“Tis only a Flesh Wound,…” – The Black Knight
We can all agree on the Irony of someone losing their legs and calling it a fleshwound in adition the verbage comes in handy when defining the damage system of 7th Sea.
Often having a linear track of hitpoints makes it hard for a combat to be expressive. When an enemy has 50 hitpoints and you just knocked out half of them, you might expect there to be some serious repercussion for that poor fellow. Most often this isn’t. Going the opposite route some system allow you to keep track of how much damage was done to a character and see all the truely horrible system ramifications of the damage they took. (Usually in the form of taking negatives to actions take when badly hurt.)
7th Sea’s solution to this was to allow for a bit of give and take between the two while ering on the side of heroic potential.
There are two forms of Damage in 7th Sea. The first is called “Flesh Wounds.” These are delived after you have taken damage from most sources. The process will look something like this:
Randel Donovan is being chased. The pursuers are not really gaining on him so he decides to stop and face them before being herded into an ambush. Digging his heels in and turning to face the three men behind him, he realizes that he has acted too late to avoid falling into their trap. Four more men step out of the ally behind him and start to advance. Drawning the knife at his belt he charges into the three in front of him. One falls in his initial charge but then the rest are on him. (Randel is being attacked by a Brute Squad in case you are wondering.) The men surround Randel and three of them manage to hit him for a total of 18 flesh wounds. This means that Randel must roll and keep his Brawn to see if this is enough damage to recieve a Dramatic Wound. Randel has a Brawn of 2 so he Rolls 2k2 with a total of 16 (9+7), a tad short.
Based on this roll we know two things:
1 – Randel is going to take one Dramatic Wound.
- This is determined by the amount of damage by which the the player missed the Wound Check. Depending on the type of weapon you will either take one additional dramatic wound for every 20 points you failled the check by or in the case of firearms and other similarly deadly attacks, for every 10.
2 – Randel no longer has any Flesh Wounds.
- This method makes it possible for a character with very high Brawn to go through a fight and simply shake off nearly all the damage as “Flesh Wounds.” On the other side of the coin Flesh Wounds stack. This means that everytime you succeed at a wound check you will add the value of the next set of Fleshwounds to the prior total and then have to succeed versus that total. This means that a player who rolls incredibly and manages to sustain 76 Flesh Wounds is living on borrowed time when the guys with pistols show up.
Assuming you have a bit to rest between each fight, Flesh Wounds can be fairly managable. After Each Battle/Scene, you erase all the Fleshwounds you have accumulated. The key to be allowed to “catch your breath” and not is determined by the Game Master. This is not done for the sake of being mean to the players or any form of punishment. It is solely being used as a story telling tool. Some of the most Epic moments in an adventure occur when Heros have to pull deep from their reserves and overcome incredible odds. Or push on to spite them.
An Example of truely unfortunate proportions might look like this:
Randel manages to just bearly take out the last of his assailants. He is bleading and battered from a rain of clubs and blades that should, by all rights, have killed him. As he stumbles out to the street he stops to lean against one of the squat stone building only to notice he is not alone. Across the street a Man dressed in sharp pressed dueling leathers is pulling a fine blade from the body of a man dressed in court finery. While pulling out a cloth to clean the blood from his blade the man notices his audience and turns to face Randel with a look of profound disappointment on his face.
“Much as it pains me to do this, I can’t leave any witnesses to my actions. So sad, this job has been entirely free of collateral damage till now.” With that he sheaths he sword and draws a pistol. “Better luck next time.” He casually fires a shot.
At this point it is important to note that Randel has been throughly beaten up by the encounter just prior to this one. The Brutes managed to cause 3 Dramatic Wounds and before the last one fell he had accumulated 68 Flesh Wounds. Now he is being shot with a Firearm and the resulting attack does 35 Flesh Wounds. Randel must now make a wound check against 103 Flesh wounds. He rolls a 9. Randel takes 9 Dramatic Wounds as a result of this attack. (103-9=94 Firearms deal an additional Dramatic Wound for ever 10 points by which the check missed.) Randle can take a total of 8 Dramatic wounds before being knocked out. Yea,… he took at least that many.
The last thing Randel sees before blacking out are the black polished boots of the man who shot him.