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Chapter 8: Travel, Time and Healing

8.1 Time

Since Avatar is not tied to one specific world, any discussion of time is somewhat abstract: a day could be of any length. However, it is assumed throughout this Chapter that a Day is a unit of time equal to one of our days. Similarly, a Week is taken to mean seven days, and a Month is taken to mean about four weeks.

For discussion of quantities of time smaller than a day we will use Hours and Minutes, for simplicity. The standard combat round is not necessarily of a certain length, but it can be assumed to be about 3 seconds for the purposes of time conversion (hence there are 20 rounds to a minute).

8.2 Treating Wounds and Healing

Any injury greater than a light wound requires stabilisation, or it will get gradually worse. The Difficulty of stabilising a wound is given in Table 50. In addition, a skilled First aider can lower a wound by one Rank, for example a serious wound becomes a light wound. The Difficulty of this is also given in Table 50. Any wound lowered to below a flesh wound can be ignored. A brief description of the treatments required for each Rank of wound is given below:
Scratches, minor burns and abrasions. Clean and possibly cover with cloth or bandage.
Some bleeding and contusion. Clean, and bind with bandages.
Some fracturing and major bleeding. Clean, straighten (if possible), bind and bandage, with some support.
Extensive fracture, bleeding and contusion. Requires immediate medical aid and possibly amputation. If lowered to a Serious, any sudden movement may cause the wound to revert to Major.
Limb destroyed:
Unless the person has natural regenerative abilities, this is incurable outside of magical means. A successful First Aid Task of 50 will reduce the effect to one Major wound.
These descriptions are general, and it should be noted that characters don't actually suffer any restrictions until they reach their Wounded state.

Emergency aid will only lower the Wound Rank once per wound and can only be attempted once per wound. Once all wounds have been treated and dressed, a certain amount of time is required for the wound to regress to a wound of a lower Rank (as before, once flesh has been passed, the wound is fully healed). Healing times and First Aid Task Difficulties for stabilisation and reduction of a wound are given below in Table 50.

All wounds above Major (i.e. MM, MMM etc.) are treated as a Major wound for stabilising and healing attempts. When determining how long it takes to heal, roll 1d20+20 days for each M suffered, but treat each roll separately. For example, a character who has suffered an MM wound and survived rolls 29 and 33 for recovery times. One M will be recovered after 29 days, and the second M will be healed after 33 days.

Table 50: Wound Recovery
Wound Recovery Stabilise Heal
Major 1d20+20 days 25 50
Serious 1d20+10 days 20 40
Light 2d6+2 days 15 30
Flesh 1d6+2 days 10 20
Wound: Wound Rank. All Ranks above Major are treated as Major for Stabilise and Heal Tasks.
Recovery time: Time for wound to regress one Rank.
Stabilise: First aid Task to Stabilise wound.
Heal: First aid Task to lower wound one Rank.

Healing rates can be accelerated by Magic (see Chapter 7) or by healing poultices and potions (see section 9.6), assuming such things exist in the world in question.

8.3 Recovery from Unconsciousness

Characters can be knocked Unconscious by wounding or by Concussion, and will remain unconscious until they are successful in a Recovery Task Roll. This is resolved as a Passive Task Resolution on Endurance against a Recovery Task Difficulty. This Difficulty is based upon the severity of the wounds (or Effective Damage if the unconsciousness is a result of Concussion).

For Unconsciousness due to wounding, the Recovery Task Difficulty equals 10, plus the Stabilise Difficulty of the highest equivalent wound of the wounds suffered, plus 5 for every Wound Rank the wound is above M.

For Unconsciousness due to Concussion, the Recovery Task Difficulty equals 10, plus the Stabilise difficulty of the Effective Damage suffered during the Concussion, plus 5 for each Wound Rank the wound is above M.

A Recovery Task Roll may be made after a minute of Unconsciousness, another after five minutes of Unconsciousness, and one at least every quarter of an hour after that. Each failed attempt at recovery decreases the recovery difficulty by 5 if there is no change in the situation. A character may be revived by another character performing a successful First Aid Skill Task against the Recovery Task Difficulty. First Aid may be attempted on an Unconscious character every quarter of an hour, always on the current Recovery Task Difficulty.

For example, a certain person has suffered two Serious wounds and three Light wounds and has fallen Unconscious. This is equivalent to an M wound, as two S's make an M and the rest of the wounds do not add up to another M. Hence the Recovery Task Difficulty is 35 (base of 10 + 25 for the Stabilise Difficulty of a Major wound). As a second example, a person is Concussed by a blow causing an MM in Effective damage. The Recovery Task Difficulty is 40 (10 + 25 +5 for the extra M).

8.4 Recovery from Backlash

Backlash, like wounds, takes time to recover. However, the disorienting effects of invoking magic wear off faster than injuries can heal. A sorcerer can often recover within a day, provided they are not reduced to a coma, which takes longer to recover from.

A sorcerer who is Stunned remains stunned for 1d6 rounds. Once Insane is reached, the resultant effect will last for a varying amount of time depending on the effect suffered. A Coma lasts for 1d6 days (or alternatively the GM may spend one of the character's Fate Points to allow the character to recover in a shorter time), after which they can begin to recover from disorientation effects.

Unless enough time has elapsed for the character to recover from their disorientations, the Backlash effects remain even after the Stunned or Insane effects have worn off. Any further Backlash effects will add to these.

Short of magical (using the Mentalism School of Magic) or divine intervention, there is no real way to treat Backlash except by waiting for the effects to wear off. Recovery from Backlash is similar to healing except that, once the amount of time required has passed, the disorientation is considered healed and not just reduced one Rank.

Table 51: Backlash Recovery
Effect Recovery Time
Major 2d6+4 hours
Serious 1d6+2 hours
Light 1d20+10 minutes
Fazed 1d6+2 minutes

Note that whilst two Serious effects are equivalent to a Major one, in terms of effect, they are much easier to recover from than one Major. Recovery from two separate Serious effects is only going to take as long as the highest of two 1d6+2 hour rolls. Recovery from one Major is going to take 2d6+4 hours: almost definitely longer.

8.5 Travel by Land

The unit of distance chosen here is the League, particularly useful because it is not a precise measurement. One league approximates to about 3 miles, or 5 kilometres. Table 52, below, gives the distance in leagues that can be travelled in one day.

Table 52: Land Travel


Terrain Dist
Grassland, Trade route through Forest 10
Forest, Foothills, Semidesert 8
Deserts, Tundra 6
Mountains 4
Wetlands, Rain Forest, Ice Shelves 3

Terrain Dist
Grassland, Trade route through Forest 15
Forest, Foothills, Semidesert 12
Deserts, Tundra 9
Mountains 6
Wetlands, Rain Forest, Ice Shelves 4

Terrain Dist
Grassland, Trade route through Forest 20
Foothills, Semidesert 15
Forest, Deserts, Tundra, Mountains 10
Wetlands 8
Rain Forest, Ice Shelves 4
1 Assuming 10 hours travel, including reasonable stops.
2 Assuming 10 hours travel, alternating between walking and trotting.

Forced marches increase the distance travelled but at a cost. Forced marching imposes a cumulative march penalty of 1 per day. All Skills and Attributes are reduced by the march penalty, which is overcome at a rate of 1 per half day spent resting once the forced march is broken.

After each day of marching, the group must make a Passive Task Resolution on Endurance (not including the march penalty) against 10 + twice the march penalty. If the majority of the group fail, it is forced to rest for a number of days equal to twice the march penalty. The march can start again if everyone makes an Endurance Task against the new Difficulty, or the march penalty has fallen to zero.

Major rivers present a serious obstacle to all methods of travel and usually take about one day to cross, if no bridge, ford or ferry is available (which is likely to be the case unless the group is following an overland trade route). An additional problem is weather, which can seriously slow down even the most determined groups if it becomes particularly inclement (half movement in storms unless travelling in a forest or rain forest, because of the shelter the trees provide).

8.6 Travel by Sea

Sea travel is often the fastest mode of transport available, depending mostly on favourable winds. All ships, in Avatar terms, are expressed as to how they answer four questions: Can it be Rowed? Can it be Sailed? Can it Tack and Wear? Is it a Warship? The speed vessels can travel at is determined by these four factors and, if it is sailing, by the nature of the wind.

The wind is considered to have four relationships with the ship. Before the wind means the wind is blowing directly to stern, quarter wind means the wind is blowing from either of the rear quarters of the vessels, half wind means the wind blows at the ship broadside, and head wind means the wind blows from the bow of the ship. Wind speed is simplified to becalmed, light winds, strong winds and gales. Table 53, below, gives the distance a sail ship can travel. If the wind is becalmed, ships can only move by rowing.

Table 53: Sailship Travel
Single Sail
Wind Before Quarter Half Head Diff
Light 30 20 15 0 5-10
Strong 50 40 30 0 10-30
Gales 60 50 40 0 30-50

Multiple Sails
Wind Before Quarter Half Head Diff
Light 20 30 15 5 10-20
Strong 40 50 30 10 20-40
Gales 50 60 40 20 40-50

The Difficulty listed is the Sail task required to keep the vessel afloat and moving in the right direction under those conditions. A failure by 20 or more would suggest something disastrous has happened to the vessel.

Multiple sailed ships can tack and wear, that is cut diagonally across the wind, and hence make headway against a head wind. A warship tends to be faster than a merchant vessel and will travel an extra 50% in one day. Most vessels average about 40 leagues a day, with the average decreasing if the vessel is coasting (travelling along a coast line) or working through islands. Fleets of vessels rarely manage more than 20 leagues a day.

Many single sailed vessels (especially single sail warships) have banks of oars, to provide motion even when the ship is becalmed or encountering a head wind. An average warship can manage between 20 and 50 leagues a day, and an average merchant-ship can manage between 10 and 20 leagues per day. Large merchant barges rarely exceed 10 leagues per day.

In general, a larger boat will out-sail a smaller boat. However, there are limits. Beyond a certain size, the force of a crosswind is likely to capsize the boat, and hence a more streamlined hull must be traded for a flat bottomed barge.

The term warship is used to describe long ships and galleys, including biremes, triremes and other such multiple banked vessels. Typical merchant craft include cogs, brigs, junks and small coastal vessels, such as the nef. In general, the term warship is applied to any vessel which is built with a sleek length-to-width ratio (up to 10:1), whereas a merchant ship is built to maximise the hold capacity. Merchant ships are usually too bulky to be rowed, and carry a much smaller crew, compared to warships. Historically, the largest merchant vessels in the ancient world were no longer than about 30 metres, whilst the Roman quinquireme could be as long as 60 metres.

Travel by canoe or raft is possible when on a river, with travel times varying from 5 to 20 leagues a day. However, rapids can cause problems, and require rowing tasks of 20-50 to traverse, depending on their severity. Wide rivers may be sailed or rowed along by both warship and merchant ship, although barges are more common because their lower draft allows them to operate in shallower water.

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Last Updated: April 16th, 1999