Sunday, May 25, 2014

Fatigue and S&W Home-School

Even though I have been out of the loop posting-wise lately, I have still kept up on the DIY D&D scene... blogs. I want to let all 1.7 of my readers know about the great new blog Wonders & Witchcraft. In a relatively short period of time Christian has posted some great game-able content. I have been reading his blog for a few weeks and have taken some of his posts to heart in my search for a magic system with a strong swords and sorcery feel.

In this post Christian details exhaustion as part of his magic system (which I will be ripping more from in the future). The mechanic simply turns a spell caster's constitution into a pool (kind of like hit points). As a sorcerer casts spells exhaustion starts to overcome him. When his constitution pool is reduced to zero he falls into a coma, suffers permanent constitution loss, and mutations follow.

I like Christian's idea of using a pool to meter a character's level of fatigue. And I do like having the act of spell casting tire, weaken, and even permanently injure and mutate spell casters.

I am taking Christian's simple hack and doing two things with it. First, I am going to apply it as mechanic which addresses spell casting (more to come... this will combine the ideas of many DIY bloggers); my expanded application of this system uses the same constitution based pool to reflect a character's current level of fatigue. Fatigue comes from many sources and is usually just ticked off, reducing a character's current score. As a character's current score decreases, constitution derived bonuses and penalties are effected. This will not effect the amount of hit points a character has, either currently has or at maximum. Adjusting hit point values on the fly would too crunchy for my tastes as well as being too punitive: I want players to use their constitution pool as a resource which they are willing to dip into rather than being a guarded well from which they are terrified of drawing.

As mentioned above, fatigue damage comes from many sources. The system is simple: from spell casting, characters suffer fatigue determined through casting. Other than from spell casting, characters typically suffer fatigue damage as they endure environmental conditions, such as extremes of heat and cold, starvation, drowning, etc. or from extended periods of physical stress: torture, forced marching, etc. Fatigue taken from the elements, starvation, and other sources will typically come in metered "doses". e.g. When a character is starving, every hour he must make a save or he suffers one point of fatigue.

Joesky's Tax: Fatigue

A character's fatigue pool, at maximum, is equal to his CON score. Character's take fatigue points either from spell casting or from environmental factors such as suffering from starvation or from enduring periods of extended physical stress, such as being tortured. The amount of fatigue points taken from spell casting is determined through the spell casting process. The amount of fatigue points taken from environmental factors and physical stress is typically taken in metered periods and requires a saving throw. e.g. After going two minutes without oxygen a character must make a save every round or he takes 1d10 fatigue points. A character's fatigue pool may have a negative value.

Taking Fatigue:
As a character takes points of fatigue, his effective CON score suffers. A character's effective CON is diminished as his fatigue pool is diminished. e.g. A character with a 12 CON takes 5 points of fatigue. His CON modifier is temporarily adjusted from a +1 to a -2. Use the table below to adjust a character's CON modifier. This does not effect the amount of hit points a character has, 

A character may never inflict more damage with a STR based attack than he has either hit points or fatigue points remaining.


When a character's fatigue pool reaches zero or less, he becomes comatose or worse. Roll 2d8 on the table below, add the character's negative fatigue value.

2d8+Negative Fatigue 

2-3 Second Wind: Gain 1d4 fatigue points, only fall unconscious if you have zero or fewer fatigue points.
4  Hardened by Adversity: Fall unconscious for 1d6 rounds, awaken with one fatigue point.
5-6 Exhausted: Fall unconscious for 2d6 hours, awaken with one fatigue point.
7-8 Concussed: Fall unconscious, take 1d4 hit points
9-10 Comatose: Fall unconscious, take 1d4 hit points. Make save or travel to the Dreamlands.
11-12 Brain Fever: Fall unconscious, take 2d4 hit points. Make save with -2 or travel to the Dreamlands.
13-14 Time TravelerFall unconscious. Make save with -2 or travel to the Time Piece (thanks, Venger).
15-16 Vessel of the Great God: Fall unconsciousGenerate a random godling. You are now the rock and cornerstone of its church. Lose half your levels and become the first priest of your new master.

17-18 Psychic Hemorrhaging: Fall unconsciousOnly magical healing can push you up into positive fatigue points. Make save every hour or die.
19+ Dead

Recovering Fatigue Points: 

A character typically heals only one fatigue point per day when in the field and 1d4 fatigue points per day when resting in bed at home or in an inn, etc.


This seems like a pretty good system. I have a bit of simulating to see how it "works" and I am sure it will work out well in play. Additionally I have committed myself to doing two things which I have been toying with for a while: creating my own Dreamlands table for travelling and getting lost in dreams and comas, and creating a system of randomly generating godlings for use in my game to worship. 

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