Wounds & Injuries for Cairn

The latest update for Block, Dodge, Parry includes a system for wounds & injuries. Since it also works for base Cairn, I figured I’d dedicate a blog post to it!

Art: Dragon's Breath 2 by Greg Rutkowski

Adventuring is a dangerous profession. A way to reflect that is to use these rules for wounds. Wounds can come from a variety of sources:

  • Fire (such as from a burning building or a dragon’s breath) can inflict burns.
  • Electricity (such as from magic or an ancient contraption) can inflict nerve damage.
  • Cold (such as from weather or magic) can inflict frostbite.
  • Poison can inflict, well, poisoning.

Some creatures might inflict wounds when dealing Critical Damage, or on special attacks. Wounds can also be gained as a cost of player action.

  • An evil wizard casting a lightning spell can cause nerve damage, but only if the spell does Critical Damage.
  • A red dragon might inflict burns, an ancient red dragon might cause permanent burns (see below) on their regular fire breath attack.
  • Staying out in freezing weather too long can cause frostbite.

A wound occupies a slot in your inventory. The type of wound is mechanically just flavoring, while in fiction a character with burns might have nasty blisters.

Wounds come in 3 levels. Whenever a wound of the same type is gained, the player can choose to have their existing wound increase in severity or to fill in a new slot in their Inventory. This allows player choice between short- or long-term impact: do you suffer another mild wound and heal after combat, or stack up to possibly permanent injury?

  • Light wounds can be healed in the field, given that proper medicine and treatment are available. Light burns can be healed by gathering the right herbs and applying them overnight, for instance.
  • Severe wounds require serious medical attention, probably between adventures. Severe frostbite could be cured with a comfortable week-long rest in a healing temple.
  • Permanent wounds are just that, permanent. They can never be healed. Every permanent wound also lowers a fitting Attribute by -1 (For instance, WIL for nerve damage). While this -1 penalty can be overcome in time by training, the wounds’ Inventory slot is forever lost.

Wounds are intended to, once again, provide a prompt for adventure; light wounds might require some time and a small detour. Severe wounds might require one to find a proper place of healing in between adventures. Permanent wounds require training to overcome (but will never truly fade).

Version 1.31 of Block, Dodge, Parry also includes:

  • Appendix H: Survivability, a primer on how to survive combat
  • Milestones to grow-as-you-play
  • Backpack rules to quickly dump your inventory for more Fatigue usage (but you might lose your stuff!)
  • Breaking Point rules for weapons – sacrifice your gear to defend yourself from blows, or to deal Enhanced attacks!

You can get the full, extended version on Itch.io, or check the free SRD (which includes the most recent update!).

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