Permanent Injury?


Rules Questions

Grand Lodge

Hey all, I was wondering of there was a chart that shows maybe permanent injury to a character. I want to add this to my game, to teach players that there is a risk involved in combat. I could not find anything like this, which is surprising. If you have any info please pass it along, thanks!


Pathfinder Maps Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

There is no such thing in Pathfinder. Even if you do institute such injuries, they are only "permanent" until magic takes a hand. Regeneration is a spell. How permanent could losing an eye or a leg be, with spells like that floating around?

Shadow Lodge

2nd edition AD&D had some cool DM refrence screens with rules for critical hit locations that included permanent injury. however, there is always things like regeneration magic to help get around them.


4 Winds Fantasy Gaming has a 3rd party supplement concerning the loss of a body part for Pathfinder, Strategists and Tacticians. That might point you in the right direction. I have considered homebrewing some rules based on the Blood Bowl casualty chart after a character falls below 0 HP. I like the idea of more dangerous combat. I hope it works well for you and the others.

Grand Lodge

thank you! I just feel if you take an arrow to the knee and its a crit, and you die from it, there should be some permanent damage done, even if you are revived.

Scarab Sages

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I used to be an adventurer like you, until I took an arrow to the knee.

Liberty's Edge

In an hombrew game of D&D 3.5 our dm as a "wound" system he created, for each 1 pt above your Fortitude you'd pick one selected wound (numbered from 1 "this is but a scratch" to 50 "straight in the heart").

You'd need to heal X amount of hit points to cure each wound, before you could receive any heal, and some of the wounds had permanent effects on your character (i.e. loosing a limb or an eye).


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Check the Skull & Shackles Player's Guide. (It's free.) There's a chart for suffering permanent injuries in lieu of outright dying, IIRC.

Grand Lodge

thank you!


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Zhangar wrote:
Check the Skull & Shackles Player's Guide. (It's free.) There's a chart for suffering permanent injuries in lieu of outright dying, IIRC.

Damn. Beat me to it.

This is the best, and most official, set of rules that you will find that is related to what you describe.


This is by no means official or RAW in any way, but I am playing in a Giantslayer campaign with homebrew permanent injury rules.

Link You will have to scroll down a little to find it.


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Permanent injury can quickly spiral out of control since it only hurts PCs, not monsters. Nobody cares if the orc you're fighting loses and eye and takes a permanent -2 on Perception checks, or if that goblin loses his hand permanently. You're just killing them and looting their stuff.

But when these kinds of things happen to PCs, especially lower level PCs, it can be game breaking for them. Too bad, your archer permanently lost a hand, try retraining as a swashbuckler. Too bad, your wizard suffered permanent brain damage, take a -2 to INT. Too bad your skirmisher lost a foot and now your move rate is 10, forever.

Even if the penalties are fairly small (but permanent, as the thread title says), you get one at 1st level, one at 3rd level, three at 4th level (it was a bad level for you), and one more at 6th level, and suddenly you have six small penalties screwing up your character. At what point does he retire to be a town guard in Whiterun.

And bringing up the Regenerate spell is almost meaningless. It's a 7th level spell that the PCs won't have until they are 13th level. Sure, they could drag One-Point-Five-Limbed Johnny (the party's permanently-injured barbarian) out of the dungeon and across the jungle to the nearest town, trying to survive any encounters along the way, hoping there is a 13th level cleric in that town so they can pay him nearly 1,000gp to regenerate Johnny's missing 2.5 limbs - or the journey gets even longer if that particular town doesn't have a superhero cleric high enough level to cast Regenerate so they have to move on to the next town, and the next...

This is a dangerous journey, time consuming, detracting from the main adventure, and boring for the guy playing Johnny. And if the group is very low level, taking a 1,000gp hit on party wealth is a pain, too.

Then they get it done, make it back to the dungeon, and three encounters later their sorcerer gets his jaw shattered and now he can't cast any verbal spells. Back to town they go...

Maybe your plans aren't as grievous as I've described, but as I said, even smaller (permanent) injuries add up to a character that becomes increasingly difficult to play, until the player decides to retire him and bring in his twin (uninjured) brother.


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Adventure Path Charter Subscriber

Paizo's Critical Hit card deck includes a number of more-or-less permanent injuries as possible outcomes. I think it does a fairly good job - they are possible, but are fairly rare, there's usually a save to avoid them (albeit typically a very hard save), and the more common ones aren't necessarily debilitating. So far, the warpriest lost most of an ear, and the bloodrager lost a finger. The paladin has almost lost an eye several times, but that result only lasts as long as the ability drain lasts.

In my experience, it can matter for NPCs - the warpriest of Iomedae got in a duel with his evil demon worshiping magus father, and was getting smacked around. Then he critically hit, and cut off one of dad's hands. Suddenly having only one hand makes life tough on a magus. He lost.

(Upside, a flunky was able to carry the hand off. I'm sure that won't be relevant later in the campaign...)

Sczarni

Have to agree with DM Blake.

I wanted myself as a GM the same realistic rules as you wish now, but after experiencing the effects of Critical Miss/Hit deck (which is similar rules set that you want), I eventually gave up. My bard critically missed by firing arrow from a bow and nearly killed himself in the process. There was no fun in that. Sometimes you have to see through another side of the screen how it feels like. I am grateful for that learning experience.

Pathfinder isn't realistic game. It's game designed for characters to win. Reality and gruesomeness tend to transfer poorly. Some other gaming systems are better at it.

Adam


Permanent debilitating injuries usually aren't very fun for players.

Make sure your players are on board for such a thing.

Personally I would hate anything too invasive. The skull and shackles rules do fine without being too burdensome to a player. Otherwise I would just insist on my characters dying and rolling up a new one.

Shadow Lodge

My personal take is that there are 2 times when those rules can be fun.

The first is those one of adventures you run because you know the players will not be reusing those characters, and it ads an exciting element of wtf to combat.

The second is when instituted situationally for example only using them during important and climactic moments in the game, or in the BBEG fight. This is particularly effective when you're the sort of GM like me who like to use recurring villains. in which case the debilitating effects go both ways.

Additionally if instituting such a system, it would be a good idea to offer a way to get prosthetic replacements. especially replacements that come with a bonus. Like a golem hand with a strength bonus, or that acts like a normal hand wearing a glove of storing. It may require a fairbit of homebrewed craftsmanship on the part of the GM, but it can be rewarding in that it adds interesting quirks and flavor to the players.

'He's more machine now than man, twisted and evil..."
-Obi Wan Kenobi

Liberty's Edge

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Freddy the Fighter: Ugh. What a fight. Good thing Erik can heal.

Erik the Cleric: Good thing we brought that paladin dog, too.

Paladog: Bark.

Rita the Rogue: Too bad about Barto, though.

Erik the Cleric: Oh, he'll be fine. I cast Fabricate to replace what he lost.

Barto the Bard: (in Captain Pike's chair from "The Menagerie, Part I and II") (OK Google jingle) [vocoder] I hate you guys.

Freddy: See? He'll be just fine.

Barto: (OK Google jingle) [vocoder] My life is hell. Fed through a tube that sticks through me, just like a wartime novelty. Tied to a machine that makes me be, cut this life off from me.

Rita: ...His singing's almost as bad minus his vocal chords.

Shadow Lodge

Snorb wrote:

Freddy the Fighter: Ugh. What a fight. Good thing Erik can heal.

Erik the Cleric: Good thing we brought that paladin dog, too.

Paladog: Bark.

Rita the Rogue: Too bad about Barto, though.

Erik the Cleric: Oh, he'll be fine. I cast Fabricate to replace what he lost.

Barto the Bard: (in Captain Pike's chair from "The Menagerie, Part I and II") (OK Google jingle) [vocoder] I hate you guys.

Freddy: See? He'll be just fine.

Barto: (OK Google jingle) [vocoder] My life is hell. Fed through a tube that sticks through me, just like a wartime novelty. Tied to a machine that makes me be, cut this life off from me.

Rita: ...His singing's almost as bad minus his vocal chords.

+1

Scarab Sages

Well, at least all the Kuthites would be jealous.


Pathfinder Maps Subscriber
Master of Shadows wrote:
... it would be a good idea to offer a way to get prosthetic replacements. especially replacements that come with a bonus. Like a golem hand with a strength bonus, or that acts like a normal hand wearing a glove of storing. It may require a fairbit of homebrewed craftsmanship on the part of the GM, but it can be rewarding in that it adds interesting quirks and flavor to the players.

From Magical Marketplace

Clockwork Prosthesis

Liberty's Edge

Oh yeah I should've advised that our homebrew game with permanent injuries is very Iron Kingdoms-y with not that much Magic but a lot of Mecha-Magic :D... loose a hand? Spend some money on the prostetic one !

I don't see how permanently hindering a character can be fun really, always have a way to make up for it, giving their loss an outcome that would be "managable" for the character and would give it flavour.


I'd have to agree. And check with the players who are involved. Some might not mind going cybermonk, for example.

And if you go this way, even with them agreeing, be cautious. Your party of 4 4th-level characters isn't quite the same when Barbie the Barbarian's manicure was lost, along with the fingers, hand, wrist, and elbow on her right arm. Until she can retrain Weapon Focus (earthbreaker) into Exotic Weapon (shield stump), anyway..


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Since no one else has mentioned it, you might want to look at Evil Lincoln's Strain-Injury damage variant rule.

It's a very minor change to the game that makes injuries (damage from critical hits, failed saves, and downing blows) seem much more significant. Even if you don't want to use the mechanical changes in this variant, you can still use it to describe hits in combat. When I play a PC, like in PFS, I write down all the injuries I receive (for instance, fire 5 if I fail a save against a burning hands spell). These notes help add to my character's description, a litany of scars and wounds that speak to their experiences in combat.


If you have permanent injuries then you need to have a way to determine them for monsters, NPCs and PCs who start at higher level. This will help to balance things between the players and everyone else, otherwise they are just a penalty only the players suffer.


GM Ryan wrote:
thank you! I just feel if you take an arrow to the knee and its a crit, and you die from it, there should be some permanent damage done, even if you are revived.

This is a bad idea. As people have pointed out, it leads to a death-spiral of uselessness for PCs, and little-to-no effect on NPCs.

I played in a D&D game with a GM who had it work like this - although no permanent injuries, they treated HP as Meat Points (which they're not supposed to be). I was playing a Fighter, and by the end of any major battle, I looked like an extra from "Night of the Living Dead".


The optional called shot rules have debilitating injury.

Also check out 3pp crit rules from TPK games.

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