When reporters put themselves in danger, they may end up with problems they’ll wake up worrying about tomorrow, or which could prevent them from ever waking up again.

These problems are called hardships, because they going on with an investigation harder.

The Rule

What is it

Hardships are what happen to reporters when they slip up; they keep things interesting by making the investigation more difficult, and create consequences for putting characters in danger.

When to use it

Hardships are the inevitable outcome of doing dangerous things.

They represent an on-going, serious problem: physical, mental, even magical or financial. Some examples might include “Sprained Ankle!”, “Stressed Out!”, “Broke!”, or “Exhausted!”

Players will wager new hardships any time they Face Danger. If they fail the roll, they add the hardship to the list.

When not to use it

Minor problems are assumed not to impact your reporter’s behavior; only serious, on-going issues can qualify as hardships.

How it’s done

Mechanically, Hardships are a special kind of risk, tracked alongside other risks on the player’s Character Sheet. They are distinguished from other risks by an identifying mark, the exclamation point, as shown below:

a line beside a die face where text could be written; it reads "Broken Leg!"

Hardships are bad news in two ways:

  • Every hardship you have reduces outcome rolls by one point. (An Outcome Roll is any roll that’s made to determine the outcome of a challenge or scene.)
  • Hardships occupy a risk slot on your Character Sheet. Like other risks, they can escalate… and having too many means trouble will come calling.

Some hardships can be cleared when players Take Downtime, but others remain until the end of the session. Which is which is a matter of judgement and common sense, and up to the editor.

Once a session ends, all hardships are cleared. Even if the fictional problem your reporter faces is still ongoing, they’re now used to working around it.


If a player somehow manages to fill their trouble meter up with hardships, they’re in major trouble. There’s the option of taking downtime to get better off, but the editor in this case might want to suggest retiring the character and starting a new one.

In Play

How it looks

Example results