Injury and Recovery

Physical Injury

For the most part, we use the same rules for taking damage, regardless of if the damage is inflicted by a weapon attack, a disease, a magical ability, or something else. (Whether or not Armor applies is the major exception; see Armor and Armor Penetration in Combat.)

Characters who are injured receive Damage, in an amount given by the source's Damage Value (DV). (If you are attacked by a weapon, this would be the weapon's DV, for example.) When the amount of damage that you have taken equals your DUR, you are disabled; you are too badly injured to take action, and likely unconscious. When the amount of damage that you have taken reaches your Death Rating (DR), your character has been killed.

Any time you take damage, you might also suffer wounds. If the amount of damage you take at one time exceeds your Wound Threshold, then one wound is inflicted. If you take damage that equals or exceeds twice your Wound Threshold, you take two wounds, and so on; so, if your DUR was 30 and your WT was 6, and you then took 15 damage, you would also take 2 wounds.

Note the "at one time" in the above; you have to take WT DV or more at once. Suppose some source of damage is causing 1 DV to a character over and over again; this might cause a character to reach their DUR or DR without ever taking a single wound.

How severe is a Wound? It's an injury severe enough to impede a character, without completely debilitating or killing them. A single Wound might represent a stab wound caused by a knife, or a broken bone.

The "progressive wound system" is one bit of Eclipse Phase heritage that makes Renaissance very different from D&D. In Renaissance, as characters start to get stabbed by swords, they start to get debilitated rapidly, even while they're still (mechanically) far from death; this gives the game a very different feel from games where "the only hit-point that matters is the last one," and it can come as quite a surprise to players who aren't expecting it!

When a wound is inflicted, you must roll SOM×3; penalties from wounds and traumas apply, including the wound that caused the check. If you fail, you are knocked down.

For every wound that has been inflicted, you suffer a -10 penalty to all actions (note that this includes mental actions, since wounds are painful and distracting). At the GM's discretion, specific wounds might inflict other effects; a wound to the head might render a character unconscious, for example, while a wound to a character's legs might break one of them and reduce their movement.

Most of the time, you won't need to specify a specific Wound with a special effect; it's usually sufficient to tell a player that they suffer a Wound.

Giving a specific description and special effect to a wound is mainly useful for adding a "cinematic" feel to an important moment.

Sometimes, a character will have the ability to Negate a wound. When this happens, the character may ignore the -10 penalty imposed by that wound. Note that a negated wound has not fully healed; the character simply isn't hindered by it. Also, only the -10 penalty is negated; any other effects persist. You cannot, for example, negate having your hand chopped off in order to wield a two-handed weapon.

Mental Stress

Mental stress works much like physical damage. Difficult circumstances can inflict stress according to their Stress Value (SV); see the table below for example sources of stress and stress values. When a character's stress exceeds their Lucidity (LUC), they succumb to the enormous strains they are under, and cannot act until their Stress is lowered below their Lucidity. If that character's stress exceeds their Insanity Rating (IR), they are irreparably traumatized (and are removed from the game as surely as if they had died).

Players who think their character might be resistent (or even immune) to a particular source of stress should consider the Unique Outlook and Hardened traits.

Unlike physical damage, what is stressful can depend strongly on a character.

For the most part, we recommend that you rely on explicit, mechanical systems for deciding what is stressful; these include a character's motivations, as well as the Unique Outlook and Hardened traits. (If it helps you to be a stickler, we did just advise your players to buy the Unique Outlook and Hardened traits!)

However, dramatically-minded GMs certainly can take into account a character's history, personality and outlook — and they should also consider input from dramatically-minded players.

Unlike physical damage, stress can be resisted. Whenever a character takes stress, they may be permitted to roll a WIL×3 check to resist it: if they succeed, then they do not take Stress, while if they fail, they take the given Stress value. Some sources of stress are more difficult to resist than others, which is represented by the following tags:

  • A source of stress that is difficult to resist allows only a WIL×2 test to resist it (instead of the normal WIL×3).
  • A source of stress that is overwhelming cannot be completely resisted; if a character succeeds on a check to resist it, they still take half the SV.

If a character receive stress at one time that exceeds their Trauma Threshold (TT), they suffer a Trauma (and they can receive multiple Traumas at a time, if they receive enough Stress at one time to exceed a multiple of their Trauma Threshold). The character suffers a -10 penalty to all actions for each Trauma that they have. When a character receives a Trauma, they must roll a WIL×3 check; if they fail, they are stunned for one round (penalties from their wounds and traumas apply, including the Trauma that caused the test).

The GM may sometimes decide that a Trauma has a specific effect on a character — such as the overpowering urge to avoid the source of Stress that caused the Trauma. These effects are generally meant to be roll-played, and they usually last until the Trauma itself has been healed.

Sometimes Traumas can be negated. When this occurs, the Trauma is not healed; the character is simply able to function effectively in spite of it.

The table below lists example stress sources, their tags, and their normal stress values.

Stress SourceStressTags
Major Failure Relating to a Motivational Goal1d10+1
Being Tortured1d10+2Difficult to Resist
Death of a Loved One1d10+1
Witnessing a Terrifying Manifestation1d10Overwhelming


Most characters heal naturally, albeit slowly, from both physical and psychological harm:

  • Characters heal 1 DV per day. After all DV has been healed, they heal 1 Wound per week.
  • Characters heal 1 SV per day. After all SV has been healed, they heal 1 Trauma per month.

Of course, some characters can heal at very different rates; when this is the case, it will be indicated by some feature the character has. Notably, several races have Fast Healing, which allows them to heal much faster (Fast Healing is described in Senses, Movements and Special Abilities).

Also notable are the Heal sleight (which grants a character fast-healing); the Down-Time sleight (which allows a character to heal stress quickly); and several alchemical potions that (slightly) accelerate natural haling.

Healing Damage with Medicine

Characters can use the Medicine skill to bind Wounds. Binding a Wound is a Task Action with a time frame of 10 minutes. It requires a Medicine check; on a success, the character whose wounds are being bound recovers 1d10 DV, and can negate one Wound (the Wound must ultimately heal naturally). Only one attempt can be made to bind any given Wound; if the attempt fails, the character will simply have to heal naturally.

Under some circumstances, characters can use the Medicine skill to attempt surgery. Surgery can be used to heal some conditions, at the GM's discretion. Surgery can also be used to treat a Wound that was not successfully bound. Surgery is particularly difficult, however, and, in the era before the germ theory of disease, can be particularly dangerous for the patient. A surgical attempt is a 1 hour Task Action that requires a Medicine check with a -20 penalty; on a success, the condition may be cured, or the Wound is successfully bound (as per the rules for binding a wound).

Healing Stress with Soothe

While the Emerald Plain is still centuries away from a modern theory of psychology, a patient and empathetic person can still help someone to handle a stressful situation or process a traumatic event.

Characters can use the Soothe skill to reduce another character's SV. The participation of the person being "soothed" is a vital component of this process; it requires a degree of trust between the participants, and it requires the person being soothed to be willing to open up with someone and work through their problems. Mechanically, this is a 1 hour Task Action, requiring a Soothe check from the character providing emotional support and a WIL×3 check from the character receiving support; if both checks are successful, the character receiving support recovers 3 SV; if only one of the checks is successful, the character recovers 1 SV.

Soothe heals significantly less SV than Medicine heals DV. This is intentional; managing stress and working through psychological issues is a time-consuming process!

We also don't provide fixed rules for healing Traumas with Soothe. It's centuries before the development of psychotherapy, and the development of the kinds of techniques that could be used to heal, for example, a phobia.

That's not to say that Soothe can't be useful in a character's healing process, of course; it's just to say that that process isn't well understood by characters in the word of Renaissance, and that Soothe doesn't cover all of it.

Of course, since this process involves a detailed, frank discussion between two characters at a time that is particularly stressful for at least one of them, it can be an obvious candidate for role-playing. However, it doesn't have to be role-played in depth: not all players are dramatically minded, and some may not care to delve into their character's emotional states; or a player may be uncomfortable acting out such an intimate and emotional moment; or a player might be a scenery-chewer who will devour the play-mat if given the chance.

As so many other things, whether the GM proceeds through this process mechanically, has players outline the interaction, or has them play it out in detail depends on the situation and the mood at the table in that moment.

Long-Term Care

Characters can convalesce, spending time resting and relaxing (possibly with the support of doctors, priests or other healers) to recover from their physical and mental wounds.

Long-Term Care can provide physical care, psychological care, or both — a character convalescing at a peaceful temple could receive both physical and mental care at the same time, for example. A character who rests and receives medical care heals more quickly: instead of their natural healing, for each day a character spends resting and recovering, they recover 3 DV; they heal one wound every 4 days, after all damage has been healed. Likewise, a character who spends time resting and processing their traumas recovers more quickly: instead of their natural healing, they heal 3 SV per day, and they heal one Trauma per week after all stress has been healed.

Conditions, Potions, Poisons and Diseases


  • Conditions have effects that persist while the condition applies to you, and rules for removing the condition it (which might be as simple as a *duration, *after which the condition ends).

  • Bleeding:

    • effects:

      • 1 DV every minute.
      • Bleeding characters are easy to follow; pursuers gain a +20 bonus on Search and Perception checks.
    • end:

      • successful First Aid check, as a 1 minute Task Action

Potions and Poisons

  • Both are chemicals that affect characters.

  • Both have effects which persists for the potion or poison’s duration.

  • They may have an onset time before the effects occur, and they may allow resistance checks to partially resist the potion’s effects.

  • Potions:

    • are usually beneficial, and
    • are usually drunk (you can retrieve and drink a potion as a Quick Action).
  • Poisons:

    • are usually harmful, and

    • are often either added to food or drink, or are coated on weapons.

    • If a poison is coated on a weapon, then, on the first attack that causes a wound,

      • the wounded target is effected by the poison, and
      • the poison on the weapon is consumed
      • (traces may linger, so handling the weapon may be dangerous, and the poison may still be detectable if the weapon is examined).
  • For sample Potions and Poisons, see the Items section.


  • Diseases have an resistance check, and onset time, a duration, effects and possibly treatment.

  • Some diseases may have effects based on how long the character has been infected — that is, the effects may proceed through stages.

  • When a character is first exposed to a disease, they make their resistance check; if they succeed, then they have not been infected.

  • If infected, once the onset time has passed, the symptoms of the disease manifest; at this point, the effects of the disease apply.

  • The symptoms then last for the duration; once this has passed, the disease and its effects end.

  • Finally, some diseases have a specific treatment. The effects of treatment vary, ranging from curing the disease entirely, to allowing an additional Resistance check, to shortening the duration.

    • Of course, some powers, potions and means magical and medical can also be used to cure diseases.
  • Characters can be deliberately exposed to disease: weapons can be coated with the blood and viscera of the infected, food can be made from tainted meat, and the infected can choose to enter and mingle among a population to spread their disease, for example.

  • Flu

    • Resistance: DUR × 2
    • Onset: 1 Day
    • Duration: 3 Days
    • Effects: fatigue, aches and nausia
  • Black Death

    • Resistance: DUR
    • Onset: 3 Days
    • Duration: 1 week
    • Effect: high fever, delerium, unconsciousness; 1d10 DV / day
  • Raking Cough

    • Resistance: DUR × 2

    • Onset: 1 Month

    • Duration: permanent

    • Effect: Sever cough, especially after exertion. Loss of stamina.

      • Raking Cough progresses: characters suffer -5 DUR / month. When characters reach their DUR, they die.