These mechanics are not required to play the game. You can introduce more sub-systems as the game progresses and the players gain more familiarity with how the game works.
The world is overwhelming and terrifying. As fear increases, so does the target for dice rolls, making actions harder and reactions more dangerous. By default the fear level is 4, so this is the target for your rolls. Some conditions, places, and monsters can increase the fear level. Watch out!
In low light, the fear level increases by 1, and in the dark it increases by 2. Candles produce light for one person, and dim light for another. Torches and lanterns are 2/2.
Phases of the Day and Activities
The daylight of a day is broken into 12 hours (maybe less in the winter and more in the summer).
You can abstract most actions as taking an hour and pace your day out accordingly. You might consider asking a player to be the time-keeper.
Examples of actions that take an hour:
- prepare a meal
- gather food or hunt
- travel to the next landmark
- repair broken equipment
- train your abilities
- study something
- tell stories
- observe your surrounding
- poke around and explore an area
In many contexts it might make sense to play out your actions more granularly: conversations, battles, and exploring a dungeon are common examples. Don’t worry too much about tracking time during these activities except to occasionally say “I imagine an hour might have passed by now.”
There are several quality levels of sleep, starting at restful:
- restful: works as usual
- unsettled: recover a minor condition (starting with “tired”), but gain no progress towards severe and fatal conditions
- restless: no effect
- only an hours’ sleep: gain a minor setback (often “tired”)
- no sleep: gain two minor setbacks (perhaps “tired” and “irritable”)
The following conditions (and others) will reduce the quality of your sleep:
- Temporary or ad-hoc shelter
- Unmitigated inclement weather (rain, cold or heat, etc)
- Sleep interrupted or reduced (such as by taking watch)
- Sleeping on a hard or uncomfortable surface
- Cramped space
- Loud or unsettling noises
Broadly speaking, sleeping outside is something done only when there is no other option. It’s expected that you’ll seek shelter in towns or in small travellers’ cabins and huts along the road. A larger entourage might have a covered wagon and/or a large tent.
You’re expected to eat two meals a day (in the morning and the evening) but you can get by on just one. The first time you skip a meal in a day, you gain a minor setback of your choice (maybe “angry” or “distracted”). The second time, you gain the minor setback “hungry”, which can only be recovered by eating.
Eating consumes 1 supply of food. Many ingredients need to be cooked to be safe to eat or to even be edible at all. Any meal will stave off hunger. A good meal can also improve the quality of your sleep or put you in a good mood for a day. A bad meal can make you sick.
Traveling is done landmark-by-landmark. To move to the next landmark, you spend an amount of fatigue depending on the difficulty of the terrain.
Wear & Tear
Each possession has a “decay” box. Whenever you roll a 1, mark that box. If it’s already decayed, becomes damaged instead.
Damaged items are less effective. If a damaged item would become damaged again, it breaks and becomes unusable.
Each evening, mark decay on all possessions that you made use of. They can’t become damaged this way, but objects that don’t undergo regular maintenance are more vulnerable to being damaged during use.
You can spend an hour of your time to maintain your items. For each point in Cobble you have, erase the decay from one of your possessions. You can do this after marking decay on used items for the evening.
Repairing damaged items is a small long-term project. Repairing broken items is a bigger project. In either case, you may need to seek our certain materials or equipment to do your repairs.
Getting injured, in addition to causing setbacks, can also involve more immediate concerns. Open wounds, internal bleeding, and other such conditions are immediate dangers that shouldn’t (and sometimes can’t) be ignored. Aggravating it can cause the harm to increase to the next level. You can Cobble to treat an open wound and keep it from getting any worse, though strain or slip-ups may cause it to re-open unless you’re careful.