Hi folks !
I posted about it on reddit earlier, so I figured I’d share the love here as well
There’s a system I scrapped together around 10 years ago, and I only play it with my main table, because it’s the only one that wants it.
The main idea behind the decisions was that my players wanted nothing mecanic to handle, something that would be the most RP heavy possible without stats and characters sheets. “We don’t need sheets, we have diaries!”
I had a specific way to track HP for them : 3 kind of “health” (Physical, Special (Magic, ki etc) and Mental), each having 4 different HP gauges : Light Wound, Medium Wound, Heavy Wound, Lethal Wound.
So basically something like this :
When a gauge is full, you start to consider running away depending on your moral, and if you take damages of that type again, they scale one level up.
You get taunted, insulted repeatidly, you gain Light Mental Wound. The gauge is now full, so the next Light Mental Attack will be considered a Medium one because you are loosing composure.
You also check if “number of full gauges >= morale”. If it is, you roll minus the difference to see if you flee or suffer lasting consequences.
Lasting consequences can be varied, from a fragile knee to a shaken ego. It often makes sleeping harder, and resting even harder, until threated accordingly or enought time passed in a peaceful area.
Why it’s cool ?
Because you can apply “kill from a thousand cut” to everything.
If you have a rogue that only deal Light Physical Damage, but deal enough of them, each cut will become Medium Damage, and in time, Heavy Damage. And there’s no change of mecanic in between, it’s not a special flashy attack or something. It’s just a different HP management that give this pieces of story.
Because it gives the GM help to narrate things in combat.
If you deal 1 damage out of 4 “dot”, the opponent can act like it’s nothing.
If you deal 3 damage out of 4 “dot”, the opponent will try and act like it’s nothing… but he knows it can become something real quick!
Basically, it makes all HP gradual with a lot of events. When you have finished filling a gauge, any gauge, let’s say Medium Mental Damage, it has direct consequences. For Medium Mentale Damages, it might be doubting an ally that is already kind of shady. A Medium Physical Damage might slow you down. It helps the GM to create story on the fly so that this bugbear isn’t just “bugbear number 3” but “the bugbear who you scared shitless” or “the bugbear you burned BAAAD”
It’s an innate morale system per creature :
Basically, 1 full gauge = 1 more reason to flee. If you fail a diceroll, you flee or suffer the consequences, and some monster won’t try and stay to prove something, while some just won’t get out of the scenery while they’re alive, but it helps manage morale per enemy rather than as a global thing.
That’s all for me, I hope it gives you ideas for your own games.