Damage, Recovery, & Sidelining

Danger to characters in Equestria can come from all angles, be it from a monster attacking from the Everfree Forest, to a bully in Ponyville who just won’t leave them alone. Because of this, characters may take damage to both their physical and emotional state, and damaging either one may be enough to ‘Sideline,’ or temporarily defeat, a character. The toughest soldier may be emotionally sensitive, and the strongest will may come in a physically frail body. This section will explain how characters are harmed, what happens to them as a result of being harmed, and how they recover.

Taking Damage
Dangerous situations can lead to characters taking damage to their Fortitude and Willpower, through physical harm (for Fortitude) or mental / emotional harm (for Willpower). The GM determines the type and severity of the harm being inflicted, which yields a formula for calculating the inflicted damage.

For example, a character doesn’t manage to get out of the way of a charging buffalo. The GM determines that the buffalo hitting the character inflicts ‘Heavy’ physical harm, which is (2d6 + 8) damage to Fortitude. When it is rolled, the results are 3 and 5, plus 8, for a total of 16.

Recovering With Valor
As long as a character’s Fortitude and Willpower totals are above zero, they can spend Valor to recover lost Fortitude and Willpower, up to their maximum. This may be done as either a reaction or an action during a round of Cinematic Mode gameplay, or at any time during Narrative Mode gameplay. In addition, multiple points of Valor may be spent at a time. For every point of Valor a character spends, they recover 1d6 of their own Fortitude and Willpower, or allow a friend to recover 1d6 Fortitude and Willpower. In this way, characters may use Valor to maintain their own levels of Fortitude and Willpower, or may help a friend in need avoid dropping to zero.

For example, a character who has dropped to 5 Fortitude out of their maximum may, by spending 3 points of Valor, recover 3d6 Fortitude and Willpower. They might also have spent 3 points of Valor to recover 3d6 of a friend’s Fortitude and Willpower, or may split the expenditure as 2 points for 2d6 Fortitude and Willpower for themselves and 1 point for 1d6 Fortitude and Willpower for their friend.

Being Sidelined
When either of a character’s Fortitude or Willpower totals reach zero, the character becomes Sidelined, and cannot recover from being Sidelined unless an effect is used which specifically says that they recover from being Sidelined. A Sidelined character cannot take normal actions, and is effectively ‘out of action’ for the duration of a Scene. The only actions a Sidelined character can take are ones granted via Edges (for example, the "Second Wind" Edge allows a character to recover from being Sidelined once per Scene)--otherwise, the GM controls the character until they decide to return control to the player, or until the Scene is over. A character becomes Sidelined according to the situation at hand and whether Fortitude or Willpower was reduced to zero.

For example, a character participating in a joust who runs out of Fortitude might be knocked out or exhausted, whereas a character who is facing a scary monster and runs out of Willpower might be forced to run away in fear. Either are appropriate examples of being Sidelined.

If all characters are Sidelined, the GM may declare that the game is over, or may take the story in a different direction. Being Sidelined isn’t always the end; it may allow for characters to be captured, or for other events to occur in the story while everypony is temporarily incapacitated.

After-Action Recovery
The GM may, after a dangerous Scene is over, restore all Sidelined characters to being actively playable, as well as restoring them to 1 Fortitude and Willpower and get them ‘back on their feet,’ so to speak. In addition, a character may have all (or some, at the GM’s discretion) of their lost Fortitude and Willpower restored by resting, relaxing, or otherwise engaging in ‘focused recovery’ between dangerous Scenes or as a result of other events, at the GM’s discretion.

For example, after the dragon has been sent on its way from Equestria, the GM rules that the Scene is over, and the four characters who were Sidelined are restored to 1 Fortitude and Willpower and recover from being Sidelined. After returning to town, the group takes the opportunity to relax together from their adventure, and the GM rules that this ‘focused recovery’ restores everyone to full Fortitude and Willpower.