Monday, May 17, 2010


I really like the idea of consequences as presented in Fate. They give narrative control of a character's wounding to the player. That isn't something I've seen before, and it's a cool way of getting descriptive detail into the game without me dictating a litany of pain to one of my players. I figure if they're mutilating themselves, it won't hurt as badly.

But the way Fate uses consequences doesn't feel quite right for Shadowrun. In Spirit of the Century, consequences don't come into play until your stress meter is already filled, and the condition monitor I have is twice as big as the one in Spirit of the Century and it's split along stun and physical. My characters are going to be able to suffer a ton more punishment than those made under Fate. In fact, it'll likely take a long combat in order for them to top out their health meters and begin taking consequences, and avoiding long combats is something that got me started on this project in the first place.

In order to bring consequences into play earlier, I'm going to try putting them into the players' hands. Instead of an additional level of damage, they're an alternate level of damage. When a character takes a hit, he can choose to mark off the box, or he can suffer a consequence instead. If he takes the consequence, the box on his condition monitor stays clear, but he now has some sort of wound that the enemy can exploit and gains bonus dice when acting against the character. Right now, I'm thinking you can take one consequence per wound level, so one light, one moderate, etc., and the number of dice it grants your opponent equals the severity: 1 light, 2 moderate, and so on.

Except I don't think consequence is a heavy enough term for Shadowrun, so I'm going to go with "injuries" instead.

Of course, with injuries providing bonuses to your opponent, there needs to be some consequence to having damage marked on your condition monitor. The knee jerk response is to inflict a die pool penalty equal to the wound severity (1 light, you get the idea by now). But this goes back to the death spiral issue. At a deadly wound, any knack below 5 is rendered useless. And yes, at a deadly wound you're not going to be tip top, but this is a game, and games should be fun. Not doing anything is not fun.

That's next on the agenda.


  1. The method used in Dresden Files may suit you as well. It's been on the Evil Hat wiki for a few years, and has shown up in some form in Starblazer Adventures and Diaspora. See:

  2. Thank you very much for the recommendation; those are some fantastic variants. Modifying the effect of taking a consequence in relation to the class of weapon is a clever mix of simplicity and granularity. I am continually impressed with how much mileage Fate manages to wring out of a minimalist set of rules, and I am sold through and through on aspects, which have done wonderful things for this game. Thanks again for directing me to the page.