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5.9 Damage and Wounding

When a character is hit, they will suffer a wound, unless their armour protects them (see
section 5.11). The type of wound suffered is determined by rolling 2d6, modifying by the Damage modifier for the weapon and type of attack used, and consulting Table 26, below. This will give the wound rank (F, L, S, M etc.) of the injury that has been suffered. This table is used for all physical damage - including damage from falling and injury from magical effects.

Table 26: Wound Matrix
Roll Code Wound Death
0-2 F



3-5 L



6-8 S



9-13 M



14-17 MM

Limb destroyed


Each additional block of 4 above 17: +M to Code

As indicated by the Death column, a head wound of M or higher or an MM or worse to the torso result in instant death. If the target has an Endurance greater than 20, these conditions are higher. For each complete block of 12 above 20, the wound required for instant death is advanced by one M. For example, at Endurance 32, instant death would occur at MM to the head and MMM to the torso. At Endurance 44 instant death would occur at MMM to the head and MMMM to the torso.

As a character is wounded, they advance though three wound states: wounded, unconscious and killed. Each character has a code associated with each stage, based around their Endurance attribute. This code, taking the form of the letters used to designate the different wound ranks, indicates how many wounds a character can take during each wound state before progressing to the next. The wounds a person can suffer are given by Table 27.

For example, a person with Endurance 14 has a wound code of M S S. This means they can suffer a major wound before being reduced to the wounded state, after which they need only suffer a serious wound before being reduced to the unconscious state and must suffer another serious wound before being killed. If they suffered a major and a serious wound simultaneously, they'd be reduced to unconscious straight away.

All wounds suffered should be recorded as wounds accumulate, meaning people can die from attrition. Two wounds of one rank are equivalent to one wound of the rank above, with the exception that four flesh equates to one light. Hence:

32 F => 8 L => 4 S => 2 M =>  1 MM
16 F => 4 L => 2 S =>  1 M
8 F => 2 L =>   1 S
4 F =>   1 L

When recording injuries it is important not to start `grouping' wounds and converting them up to the largest possible wound. It is easier to recover from 4 flesh wounds than 1 light and, similarly, it's easier to recover from 2 major wounds than a limb destroyed (see section 8.2). The wounds are considered equivalent only for the purposes of determining what wound state a character is at.

So a character with an Endurance of 12 (wound code M S L) who has suffered a serious and a light wound is still not at the wounded state because they have not suffered wounds which are equivalent to M - the first part of their wound code. If they suffer a major wound, they will have suffered all the wounds in their wound code and will die. If instead they suffer another serious wound (making the total wounds suffered SSL), this would be equivalent to them having a major wound and a light wound, as the two S's are equivalent to one M. They would then be at their wounded state. Similarly, if they had suffered a light wound, they would be wounded because their total injuries (SLL) would be equivalent to an M, but not an M and an S (which would put them unconscious).

At the first state, wounded, a character has all their Attributes and Skills halved (round up), and is considered to have only half as many Actions as usual (drop any half Actions). They are in danger of bleeding to death if they are not treated. At the second state, unconscious, they have passed out and will die if they do not receive medical attention. At killed they have died, but may still be saved by magic (see Chapter 7). In Abstract combat, it is left to the GM to determine how long a person can remain wounded or unconscious before falling to their next wound state. The more detailed rules provided in Duellist combat can be used, if preferred (see section 6.17).

Table 27: Wound State Table
Endurance Wounded Unconscious Killed
1 - - L
2 - - S
3 - S L
4-5 - S S
6-7 S L L
8-9 S S L
10-11 S S S
12-13 M S L
14-15 M S S
16-17 M M L
18-19 M M S
20 M M M
21 MM M L
22-23 MM M S
24 MM M M
25 MM MM L
26-27 MM MM S
28 MM MM M
30-31 MM MM MS

To calculate wound codes for Endurances above 32 (i.e. off the table), subtract complete blocks of 12 until the value falls between 20 and 32. Then, add one M to each part of the code for each 12. For example, an Endurance of 49 would come to 25 after subtracting two blocks of 12. 25 gives a wound code of MM MM L, and adding on two M's to each (for the two blocks of 12) gives MMMM MMMM MML.

For details on wound recovery see section 8.2, and for recovery from unconsciousness see section 8.3.

5.10 Hit Location

In some cases, it may not be necessary to roll for where an attack hits (depending on the degree of abstraction being used), but Table 28 below can be used to determine where someone has been injured from a Thrust, Swing or Blow. Missile and Thrown weapon attacks use the Thrust column. Usually, 2d6 should be rolled, but if the attacker struck from a significant height advantage (from horseback, for instance) 2d6+2 should be rolled instead. Similarly, someone at a lower height (striking up at someone on horseback, for example) should roll 2d6-2.

Table 28: Hit Distribution
Die Roll Location Hit
Thrust/Missile Swing/Blow
Up to 3 Legs Legs
4-5 Arms Torso
6-9 Torso Arms
10-12 Head Head
13+ Torso Arms

For a leg or an arm hit, the side can be determined randomly, or worked out according to the bias of the attacker. For a right handed attack, even numbers hit the right side of the target, and odd numbers the left side. For a left handed attack, simply reverse this method. This gives a slightly greater chance of a right handed attack striking the left side of the target's body, as would be expected.

5.11 Damage Rank and Armour

As well as straight, numeric modifiers to the Wound matrix (Table 26), there are also factors which change the rank of the wound. In this case, one change in rank represents one row of Table 26. For example, if a person suffers a serious wound, but the damage is increased by one rank, they would in fact suffer a major wound.

The main way that wounds are lowered by ranks is through the use of armour. All armours are given an armour index, for example, 2, 3-1 and 1+1. This is very similar to the Initiative Index (see section 5.3), and uses a method known as Index Resolution (see section 1.8). Essentially, the first number in the armour index represents the number of d6's that should be rolled, counting 5's as +1, 6's as +2 and all other values as +0, and the second number represents a fixed modifier. So, for instance, 1+1 means roll 1 die and the result will be +3 if a 6 is rolled, +2 if a 5 is rolled, or +1 otherwise. All results less than 0 should be treated as 0.

Every character should have an armour index value for each hit location. Whenever a character suffers a wound, they should roll armour dice for the location they were hit in. The result is the number of ranks the wound should be lowered (counting any result less than zero as zero). For example, a person wearing soft leather (2-1) armour covering their chest and arms suffers a major wound to the chest. They roll two dice getting a 6 and a 2. This is worth 1 rank, so they only suffer a serious wound. If they had rolled no 5's or 6's the result would have been -1. This would not have made the wound one rank worse, as all results below 0 are treated as 0.

Armour covers three armour areas: torso, arms and legs. This counts both legs as one area, and both arms as one area. Table 29 gives the statistics for most possible armours, giving the armour index, Strength required (per armour area) and Dodge penalty (per armour area). Also given is the average protection value, and the percentage of times the armour will lower wounds suffered by at least one rank. These values have no meaning within the game, and are given for the purposes of comparing the different armours given. Descriptions of the different types of armour are given in section 5.30.

Table 29: Armour Index Table
Armour Index Str Dg Av %
Cloth 2-2 0 0 0.11 8
Furs 1-1 0 0 0.17 17
Padded/Quilted 3-2 1 0 0.32 20
Soft leather 2-1 1 0 0.44 33
Hard leather 1 1.5 0 0.50 33
Studded Leather 4-2 2 0 0.59 33
Ring mail 3-1 3 -1 0.80 48
Hide armour 3-1 3 -1 0.80 48
Brigandine 5-2 3.5 -2 0.93 46
Scale mail 5-2 3.5 -2 0.89 46
Chain mail 2 4 -3 1.00 56
Wooden armour 4-1 4 -3 1.20 61
Bronze plate mail 4-1 4 -4 1.20 61
Plate mail 3 5 -4 1.50 70
Banded mail 5-1 5 -4 1.63 70
Splint mail 4 5 -5 2.00 80
Bronze field plate 2+1 4.5 -4 2.00 100
Bronze plate 3+1 5 -4 2.50 100
Field plate 3+1 5.5 -4 2.50 100
Full plate 4+1 6 -5 3.00 100
Index: Armour Index, as described above.
Str: Total up the Str values for each of the three armour areas to determine the minimum Strength to wear armour without penalty (round up halves). For each 1 below this total, there is a penalty of -1 to the wearer's Agility.
Dg: Total up the values for the armour in each armour area to determine the penalty to Dodge Skill.
Av: Average protection (in ranks).
%: Percentage of time at least one rank protection is provided.

Armour values can be mixed throughout the body. For example, a person could wear soft leather breeches and a chain mail jacket, giving them an armour index of 2-1 for their legs, and 2 for their torso and arms. This combination of armours requires a minimum Strength of 9 to avoid Agility penalties and causes a Dodge penalty of -6. If a helmet is worn, it will also affect the minimum Strength and the Dodge penalty. The statistics for helmets are given in Table 30, below.

Table 30: Helmets
Helm Index Str Dg AWA Penalty
Leather hood 1 0 0 +0
Helm 3-1 0 0 -5
Coif 2 1 -1 -5
Great helm 2+1 2 -2 -10
Index: Armour Index, as described above.
Str: See
Table 29, above.
Dg: See Table 29, above.
AWA Penalty: Penalty to Awareness when helmet is worn.

The Awareness penalty for the various helmets takes in to account restrictions to all types of Awareness, specifically visual and audio. It might be possible for other senses of a non-human character to be considered under Awareness, in which case the helmet might also restrict these senses and cause further penalties.

When combining armour, use the most appropriate armour index. For example, a person wears a brigandine jacket and a breastplate. This will give protection to the arms using the brigandine armour index of 5-2, and protection to the chest as if plate mail was being worn (armour index 3).

As an option, each type of armour can be limited as to how much damage it can take before it ceases to function. This can be calculated by totalling the value of the Index (for example, 2 is 2, 4+1 is 5, 3-1 is 2), multiplying by 5 and then adding 5. Every time the armour is used to protect against damage, the number of ranks it lowers the wound by is subtracted from this total. Once it reaches zero, the armour is useless.

For example, a person is wearing studded leather armour. The armour index for this is 4-2, hence it will protect its wearer from up to 15 ranks of damage. They are struck by a sword causing a major wound, but roll a 6, 5, 5 and a 2 on their two dice to get a protection of +2. The wound is lowered two ranks to a light wound, and the armour will protect for a further 13 ranks in that location.

One final topic related to armour is the armour block. This is a special type of block where the defender throws themselves at the attack, but in such a way as to insure that a solid part of their armour is hit. A defender opting to use this defence rolls on their combat Skill -10 (except Gladiators and Knights, who roll their straight combat Skill), and treats it as an ordinary Parry attempt.

If they fail, they take damage as they normally would. If they succeed, they can choose where they get hit (although the GM may disallow legs) and, after rolling armour index dice, they can reroll some or all of the dice once. The cumulative -5 to Parries and Dodges also applies to armour blocks.

For example, a knight wearing field plate armour (3+1) succeeds in an armour block. Her opponent rolls damage dice and gets a limb destroyed. She rolls three dice and gets 1, 3, and 5. This is only two ranks of protection, and she decides to keep the 5, but reroll the other dice. She gets a 6 and a 3. She opts to take the wound in her left arm, and the wound is lowered by 4 ranks, to flesh. If she had failed the Armour block, the wound would only have been lowered 2 ranks, to serious.

5.12 Concussion

A sharp blow to the back of the head is usually enough to render an opponent Unconscious. To simulate this, whenever someone receives a blow to the head, figure the Damage normally. Then, work out what the results would have been if the wound had been one Rank higher, or two Ranks higher if the attack was from behind. If this effective damage indicates that the target would be Unconscious, they fall Unconscious.

This only applies when the strike is concussive, generally when hit with a Club, Flail or Stave of some kind. However, combatants using Axes or Blades can choose to strike with the flat of their blade (only when using a Swing or a Blow - not when Thrusting). This counts as a concussive strike, but the actual damage rolled will be at two Damage Ranks lower.

For example, a person armed with a broadsword attacks his opponent with a Swing using the flat of his blade. He rolls a Major wound to the head. The actual damage suffered is two Ranks lower (because he is using the flat of his blade), hence his opponent suffers a Light wound to the head. For the purposes of concussion, he experiences an effective damage of MM (one Rank higher than the wound rolled, because this is a concussive attack). For almost all human opponents, this will render them Unconscious.

If the target of a concussive attack is wearing a helmet, any Ranks of protection lower both the actual damage and the effective damage. For example, consider the previous example if the target was wearing a great helm (Armour Index 2+1). After being hit, they roll two dice and get a 5 and a 3, for a total of 2 Ranks protection. The actual damage is lowered two Ranks from light to no damage, and the effective damage is lowered two ranks to Serious - unlikely to knock them Unconscious.

Unconsciousness from concussion is treated in the same way Unconsciousness from wounds. See section 8.3 for more on recovery from Unconsciousness.

People fighting with the Footpad Fighting style get an automatic bonus of one effective damage rank when attempting to concuss an opponent, that is, any head hits count as two Ranks higher for the purposes of concussion, or three Ranks if the attack was from behind (see section 3.14).

If the GM rules that an attack is from behind, the target must succeed an Awareness Task of 20 to defend themselves, and even then can only Dodge at half Skill. If the Awareness roll fails, and attack automatically hits the location of the attacker's choice.

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Last Updated: April 16th, 1999