Combat occurs in turns that represent 6 seconds of frenetic action, with the PCs and their enemies each acting as a ‘side’. At the beginning of each turn, the Guide will roll a 6-sided die to determine which side has the initiative and so acts first. On a result of 1-3 the enemies go first, on a 4-6 the PCs go first. Since initiative is rolled each round, this can mean the same side can go twice in a row. However, if one side is not aware of the other side at the beginning of the combat, then the surprising side gets a full round of action before initiative is rolled as normal - this is a major advantage!
On a character’s side’s turn, they can move their movement speed (usually 30 ft.) and make one combat action. This action may be making a melee or ranged attack, taking cover, moving their speed again, attempting a stunt, or taking some other specific action as approved by the Guide. Drawing or sheathing a weapon or item requires a standard action. It takes an entire round to engage an Enigma - using one takes the place of both a character’s move and action. Shouting a brief message to one’s teammates is also allowed, though it should be kept to what can be communicated in 6 seconds.
Melee weapons can strike adjacent foes (reach weapons can hit over a 5 ft. gap). To make a melee attack the player rolls a d20 and adds their MIGHT bonus - if this sum is greater than the target’s armor static then the attack succeeds and the player rolls their weapon’s damage, otherwise the attack fails. Ranged attacks are made in the same way but use PERCEPTION as the linked ability. However, long guns, launchers, and lasers may not be fired in melee range, and hand guns and arcs suffer a -2 penalty to hit when within melee range of an enemy.
Stunts are combat maneuvers such as stunning, shoving, disarming, tripping, sundering armor, and so on. They are resolved with an opposed roll. They may not cause damage directly, but may do so indirectly (for example, pushing an enemy off of a ledge). The Guide is the final arbiter as to what stunts can be attempted in a given situation.
Sometimes, it is possible to act when it is not a character’s turn. Up to once per turn, a character may take a reaction. Reactions can be granted by special powers, enigmas, or equipment. However, the most common reaction is the attack of opportunity. If an opponent begins its turn in melee range of a character and leaves that range, the character may use their reaction to take a free melee attack against the opponent.
DEFENSE, ARMOR, AND COVER
Characters have an armor bonus, just as with abilities. That bonus starts out as +1, but wise characters will find ways to increase it. When a character is attacked, the opponent uses either their MIGHT or wisdom static to make the attack, and the character must roll a d20 with their armor bonus to avoid the attack. If they roll higher than the opponent’s static, they successfully avoid the attack.
Additionally, characters can use natural cover to reduce the chance of being hit. Interposing solid material such as a wall or rock that covers half of the character’s body imposes a -2 to hit penalty on enemies, while covering ¾ of a character’s body imposes a -5 to hit penalty. If a character is completely covered, or takes an action to fully hide themselves behind cover, they generally cannot be targeted, except by particularly powerful laser or explosive weapons.
Characters using one-handed weapons can additionally carry a small or thrown weapon in their off-hand. When carrying an off-hand weapon, after a melee attack with their main weapon, the character can attempt an additional attack at -2 to hit with their off-hand weapon.
CRITICAL HITS AND QUALITY
During an attack roll, if the attacker rolls a natural 20 or the defender rolls a natural 1, the defender’s armor loses 1 point of quality and they take an additional die of damage (of the weapon’s type). If the attacker rolls a natural 1 or the defender rolls a natural 20, the attacker’s weapon loses 1 point of quality. For some ranged weapons, a roll of 1 on an attack or roll of 20 on defense can trigger a critical failure and cause the munition to explode in the weapon. At 0 quality, the item is destroyed. Each point of quality costs 10% of the item’s cost to repair.
All NPCs (including NPC hirelings) have a morale rating between 2 and 10. In combat, when half of an NPC’s side is killed or incapacitated or the NPC’s leader is killed or incapacitated, all NPCs will roll 2d6 and compare to their Morale rating. If the number is equal to or less than that NPC’s morale rating than the NPC stands and fights, if the result is higher, the NPC flees.
If friendly NPCs break and run, on the next turn, so long as they are still within earshot, PCs may attempt to use their turn to rally their fleeing hirelings. Any PC attempting a rally roll must roll a MANNER save, on a successful save, the NPCs can re-roll their Morale checks, rallying to fight on a successful check.