8.6   HARDSHIP, ILLNESS, and AGE

Life can be cruel for the living.   As we age all sorts of maladies befall us.   From car accidents to bouts with influenza and even the steady progression of age, it all takes its toll upon the mortal shell.  By the time we die we've probably needed serious medical attention half a dozen times or more.  

Serious injuries can have devastating effect on a character.  Unfortunately, it is very difficult to quantify these effects in the game.   Whenever a character losses a battle severely (by his health score or one less), the storyteller should seriously consider causing some lasting damage to the character.  While there are no hard and fast rules as to how these disabilities will effect the character and his rolls, common sense should prevail.   A character with a bum leg might have considerable trouble running, but should have no problem picking up a gun and firing it. The storyteller can apply a negative penalty to all rolls that are influenced by this disability.

Illness is another factor the children of clay must worry about.  Since there are a plethora of diseases out there it is difficult to make hard and fast rules for them all.  What can be said is this.  At the height of the disease, when the character is feeling its greatest effects, the disease will in some manner affect all physical and mental tasks.  This is reflected in a negative modifier to all rolls.  In general (though not always) physical rolls will be affected to a greater degree than mental rolls.    These modifiers range from –1 (a very minor illness) to –5 (a major and even life threatening illness).

Of course the state of medical advancement in the genre in which you are playing can make a fantastic difference.  Medicines can help alleviate the symptoms if not cure the patient all together.   Characters who are taking medicine to alleviate the symptoms of a disease may not suffer as great a penalty (or perhaps not suffer a penalty at all) for the duration of the medicines effect.  Once the medicine wears off, however, they will quickly return to their previous level of misery.

Age is perhaps the most frustrating of all hardships the human body can endure.  There is no cure for getting old, and in the end the ravages of time take a heavy toll on the flesh.   The bones become weaker, the senses dulled, the memory more vague, and the reflexes a mere shadow of their former glory.  A character’s aspects should reflect this decreased capacity. 

The age at which aspects start to decrease will depend on the life expectancy and technological level of the setting the characters are playing in.  For the most part, those above the age of fifty will begin to feel the effects.  Every few years (anywhere from 2 to 5) of in game time that passes should result in the diminishing of one of the characters aspects by one point.  The physical skills of health and athleticism should probably be the first to go, but this is not always a certainty.  Additionally, the maximum limit for aspects is reduced as the character gets older.  Those who are over sixty can not have aspect scores greater than eleven.  Those who have reached the age of seventy cannot exceed ten, and those who are eighty or older cannot exceed scores of nine.  Once again, this may very according to the genre you are playing in.

 

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