Stress & Affliction

You will encounter many trials and tribulations in the course of your adventures. The most harrowing of these will cause you to suffer stress, which will eventually lead to afflictions. Stress represents the long-term, physical, mental, and emotional burdens that you endure, and afflictions are the palpable manifestation of that stress.

There are many effects which can cause stress, and a scarce few which can relive it. The GM may assign or remove stress as seems appropriate for a given situation, but guidelines are given in the table Source of Stress & Relief. In general, something that inflicts one or two stress would be described as unsettling or uncomfortable, something that inflicts three to five stress would be upsetting or painful, something that inflicts 10 stress would be traumatic and anything that inflicts 20 or more stress would be life-threatening.

Stress tends to accumulate quickly when you risk your life against great odds. Stress is typically relieved only by time and relaxation, both of which may be in short supply when in a hostile environment. You should only expect their stress to decrease when you are surrounded by safety and civilization.

Event Stress Change
Contact with lava or acid +5 or more per round
Lack of sleep +1 per hour
A severe storm without shelter +1 per hour
A virulent disease or poison +1 per hour
Dehydration +1 per 2 hours
Starvation +1 per day
A fall form an unsafe height +1d6 per pace fallen
Taking damage while defeated Equal to the damage dealt
Witnessing a horror +1-3
The death of a close companion +5
A good night’s rest in a comfy bed -3
A rough night’s sleep out in the wild -1
A gourmet meal -1
Participating in your indulgence -1 or more


Afflictions are palpable effects that impair you after you have accumulated too much stress. When your total stress rises to 10 or above, you immediately suffer your first affliction. When your stress rises to 20 or above, you suffer your second affliction.

The specific affliction a character receives is related to the source of the stress that caused it. If the stress was caused by a physical attack or hazard, then you will likely suffer an injury. If the source of the injury is obvious, such as a spiked floor trap causing a foot injury, the GM may assign that injury. If the nature of the injury is not obvious, such as an injury caused by an enemy’s attack, then the GM may determine an injury at random.

If the stress that caused the affliction was from some mental or emotional pain, then the GM may likewise determine which other affliction fits best. If no other affliction makes sense for the source of the stress, then the exhausted affliction may always be applied. You can suffer the same affliction multiple times, in which case the effects stack. The afflictions described here are not a complete list, poisons, diseases, and curses might also manifest as afflictions.

Whenever your total stress falls below one of these thresholds, your oldest affliction is on the mend. While an affliction is in on the mend, you are in the process of recuperating from it and none of the affliction’s penalties apply. However, if your stress rises to the next threshold again, the affliction and it’s penalties flare into effect once more. If your stress falls below a multiple of 10 while an affliction is in on the mend, then that affliction is completely removed and your next-oldest affliction is on the mend as well. When your stress falls to zero, all your afflictions are completely removed.


Whenever your total stress rises to 30 or above, you immediately fall unconscious and begin dying. While you’re dying, you suffer an additional 1d4 stress each round, which the GM will usually roll in secret. When you’re dying, another character can save you with any effect that relives stress, or with a cunning roll. The difficulty of the roll starts at easy (d4), but is increased for every two points of stress you have over 30. If you have 32 or 33 stress, the difficulty is simple (d6), 34-35 stress is standard (d8), 36-37 is difficult (d10) and if you have 38 or 39 stress, the difficulty is incredible (d12).
When you’re saved from dying, you no longer suffer additional stress and you regain consciousness. However, if you suffer more stress for any reason, you begin dying again and must be saved once more. Once your stress total rises to 40 or above, you have died, and nothing short of a miracle can bring you back.

Stress Tolerance

You stress tolerance adjusts the thresholds at which you suffer you first and second afflictions, fall unconscious, and die. For example, if your stress tolerance is increased by 3, then you don’t suffer your first affliction until you accumulate 13 stress, your second affliction comes at 23, you fall unconscious and begin dying at 33, and die at 43. You recover from these effects at the same threshold they affected you. If your total stress tolerance is -2, then you suffer your first affliction at 8 stress, and so on.

Affliction List


An exhausted character is running out of the energy needed to perform their best. Your base poise, base momentum, and base focus are all reduced by two, to a minimum of one. In addition, the TN for each of your rolls is reduced by 1, to a minimum of 1.

Head Injury

A character with a head injury has difficulty focusing and recalling information. You suffer a bane on any focus based skills, as well as all cunning rolls. You fall unconscious if your total stress rises to 20 or above, though you still don’t start dying until 30 stress.

Arm Injury

A character with an arm injury has difficulty putting physical force behind any of their efforts. You suffer a bane on any momentum based skills, as well as all brawn rolls. The amount of bulk you can carry is reduced by 10, to a minimum of 5.

Foot Injury

A character with a foot injury has trouble coordinating their movements and moving precisely. You suffer a bane on any poise based skills, as well as all agility rolls. You must spend an extra point of movement to move each pace.

Chest Injury

A character with a chest injury has difficulty catching their breath and exerting themselves. You suffer a bane on any skill that costs three or more defense. You suffer a bane on any rolls that takes longer than one round to complete, as well as any rolls made during a chase.

Hand Injury

A character with a hand injury has difficulty holding weapons and manipulating objects. You immediately drop whatever you are holding in one hand (chosen randomly if appropriate). You can only wield one one-handed weapon and can’t use your injured hand for anything. Two handed weapons are not dropped but can’t be wielded. You suffer bane on any roll that requires you to use both hands.

Leg Injury WIP

A character with a leg injury has difficulty moving quickly. You cannot replace your action with a maneuver on your turn. You suffer a bane on any roll that requires you to move more than one pace. A group traveling with a character who has a leg injury travels 5 miles / 8km fewer unless the character can be carried.


A furious is upset at the injustice of the world and intent on doing something about it now, especially by hitting something. You suffer a bane on any ranged attack. You suffer a bane on any subtle or pragmatic rolls, and on any rolls made to sneak past foes that ought to be fought.


An insecure character has had their self-confidence shaken and is hesitant to take risks. Your cunning effect TN is reduced by 2, to a minimum of 0. You suffer a bane on any bold or serious rolls. You have difficulty manifesting your personal legend in a way determined by the GM.


A guilty character feels they should have done things differently in the past, and worries that fate won’t favor them until they earn redemption. You suffer a bane on any utility skill targeting yourself. Your can’t gain or spend fate, and whenever you personally incur a point of doom, you incur one more. You suffer a bane on any roll made to deceive or harm someone else.

Bitter WIP

A bitter character has had their feelings hurt and has trouble thinking of others. You suffer a bane on any utility skills used on your allies. You suffer a bane on any idealistic or whimsical rolls.

Bereaved WIP

A bereaved character has recently lost someone or something close to them and lacks the drive they once felt. Your melee attacks suffer a bane. You suffer a bane on any roll made to inspire, impress, or uplift others.

Paranoid WIP

A paranoid character is having trouble trusting others, even their longtime friends. You don’t count as willing for other characters’ utility skills. You suffer a bane on any rolls that appeal to a character’s trust, whether sincere or deceptive.