A Path to Steam
Running long distances, using extra effort, being suffocated, casting magic spells, and many other things can cause “fatigue”: a temporary loss of Fatigue Points. Your Fatigue Points (FP) score starts out equal to your HT, but you can modify this; see Fatigue
Points (p. 16). Just as injury represents physical trauma and comes off of HP, fatigue represents lost energy and reduces FP. When you lose FP, keep track of it on your character sheet.
LOST FATIGUE POINTS
The chart below summarizes the effects of being at low or negative FP. All effects are cumulative.
Less than 1/3 your FP left – You are very tired. Halve your Move, Dodge, and ST (round up). This does not affect ST-based quantities, such as HP and damage.
0 FP or less – You are on the verge of collapse. If you suffer further fatigue, each FP you lose also causes 1 HP of injury. Thus, fatigue from starvation, dehydration, etc.
will eventually kill you – and you can work yourself to death! To do anything besides talk or rest, you must make a Will roll; in combat, roll before each maneuver other than Do Nothing. On a success, you can act normally. You can use FP to cast spells, etc., and if you are drowning, you can continue to struggle, but you suffer the usual 1 HP per FP lost. On a failure, you collapse, incapacitated, and can do nothing until you recover to positive FP. On a critical failure, make an immediate HT roll. If you fail, you suffer a heart attack; see Mortal Conditions (p. 429).
-1xFP – You fall unconscious. While unconscious, you recover lost FP at the same rate as for normal rest. You awaken when you reach positive FP. Your FP can never fall below this level. After this stage, any FP cost comes off your HP instead!
The following activities commonly result in FP loss.
Fighting a Battle
Any battle that lasts more than 10 seconds will cost FP – you expend energy quickly when you fight for your life! Those who make no attack or defense rolls during the fight are
exempt from this fatigue, but other actions (e.g., casting magic spells) still have their usual FP cost. Assess the following costs at the end of the battle:
No Encumbrance: 1 FP.
Light Encumbrance: 2 FP.
Medium Encumbrance: 3 FP.
Heavy Encumbrance: 4 FP.
Extra-Heavy Encumbrance: 5 FP.
If the day is hot, add 1 FP to the above – or 2 FP for anyone in plate armor, an overcoat, etc. Full-coverage armor at TL9+ is climate-controlled. This counts as a cooling system, and negates the penalties for hot weather.
These costs are per battle, not per 10 seconds of battle. A very long battle may cost more (GM’s decision), but it would have to run for 2 or 3 minutes (120 to 180 turns!) before extra FP costs would be realistic.
Use the FP costs for fighting a battle, but assess them per hour of road travel; e.g., one hour of marching with light encumbrance costs 2 FP (3 FP on a hot day). If the party enters combat while on the march, assume they’ve been walking for an hour, unless
events dictate otherwise, and assess fatigue accordingly.
Carrying more than extra-heavy encumbrance, or pushing/pulling a very heavy load, costs 1 FP per second (see Lifting and Moving Things, p. 353). For FP costs for other forms of heavy exertion, see Extra Effort (p. 356).
Running or Swimming
Every 15 seconds of sprinting, or minute of paced running or swimming, requires a HT roll to avoid losing 1 FP. Encumbrance has no direct effect on this, but you run or swim
more slowly. See Running (p. 354) and Swimming (p. 354).
Most magic spells (see Chapter 5), many advantages (such as Healing, p. 59), and a few cinematic skills (for instance, Power Blow, p. 215) cost FP to use, as does any trait with the Costs Fatigue limitation (p. 111).
STARVATION AND DEHYDRATION
When you buy equipment, don’t forget food! The traveler’s rations under Camping and Survival Gear (p. 288) are the minimum necessary to keep you healthy on the road; missing even one meal weakens you.
Note to the GM: If keeping up with the party’s meals doesn’t sound like fun, feel free to ignore this whole section. Travel is much more hazardous if you have to keep track of food and water!
A human needs three meals per day. For each meal you miss, take 1 FP. You can only recover “starvation” fatigue with a day of rest: no fighting or travel, and three full meals. Each day of rest makes up for three skipped meals.
In temperate areas, where water is easy to come by, assume that you can renew your supplies as needed. But if water is in short supply, watch out! A human (or elf, dwarf, etc.) needs 2 quarts of water a day – 3 in hot climates, 5 in the heat of the desert! If
you get less than you need, you lose 1 FP every eight hours. If you drink less than a quart a day, you lose an extra 1 FP and 1 HP per day. You can regain all FP lost to dehydration after a day of rest with ample water supplies. You recover lost HP at the usual rate.
The average human can function for a 16-hour “day.” He must then rest for an eight-hour “sleep period.” Less Sleep (p. 65) shortens this sleep period, thereby increasing useful day length; Extra Sleep (p.136) and Sleepy (p. 154) do the opposite. Getting less sleep than your sleep period costs FP that you can only recover by sleeping.
Interruptions, noise, and disadvantages such as Chronic Pain (p. 126), Insomniac (p. 140), Light Sleeper (p. 142), and Nightmares (p. 144) can reduce the quality of your sleep. In game terms, your sleep counts as fewer hours – or none at all.
Those who have the Doesn’t Sleep advantage (p. 50) can ignore this entire section!
Staying Up Late
If you’ve been awake for more than your normal day (typically 16 hours), you start to get tired. You lose 1 FP if you fail to go to sleep, and 1 FP per quarter-day (usually four hours) you stay awake after that.
If you’ve lost half or more of your FP to lack of sleep, you must make a Will roll every two hours you spend inactive (e.g., standing watch). On a failure, you fall asleep, sleeping until you are awakened or get a full night’s sleep. On a success, you have -2 to DX, IQ, and self-control rolls. Those with the Slow Riser disadvantage (p. 155) get an extra -1.
If you’re down to less than 1/3 your FP due to lack of sleep, roll as above once per 30 minutes of inaction or two hours of action. This can be very dangerous!
Getting Up Early
If you sleep for less than your full sleep period, you’ll still be tired when you wake up. Subtract twice the hours of missed sleep from your day to determine how long you can stay awake. For example, if your sleep period is eight hours and you sleep only six
hours, you’ve missed two hours of sleep. You will suffer the effects of staying up late after only 12 hours: your usual 16-hour day, minus four hours (twice your hours of missed sleep).
RECOVERING FROM FATIGUE
You can recover “ordinary” lost FP by resting quietly. Reading, talking, and thinking are all right; walking around, or anything more strenuous, is not. Lost FP return at the rate of 1 FP per 10 minutes of rest. The GM may allow you to regain one extra FP if you eat a decent meal while resting. Certain drugs, magic potions, etc. can restore missing FP, as can spells such as Lend Energy and Recover Energy (see p. 248).
You can only recover from fatigue caused by missed sleep by sleeping for at least one full sleep period. This restores 1 FP. Further uninterrupted sleep restores 1 FP per hour.
You need food or water to recover FP lost to starvation or dehydration; see Starvation and Dehydration (above).