Setting Defenses

Now things are going to get a bit complicated. You're about to do some meaty game-design work here. The defense Thresholds in SGS are a complex and finely-tuned part of how the game works.

Deciding Pools

The first thing to figure out is what sorts of resources prevent a character from being knocked out in your game. The typical two in SGS are Health and Mind, but in different scenarios, you might choose other resources, such as Ki, Spirit, Mana, Clout, Sanity, and so on.

There's no upper limit to the number of pools you have in your game, but you have to have at least one, and the more you have the more formulas you'll need to create for the pools and thresholds.

Number & Name of Thresholds

For each pool you'll want to have one or more Thresholds that determine how much damage it takes to reduce the pool. Give each one a descriptive name that clearly escalates within the track, like Graze, Wound, and Trauma.


Because there are a lot of operators and we want to be very specific about each one, they're listed on the Formula Operators page.

By far the easiest way to work on the formulas for your game is using the SGSConsole app. It can verify & rebuild your storage file so that you can easily compare values as you adjust the formulas.

Threshold Formulas

Thresholds should be callibrated so that they're not impossible to hit, but aren't super easy either. The best strategy is usually to err on the low side on the shallow thresholds and err on the high side on the deeper thresholds.

The best way to fine-tune the thresholds is to compare actual output of the thresholds against total damage output reference points. Here are some good reference points.

  • Starting bracket characters
    • Low-margin damage
    • High-margin damage
  • Weak enemy damage
  • Tough enemy damage
  • Extremely powerful enemy damage
  • Any limited-time attacks

Pool Formulas

Unlike thresholds, pools don't directly interface with very many other variables in your game design. They interface directly with the number of thresholds your game has. That means that the value of damage penetrating the thresholds should almost always be between 1 and 4.

From that, you just need to decide how many light or heavy hits a character should be able to take before being knocked out. Make sure to remember that PCs will spend lots of their tokens and resources to stay in the fight. They won't simply soak up their fair share of damage and tap out, so it's a good idea to err low on the pools at the beginning, otherwise fights will drag on forever when the PCs start using their tokens.

When in doubt, try it out! Run some tests and see how it works!