Fan Playbook: the Mercy

I know the second campaign is supposed to include a playbook for the Mercy, but until that comes out, here’s something I threw together. Note that Mercies do not count as Legion personnel for Engagement rolls (they are not members of the Legion), but they do count as “Medics” for any missions that list a Medic as a requirement.

The Mercy is built around the use of Weave in service to Asrika, with a very basic knowledge of medicine compared to the Medic but whose main role is throwing themselves into harm’s way to protect others. I think the Special Abilities are fairly well-balanced and reflect the core concept of the Mercy and the followers of Asrika as presented in the book.

Feedback is very welcome!


Playbook: Mercy

Starting Abilities

  • Weave: 1
  • Sway: 1
  • Maneuver : 2

Weave
A Weave use allows a Mercy to heal someone else’s injury by taking that injury on themselves, although they heal from it more swiftly. When healing a wounded individual, the Mercy suffers the same Harm as their patient at one level lower, and their patient removes that Harm. Harm taken in this manner cannot be Resisted down by the Mercy. If the Harm the Mercy takes is Level 1, the Mercy suffers from the injury for only a few moments before it heals. If a Mercy is able to act quickly enough, they may be able to take a Level 4 Harm from a patient, becoming incapacitated; it is possible for a Mercy to take a level 5 Harm or higher to save someone else at the cost of their own life.

Bruno Caulfleur has taken a level 1 Harm, “sprained wrist” and two level 2 Harms “gut stabbed” and “bitten.” Sainte Augustine the Mercy spends a use of Weave to heal Bruno, and Sainte’s player marks “gut stabbed” as a Level 1 Harm. Bruno’s player removes the “gut stabbed” injury.

Special Abilities

  • Asrika’s Blessing: When spending a use of Weave to heal someone else’s injuries, the Mercy can spend two Stress to remove up to a Level four Harm from someone else and take only a Level 2 Harm in return. This Ability cannot be taken as a Veteran Advance.
  • Asrika’s Succor: The Mercy can spend a use of Weave to grant eternal rest to one undead creature, striking it (truly) dead immediately and permanently. No power nor necromancy can raise it again. The Mercy must be able to touch the creature. This Ability cannot be taken as a Veteran Advance.
  • Spread the Pain: By spending a use of Weave, the Mercy may transfer one or more of their own injuries to a willing recipient. This Harm cannot be Resisted and its Level is not reduced. As long as the recipient is not killed, this act does not cause Corruption (but is nonetheless disturbing to watch). By taking one point of Corruption, the Mercy can instead transfer one or more of their injuries to an unwilling recipient; if this action kills the target, the Mercy takes another point of Corruption. This Ability cannot be taken as a Veteran Advance.
  • Mercy for the Healer: Gain +1d Sway when attempting to convince a hostile living being to ignore and spare them and their patients, or when leveraging their status as a healer to gain information or settle disputes.
  • Asrika’s Shield: When performing a Protect action, gain +1d to the Resistance roll and reduce the final Stress cost by 1 point (no lower than 0). Gain +1d Prowess Resistance against pain, injury, and exhaustion.
  • Medical Assistance: When a Medic is performing battlefield surgery or first aid, Assisting them also increases the Medic’s level of Effect by one.
  • Like an Angel: When moving to assist the injured, gain +1d to Maneuver in order to reach the injured or to drag them out of the fight and into safety.

Equipment:

Light

  • Reliquary
  • Medic’s Kit
  • Holy Symbol of Mercy
  • Mark of the Healing Goddess

Medium

  • Shield
  • Armor
    -or-
  • Fine Pistol
  • Blackshot Ammo x5

Heavy

  • Fine Reliquary (replaces Reliquary from Light Load)
  • Fine Shield (replaces Shield from Medium Load)
  • Fine Heavy Armor (replaces Armor from Medium Load)

Asrika’s Succor: The Mercy can spend a use of Weave to grant eternal rest to one undead creature, striking it (truly) dead immediately and permanently. No power nor necromancy can raise it again. The Mercy must be able to touch the creature. This Ability cannot be taken as a Veteran Advance.

Worded as is, it looks like this an instant kill with no roll on Elites, Infamous, Lieutenants, even Broken and maybe the Cinder King himself. Is that the intention?

Yes, sort of, which I feel is mitigated by a few important factors:

You can’t just ignore the clocks on powerful undead to “instant kill” them. You still have to run their clocks down somehow[1] to position yourself to make a killing blow.

This power requires the Mercy actually get close enough to make physical contact with their target (Skirmish is the most likely Action roll), it’s also very possible it would be the last action they’ll ever take (even if they touch the creature, a 4/5 is going to result in lethal Harm due to the Threat & Scale differences).

As far as I’m aware, the Broken, the Cinder King, and any number of Infamous, etc. are not undead. This power is thus useful mainly against Blighter’s troops (Rotters, Horrors, Crows), as Hexed, Black Oak Knights, Transformed, and so on are living creatures (blighted and corrupted, yes, but not undead).

You can’t just ignore the clocks on powerful undead to “instant kill” them. You still have to run their clocks down somehow[1] to position yourself to make a killing blow.

I’d recommend explicitly saying that then. At your table, where you’re there to clarify, that’s no problem. Writing for general consumption though this ability looks like it circumvents clocks.

This power requires the Mercy actually get close enough to make physical contact with their target (Skirmish is the most likely Action roll), it’s also very possible it would be the last action they’ll ever take (even if they touch the creature, a 4/5 is going to result in lethal Harm due to the Threat & Scale differences).

I guess I can picture plenty of times where it’s fictionally possible to get close enough to touch an enemy without making an action roll. If touching an enemy is supposed to require an action roll, I might specify that too. It might be just the way I GM, but managing to touch something you’re close to is probably something I wouldn’t normally ask for a roll for, particularly if just by touching the thing you immediately destroy it.

I think we may be having a disconnect regarding the procedures of play.

Remember, clocks aren’t hit points. So when the Mercy wants to touch an enemy and the GM thinks that should be possible without a roll…OK. But then the group also needs to back things up and play through the explanation of how the Mercy ended up in a position to just touch the target – and that’s the enemy’s clock. Explaining that in the text of the ability itself seems redundant since that would just be re-iterating the rules of BitD games, right?

Let’s look at the case of the Mercy here; we have all these questions: will touching something moving around in a combat require a Skirmish roll? What if the Mercy sneaks up behind the creature in combat, or creeps up on it while it is motionless and unawares, is that a Scout roll to find a way to reach it unseen, or maybe a Maneuver roll instead? If you’re rolling, does “just touching” something give improved Position because it’s less difficult than trying to run a sword through something? Does it give Great Effect because of the ability text? Both? Does touching a target’s worn armor count, or does the Mercy need to touch the flesh of the target? What does the group think?

But no matter what the answer to these questions are, even if the answers are “no roll required, it’s an automatic effect if you are close enough to touch the target”, the bigger question, where the fiction-meets-the-mechanics, is “How did the Mercy get into position to touch her enemy?” What brings the enemy’s clock down so the fiction reaches the point where an “I just touch it” event is possible?