I feel like characters getting hurt is a super important part of role-playing games. More then anything (for me) a player's decisions in-game have to matter and solid consequences have always been a way of reinforcing that. Where there is potential victory and reward, there should be potential failure and loss. There's nothing like marking off damage on your character sheet to reinforce that bum-rushing that ogre wasn't the most prudent course of action you could have taken.
At the moment, Break! has two levels of damage. Your character's first line of defense are their "Hearts".
If a character is hit or otherwise hurt after they are out of hearts, a character will need to make a roll on the Injury and Death table. Initially the player rolls a d6, but die type scales upward with each successive hit, capping at a d10.
I'm still working out some of the various results on it. I think it will end up looking something like this, though with a bit more elaboration. Certain character types will have different lists as well (Warriords and Bioroids will likely have a Damage and Destruction table, for example)
Injury and Death
- Shocked : Next action lost, Though you can still defend yourself
- Wounded : -1 penalty to your total Hearts
- Injured Arm : Might Aptitude halved, Arm rendered useless
- Injured Leg : Movement reduced to "Very Slow", Deftness Saves halved
- Grievous Wound: -2 penalty to your total hearts, -1 penalty to all actions
- Near Death: Unconscious, will perish if not treated within the next 1d4 rounds
- Mutilated: As above, but the character must roll on this table again even if they are saved, using a d4
- Mortal Wound: Death is imminent, but the subject receives a final action in the next round
- Quiet Death: Subject has been slain without theatrics
- Messy Affair: As above, but with theatrics, and likely a lot of blood.
While Hearts are generally restored after combat, injuries remain in till they are treated and heal naturally or cured through magic.
I like this for several reasons. For one, it clearly divorces abstracted damage from permanent wounds. In-combat healing magic and abilities will be downplayed, making room for other kinds of support. Bravery and caution are encouraged in succession - on one hand, they have a lovely safety layer that comes back once things are said and done. On the other, death isn't too far off once they are gone, and even avoiding it could mean injuries will pile up and make life hell. It also adds to the gambling aspect of the game; your hearts are out; do you try to get away with your life, or do you trust in your luck and hope for the best?
A couple of notes;
- Monsters and Adversaries generally don't use the Injury and Death Table, they just die when they are out of hearts. This means many of them will have more hearts then player characters do - and special techniques or stunts may be required to even hurt colossal monsters such as Dragons and Titans.
- Hirelings and Ordinary humans will probably only ever have a single heart, so combat is really, really dangerous for them.
- Traps and non-combat hazards will cause specific injuries, penalties, or in (relatively) rare instances, death. Things like fatigue from travel or hunger will cause heart total penalties.
- There is a chance I'll reverse this, and instead of knocking out hearts you'll fill in hits, sort of like how White Wolf games handle damage. I'm resisting this only because I really want their to be a little life bar of hearts on the game's character sheet.