An adventurer without a scar is either very good, very lucky, or very new to the profession—trap-ridden dungeons, rabid monsters, and sharp weapons are notoriously bad for your health. Some adventurers are fortunate enough to retire with just a few injuries to show for their career. Many, however, die from injury long before retirement.
This chapter sets out options for character health, lingering wounds, permanent injuries, and prosthetics.
Your health is your most precious resource and—as an adventurer—keeping hold of it is not an easy task. A character is considered bloodied when they have lost half of their hit points—when bloodied, they have taken a small cut or bruise.
Some monsters may react differently to you when you are bloodied—becoming frenzied or blood-thirsty—while others may have an easier time detecting you by scent.
If you are bloodied, it's a little harder to recover your stamina. While bloodied, you must use a bandage or other first-aid material in order to spend any hit dice and recover hit points when resting. Make sure to keep an eye on your medical supplies.
When you fall to 0 hit points, you've taken significant damage and gain an open, lingering wound somewhere on your body.
Roll on the Lingering Wounds table below to see which part of you was wounded—or pick one based on the type of damage you suffered.
Each time you gain an open wound, you also gain a level of exhaustion. This exhaustion is permanent for as long as your wound is open and untreated.
You gain exhaustion for each open wound, so watch out—exhaustion effects stack up fast.
|1||Disadvantage on Ability Checks|
|3||Disadvantage on Attack rolls and Saving Throws|
|4||Hit point maximum halved|
|5||Speed reduced to 0|
When Viridian gains his new chest wound, he also gains a level of exhaustion. After the battle, Chansi patches him up and treats the wound to remove the exhaustion penalty.
A wound hinders you while it's untreated, making your life difficult with exhaustion. You can spend one hour to treat a wound using first-aid knowledge and supplies—make an Intelligence (Medicine) or Wisdom (Medicine) check (DC 10) to patch up the wound.
A treated wound remains on your character—though it no longer causes exhaustion. A wound will only heal properly during a long rest or with magical healing.
Wounds heal naturally over time. At the end of a long rest, roll to see if your wounds have healed—make a Constitution (Medicine) check (DC 15) for each wound.
Some downtime activities, such as resting, may allow you to roll the check with advantage.
You may use magical effects to heal a wound. You do not gain any hit points from the magic in doing this, however—all of the spell's power is used on your wound.
If you are critically hit during combat, your treated wounds may reopen. When you take critical damage, roll a d20 for each treated wound you have:
|1||The wound reopens and you lose a hit die|
|2-8||The wound reopens|
|9-20||The wound remains closed|
When a wound reopens, it starts applying exhaustion again—you'll need to treat the wound to remove this.
Untreated wounds: Any untreated wound you have fails this check automatically (as if you had rolled a 1), causing you to lose a hit die—so try to keep your wounds bandaged at all times.
If you want a quick way to make falling to 0 hit points more significant, then use this Simple Wounds variant.
When you fall to 0 hit points, gain a level of exhaustion. This exhaustion can be removed through the normal means (rest/spells/etc).
Some monsters are especially deadly, destructive, and vicious—when they hit, they hit hard enough to break bones and sever limbs. Dragons, giants, ogres—if it's huge, its attacks are usually extremely violent.
If you are reduced to 0 hit points by a violent attack, you suffer a debilitating Permanent Injury. Roll to see which injury you suffer—reroll any nonsensical result.
|1||Lose an arm||Prosthesis (arm)|
|2||Lose a leg||Prosthesis (leg)|
|3||Lose a hand||Prosthesis (hand)|
|4||Lose a foot||Prosthesis (foot)|
|5||Lose an eye||Prosthesis (eye)|
|6||Lose a toe||Medical aid (DC 15)|
|7||Lose a finger||Medical aid (DC 15)|
|8||Gain a horrific, scarring wound||Medical aid (DC 20)|
|9||Gain an internal injury||Medical aid (DC 20)|
|10||Lose half your teeth||Medical aid (DC 20)|
When you gain an injury, you also gain a level of exhaustion. As with lingering wounds, this exhaustion is permanent until you treat the injury in some fashion.
When you add the vicious keyword to a monster or attack, make sure to telegraph this to your players clearly in advance—they should know they risk serious injury before they charge in.
Once you gain an injury, it remains active on your character and causes exhaustion until it is treated. There are three common ways to treat an injury:
Once an injury has been treated, the exhaustion is lifted and your character can act normally again.
A prosthesis is an artificial device that can replace or augment a missing (or injured) body part—such as an arm, leg, or eye. You may find prosthetics on your adventures or buy them from artificers, crafters, and healers.
A wooden leg with a secret compartment that can hold a small item. Wearing this treats a missing leg injury.
A glass orb made to look like a tabaxi eye. Wearing this treats a missing eye injury.
Some prosthetics have been augmented with magic, granting them extra properties. These are much rarer in the world—and far, far more expensive.
A prosthetic arm crafted from living wood. Wearing this treats a missing arm injury.
A prosthetic foot inscribed with an air enchantment. Wearing this treats a missing foot injury.
A metal prosthetic hand inscribed with arcane glyphs and sigils. Wearing this treats a missing hand injury.