Saturday, January 16, 2010

A Cure for Seventeen Stab Wounds in the Back

Hey ho there -- I've been a little FATE-crazy lately, but that doesn't mean that development on other games has stopped.

In Leftovers, healing by conventional means isn't easy. It's a lot more reliable to cut something off a defeated Horror and stick it on yourself than to rely on the medical skills of your comrades. And the more Wounds you've taken, the harder it is to heal any of them. For example, if you've only taken 1 Wound, it's relatively simple to take care of it, but if you've taken 5 Wounds -- i.e., you're at death's door -- even healing one of them is a daunting task.

Sticking on a Graft, though, auto-heals Wounds. The bigger the Graft, the more Wounds are healed. This is how people end up with Grafts against their will -- simply put, sometimes it's the only way to survive.

The question is this: Since Grafts generally replace body parts like arms, legs, and eyes, how many Wounds does it take to actually lose an arm, leg, or eye? I mean, if you haven't had one of those things cut off, ripped off, or gouged out, does it make sense to, say, cut off a hand just so you can justify a Graft and heal a couple Wounds?

So as I see it, there's a choice between two options. One is logical but requires bookkeeping, and the other is less logical but simpler.
  • Track individual hits. A 2-Wound hit justifies a Minor Graft, a 3-Wound hit justifies a Lesser Graft, and a 4-Wound hit qualifies you for a Greater Graft.
    • This makes sense, but keeping track of how many Wounds each hit did is a potential hassle. Also, it might suck if you've been hit for 1 Wound five times. Healing with Medical might prove fatal.
  • Don't worry about how damaging any single successful attack, and just treat Wounds taken as a slush-fund to "pay" for Grafts, using the same 2/3/4 cost structure as above.
    • This makes less sense -- if you've just taken a few 1-Wound hits, it's hard to believe one was just a scratch while another meant losing an eye, even though they each only dealt 1 Wound -- but it doesn't require tracking anything except your total Wounds, which you're doing anyway.
I lean toward the second, just because it's faster and not so fiddly, but I can't deny how intuitive and internally consistent the first option is. It just makes sense. But at the end of the day, Leftovers is much less about sense and reality than about having fun, so the quicker, more-fun option should win out. If that means retroactively interpreting your 5 Wounds as having lost both your arms sometime during the fight, then go ahead and do that. The bigger point, I guess, is that you need to have taken at least 4 Wounds to justify something like that. Surely that much verisimilitude can live side-by-side with loosey-goosey fun.

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