Friday, September 13, 2019

To use Conditional Injury or Not? A Review Helps.

Doug recommended this, so I read it.

A Conditional Injury Deep Dive

I'd have gotten around to it eventually. I read everything I can off of the blogs I follow, and I follow Mailanka's blog. I also have noodled around with the idea of getting our Gamma Terra GM to use a system like this. But I didn't know if I'd like how that would come out.

It's reading reviews like this that really let me know what I want to know about a rules variant. I'm very concerned with Actual Play.

I deeply love Doug's work, but it's generally a level or more of complexity over what I actually like to have at my table these days. My role in Doug's life has often been to nag him and say, "Couldn't this be simpler?" or just "Too complicated!" So when he writes rules variations that change the level of detail of a system, I immediately think a) it's probably better that what's come before but b) it's going to be complicated to run compared to what I'd like to run. Since I tend to play games with a half-dozen or more PCs with a half-dozen or more NPCs, fighting anywhere from one to scores of enemies, even a slight increase in complexity is a big increase in time to play.

That said, some things look more complicated than they are. Technical Grappling is actually quite simple at heart - and you can see it based on what Doug's done with the system after. And I've stripped it down even further than he has, yet kept that excellent roll-for-effect mechanic that he created. So the question here was, is this more complicated than I'd like?

The answer is still a firm maybe. But it's deep looks at how something plays from a GM who's used the system to let me know what I really need to know. I've said before that I've seen reviews that said "X sucks" and I've used X and it did not suck, "objective" looks at X or not. This is much more of what I like to see!


  1. For what it's worth, CI is designed to simplify the handling of large masses of creatures. You roll damage, subtract DR, and if that is in the range of a wound type for the target, they get that "Condition" and suffer the effects. No tracking HP ablation.

    The "complex" part is "how should wounds pile up," or in the terms of the system, "accumulate." I suspect the answer is "for wounds of lower than a certain threshold, the equivalent of, say, HP/3 or lower, they just don't. Bigger wounds, such as those of HP/3 or HP/2 or higher (severity of -3 or -2, respectively), probably should make the condition a level worse - these are serious blows.

    I very much like - philosophically - the concept of Conditions from 5e, or Aspects from Fate, or "up, down, or out" from Savage Worlds. People do tire, but don't die, on an ablative basis, mostly. So not having to track a bunch of 1 hp wounds is less complex/less overhead, not more.

    Anyway, Mailanka gave a great look at the concept, and pinged on the two areas that are inherently odd: there's no easy/fast way to turn linear subtraction of DR to a log scale (b/c subtraction from logs is division, and we really do want subtraction), and the wound accumulation bit.

    He also pinged something that is truly game-changing: when wounds don't accumulate, you tend to go for the big hits on the attack. Which is more or less how folks really fight. Get in a few lower wounds to put the other person on the defensive, and then finish. So some of the emergent behavior has been fun to hear about.

    1. Sure, you don't have to track HP ablation, but that's simple math on a sheet. Tracking wounds, and then a condition, then applying that condition to the stats and rolls of a victim? That's unlikely to be easier than simple math that has only a handful of conditions: stunned, half move & dodge, unconscious, dead. In the games I play, a lot of 1 and 2 HP wounds aren't common, so it's not such a big deal.

      I like the idea, but it doesn't look easier for large groups than simple arithmetic where the numbers usually go down and trigger only very specific - and very severe - conditions!

    2. I'll also note that my players, as a rule, go for big hits and fight-ending targets, not dinging a target to death, except for a few cases. And those are mostly "we tried the big hits and it didn't die, let's hope it just dies at -10xHP and put it there."


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