The Basics

Combat is meant to be relatively smooth and flowing, allowing for a regular progression from action to action while at the same time giving players a chance to choose their actions strategically.

Before Combat

The first thing a player needs is their Action Points, which represent their potential for actions in Combat; higher AP means more actions and quicker reaction time while lower AP means slower to react and to perform.

A character’s Initiative is based on their current AP at the end of the round before Combat starts. This will usually mean they use their full Action Point total, but there will be times when they have chosen to act and reduced their Initiative as a result.

Pre-Combat Actions
A player can declare the following actions before Combat begins, reducing their AP appropriately:

  • Strategic Coordination
  • Ready/Change Weapon
  • Single Move Action
  • Drop Bags

Initiative & Surprise
A character who has the drop on an opponent may act as if they had a full round of actions, while the opponent may only make defensive actions. The character with surprise is given Initiative as if they had their Full AP at the end of the round.

The Combat Round

Order of Events
The character with the highest Initiative (see above) acts first in a round, declaring one of the following actions:

  • Attack
    The character chooses an opponent (or target) and makes an attack action on that target
    • Character rolls their Attribute (usually Agility for Melee, Perception for Ranged)
      • MTN of the roll is based on circumstances, modified by Combat Skill1
    • Target rolls their Defense (usually Agility, or Perception for surprise attacks)
      • MTN of the roll is based on circumstances, modified by Defense Skill1
        • If a character makes an active defense, that is considered their Action this turn
    • If both rolls succeed, the higher roll wins.
    • AP Cost- Based on Weapon, + EV of Equipment
  • Full Defense
    The character declares they are intending to spend all AP to defend themselves this round.
    • The character adds their Defense Skill to their AP for the round
      • If the character makes a non-defensive Attack roll this round, they loose that bonus from the following round’s AP
    • AP Cost- None
  • Movement
    The character chooses to move their full Movement, depending on the Movement being made.
  • Walk: Character moves full Movement in Feet
    • AP Cost- 1 AP + EV of Equipment
  • Sprint: Character moves full Movement in Yards
    • AP Cost- 2 AP + EV of Equipment
  • Run: Character moves 2x Movement in Yards
    • AP Cost- 3 AP + EV of Equipment

Each character after the first in the round declares a single action, and then returns to the top of the initiative order, and this is the Combat Turn. A Combat Round occurs when the last person to act has chosen to do so, and the new Combat Round begins with a replenishing of Action Points.

Option: A group can make a combat sequence more interesting by redetermining the Initiative Order every Combat Round, based on who has the most Action Points left at the end.

Damage & Armor

Damage, Fatality, & Bad News
A character who has suffered more damage than their Fitness Talent suffer a risk of Serious Injury, resulting in the loss of a die type from a random Attribute. The system for this is as follows:

  1. A Player tracks the damage his character has taken over the course of the session.
  2. Each time this number exceeds a character’s Fitness Talent, the player makes a Test-
    • Stamina Test vs. a MTN of the Damage taken minus the character’s total Toughness Skill
  3. If the player succeeds at this Test, continue to track but no Attribute Damage is taken
  4. If the player fails this Test, the Narrator should roll d8 to determine the Attribute that drops by one die category
    • eg: d10 > d8 > d6 > d4
  • If the character is reduced below d4, the character is Down, and can make no actions, including speaking, for the remainder of the scene.

Combat Fatality
When a character is Down, this is where the danger of death for the character occurs. After this point, they automatically fail all Skill tests, including Toughness. If they take enough damage while Down to reduce all of their Attributes below d4, the character is dead beyond recovery.

This presents a somewhat cinematic quality to Character Death, one where it takes a good deal of effort to eliminate an opponent sufficiently, but there’s an argument that no matter how realistic the RPG, there is a certain cinematic quality to it.

This, however, is ultimately simply the mechanic of Character Death. Should a player choose to let his or her character die under less traumatic circumstances, or rule that when they go Down, that’s the end of it, they should be allowed to do so.

Healing & Recuperation
Out of combat, a character recuperates a number of Damage points per game day equal to their Fitness (for more gritty campaigns, this can be altered to game week). This means that someone getting into fights every few days will quickly be overwhelmed by damage from previous fights.

The bad news, however, is that the character does not regain the Attribute damage naturally, and must use a Quality Gain in order to regain that lost die type.

The only exception to this is the Attribute loss that puts a character Down. When the Character regains enough damage equal to their Fitness, they will automatically regain one of their d4 Attributes. When ALL of their Attributes have returned to at least d4, they will regain consciousness.

Armor & Damage
Now, the good news. A character sufficiently armored will reduce ALL DAMAGE TAKEN by the DR (Defense Rating) of the Armor. Some Armor will be more or less resilient in the face of bullets or knives or what-have-you, and all will have an Encumbrance Value (EV), but wearing Armor is a MUST for a character given to hurling themselves into combat.

Hit Location
Most attacks hit a random location, resulting in occasionally bypassing armor and hitting vital organs or areas. For characters wanting to make a Called Shot, see the appropriate page for the Action Point cost.

d20 roll Location Called Shot Additional Effect
1 Head +10 Triple Damage after Armor
2 – 4 Chest +2 Double Damage after Armor
5 – 7 Stomach + 2 Double Damage after Armor
8 – 9 Right Arm + 4 None
10 – 11 Left Arm + 4 None
12 Right Hand + 8 None
13 Groin +6 Toughness/Stamina Test vs. Damage or fall Prone
14 Left Hand +8 None
15 – 16 Right Leg +4 None
17 – 18 Left Leg +4 None
19 Right Foot +8 None
20 Left Foot +8 None


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