CD10 Core: Injuries

HARDHATS REQUIRED!
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 discrete injuries and a debilitation value called Shock. But first, let's talk hitpoints.

No 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, or a stacking lethality value that when it reaches a certain point you die. Injuries in CD10 are instead tracked in two major ways: Through discrete injuries and a general debilitation.

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.

The Save

Since there are no hitpoints to decrease when you receive damage, you have a different way of tracking your character's condition: Injuries. These rank from Scratches to Fatal Injuries, increasing in danger as they become more severe. Each injury received cause increasing debilitation and we'll go through these mechanics later in this chapter.

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. 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 Stress, bleeding and "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.

The Save

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.

Save Outcomes

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. Keep in mind that if no advanced injury modules (Like Bleeding or Infection) are in use, you can ignore the First Aid DC and Bleeding statistics in the reference.

Scratch

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.

Light Injury

A Light Injury is a debilitating but not likely fatal injury. When the outcome is a Light Injury, you record the injury on the character sheet along with the Shock caused by the attack. 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.

Serious Injury

Failing the save results in a Serious Injury. A Serious Injury is potentially life-threatening and will heavily debilitate you and cause fatal bleeding that must be dealt with. A Serious injury is a broken bone, a slashed muscle, a pierced limb or a cracked skull. The attack that caused the injury deals twice the listed amount of Shock. 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.

Fatal Injury

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 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 (DC12 check).

If the Advanced Combat module is used hit location has an impact on how Fatal Injuries are handled.

Perfection

Injury Scratch
Shock Reduced to 1
Stress None
Bleeding Superficial
First Aid DC None required
Unaided Recovery Time Immediate (roleplayed)

Success

Injury Light Injury
Shock x1 (Listed Shock)
Stress 1
Bleeding +1/min for 5 minutes
First Aid DC 6
Unaided recovery time 6 days

Failure

Injury Serious Injury
Shock x2 (Double the listed Shock)
Stress 2
Bleeding +2/min for 6 minutes
First Aid DC 9
Unaided recovery time 5 weeks, then turns into a Light Injury.

Fumble

Injury Fatal Injury
Shock x3 (Triple the listed Shock)
Stress 3
Bleeding +4/min until stopped
First Aid DC 12
Unaided recovery time Surgery within an 1D10 hours, then turns into a Serious Injury

CD10 is a high lethality system. Remember your Hero Points to swing fate in your favor!

Shock

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. 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 and Stress on the character sheet. Do not use a cross as those are used to indicate Stress (more on that later). A character receives Shock from getting hit in combat, receiving injuries, getting sick or poisoned, running for extended periods of time and similar events.

Accumulating Shock

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.

Stress

Injuries cause Stress. Stress is a long-term debilitation that operates by the same mechanics as Shock, but it does not go away simply from resting. Instead, the injury that caused the Stress must first be healed before it will go away. That means that as long as you have that particular injury the Stress will not recover and Stress is marked on the sheet with a cross (✘) in the same spot as Shock, forming a "floor" under which debilitation will not drop. If you gain new Shock when you already have Stress, you start from the level of the Stress.

This is how injuries debilitate your character. Not only does it make for a long-term penalty on physically demanding checks, it also makes you more susceptible to additional Shock. As long as the injury remains, those Stress points will remain in place and cause a modification to your checks. How many points a particular injury locks out is described under each injury. Once the injury is healed, the Stress recovers together with the injury. Multiple injuries cause stacking Stress. So two light injuries each cause 1 point of Stress for a total of 2. Stress has the same effect as Shock, causing an internal modifier of -1 on every physically demanding check.

Recovering Shock

Shock recovers by 2 per rest action. Outside of combat, all Shock is assumed to have recovered within a minute. Stress points do not recover until the injury that caused them has been healed.

Knock-out

If, when the Physical 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. Stress points will not recover, but you will still wake up when you reach 0 Shock, in spite of the Stress. You may attempt to wake up every round by performing a physical save against your current Shock. If the save succeeds, you wake up.

Marking Stress

When you are injured, you usually also take a certain amount of Shock from the injury. A number of those Shock points, according to injury, is to be converted to Stress. You do not take Stress in addition to the Shock, but convert some of the Shock to Stress.

If you are hit, taking 4 Shock and a serious injury, you mark down 2 Stress (for the serious injury) and the 2 additional Shock points. If you take 6 Shock and a light injury, you mark down 1 Stress and 5 Shock.

If you are using the Stress Advanced Module, Stress has more functions than just being a long-term variant of Shock.

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 physical save was 7, which was enough to only land him a Light Injury, 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 its minimum.

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 received from 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 the injury 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 on taking a Serious Injury.

Rulf notes down 4 Shock, and converts 2 of those Shock points to Stress points (for the Serious injury) and ticks a box for a physical Serious Injury.

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, taking into account any Stress. 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. Stress, as previously mentioned, does not recover this way.

Death

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 the wastelanders Sanae received a fatal wound to her 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 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 her 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 slaver raiders and asks the rest of the party to continue the search for her sister. They solemnly swear to fulfill her wish as Sanae draws her last breath and dies, peacefully among friends.

Getting better

Recovering from injury is a relatively straightforward exercise. Rest, good food and clean wounds. If you have been injured, the wounds will heal, provided you rest and don't strain yourself. Fatal injuries do not heal on their own and must be dealt with by Surgery within 1D10 hours. Failing to perform a check within that time means that you succumb to your wounds and die while a failed check means that you die during the procedure. If the character is not allowed to rest and is exposed to something that strains them, add two additional days to the healing time.

Depending on setting, there are plenty of options for speeding up healing time. Be it RegenX, healing magic, hospitals or healing salves. Regardless of healing implement, healing time cannot be reduced below 1 day for Light Injuries and 2 days for Serious Injuries (1 day to turn into a Light Injury and 1 day to heal completely). Fatal injuries, provided you survive them, are treated like Serious Injuries for the sake of healing.

Recovery Time
Scratch Recovers immediately. Might give some lingering pain for a few days.
Light Injury Heals within 6 days
Serious Injury Heals within 5 weeks and turns into a Light Injury
Fatal Injury Turns into a Serious Injury after a successful Surgery check and heals as normal

The Medicine Skill

With this skill, a person can treat an ill or injured person, rolling once per healing period (day for light injuries, week for serious Injuries). Each successful check (Base DC 9 - Light injury, DC 12 - Serious Injury) reduces the remaining healing period by 1, effectively making each period worth twice as much.

Provided someone succeeds every periodic check, the healing time is effectively halved. The Keeper can adjust the DC for these checks up or down depending on circumstances, such as access to medicines, medical equipment, safe and calm surroundings or the middle of a warzone.

Related Reading



Cover image: by Mizeo

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