“Fixing” Everway, addendum

As I continue to read through the original Everway box, there are some areas that catch my attention now that never did before. One of those I’d like to comment on is the way wounds are handled in the game. They’re very abstract, broken into three categories – flesh wounds, serious wounds, and mortal wounds – and left, as is often the case, to GM fiat and narrative use as opposed to mechanical use. The closest the advice comes to a mechanical implementation is for players to treat serious wounds as though their hero’s element scores are all one lower than they actually are while wounded.

There are, of course, several good reasons why injuries are handled this way. Everway leans away from “blow-by-blow” resolution of combat, and thus has less need for tracking ongoing things like hit points or wound levels. You’re expected to fast-forward to the end of the combat with just a bit of flavor narration and maybe the turn of a card. But the game also de-emphasizes combat in favor of other forms of conflict resolution simply by choosing not to have a robust combat system. After all, you don’t need to know a lot about how heroes fight if you’re not going to be fighting very much, right? This is actually one of the things that attracted me to Everway in the first place, and it’s something I’m going to have to struggle with how to adapt to Glorious and Fearsome, which posits a more violent milieu than that populated by spherewalkers. Mythics explicitly draw from fable and myth, which are full of bloody deeds and the slaying of foes. Thus, I’ll have to come up with a way to balance the need for characters to take/deal wounds on a more granular level with respect for the simplicity and philosophy of the mechanical under-bed.

Right now, if just as a placeholder, I’ve recycled the penalty system I came up with for Blades of the Elf-Queen, which inflicts a cumulative -1 penalty to successive suits as your character takes hits or fails actions. It may not make the final cut, but for playtesting, we’ll see how well it functions. It seems like a good compromise on paper, at least.