Stress & Fallout

Stress is identical to damage, but targets CTRL instead of STR. Stress may come as a result of narrative consequences, failed saves, magic repercussions, or enemy attacks. Stress targets HP before going to CTRL.

Stress Examples

Note: The amount and frequency of how you deal stress establishes the tone and pacing of your game. It is a dial to control the amount of Weird your players encounter and how likely they are to change as a result.

1 Stress GLIMPSE: Encountering the strange or odd.
1d4 Stress CONTACT: The weird and unexplainable.
1d6 Stress EXPOSURE: Directly encountering the unknowable. Reality bends.
1d8 Stress CATASTROPHE: Major Powers, Omens, Catastrophes. Reality is close to breaking.
1d10 Stress DOOM: Direct contact with Old Powers. Reality rupturing.

Stress Fallout Tables

Some moments change an investigator forever. Players roll or choose from the the Stress Fallout table when either:

  • The character takes critical stress.

Unless marked, the Fallout can only be chosen once per table. Each Fallout takes up an inventory slot. It cannot be removed.

Note to Facilitators: The tone of the stress fallout table reflects the themes and goals of the game. Adjust for what works for your table, adding or changing entries as needed to ratchet up (or dial back) the weird. This is the main mechanical dial for the cosmic horror of your game.

  Stress Fallout Table
1 Have you been replaced? You’ve seen what they can do -their magics and their deceptions. What would stop them from taking you? Maybe you aren’t who you think you are? How would you even know?
During your next moment of quiet reflection, roll 1d6. If the total is higher than your max HP, take the new result.
2 Memories of an Unknown Traveler: These memories are not your own. They are of a different time, a different place, from a perspective so unlike your own. The realities they walk through are so alien and different, their feelings so foriegn. If only you could understand what they experienced.
During your next rest, roll 1d6. If the total is higher than your max HP, take the new result.
3 Paranoia: Is it paranoia if the worries are completely reasonable? You’ve seen what happens in the dark, you know what goes bump in the night.
After a week, roll 1d6. If the total is higher than your max HP, take the new result.
4 Plagued by Nightmares: It comes for you every night, without fail. You do not know if they are from the beginning, or the end. All you know is that they won’t stop, and that they must mean something. After a week of nightmares, tell your Facilitator two distinct images that linger at the edge of your remembering.
5 Mirror World: Everything seemed okay at first, but now you are sure of it - the world inside the mirror is different. The side glances, the shifting of places, it is undeniable.
When you first start to notice, roll 2d6. If the total is higher than your max HP, take the new result.
6 Odd: You adopt an odd behavior that makes others uncomfortable. If you resist indulging in your “Oddity” for 24 hours, take the Deprived tag. If others see you engage in this creepy behavior, they must make a CTRL save or take 1d4 Stress.
After the first instance, roll 3d6. If the total is higher than your current CTRL, take the new result.
7 Hunger: You develop an unnatural hunger for the unusual. If you do not satiate your appetite for 24 hours, take the Deprived tag. When you eat, restore HP and give 1d4 stress to any that can see.
After the first instance, roll 3d6. If the total is higher than your current STR, take the new result.
8 Scarred: Every wound you inflict leaves its ragged mark upon your body.
After the first instance, make a CTRL save. If you pass, increase your max STR by 1d4.
9 Liminal Communion: It wasn’t noticeable at first, but something is trying to communicate, but it does not have a mouth by which to scream. Its words manifest throughout physical space.
Increase your max CTRL by 1d4.
10 Magical Corruption (this can be taken multiple times per character): Flesh is weak. A part of your body becomes visibly changed through your proximity to the weird. The Facilitator and Player should decide on how that change manifests and if it has any mechanical impacts.
11 Threshold: There is a pale door with a black handle. It is unremarkable other than the fact that this door can seemingly appear anywhere. Sometimes the door is in places it should not be. Sometimes it stands alone, attached to nothing at all. The one thing you are sure of is that it is the same door each time- one you have not yet been able to open.
12 Neural Superposition: You see images of unknown places superposed onto this one, sometimes making it difficult to tell what is real. In another time you may have been called an oracle.
When you roll DEX saves, roll 2d20 and take the lowest result. Once per day you see something significant (ask your Facilitator what it is).
13 Seventh Son of a Seventh Son: Enough exposure has shifted and changed you. You are more connected to the otherworldly. Add chaos magic to your character sheet and follow the rules. This new power is great, and terrible.
The first time you use a spell it causes 1d6 stress.

Your second spell causes 1d4 stress

Finally the third spell you cast causes 1 stress.
14 Marked by Fear The core of your being has been twisted and changed. When you act in a way that manifests your marked fear and have to make a save, roll 2d20 and take the lowest result. When you resist an opportunity to indulge the fear, take 1d4 stress.

Create a fundamental fear with your Facilitator.
15 Heavy is the head: An ethereal crown hangs above your head. It is not visible to all, only a special few. Tales have been told of your coming.
Make a CTRL save. If you pass, increase your max CTRL by 1d6.
16 Full to Bursting: You have a feeling of fullness and contentment.
Next time you would fail a critical damage STR save:
you succeed instead. Immediately and violently begin to vomit vermin (player’s choice).

Any being that can see they must make a CTRL save or take 1d6 stress.

Roll 3d6. If the total is higher than your max CTRL, take the new result.
17 Progeny: Something is growing inside of you. Hope has long since abandoned it, and it has no more room for dreams.
Roll 2d6. Take the new result as your max HP
18 Fate’s Web (this can only be taken once per character but multiple times per table): At least a puppet can see the strings that bind it, if only you were so lucky.
Roll on the Omens and Magical Catastrophes table.
19 The Hunt: Patronage is a dangerous thing. It becomes harder to ignore the primal impulses that burn deep inside you. Your attacks are Enhanced Critical Damage mutilates your body but you can continue to act.
You become the primary target of otherworldly and attacks made against you are Enhanced.
20 Doomed (this can be taken multiple times per character):
You have been branded for sacrifice, anointed for doom. If your next critical save against damage is a failure, you die horribly. If it is a success, you roll 3d6 + the number of times you’ve taken Doomed. If the total is higher than your max HP, take the new result.

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Liminal Horror was written and designed by Goblin Archives