Turns and Speed
Combat takes place in turns, which are divided into 10 rounds each. Each character gets a number of phases in which to act, determined by his speed. Rolling his speed dice determines which rounds these phases will occur in.
At the beginning of each turn, a character chooses his speed by picking one of his five primary stats to use as speed. In general, choose a primary stat from the category (Physical, Mental, or Spiritual) you expect to be using most that turn; if you're going to be doing Physical things (like fighting), it's usually sensible to choose either Body or Reflexes as your speed. If you're doing Mental things during the fight ("Don't shoot! Don't Shoot!"), choose either Mind or Social as your speed.
Once a character has chosen a speed, he rolls one d10 for every two points of speed (round up). Each number he rolls is a round in which he can act. For example, if he rolls 4d10, which come up 2,5,5,8, then he goes in 2, in 5, and in 8. The two 5s don't give him two actions. The only exception to this is rolling a "yahtzee" (all the same number), in which case the numbers can be changed to whatever the roller wants ("1 2 3 4" is a popular choice for a yahtzee of four). If you're only rolling one die, that's not a yahtzee of one.
A character may trade in two later phases to take a phase in the current round. If a character wants to make a die roll for a diced action (see Actions below) which is not covered by his speed category, he must use up both the action in his current phase and some later phase. These options stack, so a character who rolled Social for speed and does not have a phase in the current round, can spend three future phases to chop someone (a Physical action rather than a Mental one) right now.
A character may trade in his next phase (often called aborting) to dodge an incoming attack (Defensive actions like dodging are an exception to the two-later-for-one-now rule.). However, if you have already acted during a phase, you cannot act again by aborting (or by trading in two).
Holding: If you have a phase in the current round, but don't have anything to do with it, you may hold on to it for use in a later round. However, at the start of any future round in which you also have a phase, your held phase is lost. If you hold for a particular thing to happen, such as "I hold to shoot the first guy who moves" or "I hold to grab anyone who comes through this door" then you can break your hold in the middle of a bad guy's turn to do that thing.
You may dodge, or parry as a defensive action. Dodge requires Dodge skill; you may dodge both ranged and melee attacks. Parry requires a melee skill; you may only parry melee attacks, not ranged attacks (without a shtick).
In his phase, a character can take one "diceless" action and then one "diced" action. In general, a diceless action doesn't require a die roll, and a diced action requires a die roll. Diceless actions include moving up to your movement in hexes, looking around, and performing simple tasks like drawing a weapon, or drinking an antidote. Diced actions include anything that requires a particular number of successes, such as rolling your Accuracy to attack, your Charisma to seduce, or your Strength or Energy to gain extra movement. Note that the diceless action always comes before the diced action (move, then attack).
In some cases, you may be asked to make a roll in your diceless action ("I look around" "Okay, make an Wit roll with Perception skill."), in which case it's okay if you use dice that weren't in your speed category without penalty, and doesn't use your diced action. In other cases, you'll be told that the thing you want to do requires a diced action ("I look around." "Everything is really chaotic. To figure out where the six invisible guys are, you can spend your diced action making an Wit roll with Perception skill.") and in this case, the rules about dice which aren't part of your speed category apply.
In any given round, the good guys with current phases may go, and then the bad guys go, and then the good guys who didn't chose to go at the beginning of the round go. Actions taken during any of these sub-rounds are assumed to take place approximately simultaneously, and players should not worry too hard about ordering. Thus, a round is usually called as "Good Guys in 1, Bad Guys in 1, and Late 1" for the three subrounds.
Good guys may act during the bad guys' subround only as a defensive reaction (such as dodging) or if they have specifically planned a reaction (such as setting up an ambush).
If you want to take two diced actions in the same phase, you can split your dice pool. If the two actions are based off of different substats, then use the smaller stat to generate the number of dice, and divide them up between the different actions. For each action, you may use all applicable skills. Unless you have a shtick telling you otherwise, you may not split your dice against the same target (i.e. You may not split your dice to dodge the same attack twice, or hit the same guy twice). You may not split your dice pool more than two ways without a shtick for it.
The damage an attack does is calculated by multiplying the number of successes (typically rolled on Accuracy for physical attacks) minus any successes the target has for dodging (typicaly rolled on Dexterity) or cover by the damage multiple for the weapon used, and adding the attacker's Strength in the case of non-ranged/melee attacks. The victim gets to subtract his Resistance from the incoming damage, and then subtracts the remainder from his hit points.
Club, Quarterstaff: x2
Ranged attacks are at increased difficulty, the farther your target is away.
- 0-8 hexes: no modifier
- 9-16: +1 difficulty
- 17-32: +2 difficulty
- 33-64: +3 difficulty...
Falling Down and Death Checks
If you have taken more damage than your hit points, you fall down. (At 0 you're still up, but probably worried.) When you fall down, and any time after you've fallen down that you take damage, roll your Health dice (called a Death Check), and multiply the successes by 5. While you can buy Death Check skill, the target number for Death Checks defaults to 7 even if you don't have any. If that total is more than the amount of damage you've taken past your hit points, then you're unconscious. If the total is less than the amount of damage past your hit points, then you're also dying. The worse the difference, the faster you're dying.
Interacting with the Enemy
Bonus phases for enemies: Any character may, as a free part of his current action, offer an extra phase to character(s) who are on "the other side". This is subject to GM interpretation, but usually it means a character that has an action in "good guys in X" can offer NPCs an action in "Bad guys in X". Or NPCs going in "Bad guys in X" can offer a free action to characters to go in "Late in X".
If they accept the phase, they get to act normally with it, but can't hold it. This phase is in addition to any other phases they have, but does not cause them to go twice if they would have gone anyways.
This is often useful when two fighting sides are trying to interact with each other. Or offering terms.
Example: Hero goes in 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5. Evil Warlord goes in 8 and 10.
- Hero in good 1's: "Surrender and I won't kill you!" (Hey GMs, I offer Evil Warlord a bonus phase in bad 1's so I don't blow 5 actions while waiting for him to decide.)
- Evil-lord in bad 1's: "Never! Feel the wrath of my kung fu grip!" *chop*
- Hero in 2: "Then die!" *chop*
- Hero in 3: *chop*
- Hero in 4: *chop*
- Hero in 5: *chop*
- Evil Warlord in 8 and 10: already unconscious.
- In the future, when people's stats are much larger, this multiplier may change. The goal is for people to go in some but not all of the rounds.