Health Levels are a measure of the amount of Damage a Character has sustained. As characters recieve more damage of the different types their Health Levels fill up and they suffer from Wound Penalties, eventually falling unconscious and dying.
Health levels and Wound Penalties
The standard array of health levels is as follows:
- Health Levels: -0/-1/-1/-2/-2/-4/I
As each health level is filled with damage, the character takes wound penalties to their actions equal to the value listed beside the health level box on their health track. The final level represents Incapacitation. When this health level is filled with damage, the character falls immediately unconscious. In combat, the character takes the Inactive action.
Mortals and Heroic Mortals have the standard 7 health levels. Extras have only 4: one -0, one -1, one -3, and one Incapacitated level. Exalted also begin with the standard 7, but can use the Charm Ox-Body Technique to gain more health levels. Mutations, Merits, and Flaws can also affect the number of health levels a character has. Large Beasts, Spirits and Demons may also possess more Health Levels.
Filling Health Levels with Damage
When an attack succeeds in dealing damage, the player fills in a number of health level boxes on their character sheet corresponding to the damage done. Bashing damage is noted with a /, lethal damage with a X, and aggravated damage with a *. As new attacks come in, less serious damage is pushed down to the rows of health level boxes with higher penalties. An illustration of this process is shown in the Second Edition Core on page 150.
If the character's Incapacitated health level fills with damage, they fall unconscious. If any health levels are filled with bashing damage and further damage is done to the character, the bashing damage at the bottom of the health track "overflows", converting the highest level of bashing damage to lethal damage. This continues until there are no more levels of bashing damage. Further damage spills over into the character's dying health levels (see below).
Every living being has a number of Health Levels beyond their last Health Level equal to their Stamina. These are called dying health levels, and they fill with overflow damage only after the character's Incapacitated health level is filled with lethal or aggravated Damage. All damage that flows over into the dying levels is lethal damage. Dying levels need not be filled with damage by attacks for a character to reach final death; so long as at least one of those levels is filled with damage the unconscious character bleeds to death, losing one health level every action. Once these are exhausted the Character dies.
Healing health levels is always accomplished in reverse order. If any dying health levels are filled, the character must first be stabilized with a very difficult Medicine roll. Then the Incapacitated health level is healed first, then the -4 level(s), etc. Consult the table below for healing times. Charms such as Body-Mending Meditation can greatly speed the healing process. Note: Aggravated damage heals at the same rate as lethal damage.
|Mortal (rest)||Mortal (active)||Exalt (rest)||Exalt (active)|
|Bashing||12 hours||1 day||3 hours||6 hours|
|-0 (Lethal)||1 day||2 days||6 hours||12 hours|
|-1 (Lethal)||1 week||2 weeks||2 days||4 days|
|-2 (Lethal)||2 weeks||1 month||4 days||8 days|
|-4 (Lethal)||1 month||N/A*||1 week||2 weeks|
|Incap (Lethal)||1 month||N/A*||1 week||N/A*|
* Cannot be healed without rest.