Injury is one of the natural consequences of people fighting each other all the time. Two guys with armor and weaponry slashing away at each other – the likelihood is that ONE of them is going to end up wounded, possibly seriously.
Game mechanics make this easy to deal with – just cast a healing spell and “poof!” they’re all better. Magical cures and healing are widely available in Azeroth.
But sometimes, for the better development of a story, it works out that a character doesn’t need to get “poof” all better right away. Chronic injury and illness are ways of tempering a character and making them more real – and in a world where all maladies and malaises are cured by a simple “Abolish Disease” spell, it can make “realistic” a little harder to realize.
Characters that never get hurt or wounded – well, why are we fighting then? Obviously, if you just want to take the PVE approach, this is a game with resurrection mechanics. Nobody dies, nobody gets seriously hurt, and everything is happy happy let’s try the boss again. But if you are trying to develop your characters as people within this world, and they’re essentially tiny invincible Gods – that gets kinda boring.
Unfortunately, giving your character the Uncurable Illness of Doom can be tedious, as can the Uncurable Wound of Tragedy – especially if it’s forced on people around him or her without their having any way to deal with it. So how do you fix that, and allow your character to have realistic injuries and responses without being invasive?
- First and foremost – TALK to the people you RP with. Work on a story OOC with friends. Keeping the communication lines open means you will automatically have a way to work out snags and keep things fun for everyone involved. (This isn’t always my strongpoint, but I’m getting better.)
- Figure out just how much healing can do. For me, I’ve always believed that while healing can fix broken bones and open wounds, some things just take a little time (like bruises and sore muscles). This is one of those things to work out before hand.
- Be creative about injuries and healing strategies. Aelflaed has a broken foot right now – and it only took a few simple healing spells from another paladin to heal the broken bones. The problem was, she broke the foot while fighting – and continued to fight on it for three days, so her foot was swollen to the point that she couldn’t get her boot off. That involved more people, allowed for some creativity and laughter, and made for a realistic injury without it being able to be “poofed” away.
- Remember that sometimes just “healing” doesn’t make everything better. Real life illnesses can linger even after they’re technically “cured”, and injuries of cursed/demonic/spell origin may react differently to healing. Maybe you need a mage to help undo some magic that stuck after a battle, or your character is technically “whole” but retains some elements of the injury.
- Keep in mind the consequences of injury – major illnesses, injuries, surgeries, and traumatic events often change people. Sometimes good, sometimes bad, sometimes just a shift in perspective. How will what you’re planning affect your character in the long run? Do they get a really cool scar out of it?
- Don’t let injuries and scars define a character. Just like they don’t define real people, they’re just elements of a person’s history and personality. Keep it real – one dimensional characters are hard to play for long because they eventually become boring.
We play in the World of *War*craft – people are going to get hurt. Full time healers have their hands full, medic tents follow war charges, and there’s always going to be consequences. Can you ignore that, and play within the mechanics, making all healing just a spell cast away? Of course! But playing around with your characters to see how they’d react to something like this can be very challenging, but also add an extra layer of depth to a character.
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