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Mortality - No One Here Gets Out Alive
Epitaph is a game in which you can expect to be put into mortal danger an awful lot. But you are one of the survivors - by your very nature, you're special. It is your good luck (or severe misfortune) to be more resistant to the infection than those who have succumbed. However, you are not indestructible...
Death in Epitaph
Epitaph does not have a concept of 'death' for survivors. Instead, we model risk in the game through three related systems - doses of vaccine, lucky breaks, and severe disabilities.
Doses of Vaccine
As you play the game, you will encounter doses of vaccine that you can consume. These doses protect you from zombie related deaths - if you are reduced to zero health by a zombie, any doses of vaccine that you have will serve as a buffer between you and more unpleasant consequences. Losing a dose of your vaccine is unpleasant, but other than a short period of unconciousness, the effects are negligible.
If you don't have any doses of vaccine left, or if you are reduced to zero health by a non-zombie related injury or illness, then you will use up one of your 'lucky escapes'. When you lose one of these, it means by luck or circumstance you managed to avoid a more significant injury. However, using one of these has a greater penalty than using a dose of vaccine - while you are recovering from whatever it was that caused you to use up your lucky escape, you will receive no taskmaster advances and will also lose 10% of your bonuses in all skills. Both of these penalties will go away after twenty minutes. There is also a permanent 20% XP loss when you use up one of your lucky escapes. Best avoided, in other words.
If you have no lucky breaks left, then we're into the really unpleasant consequences of being reduced to zero health. Severe disabilities function as a kind of 'anti-knack', and give you persistant penalties to your character. They can be removed, but it is a significant task to do so. Best to avoid these if you possibly can. Each time you are reduced to zero health, you will get a new disability. Decrepitudes might be permanant reductions to your skills, severe alterations to your wellbeing regeneration rates, or more. Trust us, you don't want these...