Intro - Attacks/Injuries
Death and Destruction
Since the dawn of mankind we have fought. Fought for our food, for our land and for our beliefs. Though our fighting has progressed, changed, and become ever more complex, it remains the very same regardless.
Combat is deadly. There is no leniency for mistakes or incompetence. In a single motion one can be rendered from a living man to a corpse. Allies can and will be lost fighting hordes of Anathema, the orc, barbarians and brigands. Ideally, all your obstacles may be circumvented without the shedding of blood, but, in a world of merciless circumstance, this will most likely not be the case. Luck plays a hand, always, but there are only so many times one can draw a weapon to invite death before death invites you back.
ATTACKS AND INJURIES
"It is a profound tragedy that these lowly creatures will never know the light of God; that I must banish them with my sword to a place beyond redemption."
--Elias Allard, Grand Master Paladin of the Sacred Order of the White Lion
Combat in Gothic: the Lion Age uses a vital area system. During combat, a weapon attack that connects with a given part of the body disables that part of the body from injury. Attacks that connect against the arms or legs are called limb hits. Limb hits disable that limb from further use; an arm dangles helplessly, dropping whatever is held within it and can no longer grasp anything. A leg hit renders that leg unable to bear any weight, forcing the injured fighter to drag the leg, unable to take complex or sudden actions that require two legs or to walk quickly or effectively. Characters with two injured legs can walk slowly with the help of another character. Hits to the same injured limb do not contribute additional damage, except that three strikes to the same area of the body can result in Maiming.
If a character takes an injury to the torso, or loses two different limbs, such as an arm and a leg or both arms, the pain is too intense and the character collapses to the ground, helpless. This condition is called Downed. A Downed character is bleeding to death. Downed characters may not move, stand, or speak (though they can groan), and will bleed to death in 5 minutes. Any other character can stop the bleeding by placing both hands on the body of the injured character. If the wounds are stopped this way for 5 minutes, the character will stabilize and is Battered.
How functional a Battered character can be is based upon their Grit skill. Characters with no Grit are conscious, but are also in terrible pain and unable to use any Skills they may have. If their legs aren't injured, they can hobble back to safety on their own; otherwise, they need assistance to walk. Characters with the Grit skill can limp along on damaged legs and can run and move normally otherwise. The Grit skill allows characters to retain some or all of their skills, depending on their rank in Grit. Injured limbs are still Injured as long as the character is Battered, and the Battered character will still need to Rest after regaining consciousness to recover any lost uses of their Skills. Each time after the first in the same event that a character is Downed, they lose a cumulative level of Grit for the rest of the event. For example, a character with Grit 3 who was Downed would retain access all of their Skills at level 3. If she were Downed again, she would retain Skills at Grit 2, and so on, until they act as if they had 0 Grit for all purposes.
If a character is hurt by a weapon with the Subduing weapon flaw, successful hits deliver Conditions like Pain, Winded, Stunned or Blackout instead of normal injuries. Characters who are Blacked Out behave liked Downed ones, but will recover on their own with time. See Calls and Conditions and the Brawl Skill for further details.
Characters that are Downed or Blacked Out can be executed if their attacker wishes to do so. To do so, the attacker needs to raise their weapon above their head and silently count to 5, then bring their weapon down and attack their opponent one more time. This Death-Strike kills the character at once.
"I have ended his iniquity once and for all. He is a better man for it."
Last Breath - Recovery - Rest
THE LAST BREATH
Once a character is "dead", either from a death-strike or due to bleeding out, if the player chooses to, and after there is no longer any hope of saving their life (before they stop roleplaying their own body and go out of character) they can be just barely alive enough to give their Last Breath. This is their dying words, or dying curse as the case may be. It must be short, spoken in a gasping whisper, no more than a sentence or two, and it MUST relate solely to the character's Devotion. For instance, a character with Hatred: Njords who was killed by the northern raiders in an attack could remark about the vengeance they want the character who finds them to take against those people, even naming his killer, but the same character whose Devotion was Love: Family would instead take their Last Breath to ask that a final message of his love or perhaps forgiveness or apology be carried to a family member. If a murderer wishes to silence the character without them being able to speak, they can simply perform another Death-strike after the first.
Once they speak it (or maybe while they speak the final syllables), the character dies and is truly dead.
If no form of aid is rendered, injuries recover over the course of the Downtime period between games, and any character who was not killed during the game session can be said to have made a full recovery over the Downtime and be healthy when they next enter play. Some characters are tougher or more resilient than others, and can partially recover from injuries or take more to truly injure. Characters with the Grit skill can push themselves to a place where they can regain partial functionality.
Very few other forms of healing or recovery exist, though some faithful people seek the services of the Hospitalier priests and their knowledge of sacred medicine to help them recover from injuries.
There are many abilities in the game that are expended in some way in order to use them. This includes defenses such as Parry or Dodge, Armor calls, maneuvers, skill abilities such as Leap or Haggle, etc. Almost all abilities that can be expended refresh automatically and completely with a short Rest. Rest is a deliberately vague amount of time, and should be an amount of time that makes you actually feel rested. If you have been sprinting around fighting, this might be longer than simply taking a brief pause between two different conversations. Characters may talk amongst themselves, perform small tasks, and generally go about their business, so long as they are not attempting to continue using actual Skills and abilities, except for Performance.
Resting recovers everything except for Prayer and Willpower, which are used daily instead.
A character can intercept any attack with their weapon or shield if they have the first rank in the appropriate Skill. Even if an attack actually partially lands against the body, an attack that has been significantly disturbed by your own weapon raised in defense is considered successfully stopped.
Defensive skills can also be used to cancel attacks that already succeeded by expending a use of that skill, referred to as "Calling Defenses." Different Defenses can protect a character from different kinds of attacks, depending on the skill used. The Parry skill protects the user from melee attacks, while the Dodge skill protects the user from melee, ranged and spell effects, but cannot be used in most kinds of armor. When an attack successfully lands and would cause a wound, expending a use of Defense skill causes that attack and all attacks in that Clash to be retroactively blocked.
A Clash is the quick series of hits that happen in rapid succession between two or more opponents, often so quickly that individual attacks are difficult to determine, and ends when the fighters physically disengage from extreme close quarters. If a fighter would be injured by one of the attacks they failed to stop during a Clash, the use of a Defense stops all successful attacks that kind of Defense is capable of preventing.
Certain weapon qualities, such as Mighty or Quick, cause hits from their weapon to be unable to be stopped by Parry or Dodge respectively. If calling a Defense still leaves the target injured from some other attack the Defense could not prevent, the injury still stands unless they can call an additional Defense that would prevent the missed attack. For example, if two enemies attacked the same fighter, and one of them had a greatsword with the Mighty perk while the other had an ordinary sword, calling Parry as they both connected hits would prevent the damage from the sword but not the greatsword, but Dodge would successfully stop both attacks.
Some attacks are so deadly that they might deal more than one "hit" worth of damage in a single attack. This is called the Power quality. These attacks are rare, but when they do occur successfully, they force the defender to use more than one valid defense call to avoid injury. For example, an attack that dealt 3 hits of damage with the Quick perk would require the defender to discard 3 Armor or Parry calls, or other valid defenses, and those can be distributed between different kinds of defenses. If the defender is unable to do so, they discard whatever they can, and then take damage as if they were hit normally. The appropriate call for these sorts of hit are specific to the ability being used, but will include a number, and that is the amount of Defenses that must be used to counter them. A call of "Power" is sufficient to indicate 1 extra defense is needed. "Power 2" means 2 extra defenses are required, and so on.