Complications and Trauma

Complications

Complications represent the negative consequences of a conflict. When characters fight, the outcome is often determined by how much Complication each side inflicts on the other. Complications are rated by a die, and is added into the opposition’s dice pool when it would affect a character’s ability to succeed in what they’re trying to do.

A Complication starts out with a die rating equal to the Complication die that was used to inflict it. If more Complication of the same type is inflicted, compare the old and new Complication dice: if the new die is larger than the old, replace the old rating with the new. If the new die is equal to or less than the old, step the old die up by one.

Once any Complication exceeds D12, the character is Knocked Out and picks up a D6 of Trauma, a type of long-term Complication, which takes longer to recover from. This can happen multiple times, with Trauma stepping up by one until it exceeds D12. If for some reason your Trauma is stepped up beyond D12, your character is dead, in a vegetative state, or otherwise out of the story.

The three broad categories of Complication are Physical, Mental, and Social. A character can have any number of Complications in each category, but if a any Complications are used in their opposition’s dice pool one of those Complications must be increased as a result of the Complication Roll. If the opposition didn’t, or couldn’t, use any of a character’s existing Complications then the result of the Complication Roll can either create a new Complication or step up an existing one, at the loser’s discretion.

You may also use your own Complications to your benefit if your opposition isn’t using it. Regardless of who starts the Conflict, the opposition always gets the first chance to use your Complications. Doing so steps up your Complication by one, though, so you might not want to do this too often. You can’t use Trauma in this manner.

Getting Knocked Out

Anytime your character is dealt Trauma, they are also Knocked Out. Getting Knocked Out can mean many things. It may simply mean you fall unconscious. It may mean you collapse in doubt and angst. It may mean you stalk out of the room before you hurt someone. It may mean you stare out a window plotting revenge. When you Knock Out, it’s up to you to decide what it means in the story. Whatever the details, though, you’re out for the rest of the scene.

When you are Knocked Out, you may not make any die rolls or spend Plot Points for the rest of the scene. Additionally, you will not be able to reliably remember what happened later. You may be there, you might even roleplay and react within the bounds of what’s happening in the story, but you’re no use when it comes to dice and you’re useless as a witness for what happened right in front of you.

Examples of Complications

This is far from an exhaustive list of Complications, but a few to help get the ball rolling. Remember to keep Complications vague so they come into play. One of the big advantages to a broader Complication is that it can expand with time. This is why “Injured” is better than “Broken Arm”, even if that is the exact injury. In a later fight the character could be Injured further by getting a broken nose or stab wound, but outside of “Severed Arm” there isn’t a lot of room for expansion with that “Broken Arm”.

Afraid: the feeling fear or being frightened.
Angry: having a strong feeling of or showing annoyance, displeasure, or hostility; full of anger.
Anxious: experiencing worry, unease, or nervousness, typically about an imminent event or something with an uncertain outcome.
Bitter: being marked by resentment or cynicism.
Cold: of or at a low or relatively low temperature, esp. when compared with the human body.
Crippled: being unable to move or walk properly.
Delusional: suffering from or being characterized by n idiosyncratic belief or impression that is firmly maintained despite being contradicted by what is generally accepted as reality.
Depressed: being in a state of general unhappiness or despondency.
Distracted: being unable to concentrate because one’s mind is preoccupied.
Embarrassed: feeling or showing self-consciousness, shame, or awkwardness.
Exhausted: being drained of one’s physical or mental resources.
Hysterical: being affected by uncontrolled extreme emotion.
Injured: suffering physical harm or damage to a part of one’s body.
Insecure: being not confident or assured.
Intoxicated: when an alcoholic drink or a drug cause someone to lose control of their faculties or behavior.
Isolated: being far away from other places, buildings, or people by having minimal contact or little in common with others.
Overconfident: marked by excessive feeling or belief that one can rely on someone or something.
Panicked: to be affected by sudden uncontrollable fear or anxiety, often causing wildly unthinking behavior.
Rash: displaying or proceeding from a lack of careful consideration of the possible consequences of an action
Shaken: to be disturbed psychologically as if by a physical jolt or shock.
Sick: to be affected by physical or mental illness.
Stubborn: Having or showing dogged determination not to change one’s attitude or position on something, esp. in spite of good arguments or reasons
Suspicious: having or showing a cautious distrust of someone or something.
Tired: to be in need of sleep or rest.
Uncertain: not able to be relied on, not known or definite.

Recovering from Complications

Complications always steps back by one at the end of the scene it’s accumulated in, i.e. after the action is over and everyone’s resting up, traveling somewhere else, or talking. If you have D10 Distracted Complication, it steps back to D8, and so forth. All D4 Complication goes away. Trauma doesn’t get better in this manner.

Complications also step back by one at the end of the game session (or every few hours for marathon gaming sessions). This works like end of scene recovery, including not effecting Trauma.

Characters can recover faster by performing a Test to remove someone else’s Complication (but not your own). Pick a Complication on another Lead, describe what you’re doing to remove his Complication, assemble your dice pool as usual, and roll. You may add in a trait from another player’s character, too, if it’s appropriate, but you need to hand them a plot point for it.

The person you’re trying to heal opposes this with a pool composed of all of his Complication and Trauma dice, not just the one you’re trying to recover, as well as a die for the situation: D6 for peaceful or relaxed environment, D8 for busy or noisy environment, D10 for challenging or dangerous environment, and D12 for cataclysmic or extremely hazardous environment.

If you win, the Complication goes away. If you lose, the Complication still steps down once.

You can do this multiple times during an episode, but not in back-to-back scenes.

Trauma

When Complication become Trauma, it looses its definition and falls wholly into one of the three broad categories; Physical, Mental, or Social. Whatever broad type of Complication causes the Trauma determines the type of Trauma. For example, if a character’s [Physical] Injured Complication is pushed past a D12, his Physical Trauma steps up a die size.

Once any Complication exceeds D12, the character is picks up a D6 of Trauma, a type of long-term Complication, which takes longer to recover from. This can happen multiple times, with Trauma stepping up by one until it exceeds D12. If for some reason your Trauma is stepped up beyond D12, your character is dead, in a vegetative state, or otherwise out of the story.

When a character incurs Trauma, the inflicting Complication is also removed. Being “Injured” seems like less of a build deal when you have serious Physical Trauma, you have bigger things to worry about.

Examples of Trauma

Physical trauma can include things like serious wounds, broken limbs, system-­wide infection, missing limbs, starvation, or poisoning.

Mental trauma includes memory lapses, identity crisis, or impaired reasoning, severe phobias, crippling depression, or persistent rage.

Social trauma means ostracization, post traumatic stress disorder, isolation, shunning, or exile.

Recovering from Trauma

Trauma is much harder to recover from. Treatment works a lot like Complication recovery but can only be attempted this once per session. Characters still perform a Test to reduce someone else’s Trauma (but not your own). Pick a Trauma on another Lead, describe what you’re doing to reduce his Trauma, assemble your dice pool as usual, and roll. You may add in a trait from another player’s character, too, if it’s appropriate, but you need to hand them a plot point for it.

The person you’re trying to heal opposes this with a pool composed of all of his Complication and Trauma dice, not just the one you’re trying to recover, as well as a die for the situation: D6 for peaceful or relaxed environment, D8 for busy or noisy environment, D10 for challenging or dangerous environment, and D12 for cataclysmic or extremely hazardous environment.

If you succeed on the roll, the treatment worked and your Trauma steps down once. If you fail on the roll, the Trauma steps up once.

Treatment of Trauma also requires some long-term narrative description, such as spending a few weeks in a clinic, recuperating in the safehouse without any interruption, or simply rebuilding friendships over the course of weeks..

Abilities and Recovery

Some characters have Assets (Distinctions and Abilities) that allow for recovery. These have the Recover benefit and typically involves spending a Plot Point.

If your Asset’s die rating is greater than the Complication die rating, the Complication is eliminated; erase it from your sheet. If your Complication die rating is equal to or greater than your Assets’s die rating, this benefit steps back your Complication by one. Recover can also step back Trauma once if the Asset’s die rating is greater than the Trauma’s die rating.

You can only Recover to a Complication or Trauma once per Asset and can only be used when there is an extended downtime similar to the time needed to recover from Trauma.

Complications and Trauma

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