One of my main goals with this experiment is to make the results of a combat more "role-play-y". This isn't about realism, it's about getting players to really be able to imagine what their character is going through. A result like "his thrust pierces your mail - your belly is all wet and sticky" seems a lot cooler to me than "he hit you for 5 damage". Currently, I rely entirely on my own imagination to generate results on the fly, but I always find random tables help with spurring inspiration.
I've included a bleed-out mechanic that adds a certain tension to combat and post-combat medical attention. I had been working on something when I came across this on Metal vs. Skin, which is a pretty elegant solution. I think I'm going to go with what I'd been working on (detailed below), but Metal vs. Skin's is pretty cool, and worth checking out.
So, what I've come up with here is pretty complicated - I'm working on simplifying it. I don't think many people will find this useful because of that, and that's fine. I'm mostly just spitballing here.
The game I'm running right now is a low-magic, low-combat game where fighting should bring devastating consequences for one or both parties, and for that kind of game, I think this might work well.
I'll be playtesting this over my next few games and refining it. If any combat comes up...
- legs 1-2
- torso 3-5
- arms 6-9
- head 10
Use this table to interpret your damage rolls (explode your damage dice, so on a natural 6 roll another d6 and add that total. Continue in that fashion until you don't get a 6.).
4-6: Serious flesh wound (will bleed out without treatment) - 2 wound levels
7-9: Severe wound (bone, tendon - bleed out and disability without treatment) - 4 wound levels
10-12: Mortal wound (major organ or arterial involvement, dismemberment or decapitation - rapid death without rapid treatment) - 8 wound levels
13+: Instant death ( heart pierced, spine severed, brain stem destroyed, head cut off)
If you take more wound levels in one round than your Con score, you immediately collapse and are hors de combat.
Once you're wounded, you start the bleed-out timer.
Each wound level moves you one space down the bleed-out track:
7 days / 1 day / 12 hr / 1 hr / 30m / 15m / 10m / 5m/ 3m/ 2m / 1m (6 rounds) / 5 rounds / 4 rds / 3 rds / 2 rds / 1 rd / Collapse (Death in 1m)
Once your time is up, you collapse. You now have 1 minute until death.
After a battle where you get wounded, you're going to need First Aid. This is handled abstractly, and requires someone with some knowledge of First Aid. Fighters and Burglars are assumed to have knowledge of First Aid.
First aid is sufficient to stop the bleeding of any Flesh wound, Severe Flesh Wound, or Severe Wound. Move back up the bleed-out track if you receive First Aid for a wound.
For Mortal Wounds, surgical care is required.
First Aid requires:
5 minutes / wound level
First Aid Supplies
First Aid supplies consist of things like clean water, rags, splints (if bones are broken), knives, fire (for cauterization).
Surgeons were known in the Medieval Era, and knew much, much more than many would think. See my recent article on Medieval Battlefield Medicine for more on that.
If you've suffered a Mortal Wound, you will die unless you receive surgical care. This requires 1d6 hours, a trained Surgeon (training to be a surgeon in the Medieval era was much like today - it took about a decade of combined classroom and practical learning), surgical tools, dressings, etc.
You can heal 1 wound level per wound per 2 weeks of rest, if you're getting proper medical attention. Otherwise, you heal 1 wound level per wound per 4 weeks.
Obviously, some serious wounds will never fully heal - a chopped off hand is not going to grow back.
Infections / fevers
For every wound (not wound level) you have that hasn't received prompt proper medical attention, you have a 1-in-6 chance of getting a serious infection in the next week. So, total your number of wounds and roll a d6 modified by your Con bonus. If you roll is equal or less than your number of wounds, you develop a serious infection, are feverish, and more or less useless.
For wounds that have received proper medical attention, you have a 1-in-20 chance per wound of developing a serious infection.
More to come on infections and disease, this is an area that I want to do a lot more work on, so this is very preliminary.