This rule replaces the permanent loss of stamina for bleeding out (Dungeon Crawl Classics (DCC 📖) p93). It builds on Goblin Punch’s “Death, Trauma, and Retirement: I’m Gettin' Too Old For This Shit." I have only established an algorithm, I have not brought this to the game table.
A character that was bleeding out suffers trauma from their near fatal injuries. Anyone that is saved from bleeding out gains one point of Trauma, adds a question mark to their Trauma score. They also gain a terrible scar from the wound that downed them.
When the characters come to a place they could conceivably retire, the Judge may call for a Trauma check. All characters with a question mark by their Trauma score must roll a d20. If they roll equal-or-less than their Trauma score, the character decides to retire. Otherwise, erase the question mark as the character is ready to continue adventuring.
When a character retires, the Judge records the following:
- The character’s Luck score and modifier
- The character’s Trauma score at the time of retirement
- Complication score - it starts at 0
- A Complication die indicating the potential severity of the complications the character might experience (d3 is minimal, d30 is Orcus knows their true name)
- Possible complications - unfinished business, debts, patron bonds, etc.
Between each session the Judge should check how retirement is treating each retired character.
Retirement & Complication Procedure
Check the character’s Trauma If the character’s Trauma is greater than 0, roll a Luck check On success, reduce Trauma by one. If Trauma is 0, reduce the Trauma die by one step. On failure, roll the character’s Complication die If the result is 3 or greater add the result to their current Complication score Otherwise, if the character’s Trauma is 0 Decrease the character’s complication die one-step Check for any complications If the complication die is a d3 or greater, roll Luck again, with a Difficulty Class (DC 📖) equal to the character’s complication score On success, no new complications occur. On failure, if a retired character is Desperate, that characters complications have taken out the character. Otherwise mark the character as Desperate.
Characters with 0 Trauma are free to begin adventuring again. When a character reaches 0 Trauma, the Judge should ask if the previous player would like to play that character.
There are a lot of moving parts in this algorithm, but the key considerations are:
- What was their trauma when they failed their Trauma check?
- What is their luck score?
I decided that a person still recovering from the trauma of adventuring is ill-prepared to cope with the complications that come from adventuring.
I also wanted a point when desperation sets in for retired characters. Their complications have finally caught up with them. It is a chance for them to reach out to the heroes.
|Staring Complication Die||Uneventful (Average Checks)||Dead (Average Checks)||Checks While Desperate|
|d3||54.9% (7.42)||45.1% (9.65)||3.12|
|d4||42.33% (6.96)||57.67% (7.95)||2.56|
|d5||34.36% (7.1)||65.64% (7.08)||2.25|
|d6||28.8% (7.55)||71.2% (6.52)||2.09|
|d7||24.75% (8.17)||75.25% (6.15)||1.96|
|d8||22.0% (8.86)||78.0% (5.84)||1.87|
|d10||18.78% (9.52)||81.22% (5.34)||1.72|
|d12||16.98% (10.3)||83.02% (4.98)||1.6|
|d14||15.76% (11.18)||84.24% (4.71)||1.52|
|d16||15.04% (12.07)||84.96% (4.49)||1.45|
|d20||14.26% (12.97)||85.74% (4.13)||1.34|
|d24||13.76% (13.84)||86.24% (3.9)||1.28|
|d30||13.44% (14.79)||86.56% (3.7)||1.21|
The average checks in parentheses is the average number of retirement procedure iterations required to get to that state – dead or uneventful.
For those interested, I wrote a Ruby script to simulate through these procedures.