Red Dead Redemption 2 Guide: Cores and Bars Info

Check this guide for a full explanation of Cores and Bars in Red Dead Redemption 2!

Red Dead Redemption 2 has a slightly different system of Health, Stamina, and Dead Eye management. You will need to keep and eye on these, particularly your health, as you play through the game. If you happen to forget after a while, don't panic -- you'll live. Let's start by fully explaining Cores and Bars.

Cores versus Bars


First the easy mechanic to understand, Bars. These are the rings around your Health, Stamina, and Dead Eye icons on the bottom-left of your screen above the mini-map. For simplicity, I'm going to describe just the Health for now, and get to Stamina and Dead Eye later.

Your Health Bar/Ring can be thought of as your temporary health. As you take damage, this will deplete. It will also refill over time. Once your bar is gone completely, that's when the Core comes into play.


Cores are basically your overall/emergency meters. These are indicated by the icons themselves. For health, that is the heart icon above your mini-map. Once your bar runs out, your heart core icon will begin to deplete. Once that is fully gone, you die. These also determine how fast your bars refill. If your core is mostly full, your bar will regenerate quickly.

red dead redemption 2 core info

Cores will not regenerate over time. Your Health Core also automatically drains over time, even when you do nothing. You can open the menu, select player, then select Arthur to see the remaining percentage and time on your Cores.

Stamina and Dead Eye

Stamina icon is the lightning bolt, and Dead Eye is the, you guessed it, "X" eye icon. 

Stamina gets depleted when you sprint and Dead Eye gets depleted as you use Dead Eye. The only difference between Dead Eye and the rest is that you must actively refill both the Bar and the Core.

Horse Cores and Bars

Your horse also has Health and Stamina Bars and Cores. These look like Arthur's, but they have a horseshoe icon and are to the right of his icons.

red dead redemption 2 horse cores and bars

Refilling Cores and Bars

Since Cores are very important and don't regenerate over time, naturally you will need to know how to refill them yourself. Bars can also be refilled in a pinch. All of these can be restored through specific items called, Provisions and Tonics.


These are the most important as they restore your Cores. There are some that restore multiple types at once, like Health and Stamina for example. Others will damage a Core and restore one or both of the others.

Be sure to pay attention to what each Provision does so you don't end up doing more harm than good. It's better to be safe than sorry.


These restore your bars and some can also restore multiple at once. There are certain Tonics, signified by a yellow color, that can also give a Fortify effect.

Fortify means the bar will become a complete circle and not drain for a short time. This can greatly help in dangerous situations, or just make completing missions a lot easier.

red dead redemption 2 provisions and tonics

Increasing Your Bar Max

If you notice early on in the game, your bars/rings are not complete circles. You can increase the length of each by doing certain activities. Below are examples of how to increase each ring.

  • Health - Hunting and skinning
  • Stamina - Running and swimming
  • Dead Eye - Hunting and skinning
  • Horse - Riding, grooming, petting, etc.

That's all you need to know about Cores and Bars in Red Dead Redemption 2. Hopefully this game mechanic makes perfect sense to you now. If not, feel free to comment down below and I'll happily help.

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Guide Editor

After gaming for 25 years, Synzer leveraged his vast knowledge of RPGs and MMOs into a job as a games journalist, covering the games he loves. Five years later, he's still writing about Kingdom Hearts, Pokemon, and Knights of the Old Republic. Synzer has a bachelor's degree in English and creative writing. You can see him in action on his YouTube channel ( and Twitch (

Published Oct. 26th 2018

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