"It's all fun and games until someone loses an eye. And a hand." - Vecna's momOne of the potential consequences of losing a fight in Flashing Blades is the prospect of suffering a debilitating wound. If a character is reduced to exactly zero hit points, the location of the final wound is used as the basis for determining if the character is temporarily or permanently disabled in some way. A character reduced to zero hit points by a wound on the head, frex, may lose a nose or an ear - both of which reduce the character's Charm attribute score - or receive a scar on a cheek - which increases the Charm attribute score! A wound to the chest may cause permanent internal injuries, reducing a character's Endurance attribute score, while a wound to a limb may result in a broken bone, which takes weeks to heal.
The popular image of the swashbuckler, particularly the pirate, with en eye-patch, a wooden leg, or a hook for a hand, is pretty common, but while it has a basis in history, such as Admiral Lord Nelson, it's surprisingly rare in cape-and-sword literature. Prosthetics such as wooden legs, hooks, and false eyes are well-documented in medical literature from the late Renaissance and Early Modern period, though as described in the writings of the famous French surgeon Ambroise Paré, they were often more elaborate than simple peg legs or hooks, shaped to resemble the actual missing limb and fitted with joints to provides some measure of use to the wearer. Paré even mentions a spring-equipped prosthetic hand, though it's unlikely that it was ever actually manufactured. That peg legs and hooks are so prevalent in pirate lore may reflect that the expertise required to create more life-like prosthetics was absent among most ship-board surgeons, resulting in the cruder examples with which most of us are familiar.
The inclusion of lost eyes and limbs in Flashing Blades, then, appears to reflect the overt influence of cape-and-sword movies on the game's implied setting; it's an interesting design choice in light of the fact that so much of the game draws its inspiration from swashbuckling novels. While this wasn't unique to Flashing Blades - even 1e AD&D suggested that a character reduced to zero hit points "loses a limb, [or] is blinded in one eye" as an alternative to death - it presents players with the prospect of characters suffering a permanent disability while providing the specific rules for determining if and how that occurs and the effect on the character.
Over the years I've noticed a couple of schools of thought among players about character disability arising during play, as distinct from those players who choose disabilities during character creation as a means of gaining advantages elsewhere. One school asserts that 'death is boring,' that disability is a 'more interesting' alternative to losing one's character altogether. The other school claims that it's better that their characters die than be 'gimped' by the loss of attribute points or abilities. (There is also a school which wants neither, but I'm not going to give them any further consideration than to say, they're among us.)
My feeling is, let's have both. One of the reasons I like Flashing Blades is that both death and disability are on the table. They add the frisson of uncertainty when blades or guns are drawn to the experience of playing the game, and because they exist in the back of the players' minds, I think it adds to the characterisation which arises from actual play. One of the inherent tensions of the cape-and-sword genre comes from balancing the demands of honor with reckless violence - the decision to draw swords is, and in my opinion should be, a perilous one, and the risk of death or disability draws a big fat black line under that for me.