Under Injury and Healing in nWoD 2e (Chronicles of Darkness):

if a character has all her Health boxes full of lethal damage — she’s bleeding out. She can’t recover from that without urgent medical attention and emergency surgery.

It also says

When a character’s rightmost Health box has lethal damage marked in it, he takes another point of damage each minute (upgrading existing lethal damage to aggravated) until he receives medical attention, mundane or supernatural.

Then the section on the application of medical attention says

Medical Care
The Medicine Skill can be used to speed up healing. Medical care is an extended action, requiring successes equal to the total number of points of damage suffered by the patient. In the field or ER, the dice pool is Dexterity + Medicine, and the interval is one minute. In long-term hospital care, the pool is Intelligence + Medicine, and the interval is one hour. Usually, any Conditions from a failure afflict the patient rather than the caregiver, but this is at Storyteller discretion.
Achieving sufficient successes restores one Health point lost to bashing damage, in addition to any healing that the character already does under his own power.

...But it seems to exclusively focus on speeding up healing, not the case of arresting impending death. Skipping the part about more long-term hospital care, it only mentions healing some bashing damage (presumably talking about the field/ER case). So it seems to be missing some details that seem important in a potentially tense, high stakes race against the clock like this, considering that both the interval for field care is one minute and a dying patient's damage also worsens every minute.

  • Does the bleeding out and dying stop when you begin field care, because they're now receiving "medical attention," or are they only stabilized after accumulating the full number of required successes (equal to their number of Health boxes in this case)? The only explicitly listed effect of achieving all those successes is healing bashing damage, which by definition a dying character will not have.
  • The timeline: if a character begins bleeding out at minute 0, acquires their first (upgraded) aggravated wound at minute 1, and a medic accumulates enough successes to arrest bleeding at minute 7, did the patient end up with 7 aggravated wounds, or 6?

2 Answers 2


Stabilization rules seem to just not exist in the CofD/2e core book. But the description of what stops bleeding out matches the phrasing from 1e:

Each minute thereafter in which your character receives no medical attention — mundane or supernatural — he suffers one more injury.

So the best bet should be to import the unmodified 1e rules since nothing major changed about health boxes between editions. The only new thing is potential for inflicted Conditions on failures in an extended action.

1e also has a paragraph on Healing Wounds with the exact same wording as the second paragraph on Medical Care in 2e, except that it's more than just a single sentence long. It continues onward to explain treating the bleeding out case that 2e strangely doesn't mention:

Achieving sufficient successes (equal to the total, overall Health points lost by the patient) restores one Health point lost to bashing damage, in addition to any healing that the character already does under his own power. A patient may regain no more than one “extra” Health point by this means per day. Alternatively, a pa- tient who’s bleeding to death or in a coma is stabilized if one success is achieved on the roll. (The loss of Health points to aggravated damage each minute is stopped; see “Incapacitation,” p. 173.)

The removal of the rest of that paragraph's contents in CofD, with no equivalent replacement, seems like an editing oversight. So the answer at first blush seems to be just importing the nWoD 1e rule:

  • The number of successes required for stabilizing a bleeding out patient is one, instead of the number of damaged Health boxes. They continue bleeding out each minute until this one success is achieved.

However, 1e then immediately contradicts itself with its given example, which use a far less forgiving version of the rules:

  • The number of successes required for stabilizing a bleeding out patient is the number of damaged Health boxes. They continue bleeding out each minute until that number of successes is achieved.

Example: Someone has beaten the crap out of Emir. He has lost all of his 7 Health points to lethal damage and is now bleeding to death (acquiring an aggravated wound per minute). Landers discovers Emir and performs first aid. Landers’ Dexterity is 2 and Medicine is 2. He must accumulate seven successes to stop the flow of blood and save Emir’s life. Three rolls (and minutes) pass before Landers accumulates the required successes, at which point Emir stops incurring aggravated injuries. That leaves him with three aggravated and four lethal wounds. (Until Landers accumulates the number of successes required to stop the bleeding, Emir continues to gain one aggravated wound per minute as he keeps bleeding — see “Incapacita- tion,” p. 173. If Landers’ rolls were repeatedly unsuccess- ful, Emir could have died while being treated.)

Even further muddying the issue, there is a third version of the stabilization rules in 1e, in the book Innocents, which splits the difference between the previous two rules, and adds a critical missing detail: How long stabilization lasts before they begin to bleed out again.

  • The patient is stabilized for a number of minutes equal to successes rolled (so rolling even one success stops bleeding temporarily, you just better hope you don't then fail the next minute's roll), until accumulated successes equal the number of damaged Health boxes, which stabilizes them for the rest of the scene.

For fi rst aid, roll Dexterity + Medicine. A character who is dying is stabilized if this roll is successful, but has only a number of minutes equal to the successes on the roll before she starts dying again. The character administering fi rst aid can continue to work on the injured character. The play- er rolls Dexterity + Medicine once per minute, and needs to accumulate a number of successes equal to the wounds the injured character has suffered (usually this means suc- cesses equal to the character’s total Health). Once this total is reached, the character is stable for the rest of the scene, which, hopefully, is enough time to get her to safety. If not, the processes must be repeated when the next scene begins.

(N.B. The only mention of using Medicine to 'stabilize' in the 2e book seems to be in the descriptions for the Medicine Skill itself, for the Holistic Medicine Merit, and for the First-Aid Kit equipment in Appendix One. I'd assume its removal was a mistake.)


it seems to me there must be a typo, about the blunt damage box being healed. I believe that would be correct. Scoring enough successes replaces one point of Lethal Health with bashing damage.

which would stop the bleeding since bleeding only occurs when all health boxes are marked with lethal damage

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