Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Nuts & Bolts #139 - Hacking the Cypher System - Damage Tracks (Again)

The damage spiral from the Hordes miniatures game.

Two weeks ago I posted about an alternate damage track for games where insanity and mental degeneration was needed. It also works well for games of social intrigue where you are trying to unnerve your opponents and force them into actions that are advantageous to you. Since then I've been thinking that with just one more alternate damage track for Speed you could transform Cypher's heath system pretty radically. Yes, it would mean more bookkeeping, and yes it's a bit more complicated, but consider the advantage of characters having more than just a single way to be taken out of action, and having more thematic effects from various types of stress and harm.

The Core rules for Impaired, Debilitated, and Dead work very well for Might, with the character becoming Impaired after half their Might is gone, Debilitated when they hit zero points, and Dead if they suffer any additional damage. As always a GM can have creatures who have special attacks (poison, necromancy, etc.) that can bypass the pool points and deal damage direct to their Might damage track. Coupled with the Mental Damage Track from two weeks back (click here) we're 2/3 of the way done!

Speed pool is all that remains and a speed damage track is actually pretty easy. The following kick in when a character's speed pool reaches 1/2 its normal value and then when they reach zero. Alternately special attacks like stun weapons, sleeping gas, painkillers, and the like may move the character directly down the damage track.

  • Fatigued - The character is starting to tire. The character finds that actions take a little more of their reserves to execute.
    • Gathering one's energy is difficult. A fatigued character must spend 1 additional point when using any special ability take has a cost. 
  • Exhausted - The character's reserves are spent, they may be in otherwise good physical health (e.g. no Might damage) but their exhaustion shows in shaking muscles and general exhaustion.
    • Exhaustion robs the character of much needed mobility. They are treated as having an Inability in all tasks related to movement including Speed Defense, running, swimming, jumping, etc. In addition all movement rates are halved. 
  • Unconscious - Insensate. Asleep. Knocked-out. 
    • The character is out and unable to perceive their surroundings, defend themselves, and the like. They'll wake after a duration equal to their next available recovery roll, and may well not know where they are. 
Taken in conjunction with the previously proposed mental damage tracks players will be encouraged to build more well rounded characters. It also allows the GM a wider variety of options for disabling characters without killing them or ruling directly from GM Intrusion to render them unconscious or otherwise at the mercy of enemies or situations.