As a gamemaster it is your job to lay out the scenarios for your players so that they have a clear idea of what is going on and of actions they could possibly take. You will most likely want to use something to mark player and NPC locations and/or design a map that makes it clear for your players as to what the situation looks like. Some things you want to keep in mind are available cover, moveable objects, and what type of combat is being used at the time.
The types of combat a player will engage in varies greatly from class to class and character to character based on skills, personality, or situation. A ranger and gunman may sneak around the battlefield to perform sneak attacks while a fighter is bashing its shield off the skull of a durro as a mage is hurling an elemental blast at it. Or a character may find themselves in a shootout against an expert sniper while their allies are trying to flank it. Whatever situation you put your players in, as a gamemaster you should make sure it fits in the scope of the story you are weaving.
Keep in mind when crafting your combat situations, what type of encounter you are dealing with. Some common encounter types are a standard battle, ambushed, stealth, and ship to ship. A standard battle has no special rules as all parties see the battle coming. An ambushed situation occurs when characters are taken off guard; a sense roll is required to see which characters are caught aware. Stealth encounters occur when characters are using a stealth skill to maneuver around an area; this can be used to create an ambush or avoid combat all together. Ship to ship encounters can work as any of the above depending on the situation and the ships abilities.
When beginning an encounter it is important to determine the action order for the round. To determine the action order of the round, have the players make a sense roll for themselves while the gamemaster rolls for the NPC’s and list the order from highest to lowest numbers rolled.
Actions: These are actions that are freely done while outside of combat or a skill use that costs an action per round while in combat. Actions are things along the line of changing weapon, movement, reloading, etc. Some actions cost one action per round or APR to perform while others require multiple actions to perform.
Opposing Rolls: These rolls are written in an Attacker Action vs Defender Reaction format. They both roll a 1d20 die and add their bonuses. The attacker bonus is determined by weapon or strike attribute, class ability or spell, and training. The defender bonus is dexterity + CPB against weapons or strike and some abilities or spells while other attributes are used when specified . In order for the attack to be successful the attacker must beat the defender’s roll. If the attacker succeeds, they roll damage. If the attack fails the attacker misses, losing the action.
Difficulty Checks: This is associated with rolls that are versus a target number you must meet or exceed. You will roll 1d20 and add the skill, spell, or abilities modifiers.
Damaging: When a character is attacked from a weapon, skills, abilities, and spells they may take damage. Whenever you successfully attack a target you roll the damage dealt. Depending on the action used the damage dice change. When they take damage that number is reduced from their health points.
Critical Rolls: A critical attack is performed when an attacker rolls beat the defenders roll by 10, while a difficulty roll is critical when you roll a 20 on the die. A critical fail is when the attacker’s roll is beat by 10, while a difficulty roll is a critical fail when you roll a 1 on the die. The attacker is staggered against the next attack they receive until the start of their next turn after a critical fail.
When a critical is rolled there are various results that can occur depending on the action. For damaging or healing abilities the critical effect deals maximum damage or healing plus the normal dice roll. For buffs and disabling effects the duration is doubled. For defensive abilities they can infuriate another adjacent target. Abilities that have their own critical effects other critical effects.
Movement: Moving in combat takes an action. A character can move up to their full distance per action. Each movement range is based on their species + dexterity bonus or penalty equal to 1' per adjustment. Some abilities and spells contain movements in their action as well.
Reactions: These are abilities that can be cast outside of a character's turn. Most reaction based abilities are usable as long as the character has available resources to perform it.
Resources: All classes have resources to manage and use for their class abilities. You can use up to your CPB of your resources when you use a class abilities. Resources that say they fade when out of combat, decrease by 1 every minute after combat ends.
Round: A round is the time it takes for all those involved in a combat to take their turns. Each character's turn is over when they use all their APR.
Companions: Companions are any non-player characters that follow a player character through the world. Some classes feature player companions, like a raised minion or summoned creature. These companions get actions per round equal to the CPB of the player controlling them and act on their master's turn.
When in combat the range to your target determines your course of actions. Weapons and class abilities have various ranges. Ranged weapons can hit multiple ranges in most cases but may suffer penalties and bonuses in the process.
Close: Attacks in close range are to targets between six and ten feet from your location.
Long: Attacks in long range are to targets between thirty and one hundred feet from your location.
Melee: Attacks in melee range are to targets adjacent to your location or within six feet.
Medium: Attacks in medium range are to targets between ten to thirty feet from your location.
Out: Out of range targets have usually escaped you or are obstructed from view. Characters will have to maneuver around to bring the target back into range.
Area Attacks: When an attacker uses an item, spell, or ability that hits multiple targets, they roll their attack die one time. All those in range will roll separate defender rolls against this attack. If successfully defended, targets get a reaction movement to attempt getting out of range.
Buff/Disable Limits: Some abilities buff and disable players and targets. These abilities do not stack on each other unless noted to in their description. Casting a larger buff or disabling ability will just replace the previous one.
Burst Fire/Full Automatic: When using a burst fire or full automatic weapon they attack multiple times in an action. Burst fire weapons fire three times and full automatic weapons fire five times an action. These weapons trigger a recoil penalty while using them.
Cover: When you end your movement behind cover, you can take cover with no action cost. Partial cover will give you +2 to your defender roll, making it +5 against any target attacking you through cover. Obstructed cover prevents attacks through cover from both sides.
Death: Death occurs when a target loses all health point. If not revived in 5 rounds they are dead permanently.
Disarmed: When disarmed, a target loses the use of their weapon or shield. The item is unusable until they expend an action to retrieve the item.
Dual Wielding: Dual wielding ranged or melee attacks are joined as one action; attacker rolls are rolled separately and if both weapons hit they deal combo damage. Dual wielding melee and ranged weapons are treated as separate actions.
Flanking: Flanking occurs whenever attacking a target in cover at an angle that negates it. Stealth bonuses are active while flanking. When a flanked target moves, it triggers a reactive attack from all those flanking. Critical flanking attacks cause the pinned status.
Penalty Reducing Abilities: Certain abilities, such as blind fight, reduce the penalty for performing those actions. When your character does not have these penalty reducing abilities then the difficulty to perform them is -5.
Pinned: This prevents a target from moving. Holding extreme amounts of weight can cause pinned.
Prone: A target becomes prone from a knockdown and takes an action to stand.
Staggered: A target that is staggered loses their defender bonus against the next attack.
Ranged Variation: All ranged weapons can shoot one range beyond their range and to all ranges forward of it. Shooting further than listed range of a weapon or within melee gives a -5 penalty.
Recoil Penalty: Firing a burst fire weapon has a penalty of 0, -2, and -4; while full automatic weapons have a penalty of 0, -2, -4, -6 , and -8 per attack action. The recoil penalty resets when you take another action between attacks.
Running Fire: You have the ability to fire a ranged weapon and move as 1 action for a -10 penalty to hit, reduced by your CPB. Melee combat and abilities used with movement ranges within them are unaffected by this penalty.
Armor: When you are attacked with armor or an armor spell it will soak some or all of the damage done from non-magical attacks. The soak rate is how much damage the armor can soak per attack. Back pieces add to the armor soak rate and may have additional resistances enchanted on them.
Shields: A shield's protection is only valid from attacks they can see and effects directly targeted magical attacks. When wielding a shield any successful defenses done with the shield blocks the spell altogether and any failed defender rolls allow the shield to use its soak rate to reduce the spell damage stacking with any spell resistances. Wielding a shield also gives access to the shield strike and defend abilities. The defend ability of a shield allows for one re-rolled defender roll once per turn.
Barrier: Spells and armors with damage resistance or immunity absorb damage from magical attacks. While a barrier is active, spells cannot apply status effects however, they can be applied by an attack that breaks the barrier. Status effects applied by non-magical means are not blocked by barrier spells.
Defender Penalty: Stronger armors are harder for the wearer to move in, so in turn they are harder to dodge and cast spells in. While the armor can soak more damage you may take more hits than those less armored.
Every damage type has added effects to them and the target may have a weakness, defense, or immunity to a specific type of damage. Knowing your target’s weaknesses and strengths can be a key factor in battle.
Air: This damage is based on the element of air. Critical attacks cause a target to be knocked down for an action.
Area of Effect: This damage affects an area for an amount of time. Area of effect damage ignores soak rate and deals straight damage per action the target remains within the effect.
Bleed: This damage occurs occurs over time and bypasses soak rate. Bleed damage to vampires also damages 1 blood point per round of bleeding.
Bludgeoning: This weapon damage is most common in clubs and staves. Critical attacks cause stagger for an action.
Combo: This is damage from multiple attacks that combine into one. Combo attacks are only affected by soak rating once per combo.
Dark: This damage draws upon dark matter. Critical attacks weaken the body and give +1 critical chance against attacks for the round.
Earth: This damage is based on the element of earth. Critical attacks cause a target to be blinded for granules or knocked down for solids for 3 actions.
Energy: This damage is based in the power of life energy from one’s self or infused crystals. Critical attacks cause 1d4 energy damage from radiation burns for 3 rounds.
Fire: This damage is based on the element of fire. Critical attacks cause a target to ignite for 1d4 fire damage for 3 rounds.
Full Draw: This weapon damage takes an action to fully extend and increases both the range and damage of the bow based on the Strength requirement. If your Strength is 2 higher than the weapon's requirement they ignore the action cost to fully extend. Full Draw only gains bonus damage from expertise and critical when it is fully drawn.
Healing: This damage is the revitalizing forces of nature and is used when healing allies. Healing damage can also be used against certain undead characters as an additional damage form. Critical attacks deal double critical damage to undead.
Ice: This damage is based on the power of ice. Critical attacks cause a target to be slowed to 1/2 movement range for 3 actions.
Light: This damage is harnessing the solar energies. Critical attacks flash a light and stagger the target for an action.
Lightning: This damage is based on the power of lightning. Critical attacks cause a target to be stunned for an action.
Physical: This damage is based on physical impacts such as falls or being slammed into walls. Telekinesis is another form or physical damage.
Piercing: This weapon damage is most common in ranged weapons and swords. Critical attacks ignore 1d4 of the target's armor soak.
Shadow: This damage is based in the nexus waves of the Netherworld and considered by some to be dark or evil, though others revere it. Critical attacks bypass shadow immunity or resistances.
Sight: This weapon damage is found primarily on firearms and crossbows. You can take an action to line your shot and add sight damage to their attack.
Slashing: This weapon damage is most common in axes and swords. Critical attacks cause 1d4 bleeding damage.
Sonic: This damage is caused by sound waves. Critical attacks with sound cause deafen for 1d4 actions.
Spirit: This damage is based in the natural energies of the Plain of Immortals. Critical attacks weaken the soul and give +1 spell critical chance for the round.
Strike: This damage is based on unarmed combat or fist weapons. Critical attacks cause the target to be staggered for an action.
Two Handed: This melee damage type is available on some handles that can be used with one or two hands. Two Hand damage matches the damage type of the weapon, is affected by critical bonuses, and the expertise damage increase only when using two hands.
Water: This damage is based on the element of water. Critical attacks cause a target to gain the soak status for 3 actions.
Weapon: This damage is based on armed combat, whether it be ranged or melee. Weapon damage includes the piercing, slashing, and bludgeoning damage types.
Status effects are things that alter a target temporarily for good or bad. Their effects are usually gone within a few rounds during battle or cured.
Types of Status Effects
Berserk: Berserk causes a target to become uncontrollably violent and they will attack those closest. Berserk causes the target to ignore being infuriated.
Blind: Blind causes effected targets to lose their ability to see.
Charmed: Charmed causes a target’s actions to be influenced by another.
Confuse: When a target is under the effects of confusion they become lost in thought. For the duration they take the lower roll of 2d20 for any skill rolls and ignore commands.
Deafen: Deafen causes a target to lose their hearing temporarily, leaving them unable to hear commands and their stealth rolls gain no bonuses.
Enhanced: The effect increases the amount of damage a target puts out.
Exposed: When a target’s armor is exposed it loses part or all of its soak rate for a time.
Fear: Fear sends pure terror into a target forcing them flee.
Hardened: A target that is hardened has an increased soak rate.
Haste: Haste makes targets move faster, giving them an additional action and increases their movement range for all actions by half normal movement.
Infuriate: Infuriate causes a target to focus on a target, granting penalties to their attacker rolls equal to the CPB + the attribute that caused the infuriate against any other targets.
Injured: Injured occurs when performing attacker, defender, or skill rolls are reduced.
Oil: A target is under the effect of oil, ignites from fire or lightning damage.
Paralyzed: A paralyzed target is unable to perform any actions.
Polymorph: Polymorph is a magical alteration of one’s form. While under the effects of a polymorph their actions are limited to the form they are in.
Possessed: Possessed targets are fully under the control of another being inhabiting them.
Regeneration: Regeneration allows a target to regain health per round.
Silence: Silence makes targets unable to use spells.
Sleep: Sleep causes a target to fall asleep. Sleep may cause falling damage.
Slow: Slow causes targets to move slower, causing them to lose an action and have decreased movement range for all actions by half normal movement.
Soak: Soak causes a target to take the critical bonus effect of lightning, earth, and ice damage regardless of a critical roll. While air and fire damage cause stagger.
Stealth: Targets in stealth are trying to avoid detection by others.
Stun: Stun dazes a target making them lose actions per round.
Toxin: Toxins are chemical of a natural or synthetic design that harms or hinders the target over time.
Undead: The target is becoming or already undead. Zombies, vampires, apparitions, and demons are types of undead.
Ship To Ship Combat
There are a variety of vehicles across the world for land, sea, air, and space. Some of these can be used by anyone while others require skill ranks to be able to operate. Some skill ranks increase the potential for your character to use vehicles to their maximum performance. Thanks to this skilled pilots can take out the unskilled while using inferior vehicles.
Ship to ship combat uses the same rule of twenty system as normal combat. The attacker/defender bonuses are affected by dexterity, skills, and vehicular statistics. Vehicle statistics vary depending on size and type. A carrier will not move as fast as a fighter but it can take a lot more damage. Different vehicles have various armaments and deal various damage levels. There is an additional 2d20 damage dealt when the target is outside of a vehicle.
There are different ways a vehicle can be obtained. Some can be bought while others can be assigned to you. Military vehicles are obtained by proving yourself to the respective military, being loaned one for a battle, or if you are feeling lucky stolen. Unique vehicles are not obtainable though you may find yourself working on or battling them.
Characters with vehicle skills are able to link attacks together. This allows multiple characters to strike the same target together to inflict more damage to larger targets. This does not affect smaller vehicles when in dogfight scenarios.
Accuracy – The vehicles ability to attack, attacks per round, and deal additional damage. The base ability of a vehicle is a minimum of 1 and maximum of 5 giving 1 attack per round and +1 attacker roll per vehicle rank. They also gain additional hit dice per skill rank resulting in +1d4 for rank 1, +1d6 for rank 2, +1d8 for rank 3, +1d10 for rank 4, and +1d12 for rank 5.
Armaments – The vehicles weaponry and each weapons base damage. Weapons vary from ship to ship. Small vehicles weaponry has a max damage of 50, midsize vehicles weaponry has a max damage of 100, and large vehicles weaponry has a max damage 200. These figures apply before any bonuses from Accuracy.
Armor – The amount of damage a vehicle can soak to protect the hull. When the hull is damaged into its last 15% the armor plating is too damaged to offer any protection and the hull starts taking full damage. Small vehicles have a soak rate of 5-25, midsize vehicles have a soak rate of 10-50, and large vehicles have a soak rate of 20-100.
Haldre – Vehicles equipped with a haldre amplifier allow spell casters to use their spells as ship to ship weapons. Amplifications will vary based on the installed amplifier. Small vehicle amplifiers deal double damage, midsize vehicle amplifiers deal triple damage, and large vehicle amplifiers deal quadruple damage.
Hull – The total amount of damage a vehicle can take before it is destroyed. When the hull is damaged into its last 15% systems become damaged and the vehicle gains a -5 penalty to operate. Small vehicles have hull strength of 25-100, midsize vehicles have hull strength of 100-500, and large vehicle have hull strength of 500-1000.
Maneuverability – The vehicles ability to avoid damage, obstacles, and perform combat maneuvers. The base ability of a vehicle is a minimum of 1 and maximum of 5 giving 1 combat maneuver per round and +1 defender roll per vehicle rank. Combat maneuvers can be used for either offense or defense and give a bonus 1d20 to attacker or defender rolls taking the higher of the 2 dice.
Nolda – Vehicles equipped with a nolda drive are able to use hovering flight. The nolda drive allows vehicles to reach heights they normally couldn’t in the world.
Shields – Some vehicles are equipped with shields for additional damage soaking. Shield systems become inactive when the hull is damaged into its last 15%. Small vehicles shielding can soak an additional damage of 5-10, midsize vehicles shielding can soak an additional damage of 10-35, and large vehicles shielding can soak an additional damage of 35-75.
Special – Some vehicles have additional abilities that can be unlocked by operates trained in the vehicle type. Abilities vary from vehicle to vehicle.
Speed – The vehicles overall speed, movement actions per round, and ability to get out of danger. The base ability of a vehicle is 60 mph per 1 ship rank and maximum of 5 vehicle ranks for a maximum of 300 mph and 1 movement per rank. Trained operators gain a +1 to escape rolls per skill rank for a maximum of +5. Escape rolls are not possible from a vehicle with a base speed slower than the chasing vehicle.
Vehicles have varying types and ranges of motion between the different types. There is a -5 to +5 penalty or bonus when dealing with vehicles of different types. A player driving in a car is not going to sprout wings to follow an escaping plane. The different vehicle types are governed by different skills.
Airplane – Vehicles that fly through the air and some may be equipped with nolda drives. Airplane is abbreviated as Plane. This vehicle type uses the Aviator skill.
Boat – Small sea vessels of a non or light combat nature. This vehicle type uses the Seafarer skill.
Ground Transport – Vehicles of a non or light combat nature that roll across the ground. Ground transport is abbreviated as Ground. This vehicle type uses the Drive skill.
Helicopter – Vehicles that use rotating blades to hover and fly in the sky. Helicopter is abbreviated as Copter. This vehicle type uses the Aviator skill.
Hover Transport – Vehicles of a non or light combat nature that are equipped with nolda drives that allow them hovering flight. Hover transport is abbreviated as Hover. This vehicle type uses the Drive skill.
Junca – Cruisers that are able to travel in the air, on the sea, or under the water. This vehicle type uses the Aviator skill.
Ship –Large sea vessels of a non or heavy combat nature. This vehicle type uses the Seafarer skill.
Sholta – Vehicles that are giant robotic suits that vary in weaponry and armor strength. This vehicle type uses the Sholta skill.
Spatial – Vehicles equipped for space travel. Some are also equipped for terrestrial flight. This vehicle type uses the Aviator skill.
Submersible – Sea vessels that can submerge and travel under the water. Submersible is abbreviated as Sub. This vehicle type uses the Seafarer skill.
Tank – Vehicles of a ground or hover nature equipped with heavy armor and heavy assault weapons. This vehicle type uses the Drive skill.
Valier – Submersibles that are generally of a combat nature and equipped with a nolda drive for hovering flight. This vehicle type uses the Aviator skills.