Taking hits is both simple and extremely complex and depends entirely on a few things.
- How ‘tough’ your character is – aka are they ‘weak’, ‘standard hero’ or ‘extra tough’
- What armour your character is wearing
- Where you are hit
- They quality of the blow/shot that hit you
Okay, let me break it down really simply and make it more complex.
Toughness (assuming un armoured)
If your character is ‘weak’, they take one hit and drop to the floor screaming
If your character is ‘standard’ they take one hit as a flesh wound (remember to react!) and the SECOND hit drops them to the floor screaming
If your character is ‘tough’ they take two hits as a flesh wound and the THIRD hit drops them to the floor screaming
Armour (assuming you’ve bit hit on an armoured area)
Think of armour as adding an extra hit or two depending on the type of armour it is. Metal armour would naturally be pretty damn good against most stuff but potentially less use than a paper bag if you’re shot point blank with a pistol or longbow.
Again leathers could be fairly basic and not great in most fights but if someone comes at you with a piddly slashing knife then you can be pretty comfortable you can take a few cuts before it’s not doing its job anymore.
In essence think about what’s hitting you and react appropriately.
Where you are hit
It doesn’t matter how tough you are, if you’re hit in the face with a two handed axe then you’re probably going down. Same if you’re hit in any other vital area. Key to this is roleplay, and reacting improvising accordingly. A leg hit’ll make you limp and maybe even break a limb, a torso hit might have less obvious damage but give you internal bleeding or simply be a dramatic cut. Don’t be afraid to give your friendly healer some prompts as it’ll give them a chance to get busy with the surgery roleplay and spreads the love around. Equally your healer might decide a wound is worse (or better) than you think it is.
In the end roleplay is king and queen.
They quality of the blow/shot that hit you
Along with your toughness, armour and location you have to consider the kind of hit you took and that’s where things can get more complicated. We always hope that a good dramatic blow will hit you and that you’ll react accordingly but sometimes it doesn’t pan out that way or perhaps you move into an odd position at the last moment (or a sword gets caught on branches) and instead of that solid hit you get a glancing blow, light slash or minor gut. Perhaps the person that’s fighting you is playing a weakling or someone unused to weapons – again you might not get that solid hit and instead get something that in your mind is more like a flesh wound or 1/2 hit.
If that’s the case, and you’ve roleplayed accordingly, go with it. Just remember that if you keep on getting flesh wounds to the same location then they’ll SOON mount up into really real damage.
Also remember, don’t take the piss.
The final ingredient can mess up all of the above but is no less legitimate.
Sometimes no matter how tough you are it’s appropriate to drop like a sack of spuds (especially if it gives others some good game).
Equally for the berserk fighter who’s just watched his friends die it’s more than appropriate to take a few more hits (especially if this is YOUR dramatic death scene). And if you’ve set something up in advance through magic, roleplay or other means – ham it up, let the other players and crew know that something special is happening and hopefully they’ll just go with it. This is a story, after all, and everyone deserves their badass moment…including the bad guys!