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Rounds, Actions, & Resolving Attacks

This is a highly simplified description of combat, because I trust that my players will have a basic grasp of the way combat works in role-playing games, and most of them won't read this anyway.


  1. Determine Initiative - roll your initiative step, open ended. Highest score acts first, then we count down. Rounds are +/- 10 seconds long.
  2. Resolve Actions - people get to act in the order of their initiative. If you declare a combat option that messes with your defense, it lasts until your main action of the next round.
  3. Secondary Actions - some sub-skills give second attacks; these are resolved at the end of the round, in the same order as the original attacks. Keep the cycle going until everyone has taken their actions.
  4. Begin New Combat Round - still standing? Start over!


  • Movement - If you're moving and acting, you can cover your base move. Double that if all you're doing is moving. You can't move/attack/move unless you're mounted and have the right sub-skill. In some cases your movement might get interrupted; if someone has an initiative close to yours they might be able to get off a ranged attack at you before you reach where you're heading. Don't worry, I have charts for this.
  • Simple Actions - Some things (talking, drawing a weapon, some sub-skills) don't count as full actions. These are pretty well self explanatory, and we'll work on it in game.
  • Difficulty Number - This is most likely the target's Physical or Magical defense, or a target number that I slaved over for hours and used a lot of complex and highly realistic charts to determine.
  • Reserved Actions - You can chose to act later in the round; just state that you're holding your action until you want to go. This is good both for matching your attack against a mounted or animal attacker who is charging past, or to try and second guess opponents and interrupt them. In an interrupt scenario, whichever of you scores a higher degree of success acts before the other: interrupts are not a sure thing, so don't count on them too much.

    Resolving Attacks

    1. Make an Attack Test - Roll your step for the skill you're using to attack. The difficulty is probably the target's Magic or Physical Defense. If you beat the difficulty, you hit; if not you didn't. Simple, huh? There's more.
    2. Armor-Defeating Hits - Did you get an Excellent success on the chart? Ignore your opponent's armor! If your target has a shield, you need an Extraordinary success.
    3. Make A Damage Test - Make a damage test for the attack, based on your weapon, your body and perhaps your skills. Higher is better.
    4. Adjust Damage for Armor - If this isn't an armor-defeating hit, then your target gets to subtract their Armor Rating from the attack. Against many magical attacks, they subtract half their armor rating. If this is an armor-defeating attack, the target takes full damage from the attack, and gets no benefit from armor. Which really hurts.
    5. Check for Wounds - If the amount of damage taken (i.e., the damage left after armor) is greater than the target's wound threshold, then they've been wounded. Wounds are serous injury that reduce all of the target's steps by one until they heal, and they take forever to heal. They suck. Don't get them. (But they make great gifts!)
    6. Make a Knockdown Test - If the damage rolled (i.e., damage before armor) is greater than your wound threshold, you might have been knocked over. Maker a Body or Athletics/Balance test against a difficulty of (damage [wound threshold +3]). This means that if you take 17 damage, and have a wound threshold of 10, your knockdown difficulty is 7. Got it? If you miss the roll, you fall over.

      If you're down, you have a 3 on all steps and 3 on Defenses till you get back up. That takes movement, which means that you're probably flat on your butt till your next main initiative (no those fancy extra actions don't let you stand; you're making attacks while lying down).

    7. Check for Unconsciousness or Death - If you've taken as much damage as your Unconscious rating, then you're out, but not Dead. If the attack that took you over your Unconscious Rating also gave you a wound, you're bleeding to death, taking one more point of damage per round until someone heals you somewhat or you hit your death rating. If the amount of damage taken exceeds your Death Rating, you're pretty well gone. Sorry.

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      Copyright © 2000 Brian Rogers