Page 206: Injury and Death
So you are fighting a group of goblins and successfully land a hit on one of them. You roll damage and... then what? Well, that depends on what kind of character the target is. Mention of Standard Characters and Special Characters has been made before. Well, here we find one of the big differences. Standard Characters are your generic mooks and red shirts; they come in groups and die fast and individually are not too serious a threat. Basically, Standard Characters are your Imperial Storm Troopers. Special Characters are more powerful, sometimes important to the plot, often a leader or alpha. The Players are Special Characters. Special Characters had Vitality Points and Wound Points while Standard Characters do not, having only a generic Damage. More details will be covered in the next sections.
Vitality Points: The book calls this "...a mixture of endurance, luck, and the will to fight..." as well as "...combat fatigue...". Personally, I see Vitality as scratch damage. I like to think that Vitality is you are taking superficial injury, scratches, bruises, small cuts, nothing serious. Stuff that heals quickly.
Wound Points: The book says this is "...abrasions, cuts, and eventually broken bones and worse." I like to think of Wound Points as deep lacerations and deep penetrating wounds.
However, the book does point out that since Fantasy Craft is a cinematic game this represents your typical story flow with the heroes fighting through waves of enemies without injury. So, I see where they are coming from. FC does very heavily follow story convention, and this does fit that.
Standard Characters do not have to either, they get a Damage Save, which is explained a little further down.
Page 207: Special Character Damage
Under normal circumstances, a regular hit using Lethal Damage to a Special Character will take away Vitality. The character is unaffected by Vitality loss until it reaches zero. Once Vitality hits zero, then they gain a grade of Fatigue and further Lethal Damage goes to Wounds. Other types of damage behave differently, but they are covered later. When Wounds hit zero, the character passes out. At negative Wounds, the character starts dying. At -10, the character dies. If a characters wounds get all the way down to -25 then their body is destroyed.
When a Special Character's Wounds are in that -1 to -9 range and they are dying then some special rules come into play. The dying character rolls d100 every round, trying to get lower than their Con. If successful, their Wounds go back to 0 and they are just KO. If the roll fails, they lose another Wound, getting closer to -10. Also, another character can make a Medicine Check to stabilize the dying character.
Page 207: Standard Character Damage
All damage that a Standard Character suffers be it Lethal, Stress or Subdual, it all just gets converted into a standard Damage. Standard Characters start at zero Damage and anytime they take damage it is added to their Damage taken. Every time their Damage increases they roll a Damage Save, 10 + half the Damage. If they succeed, nothing happens, they are still up and fighting, if they fail, they are out of the fight. How the Standard is out depends on the last damage they took, if it was Lethal they die, if it was Stress or Subdual they are unconscious.
However, some Standard Characters are Tough. A Tough Standard Character behaves a little differently. When they fail their Damage Save their Tough drops by one and their Damage resets to zero. This keeps happening until they lose all their Grades of Tough, then the behave normally, with a failed Damage Save removing them from combat.
This overall mechanic is rather interesting. It makes regular enemies weak and easy to kill, especially with the insta-kill tricks, but it also adds some randomness since they can succeed with a Damage Save and take the hit or maybe fail and die unexpectedly.
A good example of this randomness is in a fight our party had against a group of fire elementals. Our fighter, purely for fun, took a glass of water and threw it at one of the elementals. The player knew that it would not do much (The GM ruled that it does 1 point of damage), but it was what their character would do so they did it anyway, regardless of effectiveness (Which I am all for, because good roleplaying is awesome). And so the fire elemental took a single point of damage, then rolled a 1 on its Damage Save, failing it. We got a laugh out of it. The elemental had Tough so it was not killed outright, but it was still funny. It became even funnier when that same elemental rolled a 1 on every single Damage Save for the rest of the fight and died very quickly.
Page 207: Special Attack Results
Threats and Errors apply to combat of course. By default your Error Range is 1 and your Threat Range is 20. But, what weapon you use, your Feats, Class Abilities, etc, change these values.
Page 207: Threats and Critical Hits
To score a Crit, you need to do several things. First, the attack has to hit, remember that in FC a Natural 20 is NOT an automatic hit and can miss in the wrong situation. Second, you need to roll in your Threat Range, that means the value on the dice needs to fall in that range. And after the first two, you need to spend an Action Dice. So, even if you score a Threat, if you do not want to spend the AD, it is just a normal hit. If you recall, some abilities reduce the AD cost letting you get free Crits.
Important note, if you hit several characters, such as with an AoE attack, or something like Blade Storm, then you must spend an AD for each one you want to Crit. You can spend AD to crit all, some, or none, your choice. Likewise, attacks that score several hits, like the Blade Flurry Trick for Knives, each hit requires activation.
What a Crit does depends on what you are attacking.
Special Character: Spend 1 AD to cause Lethal Damage to go to Wounds regardless of how much Vitality the target has. Note that Special Character with Tough can cancel this once per grade of Tough, taking no damage. Also, if the damage is greater than the targets Con you can spend 2 AD to cause a Table of Ouch roll, which seems pointless to me as there are better ways to inflict those that have better results. For other damage types, Subdual and Stress, see the info on that damage type for what effects a Crit has.
Standard Character or Object: Spend AD to cause failed Damage Saves without the target getting any kind of roll. Every dice spent is another failed Save, so you can take out a target with Tough III in one hit by spending four AD.
Have fun describing the Crits, it adds enjoyment.
Special Note: Standard Characters cannot activate Threats unless they have Treacherous.
Page 208: Errors and Critical Misses
The opposite of the above. Like Critical Hits, a Critical Miss only happens when three things happen. First, the attack has to miss, FC does NOT have auto-miss on a Natural 1, so even a 1 can hit in the right situation. Second, the dice has to show a number in the attacker's Error Range, normally 1, but it can be larger, or even impossible; there are ways to remove Error Ranges. And third, once the first two things have happened, the target of the attack needs to spend AD. That means if an NPC is attacking the players, then the target player needs to spend it, but if the players are doing the attacking, then the GM has to spend.
Critical Misses, unlike Critical Hits, are not a simple straight forward result. They are more flavorful. The more AD that are spent the worse the result is, up to 4 AD. They can be things like losing your weapon, slipping on a dead guy's guts, knocking over a lantern and starting a fire, and so on. The GM has final say on what effect an Error has, but the players are free to make suggestions.
The book provides various examples. A rule of thumb our group goes by is that 1 AD means it takes a Half Action to recover, 2 means it takes a Full Action.
If no one has a good idea, just roll 1d6 per AD and have the one who made the Error take that much Stress or Subdual Damage.
Next time, we see what happens when the damage numbers start getting big and bones start breaking.