Noble combatants exchanging vicious blows

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Oh, To Do BattleEdit

There are a number of combat specific actions/effects that pertain to it in and of itself, but the whole system is based on:

-Turns, which are broken down into Phases
-Phases, of which there are ten per Turn
-The same Knack and Trait based rolls that are used to accomplish things outside of Combat.

At the outset of Combat, each Actor rolls Initiative to determine what Phase he acts in during the current Turn. The Phases occur in sequence and each Actor has the opportunity to do something when his Phase comes up. After all ten Phases have come and gone, a new Turn begins. The Actors roll new Initiative for each new Turn. Each Combat spans as many Turns as needed and continues until it is done.

The BasicsEdit

Turns and Phases: Combat is broken down into Turns. An individual Turn is subdivided into ten individual Phases, occurring sequentially from one to ten.

Initiative: An Actor's Initiative, hereafter called Init, is taken directly from the result of his Init Roll. Each Actor in the combat rolls a number of dice equal to their Panache. Each individual die result defines a phase in which the Actor has an Action.

In the event that two (or more) Characters have an Action in the same Phase, the order in which the Characters act is determined by each's Total Init score. The GM totals up each Characters' remaining Init dice to determine their respective Total Init. The highest goes first, and on down. Any Characters that come up with the same Total Init in the same Phase have a Simultaneous Action. This means, mechanically and dramatically, that both Characters' Actions "go off" at the same time. As always, common sense is encouraged.

As an example, two Characters have finally corned a Villain and are about to fight him. Ark and Finch have been hunting Bad Danny Polk, the notorious train robber, for the last six months and they've finally corned him at his hideout. He has two of his thugs with him, and as Ark and Finch kick the door in, everyone rolls Init!

Ark and Finch each have 3 Panache, so they roll 3k3 each. Franz and his Thugs each have 2, so they roll 2k2 a piece. Their results are:

Ark: 2, 3, 7 Total Init: 12

Finch: 4, 8, 9 Total Init: 21

Bad Danny: 7, 9 Total Init: 16

Thugs: 1, 6 Total Init: 7

Phase 1: The thugs alone have an Action in Phase 1, so they kick over a table and draw their guns.

Phase 2: Ark has an action, so he, likewise, goes for cover behind the bar.

Phase 3: Ark again, and this time he chooses to hold his Action, granted to him in Phase 3, until later.

Phase 4: Finch has an Action, and he's ready for it. Having drawn his sidearm outside, he takes this opportunity to shoot at the thugs, taking one straight out of the fight but missing the other.

Phase 5: Nobody has an Action this Phase, but remember that Ark has one held from Phase 3. He chooses to keep holding it.

Phase 6: The remaining thug decides it's better to go out fighting and takes a shot at Finch with his pistol! Finch has two Actions remaining in this Turn, one each in Phases 8 and 9. The thug really goes for it, so Finch decides to expend both of his future Actions in order to Actively Defend in this Phase. He dives behind a jukebox in a hail of splintered wood. (More on Active Defense later.)

Phase 7: Bad Danny and Ark both have an Action in this Phase. At this point, the GM calculates Ark and Danny's respective Total Init scores. Ark's held Action from Phase 3 counts toward his Total Init of 10, but Danny beats him to the punch with 7 and 9, totalling 16. Bad Danny, being nobody's fool, runs for the back door. Ark, having an Action in Phase 7, is forced to use his held Action from Phase 3. He uses it to open fire on the fleeing criminal, but to no avail. He chooses to use the Action granted to him in Phase 7 to dispatch the remaining thug firing on Finch.

Phase 8: Finch expened the Action he would have been granted in Phase 8, so he simply thanks his friend from behind the shattered jukebox.

Phase 9: Bad Danny continues to flee, narrowly escaping once again.

If the Characters choose to give chase, everyone would roll a new Turn's Init and a Chase would begin. If not, Combat is effectively over.

Actions: When a Character has an Action in a given Phase, he can do one of two things with it: hold it, or use it.

If a Character chooses to hold an action, he does nothing in the Phase in which the Action was granted and waits until a later Phase to use said Action. In this way, a Character can hold an Action in reserve for the sake of, for example, making an Active Defense or waiting until the opportune Phase to strike. A Character may hold an Action until the next Phase in which he is granted an Action, if any. At that point, he must use the held Action or forfeit it. A Held Action counts toward a Character's Total Init until it is expended or forfeited.

If a Character chooses to use his Action, it is expended and no longer counts toward his Total Init. Using an Action equates to doing something in Combat. This actually constitutes two distinct things, loosely categorized as a Movement and an Attack/Action. It is important to note that a Movement doesn't necessarily involve moving around, nor does an Attack/Action necessarily involve actually attacking. They are broad characterizations used, essentially, as guidelines. In the course of a single Phase, an Actor may:

-Make, at most, a single Attack/Action under normal circumstances
-Make a single Attack/Action in conjunction with a single Movement
-Make up to two Movements, the second being at the expense of the opportunity to make an Attack/Action

Examples of what typically constitutes a Movement:

-Running across a room
-Ducking into cover
-Jumping from a balcony to swing off a chandelier
-Climbing up onto the bar
-Piloting a giant robot across the surface of the moon to meet another in battle
-Standing up from a prone position

Examples of what typically constitute an Attack/Action:

-Swinging a fist at someone
-Drawing a weapon (or swapping one weapon for another)
-Taking a shot with a pistol
-Casting a spell
-Switching or drawing a weapon
-Attempting to break down a door
-Piloting a giant robot in an effort to slice another giant robot in half with a giant robot axe
-Crossing blades with someone
-Making a social roll that would directly affect another Actor or Actors during the Combat

As with all other aspects of the system, a healthy appreciation for common sense is encouraged. Trivialities, such as adjusting one's hat or yelling a quick communique to a comrade (or enemy) that does not require a roll, do not generally require the use of an Action. It's up to the GM's discretion as to whether or not Characters are allowed to do such things out of Phase.

Passive TN: In or out of Combat, the target of an Attack is always afforded the benefit of a Passive TN. When a Character is not reasonably capable of self defense, his Passive TN is 5. When a Character is reasonably capable of self defense, his Passive TN is determined using the following formula:

Passive TN = 5 + (Rank * 5)

Where Rank is the number of ranks the defending Character has in the Knack chosen for that incident of self-defense.

Flesh Wounds and Wound Checks: To make a Wound Check, a Character simply rolls Brawn K Brawn. A Character with 3 Brawn would roll 3k3. Any Character that takes damage immediately makes a Wound Check against his updated total of Flesh Wounds. If he fails the Wound Check, he gains a Dramatic Wound.

A Character takes Flesh Wounds equal to the damage rolled against him, be it by an attacking Character, an environmental hazard, etc.. A Character's Flesh Wounds are constantly in flux, and there is no set maximum that a Character can gain. Flesh wounds taken in succession are always cumulative, with more Flesh Wounds resulting in increasingly tougher Wound Checks. Wound Checks are always made against the Character's total Flesh Wounds after damage from an attack is accounted for.

Note that if a Character fails a wound check by a factor of 20 or more, he takes an additional Dramatic Wound per increment of 20.

For example, a Character is hit by a bus and takes a staggering 62 Flesh Wounds. He rolls his Wound Check and gets a 9. He failed his roll by 53, granting him one Dramatic Wound for failing the roll plus an additional Dramatic Wound for each factor of 20 by which he failed the roll, totaling 3 Dramatic Wounds.

Dramatic Wounds, Crippled, Knocked Out, and Death: Dramatic Wounds are more severe, and are taken when a Character fails a Wound Check against his total Flesh Wounds. The idea here is that a given Character can soak some incidental damage before getting worn down and actually being hurt. It's reasonable to expect a Character to be able to take some punishment, but everyone has a limit. Some important things to note:

-A Character can absorb his Resolve score in Dramatic Wounds before being Crippled.
-A Character can take twice his Resolve score in Dramatic Wounds before being Knocked Out.

In terms of mechanics, when a Character is Crippled, his dice no longer explode. Dramatically, he might be lame, unable to use an arm, he may have a concussion, he may be bleeding, etc.. Any number of details may be impeding his ability to function, and it is up to the GM to affect the situation as appropriate.

When a Character is Knocked Out, he is out of the fight and at the mercy of the situation he is in, be it in the boxing ring, on the field of battle, at feet of an angry mob, etc..

Death isn't something that is explicitly accounted for in this system. While the system certainly doesn't rule it out, it should be noted that it is essentially a Dramatic Thing and not subject to any specific concerns. A Character that is Knocked Out can no longer defend himself, so it is not unreasonable for him to be killed. Whether or not Death is a common occurrence is entirely dependent on the GM, the Players, and the Setting.

A Character, having just been hit in the head with a rock, gains 6 Flesh Wounds. He rolls a Wound Check against his new total of 20 Flesh Wounds. He has two Brawn, so he rolls 2k2 and comes up with a 12. Not enough! His 20 Flesh wounds disappear and he chalks up his third Dramatic Wound. Having two Resolve, he is already Crippled. If he is seriously hurt again, he may chalk up a fourth Dramatic Wound and get Knocked Out!

Attacking and Defending: To make an Attack, roll the relevant Martial Knack + Trait k Trait. The GM will compare the result against the target's Passive TN. If the Attack was a success, the GM will inform the defending Character without revealing the number rolled. The defending Character now has two options.

-One: Accept the successful Attack and take Flesh Wounds. At this point, the attacking Character rolls damage based on the weapon used. The defending Character chalks up the result of the damage roll as Flesh Wounds, and rolls a Wound Check (Brawn k Brawn) against this number. If he succeeds, he retains the Flesh Wounds and suffers no ill effects. If he fails, the Flesh Wounds are removed and the defending Character chalks up one Dramatic Wound in their place. This effectively makes soaking up damage a gambling game with constantly rising stakes. The longer a Character chalks up flesh wounds, the more likely he will be to fail a Wound Check to greater and greater degrees.
-Two: Attempt an Active Defense. The defending Character rolls his choice of defensive Knack against the result of the attacking Character's attack roll. If he succeeds, he takes no damage. If he fails, he is hit and takes Flesh Wounds as normal.

An Example: Samson and Pedro are drunk, pissed, and lookin' ta fight. The GM tells them to roll Init, and we're off! Each Actor rolls their respective Panache. In this case, Pedro has two ranks and Samson three. Pedro rolls 2k2, and comes up with a 2 and 7. Samson rolls 3k3, and comes up with 4, 7, and 9. The result of each die specifies the Phase in which the Actor can do something within this, the first, Turn. So the order of operations is as such:

Phase 1: Nobody has an Action, so nobody does anything.

Phase 2: Pedro had one of his dice come up with a two, so he has an Action in this Phase. In spite of his current angry, drunken state, Pedro is still Samson's friend, so his Player chooses to have him take a swing at Samson with his fist, making an Unarmed: Attack roll. Pedro has two finesse and two ranks in Attack: Unarmed, so he rolls 4k2 and comes up with a 15. This is compared against Samson's Passive TN. A given Actor's Passive TN is based off of which their Defensive Knacks is highest [i]and situationally appropriate[/i].