Sunday, 24 January 2016

Fatigue and Stress

While talking about money, I left out one really important subject matter. FOOD!!!

Food, drink, drugs, entertainment and companionship, all play a huge part fantasy fiction, from Tolkien and Howard, through to Martin and Jacques. But they don't, as a rule, play a big part in RPGs. I think this is probably because they don't play much of a role in the games system, not because they are unimportant.

Meanwhile, adventurers live lives no one should envy. Even playing pretend adventurer in a field for a weekend is exhausting. So it shouldn't take a great deal of imagination to suppose that doing it for real, without decent food supplies would be a very unpleasant death sentence. Moreover, the activities which adventurer engage in must be harrowing beyond word, from confronting the risen dead, to being forced to take the lives of other sentient beings.

Fatigue and Stress my way of reflecting the slow depletion of an adventurers effectiveness, thanks to the physical and mental exhaustion of adventuring. As these two condition attributes rise, things get harder from the adventurers.  For every of five points of stress or five points of fatigue, the adventurer suffers a cumulative -1 to hit on attack rolls, and a cumulative 5% chance of their spells failing. So for example: if Starwind the elf has 7 Fatigue and 13 Stress, their player would suffer a -3 to hit on attack rolls and a 15% chance of spell failure.

Gaining Stress and Fatigue

There are a number of ways to gain Stress and Fatigue.

Each day you gain 1 fatigue, however you gain additional fatigue  by:
  • Travelling a short distance (+1)
  • Travelling a Long distance (+2)
  • If the weather has been unpleasant (+1)
  • If the weather has been bad (+2)
  • If you have engaged in combat. (+2)
  • eating poor rations (+1)
  • going without food for a day (+2)

You gain stress when:
  • you are engaged in combat (+1)
  • when you encounter supernatural monsters (+1)
  • when the party falls pray to a trap (+1)

Dealing with Fatigue
A character removes 1 point of fatigue naturally each day, so long as they get atleast 6 hours undisturbed sleep and at least common rations. This rate can be improved by:

  • Eating good rations for a day removes 1 point of fatigue. 
  • Eating a hearty, cooked meal removes 2 points of fatigue. 
  • Each night slept in a proper bed removes 2 points of fatigue.
  • A rest day, in which no strenous activity takes place removes 1 point of fatigue.  

Dealing with Stress
A person naturally heals one point of stress each week. There are a number of ways to further reduces stress.

  • getting drunk or high removes 1 point of Stress.
  • having sex removes 1 point of Stress. 
  • having sex with someone to whom the character has a meaningful romantic connection removes 2 point of Stress.
  • listening to a great bard or storyteller for an hour removes 1 point of Stress. 
  • A bathing removes 1 point of Stress.
  • games of skill or chance remove 1 point of Stress 

Now to make some Stress, Fatigue and Rations cards.


  1. Benjamin, this seems a little to crunchy for me, a lot of bookkeeping. But the overall concept is good and I'll use it to a degree to modify my own fatigue system which I abandoned because it was too crunchy.

    1. If this one takes to much book keeping for you, keep your eyes on the blog, I am going to be doing some revision on it to reduce the book keeping.

  2. Great concept. Thanks for sharing. Might work to squeeze something like this into my next game.

  3. In my game, characters have wounds and HP. CON = Wounds. HP are rolled up normally. Wounds = damage to your body, possibly chopping off hands, etc. I have a table for this. HP is basically like dodging attacks and vigor plus vitality... or something like that. Fatigue and stress could be deducted from HP.

    1. Sounds a little bit like the HP/wounds system from D20 Starwars. Interesting idea.