Fatigue in combat

Just started running the game and slowly introducing different systems. was enough to get core combat before introducing reach and guard. Now looking at fatigue.

As dar as I can see there are a few out of combat situations where resistance rolls are required but there is little discussion of getting fatigued while fighting, so it seems to me like you don’t get tired while fighting.

That seems odd to me. I am not advocating fir more book-keping in vombat, there is already enough going on, but it would seem appropriate that one option for a complication to be requiring a resistance roll to avoid becoming fatigued.

I think it is something to use with discretion, not too early in afight, or only when heavily outnumbered or against a foe whose Brawn significantly exceeds your own.

Anything folks think I should avoid here?


No, you get injured or killed. - Fatigue is a long-term effect, in rules mechanics and in the fiction that the Conan 2d20 RPG is based on.

Fatigue reduces your maximum Vigor stress, so if you enter a combat in a fatigued state, you will more likely get injured or even killed.
During the fight, though, it is your Vigor stress that gets reduced. If you are very fit, you have a high Vigor and can keep on going for a longer time than a character with low Vigor.
So “combat fatigue” is actually measured by the Vigor stress. It will drop quickly, but will regenerate after a few minutes of rest quickly, too.

Fatigue will last a LONG time. Hitting the PCs with Fatigue has to be a very deliberate move on the GM’s part, as this will make combat more deadly later on - and for all the time the Fatigue lasts (which could be an entire adventure over several sessions).

As a Complication under certain circumstances, like fighting on the edge of a poisonous gas spewing volcano or so, it might fit causing Fatigue. But not in a normal combat situation.

That said, the question is, if you want to allow your players to play heroic, larger than life Sword&Sorcery fantasy heroes or if you want to tone the characters’ competency and survival ability down to get them killed more easily?


Thanks. So for those folk complaint their player characters are too tough, get through fights too easily it is a potential tool but for high end swords and sorcery, Conan emulating characters, it could be step too far.


I am not sure if you really mean Fatigue instead of Harms (physical or mental). Fatigue, as stated on page 79 of the Core Rulebook is something that you can get rid of relatively easy after 8h of sleep. The real problem and death spiral are the harms, that don’t go away unless you have downtime.

So, fatigue is neat mechanics to increase the difficulty if the party are having a party time, but not something that will be detrimental for their success as the harms (wounds or traumas)

That depends on the nature of the Fatigue. - If you are tired or exhausted, this might be remedied after a night’s sleep. If you caught an illness, such Fatigue might last longer. If you are fatigued due to thirst, heat, lack of food, etc., sleep won’t remove it, only eating and drinking sufficient amounts will do that.

What I meant with Fatigue lasting a LONG time: compared to the Vigor loss that is fully recovered a few minutes after an action scene, you would have at least - in case of exhaustion-based Fatigue - get the chance to sleep it off. Which you might not get at all, while you are fighting your way out of a subterranean cavern complex full of undead hordes or such.

That is the problem of striking PCs with Fatigue in addition to the Vigor loss in combat scenes. Fatigue will accumulate in every single combat, while Vigor will reset after each combat scene.
And as Fatigue reduces the Vigor maximum, it will make the PCs easier to become wounded and even killed. So Fatigue is a much stronger effect than simply dealing some Vigor damage that will reset in a few minutes.

And: Spending a Fortune point allows you to ignore the effects of Harm for the current scene. There is no way to spend Fortune to get rid of Fatigue as per the core book rules. You can spend Fortune to recover your lost Vigor immediately (useful in the middle of a combat scene), but if your Vigor maximum is reduced, that will not change it, you are still stuck with being more vulnerable.

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