Healing, First Aid Kits, Ambulances, ER, and Pain Killers

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Healing, First Aid Kits, Ambulances, ER, and Pain Killers

#1 Postby BlackJaw » Mon May 20, 2013 10:10 pm

I'm running my 1990s cop-tv-show themed game, and I'm running into some trouble with healing and wounds. While the core rules seem to work ok, they aren't really fitting the episodic format well, especially in a setting with no magical healing availible to the PCs.

After last night's game resulted in one of the players, who has been carrying around two wounds for a couple of episodes now, incapacitated and stuck into an ambulance for a trip to the ER, I've decided things needs to be tweaked a bit as a setting rule/rules in my game.

I'm looking for feedback on this from more experienced GMs.

First Aid works just like Healing within the golden hour is described under Healing Rules in the SW:D version of the rules, except there is a -2 penalty for trying it without any tools. Improvised tools, like belts for tournicates and chair legs for splints, reduce this penalty to -1.

First Aid Kits ($50, 5 lbs) remove the -2 penalty for performing first aid.

Ambulances provide a +2 bonus to Healing checks made within the golden hour, as they are better stocked than first aid kits. They also generally are also commonly operated by a pair of EMTs, which have a d8+2 skill in healing. As a pair of extras working together on a trait/skill roll outside combat they may roll a d8+2 (with another +2 for Ambulance) and a Wild Die d6+2 (+2 for ambulance). They are, however, NPCs making a role, and therefore the players can't (normally) spend any bennies on this roll. In theory there are edges that would allow a PC to hand bennies to the NPCs, but that's a corner case.

Instead of performing medical work themselves, the EMTs in their ambulance can take a character to an Emergency room. Similarly, players can get their on their own. ERs provide a +4 on Healing checks performed within the golden hour, and are staffed by doctors and nurses with a d8+2 in the Healing skill, allowing a roll with a wild die similar (but with a higher situational ER bonus) to EMTs in an ambulance.

Natural healing in the 1990s is still limited to just a +1 with medical care. There may be plenty of options for saving a life, but recovery from "serious" wounds still takes a while. Thankfully there are pain killers to make living with wounds a bit more manageable.

Painkillers work similarly to the Nerves of Steel edges. They allow a character to ignore wound penalties on trait rolls except, unlike the edges, they don't help with healing rolls or incapacitation rolls. The wounds are still there, but the character just doesn't feel them as much. A character with Nerves of Steel and Painkillers stacks the effects, so they could ignore 2 wound penalties, except for Healing and Incapacitation where they ignore just one through Nerves of Steel alone.
Over the Counter Painkillers ($20 for 5 full-day doses) negate 1 wound penalty.
Prescription Painkillers ($50 for 5 full-day doses) negate 2 wound penalties, but require a prescription to purchase. Generally going to a hospital suffering two or more wounds gets you a prescription for the length of your wounds, although EMTs can shoot you up with 24 hours worth of drugs, and there may be other ways to get similar drugs (illegal markets, doctors as a connection edge, etc)
Note that painkillers allow the character afflicted with the wounds to ignore them on trait rolls. Anyone trying to make a healing roll on that character will be taking the wounds as a penalty as normal. For example: A character on prescription painkillers with three wounds attempting to perform healing on themselves will take the -3 wound penalties for the "target," and just -1 for "their own" drug mitigated penalties, for -4 total modifier. The same character without drugs would be taking -6, for -3 and -3.

Injuries acquired through incapacitation rolls can not be negated through drugs and remain in effect as normal, even if the associated wounds are ignored through drugs.

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#2 Postby VonDan » Mon May 20, 2013 10:18 pm

> First Aid Kits, Ambulances, ER, and Pain Killers

all in the garage 20 feet away

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#3 Postby Zadmar » Tue May 21, 2013 6:03 am

The painkillers seem a bit powerful to me, as they're basically allowing you to purchase 1-2 edges for a small amount of cash. I like the idea, but personally I'd probably do them more like this:

When you take painkillers, make a Vigor roll. If you fail, ignore 1 point of wound penalties for the remainder of the scene. If you succeed then your body resists the effects, and you gain no benefit this scene. Prescription Painkillers give you a -2 penalty to the Vigor roll. You may take a second dosage the same scene if the first didn't work, but if you then roll 1 on the Vigor die, you gain a level of Fatigue as if from lack of sleep.

Other than that your proposal looks pretty well balanced, but it's a lot of text. If you're going for an episodic format, it might be easier just to add a setting rule: Wounds are healed between episodes as long as the character has access to medical assistance. I'd suggest making it clear that the wounds don't physically disappear - the character might still wear a bandage, or have stitches, but the mechanical effects of the wounds would vanish.

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#4 Postby jpk » Tue May 21, 2013 3:26 pm

If it's that episodic, just go with a Setting Rule that no wounds carry over from one episode to the next. Poof. Done.

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#5 Postby BlackJaw » Tue May 21, 2013 3:39 pm

jpk wrote:If it's that episodic, just go with a Setting Rule that no wounds carry over from one episode to the next. Poof. Done.

You might have a point here. At the very least, it might be easier to allow one wound to heal automatically between episodes or to give a bonus on natural healing checks between episodes.

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#6 Postby Ray » Tue May 21, 2013 3:40 pm

"Grab a wackin' stick, boy! Time to learn these here undead some manners!" - Percy Spencer, to his Son, Kevin.

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#7 Postby BlackJaw » Tue May 21, 2013 5:02 pm

Not an unintended comparison given the cop-show nature of my game.

I'm going to see how the painkillers work in play for an episode or two, and I might reduce their effectiveness if it proves too useful.

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#8 Postby pulphero » Wed May 29, 2013 12:33 am

I did a Dresden files style Miami Vice game that was episodic and here is what I did.

Since it was a TV show wounds don't carry over from episode to episode unless they are important to the story and/or it is a multi episode story line.

In my game if the player get to the hospital they automatically recover at least a wound and if they are willing to stay the night and haven't been taken out most likely all wounds at the cost of a day of investigative time.

For pain pills they negate a wound and give a bonus to toughness but all smarts and agility are at -1 for tests and tricks.
My War of the Worlds meets Steampunk rpg for savage worlds
http://www.studio2publishing.com/shop/p ... ts_id=3753

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