There are two types of Combat. Ground Combat and Space Combat. You can skip to Space Combat by clicking here.
Ground Combat is played out in rounds, and in each round everybody acts in turn in a regular cycle. Rounds have 5 phases too them. The 5 phases are listed below:
- Initiative: Characters and opponents (usually controlled by the GM) all determine the play order with Team Initiative. Initiative determines the order that different teams of players take turns.
- Surprise: It is determined if a surprise round is necessary by asking the question: "Are all combatants aware of their opponents?". If there are combatants that not aware of their opponent then they cannot act in this round. It is a surprise to them.
- Advantages/Disadvantages: The first round of combat officially starts. The question is raised of advantages and disadvantages there may currently be available because of the environment.
- Action: Combatants act in Team Initiative order and attempt to defeat the opponents while taking into account any advantages and disadvantages.
- Counters: Once all combatants have finished the turn is over and it starts over at step 3 again. If there are any round counters such as a fire burning, or poison effects you would move the counter now unless it has yet to effect anyone. This cycle continues until combat is declared over.
Below are the phases in more detail. After an example combat encounter.
Example Start of Combat Encounter
The GM: "The fog clears and before you is your worst nightmare! Four of the meanest looking Space Bears where awoken by the sound of the explosion. They stare with both anger and surprise at the unexpected guests. You have woken up a din of Space Bears! Prepare to battle!" (The group is made up of 4 people. But only 3 are there at the time. Brandon(Tracer), James(Electo-Mancer), and Art(Xenophile). The forth isn't there yet, Katie(Helix Warrior) she is in the other room and just heard the explosion. Brandon being a sneaky bastard had declared that he went into stealth before the group entered the room. His stealth roll was an 18.) Katie: "Do I hear the explosion?" The GM: "Yes! But you are in a different room. You cannot act in the first round." Katie: "I yell! 'I am coming! What the devil did you guys do! Don't forget this is a possible crime scene! DUH!'" The GM: "You are all 'Shaken' by the explosion but just for one round. As a reminder that means all three of you take disadvantage on attack rolls, saving throws, and skill checks. However, the explosion has 'Stunned' one of the bears." Brandon: "What about me? I was in stealth?" The GM: "Your stealth didn't protect you from the explosive trap." The GM: "The bears initiative is lower than your group thanks to Katie not being part of the group. Her lower initiative would have knocked the average down below them. You guys go first!" The GM: "But before you go! Brandon, you are in stealth the bears do not know you exist yet. You get to act in the surprise round." Brandon: "Buwahahahaha... I will attack the closest bear with my silenced pistol." (Brandon Rolls dice for an accuracy check. He rolls a d20 and one 1d2. The extra 1d2 is because he is shacked and is the disadvantage he has to subtract the result from his total. His shot misses) The GM: "Ok! Now the normal round starts. You guys group goes first. Katie is still on her way." (Brandon and Art and James all decide their plan of action and roll the appropriate dice. Brandon chooses to hide again, Art uses a ranged attack on one of the Space Bears. James uses a Technique to shock one of the other bears.) The GM: "Now one of the space bears is wounded but still in the fight and they all retaliate with there claws." (Space bears attack the 2 in the room that they can see. The one stunned bear, however, cannot move because of the Condition of being 'Stunned ') The GM: "Alright round one coming to a close!. Moving the stunned counter down from 1 to 0 on the first stunned bear it is now no longer stunned! However James the bear you stunned with your Techinque is still stunned. Moving his counter down from 2 to 1. Katie, you have entered the room and see a sight you never thought you would behold. Giant angry Space Bears are clawing there way through your friends! What do you do?" Katie: "I join the fight!'" The GM: "Alright, even though Katie would have brought the init down below the bears she is joining late, so the groups init doesn't change for this combat." (The next battle starts now Katie is in the fight. The whole team attacks the Space Bears. Next the bear's attack and finally the round is over.) The GM: "That bear is no longer stunned James! You notice that he can move again." James: "No so fast!" (The next round starts the group finishes off the space bears before the bears can go. The battle is concluded)
The Initiative Phase (Step 1)
The initiative is a representation of a players reflexes and mental focus in combat. It is a score that is: DEX + WIS + MISC. It can also be a check when necessary. d20 + DEX + WIS + MISC. The Team Initiative is simply the average Initiative score roundup. In a battle scenario, the Team with the higher Team Initiative score goes first. If there is a tie, the Team that has a Character with the higher Dex score goes first. If that is still a tie, then an Initiative check is rolled on between opposing teams until the tie is resolved.
If the battle is between just 2 people, then the same rules apply it's just a Team of One.
Characters may have taken certain feats or talents that improve initiative by adding additional bonuses. Actions that are done in the Action phase happen at the same time for Players that are on the same Team. So turn order is only the order that each Team goes in. Usually, this is just the Players Team and the enemy team. The Players themselves can all go at the same time. Read more about this in the Order of Actions and Initiative section below.
Editing Character Sheet: At the top of the first page next to Affinity Die there is a box for 'Initiative'. You can record your character's current Initiative here.
Joining a Battle: If characters enter a battle after it has begun they do not affect the Team Initiative. If they are a third party and not part of any Team his or her Initiative is compared to the other Teams. The same goes for multi people joining combat as a new Team, their Team Initiative is compared to the other groups to determine what the turn order is.
Opposing Initiative Checks: In different situations inside and outside of combat a Player may wish to perform an action before another or stop another Character or NPC from acting. Whenever this sort of conflict occurs, an Opposing Initiative check between the Characters is used to see who goes first. If there is a particular action that is being contested between multiple people there can only be one winner. So if there is a tie then simply roll again.
The Surprise Phase (Step 2)
When a combat starts, if a character was not aware of his or her enemies and they were aware of the character, that character is surprised. Likewise, a character can surprise his or her enemies if the character knows about them before they know of the character.
The Surprise Round: If some but not all of the combatants are aware of each other, a surprise round may happen before regular rounds begin. The combatants who are aware of the opponents can act in the surprise round. They act in the order that the Initiative states from step 1 just skipping the surprised combatants. They can also choose not to act and instead remain hidden. Before combat starts make sure that characters have an opportunity not to be surprised if there is the possibility to spot/see the trap/hidden combatants. For example, if an enemy is in stealth the combatants should be able to use Passive Perception against the enemies stealth to not be surprised. If they are actively looking for targets or are 'on the alert,' then they can roll a normal Perception skill check against the enemies stealth. However, there also can be situations where it is impossible for a character to see the coming combat and in that situation, the GM should not feel obligated to have them roll.
Unaware Combatants: Combatants who are unaware at the start of battle do not get to act in the surprise round. Unaware combatants are considered Flat-Footed because they have not acted yet. Because of this, they lose any Dexterity bonus to AC.
Actions that can be done in the Surprise round and advantages and disadvantages that can be applied are explained in the below sections.
Advantages and Disadvantages Phase (Step 3)
Advantages and Disadvantages rules are noted here. This Phase is here as a reminder for both the GM and Players of anything that could affect their dice rules.
- 1) Proficiency Tree: If the Character is proficient in the weapon they are using they automatically get an advantage. If not proficient in the armor or weapon then the Character gains disadvantage.
- 2) Conditions: Many Conditions provide disadvantages to a Character.
- 3) Feats/Talents: Some feats may provide advantages under certain circumstances. Talents are special abilities provided by Character Classes.
- 4) Items: Some items may provide bonuses to certain actions. Although most of the time they are actions outside of combat.
- 5) Situation Specific: This is usually up to the GM but the players may try to turn the situation in there favor such as having their Characters flank the enemy.
Actions done by a player may change the conditions in the round. It is up to the GM to confirm and keep track of all conditions and to ensure that players are aware of there own Conditions. It is a good idea for a Player to be wise to the different Advantages and Disadvantages a combatant can have. Much of the strategy of combat in this game is about providing Advantages to your team while giving Disadvantages to the enemy team thus weakening them while avoiding the same fate.
The Action Phase (Step 4)
|Move Standard Actions|
|Move your speed|
|Climb, Crawl, Swim (Half Speed)|
|Attack Standard Actions|
|Attack (Melee Weapon)|
|Attack (Combat Technique)|
|Attack an object|
|Full Attack(Extra Damage)|
|Make a dying character stable|
|Drop to prone, sitting, or kneeling|
|Drop an object|
|Action Type Varies|
|Reload a Firearm|
|Use a Skill/Feat/Talent|
Usually, where the most time is spent because each player has to figure out what action to take and then what to roll for that action. There is a lot of options so this section lays out the basic actions a player usually does during combat. For a more detailed overview of all the actions that can be done please visit the Complete Combat Actions page.
Different Action Types and Timing
Each Combat Round represents roughly 3 seconds in the game world. Anything a person could reasonably do in 3 seconds, a character can do in 1 Action phase. Below is a table detailing the different Action types and the amount of time they represent.
|---- Time (3 seconds) ----|
(Move Action or Attack Action)
|Full Round Action||-|
By default, the player gets one Standard Action which may be used to move the Character or have the Character attack. This loosely represents 2 seconds of time. They also have a Simple Action which loosely represents 1 second of time and is often used to quickly reload or open a door for examples. Players also gain a Free Action which is meant to represent a very simple action that can be done simultaneously with other actions the more common example of which is speaking. Lastly, there is a Full Round Action, this action represents the Character concentrating and committing the whole round to a single purpose.
Below are examples of the most common Actions and their Action Type. These actions are the things that Characters are likely to do the most in an average combat scenario but they are not the only things that can be done. For a full list of actions visit the Complete Combat Actions page.
Whether it is dashing toward the enemy or crawling from one firing position too another they are all the same Standard Move Action. The default moving speed is 30ft however, if the character is climbing, swimming, or crawling the movement speed is halved. If the character wishes to Sprint/Dash they can go up to x2 their movement speed so usually 60ft however a Sprint action is considered a Full Round Action instead of a Standard.
By default, there is no role for movement unless the GM specifies. Examples of reasons for rolling are difficult terrain and Zero-G environment. Under these and other circumstances the player will have to roll a Dexterity Ability Check or an Acrobatics Skill check to see if they make it all the way. Most of the time though moving is pretty simple, as the Player just declare that your Character is going to move from one location too another.
There is also a 5ft step which you can learn more about here.
Now we get to the real action! Pew pew the lasers! Attacking is the most common action players will use. And thus there are a lot of different attack options. To explore them all please visit the Complete Combat Actions page.
There are two primary attack actions. Melee Attack and Range Attack. They are both Standard Actions. Both require rolling an Accuracy Check first and then a Damage Roll second only if the first roll was successful.
- Melee Attack
- Accuracy Check: d20 + Advantage Die + Strength Mod + Misc Mod. Damage Roll: Weapon's Damage Die + Strength Mod + Misc Modifiers
- Range Attack
- Accuracy Check: d20 + Advantage Die + Dextarity Mod + Misc Mod. Damage Roll: Weapon's Damage Die + Misc Modifiers
- Note: The Advantage Die is only added to weapons where the player is proficient in. The proficiency counts as an Advantage. Do not forget that disadvantages can cancel out advantages even a weapon's proficiency.
As a Character levels up they can gain a Stat called 'Extra Damage'. This allows the Player to roll the Weapon's Damage Die another time. A Character can gain this status multiple times. However, the only way to use this is to commit the attack action either Melee or Ranged to a Full Round Action. If the Character attacks with a Standard Action in order to still be able to use a Simple Action regardless if they actually use the Simple Action and regardless if the Character has Extra Damage or not the Player still only gets to roll Weapon Damage once.
A Character also has a Bonus Attack which is also called the Off Hand Weapon Attack. You can learn more about this as well a Criticals here.
Does what is says exactly. The player will need to reload ranged weapons from time to time. Each weapon has an Ammo attribute that tells the Player how many rounds the weapon can be fired before it needs to reload. By default, reloading a Weapon takes a Standard Action. However, a variety of things including Feats, Talents, and weapon upgrades can bring the reloading of a weapon to a Simple Action or even a Free Action.
Be aware of how often you need to reload the weapon as well as the time it takes to reload it. Some Weapons even require Full Round Actions to reload. So just because it does a lot of damage doesn't mean it is the obvious choice. A Pro tip is that dropping something a Character is holding is considered a Free Action and some weapons can be quickly drawn as a Simple Action allowing you to quickly switch from an empty high powered weapon to a smaller but a fully loaded weapon.
Character's as they level up gain Talents and even Techniques in some cases. Techniques are similar to spells in Fantasy RPGs. These abilities often allow the Character to do actions in combat. By default, these actions count as Full Round Actions unless specified otherwise. It is important to know the different abilities your character has.
Order of Actions and Initiative
The order of combat is determined by Team Initiative. Team Initiative is the average Initiative score of the participating members of the team rounded up. There is no need for an Initiative roll to start combat and the Characters within a Team act at the same time in a Round. During the Action phase, all the Players can talk to each other about there plan of action and they can roll at the same time.
As noted above some actions do not require rolling while other actions do require rolling to resolve the effect. Actions that do not require rolling are resolved first and then actions that do require rolls are resolved afterward. It is also important to note that rolling for damage is not the same as rolling to see if an action is successful or not. Therefore attack actions like Techniques which often do not require rolling before rolling for damage go at the same time other actions such as Move actions.
Simple or Free Actions that do not require rolling can happen before or after Standard Actions. If a Simple Action or Free Action for whatever reason requires rolling it has to go after the Standard Action or become a Standard Action.
Players that have committed to actions that require rolling cannot roll for their action until all other actions that do not require rolling have been resolved AND all other Player's have committed to action.
In some games Character's actions to lead to something called Attacks of Opportunity. In this game, these are called Tactical Opportunity. A Tactical Opportunity temporarily gives an opponent an Advantage to both Accuracy Checks and Damage Die.
The way a Character can cause this misfortunate circumstance is to move out of a Character's melee Threat Range. By default most Melee weapons have a Reach of 5ft, in other words, the Character can attack anything standing adjacent to them and this is their Threat Range. If a Character was to move out of or through an enemies threat range this creates a Tactical Opportunity temporarily for one round.
If the Character is holding a Ranged weapon this still counts but there Threat Range is only 5ft.
A Player can commit to the Withdraw action which is a Full Round Action. This allows the Character to move at normal speed for the terrain they are in but negates this effect. However, this is a Full Round Action and they cannot move faster.
The Counter Phase (Step 5)
Round Counters: Here is where the GM or Player can subtract from any round counters. Any effects/conditions that last longer than one round need to have a counter to keep track of how many rounds have happened. It's usually the GMs job to keep track of such things. If the player/s with the effect condition haven't gone yet then the counter shouldn't be moved down. For example, if on the last turn a character poisons an enemy that poison has the effect of doing 1d4 CON damage per turn for 4 turns. But since the person he poisoned hasn't even gone yet the counter is merely setup but not moved down on the first round.
Adding new Combatants: It is at this point that if new players or NPCs (GM controlled characters), want to join the combat they can. The player deiced if they want to join a group or be on there own. The new player to combat may also be a surprise to the enemy. If so this new player starts out in the Surprise phase before moving to step 3. They also determine the advantages and disadvantages that they should have if any now that they are in the combat as well as any advantages or disadvantages they bring to combat.
Back to Step 3: Now its back to Step 3 and the combat continues. Unless of course all the enemies are defeated.
Left over Effects/Conditions: If all enemies are defeated then the combat ends. However, people may still be poisoned or have an assortment of effects/conditions. Each round is considered 3 seconds. Characters with these negative effects should immediately deal with these conditions before normal gameplay starts back up. In the poison example, the character still has 2 more rounds to go of poisoned. Now that character will have to take the damage for both rounds. And poison requires CON checks. So the player would also have to roll twice for that character. If a character wishes to heal themselves or has someone that can heal the poison or another lasting effect/condition the character can try do to do. But cannot take 10 or 20 and for each time a character tries and is unsuccessful is a turn for the affected character.
Space Ship Combat is completely different from normal player combat. In Spaceship combat, each player is a crew member of a ship and has a role. Each round of combat has 3 phases and every ship combatant acts at the same time for each phase. Also, all actions within a Phase happen at the same time. So players that are acting in the same phase may take their action and/or roll dice without waiting for others. What happens in that Phase is played out after all rolls are complete. Different Crew members act in different phases and have special abilities that can impact the ship.
(1) The Support Phase
Support Phase involves the Commander/Captain giving an order and applying leadership skills/feats to help the other crew members. And the Science Officer who can provide buffs to ship systems.
- (1) Captain can provide a boost to the rest of the crew by giving orders and using special leadership skills. Usually, this provides an advantage to a particular Crew member that this round above all needs to be successful. For example, the ship may be attempting to flee combat and so the Captain may provide assistance to the Pilot.
- (2) Science Officer is similar to the Captain except instead of providing a bonus to a Crew member instead the Science Officer can provide a bonus to ship abilities by boosting. The Science Officer perform hacking actions and operate Clocking or Crypto functions.
(2) The Action Phase
The Action Phase involves the Pilot attempting to fly the ship in a particular manner, the Communications/Sensor Officer performing actions such as Scanning for Ship Weakness and the Weapon officer rolling for possible Battle Damage. Lastly, if the Science Officer holds his action in the Support Phase then the Officer can perform a different kind of action in the Action Phase such as hacking or counter hacking.
- (3) Helm Officer acts in the Action Phase and pilots the ship. The pilot can attempt to fly the ship in different ways. For example, they can fly Offensively or Defensively or they can attempt to get closer or further away from a target. They can also attempt to Ram a target.
- (4) Communications/Sensor Officer also acts in the Action Phase and normally operates scanners and is the first to be informed of communications. They also have other rolls they can help with such as Hacking or Counter hacking, Cryptology and signal Jamming.
- (5) Weapons Officer Can only act in the Action Phase and sole role is to operate the ships Hard Points. They can use the weapons in different ways however when the situation is needed. Visit the following page to learn more about Giving and Receiving Damage in Space Ships.
- (Optional) The Science Officer or Chief Engineer can choose to act in this round. The Science Officer must not act in the Support Phase and the Engineer forfeits there ability to act in the Response Phase. They must choose to do this at the start of the Action Phase before the outcome of the phase is determined or any rolls from other players are noted. In doing so the Science Officer can do actions such as Hacking and the Chief Engineer can perform the Grapple function and both can assist the Cloak if of course, the ship has these functions available.
(3) The Response Phase
The Response Phase allows the Engineer and Medical Officer a chance to respond to any damage to the ship and crew caused during the Action phase. The Engineer can also choose to act in the Action Phase to provide support but if that is the case forfeits the ability to act in the Response Phase. Response Phase can also stop a ship from being crippled or exploding. If the ship has just received its max amount of Battle Damage the effect doesn’t happen until the next turn this means the Engineer can respond and if successful remove Battle Damage before the next round keeping the ship in the fight.
- (6) Medical Officer acts only in the Response Phase and their main job is to ensure the Crew is able to maintain there post with nothing impeding them. They can heal injured crew members and try to remove any negative conditions.
- (7) Chief Engineer primarily acts in the Response Phase and their main job is to Repair the ship's Battle Damage.
- NOTE: The (number) before the crew position is there to explain the order if the GM didn't want each player in that phase trying to roll at the same time. It is a suggestion of who goes first. Just note that all Captains of all ships act at the same time and so do all other Crew positions, pilots, weapons officers, all perform their action at the same time. So if the Weapon's Officer rolls for damage the GM should also roll for the enemy ships Weapon's Officer.
- NOTE: Giving and Receiving damage in Space combat is completely different than ground combat and uses a different rule set. Visit Giving and Receiving Damage page for more information. This greatly affects the role that the Weapon Officer plays and what dice is used. Please review all the rules around this which also includes, but not limited to, concepts like Swarm Combat and Specified Targeting. Both which change the strategy of the game.
When combat starts no ship 'acts' before another unless there is a surprise round. If the enemy ship is detectable by the Characters Ship's Passive Sensors then the Ship can be alerted that the enemy ship is preparing to fire. If the ship is not detectable and the Character Ship is not trying to actively scan for them, IE: The Ship's Sensor Officer is not roller for a Scan then the enemy ship is allowed to perform the Weapon Officers action in the Action Phase before normal combat starts.
Before each round, the Player's are encouraged to talk with each other on how they want there round to play out. Each Player should know there Character's Crew Position, what Phase they intend to act in and what Ship/Officer functions are available to them. A crew member can only perform 1 action per round.
Each round should start in the Support Phase with the Captian giving an order or assisting in some way or another. If the ship doesn't have a Captain that position is skipped. The same goes for any other out of action Crew Positions. Next is the Science Officer, however, the Science Officer can roll while the Captain is rolling or withhold their action since they intend to act in the next Phase. The next Phase starts once all possible actions, if any, are done in the pervious phase. The next phase is the Action Phase, usually the Helm Officer, Sensor Officer, Weapons Officer act in this phase. Lastly, the Response Phase goes where the Medical Officer and Chief Engineer have a chance to assist the effect that the battle has had on the Crew and the Ship and attempt to correct problems.
Battle Damage given in the Action Phase starts to have an effect in the Response Phase and last until the next round's Response Phase. The Medical Officer and Chief Engineer have a chance to reduce or remove negative effects in the Response Phase before they hit the rest of the crew next round.
Combat is over once all enemy ships have the maximum Battle Damage then they can handle. Ships can handle between 0 and 5 Battle Damage. If a ship has the maximum amount of Battle Damage then it is considered adrift and helpless. If it receives more Battle Damage then it explodes within 1 round.
Giving and Receiving Damage Summary
This is just a summary. For the complete rules for Spaceship combat damage including Swarm Combat, Specific Targeting, Hacking, Distance, Size variations please visit the Giving and Receiving Damage in Space Ships page.
Weapon's Officer rolls d10s now. The number of d10s is determined by the number of hard points used against the target. The roll is against the target ship's BD-DC or Battle Damage Difficulty Check. The default of which is 4,4. This means it requires 4 successful d10 rolls and a successful d10 roll is if the d10 lands a 4 or higher.
The target ship's Armor Mod can provide a bonus to the number of successful d10s. For example, an Armor Mod of +2 will make a BD-DC of 6,4 meaning it now requires 6 d10s to land 4 or higher. Likewise, the target ship's shields also act as a bonus. If the same ship also has a Shield Mod of +3, then the BD-DC would be 6,7. That means a successful d10 requires that the roll lands a 7 or higher and that there needs to be 6 of them.
The ship is not without offensive bonuses. The Weapon's Mod allows the Weapon's Officer to re-roll successful d10s. For example, a Weapon's mod of +3 will allow the Weapon's Officer to re-roll 3 times as long as there is a successful d10 available to re-roll. An already re-rolled d10 that lands a success counts. A Weapon's officer doesn't need to do an accuracy check before attempting damage, as long as the target ship can be detected by Passive Sensors the enemy ship is available to hit. However, a Scan done by the Sensor Officer can provide the Weapon's Officer with a bonus to each d10 equal to that of the ship's Sensor Mod. For example, a Sensor Mod of +2 will allow the Weapon's Officer to add +2 to each d10 rolled if the Scan is successful.
If the Weapon Officer succeeds at deliver Battle Damage then they roll the Battle Damage Die, 2d6 and use the Battle Damage Chart to determine the repair DC and any side effects.