In a previous post I laid out the basics of Shock and Injury cards in The Yellow King Roleplaying Game (now on Kickstarter.)
Let’s now dive in a bit more detail into the way certain of the cards evoke the sense of a multi-step recovery.
Like anything in GUMSHOE, they emulate the way things work in fictional stories, rather than simulating reality. Often in a genre narrative the hero will be in a hospital bed in one scene, limping in the next, and basically as capable as ever after another little while.
YKRPG handles this with cards that replace the full discard with a trade. You fulfill a condition and get a less onerous card, but aren’t out of the woods yet.
An example appears on the card you receive when your character gets shot.
This, you will note, is a card the player will want to deal with rather than leave in hand.
On the Mend belongs to a class of staple cards. It represents a step down from a number of worse Injury cards.
An equivalent Shock card is Unease; among the more serious Shocks that require you to trade for it is Dread.
With YKRPG cards the fun often lies in the way specialized cards break from established formulas.
After your players have grown used to getting Shot, winding up In the Blast Radius or suffering from Massive Injuries, and then trading down to On the Mend, they might see it as a bit of a curveball when one of them receives this:
And then trading down to this:
We’ve all seen TV episodes where the hero who leapt out of his hospital bed does well for a while, then collapses. The cards allow you to emulate that—but only in specific circumstances, unlike a wound track hard-coded into the core rules.
Sometimes wounds work one way, sometimes another—just as they do in serialized genre storytelling.