Narrative Scars

Like actual physical scars, traumatic events can permanently change people.  People marked by such events are always reminded of them.  Here’s a way to represent emotional or mental scars with physical scars in a magical role-playing game.  I use Powered By The Apocalypse jargon, since that’s the kind of RPG I usually run.

When you rest and heal after battle, consider how you earned your wounds. If a wound or the circumstances surrounding it are important to you, it does not heal like normal and you gain a Scar.

When you display a Scar to remind yourself or others of the lesson you earned with blood, everyone who sees it takes +1 forward when acting on your lesson.

When you decide that a Scar no longer holds power or significance, mark XP. The next time you receive magical healing, the Scar will fade.


  • A bodyguard re-affirms her conviction by showing the wounds she took in her charge’s place.
  • Friends gleefully show the burns from that experimental hoverbike that almost worked.
  • The hero tears off his neckerchief.  “You should have finished the job, Warwick! I won’t make the same mistake!”
  • “We got in too deep on bad intel. I lost a finger and two comrades in that jungle.  Never again!”