Running Combat

This is an action based role playing game so most stories you play within the world should involve some level of combat during play. 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 will want to keep in mind are is available cover, moveable objects, and what type of combat is being used at the time.

The types of combat a player sends their character into will vary 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 a fireball at it. Or a character may find them self 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.

Another thing to keep in mind when crafting your combat situations is 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 or alertness 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. The easiest way to determine the action order is to have the players roll an alertness roll for them self while the gamemaster rolls for the NPC’s and list the order from highest to lowest roll. For a ship to ship battle you will need to wisdom + rank requirement of the vehicle for the combat order.

Basic Combat

Attacker vs Defender Roll: There are two rolls when attacking an opponent. The first is the attacker roll and the second is the defender roll. Each rolls a 1d20 die. In order for the attack to be successful the attacker must beat the defender’s roll. If the attacker succeeds then the damage for the attack is rolled. If the attack fails the attacker misses and has to wait to try again.

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. For this kind of roll 1 is a critical fail and 20 is a critical success.

Attacker Bonus: The attacker bonus is determined by weapon roll + CPB. Unarmed strikes have a 0 base weapon difficulty unless the class has a feature that alters this.

Defender Bonus: The defender bonus is dexterity + CPB. Some armors can have bonuses or penalties to the defender bonus.

Critical Rolls: This is a potentially fatal attack brought on by a greatly skilled attack. A critical attack is performed when an attacker rolls beat the defenders roll by 10. The attack is a critical fail when the attacker’s roll is beat by 10 and the attacker is staggered for one action per critical fail on the next round. See critical effects for the different actions. Some skills, spells, and abilities have their own critical effects.

Movement: Moving in combat takes an action. A character can move up to their full distance in an action. All actions in a round can be used for movement. 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.

Damaging: When a character is attacked from a weapon, skills, abilities, and spells they may take damage. When they take damage that number is reduced from their health points. Characters wearing armor or has a thick hide they may have a soak rate. Soak rate absorbs a number of the damage taken by its total before damage is taken to the health points.

Critical Effects: 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 dice roll without modifiers.  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.

Dual Wielding: When a character is dual wielding weapons they incur a -5 penalty to their attacker rolls. Dual wielding attacks with matching ranges are joined as one action; attacker rolls are rolled separately and if both weapons hit the attacks deal combo damage. Dual wielding melee and ranged weapons are treated as separate actions but still incur the dual wield penalty.

Burst Firing Weapons: Some weapons have the ability to attack multiple times in one action. Each additional hit has a stacking -2 penalty to the attacker roll. When you roll an attack you do so once per burst and only the shots that beat the target’s defense will strike. Example being if you roll a 16 with a 3 burst firing weapon you have a 0, -2, -4 penalty to your attacker roll and your target rolls a defender roll of 13 then the first 2 shots will hit and the last will miss.

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, ducking to cover, reloading, etc. Each action costs one action per round to perform though multiple actions can be performed during a round limited to character’s total actions per round.

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.

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.

Defensive Combat

Those players taking up the roles of defense try to keep the focus of their enemies so that their party members can avoid damage. During infuriate a character has a negative to hit any target other than the one they are focused on equal to the roll bonus of ability that triggered the infuriate.

Range Types

When in combat the range to your target is important in determining your course of action. Weapon, skill, and spell ranges are factored into deciding what actions are available for you to take and if you need to use an action point to change your range. Moving between combat ranges varies between species. Ranged weapons can hit multiple ranges in most cases but may suffer penalties and bonuses in the process.

Melee: Attacks in melee range are to targets adjacent to your location or within six feet. Melee examples are striking, swords, and axes.

Close: Attacks in close range are to targets between six and ten feet from your location. Close examples are whips, polearms, and shotguns.

Medium: Attacks in medium range are to targets between ten to thirty feet from your location. Medium examples are short bows, light crossbows, and cobarri.

Long: Attacks in long range are to targets between thirty and one hundred feet from your location. Long examples are pulse rifles, javelins, and rocket launchers.

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.

Ranged Weapon Effects

Ranged Combat: All ranged weapons can shoot one range passed their range and to all ranges forward of it. Shooting outside of the listed range of a weapon gives a -3 penalty per range variation. When hitting a target out of the weapon's range the damage is reduced by 1d6 and when hitting closer targets the damage is increased by 1d6 per range increment.

Cover: In some areas your character may be able to utilize the environment around them for cover. There are two types of cover in the world; partial cover where you are visible and obstructed cover where you are not visible. Partial cover adds a -2 penalty per cover to attacks made from cover and behind cover. Obstructed cover puts the character out of range and they are unable to attack or to be attacked while obstructed. Obstructed cover takes the character out of sight, allowing them to use out of combat abilities. Entering and exiting cover costs an action per round.

Flanking: Flanking occurs when a character maneuvers around another character’s cover for a clear attack. The flanking character may still utilize cover; however, its target’s cover bonus is negated. Classes that use stealth can execute sneak attacks on targets they are flanking. Flying characters automatically flank partially covered targets.

Pinning: Pinning occurs when a character’s cover is used against it to lock the character in place. A character is pinned when they are flanked from multiple enemies and suffer a -2 penalty to their defender bonus per target flanking them. Attempting to break the pin will trigger an automatic attack action from every character flanking the target and will succeed if you defend more than you are hit. Some classes have movement abilities that can freely break a pinning situation, such as the serpent's teleportation.

Running Fire: A character has the ability to fire a ranged weapon and move as 1 action. Doing this however incurs a -10 penalty to hit reduced by your CPB. Melee combat and abilities used with movement ranges within them are unaffected by this penalty.

Companions

Companions are any non-player characters that follow a player character though the world. There are three types of companions; GM controlled, turned, or companion creatures. GM controlled companions can be talked to, interacted with, and convinced or manipulated by a player to do as they wish but the final call is the gamemaster’s. Turned companions are those temporally allied with your character or party. These companions are also controlled by the gamemaster. Companion creatures are special creatures called on and controlled by the player.

Some classes feature companion creatures that they control, like a raised minion or summoned demon. These companions get actions per round equal to the one that controls them and take movement actions to stay within close range of their master unless ordered otherwise. Companions can gain additional actions per round if their master uses their own actions to control the companion. They can use an action to set their companion between themselves and a potential attacker to help defend them, forcing the attacker to have to get around or defeat the companion in order to attack its master. These rules do not apply to gamemaster controlled or turned companions, they retain the actions they had before being turned and are still controlled by the gamemaster

Armor Types

When you are attacked with armor or an armor spell on the armor will soak some or all of the damage done from non-magical attacks. Different types of armor have different soak rates. The Soak Rate is how much damage the armor can soak per attack. Back pieces add to the armor soak rate of armor and may have additional resistances enchanted on them.

An additional armor type option is the shield. A shield's protection gains are only valid from attacks they can see and effects directly targeted magical attacks. When wielding a shield any successful defenses done with the shield block the spell altogether and any failed defender rolls allow the shield to use its soak rate to reduce the spell damage stacking with any applicable spell resistances enchanted on the shield. 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 per turn. Only one of these abilities can be used 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.

Stronger armors are harder for the wearer to move in so in turn they are harder to dodge in. Higher soak rates are a trade off against the character’s ability to defend. So while the armor can soak more damage you may take more hits than less armored characters. Defensive penalty also effects spell use for skill rolls the same as dodge rolls.

Worn Items

Worn items are items your character wears that are of a technological or magical nature. They improve your character’s abilities in some minor way. Each character has four worn item slots on their character sheet; one for their head, body, and each arm. There are also five types of worn items; output, skill action, percentile, resistance, and special items. Output items give your character a +4 bonus to your damage/heal dice. Output bonus types are specific to an action such as melee or ranged attack damage and specific spell types like fire, healing, or shadow spells. Skill action items give a +1 bonus to actions involve a d20 skill roll. Skill action bonus types, increase success rates with skill actions, decrease critical requirements, and add additional armor soak to your character. Resistance items give your character a +4 absorption bonus to specific magical attacks. Resistance bonus absorbs specific damage types such as lightning, spirit, and water. Special items are those with their own unique effects. These items have varying effects and some, like quivers, may be a class requirement. Worn items help give your character more distinction from other characters in the world.

Damage Rolls

Whenever your character successfully attacks a target they roll for their damage dealt. Depending on the basis of the attack, spell, or the weapon used the damage dice change. Every attack has a type attached to it as well. Some may have 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.

Damage Types

Strike Damage: This damage is based on unarmed combat or fist weapons.

Weapon Damage: This damage is based on armed combat, whether it be ranged or melee.

Combo Damage: This is damage from one or more sources or attacks that combines into one big attack. Combos are only affected by soak rating once instead of each action or attack.

Fire Damage: This damage is based on the element of fire. Critical attacks cause a target to ignite for 1d4 fire damage for 3 rounds

Water Damage: This damage is based on the element of water. Critical attacks cause a target to gain the soak status for 3 actions.

Air Damage: This damage is based on the element of air. Critical attacks cause a target to be knocked down for an action.

Earth Damage: 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.

Lightning Damage: This damage is based on the power of lightning. Critical attacks cause a target to be stunned for an action.

Ice Damage: 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.

Energy Damage: 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.

Physical Damage: This damage is based on physical impacts such as falls or being slammed into walls. Telekinesis is another form or physical damage.

Shadow Damage: 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.

Spirit Damage: 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.

Healing Damage: 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.

Area of Effect Damage: 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. Targets affected have a chance to dodge based on their movement range and take damage if they fail. On their turn they take damage for each action they remain in within the area or if their movement range is not long enough to clear the area.

Bleed Damage: This damage occurs occurs over time and bypasses soak rate. Bleed damage to vampires also damages 1 blood point per round of bleeding.

Status Effects

Status effects are things that effect aspects of you character for good or bad. Their effects are only temporary and usually are gone within a few rounds during battle. All status effects also have cures.

Types of Status Effects

Poison: This status slowly kills you until its effects wear off or are cured. When a character is hit by poison the damage dice are rolled and that damage carries over until the rounds of effect are over.

Paralyzed: This makes a character useless and unable to move or perform any actions.

Berserk: This status causes character to become uncontrollably violent. Effected character will attack anything in sight.

Silence: This status makes characters unable to use spells.

Blind: This status causes effected character to lose their ability to see. Characters with the blind fight skill and creature with no eyes are not affected.

Sleep: This status causes the effected characters to fall asleep. If the character is flying or climbing they will receive falling damage on impact. This damage is decided by the observer.

Haste: This status characters to move faster. While under the effects of haste characters receives an additional action and increased movement range and movement abilities range by half normal movement.

Slow: This status causes characters to take a lot longer to do things. While affected by slow characters lose an action and have decreased movement range and movement abilities range by half normal movement.

Injured: This status makes it harder to perform skill based actions. Those actions may be offensive, defensive, or magical.

Polymorph: This status turns characters into a form that is not their own. While a character is under the effects of a polymorph they cannot use attack actions or abilities. Polymorphs are spells such as a mage’s frog spell or a vagabond’s transfiguration spells.

Undead: This status means the character is becoming undead but has not fully turned yet. If left untreated they will become the undead whether it is zombie, vampire, apparition, or some types of demons.

Charmed: This status causes a character’s actions to be controlled by another. This is used to turn a character against their allies. Other charmed type effects include tame and control zombie.

Death: This status occurs when a character loses all health point. If not revived in 5 rounds the character is dead.

Death Sentence: This status causes a character to start dying. If not cured in three rounds the character will die. It must be either cured or the caster must be killed in the case of a spell.

Fear: This status sends pure terror into a character. When feared a character flees for its life.

Regeneration: This status allows a character to regain a small amount of health per round.

Stun: Dazes target making them lose actions per round. If a target is stunned for all actions per round in a single round they gain Vengeance.

Vengeance: This status causes the target to take the first action at the start of a new round. If multiple targets acquire vengeance then a d20 roll is used to determine their order. The attack order is only altered for that round and returns to normal during the next round.

Over Encumbered: There are enough things in this game to deal with without having item weight to be a factor. Just use common sense if your character has 40 pieces of armor. Get a truck.

Prone: A character becomes prone from a knockdown for one action. While prone they are in danger of high damage prone based attacks.

Soak: This status sets up a target for a later element attacks. Lightning damage taken while soaked is doubled. Earth damage while soaked causes slow. Ice damage while soaked causes paralysis. Air damage while soaked gives a -1 penalty to attacker/defender rolls. Fire damage while soaked causes berserk. Effects last for remainder of soak active on the target.

Infuriate: This is the effect of actions that cause a character to focus on a certain target and grants penalties to attacker rolls against other targets. The most common cause is one of the infuriating class skills.

Enrage: This effect increases the amount of damage the character puts out with melee and ranged attacks.

Enlightened: The effect increases the amount of damage a character puts out with magical attacks.

Stealth: A character in stealth is sneaking and hard to detect by others. While in stealth they can use bonus damage actions. The blend skill is another form of stealth but primarily for escape or tracking a target.

Disarmed: When disarmed a character loses the use of their weapon or shield for one action. Removing any defense bonuses a character may gain from the item or forcing them to expend an action to retrieve the item.

Exposed: When a character’s armor is exposed it is open to armor piercing techniques.

Staggered: When a character is staggered they lose their defender bonus for one action.

Possessed: When a character under psychic control or possession they are fully under the control of another.

Barrier: When a character is under the effects of this status they have some form of barrier placed on them.

Oil: When a character is under the effect of oil they take additional fire or lightning damage.

Confuse: When a character is under the effects of confusion they are temporarily removed from combat as they sort out what is going on around them.

Hardened: When a character in under this affect their armor is stronger and absorbs more damage.

Disguised: When a character’s appearance is altered by a spell or disguise they are under this effect. Altered characters gain bonuses in avoiding detection by those who would recognize them or sense that they do not belong where they are.

Stealth

Some classes have stealth abilities that can be used in or out of combat. Out of combat a stealth roll is only required when first encountering the being or object that the character is sneaking around. In combat a stealth roll is required upon every movement action. Some abilities and being detected will break your character out of stealth and can leave the character in dire situations.

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.

Vehicle Statistics

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, midsized vehicles have hull strength of 100-500, and large vehicle have hull strength of 500-1000.

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, midsized vehicles have a soak rate of 10-50, and large vehicles have a soak rate of 20-100.

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.

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, midsized 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.

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, midsized vehicles shielding can soak an additional damage of 10-35, and large vehicles shielding can soak an additional damage of 35-75.

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.

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.

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.

Special – Some vehicles have additional abilities that can be unlocked by operates trained in the vehicle type. Abilities vary from vehicle to vehicle.

Vehicle Types

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.

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.

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.

Tank – Vehicles of a ground or hover nature equipped with heavy armor and heavy assault weapons. This vehicle type uses the Drive skill.

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.

Spatial – Vehicles equipped for space travel. Some are also equipped for terrestrial flight. This vehicle type uses the Aviator 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.

Boat – Small sea vessels of a non or light combat nature. This vehicle type uses the Seafarer skill.

Ship –Large sea vessels of a non or heavy combat nature. This vehicle type uses the Seafarer skill.

Submersible – Sea vessels that can submerge and travel under the water. Submersible is abbreviated as Sub. 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.

Junca – Cruisers that are able to travel in the air, on the sea, or under the water. This vehicle type uses the Aviator 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.