CORE RPG RULES
Iconoclast -- RPG -- Attribute Mods
Obviously, if anyone's taken damage as a result of a combat action, they should reduce their Current Trauma appropriately. If your Current Trauma is reduced to 0 or less, you collapse to the ground, dead.
This is not mere unconsciousness. You can be in perfect health and be unconscious. This is dead. The big D. All of the little bruises, scrapes, scratches, bullet holes, laser scars, mental bludgeonings and severe combat stress you've been ignoring exceed your body's tolerance level, and your body lets you know this by conking out. At 0 Trauma, you are dead. Period.
First of all, medical technology is advanced enough in the 21st Century that final death does not come so swiftly or permanently. So you don't totally die right away. You just start dying. Since in any populated city, the EMTs will arrive within d10 minutes of being called, this gives most icons a decent chance of survival (of course, when the authorities show up and see a bloodbath, they're not always going to be on your side).
You can linger on for a number of minutes equal to your Physical Endurance (PE), losing 1 point of Current Trauma per minute (And obviously, if someone is beating on you while you're down, you're going to take damage from that too. After all, if you can't kick 'em while they're down, when can you kick 'em?). But when you've reached a negative number that is below your PE, you are permanently dead. Thus, if you have a 20 PE, you can survive for 20 minutes, at which time you will be at -20 Trauma and be dead, dead, dead.
Assuming you survive, Trauma is regained naturally at a rate of 1 point per 24 hours, providing that the icon has gotten at least 4 hours of sleep in that time. This can be increased by 1 point per additional 4 hours of sleep or complete bedrest, to an obvious maximum of 6 per 24 hour period; since icons will need to eat, use the restroom, bathe, etc., it's unlikely that they will ever be able to sleep for 24 hours in a single day, unless they are hospitalized, in which case they need all the help they can get.
Trauma regain can be sped up dramatically through the use of medical treatments and procedures, and some Goth abilities.
Meta is normally reduced only when indicated through the use of a skill, in which case the reduction indicated is what you take. However, Meta can also be used whenever you think you need it--this process is called "burning Meta". Meta can supplement Vitality or Trauma. It can be added to targets. And so on. It can be used for any activity or situation you choose to use it for. The only consideration is when you choose to use it, and the fact that it can only be used to ADD, never to subtract.
Meta can always be burned at a 1 to 1 ratio for whatever you choose to use it for, if you declare that you wish to use it before an action. If you perform an action and then realize that you need to use Meta to improve success, you may retroactively burn Meta at a 2 to 1 ratio. That is, 2 Meta points for every point you wish to add (thus adding it to either the target, to make a slightly out-of-range roll fall within range, or to make a good roll slightly better).
Meta can only be burned to ADD points, never to subtract points.
Ex.1: Cara wants to hotwire a car. Her target is a 30. Fearing that her
target is not high enough, she opts to burn 20 Meta to ADD to her
target, giving her a 50. She then rolls against the 50 target and gets a
47. Since this roll is within her modified target, she succeeds.
Ex.2: Cara wants to hotwire a car. Her target is a 30. She rolls the
dice and gets a 37. She fails. She cannot use Meta here because she can
no longer modify the target - any modifications would affect the roll,
and since Meta can only be used to ADD, burning it to subtract from her
excessive roll is impossible. Cara fails.
Ex.3: Cara wants to shoot at Scout. Her target is a 40. She rolls to
beat her target and gets a 20. Before Scout rolls a defense, Cara opts
to burn some Meta to add to her roll. Burning 40 Meta, she adds 20 to
her roll and gives herself a better roll of 40, which matches her
target. Note that she had to spend 2 for 1 because she had already
acted, and wished to modify an action retroactively. Also note that she
could not add more than her target, since giving herself a roll of 41
would have placed her above her target, and would thus have failed.
It is also important to note that you cannot burn Meta after your chance to act has passed. If you are in combat and you do not immediately declare your intention to burn Meta after your roll, you lose the chance to do so.
At 0 Meta, no special actions are possible, although there is no other adverse impact. Meta is regained in chunks at a rate of 1 point per minute (60 per hour), but only in situations where you are resting and not performing skilled activities. This could be eating dinner, sleeping for the night, watching videos, hanging out in a bar, etc. Basically, anything involving rest, reaxation, or nutrition for at least an hour.
Every round (approximately 6 seconds) in which you are engaged in a combat situation (people around you are fighting, even if you are not) reduces your Current Vitality by at least 1 point (due to the accelerated fashion in which movement happens during combat). In addition, the use of certain skills will also reduce Vitality by a certain amount (described in each skill). The most common deduction will be from the Combat skill, which has a base -1 Vitality loss for each use. Thus, in a typical combat round in which you are a)engaged in combat, b)use Combat to attack an enemy and c)use Combat to make a defense roll, you will deduct between -3 and -5 Vitality, since (depending on your PA) you can act and react up to a total of 4 times.
This is a default loss, but is not mandatory; should you choose to move at a slower speed (walking, or standing still), you will not lose the 1 Vitality per round; however, you will be easier to strike, which can be quite lethal in a bloody firefight (see Modifiers, above, for more detail.)
Since most firefights rarely take more than a few rounds, there is likely to be little time for resting. And with your adrenaline pumping and heart racing, you're not in any position to rest in the midst of a battle. Thus, Vitality does not trickle back every round, but in "chunks" of 10 per minute. Every 10th round (every minute), you regain 10 points. However, you also cannot regain Vitality in a round when you have spent it. So in any round in which you've deducted Vitality, you cannot regain any.
Obviously, if you are engaged in strenuous combative activity, this gives you a net loss of 50 Current Vitality per minute (10 rounds), meaning that even the best fighters, conditioned for this sort of activity, need to stop and take a breather every minute or two. If not, most individuals will be reduced to a quivering, useless mass of exhaustion after about two minutes of activity. This might, at first glance, seem to be extreme. However, consider your typical boxing match, where two trained, conditioned fighters pound each other for several minutes, then collapse in their corners. Even when provided with a brief rest, they are exhausted after just a few minutes.
At 0 Vitality, you become exhausted, your lungs and blood full of carbon dioxide, your muscles burning from lactic acid, and you cannot perform any actions requiring Vitality. All rolls attempted at 0 automatically fail. However, you can perform non-Vitality draining activites such as jogging quickly for cover, or looking for a place to hide. And since this forced inactivity means you're not spending any Vitality, you will thus regain 10 points of it after just a minute-long breather.
Certain skills and other items can reduce the effects of Vitality loss, inside and outside of combat situations. But the best way to avoid being totally exhausted is to fight smart. Instead of wading into the thick of things and getting worn out, it helps to duck and cover, to move around intelligently and pick your shots carefully. If you're not actively involved in the combat, you're not losing Vitality, and if you're not losing it then you're regaining it every minute.
Combat, of course, is not the only Vitality-draining activity. The use of athletic skills, the various goth transformation abilities, and other such skills will also take its toll.
Should players, during the course of a lengthy combat, somehow "forget" to deduct Vitality as they go along, administrators should feel free to "remind" them with subtle clues such as dizziness, wheezing, sweating, muscle cramps and fainting.
Obviously, when not spending Vitality and not in combat, Vitality is simply regained at a rate of 10 per minute.