Midian: Dark Fantasy Role Playing Game Wiki

(For the first part of the chapter see Part I: Killing and Breaking Stuff)

This is the section on those things that can affect your character during combat, as well as ways to prevent injury (other than running away).

Getting Hurt[]

The damage you take from each attack adds to your hit points. When your maximum hit point capacity has been exceeded you are in serious jeopardy. Damage then counts against your life point capacity next. When your hit point capacity has been reached you must make a Willpower check to avoid passing out. For example, if you are hit with an axe that goes over your hit point max and causes you to take life point damage, you must make a Willpower check. If you succeed—and run away—you need not make any additional rolls. However, should you keep fighting and reach your maximum life points, the next time you take even a single point of damage, you must roll for system shock to survive.

Imagine a cup sitting in a shallow bowl. Water is poured into the cup. If more water is added than what the cup holds, then the excess spills out into the bowl. If more water is added, eventually the bowl too will overflow. Then it spills onto the carpet, and you'll get in trouble. Damage in Midian works like this. When you have taken more hit points than your capacity, the damage spills out into life points. When your maximum life points are exceeded, your character may die. Note that some types of damage—such as some poisons or choking damage—can 'splash' directly into the bowl of your life points, even if your hit point capacity has not yet been breached.

It is worth noting here that hit points in the Midian Dark Fantasy Roleplaying game are additive, rather than ablative. That is, a completely healthy person has zero hit points, rather than some larger number. Hit points in this system represent how much damage you have taken, and nothing else. They do not measure abstract combat experience, luck, mass of as-yet-undamaged tissues, or proximity to any sort of binary 'fight fine/death' line. Hit points are's just how badly you've been beaten.

Each point of damage you take (after reductions such as from armour or toughness) reduces every roll you make for the rest of this round and for the initiative roll next round from the shock of the injury.

When your life points exceed your maximum you must make a system shock roll to stay conscious and avoid slipping into a coma. When you are above maximum life points, you take additional wounds equal to the amount above that cap each round. These wounds are received at the end of each round, rather than per minute, as with wounds caused by powerful impacts. If you are brought to max +1 life points at the end of the first round, you take one wound at the end of the round. Now you are at max +2 life points beginning the second round, and you take 2 more wounds at the end. For the 3rd round, you are at max +4 at the beginning and max +8 at the end. As you can see, this adds up quite quickly. Remember that all rolls are made at a penalty equal to the damage received. It doesn't take long for someone to become unable to continue to fight. Even if they still stay conscious, they will soon collapse and expire.

If you receive treatment to your wounds, you stop taking additional damage, but will remain in a coma when you fall unconscious unless you are still below your maximum life points. After having your wounds bound you may continue to act, but must still make system shock rolls to stay active and conscious if you have taken more damage than you can withstand.

To sum up, when the hit points of damage you have taken overflow into life points, roll Willpower or pass out. When life points exceed their maximum, make a system shock roll. If you fail that system shock roll, well, that was your third strike. You are dead. This isn't Game Dead where you get three men, or can just put another quarter in the slot. This is Parrot Dead. There are no healing potions in Midian, no resurrection scrolls, and no save points. This is the really-real world; there ain't no coming back. You are dead-dead, joined the Choir Invisible, not just pining for the fjords…

Hit points and life points recover fairly quickly, but the injuries themselves linger. That is, your ability to absorb punishment, nearness to death from trauma, and the like are measured by these points. Those effects of a blow typically heal within days—even hours. Other effects of injury may last much longer. As an example, a critical hit is deemed to cause a couple of broken fingers. This will subtract from both the attack and damage rolls for months, long after the hit points have healed. Pain, bruising, lacerated flesh, swelling, and other more graphic signs of injury (albeit non-game-mechanical ones) could likewise last for a long time. Scars could remain for a lifetime.

You can have fractional damage. For example, an insect bite may cause only 0.01 damage. If you are attacked by an entire ant hill, that damage can quickly add up. Most of the time though, you can safely ignore fractional damage and only worry about whole numbers of hit points.


For every five points of damage from an attack you are considered to have a serious wound (bit of an understatement, since five points could kill some people). Each wound of this calibre you take continues to bleed (even smashing attacks can cause internal haemorrhaging and swelling) and cause further hit point damage—one additional point of damage per minute. This damage is taken at the end of the minute, so if your wounds are tended to you stop taking damage. Conversely, if your wounds aren't bound, then you could dispatch your opponent only to die shortly thereafter from your own injuries. This extra point of damage from each wound also subtracts one from each roll made, just as any other damage causes from shock. The penalty from wounds, however, continues to apply throughout that full minute.

Defending Against Attack[]

You have the option of parrying, blocking, or dodging an attack. Parrying an attack involves using your weapon or other object to knock aside your opponent's weapon. Blocking is simply a parry using a shield. Dodging is getting yourself out of harm's way. In order to perform any of these manoeuvres, you must roll equal or higher than your opponent's attack roll on a 1D20 (plus any bonuses you might have). If successful, you aren't really hit. Note that a critical hit cannot be defended against. A skilled combatant receives a free parry (that doesn't use up an action) for every two levels in the combat skill used for defence (a martial art, or skill in the weapon used to parry, for example) per round.

Armour Class[]

This is the number you need to roll on a 20-sided die to attack someone. An unarmoured person has an armour class of 5, although ranged weapons don't hit unless the roll is 8 or higher. This is not to say that everyone has a base Armour Class of 8 against arrows; just that it is harder to control something flying through the air instead of in your hand. Bonuses to armour are still added to the base of five, but a ranged attack roll under eight is still a miss. Armour is listed with both a base number as well as a bonus—these are the same thing—the base number is the bonus +5. This is to reduce the math you have to do… if you are creating a character you add your other bonuses to the base; for characters adding armour later, add the bonus listed to your pre-existing bonuses. While the impact reducing effects of armour apply to anyone, the armour class benefit only applies to skilled users. That is, you need proper training with mail in order to fight so that some attacks will slide right off instead of smashing into you.

Shield Use[]

Shields effectively follow the same guidelines as 2-weapon attacks. You receive a +1 per each level for blocks/parries with a shield. Normally every two levels of shield skill allow you to block one attack per round. However, you may use a shield for total defence, normal attack/defence, defence with shield rush or punch, or full-out attack.

  1. Full defence grants double parries with your weapon as well as double blocks with your shield, but prevents you from attacking that round. In other words, you may parry once per skill level with your weapon, as well as once per skill level with your shield.
  2. Normal attack/defence allows you to parry once with your weapon as well as block once per level of skill with the shield.
  3. Defence with shield rush or punch grants you your full amount of shield blocks and an attack with your shield immediately following your last action of the round. This option doesn't allow parries with the weapon, however.
  4. Total attack is when you rush or punch with your shield immediately before or after each attack action with your weapon. This doesn't allow for either parries or blocks. No active defence can be performed.

Shields add to armour class in addition to usually providing bonuses to block/parry. A block is simply a parry done with a shield—the two terms are interchangeable. Unskilled use of a shield still gives the armour class bonus, but each block counts as an action and has a -11 penalty (only -8 if ambidextrous or using the shield in the primary hand). You have a -5 penalty for unskilled use, -3 for using something in each hand, and -3 for off-hand use. Shield punches may only be performed if the effective load of the shield is medium or less. The shield rush or punch may only be done with a medium load shield if the weapon is of light or no load.

Parrying and Dodging[]

Every two levels of proficiency with a weapon (rounded up) allow you to parry once per round. For example, having Melee Combat V or VI allows you 3 parries per round. You also get a +1 bonus to parry for each skill level. Not having the skill in the weapon used to parry causes a -5 penalty. The dodge skill merely grants bonuses to the dodge roll; there is no penalty for dodging if you do not possess the skill. Dodging counts as an action (your next one, in fact).

If you have already used up all of your actions this round—or otherwise need to dodge more than your number of actions would otherwise allow—you can deficit spend a dodge. You can dodge one more time than your actions would allow, but you spend the entire next round recovering from it. Don't bother rolling for initiative. You still get your normal parries and other defences for that round. You can even dodge once, but that means you are still in the hole, and the next round is again spent on defence-only and recovery. It is possible to keep someone on the defensive indefinitely this way, as there is no limit to how many times someone can use their next round's actions on this round's dodge.

In other words, a dodge always counts as your next action, even if that action has to be stolen from the next round.

Total Defence[]

If you do not attack, but instead only defend in a round, then you receive twice the normal amount of parries—i.e. one per skill level—and may dodge twice for each action. Anything that takes your concentration prevents this, however, so your mage cannot take total defence each round while still performing magic. Total Defence also grants +2 to Armour Class for that round, but you cannot attack. If you are armed or otherwise able to defend yourself, then these bonuses stack with the +2 to parry from fighting defensively, see Part I: Killing and Breaking Stuff.

Damage Reduction & Damage Resistances[]

There are two systems to reduce the damage done to you. There are specific resistances to certain types of damage: hacking, stabbing, smashing, fire, etc. These are listed as a percentage, i.e. 10% smashing resistance. There is also total damage reduction such as from toughness. This reduces damage received from all attacks; that is, each level of damage reduction subtracts one point from the damage received. This is done after damage resistance is figured.

Specific resistance, hacking et al, reduces a percentage of damage received for that specific type. The simple way to handle this is to subtract one point of damage out of every block of ten per 10% of resistance. That is, a 30% resistance protects against the first 3 points out of every ten, 40% protects against 4 out of ten, et cetera. For example, a Dwarf has a racial 20% smashing resistance; if she is hit with a club for 8 points of damage, she only takes 6. If she is hit for 20 points of damage, she only takes 16 points (small concession). In another example, if a character with 30% stabbing resistance is stabbed for 10 points of damage, 3 points of damage are ignored. Specific resistance percentages do stack, so a dwarf which has a natural 20% smashing resistance also has armour with a 40% smashing resistance, has a total 60% resistance to smashing weapons. If you have a 100% or greater resistance then you are completely immune to that type of damage.

Having any degree of resistance at all protects you from the first point of damage. In other words, your damage resistance comes right off the top. As with our poor, battered, example Dwarf, she took two fewer points of damage from that first hit even though the damage was eight rather than than ten or more. Bopping a Dwarf in the head for one point of damage would just piss them off and cause no damage. If you inflicted more than two points of smashing damage, they still get to ignore the first points, not the fourth and fifth.

Blocking damage into groups of ten points is probably the easiest way to handle resistances, but is not the only way possible. You could multiply the damage caused by the percentage of resistance. For example, if you have 50% resistance to some type of attack, then it is simpler to just say you take half damage rather than block off five points out of every ten. If you would rather have your dwarf take one point of damage out of five instead of two out of ten, that's fine with us. As long as your method is consistent than you'll be all right. In other words, no fair claiming half damage most of the time (with 50% resistance), then using the blocking guidelines above if you are struck for only four points of damage.

Another alternative is to use what we like to call the 'no-math hack'. You are trading an extra die roll for having to figure any resistance subtraction or division at all. Instead, your damage resistance becomes a percentage chance to avoid that damage entirely—or taking full damage if the roll fails. Yet another option is to use the 'pre-math hack'. This translates every ten points of damage resistance into a +2 armour class against that specific type of attack. Like the no-math hack, this option is all or nothing for damage. Unlike the no-math hack no additional dice rolls are added to combat, but your character sheet becomes somewhat more complex, and more effort is needed to maintain it.

Saving Throws[]

You may be granted a chance to reduce or avoid the effects of certain terrible things that may befall your character. These are called saving throws, or saves. This is a sort of save-your-ass game mechanic. If something bad is about to happen to you, either because you fell off of a roof or you ate some bad mushrooms or something, roll 1D20 to avoid the danger, in whole or in part, depending on the situation. For example, if your character is bitten by a poisonous insect, the effect may be lethal. The Game Master determines that if a character can make a saving throw versus poison of 15 or higher then he shrugs off the effects of the venom. The Game Master determines the number needed for a success if one isn't already noted. A successful saving throw may either eliminate or reduce whatever would otherwise affect you, depending on the description of the effect or the Game Master's decision.

Types of saving throws include: disease, radiation, poison and other chemicals, fire, heat, cold, crushing attacks, mental attacks, paralysis (or other neural assaults), and petrification (or other shapeshifting assaults). Other types of saving throws are possible, in bewildering variety. The Game Master is free to require a roll for any reason, at any number needed to succeed.

Some examples of saving throws include: saving against crushing at 15 or higher to take half damage from a 30-foot fall, saving against paralysis at 14 or higher to shrug off the convulsions from an electrical attack, and ignoring the effects of a body-twisting spell by saving against shapeshift/ petrification at 13 or higher. No, you don't get a save against crushing blows when you are hit by smashing weapons.

You may have more than one bonus (yes, they stack, as do most bonuses in Midian) that applies to a roll. For example, an Elf receives a racial +3 bonus against mental control; this combines with any possible bonus for resisting mental attack from a high Willpower when resisting a hypnotic suggestion, but doesn't help against a psychic knife—only the Willpower bonus applies. Much like attack rolls, a natural roll of 1 or 2 always fails; a natural 19 or 20 always succeeds.

If not explicitly stated, saving throws are against a target value of 15. That is a 30% chance of success, barring modifiers (which are usually bonuses). In every case in this book, however, the target value and applicable bonuses will be stated.

Armour Considerations and Load Carried[]

The easiest way to keep yourself from harm (other than not being near someone who wants to hurt you) is to wear armour. Armour provides damage reduction (making the hit hurt less) and increases armour class (making it more difficult for your foe to get in a solid hit in the first place). In addition, many types of armour have their own special resistances to specific types of damage. Armour is difficult to fight in for the untrained user and gets in the way when attempting actions that require great range of motion; each type of armour has its own skill penalty listed in its description; this affects Awareness checks and many non-martial skills. Armour must be maintained or its quality will downgrade: the armour class can drop and the damage reduction/resistance will suffer.

Load, sometimes known as encumbrance, is simply how much armour weighs you down. Good quality armour is less restrictive for its weight, and poorly made armour will be harder to fight in—even if it is lightweight. If you are trained in the use of the armour, use the first section. Use the second section if you are untrained.

Pretty much anything other than basic clothes and a few things in your pockets is a light load. Anything above about a stone in weight is at least a light load, whether that's one somewhat bulky item or a bunch of little ones. Carrying three weapons is the same load worn as that weapon is carried. For example, with three longswords on your waist (like some straw hat pirate) is as much a medium load as wearing mail armour.

Any sort of pack, or bulky things strapped to your body is typically a medium load. Very heavy and bulky clothing, such as bundling up for severe winter or an elabourate costume, is also as restrictive as a medium load. As a rule of thumb, up to one-quarter to one-half of your Strength score in stone is a medium load. For a horse, just the rider and saddle are a medium load, as is gear for a week-long trip. Both the rider and gear at the same time would be a heavy load.

A stuffed backpack with things attached to it pushes into the heavy load category. A guideline is one-half to three-quarters of your Strength in stone is a heavy load. Carrying something that requires both arms, or one arm and your back, is also a heavy load, even if the weight is far below your Normal Lift. Pushing closer to your Normal Lift is certainly in the very heavy category. Anything above three-quarters of your Strength in stone is a very heavy load. Anytime you need to roll for a Feat of Strength you are carrying heroic load. At those weights it's all you can do to keep it aloft; the most you can do is take a few slow and hesitant steps.


No Load: Also known as 'unencumbered'; no additional penalties
Light Load: -1 additional skill penalty (swim, climb, sneak, acrobatics, Awareness checks, et cetera)
Medium Load: ¼ Speed penalty, -2 skill penalty
Heavy Load: -2 initiative penalty, ½ Speed penalty, -5 skill penalty
Very Heavy Load: -8 initiative penalty, -8 attack penalty, -5 damage penalty, 2/3 Speed penalty, -12 skill penalty
Heroic Load: Barely able to move/fight, -12 initiative penalty, -10 attack penalty, -8 damage penalty, skills are nearly impossible: -20 skill penalty, 1 point of fatigue per round


No Load: No additional penalties
Light Load: -2 attack penalty, -3 additional skill penalty (swim, climb, sneak, acrobatics, etc.)
Medium Load: -2 initiative penalty, -3 attack penalty, ¼ Speed penalty, -5 skill penalty
Heavy Load: -5 initiative penalty, -5 attack penalty, -2 damage, ½ Speed penalty, -8 skill penalty
Very Heavy Load: -10 initiative penalty, -12 attack, -7 damage, 2/3 Speed penalty, -15 skill penalty
Heroic Load: Barely able to move/fight, -15 initiative, -12 attack, -10 damage, skills are nearly impossible: -30 skill penalty, one point of fatigue per round

Use your effective load to find the appropriate category. As an example, if you are wearing leather armour (normally light), but only have an 8 Strength (which adds a level to load), then your armour has medium load to you. The skill penalty for load is in addition to the skill penalty listed with the armour itself. That is, no matter how strong you are, it's hard to do acrobatics in full plate. The skills that are affected are any that would be harder to perform with restricted movement and extra weight carried. Jumping would be penalised, for example, but Hebalism would not. Use your best judgement. Martial proficiencies have their own separate penalties for load (initiative, attack, and damage, as above). Every three points of penalty subtract one level of apprenticeships. It is the Game Master's decision as to whether a basic skill is affected; most won't be.

Weapon Encumbrance[]

Related to armour load is weapon encumbrance, although the guidelines are simpler. Training doesn't affect weapon load, as you are not generally wearing your weapon. Light weapons may be used in either hand. Medium weapons should be used in both hands, but can be used in one hand with a -2 initiative penalty. If attacking with more than one weapon, only one medium weapon can be used (see the section on Attacking with Two Weapons in Part I). Heavy, Very Heavy, & Heroic weapons must be used in both hands. In addition, very heavy weapons have a -2 initiative penalty and -1 attack penalty. Heroic load causes you to have a -5 initiative penalty & -3 attack penalty. Heroic load weapons do not receive additional damage from two-handed use.

Using a weapon with both hands enables you to bring more of your strength to bear and grants one-fourth of the Strength attribute to damage. This doesn't apply to device-propelled ranged weapons such as bows or pistols. If the handle isn't designed for both hands, then the bonus is only +1. Very strong combatants can damage or destroy weapons by using them in this manner. Anything beyond Heroic load may only be wielded or worn by someone who is exceptionally strong. For purposes of reduction due to high strength, weapons and armour may be listed as Heroic +1 for one load level beyond what can be used by a normal person; Heroic +2 for two levels beyond, et cetera.


Shock is caused when you take damage in combat. Each point of damage you receive (after reductions for damage reduction and resistance) is a -1 to ALL rolls for the remainder of the round and for the initiative roll next round. If you continue to receive damage, then the penalties stack up. For example, if you take 3 points of damage from one attack and 5 points in the next then you are at -8 for attack, damage, initiative, etc.


Also called multiple-dodge, this is usually used against missile fire or when running a gauntlet (but then why are you running & cowering? Wimp). This usually involves running in a zig-zag pattern, bobbing & weaving. Roll once to dodge at -6 and use this single result for all incoming attacks. Some skills will allow evasion in melee. Since evasion is an all-out defence, you may not attack that round.


There are two types of cover: hard cover and soft cover—also called concealment. The only difference between the two is whether the enemy's weapons can easily breach through your cover. Cover is especially useful for ranged weapons; otherwise, whatever you use for cover also helps your opponent. Note that you cannot have 100% cover and still be able to attack in that round. 90% is the maximum—this is just your head and weapon sticking out. If you cannot easily see or strike your opponent, a penalty for cover applies. Every 5% of cover subtracts one from the attack roll. For melee weapons, cover applies equally to both combatants. For ranged weapons, as long as you can effectively use your weapon, you suffer no penalty. This is how arrow loops work. The archer moves from total cover (100%) to either of a pair of slits that provide ¾ cover (75% or -15 to attack). 100% cover or concealment means that no part of you is visible to attack. Hard cover can sometimes provide a saving throw bonus in certain situations.

Some examples of cover and concealment:

  • Crouching down when being shot at 20% (-4), crouching behind a 3-foot wall 75% (-15)
  • Fog that only allows 20 feet of vision no effect for melee, between 0—100% for ranged weapons, greater than the visibility range is a blind shot
  • Lying flat on the ground 40% (-8) for ranged attacks (except from directly above), easy picking for melee weapons
  • Melee fighting among the trees 45% (-9), launching a crossbow bolt from behind a tree 75% (-15, less of your body needs be exposed)
  • Hiding behind someone else 40%, (-8, may hit your living shield instead if the attack misses you but was good enough to hit them) the one you are hiding behind can modify this by ±30%
  • Fighting from/through a doorway or window 30% (-6)
  • Poor light 0—100%, affects ranged weapons more than melee attacks

Other Things that can Go Wrong[]

These are the specific types of damage that can affect your unfortunate character, or can affect him or her negatively in some way.


The amount of damage you take from a fall depends on distance fallen and surface impacted. If you fall onto ordinary soil you take 1D8 per ten feet fallen, or portion thereof. If you fall into soft mud, or ground cover that cushions the blow, you might only take 1D6 points of damage for every 10 feet fallen. Falling onto hardpacked dirt or concrete could cause 1D10 or more points of damage per every ten feet. Stone or gravel would cause a maximum of 1D12 points for every ten feet. From a great height, even landing in water or on a cushion could cause 1D4 damage. This rounds up, so a ground level fall (e.g. tripping over something) can cause 1D8 damage. Most of the time you'll be rolling D8s for damage.

The saving throw for falling is versus crushing. The target value is the distance travelled in yards. Success cuts the damage in half. With both the saving throw target and dice of damage, you always round up when falling. On the other hand, you get to round down half points of damage after a successful saving throw. So a twenty-two foot fall requires a save against crushing blows at an eight or higher for half damage. Otherwise take the full 3D8 points. Critical successes negate all damage (lucky you) but catastrophic fumbles double it, and you've probably broken something.

Controlled falls gain a second saving throw. That is, if you jump down off of something instead of falling or being thrown, then you can make the saving throw twice. This isn't a simple retest: each roll reduces the damage by half; if both rolls succeed, no damage is taken. If the drop isn't entirely voluntary, and you are not in full control of your facilities and actions, then it's not a controlled fall. It can be argued that a longer fall gives a conscious body more time to react, thus lessening the impact. This has been most notably observed with cats—they survive falls beyond a certain height, but shorter distances may prove fatal. Twisting around in the air after being hurled off of a cliff like a cat isn't 'controlled'; use the Breakfall skill for that instead.

Ground level falls (like being shoved over) have a target value for the saving throw of only 1 (rounding up to one whole yard) so you only have to not roll a catastrophic failure (natural one or two). People do occasionally die from falling out of a chair or stumbling while walking. With non-violent falls from ground level (or any other rather short height) the Game Master might not even bother with saving throws and dice of damage.

What about the accelerative effects of gravity? For very long falls, terminal velocity for a typical person (where dice of damage stop accumulating) is reached after about 2000 feet. At that distance, it takes about two rounds to go from shove to splat. Cruel Game Masters can set terminal velocity for larger characters at a greater distance. Though the physics of falling are well known, landing is much more complicated. No one has yet described equations that adequately determine the trauma to a living body from a fall. Rather than dwell on the current state of mathematics, or asking you to figure your velocity at impact, it is much easier to have dice of damage equal to the tens of feet fallen. Besides, judging by the splatter patterns of our sorta-scientific drop tests falling damage seems to be additive with height instead of multiplicative.

Landing on spikes and such could cause substantially more damage. These are treated as weapons, and gravity replaces the Strength score. Compare the size of the spike to the size of a blade weapon, then double it as falling counts as a charge. Adjust this for weapon quality: small stalagmites would cause less damage than actual daggers, for example. A knife-sized spike causes 2D4, a big three-foot stalagmite would cause 2D8 or 2D10. Multiple spikes cause multiple impacts. If there are six-inch bamboo spikes every foot or two at the bottom of a pit, the damage would be 4D6. This is all added to the falling damage itself, based on height. Controlled falls (if, for some reason, you thought it'd be cool to jump into a big pit filled with rusty razorblades) do not count as a charge, and as such do not see the 'weapon' damage doubled. As any weaponised landing zone is—pretty much by definition—rather unyielding, twelve-sided dice are used for the fall. For example, a twelve-foot fall into a bin filled with broken beer bottles would cause 2D12 hit points from the fall and 3D6 damage for the glass, for a possible (likely lethal) 42 points. Funny coincidence, but still… ouch. The second simplest pit trap is the punji pit—right after 'dig a big hole'. This would cause 2D4+1D12 points of damage, but any non-critical-failure saving throw roll cuts that in half; the average damage is still five points. There are no attack rolls from falling (gravity never misses), but a successful saving throw cuts all of the damage in half. Continuing our glassy example, lucky rolls could mean you only take two points of damage. To keep things simpler, just use the same save versus crushing blows as though you were landing on the ground instead of getting glass in your face.


Fatigue guidelines are simple. Any time that the Game Master feels that the character should be tired, she assigns a point or more of fatigue. Each point of fatigue acts as a penalty to all rolls made until the Game Master has decided that the character has rested up properly. Initiative, damage, social skill checks, all rolls are reduced when you are tired. Points of fatigue may be given as a result of combat, environment (either too hot or too cold), illness, lack of sleep, or too long of an extended action. The Game Master may decide that resting for several minutes recovers a point of fatigue, that simply having time to catch your breath eliminates all penalties, or that even getting a full nights sleep doesn't completely reduce all fatigue points (we've all had mornings like that). Heroic loads cause one point of fatigue per round.


Some days it seems like just about everything is on fire. When player character types are around, this can happen more often than you might think. Being on fire (such as from Greek fire) or walking through very hot flames (such as being in a burning building) causes 5D6 damage per round; save against heat/fire for half damage. For greater detail, every twenty percent of your body that is exposed to heat or flame is 1D6 points of damage, rounded up. The target for the saving throw is equal to the damage caused, but for continuous contact with flame (that is, doused in fiery tar instead of just fending off a flaming branch) the target number for the saving throw is equal to the cumulative damage. Burn injuries can cause wounds (per five points of damage) just as with any other source of injury. Fire damage is taken at the end of the round, giving you a chance to stop, drop, and roll.

Flames spread whenever their damage dice shows a 6. For every 6 rolled, an additional die is added for the next round. If you are a liar-liar whose pants truly are on fire, this can ignite your jacket as well. This can cause the flames to spread—from the prior example, the pants alight the jacket, which then sets flame to the unfortunate's hair (especially if they use hairspray to tidy up their loose locks). Conversely, flames die out on every 1 rolled; remove one die the next round. A fire can go out on its own that way.

And now, the grand example: The Ogre shaman, Tiger-Tiger, is being attacked as a suspected Highland Orck sympathizer. His Lowlander opponents, the Orcks of the Valley, have set fire to the tree grove he calls 'home'. The shaman is completely surrounded by burning trees and underbrush, which does 3D6 damage. The burning damage rolled is eight, but Tiger-Tiger makes his saving throw (at an eight) and only takes four points of damage. Fortunately for the shaman, no 6s were rolled, so the fire doesn't spread yet. As Tiger-Tiger rushes towards safety, Orck treachery! They fell a flaming tree in the Ogre's path. As he is still trapped in the blaze for another round, Tiger-Tiger must again take 3D6 points of damage, but this time the saving throw is equal to the cumulative damage from both rounds. This time he fails to save and takes an additional 11 points of damage. 15 hit points taken won't fell the ageing Ogre shaman, but his clothes are now ablaze as one of the damage dice came up a six. Even if he escapes the burning grove, he will continue to take 4D6 points of damage per round. That is, at least for a minute or two—eventually either he will successfully smother the blaze, his clothes will be completely consumed, or he will burn to death.

For the sake of convenience, fire damage added to a weapon attack (such as a flaming crossbow bolt) is simply added to the damage caused by the weapon itself. Torches do 1D4 + Strength damage as a smashing attack, +2 points for the flame. Flaming arrows likewise do an additional two points of damage. This is applied to the total, rather than as a separate 'attack' for damage reduction purposes. Cumulative damage from a continual burn also bypasses damage reduction, but not damage resistance against fire. Steam or indirect heat (what you get a face-full of when you open an oven door) causes half damage. These can be insidious, especially steam, as you can get burnt far worse than you expected. They don't look as dangerous as open flame, and by the time you feel the burn your body has already absorbed a dangerous amount of heat energy. Fire and heat don't cause damage instantly. There is a moment's delay. This is part of the reason why flaming arrows and torches don't cause more damage. For a simple attack, such as swinging a torch, it's much simpler to just add the flame damage into the attack right then. Holding a torch to someone's skin would cause 1D6 points every round. If you are diving out of a window in a wall that's on fire, you can make it through before you have a chance to get burned. For anything that adheres to you—burning tar for example, or if your clothes catch fire—this one action grace period doesn't count; you take damage at the end of the round anyway. To see if a burning arrow spreads, roll 1D6 per arrow. This is not damage (yet) but the fire spreads for every 6 rolled.

Hotter or colder fires affect the number of dice used. Comparatively colder flame, such as alcohol, uses half the number of dice. Hotter flames could case double or more points of damage per. Falling into a vat of molten metal—pretty much any metal except mercury—could cause 20D6 points of damage per round.


There are two types of paralysis, magical and neural. Magical paralysis holds a character (or item in some cases) rigid and immobile. Neural paralysis or true paralysis), on the other hand, is the inability of the nerves to send and receive signals from the skeletal muscles. This causes the victim to fall down limp. There are some few instances where neural paralysis causes rigidity, some types of seizures or some electrical shocks, for example.


Regenerating creatures must make a system shock roll if damaged above life points to survive and begin healing, just like everyone else does. The roll is -5% per point above capacity that the damage caused. That does mean that you can keep attacking a regenerating opponent while it is down until it has taken at least twenty points above its life point maximum in order to make sure it stays dead. Performing a coup de grâce against a regenerating creature is just as effective as against a non-regenerating one.

Special Damage Considerations[]

Midian uses a descriptive method of attacks—ideally that is, the reality depends on the role-playing skills of the players and the Game Master. This descriptive method can be used to affect outcomes in combat without the need to consult an immensely complex hit/critical chart (or even multiple charts). A normal critical hit or catastrophic failure will have whatever specific effect the Game Master determines, but other (non-critical) attacks can have similar effects. In other words, if you keep damaging a foe's arm, he won't be able to use it as well—you may even cripple it—even if you never rolled a critical hit (natural 19 or 20). There are no specific rules to determine this, such as 23.86% of hit points per arm, or other such game mechanics. Having such rules in place will unnecessarily complicate combat and character creation, while simultaneously removing options and control from both player and Game Master. If you state, "I'm going for the eyes!" and hit, then no chart or rule need be consulted. Eyes are pretty fragile; one good hit with a sharp pointy implement of destruction tends to hurt a bit. The complexities of combat with regards to how much damage a particular blow causes—other than just the usual hit point/life point damage—is up to the Game Master to determine. She may assign any number of different penalties at her leisure: attack penalty, attribute penalty, blindness, sprained limb, broken bone, severe scarring, permanent injury, internal bleeding that spreads to surrounding tissue, et cetera.

Keep in mind that this works both ways. Not only is this a more graphic way of depicting violence on an innocent victim, but players may have specific damage applied to them as well. Just because your hit points have all healed, doesn't mean that your arm is no longer broken.

Death & Dying[]

When someone above their maximum number of life points fails his or her system shock roll, that's it—all you get, you're done. Only the most extraordinary measures can save a person who has slipped into Death's gentle embrace.

Remember that the maximum system shock roll (at least due to high stamina) is 100%, and the check is reduced by 5% for each point of damage above capacity. Additionally, when someone is above maximum life points, he or she cannot heal any hit points until the life points are at least below half of the cap.

Being so close to death is a traumatic experience on the body and causes terrible strain. The Game Master is free to inflict: opportunistic infections, crippling injuries, permanent scars, chronic or recurring pain, or any other indicator that almost dying is not very pleasant.

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