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The Butcher's Quick & Dirty Guide to Injury and Infection

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The Butcher:

--- Quote from: Spinachcat;780405 ---Great article!

Butcher, if you do another article, I'd love to hear your thoughts on the near future history of medicine. AKA, what is medically next for cyberpunk, Tech 10 Traveller, etc.
--- End quote ---

Thanks for the kind words!

I'm not 100% sure there's an article there because unsurprisingly, speculative fiction writers are much, much better at speculation than scientists, let alone a meagre technician of the human body like myself. ;)

The closest to "transhuman medicine" I ever did was something I once wrote about cyborgs for the venerable old Quality In Rifts mailing list. I was really glad to see how much of what I wrote all those years ago mapped nicely to the brief "medical" takes on the new Robocop movie. I could dust it off and give it a try.

--- Quote from: Arkansan;780516 ---So being a medical professional and a gamer do you have any preferred method of handing damage in roleplaying games? Any system of abstraction that you feel like does a better job than others without being too fiddly? Or is this, as I suspect it is, an area where it is better off being highly abstract?

I ask because I have always liked a grittier combat but at the same time it seems like doing more detail on damage means more bookkeeping by default.
--- End quote ---

Great question. The short answer is that I cling to abstraction because keeping the game moving and interesting is paramount to me, and because the more you know about something, the deeper the rabbit hole goes.

I think it was Alfred Korzybski that best summed up the necessity for abstraction by pointing out that the absolute best map of a territory was the territory itself, and that is precisely what made it useless; the lack of abstraction for ease of reference and understanding.

The real challenge lies in making things feel lifelike without getting bogged down in detail. I think our hobby has developed some interesting ways to tackle the problem, such as hit location charts and critical hit tables. I'm very fond of "something bad happens at 0 HP" tables like Mortal Wounds from ACKS, the injury table from Savage Worlds, and criticals from WFRP. Runequest 6 uses both hit locations and "Special Effects" criticals which should create an interesting synergy when it comes to gritty injury (really looking forward to trying it out). I can't claim first-hand familiarity with Rolemaster's extensive critical tables but I hear good things about them.

With this article, I attempted to inspire GMs to create something similar for their own games, and even went so far as broadly, vaguely suggest some mechanics. My advice is always to work from the system you already know and like; add rather than substitute; and don't let yourself get overwhelmed.


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