Take 1 Harm if 5+ Stress taken -- or Take 1 Harm after every 5 points of Stress taken?

On page 120 of the Core Rulebook it states, “The target suffers a single Harm if 5 or more damage remains after Soak has been subtracted.”
However, I just noticed that on the right column of the second panel of the GM Screen, in the green box entitled “Combat”, at the bottom under “Stress and Harm” it states, “For every 5 points of Stress, the target takes 1 Harm.”

These two statements are in conflict. I’m assuming the Core Rulebook trumps the GM Screen. However, my eyes went wide when I spotted this on the GM Screen and so it’s worth asking which is correct?

I never noticed the GM screen said 1 Harm for every 5 Stress. I have always used the 1 Harm for 5 or more damage.


GM screen is incorrect. It is 1 harm for taking 5+ damage.


I think it was like this in the early versions of the rules.

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This typo is what lead me to doing damage all wrong in the beginning. What everyone else has said is correct. You take 1 harm for 5+ damage unless there is an ability that increases the number of harm taken at the moment.

…I have an unless to add to this discussion. If you take 5 or more than 5 Stress (Vigor or Resolve) in a single attack and that Stress also reduces you to zero Vigor or Resolve then you would take two Harms and not one. If the attack also has the Intense Quality then you would take three Harms.


The After SOAK simply means if the Character has Armour then that absorbs some of the damage, so If he has armour that gives,2 soak for example, then if hit for 5 damage the armour absorbs or Soaks up, two of that damage leaving only 3 points of damage coming through. .No Harm at that point. say he was hit though with 7 damage, the 2 soak of armour would reduce it to 5 points and yes then a harm happen.

So is it that if that same character takes 2 more points of Damage he now has a Harm?

The book reads like Harms from Damage are incurred mainly by Big Hits only where 5 points of damage get through after soak. I see that the character sheet has a little matrix that looks like it could be a Harm per row, but I’m not seeing a definitive answer anywhere.

You only get Harm in three ways:

  • You get 5 or more Stress (Vigor or Resolve) in a single hit (always the net damage after applying soak).
  • Your get so much Stress after soak that your Stress Track falls to 0 (there is no “negative Stress”, it stops at 0).
  • You get 1 or more points of Stress after soak while your Stress Track is already at 0.

As you see, a hit does not always need to cause 5+ damage to cause a wound. You can whittle down an opponent to close to 0 Stress, and then the last hit, that puts the Stress track to 0 would cause a Harm. And if you hit an opponent at 0 Stress again and cause after soak at least 1 damage, that causes a Harm, too.

Up to two of the above criteria can apply at the same time to cause 2 Harms in one hit:

  • Causing 5+ damage in one hit and dropping the Stress Track to 0.
  • Causing 5+ damage in one hit while the Stress Track is already at 0.

And there is the weapon Quality “Intense” which can add another Harm, if you already caused one on your hit.
And there is a Melee Talent “Killing Strike” that allows to spend 2 Momentum to cause another Wound on a physical attack, that already caused a Wound (or more).

So at maximum, using an Intense weapon, having the Talent Killing Strike, having 2 Momentum to spend on it, causing 5 or more Stress after soak to an opponent which was out of stress in the first place or which Stress Track fell to 0 with the current hit, you can cause 4 Wounds in one go.
That is even for PCs and Nemesis NPCs a near one-hit kill.

You can take up to 4 Harm per type:
Up to 4 physical Wounds AND up to 4 mental Trauma.
At 4 Harm (Wounds or Trauma) your character is already severely limited in actions: unable to take any Actions or Reactions without first spending a point of Fortune.
You cannot take a 5. Harm, if you would have to take a 5. Harm, you are dead (physical damage) or permanently and unrecoverably insane (mental damage).

The official character sheet is designed a bit unintuitive regarding Stress tracking - as per default, if you use the character generator, the available Stress boxes are crossed out, not the other way around as one would assume.