CD10 Core: Injuries
Work in progress ahead. Information in this article could change!
Getting injuried is a common part of being the adventurous sort and knowing how to mitigate it and deal with it is paramount to survival. The world is a dangerous place and CD10 is a high lethality system. It is incredibly easy to die if one is careless and if you are familiar with other TTRPGs, in particular more epic and cinematic games like Dungeons and Dragons or Pathfinder, you must take great care not to be overconfident in CD10. There are ways out of certain death, but be aware that no matter how long you have played, a single blow, arrow or bullet may be all that stands between you and a character's demise.
Damage to a character is represented in CD10 by two values; Wounds and Shock. But first, let's talk hitpoints.
The first thing that jump at you about the way of tracking injury and damage in CD10 is that there are no hit points to keep track of. There is no damage number that goes down and when you reach 0 you die. Injuries in CD10 are instead tracked through a Wounds tracker that creates increasing debiliation the more injured, sick or exhausted your character gets. If you get high enough on the Wounds tracker, you are at risk of dying, and if you ever hit 15 pips on the tracker, you die outright.
The purpose of not using hit points is that while they are simple to track and easy to understand, they don't fit well with the narrative and tone of CD10. They work well for more action based, tactical systems and for computer games, but since CD10 is a deeply immersive game that is meant to work intuitively for you as a player, hitpoints provide a far too game-like experience. You should be able to perform in any situation without knowing the ins and outs of the system.
CD10 uses an injury tracking system that is built upon the concept of Lethality. An attack is never predetermined to do a set amount of "damage" to a target, but it does have potential Lethality. The higher this Lethality is, the more likely it is that the attack's outcome will be severe.
Things like weapon or ammunition damage values and armor protection values never change. You do not roll a die to determine what damage your weapons inflicted or what your armor absorbed. These values are static and they can be relied upon to be equally as lethal (or protective) as they were last time you used them. As explained in CD10 Core: Combat, damage variation comes from the actual attack check itself.
Wounds and the tracker
A character's general state of health is shown by the Wounds Tracker. The more pips on the tracker, the more debilitated and potentially near death, the character is. A single pip on the tracker isn't much of an issue, but the wounds rapidly stack up.
Wound pips are caused by injuries sustained in combat, dehydration, starvation, hypothermia, exhaustion, sleep deprivation and similar factors. The most pressing and common cause of pips is combat injuries.
Every character or creature has 15 pips on the wounds tracker, separated into three groups of five. At intervals throughout the tracker, penalties will be applied to the character, and not only do these penalties get more severe the more pips you have, they change somewhat depending on which group you are in.
The way the tracker is laid out means that a lightly injured character may not suffer from too debilitating effects, but once the wounds start stacking up, it gets severely difficult to function. Higher tracker values are generally as a result from long-lasting effects such as starvation or disease, rather than outright combat, as a character with 6+ pips will have difficulty functioning effectively in combat.
Each pip of the wound tracker takes five days to heal on its own, provided the character is in rest. Rest, here, meaning that they don't perform any seriously straining activities such as combat, feats of athleticism etc. If they parttake in such activities, no healing is done that day.
Medicine and First Aid
A successful Medicine check, provided you are actively resting, makes a pip heal on the following day. If the check is unsuccessful or if the character is not actively resting, it just removes one day of healing on the pip. If that would fully heal the pip, it does so immediately and removes one day of healing on the next pip.
First Aid removes one day of healing when applied, but can't be used at any point except immediately after a wound is received. It also removes any bleeding on a successful check, if the bleeding module is used.
Group one (1-5 pips)
If you have less than 6 pips, the penalties apply only to physically straining checks, such as Athletics or combat.
|2||-1 on physical checks|
|3||-2 on physical checks|
|4||No additional penalty|
|5||-3 on physical checks|
Group two (6-10 pips)
If you have more than 5 pips but less than 11, the penalties apply to all checks, including social and crafting skills. You are heavily debilitated by your state of health.
|6||-4 on all checks|
|7||No additional penalty|
|8||-5 on all checks|
|9||No additional penalty|
|10||-6 on all checks|
Group three (11-15 pips)
At this point, your character is dying. Their health has deteriorated to a point where it can no longer sustain itself. When at 11 pips or more, you must perform a death save every time the wound tracker increases. The DC for the death save is determined by which pip you end up in.
|11||-7 on all checks.||3|
|12||No additional penalty||6|
|13||-8 on all checks||9|
|14||No additional penalty||12|
|15||You are dead...||-|
Wounds never affects saves
No matter the amount of wounds or shock your character has, they never affect a death save. Death saves are blank checks, modified by any applicable trait, against a stacking DC. You do not adjust your roll with debilitation. The increasing DC is enough of a punishment.
Shock is a debilitation value that represents pain, confusion and general short-term debilitation. It's all rounded up into this one value. Tracking Shock is most often done in combat as a result of injury or exertion. Each point received gives a -1 penalty (internal modifier) to all physical checks, or checks that the Keeper deem relevant. Shock would apply to any attack checks, physical feats such as jumping, climbing or running.
A Shock point is noted as a slash (/) in one square for Shock on the character sheet. A character receives Shock from getting hit in combat, receiving injuries, getting sick or poisoned, running for extended periods of time and similar events.
Should Shock ever reach its maximum of 15, you fall to the ground because of pain or exhaustion. If you get over 15 Shock (such as getting 4 Shock when you are already at 12, leading to a total of 16) you fall unconscious and your Shock is set to 15. Shock can never go higher than 15 and any excess Shock is ignored.
Shock recovers by 2 per rest action. Outside of combat, all Shock is assumed to have recovered within a minute. It is only relevant to track Shock if you are actively gaining it, such as in combat or during straining or exertion.
If, when the Save is performed, the Result is lower than the current amount of Shock you have, you will fall unconscious from the blow. If the Advanced Combat is used, the hit location may affect what happens.
While unconscious, Shock recovers at 2 points per round until it reaches its minimum at which point you wake back up. You may attempt to wake up every round by performing a Save against your current Shock. If the save succeeds, you wake up.
Eringr has been in combat for 2 rounds and has already taken a strong hit, causing 5 Shock. Eringr takes another hit to the chest, inflicting another 3 Shock. The Result of his Save was 7, which was enough to only land him a light injury (thus 1 Wound), but it was lower than his total Shock of 8.
Since Eringr was hit in the chest by the attack, the power of the blow knocks him backwards on his back and he falls unconscious. He will remain unconscious, recovering 2 Shock per round, until he either performs a physical save under his current Shock or his Shock reaches 0.
In order to determine how injured a character gets when hit in combat, we perform a save. The outcome of the save results in an injury. These rank from Scratches to Fatal Injuries, increasing in danger as they become more severe. Each injury received cause an increasing amount of pips on the Wounds tracker.
Injuries can inflict Bleeding if the Bleeding module is in use.
Injuries can become Infected if the Infection module is in use.
What determines the injury received from an attack is not directly proportional to the Lethality of the attack. The Lethality is only an indication of how potentially dangerous the attack could be. In order to determine the actual injury received, you perform what is called a Save. The Save is usually refered to as a Physical Save when talking about injuries, but the Keeper can use any descriptor for injury saves, such as a Mental Save for psychic attacks or an Arcane Save for magical attacks. It's all down to the narrative the Keeper wants to convey. The save is performed the same way regardless, but different traits may apply.
The outcome of the Save determines how injured a character becomes and thus how many wounds they get. It is performed like any other check in CD10, where the Lethality sets the Difficulty of the Save. You do not have a skill to avoid damage, but some traits may be factored into the Save (like Iron Physique). There will be a few references here below that are explained later in the chapter (like "Down and Out"). These are listed here for easy reference, but it's not necessary for you to understand them at this moment and they will be explained further down the chapter.
To perform a save, you roll a blank Skill Check with any trait that might apply for resisting injury, stress or whatever is threatening your character, versus the Lethality of the attack. The attack can be rising fear, stress or even social pressure, thus requiring a mental save. But the most common form of save is the physical save to resist physical injury.
The save represents your body's ability to resist injury. Muscles, bones and flesh doing their protective work to shield organs and vital body parts from injury. Sometimes even a good attack can land wrong and deal superficial damage. Sometimes a sloppy attack can hit vital body parts and deal fatal injury. It is largely up to the body and to chance. That is what the save represents. The outcome of the save determines how injured the character becomes.
Save: D10 + applicable trait vs Lethality of the attack.
Depending on the outcome of the Save, the result is an injury of some form. You can see the quick reference here on the right.
If the Lethality of the attack is less than 1 or if the outcome is a perfection, it results in a minor scratch that hurts a bit but causes no debilitation or lasting bleeding. A Scratch is not recorded on the character sheet and any Shock caused by the attack is reduced to 1. A Scratch is nothing to write home about and is just roleplayed as a superficial injury. You note nothing down, aside from the 1 Shock, on your sheet. It is assumed to have healed within a day or two and causes no debilitation.
Also note that if the Lethality is less than 1, no save is needed. The injury defaults to a Scratch. Do not waste time performing a check when Lethality is less than 1.
If you succeed the Save, a Light Injury is the result. A light injury results in one pip on the Wounds tracker, and the attack deals the listed amount of ShockShock . A light injury is something akin to a deeper cut, a cracked bone, a concussion or a heavy contusion. It's enough to make you wince with pain and be noticeably debilitated by the injury.
Failing the save results in a Serious Injury. A serious injury is potentially life-threatening and may heavily debilitate you. If you recieve a serious injury, you take two wounds on the tracker and the attack deals double Shock. A serious injury is a broken bone, a slashed muscle, a pierced limb or a cracked skull. Taking a serious injury also means that you are Down and Out after you complete this particular combat segment. This status is explained below.
Making the save with 0 Excess (Status Quo) results in a Serious Injury, with the difference that you are not Down and Out because of it. Somehow you find the strength to power through the pain.
A fumbled save cause a Fatal Injury. Like the name implies, a fatal injury is likely to kill you in relatively short order. A fatal injury means that you are immediately Down and Out the moment you take the injury. You also take triple the amount of Shock from the attack and list 6 Wounds on the tracker. You cannot continue fighting and will fall to the ground. A character who receives a Fatal Injury will die within 1D10 hours unless they receive Surgery (DC 9 check).
If the Advanced Combat module is used hit location has an impact on how Fatal Injuries are handled.
|Shock||Reduced to 1|
|First Aid DC||None required|
|Shock||x1 (Listed Shock)|
|Bleeding||+1/min for 5 minutes|
|First Aid DC||6|
|Shock||x2 (Double the listed Shock)|
|Bleeding||+2/min for 6 minutes|
|First Aid DC||9|
|Shock||x3 (Triple the listed Shock)|
|Bleeding||+4/min until stopped|
|First Aid DC||9|
|Additional penalty||Needs Surgery within an 1D10 hours or the character dies.|
CD10 is a high lethality system. Remember your Hero Points to swing fate in your favor!
Down and out
The serious injury is enough to make you reconsider fighting and can be so physically debilitating that it can completely prevent you from participating in combat anymore. Unless the serious injury was caused by a Status Quo, you will be Down and Out after the current combat segment. A combat segment is any situation where you have attacked or been attacked in melee in a round. Any round without melee attacks or only ranged attacks marks the end of a segment.
If you are Down and Out you can do little more than lie on the ground and whimper. You cannot walk, move or perform any taxing actions like melee attacks or Athletics checks. If you have a ranged weapon that does not require advanced body mechanics, like a pistol, crossbow or rifle, you may still attack with it, but remember to include debilitation due to Shock in the skill check. You cannot reload a crossbow or use a bow while Down And Out. This is role-played as if you quite physically cannot stand on your feet anymore due to pain and shock and will, once the adrenaline subsides, collapse to the ground in pain.
Rulf takes a shot to the chest, wearing a light armor that absorbs 2 Blunt Damage [BD] and 1 Shock, and he is not behind cover. The damage of the attack is 8 BD and the Shock is 3. The Lethality of the attack is 8-2 = 6.
Rulf makes his physical save to see how this affects him. His Result is a 4 and his Outcome is a Failure, meaning he sustains a serious injury. The attack caused 3 Shock, his armor absorbed 1, and the remainder (2) is doubled to 4 because of his serious injury. He also marks down 2 Wounds.
Since he did not manage a Status Quo on the Save, he is Down and Out and will collapse to the ground as soon as the adrenaline gives way.
Recovering from Down and Out
Being Down and Out is temporary. Should there be no one to administer any kind of help, you will recover on your own after about half an hour or whatever time makes the most narrative sense. Another character may perform a First Aid on you, with the DC listed on the injuries above, to rouse you. After recovering you can perform all actions as usual. Shock recovers by 1 point per round while you are Down and Out, regardless of if you are taking any attack or move actions. If you choose to lie down and rest, it recovers by 2 points until fully recovered.
If you die from a fatal wound, disease or bleeding, decide on a great death scene to role-play for your character, regardless of if it is immediately in this combat or if it's at the end of their days. Make it a memorable moment for everyone involved. If you feel that you need more time to plan such an event, the event can be postponed to the next session, if narrative allows. Your death doesn't have to be the instant you roll, but can be postponed until it is narratively perfect. Work with your Keeper to find a suitable moment to play out the last few moments of your character's life. But make no mistake; if you have rolled to die and have either decided not to use your Hero Points or are out of Hero Points, your character is dead and nothing will save them. All that is left for you to do is to craft a suitable and memorable end for them.
Even instantly fatal headshots can be played out in this way. Your character may be lapsing in and out of consciousness, taking their last few moments in life to reconcile with their friends.
After a long adventure, the party is far out and about, nowhere near any civilization. In the last battle with wastelanders Sanae received a fatal wound to the chest from a gunshot. Eringr has been helping her, best as he can, but they've all come to the realisation that she is beyond his skills and she is dying.
Sanae is lying at the campfire, hacking and wheezing with blood still oozing from her chest. She decides to speak candidly and wants to resolve all her issues then and there. She asks all her friends and companions to forgive her for her rebellious nature and abrasive personality. They speak about the issues they had between them, and spend her last hour reminiscing about how great their adventures have been. Sanae laments not being able to save her sister from the slavering raiders and ask the rest of the party to continue the search for her. They solemnly swear to fulfill her wish as Sanae draws her last breath and dies, peacefully among friends.