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Skip Navigation LinksHack Guidelines>Complications


Complications represent disadvantages, hindrances, obstacles... things that work against a character. If a character suffers from a Complication that is stepped up above a d12, they are considered to be Stressed Out in exactly the same way as if they had taken too much Stress. However unlike Stress Complications don't cause Trauma, and are removed from play whenever they no longer make sense or actions are taken to remove them.

Usually, a Complication is created as part of a successful action or reaction via the spending of an effect die from the result, giving it a label, and attaching it to the target. For instance, a character making an Unarmed attack action targeting an opponent succeeds and gets a d8 for their effect die which could be applied to the target as a Complication called 'Grappled: d8'.

Complications are usually attached to characters, but they can be attached to an inanimate object, a zone, or even the Scene itself in some cases. Complications attached to an area such as a zone or a Scene are applied to everyone and everything in that area.

Some Complications restrict character options based upon what makes sense to the narrative; for instance a 'Temporarily Blinded: d8' Complication would prevent the character it is attached to from being able to see until it was stepped down (perhaps to 'Impaired Vision: d6' or 'Still Seeing Spots: d6'). A d10 or d12 Complication can potentially prevent a character from taking any actions other than trying to deal with the Complication.

Characters can include a Complication in their actions or reactions against the person it is attached to when it makes sense, in exactly the same way they can use one of the target's Stress dice against them. Similarly if a character with one or more Complications on them takes an action against the doom pool, the GM can include up to one of that character's Complication dice in their opposing dice pool.

Complications go away whenever it no longer makes sense for them to remain in play. Lesser Complications often just go away on their own, some Complications are stepped down over time until they fade out, and serious Complications might stick around for quite a while. Common sense and GM's discretion applies.

To actively get rid of a Complication, a narrative justification must be provided describing how the Complication is being dealt with, and, if the GM agrees with the explanation given, an action is taken by the character attempting to overcome the Complication.

If no NPC's are actively opposing the attempt, the action is taken against the doom pool. If the action is successful, an effect die greater than the Complication removes it from play, and an effect die equal to the Complication steps it down and may also allow the label to be modified to represent a lessened severity. For instance a 'Raging Fire!: d8' Complication on a house might be stepped down and renamed 'Smoldering Embers and Smoke: d6' after a character makes an effort to put out the flames.

A Complication can also be stepped up when it makes sense, by adding more effect to a Complication and describing how the situation is getting worse, and perhaps modifying the label of the Complication to capture the increased severity. This is usually how a Complication gets stepped up past d12.

Characters who are effective at introducing Complications can have a significant impact on the narrative. In fact, because Complications can effectively Stress Out a character, clever uses of Complications provide a good option to deal with opponents that have ways to mitigate Stress.