Allergies

Gideon's picture

I have two players who rolled allergies for their characters. I have the core books but I cannot find guidance on allergy severity and mechanical impact.

I have not disclosed their medical conditions, but I was looking for guidance (or page reference) on where to set mechanical impact of having a severe bee allergy, and moderate seasonal hay fever (recently relocated, so they do not know they have this pollen allergy, yet).

Should symptoms be coped by a Condition test with a penalty based upon the severity of the allergy to the sting? Has someone already classified these by severity? Should I apply a standard Skill penalty based upon severity of the symptoms?

For reference, I found some details on severe reactions for the intense end of the spectrum...
Singular Bee Sting:
A small percentage of people who are stung by a bee
• Skin reactions, including hives and itching and flushed or pale skin
• Difficulty breathing
• Swelling of the throat and tongue
• A weak, rapid pulse
• Nausea, vomiting or diarrhea
• Dizziness or fainting
• Loss of consciousness

Multiple Bee Stings:
If you get stung more than a dozen times, the accumulation of venom may induce a toxic reaction and make you feel quite sick. Signs and symptoms include:
• Nausea, vomiting or diarrhea
• Headache
• A feeling of spinning (vertigo)
• Convulsions
• Fever
• Dizziness or fainting

Hay Fever:
Hay fever symptoms can include:
• Runny nose and nasal stuffiness (congestion)
• Watery, itchy, red eyes
• Sneezing
• Cough
• Itchy nose, roof of mouth or throat
• Mucus that runs down the back of your throat (postnasal drip)
• Swollen, bruised-appearing skin under the eyes (allergic shiners)
• Extreme tiredness (fatigue), often due to poor sleep

Has anyone developed a Shek Pvar spell or Alchemical ointment to mitigate these reactions?
I am thinking of introducing the bee sting allergy in a low threat scenario (to help the player learn how to cope/prepare).

Jan's picture

A lot of detail in HârnMaster was very consciously left to GM discretion (and GM design) as the taste for simulation can vary from gaming group to gaming group.

Here are some ideas:

Allergy type: Personally, I would devise a little subtable where comparatively harmless allergies make up for the majority of the results, and serious allergies like the insect sting allergy are quite rare. The examples given in the HMG GE are already the most common allergies characters might have: dust, animal fur/saliva, pollen, foods. Food allergies would need to be specified, of course, however, I would probably limit the table to just a nut and seed allergy -- which is among the most directly acting and severe food allergies.

Allergy effect: Basing the effects on the result of a Condition test is a very good idea. I would probably differentiate them by success level for each allergy, so that there are four different effects per allergy. CF might have a life-threatening effect like anaphylaxis for severe allergies like insect sting and nut allergy (not immediately fatal, of course, but relying on the results of additional Condition tests), while other success levels should mostly give the character a Special Penalty in increments of 5 for a specified time. Only a CS result should give no penalty, while MF should probably give a Special Penalty of 10-30 and MS of 5-10.

Gideon's picture

This is very helpful!

I will work on a table for allergies making the severe a low percentile occurrence. And have the players re-roll.

I like the structure of the Allergy effect you outline. I will play with this.

I am really enjoying running HarnMaster, and my friends seem to like the HarnWorld setting. Its these little details around healing, illness and allergies that make it feel more realistic, the Fatigue mechanic is becoming more interesting as we experience more of its impacts in fights, labor and magic.

Thank you for the thoughtful response, Jan!