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Your characters can become ill due to any of the following:

  • Walking home from a failed wilderness encounter (especially at times of high aurora)
  • Getting bitten by poisonous animals (usually while walking home)
  • Not being supplied with clean food and water because you ran out of money

There are three levels of illness:

  • Light
  • Heavy
  • Very Heavy


Serious injuries will have a permanent affect on your character's maximum activity level. A completely healthy, rested character has an activity level of 100%.

An injured character gets a penalty to all their skills, for example a driver with 20 driving and 75% activity would actually have 20 * 0.75 = 15 driving skill.

Temporary injuries also cause stress in combats.

List of permanent injuries and the amount they reduce max activity by:

Injury Max Activity
One arm missing -15%
One leg missing -15%
Blinded in one eye -10%
One ear missing -0%
Two toes missing -0%

These injury levels already account for any prostheses the character may need.[1]


As your characters age their skills and abilities will degrade. As far as I know no character has lived long enough for this to happen, yet, but it apparently is possible.

Every 12 weeks of real-world time, the characters of Darkwind will gain 1 year of age. As characters reach about 30 years of age, their abilities (strength, dexterity, speed) start to drop. Beyond about 40, their skills start to drop too.

A character with zero strength will die. This will typically be around the age of 45, but could vary a lot. A few might be capable of reaching 60, and a few (especially those who started with low abilities) only reach 35.

Certain skills (e.g. mechanic, first aid, leadership, courage) do not drop at all.

Characters also have a natural life span, and will die eventually of old age.

It's not the years, it's the

Mileage is a hidden attribute that

  • goes up with heavy injury and radiation poisoning
  • goes up with the abuse of certain drugs
  • is added to Age for computing aging effects

Mileage starts at 0 for new characters. In this case, new does not necessarily mean 'newly recruited' as it is possible to recruit a character who has been active, and therefore have a mileage value above 0.

A character's actual age has less effect on a character than the character's mileage. In other words, characters who are relatively inactive can expect to live into their 60s or 70s, but a character who has been injured, and subjected to the aurora and radiation poisoning, will have a much shorter lifespan, i.e. 30s or 40s.

Characters have a narrative General Health rating shown on their detail sheet to indicate their overall Mileage state

General Health
Worn Down
Deteriorating Fast

Mileage & Injuries

Any critical hit, i.e. anything with a descriptive part to it rather than just being reported as a concussion hit, can increase a character's Mileage. These additions are often tiny amounts, however.


  1. Older characters (age 36+) with skills over 100 can boost the training of those skills in the same town or camp that they're in.
  2. A character has to be age 27 or younger (and in the same town) to receive help from a mentor
  3. The mentor has to be set to train the skill they want to mentor others in.
  4. The effect of the mentoring is substantially stronger than a low-level motivator, and the effect gets stronger the higher the mentor's own skill is. However it affects only one skill, and it forces the mentor to be training in that skill themselves.
  5. Motivator and Mentor have their training effects stack.


Characters can also have addictions. Whether the catalyst for the addiction was stress, or just an attempt to be the best makes no difference, the result is the same: an addiction to one (or more) of Evan's mood-altering, or performance-enhancing substances.

There are six levels of addiction:

  1. Light User
  2. User
  3. Heavy User
  4. Addict
  5. Heavy Addict
  6. Very Heavy Addict

If a character stops being addicted they will become an 'Ex-user' of the substance.

Characters with an addiction will cost extra money to maintain (food, water, and chemical of choice) (//Not currently implemented//), and will have benefits and consequences related to their substance of choice.

Also, the heavier a user is the greater the likelihood he/she will show up to an event 'under the influence'. To fix an addiction, Elmsfield has rehabilitation facilities at the hospital.

Drug Short Term Long Term Heavy Use
Neophetamines +Dexterity, +Speed, +Courage -Strength, +Training Effectiveness -Courage, -Leadership (paranoia)
Alcohol ++Courage, -Speed, -Driving, -Gunnery & other skills -Strength -Dexterity, -Speed
Novocaine (painkiller) +Courage -Strength
Zerk (psychotic drug, drives user berserk) Immune to all stress effects while inside a vehicle, never surrenders against your will, +Strength (a little), May fire against your will -Strength -Other skills, -Courage, -Leadership (paranoia)
46 (Prototype 46-Ys) none Improves acquisition of the Psionics skill, +Aging
Steroids none +Strength, +Courage, +Aging -Courage, -Leadership (paranoia), -Training Effectiveness (depression)

The reduction in Strength shown for most of these reflects the reduction in the health of the character.