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  • All kinds of action
  • Bonuses and penalties
  • Rounds and Initiative
  • Actions
  • Attacking and Defending
  • Combat Manoeuvres
  • Damage and Healing

In this section we look at action - the way we deal with high stakes situations like chases, combat, infiltration, and so on.

Action checks

Action is resolved by rolling 1d20, and adding the relevant modifiers from your ability scores, skills and class.

When you're acting against a person or creature (like if you're trying to Deceive a gangster, or wrestle a tiger), you both roll and the best result wins (i.e.: if you match or beat their roll, you succeed in what you were trying to do).

When you're acting against an inanimate object, or the world in general (like if you're trying to hack a computer, find a clue, break in a door, swim in rough weather or whatever), you roll against a fixed number called a Difficulty Class (or “DC”) set by the difficulty of the task.

  • 1d20 + ability modifier + skill ranks or combat bonus (+ other modifiers)
  • Opposed action: match or beat the GM's opposed check
  • Unopposed action: match or beat fixed DC

* For Easy tasks, don't roll except under Extreme conditions

Bonuses and penalties

Circumstances can make the action you're trying to achieve easier or harder - a slippery floor, a faulty gadget, or an advanced piece of software. We could try to list all the possible bonuses and penalties of different circumstances, but this would become impractical and cumbersome - instead we class the circumstance first as a penalty or bonus, then as Minor, Major or Extreme.

When more than one bonus or penalty applies, you move along the track to the next adjustment. Two adjustments of one level combine to advance the adjustment to the next step - see the table below:

Minor + Minor = Major
Major + Minor + Minor = Extreme
Major + Major = Extreme

Penalties cancel out bonuses of the same type - so a Minor penalty cancels a Minor bonus, or reduces a Major bonus to a Minor.

Modifiers can come from a variety of sources. Anything you think will give an advantage or disadvantage to the action you're trying can be turned into a modifier. However, modifiers from the same source are usually not combined (e.g.: if you put a laser sight on your rifle, it doesn't help to add another one).

Here are some examples:

  • Taking cover - bonus to Defence
  • Flanking an opponent - bonus to Attack
  • Lying prone - bonus to Defence against ranged attacks, penalty against melee
  • Using improvised tools - penalty to Mechanical skill
  • Persuading someone while your allies are attacking them - penalty to Diplomacy skill

Combat stance

You may choose to fight recklessly, neglecting your defence in favour of scoring more hits, or defensively, concentrating on protecting yourself at the expense of attacks. We call these “Combat stances” - though they aren't necessarily about how you are standing.

A combat stance affects two of the following: your attack roll, your defence roll, or your damage roll. You choose to take a bonus to one, and an equal penalty to another. The size of the adjustment is determined by your Base Combat Bonus.

BCBMaximum adjustment

There are four pre-defined combat stances - Aggressive, Defensive, Precision and Reckless - but you can make up other combinations. You can combine stances, too, so that you may fight aggressively and reckless, taking a larger penalty to Defence and gaining a bonus to both attack and damage. Your GM may not allow some combinations that seem impossible, like an aggressive and defensive stance, for example.


You may adopt or change a combat stance on your turn. Your combat stance affects all your attack and defence rolls made until your next turn.

Combat stances are always optional: you do not have to adopt a stance. You can fight neutrally, without penalty or bonus - which is the default.

Rounds and actions

Action scenes would be confusing and chaotic if we didn't do something to organise them and keep things fair for all players - so we split time up into “rounds”. During a round, everyone gets a turn to act - unless someone else's actions stop you from acting. A round is 6 seconds long, so there are 10 rounds in one minute.


When we need to know who is acting first, we roll for Initiative: 1d20 + Base Combat Bonus + DEX modifier. The highest goes first. If two or more rolls match, then the one with the highest Initiative modifier goes first. If there is still a tie, then toss a coin.

Each round, on your Initiative turn, you can take any action you want, as long as it can reasonably be done in 6 seconds - just tell the GM what you're trying to do. Once everyone in the scene has taken a turn, we move to the next round, and start from the first Initiative turn again.

Flat-Footed: At the start of an action scene, before you have had a chance to act (specifically, before your first regular turn in the initiative order), you are flat-footed. You can't use your Dexterity bonus to Defence (if any) while flat-footed. Any damage you take while flat-footed is applied directly to your Wound Points instead of your Vitality Points, unless you succeed a Reflex save, DC 15.

Surprise: When an action scene starts, anyone who is not aware of any of the other participants (such as when someone is hidden) is surprised. Characters and creatures who are aware act in a “surprise round”, before the rest of the participants join in.

The Surprise Round: If some but not all of the participants are aware of their opponents, a surprise round happens before regular rounds begin. In initiative order (highest to lowest), participants who started the action aware of their opponents each take a standard or short action during the surprise round. You can also take free actions during the surprise round. If no one or everyone is surprised, no surprise round occurs.

Participants who are unaware at the start of action don't get to act in the surprise round. Unaware participants are flat-footed because they have not acted yet, so they lose any Dexterity bonus to Defence, and may take damage directly to their Wounds (see above).

Action types

We categorise actions according to how much of the 6-second round they take: full-round actions, standard actions, short actions, free actions.

In a normal round, you can perform a standard action and a short action, or you can perform a full-round action. You can also perform one or more free actions. You can always take a short action in place of a standard action.

  • 1 round = standard action + short action
  • 1 round = 2 short actions
  • 1 round = full round action

In some situations (such as in a surprise round), you may be limited to taking only a single short action or standard action.

The type of action is set for some things, like attacking, movement, and certain skill checks. If an action type is not set, the guidelines below are used by the GM to rule what action type is required. Trying to do a lengthy action quickly might impose penalties.

Standard Action: A standard action allows you to do something, most commonly to make an attack, use a skill, or similar. A standard action is the default type of action for something you can fit into a round. They require your full attention, and usually need you to make a d20 check of some sort.

Short Action: A short action allows you to move up to your speed or perform an action that takes a similar amount of time. Because short actions are so often used for movement, they are sometimes called “move actions”. Short actions require less care and attention, and usually don't require a d20 check. You can interrupt a short action with a standard action - for example, you could move a portion of your base speed, make an attack, and continue moving up to the remainder of your base speed. You can take a short action in place of a standard action.

Full-Round Action: A full-round action consumes all your effort during a round. The only movement you can take during a full-round action is a 5-foot step before, during, or after the action. You can also perform free actions (see below).

Free Action: Free actions consume a very small amount of time and effort. You can perform one or more free actions while taking another action normally. However, there are reasonable limits on what you can really do for free, as decided by the GM.

Not an Action: Some activities are so minor that they are not even considered free actions. They literally don't take any time at all to do and are considered an inherent part of doing something else, such as cocking the hammer as part of an attack with a firearm.

Restricted Activity: In some situations, you may be unable to take a full round's worth of actions. In such cases, you are restricted to taking only a single standard action or a single short action (plus free actions as normal). You can't take a full-round action.

Attacking and defending

When you want to injure or subdue another creature in the game, whether that's with a weapon, hand to hand or at range, we call that an attack. When a creature attacks you, you must defend. For your player characters, you roll an action check to attack and defend. Non-player characters, i.e., those controlled by the GM, don't roll - instead we assume they rolled a 10, and add their bonuses.

  • Attack = 1d20 + Base Combat Bonus + STR or DEX modifier (depending on weapon) (+ other modifiers)
  • Defence = 1d20 + Base Combat Bonus* + DEX modifier + Armour bonus + Shield bonus (+ other modifiers)

*Only creatures with Heroic class levels add their BCB to Defence

When you don't want to simply hit your opponent, but perform some sort of combat trick on them instead, we call this a combat manoeuvre. A combat manoeuvre might be shoving your enemy back, tripping them up, disarming them, wrestling them, or anything else you can think of.




Attacking is usually at least a standard action, but sometimes - when making multiple attacks - it's a full round action, and other times - when someone within reach of your melee weapon is distracted, giving you an opening to strike - it doesn't count as an action at all.

ActionTypes of attack
Standard actionMelee attack, Unarmed attack
Ranged attack, Manifest psychic attack
Multiple attack (2nd level warrior ability)
Combat manoeuvre
Full round actionTwo-weapon fighting (attacking with both weapons)
Extra attack (6th level warrior ability)
No actionOpportunity attack
Critical hit attack


When you're fighting in hand-to-hand combat, with weapons or unarmed, we call this melee combat. You need to be close enough to your opponent to hit them, which will depend on the weapon you're using - we call this the reach of the weapon. We simplify reach into 5ft reach, for most weapons, and 10ft reach, for long weapons like. Big creatures have a long reach by default, so they'll be able to hit you when you're 10ft away, while you may need to get closer.

The area you can reach with your melee weapon is considered threatened. If an opponent within your threatened area stops concentrating on fighting you to do something else, like manifesting a psychic ability, using their phone to call for help, or getting ammo out of a backpack, then you may take an Opportunity attack.

Melee is efficient but dangerous - it's hard for opponent to take cover, so you can deal out large amounts of damage, but you risk getting hurt just as badly.


Fighting with thrown weapons, projectile weapons, or ray weapons is called ranged combat.

Critical hits

When you roll a 20 on the die to hit (or lower, depending on the weapon you're using), you have scored a critical hit. This gives you a chance to deal more damage, or impair your opponent in some way - for example, by knocking them down, smashing their weapon, slowing them down, or similar.

Your critical hit choices are as follows:

  • Opportunity attack - Your critical hit gives you a chance to attack again - an Opportunity attack. Roll to hit with the same bonuses, and deal the additional damage if successful.
    • You must have enough Opportunity attacks remaining in this round to make this attack. You can't make an Opportunity attack with a ranged weapon.
  • Combat manoeuvre - Your critical hit strikes the target so that they are subject to a Combat manoeuvre of your choice, in addition to the damage. You roll and resolve the Combat manoeuvre in the usual way
    • The Combat manoeuvre must be feasible for your mode of attack - you probably can't grapple an opponent with a ranged attack, for example, but you could disarm them or trip them with a well-placed shot.
  • Crippling injury - You hit your target in a vital spot so that they are impaired in some way as well as damaged. The target must make a Fortitude save (against Strength attacks - most melee or thrown weapons) or Reflex save (against Dexterity attacks - most ranged or finesse weapons) with a target DC of 15, or take a Minor penalty to Attack, Damage, Defence, Skills or Speed.
    • You must describe the injury and the reason it imposes the penalty - for example, injuries around the eyes of an opponent may impair their vision, imposing a penalty to Attack. Penalties stack in the usual way.

Your opponents score Critical hits on you when you roll a 1 for Defence (or higher, depending on their weapon).

Opportunity attacks

When someone within reach of your melee weapon is distracted, giving you an opening to strike, we call this an Opportunity attack.

Each round, you can make as many Opportunity attacks as your Dexterity bonus (but always at least 1).

Combat Manoeuvre


When you don't want to simply hit your opponent, but perform some sort of combat trick on them instead, we call this a combat manoeuvre. A combat manoeuvre might be shoving your enemy back, tripping them up, disarming them, wrestling them, or anything else you can think of.

The attacker makes a combat manoeuvre attack check against the opponent's combat manoeuvre defence. If the attacker wins, the combat manoeuvre works. If the defender wins, he may make an attack of opportunity against the attacker, and the attacker gains no advantage.

See the example combat manoeuvres for more guidance on how to apply combat manoeuvres in the game.

Although these manoeuvres have vastly different results, they all use a similar mechanic to determine success.

Combat Manoeuvre Attack and Defence Bonuses: Each character and creature has a Combat Manoeuvre Attack Bonus (or CMA) and a Combat Manoeuvre Defence bonus (or CMD) that represents its skill at performing or defending against combat manoeuvres.

A creature's CMA is determined using the following formula:

  • CMA = Base combat bonus + Strength modifier + special size modifier

Creatures that are size Tiny or smaller use their Dexterity modifier in place of their Strength modifier to determine their CMA.

A creature's CMD is determined using the following formula:

  • CMD = Base attack bonus + Strength modifier + Dexterity modifier + special size modifier

The special size modifier for Combat Manoeuvres is as follows:

  • Fine –8, Diminutive –4, Tiny –2, Small –1, Medium +0, Large +1, Huge +2, Gargantuan +4, Colossal +8.

Some feats and abilities grant a bonus to your CMA and CMD when performing specific manoeuvres, or let you use different abilities in place of Strength or Dexterity.

Performing a Combat Manoeuvre: When you attempt to perform a combat manoeuvre, make an attack roll and add your CMA in place of your normal attack bonus. Add any bonuses you currently have on attack rolls due to spells, feats, and other effects. These bonuses must be applicable to the weapon or attack used to perform the manoeuvre. The DC of this manoeuvre is your target's Combat Manoeuvre Defence. Combat manoeuvres are attack rolls, so you take any penalties that would normally apply to an attack roll.

A combat manoeuvre is a standard action, just like an attack. The GM may allow your manoeuvre to be part of a movement - for example, if you try to knock down an opponent by rushing them - but it will always require a standard action. You may make a Combat manoeuvre as part of an Extra attack full round action (a special ability of warriors).

Determine Success: If your CMA roll equals or exceeds the CMD of the target, your manoeuvre is a success. Your GM will tell you the result. For the specific Combat Manoeuvres below, the result is the specified effect. Some manoeuvres, such as bull rush, have varying levels of success depending on how much your attack roll exceeds the target's CMD. Rolling a natural 20 while attempting a combat manoeuvre is always a success (except when attempting to escape from bonds), while rolling a natural 1 is always a failure.

Non-player Characters: Just like normal attacks and defence, your NPC opponents add 10 to their CMA and CMD, and your roll is checked against that total.



Damage and Healing

Attacks and exertion damage your vitality, wounds and sometimes even your ability scores. When your Vitality runs out, additional damage is applied to your Wound Points. When your Wound Points run out, you become unconscious and may die. When one of your ability scores is damaged, you take increasing penalties - when it reaches zero, you go unconscious and may die.

Wound points


Healing and Recovery

You can recover fastest with rest, or more slowly if you continue to exert yourself.

Each period noted below must pass in full before the points are recovered - it is already assumed that you will take rest periods in any given day: adding up all those minute long rests taken while exploring won't grant you the benefit of a ten minute rest period!

  • VP - recover 1 / level + CON bonus (minimum 1) per 10 minutes rest, or per active hour
  • WP - recover 1 / level + CON bonus (minimum 1) per 8 hours rest, or per active day
  • Ability score damage - recover 1 per 8 hours rest, or per active day


Some creatures and effects drain abilities rather than damage them - usually when the energy is sapped from you to power their own supernatural abilities. Drained abilities, WP and VP take longer to recover.

  • VP - recover 1 / level + CON bonus (minimum 1) per week rest, or per month
  • WP - recover 1 / level + CON bonus (minimum 1) per week rest, or per month
  • Ability score drain - recover 1 per week full rest, or per month

Psychic healing

Psychic powers may be used to accelerate healing. Vitality recovery can never be accelerated beyond the rate of natural rest.

Evasion, Pursuit and Stealth

Acrobatics, feats of athleticism, endurance, tracking and hiding

Skills: acrobatics, athletics, stealth, perception

Breaking and entering


Wars of words, sly cunning, influence, debate, lies and diplomacy - intrigue can be complex. We break it down in-game into your intent (that is, your goal, what you hope to achieve), your method (that is, whether you try to trick your target, bargain with them, or convince them), and your target's position.


Increased friendliness

Force action

Gain a favour

Accept premise







Opposed by: Sense motive, Knowledge

m_action.txt · Last modified: 2017/03/12 09:54 by altair