"Fear" Scale Status, "Encumberence" Scale Status, etc.

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I'd thought about this a bit before. What if if there were a series of different "condition" scales and each time you affected by something on that scale (+ or -), you just went up and down the scale. Each level of the scale has appropriate penalties associated with it.

example: there's already something like this for Exhaustion. The scale is something like (don't have my PHB and DMG in front, but)...
- fine
- Fatigued
- Exhausted

or

- fine
- Shaken
- Fear
- Panicked

I think such a scale should exist for: Exhaustion, Physical Encumberence (being weighed down OR tanglefoot bag stuff), Fear, Mind Influence/Suggestion/Domination, Doom/Despair, Curses. Say each one has 5 ratings, going from normal/no penalties to full severe penalties. Maybe something like...

DESPAIR scale
- unwoed: -0 to all atks & saves & skills
- woeful: -1 to all atks & saves & skills
- depressed: -2 to all atks & saves & skills
- despaired: -5 to all atks & saves & skills
- doomed: -10 to all atks & saves & skills

CURSE scale
- unmarked: -0 AC, 0% chance of taking no action
- ill-lucked: -1 AC, 5% chance of taking no action
- ill-marked: -2 AC, 10% chance of taking no action
- cursed: -3 AC, 25% chance of taking no action
- discordant: -4 AC, 50% chance of taking no action

IMPEDIMENT scale
- unimpeded: -0 AC & reflex & ranged atks, full movement
- imbalanced: -1 AC & reflex & ranged atks, 3/4 movement
- impeded: -2 AC & reflex & ranged atks, 1/2 movement
- entangled: -3 AC & reflex & ranged atks, 1/2 movement
- restricted: -4 AC & reflex & ranged atks, movement becomes 5'

MIND INFLUENCE scale
- full willed: -0 will & skills, 0% chance of following orders
- charmed: -1 will & skills, 10% chance of following orders
- suggested: -2 will & skills, 25% chance of following orders
- directed: -3 will & skills, 50% chance of following orders
- dominated: -4 will & skills, 100% chance of following orders

anyone care to try Exhaustion, Fear, or something else (maybe for holding your breath ie. drowning or "Miasma" spell)?
anyone care to try Exhaustion, Fear, or something else (maybe for holding your breath ie. drowning or "Miasma" spell)?

Heh-- as soon as I read that, I thought of a breath condition track that goes from "fine" to "verklempt" to "blue in the face."

I did create a chart once of all the different condition modifiers and their "trees." I noticed that some had several stages (like fear, and disable/stable/dying/dead), while others were shallow (fatigued and exhausted) or one-offs (petrified). A unified mechanic for conditions would be nice if it could be made to work for conditions that haven't been written up yet.

Tangentially, when they came out with incarnum I thought it was interesting that a character's default essentia capacity by level roughly lined up with the warlock's least/lesser/greater/dark invocation levels. Between that and the condition/status track proposed here, it seems there's something intuitively appealing about a four- or five-part arrangement of things. Enough divisions to describe a continuum, but not too many to make it complicated.
I like the idea in theory. A uniform "condition track" system that follows roughly the same model as cure spells might work:

0: Normal
1: Minor
2: Moderate
3: Serious
4: Critical
5: Fatal

Spells and other effects would move you up and down the track. Some spells might move you only 1 level at a time, while higher level spells might move you 2 or 3 levels. The idea is that if you hit "level 5" you are dead or otherwise incapacitated from the condition.

If natural recovery over time is allowed, saving throws or Heal skill checks would allow you to move back up the track.

It might be a challenge requiring the mythical Thesaurus of Gygax to come up with appropriate adjectives for every different level of every different condition, but I'm sure the verbose folks around here are up to the task.

Track ideas:
Exhaustion
Subdual
Poison
Disease
Asphyxiation
Starvation
Dehydration
Despair
Fear
Misfortune

and there could be positive effects as well
Hope
Courage
Luck

The positive effects might provide a buffer against negative effects, or they could offer a bonus on saves. For example, a Paladin might have a permanent +2 Courage condition that would offset most minor fear effects and lessen the higher level fear effects, or simply provide a +2 bonus on saves vs. fear effects. I think I prefer the former, though.

This would also eliminate most immunities (to fear, disease, etc.) which seem too unrealistic to me.
Well, we could make it 6 levels, 0 to -5, as well as 6 positive levels, 0 to 5. I like that the -5 penalty should incapacitate, but I don't think it should kill. Maybe unconsciousness doesn't make sense, but some aspect of the character which just plain doesn't work anymore.

I think scales with a positive and negative end are a good idea. However, with negative ends like starvation, asphyxiation, dehydration, or poisoning, I don't think that a positive side exists... sorry. After deleting the overlapping "zero", we have 11 points on the condition scale: 5 to -5. So, let's try Elation-Despair scale...

(by the way, there's an online thesaurus right here)

ELATION-DESPAIR scale
- (+5) ecstatic: +5 morale to all atks & saves & skills
- (+4) euphoric: +4 morale to all atks & saves & skills
- (+3) elated: +3 morale to all atks & saves & skills
- (+2) blissful: +2 morale to all atks & saves & skills
- (+1) serendipitous: +1 morale to all atks & saves & skills
- (+0) unwoed: -0 to all atks & saves & skills
- (-1) melancholic: -2 to all atks & saves & skills
- (-2) woeful: -4 to all atks & saves & skills
- (-3) depressed: -6 to all atks & saves & skills
- (-4) despaired: -8 to all atks & saves & skills
- (-5) doomed: -10 to all atks & skills, fails all saving throws

CLARITY-DOMINATION scale
- (+5) pre-emptive: +5 insight to will saves & skills & AC
- (+4) clear: +4 insight to will saves & skills & AC
- (+3) perceptive: +3 insight to will saves & skills & AC
- (+2) mindful: +2 insight to will saves & skills & AC
- (+1) receptive: +1 insight to will saves & skills & AC
- (+0) willful: -0 to all atks & saves & skills
- (-1) charmed: -1 will & skills, 10% chance of following orders
- (-2) suggested: -2 will & skills, 20% chance of following orders
- (-3) instructed: -3 will & skills, 30% chance of following orders
- (-4) directed: -4 will & skills, 50% chance of following orders
- (-5) dominated: -5 will & skills, 100% chance of following orders

COURAGE-FEAR scale
- (+5) valorous: +5 morale to all atks & damage & vs fear
- (+4) fearless: +4 morale to all atks & damage & vs fear
- (+3) courageous: +3 morale to all atks & damage & vs fear
- (+2) valiant: +2 morale to all atks & damage & vs fear
- (+1) dauntless: +1 morale to all atks & damage & vs fear
- (+0) unafraid: -0 to all atks
- (-1) shaken: -2 to all atks, no surprise rounds
- (-2) fearful: -4 to all atks, no charge action or surprise rounds
- (-3) frightened: -6 to all atks, avoids enemy contact
- (-4) panicked: -8 to all atks, runs away from enemies and combat
- (-5) terrified: -10 to all atks, runs continually

We still need a "Luck-Curse" scale, a "Nimble-Impeded" scale, a "Vigor-Exhaustion" scale, and some way to incorporate the seemingly "negative only" stuff like starvation, asphyxiation, dehydration, or poisoning.