Share this project


Share this project

A CRPG featuring cyber-espionage and horror. Turn based combat with timed actions, stealth and chainsaw arms.
A CRPG featuring cyber-espionage and horror. Turn based combat with timed actions, stealth and chainsaw arms.
1,074 backers pledged $43,038 to help bring this project to life.

No Health Points

Posted by Whalenought Studios (Creator)

We’ve touched on our Wounds system on the main page, but wanted to dive into a little more detail in an update. We had a blog post earlier we had also started to talk about it, but we wanted to finally give some concrete examples and roll information with how it works. The Wounds system is a cornerstone of the Burning Candle ruleset, it's meant to enable pacing to your adventures and consequence to combat, as well as simulate actual types of damage. Because resting at clinics takes time to completely heal, the ailments you carry will shape your gameplay choices during missions.

Diverging from HP

Your character's ailments are represented by three different bars below their portrait in the main HUD, accruing a full bar of ailments in any of these lead to death. You can see these in more detail on your character sheet, which will also automatically find any medical equipment you may have that could cure them out in the field.

The three categories of ailments that all different kinds of damage fall under are Lesser, Greater, and Mortal.

  • Lesser Ailments are light wounds that would hardly faze you like a bullet graze or getting winded. These can often be recovered from automatically after combat, though some will require further healing. Characters have a large capacity of these types of wounds they can endure.
  • Greater Ailments are a medium wound that is bearable but can begin deteriorating character stats and combat efficiency. Some of these kinds of wounds can be shrugged off after combat, but will more often need medical supplies from equipment or a clinic to to be healed.
  • Mortal Ailments are a critical problem, like a pierced lung or other organ damage. These will always require medical supplies or a clinic to remove, and may make you consider how to change tactics for that character based on how their body is damaged. These are not "just a flesh wound!"

Every PC and NPC has a set number of ailments for each category they can receive before death takes them. There is a player advantage system with this though, in that a PC doesn't immediately die when a category is filled, but rather drops unconscious during combat. Another hit thereafter will kill them. So for example, a security guard might have a capacity of five Lesser Ailments, three Greater Ailments and one Mortal Ailment, which means if you setup your attack and roll with luck you might kill them with one mortal ailment, or a poorly planned and rolled attack may deal Lesser Ailments, but if you dealt five of those they’ll still be dead, regardless of how many Mortal or Greater Ailments they have.

When you deal damage, you will roll 2d8 plus any pips to get a damage output, which will then correspond with an ailment based on what weapon you’re using and which body part you hit. The ammunition or special abilities of a weapon will also influence the type of damage being dealt, or add an additional damage roll. For instance incendiary rounds for a slugger weapon will roll for both the ballistic damage as well as a separate fire roll.

The wound caps design a big part of the simulated combat, despite being an abstract number — unloading an entire clip into someone will surely always kill them by sheer number of ailments being aggregated. Because when an enemy emptying a clip into one of your characters does the same thing, you'll want to advise some caution when engaging. There are of course drawbacks to these kinds of tactics that are confronted from enemy AI and sensory mechanics. Flooding the world with bullets can be expensive (and certainly loud) so you're often better off with item uses like pistols with suppressors or chemical warfare, or using guerrilla tactics to always have the upper hand when you can.

While these charts of damage vary per weapon type they'll more often than not have a bell curve favoring Greater Wounds, and a lower chance of grazing an enemy with a Lesser Wound or critically ailing them with a Mortal Wound.

The infograph below shows an example of the breakdown of dealing damage with a ray gun:


Unlike HP, which usually grows throughout a game as you level up in a more D&D-type roleplaying system, the Wounds system does not scale as you become more proficient in combat. The Burning Candle ruleset largely deters the need for roll-pool scalability, rather enabling more training, skills and combat options. You cannot train your body to deflect bullets and grow flame-retardant skin cells, you can only get better armor and cybernetics that will shield you.

Virtues & Background

The max number of Lesser, Greater and Mortal Ailments your character will be able to take is determined during character creation, and is dependent on the type of character you create. Your background traits and Virtue allocation will determine how many hits you can sustain. During the game, there are drugs that will temporarily increase your max ailment number, but what you start with will more or less be what you end with. 

Targeting Body Parts

If you have a weapon that is able to shoot with precision (or have trained to add this action button to that weapon), you can choose to take a longer period of time to aim so that you can target body parts of your enemies, which you can use to your advantage as destroying a specific body part will have very tangible ramifications. With enough leg wounds, your enemy will move very slowly or not at all. Too many arm wounds and aiming will become impossible. Head wounds will allow you to mind-hack with ease, or sneak past them to end combat without worrying about them hearing you as you’ve blown out their eardrums.

Non-precise shots will target a random part of the body, which of course is still effective and will get them closer to their end, but might take longer to show serious ailment or death.

Wound Stacking

Some ailments you deal and receive will not reduce your stats, but will instead leave your body less equipped to deal with damage, converting the next wound you receive into a higher level wound.


So you can take a serious beating, but how do you go about healing all that? You’ll have access to various health kits that can heal most Lesser and Greater Ailments. Health Kits aren't bags of holding, and are only fitted to deal with certain kinds of wounds. You might need to carry around a few to cover your bases, though these are expensive and hard to come by. There are a handful of categories (we're keeping these limited), and cover areas like burns, ballistics, laser damage, etc.

Only a surgeon can handle most Mortal Ailments, the ones you could heal can be brought down to a Greater. These generally involve intensive medical procedures, so if you’re under the strain of one of these you have to wait to be back at your base or to visit a neighboring physician. This can be done during a rest period, which will last a minimum of 8 hours. During this time, your non-critically wounded party members can train, labor for cash, or gossip in pubs.

That means if you know a target is only at a destination for < 8 hours, those lacerations in your head will have to wait if you want to complete that mission a little easier.

Armor and Tactics

The good news is that wearing armor or cybernetic torso plating will reduce a damage roll against you and hopefully move it out of the critical zone and into a much more manageable amount of pain. Armor and Armor-based Cybernetics can go on any part of the body, and act as a negative modifier to the damage output for that body part specifically (seen in graph earlier). So if a character is wearing body armor and takes a bullet to the chest they may just get winded rather than puncture an organ or break a rib. These armors typically have a downside to other stats or output, but sometimes staying alive is optimal.

Good cover tactics will keep NPCs from taking too many precise shots at you and seriously handicapping a vital body part, forcing them to instead to stay on the move and use shot types like suppressing fire or grenades to draw you out.

Final Week!

We’re entering the last week of the Kickstarter, and while we think it’s going to be an uphill battle, we’re confident that we can make it to $40,000! We have a couple of video interviews coming out soon, as well as introducing that new mega-boxed edition tier we had talked about for those interested, and are doubling our efforts to get eyes on the page.

We really appreciate everyone who has told their friends about the game. It’s been a huge help and we’re so grateful for it! Word of mouth is the best thing we can get, so if you know anyone who would be interested in some cyber-espionage roleplaying please let them know!

Games We Like

In case you haven’t had a chance to check out an excellent and charming Kickstarter pitch video, head over to Cultic Games’ Stygian campaign, which started a few days ago and looks well on its way to success! It’s a CRPG full of Lovecraftian eccentricities and a wonderfully bleak and surreal landscape. Plus they’re featuring an intriguing leather tome, which we’re way on board for, as well as a stylish cultist robe that should keep you warm in catacombs. Some great physical additions to the game.


Borja LS, Frank Hollwitz, and 13 more people like this update.


Only backers can post comments. Log In
    1. Missing avatar

      Jabberwok on

      I really like both the XP and wounds systems. Seems like it will all make for a pretty unique experience.

    2. Vryl

      Honestly, I'm not sure I like something as serious as a mortal ailment being totally possible from any random attack based on a couple of dice. I have terrible luck, and I wouldn't be surprised if I get an arm blown off of an agent in the first mission because some guard flipped a lucky shot their way.

    3. Jean-Luc Picard on

      Thanks, never seen a health system done quite this way. It really opens up interesting possibilities when it comes to cybernetics or bio-implants. Things like auxiliary hearts (downgrades a heart shot to a greater ailment from mortal), compartmentalized lungs (retain capacity if punctured), heat resistant dermis, artificial cerebral redundancies (brain backup), etc. One could go wild.

      In any case can't wait to melt some femurs. :)

    4. Whalenought Studios 2-time creator on

      @Jean-Luc Picard: Yep, same ruleset! A Banquet for Fools is what the ruleset was first designed for: more simulated bronze age combat and castle espionage action. Things like pole-arms will have more practicality in group combat and obviously wounds will be more detrimental over time. Crossbows and short-bows will be especially useful for starting combat, etc. The simulationist system is quite flexible, so the only difference for Copper Dreams tactics is what you'd expect with automatic weapons and grenades.

      There's an event that can be uncovered in Serpent in the Staglands that has large repercussions for the future of Vol and magic, which leads to this less divine, more mortal and dangerous world. We think it's turning out to be a wonderful expansion that responds to a lot of the feedback we got for Serpent, and adds a whole lot more to the Vol experience.

    5. Jean-Luc Picard on

      Is Fool's Banquet going to use a similar system then? Melee and magic could carry interesting implications for it. Decapitations, severed limbs and such for example.