In RECON, combat is designed to be deadly; a small handgun or even a knife can quickly kill a character at full Strength. However, despite the original rules’ attempt at realism in making damage levels high and combat often one-sided, there is a distinct lack of realism (in my opinion) in how a characters go from healthy to unconscious. When it comes to injuries and their threat to mortality, Recon only differentiates between “conscious” (Strength greater than zero) and “unconscious” (Strength is zero or less), and nothing in between. The only way in which reduced Strength (due to injury) affects a character is in lowering their Movement and Carrying Capacity, and in the required recovery time.
For example, a character with a base Strength of 80 could be reduced to a Strength of just 5, yet never be in any danger of dying (from blood loss, shock, etc.) until they lose those last few points!
In an attempt to enhance the realism and danger of combat, I came up with the following optional, homebrew rules that hopefully better reflect the realities of shock, blood loss and trauma relating to injuries, even those that don’t kill or incapacitate a character outright.
Note that these rules require that you also use the optional Morale rules, found here.
New Minor Attribute:
Pain Threshold (PT) is a new Minor Attribute that determines how wounded a character can get before they risk going into shock.
To determine Pain Threshold, add the character’s base Strength (ST) and base Morale (MO) and divide the result by 4.
This is how many points of damage the character can take before they must roll for shock. When a character’s sustained damage exceeds this value, they must roll percentile dice against their Shock Resistance (see below).
Note that Pain Threshold cannot be improved directly, however if a character raises their base Strength and/or base Morale through the use of Experience Points, they should recalculate their Pain Threshold using the new value(s).
Also note that a character’s base Strength and Morale are what determine a character’s Pain Threshold, not their current values; PT should not be recalculated unless Major Attributes are permanently improved through experience.
New Minor Attribute:
Shock Resistance (SR) is a new Minor Attribute that allows a wounded character to resist being incapacitated by shock from wounds.
To determine Shock Resistance, add the character’s base Strength (ST) and base Morale (MO) and divide the result by 2.
Like Pain Threshold, Shock Resistance cannot be improved directly, however if a character permanently increases their base Strength and/or base Morale through the use of Experience Points, they should recalculate their Shock Resistance accordingly.
Also like Pain Threshold, a character’s base Strength and Morale determine Shock Resistance; it does not get recalculated when temporary changes are made to Strength and/or Morale.
Shock, Pain and Incapacitation
Any time a character’s current Strength drops below their Pain Threshold, they must check for shock. This is done by rolling against their Shock Resistance. If the roll is equal or under the character’s Shock Resistance, they may continue to act normally (though still suffer all the usual Movement and Carrying Capacity penalties their reduced ST causes).
If the character takes any further damage while below their Pain Threshold level of ST, they must roll for shock again.
Any time a character fails a Shock Resistance roll, they go into shock and are incapacitated. Characters who are Incapacitated may take no further actions until they are healed above their Pain Threshold level; that is, their current Strength is at least equal or greater than their PT.
Once a character is Incapacitated, they will lose blood (or otherwise deteriorate in condition due to shock) every turn. For each turn a character is Incapacitated, reduce their current Strength by 1D4 points. As usual, when Strength falls below zero, the character is unconscious and will die unless medical attention is received within minutes equal to their original Strength.
Another character can use their First Aid (acquired from Basic Infantry Training) or Medic (for those with the Medic MOS) skill on an Incapacitated character to try and stabilize them. Success prevents further ST loss and will allow the injured character to move and perform normal actions again, albeit at their reduced Strength.
Note that – as normal – only the Medic skill will restore any Strength points during treatment (5 points per “grade” of Medic training); using the First Aid skill will simply stop the loss of further ST and stabilize them.