Book:Life and Death

From NsdWiki
Jump to: navigation, search

Optimists are known to repeat the tag line: "at least you still have your health!"

On the road to adventure, there are many ups and downs. The "downs" come in the form of enemies, aches, pains, and bludgeonings. The "ups" come in the form of allies, rest, healing, and relaxation. This chapter details them both. It explains how creatures live and die, as well as the numerous physical conditions that can befall them in-between.

Death Has Consequences
When your character dies, there's no denying, it kind of sucks! Your dead character isn't playable anymore; you have to create a new one if you want to continue playing with the rest of the group. The main thing to remember is not to get discouraged. This happens to even veteran players innumerable times. There are even some players 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. And yet, 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. Maybe it was your clone that died. Maybe the Immortals brought you back to life. How you want to treat death in your game is up to you, your GM, and the other players.

Losing Consciousness

Many circumstances can deplete your character's energy and even force them to black out, like a good sucker punch, complete exhaustion, high g-forces, illness, or tranquilizers. Some of these circumstances are downright lethal if left unchecked, like dehydration, suffocation, or hypothermia. Physically taxing effects in this game impose knockout.

The Knockout Track

The Knockout Track consists of five stages. Creatures who become increasingly exhausted, ill, concussed, or sedated move down the stages of the Knockout Track. Each consecutive stage instills harsher penalties to all skill checks, including Attack Rolls, Evasion Rolls, Damage Rolls, Guard Rolls, Casting Rolls, and Focus Rolls. Creatures who move down all five stages gain the unconscious condition (see the Conditions section below).

Knockout Track
Status Penalty
Stage One −2
Stage Two −4
Stage Three −6
Stage Four −8
Stage Five Knocked-out

When your body takes a beating, you carry the fatigue until you get a good night's sleep. With a little rest, creatures can move back up the stages of the Knockout Track (see the Resting and Recovery section below). You can also shake exhaustion with drugs (see the Contaminants section below) or by calling on the powers that be (see Chapter 17: Spirit Arts).

Death Marks

There are forces in the realm of mortals that inspire its name. These effects keep us from living forever — quite actively, in fact. A situation that inflicts lethal debilitation upon a living creature through physical, magical, or spiritual means could potentially hand them a Death Mark.

When you receive a Death Mark, part of your life ebbs away. A Death Mark first moves you down one stage of the Knockout Track. Second, it occupies that stage; it steals that portion of your energy. Not only do you sustain the −2 penalty to all rolls that a stage of the Knockout Track brings, but you continue to sustain the penalty until the Death Mark is removed.

What that means is that no amount of napping or coffee can unburden a creature of the malaise and fatigue that accompanies a Death Mark. When creatures bear five Death Marks, they gain the unconscious condition. A creature bearing six Death Marks must pay the toll to the ferryman and expire.

Death Marks represent an ongoing, life-threatening circumstance: for instance arctic skinny dipping, rooms with no air, or involuntary fasting. They cannot be removed until the circumstances are at an end. When a creature is freed from the harmful situation (e.g. finding a warm cabin, fresh air, or a hero's feast), a single Death Mark releases. Any remaining Death Marks can be released one at a time, with a full night of restful sleep required for each.

Stamina Drain

Exhausting actions and harsh environmental effects that chip away at your energy reserves cause Stamina Drain. Once your body surpasses its natural limits, you make a Stamina check (see Chapter 6: Skills). As long as the cause of the Stamina Drain persists, you must repeat the Stamina check at regular intervals, and the DL increases each time. The results of a failure depend on whether the Stamina Drain is tiring or lethal.

Physical exertion which saps your energy imposes tiring Stamina Drain. If you fail a check against tiring Stamina Drain, you move one stage down the Knockout Track. Denying your body something it needs (e.g. air, food, water) imposes lethal Stamina Drain. Failing a check against lethal Stamina Drain hands you a Death Mark.

Any effect in this game that imposes Stamina Drain will list the initial DL, the frequency of Stamina checks, the amount the DL increases each time, and whether the effect is lethal or tiring. For example, the suffocating condition described later in this chapter causes Stamina Drain [DL 15; +1 every round; lethal].

A creature can be subjected to several different causes of Stamina Drain at once, possibly with different intervals (for instance, one effect repeats every day, another every hour).

Sustaining Injury

The world is filled with dangers that can injure your characters. Many times, these dangers are other characters. This section explains the loss of Health Points. As mentioned in Chapter 3: Character Creation, a character's life force is measured in Health Points (or HP) and a creature's Size determines its starting HP.


When a character suffers an injury, he takes damage. Damage can be caused by the actions of foes in combat, bad luck, or naturally occurring hazards. Whereas harm is a term used to represent a weapon's lethality, damage represents the extent of a character's sustained injuries.

Bodily trauma can be inflicted using any of the following methods, however, some creatures may be resistant or immune to one or more of them.

  • Bludgeoning damage results from the impact of a solid object, which causes blunt trauma. Hammer, meet nail.
  • Piercing damage is caused by thrusting attacks with pointed objects, which inflict deep penetration wounds. Organ perforation, impalement, the works.
  • Slashing damage follows chopping or slicing attacks with edged objects, which deliver wide incised wounds… or amputations.
  • Crushing damage results from an application of heavy force, which compresses the body like a tube of toothpaste.
  • Burning damage is the product of acute exposure to extreme temperature, voltage, radioactivity, or corrosiveness. Accident-free for zero days.
  • Draining damage comes from the depletion of vital resources: profuse hemorrhaging, desiccation, or energy-sucking alien parasites.

You make a Guard check to resist lethal injuries. See the Guard entry in Chapter 6: Skills. The amount of incoming damage minus the result of your Guard check equals the amount of HP lost. When a character reaches 0 HP, he falls comatose. When a character drops below 0 HP, he dies. Cry you may, but die you must.

Continual Damage

Continual Damage inflicts HP loss at a recurring interval — it's the gift that keeps on giving. Unlike acute physical trauma doled out by sword thrusts and axe swings, Continual Damage is caused by more persistent circumstances, like bleeding to death or catching fire. As a result, most Continual Damage is considered either burning or draining damage.

Any effect in this game that imposes Continual Damage will list the amount of damage incurred, the duration between each occurrence, and the type of damage. For example, catching on fire (detailed later in this chapter) causes Continual Damage [4 HP per round; burning]. Even more if it spreads!

When each interval elapses, the damage comes directly out of the creature’s HP, and no amount of Endurance, Guard, or Armor can help. Most effects that impose Continual Damage allow for the creature at risk to make a skill check to stave them off entirely or to neutralize them once active, and some effects expire on their own. A creature can be subject to several different types of Continual Damage at once, possibly with different intervals (for instance, one effect repeats every round, another every hour). Some effects can be compounded to impose more damage upon each occurrence.

Tainted Damage

Tainted Damage is a form of damage which cannot be removed through the normal fashion of resting and healing. It is so insidious that it must be healed by magical, supernatural, or highly specialized means. Tainted Damage is often caused by dark and destructive magic, the teeth and claws of certain legendary monsters, or cursed items and traps.

When a character suffers Tainted Damage the GM will point it out. The player should 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. Worse yet, too much Tainted Damage may cause you to rise from the grave with an unholy appetite.

Resting and Recovery

When your character rests peacefully, he regains a number of lost HP equal to his Endurance score plus his ranks in Vitality. Resting peacefully requires at least six hours of sleep in a non-hostile environment. Characters can never regain more than their maximum HP.

Poorly rested characters regain only half the normal amount of HP (rounded down). This occurs when your character sleeps less than 6 hours or is roused to arms during the night. Their body is simply too exhausted to heal correctly without a little help. If you stay up all night, you can't regain any lost HP.


Injured characters can 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. See the Healing entry in Chapter 6: Skills. A healer cannot tend to more than one person per night. Their services can be paid for like any other trade.

Healing Items

The natural world is rich with verdant energy. Finding natural ingredients, like herbs and nectars, that can help in restoring a character's health is possible if you know what to look for. Legends tell of flowers that cure specific illnesses. Some say that the fruit of rare trees can heal in much the same way. If an adventurer is seeking it, she should be able to purchase things like naturally-derived salves, ointments, and poultices that can be applied to wounds (see the Gear section of Chapter 11: Equipment). A character who regains HP from a healing item still needs to rest that day unless the item specifically states that it is a substitute for rest.

Magic Points and Spirit Points

A well-rested character awakens to fully replenished MP and SP. Characters who rest poorly regain only half of their lost MP and SP.

“Mana,” as some characters refer to their MP scores, manifests physically in crystalline, liquid, or gaseous form throughout the world. If the character manages to locate mana, it can be used to regain MP. You can use crystalline mana in place of your own MP. Liquid or gaseous mana can be consumed or inhaled to replenish missing MP. Your GM can tell you how much MP each amount of mana restores.

“Qi,” as some characters refer to their SP scores, sometimes permeates spiritual places. Since the world is blanketed by the fabric of spirit power, folds and creases in this fabric cause concentrations of spiritual energy. You can regain SP by meditating peacefully in such a place. The longer your character does so, the more SP regained.


A Condition is a status that remains applied to your character for some length of time. This could be measured in rounds, minutes, hours, days, or years. Some conditions are permanent. Each condition could be caused by any number of factors, so this section will list a condition’s effects but not necessarily its causes or means of removal.


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 take a −8 penalty to combat maneuvers.


Unable to tell friend from foe. Confused creatures have a fifty-fifty 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.


Dying of thirst. Without sufficient water, your body begins to desiccate. Dehydrated creatures are subject to Stamina Drain (DL 20; +1 every 12 hours; lethal).


Unfocused on the present situation. A distracted creature is focused on something other than its surroundings and takes a −4 penalty on Perception checks. It’s more difficult for them to realize someone is pickpocketing them, hiding near them, or sneaking up on them.


Dying of extreme heat or cold. Once you're at the mercy of the elements and risk heat stroke or hypothermia, you become subject to Stamina Drain (DL 15; +1 every hour; lethal).


Without discernible anatomy. A formless creature lacks a solid body, behaving as if composed of gas or liquid. Formless creatures are only susceptible to burning damage — they cannot be harmed by bludgeoning, piercing, slashing, crushing, or draining damage. Formless creatures are also immune to the grabbed, immobilized, and prone conditions. A formless spellcaster cannot perform gestures and cannot recite incantations.


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 (so a creature with a Speed of 10 can only move 5 feet per AP). It must also divide the results of its Dash checks in half.


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.


Visually undetectable. Invisible creatures are nearly imperceptible to the naked eye thanks to uncanny camouflage or complete transparency. Invisible creatures receive a +10 bonus to Stealth checks made to hide (and they can do so in plain sight or while in motion).


Lacking conscious thought. A mindless creature operates solely on natural instinct. It possesses no discernible sentience and no sense of reason. Mindless creatures are denied the use of any skill that requires some semblance of consciousness. It automatically fails any roll involving Intellect, Insight, Charm, Presence, or Persuasion. A creature with the mindless condition also gains the unfeeling condition.


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).


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.


Severely frightened, annoyed, angered, or upset. A rattled creature is disconcerted to the point that it negatively affects their actions, so they take −2 to all rolls.


Malnourished. A creature who hasn't consumed enough food is subject to Stamina Drain (DL 10; +1 every day; lethal).


Physically stalled or in shock. Stunned creatures automatically go last in the Reaction order on their next turn.


Unable to breathe. Once a creature's oxygen supply is cut off, it becomes subject to Stamina Drain (DL 15; +1 every round; lethal).


Out cold or fast asleep. An unconscious creature is oblivious to its surroundings; its mind and body are disconnected. Unless the creature is animated by an outside force, it tends to remain stationary. An unconscious creature also gains the wide-eyed condition.


Without emotion. Unfeeling creatures lack any capacity for feelings. They are immune to mental manipulation and can be neither crazed nor demoralized. An unfeeling creature automatically passes Guts, Mind Control, Sanity, and Virtue checks (meaning they are immune to the distracted and rattled conditions).


A creature's Disposition describes its intent towards you. Any character you interact with or animal you encounter along your adventures operates under one of these seven Dispositions. With a successful skill check or clever role-playing, you can improve another creature's Disposition. With a Critical Failure or detrimental behavior, you can worsen it. Aside from eventful in-game choices, several different skills can be used to alter Disposition (see the Animal Control, Negotiate, Perform, Seduce, and Taunt entries in Chapter 6: Skills). You can only try to change a creature's Disposition once per day, but if you do it well enough (or poor enough), you can push them more than one level at a time. The list below explains each level of Disposition starting from most positive to most negative.

An enamored creature exists to bring you happiness. It would probably sacrifice itself if it could bring you an ounce of safety.
A friendly creature will go out of its way to give you aid. Sometimes, it will help you at dire consequences to itself.
A benign creature is amicable and pleasant to you, and will lend aid, but won't help in any way that overly inconveniences it.
A neutral creature has no disposition towards you; it doesn't wish you harm, nor does it wish to help you.
A malign creature generally wishes you ill will, but won't attack you without provocation.
A hostile creature will go out of its way to harm you. In fact, it will most likely disregard its own safety to bring you pain.
A hateful creature has one purpose in life: to end yours. It is almost a certainty that it will put its own life in danger to kill you.


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.


A bestial creature is a common animal: vertebrate or invertebrate. Their Intellect is usually 1, definitely no higher than 2. They can be influenced using Animal Control and Intimidate.


An elemental creature is artificial intelligence composed of a pure element. When killed, elementals return to the Sea of Thought. Magic attacks of the opposite element deal Tainted Damage.

Immune to the following conditions: dehydrated, exposed, paralyzed, starving, suffocating, unconscious. Immune to Knockout Track penalties and Stamina Drain. Immune to bleeding damage, illness, and contaminants. Immune to Called Shots.


A fabricated creature is a nonliving, moving object. Many fabrications are programmed with responses to certain stimuli. 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 gains the mindless condition.

Immune to the following conditions: dehydrated, exposed, paralyzed, starving, suffocating, unconscious. Immune to Knockout Track penalties and Stamina Drain. Immune to bleeding damage, illness, and contaminants. Immune to death effects.


A humanoid creature is roughly person-shaped, but can vary in size. Every race detailed in Chapter 5: Races is humanoid. They usually have few or no magical abilities.


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 them.


A plantlike creature is one which grows, often rooted and engaging in photosynthesis. If the plant has an Intellect of 1, it gains the mindless condition. They can be suffocated in an airless environment, but their physiology doesn't allow for strangulation. They do not sleep.

Immune to the following conditions: paralyzed, unconscious. Immune to Knockout Track penalties except for lethal Stamina Drain.


An undead creature was formerly-alive. Undead creatures with an Intellect of 1 gain the mindless condition. They do not naturally heal damage (unless they possess Regeneration), but can be repaired. They cannot regenerate MP, but may acquire them by other means (e.g. feeding on the living).

Immune to the following conditions: dehydrated, exposed, paralyzed, starving, suffocating, unconscious. Immune to Knockout Track penalties and Stamina Drain. Immune to Tainted Damage. Immune to bleeding damage, illness, and contaminants. Immune to Called Shots. Immune to death effects.