A trauma system


I’m going to be moving away from the traditional hit point system to measure the health of the monsters and move to an injury (or trauma) based system. I’m doing this because I believe the injury system reinforces the theme of my game and helps to keep the player immersed in my game for a little longer.


Essentially my injury system uses words instead of numbers to visually represent the health of the monster, for example healthy rather than 100%. Each level of “ill-health” will come with its own penalties and these range from the minor to the most severe…death. Some of these penalties will stack and some will replace, in addition each race and class will come with different penalties. For example a half-troll make take longer to receive increased injuries but the penalties could last longer and be more severe. Recovery back to a “healthy” state will be achieved through different methods.

In detail

To gain an injury the final damage amount received by the monster must be used to either increase the “injury counter” or decrease the “vitality counter”. I’m not sure if it really matters if the game counts the number of injuries sustained or the decrease in the monsters vitality plus I don’t think it really matters from a thematic point of view either.

Damage can be gained from spells, physical weapons, the environment, food and finally potions.

Regardless of the way injuries are counted it shows that each monster needs a way to record the injuries/vitality and I need to provide some methods to maintain the “counter”. In addition there will most definitely be a requirement for over time effects to be monitored for each monster.

The various stages of ill-health can be described as:

  • Healthy
  • Bruised
  • Injured
  • Battered
  • Staggering
  • Feinting
  • Dying
  • Dead

The intention is that the cumulative effects on the monster are more pronounced the closer the monster gets to death – which only seems natural to me, the flip side is that the closer to death the more healing and restorative effects have to be applied.


I see a couple of approaches to applying penalties for ill-health…the one that appears the simplest is to have the same penalties for each stage affect all monsters regardless of their race; Whilst the one that appears the most complex (to design at least) would have each race receiving different penalties at each stage. Regardless of the actual technical implementation I think the hardest part is going to be the design stage.

Some of these penalties will lead to a change in the status of the monster, for example when at the feinting stage it is possible the monster could lose consciousness thus rendering them very vulnerable.

The penalties could do one (or more) of the following:

  • Lower any of the stats
  • Restrict actions
  • Restrict equipment carried
  • Reduce resistances
  • Stop spell casting


Recovery means moving the ill-health status back towards healthy and this is achieved by means of:

  • Quaffing a potion
  • Casting a spell
  • Eating food
  • Environmental conditions
  • Not taking any more damage for a period of time

Each recovery category will provide different levels of improvement back to a healthy status. Each race will provide different natural recovery rates which will interact with the different recovery categories. In addition I’m thinking of providing one or two of the classes intrinsic improved recovery options.


What I’m hoping for with this change in design is to provide the player with something that is more realistic than a pure number. I suppose you could argue that I’m replacing a number with a word and at face value that’s what I’m doing, but it’s the addition of the supporting mechanics and subtle tactical change in-game play that I’m hoping will occur is what I’m really introducing with this approach.

Let me know your thoughts on this.

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One Response to A trauma system

  1. devonps says:

    I forgot to mention that I’m hoping to incorporate this into my next Alpha release.

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