View Full Version : d20 - Permanent Injury rules

2013-01-25, 02:01 PM
Starting with the 3.5e SRD as a baseline is probably the most practical way to do it, but I assume this could be applied to pretty much all d20 based RPGs out there.

Now I like the idea of having characters suffering from injuries that don't just go away with a quick potion of cure light wounds but actually requiring professional medical care or maybe some kind of surgery to properly heal. Personally, I favor something that is mostly for fluff with only limited effects on gameplay, but I think it's a nice touch when after a big fight, characters get patched up with a quick potion and then have to see a healer to get their injuries taken properly cared of.

This is a very rough first draft and everyone is highly encouraged to add suggestions of their own. So here is a first proposal:

When a character gets hit with a critical hit, in addition to the increased damage, he has to make a Fortitude save with a DC of 10 + 1/5 points of damage. If the save fails, the character suffers a special Injury.
Characters could also recieve such injuries when they roll a 1 on a Fortitude or Reflex save for half damage, or if the result is more than 10 below the DC. (We should pick one of the two.)

- 1d4 Strength drain
- 1d4 Dexterity drain
- 1d4 Constitution drain
- -5 feet movement speed
- -1d4 to Search and Spot checks

These injuries do not heal unless treated with the Heal skill or certain spells.

Lesser Restoration only removes impairing spells and temporary ability damage, so it doesn't help in any way in this case.

Restoration can remove all ability drain from a single ability score, which makes it a perfect candidate as a way to heal such crippling injuries. Even when a character has two injuries that affect his strength score, a single casting of the spell would only remove the full penalty from one of the injuries and not affect the other. However, it requires a 7th level cleric and 100 gp in material components, so even if clerics would heal the poor out of charity, they would not be able to provide it for everyone who comes to their temples.

Similar, Greater Restoration would also do th trick, but might probably be overkill. I think it's powerful enough to remove all crippling injuries a character might have.

Remove blindness/deafness explicitly mentions healing damaged eyes, so it would cure damaged eyesight. However, it states not to restore lost eyes, so perhaps it might only work if the penalty is no greater than -5. A penalty of -6 or greater means that one eye is permanently lost and the spell only can reduce the penalty to -5 but not better. Maybe a penalty of -11 or greater would automatically mean loss of both eyes?

The Heal spell cures all kinds of crazy stuff but not ability drain. However, since it's such a cool and useful spell, it could be added that it can reduce the penalties from crippling injuries by 1 or 2.

And then there is Regenerate, which can restore lost body parts, even though there usually is no way to lose any in the rules. I would say it removes one single injury completely like restoration. Being a 7th level spell and not having a material component cost should balance out evenly.

Now in an E6 game, this might be potentially crippling to characters (pun fully intented), since you would have to hunt down one of those few 6th level clerics who have the special feat to cast restoration. But in other games, finding scrolls shouldn't be too difficult and there's always the Heal skill.

Since the DC for First Aid is 15, I think the DC for surgery should be 20. Higher than that and regular 3rd level experts might have a hard time to actually pull it off. Now I never had a broken leg, but as I know it can take months for surgery wounds to fully heal over. But that would also go for being stabbed by a spear and a 4th level character would heal even a critical hit with a spear within 2 days of bed rest under professional care. So what I propose is that surgery deals 1d8 points of damage to a character, but leaves him stabelized if reduced to negative hit points. He then would have to wait for a week or so for the wound to heal, or just get one or two cure light wounds spells and be on his merry way.

I have this in mind for a campaign in which characters are 3rd to 8th level and magic is not particularly accessible, since there are few clerics of 7th level and higher in the world. I think having characters who have a hard time climbing because of a cracked arm, or who can't run for ong because of broken ribs would add some interesting detail to wilderness adventures or escaping from enemies that have the PCs outnumbered. Kings and Generals shouldn't have any problem getting a healer who can fix their battle injuries, so that aspect would be kind of lost, but it shouldn't be too much of an obstacle for PCs, so that's a neccessary drawback.

2013-01-27, 10:59 AM
I have a similar system working atm on my Rise of the Runelords campaign, but it was not designed by me. It came as an extra on the Skull & Shackles Player Guide. You can download it for free from the Paizo Website (as you could with all Adventure Paths Player Guide.

It works together with the Massive Damage rules, which reads as follows:

Massive Damage (Optional Rule): If you ever sustain a single attack that deals an amount of damage equal to half your total hit points (minimum 50 points of damage) or more and it doesn't kill you outright, you must make a DC 15 Fortitude save.

If this saving throw fails, you die regardless of your current hit points. If you take half your total hit points or more in damage from multiple attacks, no one of which dealt more than half your total hit points (minimum 50), the massive damage rule does not apply.

However, the way this is written leads me to believe that a character MUST have over 50 HP in order for this rule to apply. Making it unusable for, let's say, a party of 3rd level Adventurers.

My take is to eliminate the min 50 HP thingy, and just work with 1/2 the HP. This, however, makes the game quite unforgiving so be wary.

Now, the extra ruling in the Skull & Shackles Player Guide read as follows:

This optional rules system gives GMs a way to assign scars and major wounds to their PCs. Before implementing this system, consider these rules carefully.
Major wounds can have major effects upon play, and some groups may not appreciate such debilitations, preferring the threat of death and an unscarred resurrection over a thematic crippling.

These rules are a variation on the optional massive damage rule found on page 189 of the Core Rulebook. Whenever a character takes damage equivalent to massive damage, he must make a successful DC 15 Fortitude save or be reduced to –1 hit points and gain a permanent debilitating scar or handicap. These effects are randomly determined by rolling 1d20 on the table
below. Effects are permanent and cumulative, though the GM should reroll results that seem too crippling or don’t make sense—such as a character losing a hand two or three times. The regeneratespell heals scars and restores lost limbs, removing both positive and negative effects.

Rules for eye patches, peg legs, and prostheses to cover injuries and replace lost limbs may be found in Pirates of the Inner Sea.
d20 | Battle Scar or Amputation
1–5 Minor scar—interesting but otherwise cosmetic
6–8 Moderate scar—cut on face (+1 bonus on Charisma-based skill checks for first scar only, consider subsequent cuts as a major scar)
9–10 Major scar—severe cut on face (–1 penalty on Charisma-based skill checks**)
11–14 Loss of finger (for every 3 fingers lost, –1 Dex)
15–16 Impressive wound (–1 Con)
17 Loss of eye (–4 penalty on all sight-based Perception checks)
18 Loss of leg (speed reduced to half, cannot charge)
19 Loss of hand (cannot use two-handed items*)
20 Loss of arm (–1 Str, cannot use two-handed items*)
* Losing a single hand or arm does not affect a spellcaster’s
ability to cast spells with somatic components.
** At the GM’s discretion, characters with major scars
may also be granted a +1 bonus on all Bluff, Diplomacy,
or Intimidate checks against other pirates, as the scars of
battle are much admired by pirates.

If you find the system a bit too forgiving, you could use it as baseline for a system of your own, like you have been doing. I though it would be good to give you an already existing system to use as a Template.

Hope this helps. :smallredface:

*Disclamer: All of this is available for free via the Paizo Website, in case anyone wondered.

2013-02-10, 10:08 PM
Mongoose's Signs & Portents magazine had a Permanent Damage variant for the Conan RPG. I can very easily see it replacing Hit Points entirely with some work.

Permanent Damage – The Scars of Past Battles

In any roleplaying game where combat is likely to occur, characters are going to get injured – especially limb carving, head chopping, body hacking combat like that found in the many tales of Conan. Conan the Roleplaying Game uses a relatively standard ‘hit point’ system to reflect a character’s damage and overall health, with characters suffering damage when they are in some way harmed.

It is a simple system to grasp. When a character endures enough damage to bring his hit point total to –10, he dies. Characters can even be killed outright if they suffer a single terrible blow that causes a great amount of damage, no matter their maximum hit point totals. As characters get more powerful and experienced however, gaining levels and hit points, it can sometimes seem a little less dramatic.

This optional rule, called ‘Permanent Damage’, is a way to put some of R.E. Howard's grit and realism back into the Conan game system. It represents the fact that many non-mortal wounds still leave a memorable mark upon a character. Broken or maimed limbs, jagged scars and slowly healing wounds are all possible. That Pict hand axe that is lodged in a thigh or a Stygian arrow plunged through a hand suddenly means a lot more than just the loss of hit points.

To utilize this optional rule in combat, the Games Master must make note of every character’s Constitution ability score, plus or minus the character’s Strength and Dexterity modifiers. The final score is an important part of the Permanent Damage system, and is called the character’s threshold. Threshold is a vague sub-statistic used to signify the general physical health and fitness of the character in question. For example, a character with a Constitution score of 13, Strength 16 (+3) and Dexterity 9 (–1) has a final threshold of 15 (13 + 3 – 1); a very simple sub-statistic to calculate.

Anytime a living (non-undead, non-demon, etc.) target is attacked by a physical implement of some kind (claws, sword, falling boulder, etc.) that successfully inflicts its maximum lethal weapon damage (the dice from the weapon itself, not additional dice from abilities or critical hits) or inflicts enough damage to surpass the target’s threshold number, there is a chance for Permanent Damage.

When a chance of Permanent Damage has been determined (verified by the Games Master), the actual damage total is calculated and compared to the threshold of the target. The difference, either positive or negative, is then used as a dice roll modifier on the following Permanent Damage Table. The table determines whether or not the target will suffer any lasting effects from the attack. What those lasting effects do in game terms can be found in individual entries after.

Permanent Damage

2d6 (+/– modifier)

ResultAAAAAPermanent Damage
1–3AAAAAAAImpressive Scar
4–7AAAAAAAPainful Wound
8–10AAAAAASlowly Healing Wound
11AAAAAAAAHideous Scar
12AAAAAAAALimb Damaged
13AAAAAAAAAgonising Wound
14AAAAAAAASensory Organ Damaged
15AAAAAAAAOrgan Damage
16AAAAAAAAExcessive Blood Loss
17AAAAAAAALimb Maimed
18AAAAAAAASensory Organ Maimed
19AAAAAAAAOrgan Rupture
20+AAAAAAAHead Trauma

No Effect – The wound was bad, but only superfi cial and has no lasting effects upon the character.

Minor Scar – The character’s wound will heal in a small and easily overlooked scar that will forever remind him of what happened.

Impressive Scar – The wounding hit ripped or sliced the exposed flesh of the character, leaving behind an area that will heal into something that people will talk about for some time to come. While the scar is visible (Games Master should decide where the attack hit), the character gains a +1 circumstance bonus to Diplomacy. Gather Information and Intimidate skill checks made against characters accustomed to combat (soldiers, gladiators, etc.).

Painful Wound – The attack struck home in a particularly painful place (shin, kidney, groin, etc.) and will be distracting until it is properly dressed and tended to. Until the character receives a successful Heal skill check DC 18, he will suffer –1 to all attack and skill rolls. This effect is cumulative with other penalties.

Slowly Healing Wound – Something about how the damage inflicted will make the wound lightly infected and difficult to heal through natural means. This attack’s damage should be recorded separately, as it will only heal at a rate of 1 hit point every full night of rest.

Hideous Scar – The wound dragged roughly across the character’s neck, face or scalp, leaving an area that will heal as a puckered, ragged scar that is distracting to say the least to look upon. If the character does not have the scarred area covered (Games Master should decide where the attack hit), the character suffers from a –1 penalty to Diplomacy, Disguise, Gather Information and Perform skill checks.

Limb Damaged – One of the characters limbs has been seriously hurt by the attack, snapping tendons and fracturing bone. Roll 1d6; 1: Left Hand, 2: Right Hand, 3: Left Arm, 4: Right Arm, 5: Left Leg, 6: Right Leg. If a hand is injured, any skill or attack roll using that hand suffers a –2 penalty. If an Arm is injured, the character may not wear a shield upon it and suffers a –2 penalty to attack and damage rolls from melee weapons held by that arm. For each leg injured the character suffers a –5 ft. penalty to their Speed and –1 Dodge defense. These penalties remain until the character undergoes treatment; a successful Heal skill check DC 20 and a full eight hours of bed rest.

NOTE: Two ‘Limb Damaged’ results upon the same limb upgrade the effects to that of ‘Limb Maimed’.

Agonizing Wound – The wound causes terrible agony upon the character. This is treated in all ways as a ‘Painful Wound’, but the DC of the Heal check to tend it is 22 and the penalty to attack and skill rolls is increased to –3.

Sensory Organ Damaged – One of the organs responsible for the character’s senses has been struck by the attack, injuring it terribly. Roll 1d4; 1: Eye, 2: Ear, 3: Nose, 4: Mouth. If an eye is injured, ranged attack rolls suffer a –2 penalty, as do Search and Spot skill checks. If an Ear is injured, the character suffers a –2 penalty to Balance and Listen skill checks. If the nose is injured, the character suffers a –1 penalty to all skill checks from the throbbing distraction. If the mouth is injured, the character suffers a –2 penalty to any skill check or ability requiring speech or other verbal sounds. These penalties remain until the character undergoes treatment; a successful Heal skill check DC 22 and a full twenty-four hours of bed rest.

NOTE: Two ‘Sensory Organ Damaged’ results upon the same type of organ upgrade the effects to that of ‘Sensory Organ Maimed’.

Organ Damage – The attack affects the character deeply, bruising or tearing one of his internal organs. This is terribly painful and dangerous, inviting illness and infection – not to mention the hemorrhaging within. Until the character receives proper medical treatment, a successful Heal check DC 20 and a full week of bed rest, the character suffers a –2 penalty to his Fortitude saves and heals hit point damage at half the normal rate (round up).

NOTE: Two ‘Organ Damage’ results upgrade the effects to that of ‘Organ Rupture’.

Excessive Blood Loss – The attack has severed an important vein or artery, causing the character to lose copious amounts of blood until the wound can be staunched. Staunching the area requires a DC 15 Heal check using a tourniquet (something that can only be applied in 2d4 rounds) or the direct application of fire/ intense heat equaling 5 points of damage. Until the wound is stopped bleeding the character loses 1 hit point per combat round (1 hp/minute outside of combat). Multiple ‘Excessive Blood Loss’ results are cumulative, meaning the character has several pouring wounds.

Limb Maimed – One of the characters limbs has been so badly damaged that it is all but useless. Roll 1d6; 1: Left Hand, 2: Right Hand, 3: Left Arm, 4: Right Arm, 5: Left Leg, 6: Right Leg. If a hand or arm is maimed, any skill, attack or damage roll using that limb suffers a –10 penalty and no shields can be used on that arm. For each leg maimed the character suffers a 50% penalty to their Speed and –4 Dodge defense. These penalties remain until the character undergoes treatment; a successful Heal skill check DC 25 and a full month of bed rest.

NOTE: Any ‘Limb Damaged’ or ‘Limb Maimed’ results upon a limb already suffering from a ‘Limb Maimed’ effect is considered to be shorn completely off and is considered to qualify immediately for the rules of Massive Damage (see page 189 of Conan the Roleplaying Game: Second Edition), no matter how much damage the last attack actually inflicted.

Sensory Organ Maimed – The organs responsible for one the character’s senses have been badly damaged by the attack, crippling that area of the body. Roll 1d4; 1: Eyes, 2: Ears, 3: Nose, 4: Mouth. If the eyes are maimed, the character is considered temporarily blinded; see the Blind-Fight feat on page 123 of Conan the Roleplaying Game: Second Edition for details on what being blinded means. If the ears are maimed, the character suffers a –4 penalty to Balance skill checks and is considered staggered (see page 192 of Conan the Roleplaying Game: Second Edition). If the nose is maimed, the character suffers a –2 penalty to all skill checks from the throbbing distraction and 2d3 points of temporary Charisma damage. If the mouth is maimed, the character suffers a –5 penalty to any skill check or ability requiring speech or other verbal sounds, as they cannot do much more than slur words. These penalties remain until the character undergoes treatment; a successful Heal skill check DC 26 and a full month of bed rest.

NOTE: Any ‘Sensory Organ Damaged’ or ‘Sensory Organ Maimed’ result upon the same type of organ already suffering from a ‘Sensory Organ Maimed’ effect is considered to be permanently maimed. The damage from the attacks may be healed, but the penalties above will not go away short of sorcerous regeneration.

Organ Rupture – The attack ripped deep into one of the character’s internal organs, nearly tearing it in two. This is treated in all ways as an ‘Organ Damage’, but the DC of the Heal check to tend it is 25, requiring a month of bed rest, and the associated Fortitude save penalty is increased to –5. Additionally, the character will lose one point of temporary Constitution each day until the bed rest is begun.

Head Trauma – The attack struck home at the worst place the character could hope… his head. The character must immediately save against Massive Damage (see page 189 of Conan the Roleplaying Game: Second Edition), no matter how much damage the last attack actually inflicted. If the character survives, he is automatically stunned for the following round and staggered for 2d6 hours afterwards.

2013-02-10, 10:37 PM
Not too be too peevish, but you might see if you can move this out of World-Building and into general homebrew.

2013-02-11, 02:43 PM
I can't find the link on my phone at this very moment, but on a certin blog i have read about an idea to change the names of the cure X wounds. It was something like fix skin ( in 2 classier words) for the light, and mend bones for the serious or heavy. I'll try and find the link when i get the chance but either way the idea could be useful for your idea.

Chesty La Rue