DL of 5 in an attempt to heal themselves or another person of Knockout penalties. For each five points of success (i.e. on a roll of 10, 15, 20, 25, 30), the attended character moves up the Knockout Track one stage. The attending character can attempt to negate Knockout penalties once a day per target.
In addition to the physical dangers of the world, characters are often accosted by sniffles and common ailments, as well as many serious bacterial and viral diseases. In this game, when it comes to disease and plague, running out of tissues is the least of your worries.
When a character comes in contact with a disease, the character must make a Vitality check to avoid becoming infected. Some diseases are spread through touch, others through injury and direct contact with the blood, and others still are airborne. The DL of the check is dependent on the level of disease, but GMs may decide that a particularly resistant or deadly strain of the disease attacks the character and so the DL would be higher in this case.
If the initial Vitality check is failed, the character is infected and will suffer the effects of the disease. Each time the character rests, the player must make another check. If this check is passed, the character may ignore the effects of the disease for the following day. If the player makes two consecutive, successful checks she is considered to have beaten the disease. If a character with ranks in Healing is on hand, she can make a skill check instead of the character's save. If successful, this works just as if the character had rolled a successful check.
The effects of the disease are dependent on the level. Each day, the infected character wakes at a specific stage of the Knockout Track. There are also side effects of each disease as well.
- Level One – Stage One KO
- Level Two – Stage Two KO
- Level Three – Stage Three KO
- Level Four – Stage Four KO
- Level Five – Infected character is comatose each day the save is failed
Listed below are some simple diseases.
- Minor Malaise – Sniffles, a low-fever, and aches and pains gently pelt the body with slight discomfort. Most employers will ask for a note from the doctor if the character misses work (Level One, Airborne, DL 10]).
- Icy Shivers – The infected character begins to shiver violently and suffers from a feeling of extreme cold, dizziness, and numbness in extremities. Fatal if endured for long. Writing legibly is impossible, and tasks requiring manual dexterity or steady hands are extremely difficult. The infected character becomes increasingly dependent on extreme heat, and in bad cases, may attempt to burn themselves (Level Two, Airborne, DL 14).
- Rusty Leg – Flu-like symptoms including nausea, weakness, and vomiting accompany a nasty red-orange rash which causes the inflamed skin to flake like rust. Character has a hard time walking faster than a shuffle due to pain in the shins and feet, which is where the symptoms usually first manifest. Speed is halved (reduced to 5 ft./AP for most humanoids) for the duration of the disease (Level Three, Injury, DL 12).
- Violet Death – A plague-like sickness which begins with itching and a bile-like taste in the mouth. Purple splotches begin to appear first around the armpits, feet, and crotch of the victim, then appearing on the neck, elbows and knees and spreading outwards. Open sores then appear on the skin, which turn necrotic and begin to rot, causing damage to the infected character. The character suffers 1 damage/hour each day (Level Four, Touch, DL 16).
- Hematic Scourge – Three days after becoming infected, the character is wracked by terrible pain. They are considered KO'd, but still conscious, and so are incapable of Skill Checks or Attack and Defense Rolls. The body begins to seep blood out of the pores and orifices (2 damage/hour each day). Screaming and moaning are commonplace, as are last will and testaments (Level Five, Injury, DL 18).
Using the ingredients in the natural world, a character can craft medicines such as salves, pills, and teas, which combat or cure disease. To craft medicines, the character needs access to a space that can be used as a laboratory, as well as fire and containers to boil or distill liquids, and a mortar and pestle for grinding ingredients. They also need to be familiar with the materials used in the creation process: which herbs, plants, seeds, or fruit lessen which ailments. To create a medicine, the character must make a Craft check against a DL of 20 + 1 for every Level of disease (so for example, the DL to craft a medicine for a Level Three disease is 23). As noted in the Craft skill, a character with a roll above or below the DL creates a medicine of differing quality. Below are the details of different quality medicines.
|−10||Awful (extra Knockout penalty)|
|−5||Not great (ineffective)|
|0||Normal (Knockout penalties removed, but symptoms persist)|
|+5||Good (symptoms slightly lessened, +2 to save)|
|+10||Outstanding (symptoms masked, +4 to save)|
|+15||Perfect (character automatically passes save for 1 day)|
|+20||Legendary (instantly cures the disease)|
Medicines generally take two hours per Level of disease to create. A character cannot create medicines which combat diseases introduced through magic.
In the words of the great Socrates: "I just drank what?" Be careful of that goblet of wine, friend, it may have worse things in it than cheap merlot. Poison is a common weapon in the political world of kings and pawns. Then there are the exotic animals and monsters of the world with their natural venoms. Anything that poisons the blood and causes impairment is considered a poison.
Poisons work in much the same way as Diseases. When a character comes into contact with a poison, a Vitality check is required. If passed, everything is fine. If failed, the character has been poisoned. A further check must be passed each round or the character will suffer the damaging effects of the poison and detrimental side effects for the duration of the poison. Some poisons enter the bloodstream through injury, some must be imbibed, and some can simply be absorbed through contact with the skin.
- Level Zero – 0 damage/round
- Level One – 1 damage/round
- Level Two – 2 damage/round
- Level Three – 4 damage/round
- Level Four – 8 damage/round
- Level Five – 16 damage/round
- Webking Venom – The venom of these huge spiders causes a drowsy or unconscious state in its victims. Affected characters move one step down the Knockout Track each round, eventually falling unconscious (Level Zero, Injury, DL 14, 5 rounds).
- Ginger Ivy Oil Extract – The oils of the Ginger Ivy plant severely irritate the skin, causing small blisters and boils which itch like a sonofagun, but are mostly an annoyance. If the extract of the plant is imbibed, however, it causes the mouth and throat to swell and blister, cutting off airflow. The victim often tears frantically at his or her own throat in a futile attempt at relief, and this sometimes does more damage than the Ginger Ivy Oil. The character suffers suffocation as a side effect for the duration of the poison (Level One, Imbibed, DL 12, 10 rounds).
- Hag's Blood – This is the actual blood pulled from the veins of slain hags. It is highly toxic and causes short bouts of violent illness and hallucinations. A character poisoned with Hag's Blood is considered Confused (Level Three, Imbibed, DL 16, 10 rounds).
- Mortargore Poison – This alchemical poison is capable of thickening and hardening the blood in a victim's veins, causing rigidity in the body and heart attack. The character is also subject to moving down the Knockout Track for each failed save (Level Four, Imbibed, DL 18, 5 rounds).
- Black Lotus Poison – Capable of killing in a matter of seconds, Black Lotus poison is an assassin's preferred weapon, when they can afford it. It is swift, traceless, and extremely potent. A character poisoned with the Black Lotus is rendered blind (Level Five, Imbibed/Injury/Contact, DL 20, 5 rounds).
A character can create a poison antidote, antitoxin, or antivenom using a chemical countering agent. To create an antidote to a chemical poison, the character must have the ingredients available to create a compound that can counter it. To create an antivenom, the character must be able to locate and identify natural ingredients (possibly the venom itself) which can be processed. In addition to a space to create this compound, the character may require equipment such as syringes, mixing containers and instruments, and heat sources. To create an antidote, the character must make a Craft check against a DL of 20 + 1 for every Level of poison (so for example, the DL to craft an antidote for a Level Four poison is 24). Antidotes are straightforward: they neutralize the agent in a victim's body, so one of greater quality has no additional effects. If the Craft check fails, the character makes an antidote of lesser quality, and it may actually harm the victim of the poison. A critical failure results in no antidote, and will ruin any materials. Antidotes generally take one hour per Level of poison to create. A character cannot create antidotes which counter the effects of magic poisons.
Sometimes a character can be impaired through causes other than the loss of blood and HP. Often, diseases, poisons, spells, exhaustion, heat, or strong emotions can affect how well a character feels.
- Slowly hemorrhaging to death. Bleeding creatures take one point of damage directly from their HP every round. Each additional bleeding wound increases this damage by one point.
- Unable to see at all. Blind creatures automatically fail visual Perception checks and cannot benefit from or be harmed by spells, abilities or skill checks that rely on a creature with sight. Creatures without the Blind-Fighting Trump are at a −8 to combat maneuvers.
- On fire and usually a bit panicky. Creatures who are partially aflame can extinguish the flames for 3 AP. A creature who is completely engulfed in flames must spend 6 AP to put out the flames. Spells, torches, chemicals, some weapons, and all other sorts of things can start a fire that can spread to a character. While a creature is burning, they will continue to take 8 damage each round until the fire is extinguished.
- Unable to tell friend from foe. Confused creatures have a 50/50 chance to mistake allies for opponents.
- Unable to hear. Deafened creatures automatically fail auditory Perception checks and cannot benefit from or be harmed by spells, abilities, or skill checks that rely on hearing.
- Held in a Grab by another creature, object, or force. A grabbed creature cannot use its movement Speed and takes −4 on Evasion Rolls.
- Unable to move at full speed. While a creature is hampered, its movement Speed is halved.
- Heavily restrained by another creature, object, or force. An immobilized creature cannot use its movement Speed. It automatically fails Attack Rolls and Evasion Rolls. An immobilized spellcaster cannot perform gestures.
- Without physical matter; totally insubstantial. An incorporeal creature is not subject to normal laws of physics: one can pass through any substance and move in any direction at will. Since matter passes through them, physical attacks against them or from them always miss. However, magic spells which they cast or which target them function normally.
- Afflicted with a natural or magical disease, complete with nasty symptoms and side-effects. Diseased creatures assume Knockout Track penalties, depending on the severity.
- Completely unable to speak. Creatures usually denied the use of the following skills at the GM's discretion: Taunt, Seduce, Leadership, Bluff, Negotiate, and sometimes Perform. A muted spellcaster cannot recite incantations; those who use Spellsong cannot cast at all.
- Unable to move at all. A paralyzed creature is completely still and may not engage in any action that requires physical movement. A paralyzed creature is also considered muted (see above).
- Dosed with poison, toxin, or venom of a natural or magical nature. Poisoned creatures take a different amount of damage (depending on the severity) directly from their HP every round.
- Off your feet and on the ground. Prone creatures suffer a −4 penalty on Attack Rolls and Evasion Rolls until they stand up. It takes 2 AP to stand up from a prone position.
- Physically stalled or in shock. Stunned creatures automatically go last in the Reaction order on their next turn.
- Unable to breathe. A creature unable to breathe but not doing anything physically taxing (such as actively fighting in combat) can hold its breath one minute for each point of Endurance. After this, the creature is considered suffocating. Each round the creature remains suffocating, a Stamina roll against a DL of 15 must be made in order to keep from slipping one step down the Knockout Track. Once the creature becomes unconscious, if the suffocating conditions persist, the creature dies.
- Out cold or fast asleep. An unconscious creature is oblivious to its surroundings, cannot participate in the initiative order, and counts as paralyzed (see above).
- Surprised and unprepared for the action at hand. A wide-eyed creature automatically fails Evasion Rolls.
There are many different kinds of creatures which may be encountered in the Immortal Legacy game. A creature's Nature details its immunities and vulnerabilities. Creatures which do not eat cannot be starved. Creatures which do not breathe cannot be suffocated. Creatures which do not sleep are productive. Creatures without notable intelligence cannot be reasoned with and are typically immune to spells and effects that target the mind.
- An amorphous creature has no discernible anatomy and no discernible intelligence. Their Intellect may not be higher than 1. They automatically pass Mind Control, Sanity, Guts, and Virtue checks. Their Disposition cannot be affected with Negotiate or Seduce. They're immune to bleed damage, poison, paralysis, and knockout. They do not sleep. They have no vital areas for the purposes of Called Shots. They are always considered blinded and deafened, so they are immune to any threat which relies on sight or sound. They have tremor sense, meaning they can perceive any creature in contact with the same surface.
- A beastial creature is a common animal: vertebrate or invertebrate. Their Intellect is usually 1, definitely no higher than 2. Disposition can only be affected with Animal Control, not Negotiate or Seduce. They lack MP entirely.
- An elemental creature is spirit composed of a pure element. They are immune to bleed damage, poison, paralysis, disease, and knockout. Any death effect instead banishes the creature, just as the Banish spell would. Elemental creatures do not eat, breathe, or sleep. They have no vital areas for the purposes of Called Shots. Magic attacks of the opposite element deal tainted damage.
- A fabricated creature is a nonliving, moving object. Many fabrications are programmed with responses to certain stimuli. They are immune to bleed damage, poison, paralysis, disease, knockout, and death effects. They do not eat, breathe, or sleep. They do not naturally heal damage, but they can be repaired. Some fabrications cannot regenerate MP naturally, but many have a pool of MP "installed" at their creation. This pool may or may not be rechargeable. If the fabrication has an Intellect of 1, it automatically passes Mind Control, Sanity, Guts, and Virtue checks, and its Disposition cannot be affected with Negotiate or Seduce.
- A humanoid creature is roughly person-shaped, but can vary in size. They usually have few or no magical abilities. Humanoids are eligible to have SP.
- A legendary creature is a flesh-and-blood supernatural or extraordinary being with magical powers. All legendary creatures, regardless of appearance, have intelligence greater than that of beasts, therefore Animal Control is not used to influence Disposition. Legendary creatures are eligible to have SP.
- A plantlike creature is one which grows, often rooted and engaging in photosynthesis. They automatically pass Mind Control, Guts, Sanity, and Virtue checks. They're immune to paralysis and knockout. Their Disposition cannot be affected with Negotiate or Seduce, unless the creature has an Intellect score higher than 1 and is capable of speech. They cannot be suffocated, but will die if left in an airless environment for too long (aquatic plants do not breathe air, but need to be submerged). They do not sleep. They have no vital areas for the purposes of Called Shots. Some plantlike creatures have MP, and consuming one would replenish one's own MP. A sentient fabricated creature is eligible to have SP.
- An undead creature was formerly-alive. They are immune to bleed damage, tainted damage, poison, paralysis, disease, knockout, and death effects. They automatically pass Mind Control, Guts, Sanity, and Virtue checks. Creatures with an Intellect of 1 cannot have their Disposition affected with Negotiate or Seduce, but those with an Intellect of 2 or higher can. They do not need to eat or sleep. They do not naturally heal damage (unless it possesses Regeneration), but can be repaired. They may or may not breathe, but cannot be suffocated. They have no vital areas for the purposes of Called Shots. They cannot regenerate MP, but may acquire them by other means (e.g. feeding on the living).