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5 Wounds = blackout or death?

P65: “A character suffering with five or more afflictions of the same type is blacked out. They are unable to take any actions at all, even by spending Luck (for Wounds this is death…”

P66: “A character that has taken 5 Wounds counts as blacked out and is unconscious or writhing in agony.”

Also, what’s the default for defends? Daring+Passion (p63) or Cunning+Daring (p64)? And what about defending from ranged attacks? Daring+Reason?

Daring is one of the default attribute combination.

But which one is the correct second attribute for melee defence? Passion or Cunning?

I think the second attribute is meant to be fluid depending on the character and the circumstances. You can for instance make the case that the character is using their high Empathy score to anticipate their attacker’s action and thus get out the way.

or

The second attribute is whichever one you can best justify in a storytelling sense.

As to 5 wounds being blackout or death… that’s up to either the narrator or the character inflicting the incapacitating blow.

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Remember that the defending attributes define which kind of damage you receive. And that there are talents which allow you to use a different attribute.
Defence against ranged attacks is always use Cunning and Reason, allowing the defender to receive injury or confusion stress.
Defence against melee attacks should be Cunning and Daring, allwoing the defender tp receive injury or fear stress, because the combination Daring and Passion only allow fear stress. And that woud mean that you can only receive injury stress in a melee if the attacker uses a weapon with the sharp quality.

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Whichever fits the situation described by the player in the player’ or the GM, respectively.

Xoraque beat me to it!

But then there would be no need for talents that allow us to use certain attributes in skill checks.

In RAW, this very thing is addressed in a side bar nearby.

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Why not, pray tell?

I’ve looked at the rules again. The talents allow you to always use a certain attribute in certain tests. But that means that a player should not decide which attributes he uses in a test, because in that case he would not need these talents. It should always be the GM’s job.

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Yes. All the player does is narrate generally how their character is performing the action.

*I say “generally” because you should reserve the full narration of the action for after the roll so you can incorporate your momentum spends into it as intentional heroic things, not accident random chance things.

I decided to go with raw, and allow for fear stress from melee attacks. Lol.

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But then again, this would mean a character would never get physically injured if the character would always defend with a daring + empathy against a ranged attack.

Also, what happens if a character does not defend? What then would be the defaults?

Default damage inflicted.

I Usually let the PCs defend with Daring plus the Reason attribute by default.

Wouldn’t this also mean that the PC defending as thus would never get an injury stress from a ranged attack? Since Daring is related to the Fear track and Reason is related to the Confusion track?

Ok, just realized this has been discussed and resolved here: Defending Attributes