At the Heart of the Abyss
Health, unlike Toughness, measures a character’s bodily health only as far as wounds are concerned. Health is represented by a number that is mostly based on character class. Any damage that makes it past the characters shields and armor is applied directly to Health, as are any poisons or direct-damage biotic effects.
When Health reaches zero, the character drops, but is not dead. He can still be revived by medi-gel, and will not perish even if not revived. He may be conscious or he may be out. Even if conscious, the character can’t take actions beyond speaking in a pained tone, and maybe some crawling. A character at zero health or below may even recover on his own without medical intervention, though that will be slow.
Characters who have dropped into negative health are in trouble. As long as the health deficit doesn’t drop below 1/2 the character’s max healthy value, it’s simply a very bad combat wound. Once it drops below half the character’s max value, the character is in critical condition. From here the character’s condition is only going to get worse without medical attention.
If the character’s health drops negative so far that it goes below his maximum healthy value, he’s in danger of death. A Toughness check is made to see if the character can survive. Immediate medical attention can give a bonus to this check. Should the character make the check, he stabilizes until the end of the scene, or until he takes more damage. Either way, he needs medical attention, fast. Even if he manages to stabilize, he will probably die shortly after the scene ends without help.
Health recovers after combat, and with the help of medi-gel and first aid. Some races, like Krogan and Vorcha, can regenerate in-combat. Non-regenerating races won’t be able to fully recover between combats without medical attention.