Is This Injury Necessary?
Before adding specific injuries to a campaign, consider all the factors. If
the injury is one that can be healed, such as a broken arm, how long does this
healing take? What are the effects on the character while the arm heals? Is there
some quick way to get healed? Will the player still be able to have fun while
his character is an invalid? Only after considering these questions
satisfactorily should a specific injury be used.
DMs can use specific injuries to lessen a character's ability scores. A member
of the party might acquire a prominent scar, lowering his Charisma by a point.
Although, in this case, you'll want a ready explanation of why a scar had this
effect, as in some instances a scar can actually enhance the personality of a
person. It can make him look tougher, more mysterious, more worldly, more
magnetic, all things that could conceivably increase a character's Charisma.
Similarly, the loss of a character's finger or eye could be used as an excuse
to lower an excessively high Dexterity. Loss of an arm could reduce Strength
(among other things).
Don't overdo this brute force approach to player control. Players get attached
to their characters; they get used to thinking of them and role-playing them a
particular way. Mess with this too much and you'll find players deserting your
Within reason, it's okay to leave a character physically marked. This leads to
good role-playing. It adds to the feeling that each character is unique,
making one player's fighter, wizard, or whatever different from all others. A scar
here, an eye patch there, or a slight limp all result in more of an individual
character and thus one more interesting to role-play.
But in these cases physical effects are tailoring the character, not punishing
the player. Always try to be fair and ask the question, "Would I want to
role-play such a character?" If the answer is no, then it's likely the player won't
want to either. Don't load players with handicaps--their characters have enough
of a challenge as it is.
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