When performed by any person without sufficient medical knowledge, the chances of a creature surviving the loss of a limb is extremely low. To determine if a creature survives an amputation, the creature will need to roll on the amputation shock survival chart (see below). If survival occurs, the creature will also suffer a severe injury.
The amount of shock a creature suffers from an amputation depends upon the limb that is severed. For the purpose of this system, amputations have been broken down into five categories, from the least invasive to the most extreme, from the least likely to result in death to the most likely:
- Incidental: fingers and toes, ears, nose and teeth.
- Minor: partial hand or foot, tongue or eyes.
- Major: wrist or ankle, through the forearm, at the elbow, below the knee, at the knee.
- Radical: above the elbow, at the shoulder, above the knee, at the hip, removing the genitals or the breasts.
- Drastic: cutting through the torso or decapitation (remembering that many creatures have more than one head).
It must be noted that the success or failure of the procedure is not always one that can be determined in a matter of minutes. For that reason, there are two stages in determining the survival of the patient. The first is where the chance of surviving the initial surgery is checked on the amputation shock table below:
If the patient has failed the amputation shock roll, however, and the operation was performed by an unskilled surgeon, then the patient will be dead in just a few minutes. Note that nothing can be done to save the patient short of a heal spell. Because the amputation was bungled by a physician with less than an authority medical knowledge, the patient will bleed out or die from shock no matter what other cure spells or procedures are employed.
However, if the amputation was performed by a character with a medical knowledge of at least 30 points (amputation is a medical sage ability for authorities), then there is still a chance of saving the patient. If this is the case, the patient is assumed not to die immediately, unless the amount of knowledge needed is greater than the medical skill of the physician. To determine this, the DM rolls a d100 in secret. If this number is greater than the number of knowledge points possessed by the physician, the patient will still die - but they will linger for a time before death occurs.
For example, a character with a 15 constitution, Bertrand, has a hand removed at the wrist by a physician with 46 points of medical knowledge. With a 71% chance of surviving outright, Bertrand rolls a 74. The DM then rolls a d100, with the result of 37 - meaning that Bertrand will survive, as long as he continues to receive care from a physician with at least 37 points of knowledge. At this point, we consult the Survival Time table to see how long Bertrand's life remains in jeopardy:
Note that if the original roll of d100 resulted in a number that an amateur (or even less than an amateur) had enough knowledge points to look after Bertrand, he would not actually need an authority physician to ensure his good health.
Regardless of who performs the amputation, all patients must make a constitution check against acquiring a disease of some kind. This is a random roll, determining the area of infection, nature and degree of the ailment; the amount of time necessary to survive this disease is then added to total recovery time for both disease and amputation survival. If a disease is contracted and the patient failed their initial amputation shock roll, they will need the care of a physician, with the necessary knowledge, for the combined recovery time. And, of course, there is always a chance that the disease might end in death.
Naturally, the amputation is in itself an injury, meaning that hit points are lost and the amount of time to heal is greatly increase (see Injury rules). For the amount of damage suffered, consult this table:
Note that where 105% of total hit points is indicated, this will mean that the character is reduced to negative hit points (Bertrand would take his full 36 hit points plus 1.8 more - rounded down to 1 additional hit point, putting him at -1 total).
If the number of hit points caused by the amputation is sufficient to kill the patient, then no amount of medical care can help the patient survive the procedure. Somehow, the patient's hit points must be raised sufficiently to allow the patient to survive the amputation.