Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
Agasha_Kazusinge

Mechanical/Narrative Dissonance: Another Look at Lethality Rules

Recommended Posts

Getting ready to run the module and I've been taking a final pass through the mechanics to try and get them down.

And I ran into something. As written Wounds are John McClane damage--superficial cuts and bruises that don't do anything telling. Wounds that actually hinder you are Critical Strikes, which don't happen until after your Resistance is overcome and you're unable to fight.

Here's the rub. You're unable to fight. You're not even unconscious. Yet there's no actual narrative reason why you can't fight? It's all still just minor cuts and bruises, right?

So what happens in play? This huge Crab Clan warrior gets smacked around by a smirking Scorpion who sneak attacks him and goes off to go kill his lord in his sleep. The Crab warrior *can't* stop him, but yet he isn't dead. He isn't even unconscious or gravely injured. So...he's okay? No. He can't fight--he just isn't injured beyond, y'know, being defeated.

That feels so game mechanicky I think my players would try to lynch me.

Might I suggest that dropping to zero resistance just means all bets are off and you start taking Critical Strikes, but that you can still act? That the only thing that keeps you from fighting is an actual Critical that keeps you from fighting?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, AtoMaki said:

Wounds/Fatigue isn't supposed to represent superficial injury but rather serious ones that happen to land on unimportant parts. An arrow in the shoulder, a deep cut across the back, stuff like that. 

Is it? I don't think so.

Quoting from the Update: 

Within the fiction, when damage is converted into fatigue, the hit might have been a body blow that bruises but causes little permanent harm, or even a strike that the character managed to narrowly block or dodge at the cost of lost stamina. 

That's NOT deep cuts. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, Agasha_Kazusinge said:

As written Wounds are John McClane damage--superficial cuts and bruises that don't do anything telling. Wounds that actually hinder you are Critical Strikes, which don't happen until after your Resistance is overcome and you're unable to fight.

Here's the rub. You're unable to fight. You're not even unconscious. Yet there's no actual narrative reason why you can't fight? It's all still just minor cuts and bruises, right?

I'm not sure it's quite this silly. If we check the order of events on p. 168 (regarding damage, fatigue, critical strikes, and incapacitated), we can see it runs like this:

  1. When a character is damaged, they take Fatigue (formerly Wounds)
  2. After suffering Fatigue, if Fatigue > Resilience, the character suffers a Critical Strike
  3. After resolving critical strikes, if Fatigue > Resilience, the character becomes Incapacitated

So the Critical Strike and Incapacitated have the same trigger, and Incapacitated doesn't happen until after the Critical Strike. The only way that a character can be Incapacitated without suffering a Critical Strike is if they get it from some other effect, which would provide a narrative reason. 

That said, it's possible for a critical strike to have 0 severity, which doesn't hurt the character, and instead makes the armor Damaged. Which seems like the most gamey part of it to me. 

Resilience seems like a lot, but it's not huge. When my group played the module, the Goblin minion group incapacitated a Togashi monk in two turns (granted... everyone else was fine...). Armor will help you make the most of your Resilience. 

But armor won't help you much against critical strikes, as they don't affect severity at all (at least by default... maybe there's a Kata or something I'm neglecting). Though it does protect you from Fatigue, which can protect you from Critical Strikes happening at all. 

Honestly, I like this system better than 4e. In 4e, if you didn't hit first, you were facing wound penalties. And if you were in a "fair fight" against opponents with similar stats, you were pretty much done. Which might be an interesting story to read or watch, but it's not necessarily the most rewarding game experience, at least for my group. 

51 minutes ago, AtoMaki said:

Tho, to be honest, I'm not too keen on this whole Wounds-are-now-Fatigue thing :).

I'm not either :rolleyes: (think I've said this elsewhere) Seems like the major benefit would have been incorporating bushi or monk school rank into Resilience to represent experienced fighters not getting hit, but instead school rank affects Air Stance. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Also, if the Scorpion runs off to assassinate your Lord after incapacitating the PC, said PC can just take some calming breaths and he's back in the fight.

It might not have a real injury, but the pc was still knocked around pretty badly and needs to recover for a bit.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, Doji Namika said:

Also, if the Scorpion runs off to assassinate your Lord after incapacitating the PC, said PC can just take some calming breaths and he's back in the fight.

It might not have a real injury, but the pc was still knocked around pretty badly and needs to recover for a bit.

For this, I recommend the Water stance... to take not one, but TWO calming breaths per round. Inhale, exhale :)

Now, I interpret the Incapacitated condition as being kind of stunned/shaken/breathless and, yes, also with a few bruises (still included in the new description). You might have weathered the critical strike that resulted from your Fatigue exceeding your Resilience, but you are still a bit overwhelmed. Maybe you took a minor concussion with no lasting effects, or your brow line burst open and you need to wipe the blood off your eyes before you're any good. Three rounds max in Water stance catching your breath will take you back into the fight, though - if just barely.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Sign in to follow this  

×
×
  • Create New...