Fatigue and Energy

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VERS -> Book II - Gamemaster Rules -> Optional Rules -> Complex Combat -> Fatigue and Energy

Many settings and genres are more realistic in terms of how much a character can expect to do before getting tired. In the rules as written, VERS characters can run all day, or fight furiously in life or death combat for hours without breaking a sweat. This is because VERS is a much more cinematic experience than that of many settings. Exhaustion is a very real thing, and in more realistic "gritty" types of games it can lend a verisimilitude and drama to encounters or long journeys. The following is a great way to bring that into play within the VERS rules in a simple, straight-forward way.


This system adds an additional twist to the action economy. Instead of every character getting a set number of actions per Turn, they instead have a pool of points they can spend to take actions. Thus, a character spends a point of Fatigue to take a Simple Action, or they can spend 3 points to take a Complex Action. The character can spend only as many Fatigue points in a turn as they have Stamina (minimum 1), although this is up to the GM's discretion. Alternatively, the GM may decide to keep everyone with the ability to spend up to 3 points per Turn, with more simply costing additional points if the player wishes to spend them.

Regardless, the character's pool of Fatigue is equal to twice the sum of their Stamina and their Resolve. It replenishes at a rate of 1/2 the character's Stamina per Turn (a character with a Stamina of 1 or less regains Fatigue every other Turn). A character can take a "Breather," which is a full Turn pause in action, in which they regain their full Stamina worth of Fatigue back instead. Fatigue used to activate sustained abilities does not replenish until that ability is release.

If a character runs out of Fatigue, they may not take any further actions unless they "Push," in which case they can take a voluntary level of non-lethal Injury. The amount of extra Fatigue they gain is dependent on the level of the Injury (1 for Grazed, 2 for Wounded, or 3 for Impaired), and the condition does not go into effect until the end of the action paid for by pushing. Also, all Fatigue gained by pushing must be used that same Turn or it is lost.


This same system can be used as an alternative to the existing system of Focus for magic or ability use, with the character having an Energy pool, similar to that described for Fatigue. That pool would be equal to twice the sum of the character's Resolve and Stamina, and it would be spent the same way as Fatigue, just with the use of magic or other non-physical Abilities, 1 point for a Simple Action activation or 3 points for a Complex Action activation.

Sustained Abilities would "lock down" or reserve the Energy points needed to cast them, and they would only be replenished once the sustained spells were released. Energy points would replenish at a rate of 1/2 the character's Resolve (or every other Turn for characters with a Resolve of 1 or less). Finally, the character can also push magic or abilities the same way they can physical actions and gain temporary Energy in exchange for a Focus condition.

Finally, to maintain the core idea that distracting a mage or other ability heavy character type is a great way to defeat them, the penalties obtained from Focus damage also reduce the maximum pool of Energy for the character by an amount equal to twice the penalty amount.

Other Considerations

Fatigue is a pretty simple system that easily stretches across all genres and settings without much need for adjustment. Energy on the other hand, has a great number of permutations across genres and settings. Some of these details are handled by the Power Source element of the character. Common choices are Spiritual or Faith Energy, obtained by prayer or meditation primarily used by priests and healers, and Arcane oe Eldritch Energy which is often obtained through study or perhaps through proximity to mystical artifacts or places, primarily used by wizards and sorcerers. Other common sources would be Chi or Life Force, a mystical energy that flows through the body’s mystical Chakra points, obtained by meditation or yoga; or Mana, an elemental power derived from the power of the land itself, obtained through communing with nature. Even this list is not exhaustive, and nearly anything can be a source of Energy.

The source of said Energy often also places restrictions on when, where, and how a character can replenish their energy. Perhaps it is only after preforming their morning prayers, or only if they are in a nexus of magical energy. Depending on how easy the Energy is to recover (Is the source readily available? Is it extremely rare?) the character may get a bonus to their Energy (see the chart below). This is because the points only recover when in these very specific circumstances.

When using this system, either just Fatigue or Mana or both together, then you will need to assign all Instant and Sustained abilities to draw from one or the other pool in order to be activated. In addition, two additional aspects are available when building abilities: Tiring and Trivial.

  • Tiring: When using this aspect, the ability requires twice the normal amount of Fatigue or Mana to activate or sustain. This is a -1 Aspect.
  • Trivial: When using this aspect, the ability does no require any Fatigue or Mana to activate or sustain. This is a +1 Aspect.

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