The character with the highest Quick can choose to either act first or to wait. You may choose to place your Initiative later in the turn order, but once the order is established it cannot be changed. If two persons have the same Quick value, then compare Vigilant. If they still share the same value, roll 1D20: the highest outcome goes first.
Combat with Weapons Ready
When a combat starts it is important to know whether the characters have their weapons drawn or not. Also, Long weapons get a Free Attack against one enemy during the first turn of melee combat, provided that the enemy does not have a Long weapon as well.
It usually requires a successful Discreet←Vigilant test to surprise someone. If a group tries to surprise another group, instead of individual against individual, use the attackers’ lowest Discreet modified by the defenders’ highest Vigilant. He or she who surprises an enemy is allowed to make one Free Attack against said enemy at the start of the turn. After that, follow the regular turn order, based on the combatants’ Quick values, as described above. If any of the combatants are surprised at the start of the combat, they must draw their weapons. All Short weapons can be unsheathed as a Free Action, thanks to their small weight and length. To unsheathe a weapon is otherwise considered a Movement Action. Another option is of course to not draw any weapons and instead choose to use punches and kicks; a person’s or creature’s natural weapons are always considered ready and do not have to be drawn or unsheathed.
Actions in Combat
In combat, your character will kick and fight, slash and stab, parry and dodge. The character does this with his or her two Actions per turn; one Combat Action and one Movement Action. The Combat Action can be replaced with an additional Movement Action, and Movement Actions can be replaced by other kinds of Actions. Besides Combat and Movement Actions, every combatant may perform Reactive Actions, such as performing Free Attacks and Defense tests. There are also Free Actions, Actions that are either brief or can be made in parallel with other Actions. All Actions, except Reactions, are performed on the character’s Initiative. Reactions are performed as it sounds, as a reaction to an enemy’s Action or other circumstances.
The most important Action that can be performed in a turn is the attack. It is with this Action that you character attacks its enemies and attempts to harm them with its weapon. The attack is preferably performed with an Active ability, if your character masters such a skill. Passive abilities always act together with active ones. The attack is made with [Accurate←Defense]. Some abilities can allow you to attack using other Attributes than Accurate, or defend yourself using something other than Quick. A Combat Action does not have to be an attack. To provide first aid to someone or to use any other active ability also counts as a Combat Action. A Combat Action can be replaced with an additional Movement Action, but not the opposite: a Movement Action cannot be replaced with an additional Combat Action.
The Movement Action represents a meaningful movement in combat. The Movement Action is done on a character’s Initiative. Normally, the exact distance is not of any great importance. What does matter in a combat is who can make a melee attack and who can use ranged attacks. If a more exact distance needs to be calculated, then a Movement Action represents 10 paces (10 meters), but characters who engage an enemy in melee combat naturally stop by the enemy if the distance is shorter than that (in other words, the character does not have to move the full 10 paces).Movement Actions are used to:
◆Reach an enemy and engage it in melee combat.
◆ Place yourself in a flanking position towards an enemy already fighting an ally.
◆ Move past an enemy to reach another one that stands further away (enemies that are bypassed may perform a Free Attack).
◆ Withdraw from melee combat (which allows the enemy to perform a Free Attack against the character). If fighting multiple enemies, then each enemy is allowed a Free Attack.
◆Create a clear line of sight to an obscured enemy. Instead of moving, the Movement Action can be used to perform other kinds of Actions:
◆ Stand up from a prone position (requires a Quick test).
◆ Drink/apply an elixir to yourself.
Reactions are intended as quick responses to enemy Actions. These can be performed at any time during the turn and are not tied to the character’s Initiative. The character can perform as many Reactions as is called for per turn, as long as there are enemy Actions to react to. Reactions can use the effect of passive abilities, but not active ones.
There are situations when your character will have the opportunity to make a free attack with his or her weapon. Common situations are when the character is armed with a Long weapon and when an enemy tries to flee from an ongoing melee combat or tries to run past the character in order to reach someone or something behind it. There are also some abilities which trigger free attacks under special circumstances. Free Attacks can use the effect of passive abilities but not of active ones, and normally the character can only gain one free attack per triggering factor and turn – if two enemies try to withdraw from melee only 1 free attack is gained, but if one withdraws and one runs past the character gains one free attack on each.
You are allowed to attempt to defend yourself against any attacks that your character is aware of. The character’s Defense is usually based on Quick, then modified by such things as armor qualities and whether or not the character carries a shield. When a character is attacked, defense is tested as [Defense←Accurate]. If the test is successful the character has avoided the attack by either parrying or dodging it. If this test fails, the attack hits and deals damage if the weapon’s damage value is higher than the outcome of the roll for the character’s Armor.
Damage & Healing
Damage lowers the victim’s Toughness and a creature dies when its Toughness reaches zero – unless it is a player character, in which case he or she is regarded as dying instead. Damage and wounds can be healed in a number of ways, which are presented in this section.
The character’s Toughness is equal to his or her value in the Strong Attribute. However, it can never be lower than 10.
A character’s Pain Threshold is half of its Toughness value, rounded up. The actual Strong value is used to calculate this figure, even if it is lower than 10. When a creature suffers damage equal to or higher than its Pain Threshold, from a single attack and after Armor has been subtracted from the damage value, one of the following things happens. Note that it is the player who decides between the two, both for the character when it suffers the damage, as well as the enemy if it is the character that inflicts the pain.
◆ The affected creature is knocked down and has to get up (see Specific Actions).
◆ The one who deals the damage is allowed to perform an immediate Free Attack against the affected creature.
Monsters and non-player characters die as soon as their Toughness reach 0, unless the Game Master wants something else. In any case, the rules for player characters are different. A player character collapses when its Toughness reaches 0, and is considered to be dying and unable to help him- or herself in any way. Each turn thereafter the player is forced to make a Death test with 1D20on the character’s Initiative. This test is repeated until someone else either stabilizes the dying character with an herbal cure, the Medicus ability or mystical healing – or until the player rolls a 1 and wakes up, or a 20 and dies.
Dead Player Characters
Dead player characters may not remain in the game, but the player who creates a new character may do so using all the Experience accumulated by the last character. This way, the new character does not have to start too far behind the others.
Death test (1D20)
1 : The character’s damage looked much worse than it actually was; the character wakes up with 1D4 Toughness left. The character can act the next turn.
2–10 : The character remains at death’s threshold.
11–19 : The character is a step closer to death. The third time the roll has this outcome, the character dies.
20 : The character dies, but may say some last harsh words if the player wants to.
Healing can happen naturally, by the use alchemy and medicine or with the help of mystical powers. To perform first aid on a dying person requires the Medicus ability, an herbal cure or powers of healing.
◆ Natural healing happens at a pace of a (1) point of Toughness per day.
◆ Alchemical herbal cures heal one (1) point of Toughness immediately.
◆The Medicus ability heals 1D4Toughness immediately, even more when combined with herbal cures.
◆ Mystical powers, such as Lay on Hands, and the Recovery ability both heal Toughness; see their respective descriptions for details.
The conditions of the battle and the weapons of the combatants affect the course of events. Rules for line of sight, the use of shields, fighting with two weapons as well as different kinds of advantages are covered in this section.
To fight blinded is hard, and the same goes for fighting under bad lighting conditions such as in darkness, smoke or thick fog. If both parties in a battle are affected, then no adjustments are needed. Otherwise, the affected party gets two chances to fail its success tests – if the character is affected, the player rolls twice and picks the worst result; if only the enemy is affected the player rolls twice and picks the best result.
Disengage from Melee Combat
Disengaging from a melee combat is done on the character’s Initiative and costs a Movement Action. The enemy is allowed a Free Attack against the character. This also applies to situations when the character is facing multiple opponents, in which case each opponent is allowed a Free Attack against the character when he or she chooses to disengage.
To use or apply an elixir on either yourself or your equipment counts as a Movement Action. To use or apply it on somebody else counts as a Combat Action.
To perform first aid on a wounded person counts as a Combat Action and requires a herbal cure, the Medicus ability or other healing powers. The effect of first aid is described in Damage & Healing.
Fighting while lying down is possible, but not recommended, because each enemy that has engaged the character in close combat gets an advantage against a prone character. See rules for Advantage below. If the character makes a successful test against Quick it only takes a Movement Action for the character to get back on its feet. Otherwise, it takes an entire turn, meaning that the character cannot perform a Combat Action while getting up.
Line of Sight
Ranged weapons cannot shoot past other combatants, meaning that the shooter (or the Mystic) may need to use Movement Actions to maneuver for them to have line of sight. A rule of thumb is that if a shooter or a Mystic stands behind an ally so that the targeted enemy is forced to trigger a Free Attack to reach the shooter, then the target is obscured from view by the shooter’s ally.
Anyone can defend themselves with a shield, providing +1 to Defense. The use of a shield makes it impossible to use ranged and Heavy weapons and neutralizes the reach advantage gained from a Long weapon, since the wielder must use it in one hand. The buckler is an exception to this, allowing the use of both hands, as well as giving the user +1 to Defense.
To surround the enemy is an effective combat strategy. If two persons flank an enemy, both of them gain an advantage against the target. A maximum of four persons can surround a person or creature; any combatant beyond that will be unable to reach the target and can only step forward if one of its allies retreats or goes down. Terrain and the movement of the combatant decide what is possible to achieve. Doors, corridors and narrow passages can be used to prevent enemies from flanking. Remember that attempting to move past an enemy triggers a Free Attack. The Free Attack can be avoided if the combatant opts to transform its Combat Action for that turn to an additional Movement Action, making it possible to go around the enemy without entering into melee.
To sneak up on an enemy or prepare an ambush is an active Action and requires a successful [Discreet←Vigilant]test. Attacking an enemy that is unaware of the incoming attack allows the attacker to make a Free Attack in the first turn of combat. Then the combat follows the usual turn order, based on the combatants Quick.
Sometimes one side of a melee combat gets an advantage over the other. A character sneaking up on an
enemy to attack it from behind has the advantage. Another situation where you are at an Advantage is when you attack a target lying on the ground or a target that is climbing towards you. To create advantages when fighting on plain and even ground requires the use of Actions, attacks or movements. If your character has the advantage in a combat situation, it receives a +2 modification to the relevant Attribute when making a Success test, and its attacks deal +1D4extra damage.
The following situations provide advantages:
◆ Attacking an enemy that is unaware of the pending attack. For this situation to occur, a successful [Discreet←Vigilant]test is normally required by the attacker.
◆ All melee attacks against a flanked enemy counts as providing an advantage. A target is considered flanked if two enemies stand on opposite sides of it. It usually takes a Movement Action to get around an enemy and flank it. In the same way a character can use a Movement Action to get away from a flanked position – but with the consequence of receiving a Free Attack from each enemy.
◆ All melee attacks against an enemy lying down. However, ranged attacks do not get any advantage because of this.
◆ All attacks against enemies standing on lower ground than the attacker, such as attacking down from a wall against enemies climbing a ladder. This applies to both melee and ranged attacks.
Other Important Rules
The Gamemaster handles most things regarding problem-solving and social challenges, but here follows a description of the basic idea of how those situations are dealt with. This section also describes how to develop your character. These improvements are made using Experience, which is a reward gained from partaking in and surviving adventures. The Game Master awards the Experience, while the player uses it to improve his or her character.
Problem-solving consists of situation where your character attempts to achieve something that requires dice rolls and Success tests, but which is not a combat-situation: tracking a fleeing enemy, picking a lock, persuading a guard to let you in or researching the answer to a riddle in a library. The Game Master handles most of this; as a player you only have to be ready to describe how your character attempts to solve the problem, and then roll the dice to make the test asked for by the Game Master.
Social challenges consist of important negotiations, often involving the great and powerful personas, groups and monsters of the game world – situations that are unfit for combat and cannot be solved with a mere Persuasive test. In short, the social challenge is solved by your and your friends’ roleplaying, where you simply will have to persuade, deceive and bargain your way to a solution. The Game Master handles the parameters for the social challenge, while you portray your character and together with your fellow players try to carry through a successful negotiation around the gaming table. Social challenges are often preceded by scenes of problem-solving, where the character gathers information, secrets and rumors that can be used against the one they need to persuade.
Improving your Character
Experience is awarded by the Game Master after a completed adventure. Experience is traded in for higher levels in the character’s abilities, or used to purchase new ones. To purchase a new ability at Novice level costs 10 Experience, to increase from Novice to the Adept level costs 20 Experience and increasing from Adept to Master costs 30 Experience.