Bleeding and Unconscious

I've read both the Cypher System and Numenera rules in damage and Damage Tracks, but I've yet to find any rules to represent the decline from life to death through something bleeding (death saves in D&D, Savage Worlds' Bleeding Out, or GURPS). 

I've already asked this question on the subreddit, but I'm honestly getting tired of my posts never getting help, because some a$$hole downvotes my post on Reddit.

Anyways, I know there's a lot of folks that seem to suggest that since it's a narrative game I shouldn't even ask, but my group comes from more traditional RPGs where death is part of the challenge and the fun. At the same time, I'm not interested in using GM fiat through intrusions to kill players. That feels to me no different than the Sphere of Annihilation in old school D&D.

Has anyone addressed this in their games? Do you have ideas on how I can bring this aspect into Numenera or Cypher? Have a good argument to convince me otherwise?


  • I think one of the important things is Numenera is very narratively based which means it can fudge stuff like that. That being said there are ways to do it without fudging. One of then optional rules in Numenera is permanent injuries everytime you drop a lvl on the damage track. You could very fairly have when you lose all your might the default injury is bleeding out.

    I remember seeing that discussion and it's a fair question. Not everything has to be handled with GM intrusions.

    One thing to remember if you don't want PCs to be invincible is rolling a recovery roll requires the ability to recover. Lying in a ditch on death's door for 10 hrs is not resting so a person on their last pool can't claim a recovery roll regardless of whether they have some left for the day.

    Death is definitely part of the fun as despite Numenera's claims it is still a very combaty game. I'm not sure how you would roll death rolls.

    One the other side of convincing you otherwise, I personally run Numenera like Fate where it is consequences driven by the situation and getting to 0 in every pool simply means being taken out. Some enemies may kidnap you, others may permanently maim you. Some may steal you shit and in the hardest fights i.e. boss fights death in on the table and PCs know if they get to 0 there are no saves, no 2nd chances, they are just dead. I feel it gives the game a more dynamic feel and encourages players to take more risks, outside of boss fights which means they won't be afraid to use their pools which is a big plus.

    There's nothing wrong with coming up with a houserule though. Maybe when PCs get to their last pool they start losing 1 might a turn from blood loss and they have to make a might defence test with difficulty that increases each turn that they fail?

    It's really up to you. I would also say that you should try not to think of GMIs (GM intrusions) as screwing the PC. GMIs should only ever be used the way compels work in FATE. They are a way for the GM to force something to complicate the PCs life that they cant avoid. That doesn't ever mean use it to kill someone because GMIs need to be interesting and unavoidable death isn't that. On the other hand a PC on deaths door being offered a GMI that gives them the choice between being knocked out by the enemy and kidnapped or choosing to sacrifice a limb to survive is an interesting choice that can bring about cool narrative development, which is always what a GMI should strive to do :)
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