Understanding Injuries in the Core Rulebook

This is my first post to this Forum, and I’ve but together a long one, so please bear with me…

I’m trying to get a systematic understanding of Injuries and related topics from the Star Trek Adventures Core Rulebook while considering the consequences on story narratives. I look forward to any comment on my thoughts, especially if you think I’m off. I consider the following 3 types of injuries:

  • Minor Injury (Complication): This is one possible result of Avoiding an Injury by accepting a Complication (p 176)

    • Effects: From the included “Rescue at Xerxes IV” Mission, p349 indicates a Minor Injury causes +1 Difficulty on all Tasks. I couldn’t find anything else in the CRB about how this Complication is applied.
    • Remedies: Removing a Minor Injury Complication requires a successful Healing task (Control + Medicine with a base Difficulty of 2) (p177). (Note that a First Aid Task does nothing for a Minor Injury and, as a Complication, a Minor Injury cannot be Ignored).
    • Narrative considerations: So, a Minor Injury implies that the Character Avoided an Injury (perhaps even a Lethal Injury) and thus prevented incapacitation. That, in itself, changes the Narrative (e.g., a “successful” energy weapon attack becomes unsuccessful as the Character sees the weapon raise and moves just in time to avoid a direct hit, but the partial energy of the blast causes a nasty burn to the right shoulder). Because it is a Complication, it should be consistent with an Injury that lasts until treated. In this way, the player can keep the Character in play during Combat, but in return receives a Complication that must be removed with a specific Task. Minor Injuries, therefore, have longer-lasting effects than Non-Lethal Injuries but avoid incapacitating the Character. That should inform the development of the Narrative when a Minor Injury is taken.
  • Non-Lethal Injury: If the first Injury a Character receives is from a Non-Lethal attack, it is a Non-Lethal Injury

    • Effects: The Character is incapacitated and cannot perform any Tasks or Minor Actions (p176). A Threat Spend of 1 is required to target an Incapacitated Character.
    • Ignoring the Injury: by spending a point of Determination (no Value needed), a Character can ignore an Injury (p177). This removes the incapacitation but also removes the related protection (the need to spend Threat to target an incapacitated Character). Although Ignoring an Injury also increases the difficulty of the Healing Task by +1, Non-Lethal Injuries do not require Healing (see below).
    • Remedies: Non-Lethal Injuries themselves go away at the beginning of the next Scene (but Complications caused by them can linger). Note that First Aid does not directly change the state of a Non-Lethal Injury; however, the rules say that after a successful First Aid Task, 2 Momentum can be spent to get the Character back into play just as if they Ignored the Injury (p174). I assume this applies equally to Non-Lethal and Lethal Injuries.
    • Narrative considerations: There are some odd things to consider here. A Non-Lethal Injury causes no long-lasting effects as the Injury goes away at the start of the next Scene. Further, First Aid can be attempted, but (unlike stabilizing a Lethal Injury — see below) the First Aid does nothing for a Non-Lethal Injury unless an additional 2 Momentum are spent to Ignore it (which is the same cost for a Lethal Injury). It seems that Non-Lethal Injuries are largely limited narratively to being knocked (or stunned) unconscious! HOWEVER, the GM could increase the seriousness of the situation by adding a Complication. ONLY THEN could a more long-lasting Non-Lethal Injury be inflicted (like a broken bone, for example), requiring an actual Healing Task to remove (outside of Combat).
    • SUGGESTED ALTERNATE RULE: The First Aid rules seem to have been developed with only Lethal Injuries in mind since the primary use is to stabilize that kind of injury (see below). I suggest that a successful First Aid Task on a NON-Lethal Injury should allow the Character to Ignore the Injury WITHOUT spending 2 Momentum (as would be required for a Lethal Injury).
  • Lethal Injury: If the first Injury a Character received is from a Lethal attack OR the Injury is any Injury after the first Non-Lethal Injury a Character has received, that Injury becomes a Lethal Injury (p176)

    • Effects: The Character is incapacitated and cannot perform any Tasks or Minor Actions (p176). A Threat Spend of 1 is required to target an Incapacitated Character. Further, the Character will die immediately if they receive another Injury of any kind, and they will die at the end of the Scene unless they receive a successful First Aid Task.
    • Ignoring the Injury: by spending a point of Determination (no Value needed), a Character can ignore an Injury (p177). This removes the incapacitation but also removes the related protection (the need to spend Threat to target an incapacitated Character). Ignoring a Lethal Injury also increases the difficulty of the Healing Task by +1.
    • Remedies: A Lethal Injury must be treated with a successful First Aid Task (Daring + Medicine, Difficulty 1) before the end of the current Scene or the Character will die (pp 174 & 177). First Aid only stabilizes the Lethal Injury and does not remove it. A successful Healing Task (Control + Medicine with a base Difficulty of 2) is required to remove the Injury (p177).
    • Narrative considerations: Narratively, a Lethal Injury can be any Injury that threatens life but could be Ignored for a short time if the Character is determined to do so. It may be a bit more challenging to turn the second Non-Lethal attack into a Lethal Injury, but a little imagination can do the trick. One interesting question of Narrative is this: What happens if a Healing Task on a Lethal Injury fails? Though not explicitly stated in the CRB, the obvious answer may be that the injured Character simply dies. However, the GM may want to allow other possibilities depending on the circumstances. For example, perhaps the GM rules that the Injured Character remains unconscious for another full Scene, adding a Complication and giving the Characters a chance to try the Healing Task again in the next scene (perhaps where medical facilities will be more readily available).

That’s it. Any thoughts or corrections would be appreciated.

I think you got the narrative implications and most of the rules correct.

  • Minor Injuries are Complications and are treated as such. They can do anything a Complication can do normally, so not necessarily adding +1 Difficulty to all tasks but that’s the most obvious consequence. It depends on the injury. And it is basically up to the GM how this can be treated. The task to heal is either Treatment or even Create Advantage (the catch-all task, but it depends on the narrative explanation of the player).
  • Non-Lethal Injuries are usually inflicted by weapons set on stun (i.e. the GM does not spend Threat to make the attack lethal). The character is not actually injured and thus does not require healing. But they are incapacitated and can’t do anything. The gameplay difference here is that you have kind of a tradeoff: Take a Complication which makes tasks more difficult but keep on fighting, or just fall unconscious.
  • Lethal Injuries are the same as non-lethal, but you will die at the end of the scene unless someone performs First Aid on you. Obviously the most severe variant, but the GM usually has to spend Threat to make this happen.

About First Aid: I don’t see that it is specially only used for Lethal Injuries. The description says “The character attempts to stabilize an Injured character…” So if you apply it to Non-Lethal Injuries, stabilization does nothing since the injured character wouldn’t have died anyway, but the Momentum spend still remains a valid option. Therefore I don’t think your suggested alternate rule is necessary.

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I think one could allow any ‘first aid’ task to ‘succeed at costs’.

Thanks for the replay and copy all!

To clarify my thoughts on First Aid, it just seems a little odd that succeeding at a First Aid Task is required to stabilize a Lethal Injury (avoiding near-term death), yet – in and of itself – the same success does nothing to a Non-Lethal Injury. In either case, you unlock the same option to spend 2 Momentum, which will get the Character back into the game whether they were just at death’s door or only unconscious.

My suggestion is that a successful First Aid task should move either type of Injury into a “better than it was” state → Lethal Injuries would become Stabilized and Non-Lethal Injuries would become Ignored. Spending 2 Momentum when the injury was Lethal would then allow you to move the Stabilized Injury all the way to the “Ignored” state. Just my $0.02

Your “success at cost” comment caused me me re-check my post – I’ll explain. Before formulating that post, I had put together another set of similar descriptions concerned with the “state” of a Character’s Injury. The last state was “death,” and here was what I wrote at an attempt at humor:

  • Has Died: The Character was Lethally injured and (1) suffered another Injury (of any kind) (p176) or (2) did not receive First Aid before the end of the scene (p177).
    • Effects: The Character enters a ghost-like state and can haunt other Characters to induce… wait, wrong game. The Character is just dead. Any Task (including biological activity of any kind) increases in difficulty to infinity and cannot be a Success at Cost :slight_smile:

Just had to make sure I hadn’t posted that and that you’re reply wasn’t referencing my Success at Cost note :slight_smile:

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In fact there’s a solution after death, the"DON’T YOU DIE ON ME!" talent of the player handbook

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We ran into this at last nights session. One character stunned an NPC. First - he stated the phaser was set on stun. He rolled a hit, and rolled 10 damage, between actual hits and events. This causes two injuries, and the NPC is stunned, right? One “injury/stun” (One injury, i.e. 5 points of damage would have resulted in the same effect, correct?)

10 damage doesn’t mean 2 injuries

  • 5 or more damage 1 injury
  • 0 stress left 1 injury

So 10 damage means 2 injuries only if the character has 10 or less in current stress

Betatester is right,
it’s conditional statements

  • If you get 5 or more stress damage = 1 Injury even if it’s 10 damage
  • If your stress hits 0 = 1 Injury
  • If your stress is already 0 and you take 1 or more damage = 1 Injury

The most injuries you can get in one go is 2 if you have 10 or less stress (just like Betatester said) when that 10 damage hits but if your stress is 11 and you take 10 damage then you take 1 injury cause you still have 1 stress.

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Why an injury at 5 points of damage ( after reduction by any resistance)?

If I have an officer with fitness of 12 and security of 5 with the resolute talent, that gives her 20 stress. But 5 damage will incapacitate the character the same as if she had only 9 stress (fitness 8 and security 1) ?

Or if a Berengarian dragon ( core book P342), that has a stress of 28, still gets an injury if it is hit for 10 damage subtracting 5 resistance?

Maybe injury at 5 might work for most humanoids but if weapon damage is likely to be 5 or more then it doesn’t make any difference what maximum stress the character has.

The injury at 5 stress seems a bit arbitrary.

Your example of a Berengarian dragon actually has a special rule that says it takes 8 stress to inflict an injury. So while 10 damage can drop someone with 9-10 stress with no resistance with 2 injuries and still cause 1 injury to someone with 11 or more stress, the same 10 damage after resistance is 5 damage which does not inflict an injury on the creature as it is 3 short.

Also players can spend 2 momentum to shrug off an injury and stay in the fight, it doesn’t negate the injury but keeps the player standing for the scene.
GMs can also do this for their Major NPCs like the creature so even if it does take 8 damage after resistance and gets an injury, the GM, to represent how tough the creature is, can shrug that off once so they can keep going by spending just 2 threat.

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Importantly, aside from the above mentioned- without this additional rule, combats drag. Given that this is a narrative game, rather than a war game with some rpg elements tacked on, long dragging combats are not desired.

This becomes even more apparent when you transition to starship combat or extended tasks (both of which uses the exact same mechanics).

You are of course able to use traits to change exactly how this mechanic works, if it doesnt fit with how you want to play your game. I do urge you to try it as written first though.


In terms of visualising:

It’s important to realise that stress isn’t HP. When you lose stress, you’re not being hit. If you’re hit, you’re injured.

Stress is the ability to avoid attacks (essentially) and therefore injury. As the battle wears on, as shots get near to you or cause significant disturbance, you become more stressed and less able to avoid shots. This is represented by your stress meter going down. The closer the shot is to you, the more you lose stress. 1 is pretty distant and is a minor effect, 2 is a bit closer slightly more significant in shaking you, 3 is fairly close and scares you, 4 is very close and really rattles you (more powerful weapons don’t need to be as close to cause the same stress). As your stress meter goes down, you become less capable of avoiding attacks, until eventually you’re hit and injured. The calmer under pressure you and harder to rattle, the larger your stress bar and the more close calls it takes to cause you to be unable to evade an attack (and therefore injury).

Therefore, it’s logical that occasionally an enemy will get a lucky shot that just hits. Those are represented by attacks of 5 or greater. Therefore, you are injured automatically on a hit of 5 stress or greater.


Yes, maybe five are a bit arbitrary. Yet, in my experience, the number fits in, very well.

And it actually helps to get the feeling of a Star Trek episode. Look, for instance, at Worf, his Stress track and him going down in the first moments of combat (often).

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And don’t forget stun resistance on some races (Worf goes down often even with that)

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