Harm representing physical hurt is easy to map onto the 1-4 scale, where 4 is dead.
What do people do about social or mental harm though? It is easy to understand ‘exhausted’ or ‘seduced’ or some such (and I love that this non-physical harm is included).
However, does anyone have experience in applying level 4 harm in those circumstances? What could that possibly look like?
I haven’t had reason to apply that level of emotional/psychic/social harm in a game yet, but a few possibilities pop into my head immediately:
They’d all have to be based in the fictional moment, of course. And they’d be great results for actions initiated by expert NPCs. “The emperor’s representative signals to his men. ‘These fools will no longer be tolerated. They are banished upon pain of death from all of the emperor’s domains.’ Take level 4 harm ‘banished.’ Or would you like to resist that?”
The effect is that the character is nominally no longer playable. But just like with physical death, the game allows ways to get around it. Resistance is one. Becoming a ghost is another workaround for continuing a character’s story after physical death. It’d be fun to use/make some playbook ideas for those who have been banished or driven out of their minds. Deathlands scavengers? Haunted seers? Asylum inmates who live half in, half out of the ghost field?
Interesting. The way @Scaramouche is describing this sounds like the final level of trauma when the scoundrel cannot take the way of life any more and has to leave it - you are essentially short-cutting to these outcomes here.
If level 4 is fatal then these are causes of death through mental or emotional strain. Such things exist:
- Broken heart syndrome (yes, you can die of this in real life) - I can see this coming from acute loss or dispair <-- I can’t spell
- Heart attack from shock
- Catatonic (yes, this is on the list above as well)
A level 4 harm doesn’t necessarily have to be lethal, but it definitely has to kill the character for all intents and purposes that are useful. Banished, catatonic, broken, barking mad are all good ideas.
Level 4 Dominated The character’s spirit has been permanently broken. They are now in thrall to an NPC and an enemy NPC themselves.