Physical exertion, deprivation, infections, toxins, and other hazards can cause you to accumulate points of Fatigue. Accumulated Fatigue has the following effects
  • < Stamina - 4 RS: At this level, you are not hindered by fatigue – you may be sweating and breathing hard, but you can still act normally.
  • ≥ Stamina - 4 RS: You are at -1 to Brawn, Coordination, Spirit, Smarts, and Awareness.
  • ≥ Stamina - 3 RS: You are at -2 to Brawn, Coordination, Spirit, Smarts, and Awareness.
  • ≥ Stamina - 2 RS: You are at -3 to Brawn, Coordination, Spirit, Smarts, and Awareness.
  • ≥ Stamina - 1 RS: You are at -4 to Brawn, Coordination, Spirit, Smarts, and Awareness.
  • ≥ Stamina + 0 RS: The penalty to Brawn, Coordination, Spirit, Smarts, and Awareness increases to -5. In addition, you are in mild shock. You must make a DC 7 Spirit check to take any action other than rest, talk, or walk slowly. If the action would cause additional fatigue, the DC increases to 10. If you fail, you can do nothing (you can try again on your next action). If you fail by 5 or more, you faint. Every value of [Vigor+7] combat rounds you can attempt a DC 7 Resistance check to regain consciousness.
  • ≥ Stamina + 1 RS: You are in moderate shock. The attribute penalty increases to -6, the DC to take an action increases to 10, you faint on a failure by 3 or more, and the recovery DC also increases to 10.
  • ≥ Stamina + 2 RS: You are in severe shock. You fall unconscious. Every value of [Vigor] hours, make a DC 7 Resistance check. If you fail, you lose all vital signs and will die in value of [Vigor+7] minutes without emergency medical care.
  • ≥ Stamina + 2½ RS: As above, but make the Resistance check to avoid death every value of [Vigor+7] minutes.
  • ≥ Stamina + 3 RS: At this level, death is automatic.

The first Stamina - 4 RS Fatigue from exertion is regained at a rate of one point every value of [7 - Vigor] minutes. Exertion Fatigue in excess of that recover at a rate of one point every value of [-Vigor] hours. You get to recover whether or not you are resting, as long as you can breathe. If your recovery is fast enough, you might not take any actual Fatigue from some exercises.

When you have levels of Fatigue that recover at different rates, the fastest-recovering Fatigue is recovered first.


Injuries that bleed cause Blood Points. Every blood point gives one point of Fatigue that cannot be recovered until the Blood Point is healed.

Blood points recover at a rate of 1 point every value of [5-Vigor] days. Blood can only be recovered with adequate food and water. Blood transfusions can recover lost blood points as soon as enough of it is put back in your veins.


If a victim cannot breathe, he cannot recover any Breath, and takes one Breath Point every combat turn. If he was prepared and had a chance to hold his breath, he will not start losing Breath Points for value of [Vigor+7] combat turns if he is resting, or value of [Vigor+5] turns if performing moderate activity or greater. Breath points spent normally due to activity are lost in the usual manner. Breath Points cannot be recovered by anyone holding their breath.

Fatigue resulting from suffocation is recovered at a rate of value of [7-Vigor] minutes.

Toxins and Diseases

Toxins and diseases have a Potency and Dose score. When you are exposed to a toxin or disease, roll your Vigor against a DC of the Potency. On a failure, take value of [Dose - 2×Size + 1 for every 2 degrees of failure or -2 for every degree of success] Fatigue Points if you are exposed to a set amount (like drinking a goblet of poisoned wine, or being bitten by a viper). If the poison is generally present in the environment, the amount you are exposed to depends on your Size, cancelling out the benefit of being able to dilute the poison through more of your body. In this case, the Fatigue you take from failure on the Potency check is value of [Dose + 1 for every 2 degrees of failure].

Delay: Toxins and diseases do not take effect immediately. It might take time for an injected venom to reach the brain through the blood, or for the poison in food to be digested and absorbed through the stomach. Unless listed otherwise, assume that poisons have a minimum delay given by the route that they are administered

  • Injected into vein or artery (victim must be restrained, cooperating, or helpless): 1 combat round
  • Injected with penetrating wound: 1 combat round
  • Injected with non-penetrating wound: 1 minute
  • Inhaled: 1 combat round
  • Ingested: 10 minutes on an empty stomach, up to 30 minutes on a full stomach.
  • Contact with skin or mucous membrane: 10 minutes.

Period: The effects of a toxin or disease will ramp up with time. If it becomes important, apply the Dose Fatigue evenly over the listed Period. For example, if you take three Fatigue from a poison with a period of 1 hour, the first Fatigue point occurs at 20 minutes after the roll, the second Fatigue point at 40 minutes, and the third at 60 minutes. If a toxin or disease has multiple cycles, each one might have a different period.

When exposure to a toxin is continuous (such as brething a poison gas), the Dose listed will be for an exposure time equal to the period. If the victim is exposed for less time, decrease the Dose according to how many rows on the Score-Value chart you need to go from the listed time to the actual time. For example, if the Dose for continuous exposure is +0 over a 1 minute period, it will be -2 over half a minute. The damage continues to accumulate over the full cycle, however. This does not apply to toxins that are applied in a single dose (such as poisoned food, or the bite of a venomous animal).

Cycles: Many toxins act more than once. If more than once cycle is listed, at the end of each period roll for potency again, and then apply the dose again, up to the number of listed cycles.

Some diseases have an unlimited number of cycles. They continue to cause damage until you have succeeded at given number of Resistance checks in a row (typically between one and four) when rolling to reduce the Dose, at which point your body has cleared the disease from your system.

Healing: After all listed cycles are complete, your body can begin to recover. How rapidly this happens depends on the toxin or disease. The listed recovery is the time it takes to recover one Fatigue point delivered by the Dose.

Symptoms: Many poisons or diseases have additional effects, such as penalties to attributes or paralysis once the Dose-induced Fatigue reaches a given level. Often this is referenced at Fatigue increments - these are the thresholds at which penalties become more severe: Stamina×15, Stamina×25, and so on. If no Fatigue level is listed, assume the symptom manifests as soon as 1 Fatigue point is taken. Note that even if no symptoms are listed, all Fatigue has its usual effect. Listed symptoms are in addition to the usual Fatigue effects.

For example, a toxin with symptoms of -1 to Coordination, plus another -1 to coordination per Fatigue increment would cause a total of -3 to Coordination at more than Stamina×15 Fatigue (-1 for the initial effects, -1 for the first Fatigue increment, and another -1 for the usual effects of Fatigue).

Several examples of diseases and poisons that might be commonly encountered by adventurers are listed below:

Wound Infection
Description: Any wound that breaks the skin and is "dirty" or is not appropriately disinfected or that is penetrating to the abdomen has the potential to become infected. Signs of localized infection are redness, heat, swelling, and pain around the vicinity of the wound, as well as the discharge of pus. Some particular microbes that contribute to infections may cause red streaks along the affected limb statring at the wound and leading to the body.

The DC of the Vigor check to avoid the initial onset of infection is equal to the Injury Score of the wound, made 12 hours after taking the wound. Penetrating wounds to the abdomen are +2 to DC. The Potency can also be increased if the wound-causing weapon was particularly filthy (smeared with dung, for example). Immediately sterilizing a wound will decrease the DC by 3.

An infected wound that progresses too far without treatment can turn septic, spreading to the whole body. Signs of sepsis include rapid heart rate, rapid breathing, and either fever or cold and clammy skin. Amputation of the site of the wound can prevent sepsis, and stops the infection if done before sepsis occurs. Three consecutive resistance faitures will lead to sepsis.

Description: Exposure to radiation causes initial effects signified by nausea, diarrhea, fever, headache, cognitive impairment, and at high levels of Dose-induced Fatigue, poor balance, tremors, seizures, and death. The patient typically recovers from these initial effects, only to fall ill once again as the effects of radiation killing off the blood-cell producing bone marrow begin to manifest.

The effects of radiation exposure depend on the amount of radiation the victim is exposed to. Radiation exposure is usually measured in units of Gray (Gy).

These listed effects of radiation exposure only cover the acute effects of the radiation killing rapidly dividng cells. Long term, chronic effects may manifest many years down the road in the form of cancer, or birth defects to children conceived after the radiation exposure.

Initial effects

  • Dose: score of [Exposure in Gy].
  • Potency: 12
  • Period: 6 hours.
  • Cycles: 1.
  • Healing: value of [7-Vigor] hours.
Delayed effects
  • Dose: score of [Exposure in Gy];
  • Potency: 8
  • Period: 3 days.
  • Cycles: 10.
  • Symptoms: -1 to disease and infection Resistance, -1 penalty to rolls to stop bleeding. An additional -1 to disease and infection Resistance and -1 penalty to bleeding rolls per Fatigue increment. Hair falls out when Fatigue reaches mild shock level. When Fatigue exceeds the moderate shock level, the victim experiences uncontrollable bleeding under the skin, in the mouth, kidneys, gut, and other internal organs (accounted for already with the fatigue loss).
  • Healing: value of [7-Vigor] days.

Description: Irritants cause immediate pain upon exposure. Those which get in the eyes cause vision problems as well, and those which get into the nasal passages will temporarily block smell.

Many irritants are deployed as a spray or gas. These usually take effect only if they get in the eyes, nasal cavities, mouth, or airway. They cause the production of substantial quantities of tears and mucous. Pepper spray and tear gas are irritants of this kind, as is skunk spray (with the addition of a retching, clinging stench) and spitting cobra venom sprays (which can also cause permanent eye damage if the eyes are not washed out within a few minutes). Other irritants are injected into tissue. A great many venoms have this irritant action, causing immediate burning pain even though other medical effects take considerable time to build up. Occasionally, one may encounter an irritant that directly affects the skin. Irritants of this last kind will have a substantial delay and period.

Blood Agents
Description: Blood agents, such as cyanide or carbon monoxide, poison by being absorbed into the bloodstream, preventing the blood from carying oxygen. They can enter the body either from ingestion, injection, or inhalation. Typical symptoms at low levels of effect include dizziness, weakness, nausea, confusion, and headaches. Cyanide can cause tightness of the chest and difficulty breathing. High levels of exposure can cause paralysis, convulsions, heart attack, and coma. In game terms, the symptoms are manifestations of the attribute penalties.

Many blood agents (such as cyanide) have antidotes. Antidotes must be injected or ingested, and after the standard delay the antidote prevents further Fatigue from accumulation, while allowing Fatigue already taken to recover at the normal rate.

Choking Agents
Description: Choking agents, such as chlorine or ammonia, are gases that cause chemical burns to the lungs and mucous membranes. While commonly considered poison gases, in game terms they act by causing Burn damage rather than Dose. If inhaled, damage occurs to the chest and head at Wound = Wound Score Limit (burns to the lungs, airway, nasal cavities, mouth, and eyes). Inhaling a choking agent typically causes violent coughing, requiring a DC 5 Vigor check to take an action. When a choking agent gets into the eyes, it causes tearing and blurry vision, eventually leading to eyeball burns and blindness. Give a penalty to vision equal to the Injury Score. Remember that penalties of more than -7 mean full blindness.

High concentrations of choking agents can cause deadly burns in only one breath. However, more commonly adventurers will encounter these poisons in lower concentrations. An industrial chlorine leak or WWI gas attack might typically cause burn Penetrations of 2d6 -12 RS per combat round.

A gas mask that covers the eyes will protect against choking agents. Not breathing until you reach fresh air will protect the chest and neck, and reduce Wound to the face to 2 + Size (the eyes are still vulnerable). Closing the eyes will prevent burns to the eyes (eliminating damage if you are holding your breath, reducing Wound to the face by -1 RS otherwise), but of course you cannot see during that time.

Smoke Inhalation: Smoke is often more deadly than fire. Treat smoke as a combined irritant, choking agent, and blood agent. The danger varies with the concentration and what is burning, but for characters caught in burning structures or forest fires you can assess effective burn Penetrations of 2d6 -10 RS per minute and Dose of +0 every minute. For exposures of less than a minute, decrease the Dose and Penetration in proportion.

Food Poisoning
Description: Many poisons and bacterial growths in food or water can cause gastro-intestinal upset, typically stomach cramps, vomiting, and diarrhea.

Description: There are many substances that cause intoxication more readily than acute toxicity. The victim may be euphoric or just disoriented. Many of these are taken recreationally, such as ethyl alcohol

To Humans and Pannovas, ethyl alcohol (wine, beer, spirits, booze, liquor, hootch, moonshine, etc.) acts as an intoxicant – for other species not so resistant, it mostly makes them sick. Add +4 to the potency, but remove the intoxicating properties. The description below is for alcohol, other intoxicants will have different periods, potencies, and healing times.

Description: Hallucinogens interfere with the victim's perceptions and cause him to enter mind-altering states that may include terrifying hallucinations or euphoric experiences of expanded consciousness.

Cardiotoxin: Some animals, such as dart frogs, and plants, such as foxglove, produce chemicals that interfere with the workings of the heart. Descriptive symptoms include loss of apetite, drooling, nausea, vomiting, heart palpitations, difficulty breathing, blurry and distorted vision, weakness, confusion, and finally convulsions and death.

Neurotoxin: A number of animals produce toxic compounds either within their tissues or in specialized glands. Animals that sport these poisons in their tissues include some newts, moon snails, frogs, pufferfish, the mola mola fish, and, during certain algal blooms, shellfish such as oysters, mussels, and clams - eating these animals will expose the character to the poison. Animals that use neutrotoxins as a venom include cobras, scorpions, the blue-ringed octopus, a few rattlesnakes, and some spiders.

The signs of exposure vary somewhat depending on the type of poison or venom, but almost always have drooling, sweating, weakness, loss of coordination and balance, headaches, tremors, and finally convulsions, paralysis, coma, and respiratory failure. Scorpion venom can cause involuntary twitching or jerking of body parts. Pufferfish poison has early symptoms of tingling and numbness of the lips and tongue and tips of the fingers progressing to the face and limbs, followed by the onset of typical neurotoxic symptoms.

Most neurotoxins used as venoms (i.e. injected into prey, such as scorpion or cobra venom) are usually safe to eat since they are broken down by digestive enzymes. They must be injected or enter the bloodstream through a wound in order to take effect. Clearly, this is not true of all neurotoxins.

Hemotoxin: Some venomous animals inject toxins that clot and thicken the blood, ultimately resulting in the victim's blood turning into a thick sludge. Blood in this state cannot easily flow through the body or perfuse capilaries, resulting in too little oxygen getting to the tissues, followed by death. This is common for rattlesnakes and vipers. Hemotoxins are only effective if injected or if they otherwise enter the bloodstream through a wound, they can be quite safely digested if swallowed.

Anticoagulant: Anticoagulants are toxins that interfere with the blood's ability to clot. A few venomous animals inject anticoagulant venoms, such as saw-scaled vipers and Komodo dragons. Other compounds, such as warfarin, can be used as a poison to similar effect and are sometimes used medicinally to prevent dangerous blood clots. In large enough doses, anticoagulants can cause uncontrolled internal hemorrhage, and will keep wounds bleeding profusely. Vasodilators can have similar gross effects, encouraging bleeding while causing blood to pool in the extremities rather than perfusing the core.

Cytotoxin: Many venomous animals inject toxins that break down tissues when they attack; this is common for rattlesnakes, vipers, and spiders. They do not cause normal dose, rather they cause direct injury with Injury Score equal to the Dose modified for Size and the Potency check. Symptoms of the injury are swelling, tenderness, pain, and discoloration (initially redness, with increasing effect leading to green tinges, yellowness, dark purple hues, and even black). Cytotoxins are only effective if injected into tissue, they can be quite safely digested if swallowed and they have no ability to penetrate armor. Cytotoxins cause immediate pain, roll for stunning and impairment at the time of injection for the full effect of the eventual wound to be caused at the end of the first period at +3 to DC.

Neural Stun: Various physical phenomena can disrupt the functioning of nerves. In the verge, this usually occurs from electric current flowing through the body or contact with a live disruptor screen. Neural stun causes the nerves to activate uncontrollably, which produces involuntary intense muscle contraction for the duration of the stimulus followed by reduced nervous function for some time afterwards while the nerves recover. This contraction causes immediate loss of voluntary control and expends a great deal of energy; the reduced nervous function results in a period of time when the victim has trouble producing volutary motion or controlling his motion.

Neural stun is tracked using the mechanic of Dose, but the "Fatigue" incurred from neural stun is not actual Fatigue. It does not cause actual Fatigue penalties or effects, nor does it add to other Fatigue - it is merely for keeping track of symptoms. Fatigue does not accumulate from multiple exposures, use only the highest Fatigue from any exposure to determine effects. Breath Points lost are real Breath Points, however, and these do accumulate and can lead to actual Fatigue loss if enough are taken.

Miscelaneous Medical Conditions

Coughing or Sneezing: A cough or sneeze consumes one Action, and makes enough noise that stealth is impossible. A coughing or sneezing fit may last a while - the victim can make a Vigor check every turn to stop the fit, with a difficulty depending on what initially caused the fit. Every turn, the DC for recovery decreases by 1.

Faint: The victim falls unconscious and collapses.

Nausea: A nauseated person suffers -1 to Coordination, Smarts, Awareness, and Spirit attributes. At the referee's discretion, various stimuli can force a Vigor check to avoid vomiting (see below). Typical stimuli may be the smell or sight of food, offensive or disgusting sights or smells, or lurching motion over which the victim has no control.

Pain: The victim suffers from stunning and impairment as if he had suffered an injury, but no other injury effects.

Paralysis: The victim loses control of part or all of his body; typically a limb, both legs, or the entire body below the neck. Affected body parts are limp, unresponsive, and have no sensation. The victim remains conscious.

Seizure: The victim falls down, trembling and shaking. He cannot act and is not conscious. Every combat round, he loses a Breath Point (after reaching mild shock, the muscles are too tired to work much more, and no more Breath is lost).

Vomiting: The victim vomits up the contents of his stomach. This takes 1d4 turns. Speaking is impossible. Any benefits of food or oral medication taken within the last two hours is lost. If the stomach is already empty, the victim still suffers dry heaves.

Sensory Overload

Bright flashes and flares can lead to a temporary loss of vision, loud noises can produce temporary deafness, and extreme smells can desensitize the olfactory sense. When a character is subject to extreme sensory conditions, he can take overload. Treat this as dose:

  • Dose: varies with intensity; bright lights and loud sounds have their Dose fall off as -2× range score.
  • Potency: 10
  • Delay: none
  • Period: immediate
  • Cycles: 1.
  • Healing: value of [7-Vigor] turns.
  • Symptoms: -1 to rolls for the affected sense. An additional -1 at each Fatigue increment. Remember that a penalty of more than 7 means the sense cannot be used at all.


For each wound, every 5 days make a Vigor check. The DC is 5 if you have been resting, comfortable, well cared for, and getting adequate food and water. Under more adverse conditions, the DC will be higher - referee's call as to how much higher. On a success, you heal an Injury Score of 3 + Vigor/2 (as with taking the injury, an extra half degree counts as healing an extra injury of score one less than the primary). If you have an injury marked down at the level that is to be healed, erase that injury. If you don't have an injury at that level but do have one of higher level, erase the next higher level injury but mark off every injury box underneath it until you get to the healed level (which is also marked). Finally, if you don't have an injury of that level and don't have any higher injuries, erase all the injuries you have.
Example: Trouble John had gotten himself into some trouble, and now he's resting back at home under the tender care of a nursebot (he has reasons for not going to a hospital). He has injury scores of +7 and +4. After 5 days, he easily passes his Vigor check and, with his high Vigor, heals an Injury score of 4½. This translates into healing two injuries, one with score +4, the other with score +2. The healing of the score +4 injury is straightforward – he just erases the existing injury at score +4. When he applies the healing of score +2, there's no pre-existing injury at that level to cancel, so he cancels off the next higher injury – at +7 – and fills in all the injury scores between them as well as at +2. The net result is that Trouble John now has listed injuries at Injury Score +2, +3, +4, +5, and +6. He's less hurt than before, but it will take several megaseconds (many weeks) of rest to get better at this rate.

Falls and Collisions

The velocity of a moving object smacking into a stationary object is value of [score of [distance moved this turn] + Action Score - 3] meters per second. If both colliding objects are moving, find the velocity of each and then find their relative motion. The collision between these two objects causes Smash damage to both objects with total Pen equal to 2d6 row shifted by 2×(score of [velocity]) + (Size + Density score) of smaller object - 14, where velocity is the relative velocity in meters per second. If both objects are similar in Size + Density, reduce the Pen further:
Size + Density difference Pen modifier
0 -2
½ -1½
1 -1
more than 2 0
The Wound is the Unarmed Wound Score of the smaller object. The same Pen and Wound is caused to both objects. For the purpose of determining blunt trauma through armor, reduce the Blunt score of the armor by 5.

Any Pen which exceeds the Pen limit roll of one object but not the other is applied again as a second wound to the first object, rolling again for Pen limit. Repeat this process until all the Pen is accounted for.

A fall is a collision with the ground. Rather than computing the velocity of the poor victim, figure the Penetration is 2d6 row shifted by [Score of [distance fallen in meters] + Size + Density - 5]. On worlds other than Earth, use Value of [Score of [distance fallen in meters] + Score of [local gravity relative to Earth] + Size + Density - 5] for Pen.

If a third object is caught between the two colliding objects, and is smaller than either, it is also subject to the Pen and Injury from the smaller of the colliding objects (this is typical when a large heavy object topples over and falls on a person. The person is smaller than both the toppling object and the earth underneath him, so he takes Pen and Wound based on the Size, Density, and falling distance of the toppling object).

Conscious and aware objects involved in a collision can make a DC 6 Coordination + Tumble or Grapple skill roll to shift the affected hit locations around. On a success, the first rolled hit location can be changed to any other hit location of the victim's choice. Every additional degree of success can RS the Pen limit roll by -1 or or change an additional hit location for another of his choice. If you intentionally initiated the collision, you get to choose exactly which of your own body parts are involved.

If you trip, if you are the victim of a sweep or a push that knocks you down, or if you otherwise fall from a standing position, you take damage as if from twice your Reach.

If one of the objects is notably angular or pokey or knobby or has sharp edges, increase Pen by up to +1 RS for the other object only. If one object has sharp, spiny projections or bladed edges the damage type changes to Slash or Pierce: Slash is usually +1 RS Pen, +2 to +4 RS Wound (depending on sharpness); Pierce is +2 to +4 RS to Pen (depending on sharpness) and +1 RS Wound.

Soft surfaces or padding counts as armor to the victims of a fall or collision. Landing on your feet gives you armor of die roll for [Strength/2].

For glancing impacts, such as when you take a tumble at considerable velocity and slide or roll along the ground, RS the Pen limit roll by -3.

Crushing and Trampling

When a heavy object falls, collapses, over-runs, or rests on a person, treat this as a grapple. An inanimate object itself does not get any roll to hit, but … When it first hits, this is handled as a collision (see above). But after that, its weight can crush and pin the person underneath. The crushing object has an effective Strength of 2×(Size + Density score) (giving a Control roll of 2d6 row shifted by this (effective Strength) - 2). It generally only gets one roll for Control when it first lands on the person. The person underneath the object will be considered pinned (15th of the crushing object's weight is added to the victim's encumbrance, which will penalize escape attempts). During the initial roll – as the object first lands on its victim – the object will inflict a Smash to account for the static crushing effect (this is in addition to the damage from a collision if it falls on the victim). As a continuing effect, if the object lies across the victim's chest and/or abdomen it will inflict a Squeeze; if it lies on his neck it will inflict a Strangle. Because the crushing object does not actively resist anything the victim does, escape attempts are against a DC of 0 – but remember to include the penalty for the grapple and the pin, which can make escape difficult for large objects.

If you are being trampled by a running animal, treat it as a kick with the kick's unarmed Penetration Row Shift increased by ⊕ (Size of trampler - 6). If the animal is just standing on you, use the kick damage but with the unarmed Penetration Row Shift replaced by a flat (Size of trampler - 6). Similarly, any time an attacker stomps down on you she can ⊕ this crushing Pen to her unarmed Pen for the attack.


Flame, corrosive chemicals, and extreme cold can all cause burns. Most burns are relatively low penetration per exposure, but may have large wound scores and may be sustained for some time. Heat which is intense enough to make tissue explosively flash into steam is considered to be beam damage instead of burn damage.

Some burning agents will be able to destroy many types of armor or barriers. Penetration delivered to the armor or barrier is removed from its Armor Value in the affected location.

Even armor that is not susceptible to the burning agent can have its effective Armor Value reduced if the main effect of the burning agent is extreme heat or cold. In this case, the armor heats up or cools down to the point that the armor itself is at an extreme enough temperature to cause burns. Clearly, in this case the armor or barrier will not itself be penetrated and will only cause damage to those in direct contact with it. This "reduction" to Armor Value only applies to letting the burning temperature extremes through, not to penetration by blows.

For game purposes, only worry about burn through if an attack engulfs the entire hit location (Wound ≥ Wound Score Limit) or if the victim is helpless and subject to continuous application of the burn to the same spot.

Burns caused by heat, flame, or strong oxidizers may catch fire. If the accumulated Penetration delivered to a flammable target exceeds the threshold of flammability for that target, the target will ignite. Note that if the temperature of the ignition source is not higher than the temperature at which the target catches fire, no amount of exposure will make it ignite.

The table below gives baseline Penetration for various burning agents for a full round of direct continuous exposure. Typical incidental exposures, splashes, engulfment, and transient contact is generally less efficient at delivering burning damage – roll 2d6 and RS by the listed amount. The temperature score of a material is the temperature you need in order to affect it, either by burning or melting. As discussed above, the material can still conduct heat even at lower temperatures.

Burning Agent Penetration RS Temp. score
Normal Flame 0.5 -10 +4
Intense Flame 0.7 -9 +5
Inferno1.5 -7 +6
White Phosphorous3 -5 +7
Thermite 3 -5 +7
Magnesium 2 -6 +6
Propane Blowtorch 2 -6 +6
Oxyacetylene Torch 7 -2 +7
Blast Furnace 2 -6 +6
Scalding Water 0.3 -12 +1
Steam 0.5 -10 +1
Hot Oil 0.4 -11 +2
Hot Coals 0.2 -13 +4
Griddle 0.5 -10 +3
Dull Red Hot Rock or Metal 0.7 -9 +4
Red-Orange Hot Rock or Metal (possibly molten, like running lava) 1 -8 +5
Yellow Hot Rock or Metal (likely molten) 2 -6 +6
Blazing Yellow-White Hot Rock or Metal (almost certainly molten) 5 -3 +7
Solar Photosphere 70 +5 +9
Radiant Heat 0.04 to 0.15 -18 to -14 +4
Radiant Heat 0.15 to 0.5 -14 to -10 +5
Radiant Heat 0.5 to 2 -10 to -6 +6
Radiant Heat 2 to 7 -6 to -2 +7
Radiant Heat 7 to 30 -2 to +2 +8
Radiant Heat 30 to 100 +2 to +6 +9
Radiant Heat 100 to 400 +6 to +10 +10
Concentrated Strong Acid (e.g. fuming nitric acid)0.5 -10 n/a
Concentrated Strong Alkali (e.g. saturated lye solution)0.4 -11 n/a
Concentrated Strong Oxidizer (e.g. 30% hydrogen peroxide) 0.5 -10 n/a
Cryogenic Solids (e.g. metal immersed in liquid nitrogen) 0.5 -10 -3
Medical Description Accumulated Penetration
First Degree Burn - painful red skin 0.1
Second Degree Burn - blistered skin 0.2
Third Degree Burn - skin charred 0.3
Fourth Degree Burn - skin burnt through to muscle 0.7
Material Ignition and Temperature Tolerance Accumulated Pen Temp. Score
Wet wood2 +3
Dry wood1 +3
Wood splinters0.5 +3
Cloth, hair, dry twigs and leaf litter0.4 +3
Paper, dry grass0.2 +3
Volatile fuels (gasoline, alcohol)0.1 +3
Lead +3
Aluminum +4
Copper, brass, bronze +5
Gold, silver +5
Iron, steel +6
Rock, concrete +6
Firebrick +6
Refractory ceramics +7
Graphite* +8
Tungsten +8
Temperature Reference Temp. Score
-213°C - 188°C (60 K - 85 K) -4
-188°C - 153°C (85 K - 120 K) -3
-153°C - 93°C (120 K - 180 K) -2
-93°C - 23°C (180 K - 250 K) -1
-23°C - 77°C (250 K - 350 K) +0
77°C - 177°C (350 K - 450 K) +1
177°C - 327°C (450 K - 600 K) +2
327°C - 577°C (600 K - 850 K) +3
577°C - 927°C (850 K - 1200 K) +4
927°C - 1527°C (1200 K - 1800 K) +5
1527°C - 2227°C (1800 K - 2500 K) +6
2227°C - 3227°C (2500 K - 3500 K) +7
3227°C - 4227°C (3500 K - 4500 K) +8
4227°C - 5727°C (4500 K - 6000 K) +9
5727°C - 7727°C (6000 K - 8000 K) +10
* Graphite can be made to burn under certain conditions, but is very difficult to ignite and at best burns reluctantly. Unless carefully engineered to do so, you can treat graphite as non-flammable in this game.

For radiant heat, the listed Pen is the amount that will heat what it is incident upon to the listed Temperature score. Conversely, if material of the lised Temperature score occupies more than half the available solid angle, the radiant heat Pen will fall within the listed range. The Pen will fall off in proportion to the solid angle subtended by the heat source.

Physics notes: Everyone keeps asking "what temperature corresponds to a given burn Penetration?" - so lets just get this out of the way right now: it doesn't! Consider, for example, an oven heated for cooking. If you open the oven, you will be hit in the face by a blast of hot air, which causes no damage. However, if you touch the metal grill in the oven, you will burn your hand, despite the fact that the grill and the air are the same temperature.

The important determinant of burning damage is how much heat is transferred. This depends not only on temperature, but also on thermal conductivity (how fast heat from different parts of the burning object can get to the thing being burned) and heat capacity (how much heat a given amount of the burning object can hold). High heat capacity, high thermal conductivity, and high temperature all contribute to burning damage. Burning agents can also store or release heat in forms that are not just temperature - a reacting chemical can emit heat, as can a condensing gas or solidifying liquid (this is why steam can cause dangerous scalding burns even though it is only 100°C - it releases heat as it condenses). What temperature does affect is what types of materials can be burned. No burning agent can heat a target material to hotter than it is, so even if it contains a lot of heat and can dump it quickly, if it is colder than the temperature needed to damage the target it can do nothing.

At very high temperatures, the heat transfer is almost all radiant and thermal conductivity has little effect. The amount of radiant heat rises very rapidly with temperature, and is greater for things that are darker at room temperature - shiny surfaces or transparent gases are less efficient at generating radiant heat and thus cause less penetration at a given temperature.


Exposure to electricty can have greatly varied effects, depending on the voltage, current, frequency, waveform, and duration. Mechanically, a difference in voltage between two locations is what drives an electric current between those locations; if two parts of your body are in electrical contact with regions of different voltage, it is the electric current flowing through your body between these two points that causes damage. Consequently, to be affected by electricity, you must be touching two (or more) electrical contacts with different voltages. In many cases, one of these contacts can be the ground; but if you are isolated from the ground then just touching one high voltage contact will not do anything to you. Electricity will take the easiest path between to get between different voltages. If it can flow down a conductor instead of through meat, it will do so. Consequently, shorting the gap between the contacts with something highly conductive, allowing the electric current to flow around you along the conductor, will protect you. This is the principle behind lightning rods and Faraday cages (a metal enclosure that screens what is inside from damaging electrical effects). As an example, wearing a suit of chain mail can protect you against more than just swords and arrows! At worst, touching a live wire while wearing a mail suit with skin-to-skin contact will result in the electricity flowing through your hand to the metal sleeve, traveling along the mail hauberk to the hem, and then jumping back to your leg to flow out of your body to ground. In this way, the current will bypass your vital organs. If you had a gauntlet on your hand and chain dangling from the hem and dragging on the ground, you would be entirely protected even without skin-to-skin contact. A common form of electrical safety gear is a simple loop of grounded wire worn on the wrist like a bracelet – touching an energized electrical contact with your hand then only results in current flowing through your hand, not your body.

Voltage is the driving force of electricity. The more voltage, the better it can get through stuff. Penetration is 1 for every 7500 V. This gives its ability to arc across gaps and through insulators. Figure that a known air gap gives a flat Armor Value of 1 for every 2.5 mm in length – subtract the Armor Value of an air gap directly from the Penetration. More usually, distances are uncertain and the Armor Score (the RS of the 2d6 armor roll) is -2 + score of [typical gap distance in cm]. If the Armor Value equals or exceeds the Penetration, the voltage is not high enough to initiate dielectric breakdown and no arc occurs. Otherwise, the electricity arcs between the high and low voltage contacts, causing full effect to anyone caught in the arc. Armor or air gaps that are arced through or across give no subsequent protection once the arc is formed.

Electricity sources with low Penetration will not arc appreciably, requiring direct contact with both high and low voltage to have an effect. If the electricity cannot arc through intervening material, it might be able to flow through it (called conduction). The resistance of the material to electric flow will reduce its Dose and damage Point RS to its victims. Light clothing will decrease the Dose and Damage Point RS down by 1, normal footwear or moderate clothes by 2. Actual protective gear such as electrial gloves, footwear, or mats in good repair will block all non-penetrating electricity.

Below is a list of some of the effects electricity can have:

Nervous shock: An electric current can cause nerves to fire, or simulate the electrical effects of nerves firing on muscles. This will discombomulate and confuse the physiological mechanisms that make the body work. This can result in the pain and tingling of an electric shock, or more serious conditions such as heart arhythmias, heart fibriliation, a stopped heart, and arrested breathing.

In game terms, an electric shock can be simulated with a Penetration that increases with voltage, resulting in neural stun if it penetrates any insulation. For arcing electricity, this Penetration is just a carrier for the main effect, if it gets through any insulating layers to the person underneath the victim will be subject to the full Dose. Non-arcing sources have the Dose reduced by the RS by which insulation "armor" reduced the Pen.

While the electric current inflicts neural stun, it will have additional symptoms beyond those of the usual neural stun:

  • Most electrical wave forms will kill if the electric Fatigue reaches the mild shock level, through effects on the heart or stopping breathing. If the current path passes through the chest (or wherever your species keeps its heart(s) and lung(s)), the victim must succeed a DC 4 Vigor check or suffer cardiopulminary failure. The DC increases by 2 for every additional Fatigue increment beyond mild shock. This effect is absent in electrical sources specifically engineered to shock but not kill.
  • Many electrical sources can cause the victim's muscles to contract so violently that she injures herself. At the first Fatigue increment and beyond, shock from these electric sources will cause the victim to deliver her own unarmed damage to herself on each of her actions, for so long as she is exposed to the current. This damage is at +½ RS for each additional Fatigue increment, up to +3½. In addition, on the first exposure the victim's muscular contractions cause her to jump backwards to her full jumping distance (as if using extra effort at 2+ Fatigue increments, and maximum extra effort at 3+ Fatigue increments), and then fall down. If she strikes a solid object in the process, she again takes her unarmed damage (with the same increase to RS) as if from a grappling smash. This effect is absent in electrical sources specifically engineered to shock but not kill.
  • AC current will cause the victim to involuntarily clench their hands. If the victim was exposed to the electricity by grabbing the electrical contact, she will keep holding on with all her strength. This will continue expose her to electricity on subsequent rounds unless the electricty source can be shut off or she is forcibly removed from the contact. To free a victim requires winning a Contest of Strength against her, using her full Strength unpenalized by shock penalties – and with the same increase to Brawn from extra effort as for the knockback jump described in the previous bullet. However, see the note on Rescuing Victims, below. If she tries to free herself, she must win such a Strength contest with herself, but her voluntary Strength check is penalized by the shock penalties. On the first round of exposure, the Strength of the knockback jump will contest this clenching reaction to break free (unless the gripped electrical contact can move far enough back with the jump), but thereafter it does not apply.
Body parts (head, torso, limbs) are considered to be "hit" if they are in the current path through the body.

Very high frequency electric currents, such as those produced by Tesla coils, do not cause nervous shock (and thus will not cause mechanical injury, either). They can, however, cause electrical burns.

Electrical burns: High voltage and high current electrical sources will dissipate power along the current path. If this power is enough to heat up living tissue past the point where proteins begin to denature, it will cause electrical burns. These burns are usually internal, with the only external evidence skin burns at the point of entrance and exit.

Electricity that can cause burns will directly inflict damage points. Roll 2d6 and apply the listed RS to determine the damage points and the resulting wound level. The current will cause a separate injury to every hit location along the current path. This injury is always penetrating.

Arc flash: Arc flash is a potential hazard around high power and high voltage equipment, such as power generation or distribution equipment, or some high power industrial processes. A high power electrical arc can produce intense radiant heat, enough to cause severe burns to those nearby. When the arc is struck, it will produce a dazzlingly brilliant blue-white flash. If the arc discharge does not immediately vaporize the electrial equipment, and if it not stopped by protective equipment such as breakers, the arc may be sustained, allowing the arc flash effect to continue for many combat rounds. Those nearby will be affected by a pulse causing burn damage. Arc flashes are often associated with arc blasts.

Arc blast: When high power electric current strikes an arc and vaporizes some of the material it is flowing through, the supersonic expansion of the vapor and debris causes an explosive blast delivering concussive force and throwing shrapnel.

Rescuing victims: When you see someone, especially a friend of yours, being electrocuted, it is only natural to grab them in order to separate them from electrical contact. Unfortunately, this makes you part of the circuit as well. If you do this without insulation, you take the same damage if the electric circuit can complete through your body. For example, if the electricity is flowing from an energized wire to ground through your buddy, and you grab your buddy, the electric current will pass from your buddy through your hands and arms down your torso and through your legs and feet to ground. In such cases, it is best to de-energize the electrical contact instead of grabbing and pulling. If that is not possible, use something insulated to pull the victim away, such as a belt, a heavy jacket, or a cord.

If the victim is involuntarily holding on due to muscle contractions, you will need to win a contest of Strength with the victim in order to pull them free, and the victim's Strength is not penalized for this purpose by the effects of the shock.

For those shocked into cardiopulminary failure, a Smarts + Heal skill + victim's Vigor check can resuscitate the victim, restoring vital functions. This uses the same DC as the victim's initial Vigor roll to avoid cardiopulminary failure. Would-be rescuers get one chance at resuscitation. If this fails, an additional DC 7 Smarts + Heal skill + victim's Vigor task every 10 minutes allows CPR to keep the victim's brain tissue alive from artificial mechanical action of the chest, which can potentially save the victim if he can be brought to a hospital in time. Success by 5 or more on this task will revive the victim, on a failure the victim dies (but the would-be rescuer will not necessarily know this – after all, breathing and pulse has already stopped and the victim is unconscious). Applying chest compression through CPR causes damage as a 2-handed unarmed attack (i.e. +1 RS to Pen) for every check – CPR may keep you alive, but you are likely to be left with cracked ribs and nasty bruises.

Defibrilator equipment allows a second resuscitation attempt, allowing the victim a DC 7 check against their Vigor to restart their heart and breathing.

Electricity Sources

Lightning: Lightning is one of the most dramatic natural phenomena. The voltages and currents produced are extreme by any measure compared to anything people can make, capable of arcing through kilometers of air and heating a plasma channel to far hotter than the surface of the sun. This makes lightning strikes very dangerous. Fortunately, a couple factors contribute to make lightning strikes not insta-death to everyone affected. First, the lightning flash generally only lasts a fraction of a second, which limits the current delivered and the searing radiant intensity from the brilliant arc. Second, the bolt tends to flash over the surface of organic beings rather than going through them, so that people directly struck do not suffer the full force of the discharge. Enough current does leak through to pose a significant hazard, but at least victims are not exploded across the landscape.

In fact, most people harmed or killed by lightning are not struck directly. Much of the risk comes from the currents that lightning can produce in the surrounding environment, with currents flowing through the ground across the strong drop in potential radiating away from the point of contact. Those standing on the ground will have electrical contact at their feet, and the difference in voltage between them will drive currents up one leg and back down the other. In addition, if a person is touching a conductive object and the ground when lightning strikes that object, that person becomes part of the circuit and can be electrocuted.

Lightning bolts vary considerably in their voltage, current, and duration. To reflect this, roll 2d6 + 3 for the Energy Score of natural lightning strikes.

There are several ways a person can be affected by a lightning strike:

  • On a direct hit, the lightning bolt touches the victim's body. A lightning strike usually connects near the victim's highest spot – for standing humans, roll 1d4 for the entry hit location (with arm hits respresenting strikes to the shoulders) and the exit hit location will be the feet. Victims of a direct hit suffer flash burns in addition to the full effects of shock and electrical burns, undiluted by distance.

  • A splash exposure occurs when the victim is exposed to the transient fields around the lightning bolt. This can occur when the victim is standing on the ground near the point where the bolt strikes, and the powerful ground currents are also conducted through the victim, or if the victim is in the water near the strike location. Splash hits cause shock and electrical burns, but these are reduced in effect with increasing distance from the strike.

    Bipeds like humans have a geometry that is more resistant to the effects of ground current – if they are only standing on their two feet. A standing biped reduces the Dose from ground current by 2, or by 4 if they are standind on only one foot or deliberately standing (or crouching) with their feet as close together as possible. In addition, most of the current that goes through a standing biped will just go up one leg and down the other so relatively little of it will pass through the vital organs of the torso – give these victims a +3 to checks to avoid cardiopulminary failure.

    Water is highly conductive. Victims of splash damage who are in water suffer a +3 to Dose (but never more than the Dose for a direct hit).

  • Contact exposure occurs when the victim is touching a conductor that was struck by lighting. The victims take the full shock and electrical burn damage un-diluted by distance if the victim offers a path to ground from the conductor. If the conductor itself shorts the path to ground, reduce the Dose by 5.

In addition, there are several different effects of lightning strikes:
  • Shock: Victims in the direct line of a lightning strike or touching a lightning-energized conductive object will take a Dose equal to the Energy Score. Ground current will cause a Dose of the Energy Score + (victim's Size - range score), but never more than the Energy Score.

  • Electrical Burns: Internal electrical burns are occasionally an issue. The damage RS is the Energy Score - 16 + 2 × victim's Size for internal lightning electrical burns.

  • Arc Burns: Victims of a direct strike always take their full Penetration Limit of Pen to every body part in the current path as the lightning arcs down across their entire body. Fortunately, since the lightning flashes over the victim's surface, this injury is non-penetrating. Assess burn damage with a Wound of +0.
  • Arc Blast: The concussive blast of a lightning strike will have a Brawn of Energy Score - 10 at a distance of 1 meter. Unlike blasts from point sources expanding out as spheres, blasts from columnar sources like lightning fall off as -2 RS times the range score from the bolt to the victim.
  • Arc Flash: Powerful lightning strikes can cause radiant burns out to some distance. Those with an Energy score of 13 or more have a Pen of value of [Energy Score - 20] at a distance of 1 meter. Unlike pulses from point sources, the pulse from a columnar source like a lightning bolt falls off as -1 RS times the range score from the bolt to the victim.

Electrical equipment: Many items of electrical equipment are too low voltage or too low power to cause any harm. Those items that require hazardous voltages and higher power will almost always have the energized electrical contacts out of reach behind panels and insulated casings, with any exterior conductive surface properly grounded (one-off prototypes made by not-so-competent garage engineers may be an exception). Any device which is de-energized – the cord unplugged from the wall, internal power sources removed, and large capacitors shorted – will pose no hazard. Anyone who is poking around inside an energized device with hazardous levels of electricity must succeed a task of Smarts + appropriate Fix and Build skill with a DC of 1. Experimental or specialized equipment may have an increased DC. Familiarity with the particular device applies. Failure results in electrical contact. In addition, failure by sufficient margin on any Fix and Build checks may leave the device in an unsafe state, resulting in a shock or fire hazard when the device is re-energized.

Dropping an appliance in water can result in electrical contact with those in contact with the water. Use the rules for lightning splash exposure water strikes, replacing the lightning Dose with the shock Dose for the appliance.

A ground fault circuit interrupter (GCFI) on the outlet or plug, or internal to the device, will stop the electricty before it can cause a shock in the event that someone makes simultaneous electrical contact between the energized parts of the device and the ground. This includes potential shocks from contact with water. It will not protect those who contact both the hot and return wires – but this involves deliberately opening the device up and messing with its wiring.

The electrical hazards examples table gives a number of sample pieces of electrical equipment and their effects on electrical contact.

  • The Domestic Appliance line is for things like hair dryers, toasters, and power tools. In modern times, these would be powered by a cord connecting to the household wiring but in futuristic settings like Vergeworlds they may be powered by electrical energy storage cells.
  • Large appliances are things like clothes dryers. In the U.S. they run on 220 V wiring rather than 110.
  • HV industrial equipment is for heavy duty devices, usually running on 480 V. These are not found in typical houses, but can be found in factories, foundries, and other industrial settings.

Electrical Hazards Examples
Description   Arc
  Arc Blast   Contact Blast   Flash Pen
(1 m)
Brawn Radius Pen Wound
Domestic appliance, wall power 0.015 +5
Large appliance 0.03 +7
HV industrial equipment, Industrial breaker box 0.7 +10 -6 +0 0.7 8 +7½ 0.7
Municipal power line, Utility pole transformer 1.5 +19 +8 +0 1 12 +8¾ 18
HV Switchgear, long distance power lines 15 +26 +22 +3 1.8 35 +11¾ 200
The Burn RS assumes a circuit breaker trips within about half a second. If the circuit breaker is disabled, increase the RS by +4 for a full round of current.

Utility electricity: Electrical power distribution often involves high voltages and the potential for high current. Those messing around with exposed wiring must make the same check as for working on an energized device. Electrocution from being plugged into the grid will trip a circuit breaker on a roll of 6+ on 2d, stopping the flow of electricity after the first round. This will also cut off electricity to everything else on the same circuit (usually a major portion of a facility).

High voltage grid electricity has the potential to cause arc flash/arc blast hazards. An arc fault on a breaker board or switch gear may run away, causing a chain reaction of arc faults. Roll 2d6 each round, on a 7 or more sufficient breakers trip or fuses blow to stop the arc faults. Otherwise, assess arc flash and arc blast damage again.

When a power line contacts or shorts to ground, it causes a hazard to those in the vicinity due to the ground current. Use the rules for splash damage from lightning strikes due to ground current, using the power line's Dose instead of the lightning's Energy Score.


A day without water will inflict 8 Fatigue points, inadequate water will inflict up to 8 Fatigue. This Fatigue cannot be recovered until he drinks adequate water to make up for what was lost. Water needed to recover heat fatigue is above and beyond this daily requirement. Once adequate water has been drunk, recovery is at one point every value of [7-Vigor] minutes.

As a guideline, a typical Size 0 person needs 2.5 liters of water per day. Increase the required water by three rows on the Score-Value table for every degree of Size.


Every day without adequate food causes one point of Fatigue. This Fatigue cannot be recovered until the character eats food to make up for what was missed. Starvation Fatigue recovers at one point every value of [5-Vigor] hours on a full belly.

Extreme Atmospheres

Exotic atmospheres found on worlds throughout the galaxy can cause health difficulties for explorers and settlers. Even seemingly normal gases can cause toxic effects when at concentrations to which one has not adapted over eons of evolution. It is assumed that most of the places adventurers go will have atmospheres not too different from Earth, with gases mostly consisting of oxygen, nitrogen, perhaps a bit of argon or carbon dioxide, water vapor that cycles through periods of evaporation and condensation, and, if the world has a high enough gravity, perhaps plenty of helium. Most atmospheric hazards will therefore be health problems that occur when one of these gases has pressures well outside of the normal bounds. For reference, Earth's atmosphere at sea level consists of 21 kPa pO2, 79 kPa pN2, 1 kPa pAr, and 0.04 kPa pCO2.

Oxygen: Diatomic oxygen O2 is a colorless, odorless gas. It is highly reactive, and is the component of the air that is responsible for fire. It is neccessary to sustain the life of all higher biological organisms, as it is the component of the gas we breathe that gives us energy for metabolism. Without sufficient oxygen, you will suffer adverse physiological symptom and may begin to suffocate. While moderate levels of oxygen are needed to stay alive, high oxygen levels can be toxic.

Low Oxygen (Altitude Sickness and Hypoxia): Altitude sickness is the name given to symptoms that occur in low oxygen conditions, which can occur even at low altitude on worlds with a naturally low oxygen level. Clinical symptoms include headaches, weakness, malaise, dizziness, nose bleeds, loss of apetite, nausea, vomiting, difficulty sleeping, swelling of the hands, feet, and face, shortness of breath, rapid pulse, and a feeling of pins and needles. As the condition worsen, it can lead to fluid accumulation in the lungs and brain, resulting in coughing, fever, severe difficulty breathing, persistent extreme headaches, loss of balance, red bloody eyes, unconsciousness, and death. Symptoms begin after several hours in low oxygen conditions, and often subside after a few days.

Different people have different susceptibility to altitude sickness. Most people can become acclimated to low oxygen levels with time and exposure. Altitude sickness can occur at partial pressures of O2 of less than 18 kPa, and will become progresively more severe as O2 partial pressures drop. (Oxygen partial pressure is often denoted as pO2.)
pO2 (kPa) Altitude sickness Hypoxia
Dose Potency Recovery Suffocation
<18 +0 5 +0
<15 +1 7 -1
<12 +2 9 -2
<10 +3 10 -3
<8 +4 11 -4 5
<7 +5 12 -5 5
<6 +5 12 -6 4
<5 +5 12 -7 4
<5.5 +5 12 -8 4
<4 +5 12 -9 3
<4.5 +5 12 -10 3
<3 +5 12 -11 3
<3.5 +5 12 -12 2
<2 +5 12 -13 2
<1.8 +5 12 -14 1
<1.5 +5 12 -15 1
<1.2 +5 12 -16 1
<1 +5 12 1

Although they often occur hand-in-hand, altitude sickness is distinct from hypoxia, the lack of oxygen perfusion of the blood leading to inefficient respiration, increased fatigue from exertion, and eventual suffocation in extreme conditions (compared to the physiological reaction low low oxygen perfusion that comprises altitude sickness). The partial pressure table gives the penalty to recover a breath point during a Recovery action, and the rate at which breath points are lost due to suffocation, given as the number of combat rounds between lost breath points. The effects of anoxia occur regardless of the result of the altitude sickness Potency check. Hypoxia is not treated as a toxin but as suffocation.

With exposure, the body can acclimate to low oxygen conditions. With every successful Potency check, reduce the potency by the degree of success (to a minimum of the listed Potency for the given pO2 - 4). Every week breathing air with a Recovery penalty, make a DC 7 Vigor check to increase the effective pO2 by +½ RS, to a maximum of +1 RS.

Mants do not suffer from altitude sickness, although they will experience hypoxia.

High Oxygen (Oxygen Toxicity): At high partial pressures, oxygen can be toxic. High pO2 over prolonged periods of time can result in lung inflammation and retinal detachment. Extreme pO2 can cause the rapid onset of toxic effects on the central nervous system.

Pulmonary toxicity occurs at pO2 of over 50 kPa, resulting in coughing, a burning sensation with each inhalation, and shortness of breath. In severe cases, it can lead to alveolar collapse and suffocation. The onset of symptoms ranges from over half a day to as little as 3 hours at pO2 many times the threshold.
pO2 (kPa)2 Dose Potency
> 50 -4 5
> 70 -3 6
> 100 -2 7
> 150 -1 8
> 200 +0 9
> 300 +1 10
> 400 +2 11
> 500 +3 12

Central nervous system toxicity occurs when pO2 exceeds 150 kPa. Symptoms include tunnel vision, ringing in the ears, twitching, irritability, anxiety, confusion, and dizziness; progressing to muscle spasms, jerking, seizures, unconsciousness, and ultimately death. The onset of symptoms is typically in the range of tens of minutes.
pO2 (kPa)2 Dose Potency
> 150 -2 5
> 200 -1 6
> 300 +0 7
> 400 +1 8
> 500 +2 9

  • Dose: varies with pO2 level.
  • Potency: varies with pO2 level.
  • Delay: 10 minutes
  • Period: 10 minutes
  • Cycles: indefinite, as long as high O2 conditions perist
  • Symptoms: -1 to Coordination, -1 to Coordination at every Fatigue increment.
  • Healing: value of [3 - Vigor] hours.

Oxygen and Flammability: The relative fraction of oxygen in the air determines how easily fires start and how fiercely they burn. As more additional gas molecules dilute the oxygen, the energy from each chemical reaction with a molecule of oxygen must be shared among a greater number of air molecules and so the more energy is removed from the combustion process.

For every RS of the oxygen concentration from 20%, there is a +1 to all rolls for fires to ignite or spread, a +1 to intentionally start a fire, and -1 to rolls to control or extinguish a fire. The Penetration needed to ignite a self-sustaining fire is row shifted down by the same amount as the oxygen concentration is row shifted up (and vice versa). At O2 concentrations of 40% or more, the temperature score of a flame increases by 1; and at 70% or more it increases by 2. At and below 10% O2 concentration, monolithic blocks of wood will not burn. At and below 7% O2 concentration, finely divided flammables such as kindling and paper do not burn. And at and below 5% O2 concentraion, even volatile fuels will not ignite. Conversely, at higher oxygen concentrations even materials that will not normally burn may catch fire - flesh itself may burn at O2 concentrations of 70% and above with 1 point of accumulated Pen to ignite, and metals such as aluminum and steel can catch fire. In no case can rock or ceramic ignite – it is already fully oxidized and there is nothing left to burn.

High Carbon Dioxide: Carbon dioxide (CO2) is a colorless, odorless gas. It exists naturally in most breathable atmospheres in low concentrations, with some atmospheres having sufficient CO2 to cause problems to those breathing it. At high levels, the air will feel "stuffy" to breathe, and can produce adverse physiological reactions. Carbon dioxide also occurs naturally in volcanic seeps and dissolved in water. It has many industrial applications, from making fizzy water to refrigeration in the form of dry ice, chemical feedstocks, and potent solvents when pressurized to its supercritical state. In a well-mixed atmosphere (which will occur in any environment with normal weather) the CO2 will be uniformly distributed through the air. However, CO2 is heavier than most normal air. Thus, in stagnant air it can pool in low lying areas without mixing if supplied from a source of high concentration carbon dioxide (it will not settle out of well mixed air on its own). Walking into a cave or depression filled with CO2 can be a potentially deadly encounter. Carbon dioxide dissolves in water, with increasing amounts capable of being dissolved under higher pressure. If the pressure is released, the excess CO2 will bubble out. Limnic eruptions occur when water saturated under pressure with large quantities of CO2 suddenly has the pressure released. The CO2 will bubble out in an explosive froth, making the water more bouyant and mixing the water which then releases more CO2 from deeper water rising to the surface. These natural disasters can produce deadly clouds of carbon dioxide that flow downhill and can asphyxiate entire villages.

At partial pressures (pCO2) above 0.5 kPa the CO2 may produce clinical symptoms of tiredness, irritability, difficulty thinking, confusion, drowsiness, headaches, and trouble sleeping. Symptoms manifest within hours, and likewise disappear after several hours breathing air with reduced pCO2. At higher levels, at 7 kPa pCO2 or above, suffocation can occur even in the presence of adequate oxygen. At this level, victims will experience rapid breathing, shortness of breath, heart flutters, strong pulse, flushed skin, twitching muscles, and high blood pressure; eventually leading to panic, hyperventilation, disorientation, convulsions, unconsciousness, and death. Extreme pCO2 can cause unconsciousness with just one breath and death within minutes.
pCO2 (kPa) Long Term Short Term
Dose Potency Dose Potency
> 0.5 -2 5
> 0.7 -1 5
> 1 +0 6
> 1.5 +1 7
> 2 +2 8
> 3 +3 9
> 4 +4 10 -2 5
> 5 +5 10 -1 6
> 7 +6 10 +0 7
> 10 +7 10 +1 8
> 15 +7 10 +2 9
> 20 +7 10 +3 10
> 30 +7 10 +4 11
> 40 +7 10 +5 12
> 50 +7 10 +6 13
> 70 +7 10 +7 14
> 100 +7 10 +8 15
Long Term Effects:

Short Term Effects:
  • Dose: varies with pO2 level.
  • Potency: varies with pO2 level.
  • Delay: 1 combat round
  • Period: 1 combat round
  • Cycles: indefinite, as long as high CO2 conditions perist
  • Symptoms: Unconsciousness at Mild Shock or worse. If death is indicated, it is not immediate but occurs due to suffocation. If the victim is removed to fresh air and heals the Fatigue incurred during this time, she will be saved.
  • Healing: value of [3-Vigor] combat rounds. Healing occurs even during the delay and ongoing cycles.
Prolonged exposure can lead to some degree of acclimation, although high pCO2 levels are always lethal. After each day of breathing air enriched in CO2 sufficient to cause toxicity, make a DC 7 Vigor check. On a success, the Potency for long term effects is reduced by 1, to a maximum reduction of 3.

Gummis are not affected by CO2 toxicity, although they are affected by narcosis at high CO2 pressures and if the CO2 displaces oxygen they can asphyxiate.

High Nitrogen: Diatomic nitrogen (N2) is a colorless odorless gas that exists as the major component of most breathable atmospheres. It is inert, chemically unreactive, and will not sustain combustion. The presence or absence of nitrogen is undetectable to natural senses, the only way to know if it is occurring at dangerous levels without artificial sensors is when pathological symptoms occur.

Breathing high partial pressures of nitrogen (pN2) can lead to nitrogen narcosis. At low levels it can manifest as a decrease in anxiety and increase in confidence. As the nitrogen level climbs, judgement, reaction time, and coordination can be impaired while the victim becomes indecisive and has difficulty focusing, multi-tasking, and completing unpracticed tasks. This can be accompanied by difficultly in visual focusing, giddiness, anxiety, exhilaration, overconfidence, paranoia, or depression, depending on the victim, her personality, and history. At extreme concentrations, nitrogen narcosis leads to confusion, hallucinations, long delays in reaction time, dizziness, possible hysteria or panic, loss of recall, stupefaction, hallucinations, euphoria, sense of floating, progressive blackout, loss of sense of progression of time, unconsciousness, and death. The effects are cumulative with other mind-altering substances; alcohol and cannabis in otherwise safe amounts can lead to serious affliction. Nitrogen narcosis occurs within minutes of breathing high nitrogen pressures, and disappears within minutes of breathing at standard pressure.
pN2 (kPa)2 Dose Potency
> 200 +0 7
> 300 +1 7
> 400 +2 7
> 500 +3 7
> 700 +4 8
> 1000 +5 9
> 1500 +6 10
> 2000 +7 11
> 3000 +8 12

Other gases will also cause narcosis at high pressures, although the pressure relative to nitrogen at which effects occur changes with the gas.

  • Hydrogen (H2): apply a -1 RS to the pH2 to find the effective narcotic effect
  • Helium does not cause narcosis at any pressure.
  • Oxygen (O2): apply a +1 RS to the pO2 to find the effective narcotic effect
  • Neon (Ne): apply a -3 RS to the pNe to find the effective narcotic effect
  • Argon (Ar): apply a +2 RS to the pAr to find the effective narcotic effect
  • Krypton (Kr): apply a +6 RS to the pKr to find the effective narcotic effect
  • Xenon (Xe): apply a +9 RS to the pXe to find the effective narcotic effect
  • Carbon Dioxide (CO2): apply a +9 RS to the pCO2 to find the effective narcotic effect (except for Gummis, for which it has a -3 RS instead).

Laers are not affected by narcosis. Gummis and Tweechis are resistent to narcosis: apply a -4 RS to the pressure before determining the narcotic effects.

High Helium: Helium (He) is a colorless, odorless gas. It is inert, incapable of sustaining either flame or life, and will not participate in chemical reactions. It is one of the most abundant elements in the universe, but because it can escape from most planets into space it is only naturally found in the air of planets with higher gravity. Because of its inertness, helium is completely non-toxic.

Helium has a high thermal conductivity and high speed of sound. In atmospheres rich in helium, effects of extreme temperature will be more pronounced. There are no explicit game effects for this, since already the choice of temperature category depends on so many variables (thermodynamic temperature, humidity, wind speed, ambient radiant energy) that it is subject to the referee's call – but the referee should keep in mind that in high helium atmospheres the effective temperature for determining biological effects will be more extreme.

In addition, Humans and other species that produce sound via resonant chambers of the ambient atmosphere will have a much higher pitched voice, leading to amusing "squeaky" speech. Species that vocalize via stridulation (such as Mants) do not suffer this latter effect.

Unlike many other gases, it is the fraction of helium in the atmosphere that matters rather than the partial pressure. At the same helium fraction, the thermal conductivity and speed of sound are nearly unchanged across a wide range of pressures and atmospheric densities.

Exotic Atmospheres: More exotic atmospheres are possible, although there is usually little incentive to visit those worlds. The lack of oxygen will cause immediate suffocation if the air is breathed, and many have components of the atmosphere that are acutely toxic. SCBA devices will be necessary for outdoor excursions. Leaks are likely to be deadly.

The effects of the more interesting of these gases are:
  • Ammonia: Ammonia (NH3) acts as a choking agent. It has a characteristic pungent, penetrating odor. Ammonia is likely to be present on any world with significant amounts of methane and nitrogen in the air, but only in small quantities since it is rapidly broken down by exposure to sunlight.
  • Carbon Monoxide: Carbon monoxide (CO, not to be confused with the more benign carbon dioxide, CO2) is a colorless odorless gas that is a potent blood agent. Without artificial monitors, it will likely only be detected from its medical symptoms – namely headaches, dizziness, confusion, weakness, difficulty breathing, and death.
  • Hydrogen: Hydrogen (H2) is colorless, odorless, and non-toxic. In high enough concentrations, it is flammable and can pose an explosion hazard if it mixes with oxygenated air. The flame of pure hydrogen is invisible, but if other flammable gases or aerosols are present (including those that are normally solid or liquid but which have been volatilized by the heat of the fire) the flame may burn with its usual yellow-orange color,
  • Hydrogen Cyanide: Hydrogen cyanide (HCN) is a deadly blood agent. Many people can smell this deadly gas, comparing it to bitter almonds. It will cause dizziness, weakness, difficulty breathing, tightness of the chest, rapid heart rate, nausea, confusion, and unusually pink or red skin. HCN is likely to be present in small quantities in any atmosphere that contains significant amounts of methane and nitrogen.
  • Hydrogen Sulfide: Hydrogen sulfide (H2S) is a caustic choking agent. Humans and Pannovas can smell the gas at very low concentrations (before it becomes dangerous) by its characteristic rotten egg smell. Because the Human nose is so sensitive to this chemical, any world where it is a significant component of the atmosphere will probably reek inside any habitat and environment suit due to inevitable but otherwise harmless leaks without heroic air scrubbing and processing efforts. Hydrogen sulfide is released from magma in reducing atmospheres so it is likely to be present on reducing pre-biotic worlds.
  • Methane: Methane (CH4) is non-toxic. In high enough concentrations, it is flammable and can pose an explosion hazard if it mixes with oxygenated air. The gas is colorless and odorless and generally cannot be detected without artificial means until it explodes – methane distributed for commercial use will have hydrogen sulfide added to make leaks easier to detect but natural methane often lacks this safety mechanism. High levels of methane in the atmosphere will interact with solar radiation to produce a brown-orange hydrocarbon haze, similar to a permanent layer of high altitude clouds. This will eventually clump together and precipitate as tholins – a tacky, tar-like residue of organic crud – that will make up much of the surface of the world. When the sky is clear, methane will tint the sky a deeper shade of blue.
  • Sulfur Dioxide: Sulfur dioxide (SO2) is a caustic choking agent. It has a characteristic burnt match smell. Sulfur dioxide is released by volcanic eruptions. However, it is readly absorbed into water to form sulfuric acid. This will attack the rock of the world, neutralizing the acid and leaving sulfate salts. Thus SO2 will only be found on highly volcanic worlds with little water, or sulfur-rich volcanic worlds whose seas are composed of concentrated sulfuric acid and which lack rocks that can be dissolved by acids.

Decompression: Decompression is not a feature of the atmosphere of any given world; it is a result of what happens when you go between different worlds too fast. When taking a wormhole from a planet with a higher atmospheric pressure to one with a lower atmospheric pressure, the decrease in pressure can cause air dissolved in the blood to form bubbles. The growing bubbles can injure tissue. Decompression sickness can also occur when ascending from a deep dive, rapid changes in altitude (particularly when using a wormhole to ascend from the lowlands to a high mountain), or doing EVA work in space using older model space suits that do not support a full 100 kPa of pressure.

Decompression sickness can manifest as many different symptoms

The rate of safe depressurization depends on the current pressure and on the time the subject has remained at that pressure. After more than several kiloseconds (about an hour) or so at a given pressure, the gases in the blood will have reached saturation and further time at that pressure will not change the safe decompression time. Since most excursions on other worlds will last more than an hour, saturation decompression is assumed here. From saturation, the safe rate of decompression is 4 kPa per kilosecond (15 kPa per hour). For shorter times of exposure to pressure, the safe rate of depressurization can be considerably shortened – for SCUBA diving, for example, the safe rate of depressurization is 100 kPa per minute. Decompression sickness has many different risk factors and an individual's susceptibility can vary from day to day in addition to significantly different susceptibilities from person to person. Consequently, it can be difficult to predict if any given person will develop decompression sickness.

Decompression does not cause actual Fatigue; rather, like a cytotoxin, the Dose causes direct injury with damage points equal to value of [Dose + 1 for every 2 degrees of failure, -2 for every degree of success]. For each cycle, randomly determine the hit location. Injury to the head requires a normal roll to see if a brain hit is indicated, in which case apply the Impairment penalty appropriate to the injury to Coordination, Smarts, Spirit, and Awareness as the symptoms of brain or inner ear damage. Damage to the chest will result in lung damage on a roll of 1 on 1d6; any damage to the torso or neck will result in spine damage on a roll of 1 on 1d6.

  • Dose: score of [decompression pressure change in 100 kPa]
  • Potency: 2 + score of [decompression rate in 4 kPa/kilosecond]. For short duration SCUBA diving, use the decompression rate of 100 kPa/minute instead with a maximum of 8.
  • Delay: 20 minutes
  • Period: 1 hour (first 4 cycles), 4 hours (last 4 cycles)
  • Cycles: 8
  • Healing: as for normal injury

IMPORTANT: The safe decompression rates given here are approximations made for a game, and are no substitute for actual dive tables. Do not use these rates for real-world applications such as diving, or lives will be at risk.


Extremes of temperature can pose a serious health hazard, leading to heat stroke or hypothermia and possible death. In game terms, track the effects of temperature as cold or heat Fatigue points. Classify the current temperature in one of the following categories

  • Infernal - 0.1 heat Fatigue point per combat round (2 heat Fatigue per minute).
  • Roasting - 0.1 heat Fatigue point every 4 combat rounds (0.5 heat Fatigue per minute).
  • Baking or Sweltering - 0.1 heat Fatigue point per minute.
  • Hot or Muggy - 0.1 heat Fatigue point every 5 minutes.
  • Warm - No recovery of heat Fatigue.
  • Moderate - No game effect.
  • Cool - No recovery of cold Fatigue.
  • Chilly - 0.1 cold Fatigue point every 5 minutes.
  • Cold - 0.1 cold Fatigue point per minute.
  • Frigid - 0.1 cold Fatigue point every 4 combat rounds (0.5 cold Fatigue per minute).
  • Biting - 0.1 cold Fatigue point per combat round (2 cold Fatigue per minute).
Temperature-related fatigue recovers at one point every value of [7-Vigor] minutes. Heat and cold Fatigue cancel each other out on a point for point basis. Note that the effect of temperature depends not only on what is measured on the thermometer, but also on the windspeed and humidity. What could be merely Chilly in still air could become Frigid in a high wind.

Exercise can help you keep warm in cold weather, but can be dangerous in hot weather. Every 10 Breath points you lose (or their equivalent in exertion Fatigue) gives you 0.1 point of heat Fatigue.

The rate of Fatigue gain listed above can be changed according to your circumstances.

  • If you are wearing moderate clothing (a light jacket or medium weight longsleeved shirt plus long pants), treat the temperature as one level warmer.
  • Heavy clothing (a winter coat over a longsleeved shirt, long underwear, long pants, wool socks, a hat, and mittens) brings the effective temperature up two levels.
  • Arctic clothing brings the effective temperature up three levels.
  • If your clothes are damp, decrease the effective temperature by one level. If they are wet, decrease the effective temperature by two levels (exception - when both the temperature and humidity are high, as with Muggy or Sweltering conditions, effective temperature is not decreased by wet clothes). If you exercise in moderate, heavy, or arctic clothing, you sweat and your clothes become damp. Certain types of clothes (such as wool, or modern synthetic fleece under a gore-tex shell) do not reduce the effective temperature when damp and by only one level when wet. A water-proof covering can keep your clothes from getting wet in the rain (but not from immersion or exercise).
  • If the humidity is low or moderate, drinking one liter of water gives you a reserve to recover 1 heat Fatigue point.

One of the drawbacks of armor is that it gets uncomfortably hot. Torso armor and any clothing at all on the limbs counts as moderate clothing. Armor on the limbs and torso counts as heavy clothing.

All of this assumes you are Size +0. The smaller you are, the faster you exchange heat with your environment. Row Shift the time to acquire temperature-related Fatigue, and to recover Fatigue, by your Size. Row shift the amount of water you must drink to recover heat Fatigue by three times your Size.

High Wind

High winds can be dangerous, either by knocking you down, picking you up and slamming you into things, or by picking other things up and slamming them into you. In bad weather, decide on the wind brawn. The table below gives examples and general guidelines for choosing wind Brawn:
Wind Speed
Brawn Examples
1.5 -25 Calm
3 -21 Light air: air motion nearly imperceptible.
7 -17 Light breeze: wind felt on face, leaves rustle, half-meter waves at sea.
15 -11 Gentle breeze: leaves and small twigs in constant motion, 1 meter waves at sea.
20 -9 Moderate breeze: raises dust and loose paper, small branches moved, 1-2 meter waves at sea.
25 -8 Fresh breeze: small leafy trees sway, cresting waves form on inland waters, 2-3 meter cresting waves at sea.
30 -7 Strong breeze: large branches in motion, whistling heard in strung wires, 3-4 meter cresting waves at sea, sea spray.
40 -5 High wind: inconvenience felt when walking against the wind, 4 meter foamy breaking waves at sea.
50 -3 High wind: whole trees in motion, 5 meter waves at sea.
60 -2 Gale: twigs break off trees, generally impedes progress, 6 meter waves at sea.
70 -1 Strong gale: slight structural damage, 8 meter waves at sea.
80 +0 Storm, F0 tornado: trees uprooted, considerable structural damage, 10 meter waves at sea.
100 +1 Violent storm, category 1 hurricane, F1 tornado: widespread damage, 12-14 meter waves at sea.
120 +2 Category 2 hurricane, F1 tornado: devastation.
150 +3 Category 3 hurricane, F2 tornado: devastation.
170 +4 Category 4 major hurricane, F2 tornado: devastation.
200 +5 Category 5 major hurricane, F2 tornado: devastation.
250 +6 Category 5 major hurricane, F3 tornado: severe devastation.
300 +7 F4 tornado: extreme devastation.
350 +8 F5 tornado: overwhelming devastation.
Feel free to choose speeds (and Brawns) in between these entries. When the air has a different density than that of Earth at sea level, the actual wind speed will change for a given Brawn (although the effects of the wind will not be that different). If the speed is important, row shift it by minus half of the number of row shifts in the air's density (so if the air is twice as dense as that of Earth (+2 RS), it will have the same Brawn at -1 RS, or about 70%, of the speed). The mathematical relationship is wind's Brawn = -27 + 2 × score of [current speed per combat round] + score of [atmospheric density relative to Earth].

High winds will exert drag on you. This can impede motion, blow you over, or even pick you up and carry you away. Each round the wind will roll for Control with a Strength of its effective Brawn + 2 × your Size. This is a simultanoues grapple and pickup attempt, and also a break attempt on anything rigid that is firmly fixed in place. This Control will replace, not add to, any previous control. It is renewed at the beginning of each of your turns during the round; escape from the Control is not generally possible unless you get out of the wind – while still being buffeted, you must put up with the penalty. Treat the Control penalty from the wind as an Encumbrance penalty, using the larger of the wind's Control penalty and your own Encumbrance penalty. The movement penalty from the Control/Encumbrance only counts for attempting to move upwind. If you are picked up by the wind and blown into solid objects, this counts as a slam. Similarly, the wind may slam other objects into you. The distance you can be thrown will not exceed the wind's speed in meters per round row shifted by - your Action Score.

High winds can blow up dust, grit, or sea spray. This will impede vision. Howling winds can impede hearing, and smells get blown away. Impose a general penalty to Awareness of 6 + Brawn. Looking away from the wind's direction can lower this penalty by 3 for vision-based checks – but in dusty areas the extra dust in the air can raise the vision penalty by up to 3.

Wind quick reference table
Wind's Strength = effective Brawn + 2 × victim's Size
Control = 2d6, (Strength - 2) RS
Smash damage (if applicable): Pen = 2d6, (Strength/2 - 6) RS, +½ RS to Pen for every degree of Control penalty, up to +2½.
Inflicted Control penalty needed to Pickup victim: -(6 + victim's Size - wind's Brawn).
Distance thrown: 2d6, (wind's Brawn - 5½) RS, in meters (but no more than wind's speed over your round).

Differing Gravities

The higher the gravity, the less you can carry. This is already accounted for in your Carry value, since it is based on weight, not mass. However, your own weight changes as well. Add any excess weight from your own weight at Earth-normal gravity to the weight of the equipment you have; likewise subtract any weight deficit from the weight of your gear. Generally, you can take your mass (and hence your weight in g-kg) as the mid-point of the weights on the Size table. For example, at Size +0 the mid-point mass is 80 kg, and thus the weight at Earth-normal gravity (1 g) is 80 g-kg. At 1.1 g, your weight would be 88 g-kg and you would have an extra 8 g-kg of encumbrance. At 0.8 g your weight would be 64 g-kg and you could reduce your encumbrance by 16 g-kg.

As gravity changes, so to do the trajectories of projectiles. For every RS upward of the local gravity, RS the effective Speed value of weapons down by the same amount. The change to effective Speed is only for determining the penalty to hit a target – it does not affect the bonus a target has to defend against the attack due to the increased time-of-flight, which is always given by the listed (not effective) Speed. This only applies for weapons that have a listed Speed value. If you are able to ignore some of the Speed penalties because of skill and training, these do not apply in gravities you are unfamiliar with - to gain the benefit for a new gravity you must learn it as a familiarity of the skill.

If a character is in a gravity environment significantly different from any with which she is familiar, she will be at a penalty to Coordination. The penalty is -1 if the local gravity is more than 0.2 g (3 m/s2) different from the closest gravity with which the character is familiar, or -2 if the local gravity differs from any familiar gravity by more than 0.5 g (5 m/s2). Acquiring overall familiarity with a given gravity level costs a Build point; once you have done so you not only lose the Coordination penalty you are also considered familiar with the graviy for all skill use in which it matters.

Health Effects of Low Gravity: In low gravity, it is difficult to maintain muscle tone and bone density. In addition, fluid redistribution and changes to the immune system can generally lower health. At 0.5 g (5 m/s2) or less, make a Vigor check every 2 weeks. The DC is 8, or 6 if the character spends two hours a day exercizing. On a failure, the character's Brawn and Vigor decrease by 1. The maximum loss at 0.5 g to 0.2 g is -1, and from 0.2 g to microgravity -2. Once back in higher gravity, make the same vigor check and on a success the character's Brawn and Vigor return to their base value by +1.

Space Adaptation Sickness: In microgravity, it is common for people to suffer from nausea, vomiting, headaches, vertigo, and lethargy. Make a DC 8 Vigor check. On a failure, suffer -1 to Coordination, Smarts, Spirit, and Awareness and another -1 penalty for every 2 degrees of failure. Every day you can make another check; on a success you have acclimated and lose these penalties for so long as you remain in a microgravity environment.

Upon return to an environment with gravity, you will likely have difficulty standing up, finding your balance, walking, turning, and focusing your gaze. Again, make a DC 8 Vigor check with failure causing a -1 penalty to Coordination and another -1 for every 2 degrees of failure. You get the same roll to acclimate as in microgravity, on a success the penalty goes away. Once you have re-aclimated to a gravity environment you will need to re-aclimate again to microgravity.

Adaption to and away from spin gravity can have similar effects. While spinning in a centrifuge or an artificial space habitat, Coriolis forces on the vestibular system can weak havoc on one's sense of balance, causing similar effects to adaptation to microgravity. The DC of the Vigor check depends on the radius and rate of rotation (which both determine the Coriolis force). Most space habitats use a large enough spin radius to eliminate any motion sickness effects and make acclimation easy and painless.

Bad Lighting

Low or high light levels can make it hard to notice things, or to make out details. Assign a light level to a scene. The following table gives examples:
Description Light Level
overcast moonless night -9
partially overcast starlight -8
bright starlight-7
quarter moon-5
full moon -3
late twilight -2
twilight -1
nighttime street lighting +0
nighttime household lighting +1
dark overcast daytime +1
office lighting +2
sunset/sunrise +2
overcast daytime +3
indirect full daylight +6
full sunlight +7
For normal humans, light levels between 0 and +7 have no penalty. For every point above or below these limits, add 1 to the difficulty of any vision roll to notice something or make out details. If the penalty is more than 7, you are blind and cannot see at all - all vision rolls automatically fail.

Light sources will shine light around them that is bright up close and dim farther out. These are usually rated by the range at which they allow a light level of 0. Beyond that range, every two rows up the Score-Value chart of the range gives an additional +1 DC to see. Night vision increases the effective range by the number of levels in rows up the Score-Value chart, night blindness likewise reduces the effective range by rows equal to the number of levels.
Description radius
candle 0.25 m
torch (flaming) 1 m
kerosene lantern 1 m
campfire 2 m
mantle gas lantern 2 m
household light bulb (60 W equivalent) 2 m
household light bulb (100 W equivalent) 3 m


Brush: Brush counts as Tangled ground, difficult to push through and hindering movement. It imposes a -2 Hindered penalty to anyone in it without the appropriate Gifts, with a -5 RS to movement.

Cliff: To cross a cliff, you need to climb, either up or down. A "typical" cliff is DC 7 to climb, rolling against Coordination + Brawn + Climb skill, with each success letting you scale 5 meters. The referee may adjust this DC and distance for cliff angle, number of hand-holds, the crumbliness of the rock, and so forth, and may call for extra climbing checks to cross a particularly difficult feature, such as an overhang.

Rocky cliffs almost always have a talus slope at the bottom. Falling off a rocky cliff usually means hitting the fallen boulders of the talus slope below, adding +1 RS to the falling Pen.

Ice cliffs are often found in glaciers, ice flows, and icebergs. Ice picks can be used to give an easier time climbing them. Falling off an ice cliff just might let you hit deep snow drifts, providing extra padding for your fall. Falling on jumbled ice at the bottom of a cliff is as bad as falling on rocks – +1 RS to falling Pen.

Dirt cliffs are fairly crumbly – consider increasing the DC by 1 compared to other cliff types of the same steepness and roughness, because your hand and foot holds keep falling off. However, some dirt cliffs have shrubs, scrub, bushes, or trees growing on them. These provide hand-holds that make the cliff much easier to climb – although possibly much more painful if the vegetation is covered with thorns or harbors stinging insects.

Deep Snow: Snow counts as soft ground. Deep snow gives you a hidrance penalty and reduces your movement.

    Ankle deep: No Hindered penalty, -1 RS to move.
    Shin deep: -1 Hindered penalty, -2 RS to move.
    Knee deep: -2 Hindered penalty, -3 RS to move, 1 Breath Point for every 5 Steps moved.
    Waist deep: -3 Stuck penalty, DC 5 Brawn check and 1 Breath point to move 1 step.
    Chest deep: -3 Stuck penalty, -7 RS to move, DC 9 Brawn check and 1 Breath point to move 1 step.

Snow shoes or skis will let you move across snow easier – see their description in the Gear section.

In addition to the effect on movement, the temperature will usually be Cold or worse, although on a clear calm sunny day near the freezing point the temperature might just be Chilly. Trudging through snow is likely to get your clothes wet.

Snow that has partially melted and then frozen again can develop a crust. Treat the crust in the same fashion as thin ice for the purpose of breaking through. If you don't break through you can move over the snow without penalty. If you do, you suffer all the usual penalties for the snow's depth.

Falling into snow provides padding, that acts as armor to subtract from the Pen of any collision without worrying about blunt trauma. Snow waist deep to a Size +0 person will give the usual 2d6 armor roll, with a -7 RS. Every RS to the depth gives the same RS to the armor roll.

On steep slopes, deep snow may come loose, causing an avalanche. A mass of snow slides downhill, destabilizing the snow it encounters and adding it to the avalance. The snow moves downhill at speeds of 50 to 150 meters per combat round (take 100 meters/round for a typical avalanche). Let the avalanche take one turn every round. Those caught in the avalanche will be simultaneously grappled and picked up (see the section on Grappling) with an effective Brawn of +6 and a Strength given by the effective Brawn + 2× the Size of the victim, and a breaking attack against those overwhelmed at -4 to its effective Brawn. The avalanche does not need to roll to establish the grapple or pickup, it just rolls for Control on each of its turns. The victim's own Strength plays little role in her ability to resist being swept up by the collision with the on-rushing snow mass – use the rules for Trips and Throws for the avalanche's pick up attack unless the victim is grabbing on to a firmly anchored object and the victim's brawn is high enough to give a benefit (but note that avalanches can sweep up many firmly anchored objects as well - trees can be snapped like matchsticks, boulders swept up, and all carried along with the violent turbulent mass of snow). Consider the avalanche to let go every turn and make another grapple, pick up, and breaking attack on its turn. If the avalanche picks up and entrains trees or boulders, it can smash these into its victims – in this case, the breaking attack is not at -4 to Brawn. Once the avalanche reaches the bottom of the slope, the victim will be deposited and buried - make one last roll for grappling Control, which is maintained until the victim either escapes or is dug out by rescuers. A task of Awareness + Live off the Land (survival) against a DC of 5 will warn that you are in avalance-prone territory, and the likely paths of avalanches.

Contrary to popular myth, loud noises do not trigger avalanches. Rather, they can be triggered by disturbances, like a person walking or skiing over unstable snow on steep slopes, or seemingly at random when a slab of snow slips loose.

Glacier: A glacier is a mass of accuulated ice that slowly flows under its own weight. This flow is slow enough not to be normally perceptible, but it leads to some very rough terrain as the ice fractures and shifts.

  • Glaciers will be riven with crevasses – treat as paired facing ice cliffs, without any deep snow at the bottom. Some glacial crevasses are narrow enough that they can be covered by snow. Those walking over the snow can fall through into the crevass – an Awareness + Live off the Land (survival) task with DC 7 will let you notice such a covered crevass before stepping on it. If you do fall through, a DC 10 Coordination check an let you jump to safety before you plunge through. On a failure by 2 or less, your body is partially into the crevasse but you are hanging onto the lip – make a DC 7 Climb check to crawl up. Otherwise, in you go!
  • Intersecting crevasses can form seracs – standing ice pillars, often house sized or larger. These are unstable, and may topple over on travelers (see Collisions and Crushing).
  • Icefalls are regions of chaotic terrain on steep slopes (in analogy to a waterfall, where the glacier ice flows so fast that it fractures). Treat the icefall as Uneven ground with a -2 Bad footing penalty, with a great many cliffs, crevasses, and seracs.
  • The end of the glacier is prone to calving, where immense blocks of ice split off and fall to the ground. If the glacier ends in open water, these calved blocks form icebergs. Being caught under a calved block causes damage as per a Collision and Crushing.

Ice: Bare ice is slippery, with a -2 bad footing penalty. Anyone moving more than a step on ice during their turn must make a DC 7 Coordination check or fall down. This DC increases to 10 for high speed movement.

Crampons and ice skates can let you move over ice without fear of slipping. These are described in the Gear section.

As with snow, the temperature over ice is likely to be Cold or worse.

Unsupported thin ice might crack when someone walks over it. It takes a DC 7 Awareness + Live Off the Land (survival) roll to spot the ice before stepping on it. Choose a threshold Size that can be supported. Anyone at this Size who walks over the ice must make a Coordination check with a DC of 6 for every step, or fall through - if walking normally, the ice does not break on a roll of 10+ on 2d6. If the walker's Size is ½ over the threshold Size, penalize the roll by -3. At a Size of ½ under the threshold, the walker gets a bonus of +3. Any Sizes smaller than that can move across the ice without fear of breaking it, and any sizes larger than those listed here automatically break the ice. Victims who break the ice can make a DC 10 Coordination check to jump out of the way before falling through. Typically, thin ice occurs over water, anyone falling through gets dunked in freezing ice-water. The water temperature is considered Biting (or merely Cold if waterproof), and once the unfortunate traveler gets out she is wet. Every 5 turns, the victim can make a DC 7 Brawn + Coordination + Swim check to escape from the water and up onto the ice. If someone helps by throwing the victim a line (or other object like a branch), the DC drops to 5. Coming to the edge of the hole, grabbing the victim, and hauling them out requires a DC 4 Coordination check to avoid having the rescuer falling in as well.

If you need to chip through – or shoot through – a block of ice, use the benchmark that one meter of ice has an Armor Score of +8. For thermal effects, the Armor Score is increased to +9 per meter. The injury susceptibility for a 1 square meter area of a 1 meter thick ice sheet is -7. For ice thinner than 1 meter, scale the injury susceptibility proportionally. For ice thicker than this, it is probably just easier to track damage to 1 m³ sections.

Lava: The runny, gooey lava that forms glowing pools and can run downhill in rivers, the kind that glows orange-red hot and runs out of some kinds of volcanos, will generally have a Temperature Score of +5. It will cause 2d6 -8 RS Pen burn damage on contact, or a flat 1 Pen for anything laying directly on or engulfed in the lava. Every square meter you are adjacent to will cause 0.05 Pen of radiant burn damage to every exposed hit location (2d6 -17 RS for non-constant exposures). If you are next to or over a lava pool, the radiant Pen increases to 0.1 Pen (2d6 -15 RS) for every 60° of arc from you which is filled with lava – doubled to 0.2 Pen (2d6 -13 RS) if the lava is also somehow over you as well as under you (like if you are next to a lava "water"fall). If you fall into the lava, you will float on top of it unless you have a Density score of +1 or more (although if you hit hard, you might splash and dip underneath momentarily). This is probably small comfort as you are incinerated.

When first vomited from the ground, lava will be glowing a brilliant yellow-white, with a Temperature Score of +6. Direct contact will cause 2 Pen (2d6 -6 RS) of burn damage, and every exposed square meter will act as a source of a Pulse causing 0.5 Pen (2d6 -10 RS) of radiant burn damage. Within a combat round, this will cool to the orange-red lava from the previous paragraph, but if it is constantly renewed from underground in a continuous fountain, a persistent source is possible.

As lava cools, it forms a crust of dark basalt rock on its surface. This will be griddle hot and inflict 0.5 Pen (2d6 -10 RS) on contact with Temperature score +3. This crusty lava will probably be shot through with cracks exposing the glowing molten rock underneath. Figure this causes 110th the radiant Pen as exposed lava.

Some lava pools are boiling, with big bubbles of lava bursting at the surface and splattering gooey lava around. Treat this as a splash area effect out to a radius of 2d6 meters and a splash score of +3. Other lava pools will form dramatic sprays and fountains of lava, either continuously or in sudden bursts, which can fall on unfortunate people nearby. This is a fragmentation area attack: Shot 2d6+4, Wound +5 is typical; Shot 2d6+7, Wound +2 for lots of small sparks; or Shot 2d6, Wound +9 for big curtains of flying lava. The lava can either be initially Temperature Score +6 or +5. The lava will stick to things it hits, causing normal burning damage for its Temperature Score on the first round and cooling by -1 to Temperature Score each combat round. Because it has continuous contact over the full combat round, just apply the listed deterministic Pen rather than rolling.
Burning Agent Penetration RS Temp. score
Yellow-White Lava 2 -6 +6
Red-Orange Lava 1 -8 +5
Dull Red Hot Rock 0.7 -9 +4
Griddle-Hot Rock 0.5 -10 +3
Partially-Cooled Rock 0.4 -11 +2
Mostly-Cooled Rock 0.3 -12 +1

Eruptions producing lava are also likely to belch forth volcanic gases. Those of most concern are carbon dioxide (CO2), which can cause hypercapnea and asphyxiation, and any or all of sulfur dioxide (SO2), hydrogen sulfide (H2S), hydrogen fluoride (HF), hydrogen chloride (HCl), or hydrogen bromide (HBr), all of which are potent choking agents. Assume a typical volcanic gas cloud will either act as a choking agent with burn Pen of 0.02 every combat round, or causes hypercapnea (CO2 poisoning) with short term Dose +3 and Potency 10. Any depression may be filled with CO2 and similarly cause hypercapnea.

Cooled lava forms a dark rock called basalt. Depending on the temperature and composition of the lava, a lava flow can form one of two kinds of basaltic lava flow: ʻaʻā or pāhoehoe. ʻAʻā is a rough, broken, jagged mass of fused basalt blocks. If gives the usual bad footing penalty (-2) for uneven ground, has a -2 RS modifier to movement, and adds 2 to the Pen of collisions, falls, and crushing from contact or impact with the ʻaʻā. Walking across it counts as crushing with your own weight on your feet, so bring good boots. Pāhoehoe is a smoother lava that forms a twisted, ropey surface like something out of an H. R. Geiger painting. It is also uneven ground with a lesser bad footing penalty (-1) and a -1 RS modifier to movement.

Mud: Mud is Slippery terrain. It requires a DC 5 Coordination check to keep your feet if moving more than a step; increasing to DC 8 for high speed movement. Mud gives the usual -2 Bad Footing penalty.

Sucking mud is deep sticky mud can mire those moving through it. Treat this as a grapple with an effective Brawn of -2 for default sucking terrain, or higher for particularly nasty stuff. It attacks with a Strength of its effective Brawn + 3× the size of those traversing it – yes, that is 3× rather than 2× – larger creatures not only have more area to suck from, but they weigh more, pushing them deeper into the mud. Every turn that a person attempts to move, roll for Control using the mud's Strength before the move attempt. Those trapped can attempt to escape – mud is not an active grappler, so any escape attempt is a roll of Coordination against a flat DC 7 + the mud's Brawn; success removes Control as usual.

Sucking mud is soft ground, not slippery, with the usual -2 Hindered penalty for those without Environmental Adaptation. Even with Environmental Adaptation, any time the mud gets any control on someone, even if they escape, they are hindered (-2) for that turn – although Environmental Adaptation will add its level to attempts to escape. If someone remains grappled during their turn, they are mired and treated as stuck (-3). Otherwise, movement is at a -3 RS penalty.

A DC 6 Live off the Land (survival) task will identify sucking mud before entering it.

Obstacle: This could be a fallen log, boulder, a garbage can someone knocked over, or anything else of similar size. Assign the obstacle a Size, based on its height; score of [height in meters] - 2. To get over an obstacle of your Size-3 up to your Size-1, either spend a breath point to jump or hurdle it or move only one step during your turn to step over it. Between Size and Size+1, you must either climb it, jump over it (if you can jump that high, and it costs a Breath point), or make a DC 7 Brawn + Coordination + Tumble check (costing a Breath point) to hurdle it in one action (failure by 2 or less gets you half-way over, you need to spend another action to drop over the other side). Larger obstacles must be climbed or jumped, not hurdled.

Quicksand: Quicksand occasionally forms from waterlogged sand. The same rules also apply to tar pits and particularly soft and clingy sucking mud. Treat this as sucking mud, but Brawn is +0; and roll for control every combat round, and every time the victim makes any significant physical action (including trying to escape), instead of only during movement. Those who become completely mired in quicksand will not sink fully unless they are denser than the sand (sand has a Density sub-attribute of +1, mud of +½, and tar of +0). Usually this means they can keep their breathing orifices out of the quicksand so that the main hazard is exposure, exhaustion, dehydration, starvation, and opportunistic predators. However, if circumstances cause the breathing orifices to be engulfed, the victim will begin to suffocate.

A DC 6 Live off the Land (survival) task will identify quicksand or similar terrain before entering it.

Sand: Packed sand is good terrain, with no particular penalties. Loose sand counts as both Slippery and Soft ground, as your feet sink in and it shifts under your weight. Moderately soft sand, like the dry regions of a typical beach, give a -1 RS to movement and a -1 Bad Footing penalty. Even looser, softer sand will give the full -2 Bad Footing penalty and a -2 RS to movement.

On the lee sides of dunes, the sand is much more unstable – the bad footing penalty is the usual -2, and movement is at -3 RS. Every step requires a DC 7 Coordination to avoid falling down and slipping downslope by one step distance.

Wet sand can sometimes form quicksand (see above).

Steep Slopes: Slopes that are uncomfortably steep but still shallow enough to walk up count as Cluttered ground, with a -1 Bad Footing penalty. In addition, when moving upslope, you are encumbered by 25% of your normal unencumbered body weight, which will slow you down and tire you out.

Talus: Talus, also called scree, is the slope of loose, jumbled rocks and boulders that accumulate at the base of cliffs. Talus is unstable, minor jostles can set off a rock slide. It counts as both Slippery and Uneven terrain. Anyone moving over talus has a -2 bad footing penalty and a -2 RS to movement; you must have Environmental Adaptations or Environmental Movement for both slippery and Uneven to overcome these penalties. Any time a Coordination based check involving movement of any sort fails by 2 or more sets off a rock slide that goes downslope for value of [degree of failure] meters. Roll another Coordination check for the person who set it off and for anyone caught in it, with a DC of the 2 + degree of failure of the initial Coordination check. Failure means a fall for the length of the rock slide with +1 to Pen for falling on hard, jagged rocks. Anyone caught in the slide also gets pelted by rocks. Treat this as an area attack with a width of vale of [originator's Size] meters, or 1/10 the length of the slide, whichever is more. Anyone caught in the slide suffers a collision with an object of their own Size, or the originator's Size - 5 + the Degree of Failure of the roll that started it if that is smaller, with +1 to Pen because of the hard, irregular shapes of the rocks.

Anyone moving across Talus must make a DC 6 Coordination check every 100 meters. Basic failure knocks a few rocks loose, which makes noise and will annoy people below you. Failure by 2 or more sets off a rock slide, as above.

Thicket: A thicket acts as brush, but also catches at people trying to force their way through, binding them up. Every movement action through a thicket is treated as a grapple. Give the thicket an effective Size (which is the Size of a person that can be fully engulfed by the thicket when standing up – a 2 meter high thicket would have Size +0 and a 1 meter high thicket a Size of -2) and an effective Brawn (+0 is typical, but it can be smaller for thin, whispy vines or higher for dense tangles of tough canes, particularly if they are covered in thorns). The thicket does not have to roll to hit, but automatically rolls for Control with an effective Strength equal to the thicket's Brawn + the traveler's Size + the smaller of the traveler's Size and the thicket's Size. If you don't move, you don't get further tangled up, so it is a good idea to take a few actions to free yourself after each move.

If the thicket has thorns, movement, escape attempts, and other athletic activities (including denfense actions and melee attacks) will cause the traveler's unarmed damage to himself as slashing damage to every hit location inside the thicket (or at least those hit locations that are moving). Particularly long thorns might give +1 or +2 RS to the Penetration.

Tree: A "typical" tree, with a trunk diameter of about 30 cm and a height of about 10 m, will provide an Armor Score of +6 to anyone hiding behind its trunk at ground level. The tree will have a Size of +3, but a Density of -½ so it only acts as if it has a Size of +2½ if it falls over on you. Scaling the trunk to get to its branches is DC 7. Once in the branches, the DC is 2 to move within the branches.

Of course, not all trees are arranged the same. For trees of different size, Armor Score is 10 + score of [thickness in meters]. Trees with dense strong wood can increase this Armor Score; similarly, low density, weak wood can decrease the Armor Score. The table below lists changes to the base Armor Score typical of a species.
Armor Score mod.Species
+5 Zhǎngshān silkwood
+4 Australian buloke, Schinopsis sp., lignum vitae, Tiananese nailwood
+3 snakewood, ironbark, ironwood, ebony
+2 mahogany, live oak, chestnut, spotted gum, mequite, teak
+1 osage orange, hickory, pecan, rosewood, black locust, highland beech, mulberry, red pine, hornbeam
+0 birch, sugar maple, walnut, natural bamboo, american beech, red oak, yellow birch, heart pine, larch, teak, rose gum, English oak, Siberian larch, black walnut
-1 cherry, red maple, paper birch, eastern red cedar, longleaf pine, mahogany, sycamore
-2 Radiata pine, silver maple, loblolly pine, shortleaf pine, Douglas fir, western juniper
-3 red alder, larch, chestnut, hemlock
-4 white pine, basswood
-5 balsa(wet, -8 when dry)
Disease ridden or beetle-riddled trees, those which are hollow, or dead and rotten, might be significantly weaker than this indicates. For monolithic planks of wood rather than round trunks, limbs, and boles, add +1 to the Armor Score to account for the increased average thickness.

Tree Density can range from -1 (anything with an Armor Score mod of -3 or less) to +0 (anything with an Armor Score mod of +3 or more). Trunk diameter increases faster than height; diameter is roughly value of [Size ×(9/8) - 7½] meters, height is roughly value of [Size ×(3/4) + 3½] – but this varies immensely with tree species and growth habit. Tall alpine firs will have much different height to diameter relationships than savanna baobabs or wind-swept bristlecone pines.

For chopping down a tree, you will need to cause an injury to one spot that causes the tree to break. The injury susceptibility for a 30 cm diameter trunk or limb is -6 - the Armor Score modifier for the species. The injury susceptibility is at an additional -2 for every 1 RS to the thickness.

When climbing trees, shimmying up the straight bole of a trunk is generally DC 7 for every 2 meters, although this can increase to DC 9 for smooth-barked species like beech. If there are exposed roots, old limb scars, or other "texture" to the trunk that makes gripping easier, this DC can decrease to 6. Once you can reach the branches, the climb DC is 2.

Water: Wading through shallow water is slower than firm ground.
Depth Movement penalty (RS) Weight (RS) Drag (RS)
ankle-deep -1 +0 -8
shin-deep -2 +0 -6
knee-deep -3 -1 -4
hip-deep -4 -2 -2
chest-deep -5 -4 -1
immersed n/a -∞ 0
The Weight column gives the amount your weight is reduced while wading, assuming you have a Density sub-attribute of +0, like most people. Move up or down the table by one row for every ±½ of your density attribute. At a Weight modifier of -∞, you can't wade at all and need to swim. The swimming rules cover the basics.

It probably goes without saying, but if you get in the water you will get wet. This can make you dangerously hypothermic in cold weather. See the section on temperature for details. The water itself can also have extreme temperatures. Volcanic hot springs can be hot enough to cause burns as scalding water (some hot springs are also strongly caustic, and can cause chemical burns as well). Water near its freezing point (melt water runoff, iced over lakes, seas with pack ice or under ice shelves) will have a game temperature level of Biting (or merely Cold if waterproof). Being dunked into near-freezing water requires an initial DC 7 Vigor check to avoid stunning if not waterproof (use the same rules as stunning from injuries).

The above movement rules suffice for water that is still, such as lakes and ponds and pools. However, much of the water encountered during adventures will be moving. A river with a strong current can make life much more difficult for our poor adventurers. Decide on the speed of the current per combat round (which is 3 × the speed in meters per second). This will usually be lower near the shore and swifter toward the center of the river. The table below gives examples and general guidelines for choosing current speed:
Current Speed
Brawn Examples
1.5 -4 Deep holes and pools in rivers, lowland meandering rivers, near shore of midland rivers.
3 0 Typical mid-lands river flow, riptides, small tidal bores, waves in moderate surf.
5 +4 Riffles, minor rapids, constrictions, rivers in flood, highlands rivers, medium tidal bores, waves in heavy surf.
10 +8 Major rapids, severe constrictions, torrential floods, strong tidal bores, waves in extreme surf.
25 +13 Extreme white-water, extreme tidal bores, tsunamis.
Feel free to choose speeds (and Brawns) in between these entries.

Wading through moving water will exert drag on you. This can be treacherous, with a risk of falling and being swept downstream. The stream will have an effective Brawn of -6 + 2 × score of [current speed per combat round]. Each round the river will roll for Control with a Strength of its effective Brawn + 2 × your Size penalized by the Drag modifier from the water table above. This is a simultanoues grapple and pickup attempt. This Control will replace, not add to, any previous control. It is renewed at the beginning of each of your turns during the round; escape from the Control is not generally possible unless you get out of the current – while still being pushed by the current, you must put up with the penalty. Remember to modify your weight for how deeply you are immersed, which will affect how easy it is for the river to pick you up. Treat the Control penalty from the river as an Encumbrance penalty, using the larger of the river's Control penalty and your own Encumbrance penalty. The movement penalty from the Control/Encumbrance only counts for attempting to move upstream. Any time you are picked up by the river, it counts as a hazardous condition, requiring a swim check. If the current sweeps you into rocks or other solid objects, this counts as a slam.

If you swim through water that is moving, you will move with respect to the current. Row shift the current's speed per combat round by the swimmer's Action Score to figure out how far the current carries the swimmer on each of his turns. Swift-moving water is often turbulent. Swimming through turbulent water requires a Brawn + Swim skill check; a typical DC is 7 + the current's Brawn. Failure results in being swept underwater as detailed in the Swimming rules.

High waves can be treated like currents, but waves also get a takedown and pickup roll for Control when they crash into their victim. If the wave is breaking against rocks, it will also execute a smash of any victim that was taken down and picked up into the rocks. Wave currents move back and forth rather than in only one direction. Assume the wave moves in one direction for rounds equal to its speed, then reverses direction for the same number of rounds before the cycle continues. Breaking waves (in surf and the like) will have a new wave smash into the victim between each cycle. Isolated waves (like tsunamis) only get one cycle. Tidal bores are waves that separate two different current speeds – before the bore hits, the current is flowing one way with one speed; then the bore rushes up against the current, strikes, acts like a wave with increased water depth, and afterward the water is flowing in the other direction at the speed and depth of the bore wave.

Water often lies over sand or mud. Wetlands or tidal flats can be water over expanses of sucking mud and quicksand (with regions of exposed mud and quicksand for wetlands, and periodically exposed flats of mud and quicksand for tidal flats when the tide goes out). Fortunately, if you are wading through water your weight will be reduced and you won't sink as readily – modify the Strength of the mud or quicksand for grappling purposes by the Weight column in the water table (assuming you have a Density sub-attribute of +0, like most people. Move up or down the table by one row for every ±½ of your density attribute).

Rivers often have cliffs for their banks – usually dirt cliffs, but possibly rock if they have carved canyons, or even ice for glacial streams.

Current quick reference table
Current's Strength = effective Brawn + 2 × victim's Size
Control = 2d6, (Strength - 2) RS
Smash damage (if applicable): Pen = 2d6, (Strength/2 - 6) RS, +½ RS to Pen for every degree of Control penalty, up to +2½.
Inflicted Control penalty needed to Pickup victim: -(6 + victim's Size - |Weight RS| - current's Brawn).
Distance thrown: 2d6, (current's Brawn - 5½) RS, in meters (but no more than current's speed over your round).


Mental exertion and deprivation will accumulate points of drain. Drain acts like fatigue of the spirit, and has the following effects
  • < Perseverance - 4 RS: At this level, you have no penalty.
  • ≥ Perseverance - 4 RS: You are at -1 to Coordination, Smarts, Awareness, and Spirit.
  • ≥ Perseverance - 3 RS: You are at -2 to Coordination, Smarts, Awareness, and Spirit.
  • ≥ Perseverance - 2 RS: You are at -3 to Coordination, Smarts, Awareness, and Spirit.
  • ≥ Perseverance - 1 RS: You are at -4 to Coordination, Smarts, Awareness, and Spirit.
  • ≥ Perseverance + 0 RS: The penalty to Coordination, Smarts, Awareness, and Spirit increases to -5. In addition, you are lightly dazed. You must make a DC 7 Spirit check to take any action that is at all mentally taxing. If the action would cause additional drain, the DC increases to 10. If you fail, you can do nothing (you can try again on your next action). When you reach this threshold, and every time you take an additional Drain point, you must make a DC 7 Spirit check or faint. Every value of [7-Spirit] combat rounds you can attempt a DC 7 Vigor check to regain consciousness.
  • ≥ Perseverance + 1 RS: You are moderately dazed. The attribute penalty increases to -6, the DC to take an action increases to 10, the DC to avoid fainting increases to 10, and the recovery DC also increases to 10.
  • ≥ Perseverance + 2 RS: You are severely dazed. You fall unconscious.

You regain normal drain at a rate of one point every one point every value of [-Spirit] hours. Drain and Fatigue are independent and are tracked separately, but their effects stack.

Lack of Sleep

If you get less than 7 hours of sleep per night, you take 1 Drain point, plus an additional Drain point for every additional 2 hours you miss. If you have sleep Drain, you will need to make Spirit rolls (DC 4) to avoid falling asleep every hour when you are inactive (but remember that Spirit may have a penalty for this roll due to the Drain). Sleep Fatigue is only recovered when you make up for the sleep you lost.

If you require a different amount of sleep than 7 hours per night, you take Drain when you don't reach that threshold, plus an additional Drain every time interval of 4 rows down the Score-Value table from your sleep requirement (for example, if you need 10 hours per night, four rows down from 10 is 3, so you take Drain when you get less than 10 hours, plus additional Drain for each 3 hours you miss).


Blows to the head can cause Concussion points. These are treated as Drain points that recover at a rate of value of [-Vigor] days (note - this depends on Vigor, not Spirit, since is the result of physical trauma to the brain). Concussion points in excess of Perseverance + 3 RS will kill the victim. Symptoms of concussion (accounted for by the penalties to Coordination, Will, and Intellect) include dizziness, nausea, loss of balance, amnesia for minutes or hours after the head trauma, light sensitivity, blurred vision, double vision, seeing bright lights, ringing in the ears, confusion, disorientation, difficulty focusing and loss of attention, slurred or incoherent speech, difficulty concentrating, irritability, and emotional swings.

Soul Damage

In games with supernatural elements, the soul is real and can be damaged. Even without the presence of the supernatural, Soul Points are a convenient way to track psychic stress that can lead to mental breakdowns such as post-traumatic stress disorder. Every Soul Point is treated as a Drain Point that cannot be recuperated until the soul heals.

Soul points in excess of Perseverance - 4 RS will cause psychological symptoms - anxiety, irritability, exaggerated startle reactions, confusion, detachment, depression, loss of appetite, substance abuse, flashbacks, fear of stimuli associated with the source of the soul damage, insomnia, and nightmares. This can be treated as a Personality Trait with a BP value equal to the attribute penalty as well as the manifestation of the Will and Intellect penalty. There may also be physical symptoms - headaches, back aches, tremors, sweating, nausea, hyperventilation, and dizziness - which are the manifestation of the Coordination penalty.

Soul points in excess of Perseverance may lead to permanent psychological damage. You must make a Spirit check to avoid lasting problems - on a failure, you gain -1 build point plus an additional -1 build point per three degrees of failure from the following Personality Trait Limitations: Addiction, Alcoholic, Callous, Confused, Depressed, Indecisive, Panicky, Paranoid, Phobia, Short Tempered, and Timid. The DC is the same as the DC to avoid fainting.

Soul points due to supernatural damage in excess of Perseverance + 3 RS destroy the soul. The body will still be alive, but it is a mindless husk.

Soul points heal at a rate of 1 point every value of [5-Spirit] days.

Psychological Shock

If Drain is the mental and spiritual equivalent of Fatigue, then Shock is similar to mental and spiritual injury in its immediate effects. Severe mental trauma can occur from being subject to horrific circumstances, violent events, or terrible fright. In games with supernatural elements, it is also an unfortunate result of psychic combat. Roll 2d6 and take its score, then add to this score according to the level of the shock. Psychological shock has the following effects:

  • Stunning: Psychological shock will cause stunning similar to that of an injury, except that you resist and get over psychological stun with a Spirit check rather than a Vigor check. The DC is the Shock Score. If psychological shock causes stunning, you are probably not just standing there, but rather shrieking hysterically, jumping up and down, and waving your arms uselessly. If you fail by less than two, you can still move and make defense rolls, but not initiate actions.

    Stunning from psychological shock does not cause knockdown. However, if you fail by six or more, you faint. If you faint, you can make a check to wake up every minute with a DC of Shock Score - 4, and an additional -1 to DC for every check you fail (so eventually you will regain consciousness). Better hope whatever scared you doesn't fancy you for dinner.

  • Impairment: Shock will also cause the impairment penalty for an analogous injury, but you only need to make a Spirit check to take action if the action you plan to take would further expose you to the source of the shock - a walking corpse lurching out of a doorway could very well lead to shock, but after you recover from stunning you don't need to make a Spirit check just to run away.

  • Stress: If you take shock with Score of 9 or more, you take value of [Shock Score - 8] Soul points.

Shock accumulates like injury. You recover a Shock Score equal to your Spirit every combat turn.

Typically, sudden, unexpected violence or scary surprises will inflict score of [2d6] Shock Score. This can be increased at the referee's discretion - typically things like extra gore (e.g. one of your buddies just got splattered all over the wall), horrific appearances (e.g. the guy who lunges at you from out of the shadows has half of his face melted off), perceived threat (e.g. something huge, like a T. rex, or many of them, like a whole horde of barbarians), and events inexplicable to your world view or held as particularly freaky by your world view (e.g. ghosts, undead) all increase the Shock Score by one or more. If you have a few moments to brace or prepare yourself (e.g. your buddy tells you there is something weird trapped in the basement; you smell blood before you open the door to the room of freshly dismembered corpses; you hear moaning and groaning from outside before you open the curtains to reveal the zombie hoard), reduce the Shock Score by 1. If you are actually expecting the threat, you won't take shock at all when it appears – but if the threat is of a different nature than what you were expecting, a roll might be appropriate. If the thing that surprises you is a trigger for one of your phobia Personality Traits, add the level of your Personality Trait Flaw to the score. Training or previous experience with similar situations can reduce the roll by one or more RS (e.g. if you were trained in boot camp how to deal with an ambush, you are more likely to take effective action if ambushed; after fighting a bunch of zombies, they won't count as alien to your world view any more). To summarize:
Situation Shock points
Unexpected threat score of [2d6]
Gore +1
Horrific appearance +1
Huge +1 to +2
Large quantity +1 to +2
Inexplicable +1 to +2
Culturally freaky +1 to +2
Phobia + level
Braced -1
Expectation no Shock
Training -1
Familiarity negates modifier

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