Stress Tracks and Consequences
Stress Tracks are a measure of your character’s ability to stay in the action, be it combat, social, or exploration encounter. Should one of your stress tracks reach zero your character is removed from the scene, whether due to being knocked unconscious, captured, frustrated, or just plain embarrassed. There are two stress tracks: Constitution and Composure.
Constitution – This is the measure of your body’s ability to take physical damage. It is determined by adding 4 to your Physical Fitness skill rating.
Composure – This is the measure of your mind’s ability to handle mental duress. It is determined by adding 4 to your Mental Vigor skill rating.
Recovering from Stress
Stress Tracks recover in one of three ways: during a refresh, by character action, and at the end of an issue.
During refresh a character may attempt to recover from Stress on his own. This is accomplished by making either a Physical Fitness or Mental Vigor roll to recover Constitution or Composure respectively. The character regains Stress Track boxes at the rate of one per Shift against a difficulty of 4. The character may only make an attempt on one Stress Track or the other per Refresh.
During a refresh a character may attempt to assist in the recovery of another character’s Stress. This is accomplished by making a Medicine roll. The character receiving the medical care regains both Stress Track boxes at the rate of one per Shift against a difficulty of 2. The character may only make one Medicine roll per Refresh.
At the end of an issue all characters regain all Stress Track damage. This is done prior to Advancement and is considered a finalization of all conflicts.
Consequences are more lasting effects from conflict. Bruises, sprains, phobias; these all develop because of damage to Stress Tracks. Consequences are attained in one of two ways: any time a chracter takes damage to a Stress Track he may choose to take a consequences instead, and any time a character takes damage to a Stress Track that would reduce the remaining total to zero or lower he must take a consequence.
Consequences act as aspects and may be tagged, compelled or invoked at any time after the character has gained them. During the conflict they were inflicted every opponenet knows of the Consequence without having to discover it. However, any conflicts after the first, opponenets may be required to discover the aspect prior to being allowed to tag it.
Consequences should be allowed to be determined by the player, but the consequence should match the form of conflict it was inflicted by. The first consequence recieved is considered mild, the second, moderate, and the third severe, which determines how and when they may be recovered from. A character may only take 3 consequences at any one time.
Consequences result in a -2, -4, and -6 to all die rolls respectively with only the highest value of Consequence being used. Being that Consequences are recovered from in the order they were recieved this means a character will always be suffering from their most severe Consequence until it is removed from their character sheet.
Sample consequences follow:
|Lethal Conflict||Nonlethal Conflict||Physical Conflict|
|Mental Conflict||Social Conflict||Sanity Conflict|
Recovering from Consequences
Consequences can be recovered from just as with Stress Tracks. Wounds can be sewn closed, rumors can become quieted, and hindsight is 20/20. The exact method of how a Consequence is recovered from may vary by narrative, but functionally they remain the same.
Any time a character would have been able to rest and “take a breather” a mild Consequence may be removed. For moderate Consequences more time must have been able to pass, normally if a Refresh is called mid-issue. Severe Consequences require even more time and attention nromally only being allowed to be removed between issues.
Unlike other games a character’s “health” is not a measure of their life. Having all three Consequences and a completely depleted Constitution and Composure Stress Track does not mean a character is dead, merely unable to continue to participate in the current scene. Being a narrative game this means the character could be described as being in any one of a number of states aggreeable to both the player and the Game Master.
For a character to truly be dead both the player and GM must agree upon the result prior to it happening. It can be used as a point of dramatic tension or an excuse for new character creation. However, it must always be integral to the story.