Core Concepts & Peoples

posted by hectorgrey Original SA post

Crimson Exodus posted:

The crunch of snow under fur boots ceased as Thurle signalled the half dozen men to a halt. The swirls of powdery snow had finally come to rest and the bitter, cold wind had died down. A serene quiet settled over the white landscape scarred only by their tracks. Thurle filled his lungs with the cold, crisp air and surveyed the woods ahead of them. Three sets of tracks disappeared between the trees. Huge, shallow imprints made by trolls.

Thurle had come to know much about them as he had tracked them without rest for two days. The trolls moved swiftly in the deep snow despite their bulk and weight. Their wide and furry feet perfectly adapted to distribute their weight allowing them to keep a brisk speed without sinking deep. Only the driving hatred had allowed Thurle and his men to finally catch up with them, forsaking rest and hardly eating.

He had learned much from the two days of studying their footprints. The largest tracks were made by an enormous troll. Giant even among its kin. Thurle had noticed a deeper imprint of the right foot. The troll was carrying something heavy.

The smaller prints were still huge compared to those made by Thurle and his men. One set scattered about and often veered off the path kept by the other two. The blood red snow and beastly remains evidence of this one's hunting prowess.

The last pair was likely the leader. A troll shaman as evidenced by the telling-bone imprints and lines drawn in the snow. Only three tracks, but they had destroyed his life.

The trolls had attacked the village as they were out on a hunt. His wife and son slain in their beds. Skulls crushed and limbs torn off with brute strength. The families of the grim men who now waited for his signal had faired little better. The trolls had eaten some and desecrated others in unspeakable ways.

They had returned from the hunt to heart-wrenching grief. They had not burned or buried their dead. A terrible rage had driven them after the murderous monsters. The village was their grave. It no longer had any future. Like the men. If the dead would rise it would not seem unfitting. Only vengeance and death was left to them now.

Ladies and gentlemen, Goons and Goonettes; please, gentles all, feast your eyes upon what is quite possibly the best game I have never played. But first, a small history lesson. A little over five years ago, a guy called Claus Børnich was coming up with a role playing system called DNA. I don't know the specifics of the system, because it was never actually finished, but there was one supplement released for it called Trauma. This is what brought Børnich to my attention some years back. Why am I not talking about that book then? Because as interesting as it is to play with (it has guidelines for using it with other systems), it's not really that interesting to read about a book based entirely around medically accurate damage tables. I only mention it because while the DNA system was aborted, Børnich did come up with a different system called DICE.

His first book released for this system was Trauma 2nd edition, which not only fixed most of the problems with the original book, it also adapted the rules for use with his new system. This caught my attention, and while I didn't buy this second book (I still had the first, after all, and it was suitable for my needs), I did keep an eye on where things were going. The second book for DICE came out about a year later, and its name was Crimson Exodus. I bought the book for less than $10 on DriveThru, and I was not disappointed. So, without further ado:

Let's Read Crimson Exodus

Part 1 - Core Concepts and Peoples

Core Concepts

The book begins with the above fiction. I quite like it; I reckon it's an interesting way to start a rulebook. This is followed by the table of contents, which I'll run through quickly. We begin with the core concepts of the game; this includes the usual "what is roleplaying" bollocks, as well as a few other bits and bobs. Next, we have Peoples; these are the races of the game. Third on the list, we have Character Creation, which I personally would have put before Peoples, but there you go. Fourth, we have Paths; sort of like classes in other games but not. I'll explain it better when we get there. Fifth, we have skills; there aren't many skills, but what few there are come with plenty of ways to specialise in them. Sixth and seventh are Barter and Swords And Armour; these are your basic equipment lists and price lists, as well as rules for money and such. Eighth is Rolls and Rules; this bit basically tells you how the game as a whole works. Ninth is Character Development - XP for everyone! Yes, that includes NPCs, and even your enemies sometimes. Tenth and eleventh are Combat and Trauma; the first is self explanatory, but done pretty well, while the second is damage, which I personally think is awesome. After this, we have a combat example designed to be played through by a GM and a lone PC. Thirteenth is GMing, and contains pretty much all the usual stuff, while the four chapters after are all about the different types of magic and how they affect the setting. The eighteenth chapter is about artifacts, while nineteen and twenty are to do with herbs and their use. The twentyfirst chapter is about the known world, twentysecond is about travel, twentythird is about the many dark secrets of the setting, twentyfourth is a sample adventure (which I won't be giving details about on here because I want to run it at some point), and finally, a bestiary. Now let me take a metaphorical breath.

We begin the Core Concepts chapter with an introduction. It basically states that the rules in this book are part of the Fantasy DICE system; a system designed to have enough crunch and depth to provide unique characters with their own unique skillsets. The rules are designed to be quick and fun to use, but at the same time promote some degree of tactical thought. The author's voice is fairly informal, but at the same time the book lays out the way the game is intended to work - ideally, the world is grim and things aren't looking up for the majority of folks. That being said, some rare few (the PC's included) rise above the mundane and have their own abilities that few others have (Paths, for instance). It then goes on to say that both the players and the GM are responsible for the fun around the table, and that storytelling in this game is very much a collaberative effort.

Core Concepts posted:

It is important to remember, whether you are the GM or a player, everyone should contribute and work together to make the game fun. The GM only has the authority to present challenges and referee the rules because the players have decided to put their trust in him. Likewise, each player is responsible for bringing their own fun, enthusiasm and ideas to the game. The consensus of everyone at the gaming table, virtual or otherwise, is always the utmost authority in all matters.

So yeah. Next up, the basics of the game. The book goes on to say that once the GM and any possible co-GMs have been chosen, it's time to agree on the kind of game everyone wants to play: a grand campaign, a loosely connected series of adventures, or even just a one shot. Do the players want politics, massive battles, exploration, dungeon crawling or something entirely different? The game uses D4 through d12 with dice rolled in pools, and the highest die is the result of the roll. Also, just in case the reader is completely new to this kind of game, it mentions that a character sheet might be useful.

The third section of this chapter is how the game is intended to play. It's assumed that all player characters are exceptional. They have abilities that most don't, and they're more likely to use those abilities than most. Their most powerful allies and enemies are likely to be equally exceptional. That being said, they should choose their fights wisely. In spite of how exceptional the players are, an arrow through the chest is an arrow through the chest. The players should decide the path the campaign takes through their actions and their character sheets. That being said, there will always be detours, traps and shit, but overall, it's very much about what the people at the table will find fun.

That being said, this game is not designed to provide balanced encounters. The players may be able to pick and choose their challenges, but that means knowing their own limits and not deciding to overthrow a kingdom on their first day. Naturally, the players should have some way of knowing when they're out of their depth, should they choose to do the research, but if they just go blundering in, well... Also, not only should challenges not necessarily be balanced, neither should rewards. Again, it's up to the PCs to try and do the research.

Death should always be a possibility in the game; there are rules that help simulate plot armour, so if they're truly up shit creek, it's probably their own fault, so the dice shouldn't be fudged to save them. Combat can incapacitate characters fairly easily, but killing them is far less likely short of a party wipe. If a character dies, the player should get to create a new character and join back in when appropriate; if they died doing something suitably heroic and well role played, they should even get some of the previous character's XP and Hero Points.

Next up, we have the concept of Player Controlled allies. What this basically means is that during a challenge, the players should control any NPC on their side, in order to help ease the load on the GM during large encounters. PCs should not make allies NPCs fight to the death if that's not in character for them, and the GM has full veto power if he thinks that something is out of line. This includes social conflict as well; the players control allied NPCs.

Finally, we have the Responsibilities of each person around the table. Not many books go this far, but I think it works in as much as it helps to show how the game was intended to be played.

Core Concepts posted:


• Be an active participant and contribute to the game.
• Take responsibility for choosing your challenges, and accept failure and defeat with grace and creativity.
• Roleplay your character honestly, and according to what she knows and the characteristics and aspirations you have chosen for her.
• Strive to make the game fun for everyone at the table and share the spotlight.
• Support creativity and help bring the aspirations of other players and interesting story hooks into play.


• Launch a game by setting up a scene with tension that encourages the players to take action and make meaningful choices.
• Allow the players complete freedom of choice.
• Present challenges without preconceived convictions as to the outcome or how they will be solved.
• Do not balance challenges and rewards, but provide as much information as can be realistically known by the characters.
• Frame scenes to create a meaningful story and continuity by having previous outcomes affect future scenes.
• Keep the story moving, and escalate the stakes and challenges in tune with what the players are trying to achieve.
• Play enemies and challenges hard, but be fair and never make arbitrary rulings contrary to the rules or table consensus.
• Give failure and defeat interesting, although not necessarily pleasant, outcomes that present additional challenges and complications, and which may force the players to re-evaluate their options.


This chapter begins with an introduction to the setting, which I'll just go ahead and copy-paste here, since I'm lazy:

Peoples posted:

The crimson banner has sailed. The Empire is on her knees. Crippled and depleted by an Elven exodus that has left her vulnerable and weak.

Ravaged by barbarians, plague and walking dead. Invaded and besieged by the Dwarven war machine. Swarmed with refugees from the Heartlands fleeing famine, plague, Orcs and lawless chaos. Town after town abandoned to the dead and reclaimed by beasts and weeds.

The upstart Bardur vassal states of the east quarrel and war in open revolt. Torn by internal strife and themselves under threat from savage Orcs and serpent worship spreading its venom through the preachings of the black clerics.

The tyranny of the Elves may have come to an end, but so has the golden age that a millennium of their ruthless rule created. Men are finding the shackles of Elven witchcraft replaced by the Orc lash, plague and unimagined horrors. Trade routes are no longer safe as bandits, beasts and worse monsters return to stalk the land. Once thriving villages and mighty castles inhabited only by the dead. Defiant survivors struggle against famine in the day and huddle behind reinforced walls from the horrors that prowl the night.

Among the gleaming spires of the great cities of the Empire the arrogant Elven nobles who remain seem blind to the growing despair and famine. Clinging to a lost golden age with lavish luxury in which only the most honoured of men are given the smallest of taste. From the sealed doors of the Imperial palace no edict has been issued since the Eternal Empress sailed with the great fleet nearly a century ago and from which no ship has returned.

So yeah, all in all, while the Nazi Elves were pretty horrible and all, things have arguably taken a turn for the worse since the majority of them left. There's a little more introduction, basically talking about how the different races, or Peoples, have their own default skillsets and default attributes which set them apart from each other. This is followed by a list of races:

The Bardur are split into a noble class and a common class, each with different skillsets and different default wealth. They are otherwise your average baseline human race.

Dwarves are isolationist and secretive, and are the only race capable of mastering sorcery. They've had many wars against the Crimson Empire, and hate elves with a passion. They're also the only race to have invented the crossbow and full plate armour.

The Elnar are humans that have spent so long as lapdogs of the elves that a little bit of them has rubbed off. They are pretty much all wealthy, and live upwards of three times as long as normal humans.

Elves are rare now, and are often hated and feared in equal measure by the common folk for what their kind has done to the other races. Elves are brought up believing that they are innately superior to all other races, and that their attrocities were for the greater good. Some elves have learned sorcery from dwarven slaves, which they have passed on to the Elnar, and they have full plate armour from the same source. It was the elves who brought Witchcraft to the continent.

Heartlanders are your bog standard human archetype; they have no default racial skills, and instead pick three languages and a couple of other skills to replace them.

The Maktiti are nomadic traders and warriors, who spend almost as much time trading with the Empire as fighting it.

Orcs are pretty much as you'd expect; savage and brutish, quick to anger and always up for a fight.

The Senshoul are the slaves of the orcs, but at the same time run the tribes from behind the scenes. They once held an empire, but when the orcs attacked, they were too busy screwing each other over at politics to do anything about it. Only their language remains of their culture; the rest erased by millenia of orc enslavement.

The Toth were basically serpent worshipping halflings who also held an empire; it was their empire that the elves smashed aside when they conquered the continent. Their culture has remained secretly intact, as they remain slaves to the humans of the Bardur kingdoms. They are the masters of the Dark Arts, and have secretly taught a small amount of their skill to serpent cults in the Bardur kingdoms.

The Vren are basically Not-Vikings. They raid, pillage and plunder wherever they can because it's fun and profitable.

Each racial entry has far more than that, of course; there's a description of local geography, culture and so forth, as well as lists of available starting equipment, default racial skills and attributes, and occupations, which each grant one pretty high skill. Overall, it's pretty well written, and is a good introduction to the setting.

So, here endeth the first entry into Crimson Exodus. I hope you all found this interesting; next up, I'll be looking at character creation, Paths and skills.

Character Creation, Paths, & Skills

posted by hectorgrey Original SA post

Fuck it, I'm bored, so I'm going to go ahead and write a second update for Crimson Exodus.

Let's Read Crimson Exodus

Part 2 - Character Creation, Paths and Skills


Skills are actually mentioned last of these three chapters in the book, but as Character Creation delves into this chapter quite frequently, it makes more sense from a readability standpoint to do this the opposite way around. Skills work somewhat differently in this game than most. Each skill has specialities. Before you buy a skill at d4, you must buy a speciality for it. Before you go from D6 to D8, you must buy a second, and before you go from d10 to d12, a third. There are a few different skills, each with quite a few specialities. Using a speciailty grants you an extra die in your die pool. If you use a skill untrained, you take a -1 die penalty and roll a d4. The bonus and the penalty cancel each other out. The skills are as listed, along with their specialities:

Skills posted:

Strength (Physical strength and toughness)

Heavy Labour (farming, lumberjack, mining)
Smithing (armoursmith, arrowsmith, bolts, blacksmith, bladesmith, goldsmith, locksmith)

Agility (Ability to move quickly and nimbly)

Athletics (acrobatics, climb, dodge, jump, ride, row, swim)
Melee (axes, clubs, daggers, flails, pole arms, shields, swords, unarmed, whips)
Stealth (blend-in, hide, sneak, shadow)

Dexterity (Ability to do fiddly things, like whittling wood and picking pockets)

Construction (bridges, carts, houses, shipwright, siege-engines, towers, tunnels, walls)
Crafts (bone, cloth, crossbows, glass, leather, pottery, stone, wood)
Sailing (carpenter, fisherman, navigator, rigger, sailmaker)
Sleight of Hand (disarm traps, pick locks, pick pocket, tricks)
Surgery (abdominal, chest, head, limbs)

Sight (ability to see things at range).

Perception (alertness*, search, sixth sense)
Ranged (bows, crossbows, slings, throwing)

*Alertness is never rolled; instead the average result is used, since the GM doesn't want the players to know it's being tested.

Cunning (Quick thinking; short term thought)

Healing (bandage, burn treatment, set bones, stitch)
Hunting (butchering, tracking, trapping)
Psychology (motivation, detect lies, emotional state, character)
Survival (tundra, taiga, bog, forest, grassland, marsh, savannah, jungle, swamp, mountain, subterranean, desert)

Wisdom (Long term thought; learning and knowledge)

Academic Lore (administration, geography, history)
Alchemy (black powder, elixirs, fumes, potions)
Arcane Lore (demonology, elementalism, monsters, occult, spiritualism)
Beast Lore (tundra, taiga, bog, forest, grassland, marsh,
savannah, jungle, swamp, mountain, subterranean, desert, Domestic)
Herb Lore (tundra, taiga, bog, forest, grassland, marsh, savannah, jungle, swamp, mountain, subterranean, desert)
Language (write*, speak)
Sorcery (wind blast, wind mastery, whirlwind, wind shield, windy whisper, flare flame, smother flame, flame breath, flame puppetry, rain, freeze and melt, water mastery, water puppetry, air elemental, fire elemental, wind elemental)
Warfare (siegecraft, soldiery, strategy, tactics)

Most people never have the Write specialisation in a language skill; this is the only exception to the rule regarding specialisations every two die types.

Spirit (Your ability to empathise with people, and see the bigger picture)

Public Speaking (debate, educate, entertain, oratory)
Smooth Talking (bargain, bluff, bribe, calm, fast talk, ingratiate, persuade, seduce)
Witchcraft (animate tree, banish, beast tongue, bewitch, bind, bloodmagic, call, command, curse, enchant, grow, ward)

Demon (Your ability to motivate yourself through selfishness and survival instinct)

Black Arts (demon ward, evil eye, oblivion, second sight, terror, bind, demonic armour, demonic strength, mark, necromancy, banishing touch, forgetful touch, necrotic touch, puppeteer's touch, scabbing touch, steal thoughts)
Dominate (command, intimidate, taunt)
Interrogate (cross-examine, threaten, torture, trick)

As you can see; many lots of specialities for most of the skills. While the specifics of die rolling will be described in more depth later, for now let's just say that the skill determines the die type while the attribute determines the number of dice in the pool. There are also racial restrictions on certain skills and specialities; only the Dwarves know how to make gunpowder, for instance, and only the Elves and Elnar have any true mastery of Witchcraft. Finally, some skills have dependencies; for example, Smooth Talking is dependent on Language. The dependency determines the highest die type available to roll.


The Paths are sorta kinda like classes in other games, except not. Along side XP, you also receive Hero Points for suitably heroic actions (maximum of one per session). These may be spent on Path abilities. During character creation, you choose a path, which gives you the first ability for free, and you receive two hero points to spend on any further Path abilities or to save for more expensive ones as you prefer. You may take any additional Paths you wish, provided you have three Hero Points to spend on basic Path ability. The Paths are as follows:

Way of the Warrior

Basically, the Fighter class. The beginning ability allows you to enter either an offensive, defensive or neutral stance as an action. The offensive and defensive stances gain a bonus to either offense or defence respectively, and a penalty to the other, while the neutral stance gets neither. The remaining Path abilities improve these stances, make you more durable or make you better at using armour effectively.

Way of the Barbarian

The Barbarian class, essentially. The beginning ability allows you enter a rage whenever you are hurt. You can no longer be stunned by enemy attacks, but that's about it. You can only fight, and you take a -1 die penalty on all skill rolls - including to attack and defend. The Path abilities are based around buying off the penalties for rage, allowing you to rage more often, and granting special abilities while raging.

Way of the Swordsman

This is more like a duelist class than anything else, and the beginning ability allows you to use a counterattack against an enemy without penalty. The remainder of the abilities are focused around improved counterattacks, improved defence and improved attacks, all whilst using only a blade.

Way of the Archer

This is the ranged combat class. The basic ability allows you to target certain locations on an enemies body for your ranged attack without penalty. The remainder of the Path abilities are based around improved accuracy with a ranged weapon.

Way of the Fist

This is the unarmed fighting class. The basic ability allows you to attack enemies wielding swords whilst you yourself are unarmed without the usual range penalty. The remainder of the abilities are about doing more damage, being able to take a beating and being able to grapple really, really well.

Way of Command

This is a leadership type class. The basic ability simply means that you're a leader and that people naturally respect you. The remaining abilities grant bonuses in dealing with people in certain ways; either nastily or nicely. They also allow for speechmaking, teaching and improved loyalty from your followers.

Way of the Rogue

This is the Rogue class. The basic ability grants a permanent one die bonus to stealth. The remainder of the abilities are about fighting dirty, stealing shit and being incredibly nimble. A couple of the others are to do with dealing with others, and having a bad feeling that warns you when you (but not the party in general) in danger.

Way of the Beast

This is a Druid style class, allowing for mastery over animals, the ability to mimic animal noises and other animistic qualities, as well as transforming yoruself into something half man, half beast. This is painful and takes time, so it's not a good idea to do it mid-combat, but once in that form, you're a terror to behold.

Way of the Witch

This is the Witchcraft based class. It makes your witchcraft better. Not much more to say, since I've not gone into the magic systems yet.

Way of the Sorcerer

Ditto for Sorcery.

Way of the Demon

Ditto for the Dark Arts.

So yeah. Your path doesn't dictate your skills or anything like that; it simply makes you better at things you're already good at (you pick your Path after picking your skills). Also, as mentioned, you may take another Path whenever you wish. The character I play as in my monthly RoleMaster campaign would have abilities from both Swordsman and Rogue, for instance.

Character Creation

Right, now that the background is out of the way, it's time to go about reading through the first of the three chapters: Character Creation. After the usual bullshit introduction that you've read a hundred times before, but you'd complain if it weren't there, we start out with the group concept. Why are the party members working together? This isn't mechanical, but it's a useful step to take regardless. This is followed by a section on getting along, and why for most groups, you really shouldn't create a complete asshole, but in some groups it might not matter - so long as you don't mind their characters turning on yours if you fuck them over one too many times.

Next up, we have character creation proper. The first thing to do is pick a People, as described last update. This determines your starting attributes and some of your starting skills. You may then swap around some of your attributes. The Attributes are paired up with each other; Strength with Agility, Dexterity with Sight, Cunning with Wisdom and Spirit with Demon. If you increase one, you must decrease the other in that pair. The attributes are described in detail here, but I'd hope that the brief descriptions I have in the Skills section will do.

Next up, we choose our skills. First, note down the skills you get from your People. Then, pick an occupation, and pick one of the three skills from that occupation. You receive that skill at d10 with two specialities. After this, pick four skills at d4 and two at d6 with one specialisation each. Finally, decide if you're a generalist or a professional - a generalist receives four more skills at d6 with one specialisation each, while a professional receives two additional skills at d8 with two specialisations each. The book also takes the time to mention here that the players should discuss with each other which skills they're taking, so that they aren't leaving any obvious gaps in their skillset.

At this point, we have 20 XP to spend on improving attributes and skills. A character's starting Wealth (a stat that determines what you can afford, as opposed to counting exact numbers of gold pieces) may be increased or decreased in exchange for XP as well. Increasing a skill costs XP equal to the new die type, while gaining a specialisation costs eight XP. This means that buying a skill at d4 costs 12 XP, as the specialisation must be bought before the skill. You also receive a talent; something your character is good at that isn't covered by a skill. Singing or dancing, for example. Once this is done, we pick our Path, as described above. We also receive two Hero Points to spend on further Path abilities. Depending on tone, this may or may not be increased or decreased.

Now for the really good stuff: Triggers. There are two types of Trigger, and you receive Trigger Ammo to spend on various things when Triggers come into play. The first type of Trigger is the Aspiration. You pick three Aspirations: a Grand Aspiraiton, which is a long term goal of the character; something that may well take the whole campaign to complete, an Immidiate Aspiration, which is a more short term goal and may be completed within a few sessions, and a Counter Aspiration, which is a goal the character has which conflicts with one or both of the other two.

The second type of Trigger is the Characteristic. These are one or two word descriptions of the character, such as Arrogant, Kleptomaniac or Honourable. When the Characteristic is good for you, you may spend Trigger Ammo for various bonuses, same as with an Aspiration. Alternatively, the GM may give you Trigger Ammo to act in a way that suits the characteristic, but might not be good for your character (for example, the kleptomaniac may receive Trigger Ammo for deciding that the incredibly dangerous, incredibly rich guy walking past is just to tempting to pass up the opportunity of pickpocketing).

When using a Trigger, you spend Trigger Ammo. This allows you to do all kinds of things, including ignoring the long term effects of damage once the fighting is over (useful if you'd otherwise probably be dead), getting the best possible result of a die roll without needing to roll and other such fun stuff. Your maximum Trigger Ammo is determined partly by your People and partly by your Wealth. At the start of the game, you have one less than full Trigger Ammo, and the GM has one Trigger Ammo for every PC.

Next up, it's time to specify Relationships - an Ally and an Enemy. These are people who'll crop up from time to time. The Ally crops up either to offer aid or to ask for it. Naturally, they may not be able to help you all the time, and if you treat them badly, they might not remain your ally. The Enemy, on the other hand, is someone you either go after or comes after you. Alternatively, you may end up having to work together for whatever reason.

Finally, it's time to gear up. Your starting equipment is determined by your People; only dwarves are going to start play with a crossbow, for example, and only a dwarf or an elf would start play with plate armour.

Here endeth the second entry into Crimson Exodus. You may have noticed a passing similarity with FATE as I described the Triggers. I imagine that it's more than just a coincidence, but frankly I rather like having those aspects as additional mechanics, rather than the entire game being based around it. The next update will be about Barter and Sword and Armour, as those two are pretty intertwined, and after that, a more detailed look at rolling dice, survival, encumbrance and all that bollocks. Depending on length, I might chuck Character Development in there too. Hope you enjoyed it; I'll be back again later.

Barter, Swords and Armour, Rolls and Rules, and Character Development

posted by hectorgrey Original SA post

All right, it's about time I did another update. I was originally going to stick with just the wealth mechanics and the equipment tables, but fuck it; I'm going to include some actual gameplay mechanics too. As a result, this update may be fairly long.

Let's Read Crimson Exodus

Part 3: Barter, Swords and Armour, Rolls and Rules, and Character Development


So, let's get the whole buying of stuff out of the way. As I mentioned last update, money is not measured in terms of exactly how many gold pieces a character is carring, but is instead given a rating that determines what exactly they can afford. Any item of their wealth level or lower may be purchased without penalty, though if enough are purchased, wealth may decrease (as determined by the GM). A character may also buy an item of one weath level higher than their own; if they do, their wealth level decreases by 1. Gaining sufficient treasure, on the other hand, may increase a character's wealth. Depending on the amount of treasure, multiple wealth levels may be gained, to a maximum of one below the wealth level of the treasure. I reckon this explains it a little better than I could:

Barter posted:

A poor character who gets her hands on treasure worth a few gold coins will not be wealthy, but instead well off. Presumably as she spends some of it on clothes, grooming, repairs and paying off debts, and likely also due to lack of knowing how to be prudent with so much money. A well off character finding the same treasure would increase one class to wealthy.

While there isn't any real reason to count coins, it still helps to know what the coins are worth; Gold is incredibly valuable, and only wealthy nobles spend it regularly. Wealthy merchants and the gentry tend to trade mostly in silver, while commoners and townsfolk trade in iron coins. Dwarf coins are large and heavy, and are worth the most if you can find someone who'll take them. Imperial coinage is intricately carved by the elven mints, and is also worth more than usual coins. The only place where most coins are accepted is a trading hub named Holmcrag, and outside of dwarven fortresses, the empire and and the Bardur kingdoms, barter is far more common. There's also information about what is valuable in certain parts of the world, just in case the players wish to play as smugglers, but it's not especially important - beyond noting that acquiring culturally restricted weapons, like crossbows, is likely to be considerably more expensive than the listed price. Weight, much like money, is also abstracted; unless the character is carrying a shitton of small objects, how encumbered he is is generally determined by the heaviest object.

Finally, we get the equipment price lists, and move onto Sword and Armour. It's worth pointing out that any sword better than a shortsword requires wealth at Wealthy to purchase without reducing a character's wealth, so a character with the default wealth (Well Off) could conceivably be a poor, wandering swordsman.

Sword and Armour

This chapter begins with armour. Armour reduces incoming damage based on its armour rating, but heavier armour comes with penalties to movement. Armour should also be made to fit the character wearing it; depending on difference in size, armour can become even more cumbersome. Armour is designed to be combined together out of separate pieces, for example, a breastplate worn over a mail hauberk. Each possible type of armour is described in a paragraph or two, with full plate receiving extra in game lore.

Next up, we have melee weapons. These begin with unarmed attacks and continue through most forms of melee weapon. Some of these weapons come with a set damage rating (Superficial (1), Nasty (2), Grievous (3), Grim (4) or Mortal (5)), such as swords, or else the character's Strength score added to a modifier, such as clubs. These weapons are again given quick descriptions. Dwarves do not typically use swords; they prefer flails and axes.

After this, we have ranged weapons. As before, the same rules apply regarding damage, though they also come with a range interval. Interestingly enough, crossbows and bows come with piercing by default, and certain bolts and arrows add to that, making them very dangerous to lightly armoured targets.

This is followed by information regarding materials commonly used in weaponsmithing and armoursmithing, as well as some rules on weapon damage (basically, if there's lots of combat with little chance to maintain weapons, or if you try to parry a greatsword with bone spear, there's a chance that weapons will be damaged based on common sense, GM fiat and group consensus). It's at this point that the chapter ends, and we move onto actual game mechanics. Awesome.

Rolls and Rules

OK, so as was mentioned in the previous two updates, rolling is pretty simple; attribute determines the number of dice, skill determines the type (attribute rolls are assumed to be at d10), and the highest die determines the result. Oh, and there's the whole dice scaling thing of course. I personally think it's a pretty neat idea; quite simply, in order to scale the die roll, you either roll more, smaller dice or fewer, larger dice, with a one die minimum. This means that someone with a skill and attribute combination of 3d8 could roll 5d4 for an easy test in order to near enough guarantee success, or 1d12 in order to have at least some chance of passing a much harder test. This is limited by skill dependencies, as mentioned in the last update; any skill higher than the skill its dependent on must be scaled down to the same die type.

There are rules for difficulties ranging from 2 (easy) to 12 (insane), and all bonuses and penalties are in the form of extra or fewer dice. There are also rules for if you only have d6s available, as will be the case with many brand new gamers. There are several steps of success and failure depending on how much you beat (or missed) the difficulty by; Marginal, normal and Exceptional of each, as well as a draw for dead on, in the case of opposed rolls.

Next up, the book states that the GM should never lie about or simply ignore die rolls; there are already rules in place that allow either him or a player to do it openly (as I will describe later on). If failure is unacceptable, then don't roll the dice. There are also rules for combining skill tests into a single roll, for when multiple skills are involved in the same task; you scale all the skills involved to the same die type, then get the average number of dice. That's your roll. There are also the usual rules for helping each other, contested rolls and trying again at a task. Finally, there's the method for determining the average roll for a character's skill (what with scaling, and the highest die being the one that counts) - the skill die divided by 2, +1 for each die in the pool. 2d8, for example, with be 8/2, which is 4, +2 is 6.

The next part of this chapter covers fatigue. Fatigue is usually ignored in play, as it adds too much book keeping. It should only be used when it makes sense (forced march, arduous conditions and so forth). There are four levels of fatigue, not counting death from exhaustion - Fresh, Winded, Exhausted and Drained. Fresh is completely unfatigued; maybe a bit of sweating or hard breathing after a run. Winded is profuse sweating, such as after sprinting nonstop for a mile, though it still doesn't result in a penalty die rolls. Exhasted is the next stage, and the first to introduce a penalty; a -1 penalty to all actions. The character will be out of breath, bright red, sweating profusely and in desperate need of rest. Drained comes next, increasing the penalty to -2. At this point, the character is dizzy, aching and just about ready to collapse. The only way to recover from fatigue is through rest.

There is also chronic fatigue; this is more long term, and is the result of blood loss, or disease. Its length depends on the severity, and is recovered in stages. It stacks with regular fatigue, but is noted down separately. If chronic fatigue ever goes beyond Drained, the character is in serious danger of death.

Next up, a more thorough look at Triggers. Triggers are, simply put, what makes your character tick. The Characteristics and Aspirations that make up the triggers are what provide a character the opportunity to spend ammo, giving more ammo to the GM to then spend later on. When spending trigger ammo, at least one of the triggers per point of ammo spent must be relevant to the task at hand. One point may be spent to take the best result from an unscaled roll; that is, if a character has d10 in a skill, he gets a result of 10. Two points may be spent for the best scaled result; often resulting in a 12. Hence why multiple aspirations and characteristics need to be relevant to the roll in order for multiple points of trigger ammo to be spent at once. It may also be used to ignore fatigue and reduce the impact of being wounded in combat; one point to reduce teh severity of a wound, or two to prevent the long term effects from that injury (such as death or dismemberment).

The GM may spend trigger ammo for important NPCs, and may spend trigger ammo to reduce a player's dice pool immediately before a roll (this must be agreed to by both GM and Player, but it's one of only two ways for a player to get their trigger ammo back).

This is soon followed by Fear; this works about as you'd expect it to, complete with rules about the lengths a character will go to in order to get away from the source of their fear, and examples of which things are scarier than which. Willingly entering into a situation that your character knows means certain death or mutilation requires a fear check (a Demon attribute roll) of Insane difficulty (12) in order to actually do it. If you fail, you don't suffer the usual negative effects of fear; you simply are unable to bring yourself to sacrifice yourself. This means that for a guarantee of your character willingly going to their deaths, triggers need to be involved.

Next, we have social conflict. Social conflict works pretty well; it's a simple case of role playing the encouter with dice rolls added where necessary. An NPC's biases may provide bonuses or penalties, and particularly good (or particularly bad) role playing may influence the bonus or the penalty. Ideally, these rules should only be used by the players to achieve results; the GM should avoid using them against the players where possible and should simply role play the scene instead.

There are rules for item crafting which seem to work reasonably well; magical items aren't discussed yet, since magic hasn't been discussed yet, but making making masterwork items is. This is followed by foraging, which is followed by wilderness survival and hunting. These all work as one would expect them to, and should only really be used when acquiring food and water is of dramatic importance.

Finally, we have NPC skills. NPCs don't receive character sheets as such; they receive a single skill rating that is used for anything they ought to be good at. A bandit might have 3d6, for instance, and use that for anything a bandit ought to be good at, while other rolls may be lower at the GM's discretion.

Character Development

For a PC, character development is based around XP, which is earned every session, with bonuses after every major story arc. NPCs develop based on the number of sessions between meetings with the players. Younger characters learn quicker, so this is modeled too. This shouldn't be based around providing a balanced encounter; as has been stated before, it's up to the players to discover if they're in over their heads.

Here endeth the third entry into Crimson Exodus. Most of this entry was pretty dry, but it should be considerably more interesting next update - Combat and Trauma, as well as the in built combat encounter designed specifically for introducing new players to the combat system.

Combat, Trauma and an Ambush

posted by hectorgrey Original SA post

Sorry about the delay for this post; between typing up a post in Word, closing Word and losing the contents of my clipboard (because Word is stupid like that - maybe I should start using Open Office), the British National Student Roleplaying and Wargaming Competition over the last weekend and being busy at work, it was rather hard to find the time to get this sorted out. That being said, it's time to get started. Since absolutely no one responded one way or the other as regards demonstrating the basics of the Trauma book, I'm going to do it anyway because I really like that book. So, time for Combat, Trauma and a small combat example.

Oh, also I'd like to point out that the wiki contents are missing part 3 of this Writeup.

Let's Read Crimson Exodus

Part 4: Combat, Trauma and an Ambush

Much like the second update, I'm going to go ahead and do things out of order; Trauma contains all the rules regarding damage in combat, and in order for much of Combat to make sense, a basic understanding of how the Damage works is fairly important.


Damage in Crimson Exodus works a little like in the last game I wrote about, in that it ditches HP in favour of individual wounds to specific locations. Not counting completely insignificant wounds, such as cat scratches and the like, there are five levels of wound - Superficial, Nasty, Grievous, Grim and Mortal - and five locations - arms, legs, abdomen, chest and head. As described in the last update, each weapon has a default wound rating that it delivers, be it strength added to a modifier for a result of between 1 and 5, or a specific wound rating separated from strength.

Superficial wounds hurt like fuck and look pretty bad, but hardly ever lead to complications. Wimps (people with Strength 1) will be stunned by such a wound, and the wound takes 2 weeks to heal fully.

Nasty wounds are just that, and can cause some fairly serious complications, such as broken bones, potentially (but rarely) fatal bleeding, muscle or tendon damage and so forth. A Nasty wound causes a -1D penalty to all rolls, and will stun all but the toughest (people with Strength 4 or above). It takes three weeks for a Nasty wound to heal sufficiently to be considered a Superficial wound. Only the desperate, foolish or truly heroic fight on with a wound like this.

Grievous wounds are fucking gruesome. This is where death or permanent disability becomes a serious possibility if left untreated, and there are often some nasty complications. A Grievous wound causes a -2D penalty to all rolls and will stun even the hardest bastards you know. It takes four weeks for such a wound to heal sufficiently to be considered a Nasty wound, and the vast majority of NPCs will either surrender or flee at this point - often to then die from their wounds.

A Grim wound means you've just been seriously fucked up. At this point, you're out of the fight, and will die without medical aid. NPCs who receive such a wound are automatically considered dead (unless of course the players wish to save their lives, for whatever reason). Even once treated, Grim wounds to the head, chest or abdomen make all unaided physical activity impossible. A Grim wound to a limb, on the other hand, renders the limb useless, in addition to the -2D penalty of a Grievous wound. This lasts until, after five weeks, the wound is healed to the point where it's considered a Grievous wound.

A Mortal wound means you're as good as dead, and even if you're not, you're probably maimed. This is where lost limbs, severed heads and direct hits to the heart from a battleaxe go. If by some miracle you survive, it takes six weeks to heal to the point where the wound is considered a Grim wound; until such time, you're completely incapacitated.

The wound penalties do not stack; simply use the highest one.

After describing the different types of wound, the book goes on to point out that the circumstanes by which a person is incapacitated are completely unknown until Post Trauma is decided, after the battle. Unless of course, one uses the Trauma book, in which case the tables show exactly what damage the wound has caused.

Next up, we have rules for being stunned. Stunning lasts until the end of the following round, is effective immediately and has two effects. The first is a -1D penalty, which stacks with any wound penalty, while the second is that they go last during that round, unless they've already acted.

Head wounds can cause instant unconsciousness, which lasts for 1d12 minutes. The victim makes a spirit roll with a difficulty of 4, 6 or 8 for Superficial, Nasty or Grievous head wounds respectively. At this point, the book reiterates regarding wound penalties and points out that once a wound is treated, the penalty only applies to physical actions.

Wounds are each recorded separately on the character sheet, and the notation includes such things as wound penalty, whether you're currently stunned, how long it's going to take to heal, the location and any complications and/or treatment received. It's at this point that the book explains that wounds also reduce movement speed; something which probably should have been brought up earlier, but never mind; better late than never. Superficial wounds don't limit movement speed, Nasty wounds prevent a character from sprinting, Grievous wounds prevent movement faster than a walk, Grim wounds mean that a character probably needs help just to limp, and Mortal wounds leave the person unable to even stand.

For some reason, Armour and Fatigue penalties are brought up again here - the armour penalty applies to all physical actions while wearing a helmet gives an armour penalty to perception. Fatigue and Chronic Fatigue are noted down separately on the character sheet and the penalties for these affect all skill rolls (tiredness makes it hard to think, not just hard to to physical stuff).

Wound severity upon hitting someone is affected by how well you roll to hit; a marginal success reduces the severity by 1, while an exceptional success increases it by 1. Armour Rating reduces the damage further, and if the wound severity hits 0, this means that the armour deflects the attack. Weapons, on the other hand, may have a Penetration Rating, reducing the effectiveness of armour. Wound severity may also be affected by certain types of attack. Severity may go beyond Mortal; this is simply rounded down to Mortal once everything is taken into account. Finally, Ranged Attacks have their wound severity reduced if made at extreme range.

The book at this point recommends treating things like poison, allergic reactions and so forth in a similar way to bleeding for the purposes of tracking how long it takes for the person to die. It also reminds us that long combats can cause fatigue, and that most foes should either try to flee or surrender if seriously hurt.

Next up, we have a description of Post Trauma. Basically, during combat we don't really want to be arsed with things like exactly how many minutes away from bleeding to death a person is, or which exact bones are broken, so this sort of stuff is left until the fight ends. There are four types of trauma - Slashing, Crushing, Piercing and Burning. When using the Trauma book, you ignore this section of the chapter entirely - the book is a far more detailed replacement. In the absence of the Trauma book, these more simplified rules are used.

First, bleeding is determined by rolling a d4 for crushing wounds, a d6 for piercing wounds or a d8 for slashing wounds, and comparing the roll to a table. Superficial wounds don't cause any serious bleeding. Moderate bleeding causes +1 Chronic Fatigue unless treated in the same scene. Heavy bleeding causes +1 Chronic Fatigue unless treated with an exceptional success, herbs or magic in the same scene, and massive bleeding always causes +1 Chronic Fatigue. This stacks with Chronic Fatigue from other bleeding wounds.

Heavy and massive bleeding both lead to shock if not treated quickly enough; it takes around ten minutes for heavy bleeding, or two minutes for massive. Chronic Fatigue caused by blood loss can eventually lead to anaemia, which triples the recovery time on all fatigue. Anaemia takes two weeks of no blood loss and plenty of iron in the diet to cure. If the Anaemia isn't cured within two months, this causes an increase of +1 Chronic Fatigue each week until it eventually kills the character. This should never happen, unless the party medic is a fucking retard.

Shock, on the other hand, is far more likely should bleeding be heavy enough and remain untreated long enough. Shock has four stages, with each stage lasting as long as it took for shock to develop in the first place. Stage 1 is just a warning - the character becomes weak, has cold, clammy skin, is pale from blood loss, is breathing far quicker than usual and is either anxious or giddy. Stage 2 is more serious, causing blurred vision and dizziness as the character slips in and out of consciousness. At Stage 3, the character is unconscious and has a weak pulse, and suffers minor brain damage from lack of oxygen. At Stage 4, major brain damage occurs, and by the end of stage 4, the brain has died from lack of oxygen. Shock can be treated, but any brain damage caused is permanent.

Next, broken bones is determined, by rolling a d8 for crushing wounds, a d6 for slashing and a d4 for piercing. A simple fracture is easily mended by immobilising the limb, and will only result in a mal-union on a 6 on a d6 roll if left untreated. A complex fracture often requires the bone to be reset before the limb is immobilised, or else a mal-union will always occur. A mal-union is basically where the bone doesn't heal right, and can only be fixed by re-breaking the bone in order to set it properly.

Finally, Internal trauma becomes the problem. This is rolled for with a d8 for piercing wounds, or a d6 for blunt or slashing wounds. Internal trauma may be bad, debilitating or deadly. Surgery is always reguired for treatment, and surgery is not an easy thing. Bad internal trauma just causes scarring or deformity, but nothing major enough for a permanent penalty. Debilitating internal trauma will cause a permanent penalty to relevant actions if left untreated, while deadly internal trauma ought to be self explanatory.

The book then plugs the Trauma book; something that I normally wouldn't like to see in a book like this, but having read the Trauma book first, I quite agree. After that, we have healing. First, we roll for an infection; this is a spirit roll with a difficulty based on the severity of the worst injury, and if successful, infection isn't a proble. A marginal failure causes a minor infection, a normal failure causes a worse one which may result in gangrene if left untreated, and an exceptional failure causes a fever which will kill unless treated quickly. Surgery may also cause an infection, if done somewhere that isn't sufficiently clean.

The healing times are then reiterated. Each wound heals separately from the rest, all of them healing simultaneously. This means that three superficial wounds will heal at the same time, while a nasty wound aqcuired at the same time would still be a week away from becoming superficial. Children heal faster than adults, and each measure of a week should be aken as five days, and healing time may be affected by outside influences. Infected wounds don't heal until the infection is cured.

Burns are discussed next. Burns are really, really fucking nasty. Burns roll a d8 for bleeding and for internal trauma, but do not cause broken bones for obvious reasons. Armour may reduce the severity of a burn, though metal armour makes electrical burns worse. Also, if the area is still exposed to flames or acid, the severity of the burn increases. In short, getting burned really fucking sucks. Avoid it where possible.

Suffocation causes unconsciousness in about half a minute, brain damage in about four minutes, and death in around seven. This may be longer if the airway is only partially blocked, If the arteries are constricted, this time is reduced. Being strangled really fucking sucks. Avoid it where possible.

Next up, we have explosions. These basically cause burns and shrapnel damage. Getting caught in an explosion really fucking sucks. Avoid it where possible.

Finally, we have falling. Falling causes multiple crushing wounds, with the number and severity determined by the distance of the fall. Location is determined randomly, and if the same location is determined multiple times, that wound is ignored. Falling from a significant height really, really fucking sucks. Do try to avoid it where possible.


Right, now that that damage is out of the way, it's time to detail how to avoid receiving that damage - preferably by causing it to someone else. As in most games, combat is divided into rounds. Each round lasts for three seconds, and a character may use up to two actions in a round; usually on their turn, but sometimes before or after. Initiative is rolled each round, using a Demon roll. The players roll one value for all of their allies, to make things a little quicker. Important NPCs actually get their own initiative.

The first action a character makes is, naturally the primary action, while the second action is the secondary action. Movement may, in most circumstances, only be made with the primary action, so if this has already been used to defend against an attack, the character doesn't get to move. The two actions must be different, so two attacks with the same weapon are usually not possible.

If two characters have the same initiative, PCs go before NPCs, NPCs are sorted out in any convenient order, and if two actions by people with tied initiative are in direct conflict, they roll a contested Reflex roll to determine who acts first. An action may be held if the character doesn't wish to act immediately; they may finish the action at any point until character reaches his initiative in the following round, interrupting a different character if they wish. If the character interrupts, he and the person he's interrupting must roll contested Reflex rolls to determine who acts first. This works in a similar way to Readying an action in D&D. This and the Interrupt, which is similar to the Attack of Opportunity from D&D, only it costs an action, are the only things I can think of that are similar to that ruleset in this combat system. The book then goes on to explain the use of ambushes, and how to handle surprise attacks.

Next up, we have Melee Attacks. These are made using the Melee skill, and are usually contested, should the defender choose to use an action to do so. Otherwise, only a 2 is required to score a hit. When attacking an unaware target, there's no need to roll - simply declare the location and the wound severity - usually the highest a weapon is capable of. If the defender successfully defends, and gets at least a normal success, he may immediately counterattack with his other action, should he still have one. Usually, location is determined randomly, using a d8 roll. The attacker may choose to take a -1D penalty to target a specific area, however, though this requires the use of both actions on the one attack. A weapon may be drawn and used in the same action, but this also gives a -1D penalty.

Ranged attacks are rolled in much the same way, and are defended against in much the same way, though parries take a -2D penalty. Dodging doesn't take a penalty, however, and the counterattack may be used to dive into cover. When the target doesn't defend, the difficulty is assumed to be 4. The attacker must also take range into account, but he may use an arched trajectory in order to double the range at the expense of a -1D penalty to the attack roll and a reduced wound severity. Target movement causes a penalty, but aiming grants a bonus. Also, sufficiently large or small targets may increase or reduce the range penalty.

Reloading a weapon requires an action, and this must be done after each attack for most ranged weapons, including bows, crossbows and slings. Firing into melee is dangerous, and on a marginal success or marginal failure, the friendly target is hit instead. Finally, trying to aim and shoot at someone who is swinging a sword at you is suicidal, so it doesn't work.

Defending against an attack is pretty simple; you roll the required skill, and hope you get a higher roll than the guy attacking you. On a normal success, if the primary action was used to defend, the secondary action may be used to immediately counter attack. This happens immediately, but it takes a penalty if performed with the same weapon used to parry. An action may also be held in order to defend an ally, but this must be declared at the character's initiative.

Next up, we have a list of the different types of attack and defence.

Deadly Strike - A deadly strike requires the use of both actions and gives a -2D penalty to the attack roll, but the attacker may declare the wound location and increase the wound's severity by 2. Armour may be less effective against this attack as well, depending on location and the type of armour worn.

Desperate Defence - A desperate defence also requires both actions, and it adds a +1D to the defence roll. This naturally means that the defender cannot counter attack.

Feint - A feint grants a bonus die to the attack, but reduces the wound severity by one. It may only ever be used against a given combatant once.

Focused Strike - A focused strike requires both of the actions, and provides +1D to the attack roll.

Forceful Strike - A forceful strike causes a -1D penalty to the attack roll in exchange for increasing the wound severity by one. This may be used in conjunction with Deadly Strike for a total of -3D in exchange for three additional wound severity levels.

Harass - Harassment deals no damage, but instead simply makes the opponenet suffer a -1D penalty to all actions until the end of the next round.

Next up, we have movement. A character can walk a number of meters equal to his agility per round. Jogging doubles this, running quadruples it and sprinting multiplies it by six. Running adds a -1D penalty to any further actions, while sprinting prevents any further actions. A stunned character can only move at a walk. When mounted, a combatant gets a +1D bonus against people on foot. However, he may only use the lower of his Melee or Athletics (Riding) skill to parry.

Charging may be done either mounted or on foot, but for obvious reasons it's better while you're mounted. While charging, you may make ranged attacks with thrown weapons provided you have a melee weapon in your hand once you reach your target. On foot, you get a +1D bonus to attack, or a +2D bonus when mounted. This isn't reduced by the usual movement penalties. While mounted, the wound severity for long spears or lances is also increased by one. While mounted, it's also possible to attempt to trample one or several people, though untrained mounts may throw the rider instead.

Beyond the standard melee defences, there are three extra ways to defend against a charge - you may charge yourself, and once both sides clash a reflex roll is made to determine who strikes first; you may ready an attack against the chargers, and this works the same way (though if you do this with a pike, you automatically strike first, you don't take its usual attack penalty and you gain the same bonus to attack as the person charging), or you may shoot the bastard while he's still charging, and hope you kill him before he gets to you.

At this point, the book reaches the section about reach advantage. Basically, people with longer weapons find it easier to avoid being hit, and get a +1D bonus to defend per difference in weapon length. This doesn't apply to surprise attacks, or combat in a confined space.

Secondary actions are fairly simple, but must be different to the first action. This means that only one attack may be made with the same weapon, thus granting dual wielding its advantage. It may be used to defend against attacks, though this doesn't allow for a counter attack (since the primary action has already been used).

Next up, we have multiple people trying to target the same people. This can lead to unfortunate accidents, where one person hits a friend instead of the enemy. On a marginal success, your attack hits a random ally instead of the intended target.

After a page or so of suggestions about how one might improvise during combat, we move onto the grappling rules. Grappling works as one might expect; you start the grapple, you may attempt to end the grapple, hold someone in place, hit them, take them to the ground or break something. You can also throw them to the ground. Cover is described next, and works exactly as you'd expect it to.

Finally, we have a little bit of description of how to use the scene of a fight to make the combat more interesting. When an environment affects all combatants equally, it doesn't give any penalties or bonuses because this results in pointless book keeping. Lighting, weather and space are the things covered here, and the only thing that always gives a penalty is not having enough space to swing one's weapon.

An Ambush

And now, for the combat example. This is a scenario in the book that's designed to run a player through combat for the first time, just to get them used to how it works. I will run through the scenario once, then deal with the post trauma twice; once using the rules presented in this book, and once using the Trauma book.

The Fight

Round 1:

A young courier is heading down the road with an urgent message for the king when an old, scruffy looking man with a mean looking dagger steps out in front of him.

"End of the road for you, boy," he says with a grin. The player draws a shortsword and readies his light shield, and the fight begins.

Round 2:

Courier (3d8, 4d8 to block with shield) - 3
Old Man (3d6, 1d6 to parry with dagger) - 10
? (2d8, 1d8 to parry with club) - 6

The old man just stands there, and the courier smells a rat (his Alertness average is 6, and someone is sneaking up on him but rolled a 5). He turns around just in time to see a massive hulk of a man about to brain him with a club (rolls a 7 to hit). By some miracle, the courier places his shield in the way of the club (an 8 to block), and avoids having his head smashed in. At this point, the old man moves to engage, trying to shank the young courier in the back. He knows that the courier only has one action remaining, so he goes with a deadly strike - he only rolls a single d6, but still manages to roll a 4. He thrusts his dagger upwards at the courier's weapon arm, but the arm is easily pulled out of the way. Still, the courier is surrounded, and has no remaining actions as his turn rolls around.

Round 3:

Courier - 1
Old Man - 10
Big Guy - 3

By sheer coincidence, the order of turns remains the same. This time, the old man tries to shove the courier off balance (4). Knowing that he'll need his shield to defend against the big guy's club, he attempts to dodge (6). He dodges easily out of the way and, knowing that the big guy is too much of a threat, opts not to counter attack. The big guy swings his club once again (6), and the courier manages to block the attack. Still, he knows that he needs to sieze the initiative soon, or else he's dead. With no further actions left to make, the round ends.

Round 4:

Courier - 10
Old Man - 9
Big Guy - 10

And as if by magic, the courier gets his chance. He thrusts his shortsword at the big guy (8), who also takes a swing at the courier. The big guy is just marginally slower on the draw (Courier scales his reflex roll to 1d12 and rolls an 8; the big guy gets a 6 on 2d10), so his attcak lands, an exceptional success against the default difficulty of 2. This deals a Grim wound to the big guy's head (8 for location roll), dropping him like a sack of bricks. The old man tries to shove the courier off balance once again, combining his attack with a feint for an extra die and scaling up to 3d8 (he still only rolls a 3). The courier easily defends (8), and the round ends.

Round 5:

Courier - 6
Old Man - 1
Big Guy - Incapacitated

As round five begins, the tables have turned, leaving the courier going first. He decides to go for a deadly strike, and scales his dice down to 2d6 (though he still somehow makes a 6). The old man tries desperately to dodge (4), but to no avail as he is brutally cut down for a mortal wound to his weapon arm. The fight is over, and after wiping the blood from his blade, the courier continues on his way.

Post Trauma - core rules edition

There were only two wounds here, which is lucky because this makes things easier. First, we'll deal with the Grim piercing wound to the big guy's head. A roll of 3 for bleeding results in Moderate bleeding. This isn't likely to be fatal, but he'll certainly lose a few pints of blood. Next, we roll a 3 on 1d4 for any broken bones, giving us a simple fracture. In addition to the bleeding, the big guy has a fractured skull. Finally, we roll a d8 for internal trauma. A 4 gives us debilitating internal trauma; he won't die from it, but his brain is certainly damaged. He's hurt pretty bad, and he'll have a hell of a headache later, but he'll probably live. By some miracle, it doesn't even get infected.

The old man, on the other hand, is a different story. He took a Mortal slashing wound to his weapon arm. First, we roll a d8 for bleeding, giving us a result of 7 - massive bleeding. If this guy isn't treated within ten minutes, he's dead. Next up, we roll a d6 for broken bones, getting a 2 - a simple fracture. Looks like we sliced this guy's major blood vessels open and broke his arm to boot. Finally, we roll a d6 for internal trauma. We get a 4 for more debilitating internal trauma. Looks like we cut a few tendons too. Not that he needs to worry about that - the fact that he'll be dead in less time than it took you to read this post is probably more worrying for him.

Post Trauma - Trauma edition

Once again, only two wounds. Less die rolling here, since most of the effects are static. First, we'll deal with the big guy's head wound. We roll a d6 on the Grim Head Wounds table, getting a 4. This comes with the description "Shatters teeth as it penetrates though the roof of the mouth, penetrating deep into the head." Nice. The mouth is pierced and teeth are broken, which may be swallowed, since the big guy is unconscious and bleeding heavily. There is also some minor brain damage, and most of the bleeding is within the skull. We roll a spirit check and fail, meaning that without treatment, he'll die within 15 minutes. Still, the brain damage means that even if he is cured, he'll still have two mental disorders. A 1 and a 6 on the location table tells us that they'll be in the Frontal Lobes and the Occipital Lobes (forehead and back of the head). A 3 on the Frontal Lobe table shows that he'll never be able to talk. He can understand others, but can't pronounce words at all. A 5 on the Occipital Lobe Table shows that his vision is shot to hell - he can't make out exactly where things are, or how large or small they are. In other words, even if someone gives him treatment and he somehow survives, he's pretty fucked.

The old man, on the other hand, rolls a 6 on his d6, resulting in his arm being severed at the shoulder. Massive bleeding ensures that he's only got ten minutes to live without treatment, and even with treatment, he's going to live the rest of his life an arm short.

So, here endeth the fourth entry into Crimson Exodus. I hope you found this interesting; I know I certainly did. I personally prefer to use the book - Post Trauma for Grim and Mortal wounds is only rarely sorted out for NPCs, since they're not generally important enough for it to matter, and even with them, it's only really head and chest wounds that require lots of additional rolling. Well, them and burns - getting burned sucks even more when you use the Trauma book. Next up, we have Game Mastery, and after that, we get to start on how magic works in this setting.