The Basics of Combat
On this page we will discuss the basics involving combat: supplies needed, determining battle, avoiding battle, participants and spectators, battle situations, active and defensive rounds, and end of combat. This page will only give the basics. For more in-depth coverage of the battle mechanics, you will want to check out the other pages in this section.
1. Supplies Needed
Below are a list of supplies you will need to properly carry out a full fledged battle. You should already have these supplies. If you do not have these supplies you may wish to get them before continuing any further.
- You will need a battle map. You can use paper, poster board, cardboard, cereal boxes, or whatever you can draw on as long as it is flat. Many game and hobby shops will sell battle mats on vinyl that are already marked in hex or square grids. If you have to make your own battle map, you will want to make sure that you draw on it hex or square grids that are uniform in size throughout the entire map. These are very important since movement is done by hex or block as is weapon and skill ranges and area of effects. You do not have to have any terrain identifiers. If you wish to add terrain to your battle map, you can draw them out. If you make or use pre-made terrain sets that your characters are intended to walk or move over, you will need to make sure to represent the same square or hex grids on those terrain sets.
- You will need something to identify every participant on the battlefield. You can use coins, marbles, rocks, caps, or whatever as long as each one is somewhat unique to help identify the different participant. Each identifier needs to have a distinguishable front side as well. You also can use pewter figurines from other rpg's or combat games. You will want to make sure that you have enough identifiers to meet every battle situation need.
- You will need a set of polygonal dice. You will primarily need a set of percentile dice and possibly a d20, however, it is a good idea to have all of the other dice as well.
- You will want paper and a pencil to record stats and battle information. It is a good idea to let the players take care of their own character's stats while the GM takes care of any NPC's. At a minimum you will want to record HP, SA, EP, DP, and Battle Actions, as these stats will constantly be affected in battle.
- It is a good idea to have a calculator. It will be even better if each player has his or her own calculator, but you will most likely want at least one calculator. You will be doing a lot quick math and a calculator will not only help to speed things up but will also help to ensure correct answers and preserve your sanity. Crafty players and GM's may also make spreadsheets that help with battle.
2. Determining Battle
It is important to understand why the battle is taking place. The most common cause for a battle is that it is story driven. That is the battle takes place because of an event in the story. However the battle may be an effect of your character’s actions. Perhaps you provoked another character. The other reason for a battle is that it is a random battle. A random battle is best described as a bad luck encounter. Basically, because of your bad luck, you accidentally got to close to a den of hungry beasts, who smelling you decided to attack you. Of course, a random battle is not really random, as in enemies appearing out of no where. Random battles are instead more like the battle that was not expected or the surprise encounter.
A GM may never decide to use a random encounter, or the GM may decide to use the random encounter constantly. The GM may also only decide to use a random encounter depending upon where your character is at. When determining a random battle, the GM will ask the players to make a luck check. If the player succeeds, then that means the player was lucky enough to escape being attacked by some beast that is nearby. If the player fails, a battle will start, and this will always be a full-fledged battle. If there are more than one players in a team, then it will be the greater which decides. Basically, everyone will make a luck check. If more players succeeds then those that fails, then there will be no battle. Otherwise if more players fail then those that succeed, there will be a battle.
Once a battle is determined, there are a few more situations to consider. Those would be the players trying to avoid a battle, who is participating, are their any spectators, and the different types of battle situations the players may find themselves in.
3. Avoiding Battle
It is possible that you may wish to avoid the battle, once it was determined that there would be a battle.
- Story Driven Battle: Since this battle is completely driven by the story, you can use story and role play to try and get out of fighting. Keeping it all in character, you can try to reason with your opponent and work things out peacefully. It should be understood that it all depends on your opponent and who is playing your opponent. The GM may let you make an influence check here to help determine if you were successful.
- Cause and Effect Battle: This battle is always an effect of something you did, so it will be harder to get out of. However, you can still try. You can try bribing the opponent, or reasoning with the opponent. The GM may let you make an influence check here.
- Random Encounter Battle: There may not be a way out of this battle. Instead, you should confer with your GM to see what he or she will allow and what is possible.
4. Participants & Spectators
Participants and spectators are the characters that are involved, one way or another, with the battle.
Participants are the characters that are directly involved in the battle. They can be divided into two groups, attackers or defenders.
- Attackers are who instigated the battle. In a random battle this will always be the creatures that attacked the unsuspecting party. The players will be the attackers if they started the battle by attacking the target first.
- Defenders are the ones who initially are being attacked, causing the battle to start. In a random encounter, the players are always the defenders.
If you are part of the defending party, you are always a defender even when attacking.
Spectators are any characters, be they players or NPC's or other creatures that are not in the battle but can see or effect the battle, and possibly can be seen by the participants of the battle.
Spectators are able to affect the battle just as if they were participants. They can target the participants with any number of long range skills, spells, or weapons and their yelling and taunts can distracted the participants. Spectators do have to be careful though, because they can be drawn into the battle, and thus becoming participants, if they are seen and attacked by the participants.
5. Battle Situations
Once you have determined that there is going to be a battle and just who is involved in the battle, it will be time to figure out what kind of battle situation it will be.
Battle Situations determine how the participants will be placed on the battlefield. In other words, how you will place your characters on the battle mat. Your GM may decide to roll a dice to determine the battle situation, or may simply pick a battle situation that bests fits the environment and the participants. Should your GM decide to roll a dice, he or she would either roll a 1d5 (one five-sided dice) or a 1d10 (one ten-sided dice) as if it were a 1d5. The GM would then take that number and choose from the chart below.
Battle Situations Table: Use this table to determine the battle situation and to know what the battle situations are
|Number Rolled||Battle Situation||Description|
|1||Regular Combat||This is regular combat. Both parties will place their identifiers as desired.|
|2||Attacking Team Pincer||Here the defending team will place their identifiers first. The attacking team will then place their identifiers on two opposite sides of the defending team. There needs to be at least two members of the attacking team for this situation to be used.|
|3||Attacking Team Surround||Here the defending team will place their identifiers first. The attacking team will then place their identifiers to surround the defending team on all sides. There needs to be at least three members of the attacking team for this situation to be used.|
|4||Defending Team Pincer||Here the attacking team will place their identifiers first. The defending team will then place their identifiers on two opposite sides of the attacking team. There needs to be at least two members of the defending team for this situation to be used.|
|5||Defending Team Surround||Here the attacking team will place their identifiers first. The defending team will then place their identifiers to surround the attacking team on all sides. There needs to be at least three members of the defending team for this situation to be used.|
Understanding how to place your identifiers may be a bit difficult. Here are some examples on how to place your identifier based on the battle situation.
Attacking Team Pincher Example
Here is an example on how to place your character’s identifiers if you are involved in an attacking team pincer situation. The red represents the attacking team and the blue represents the defending team.This illustration shows that the attacking team must and can only place their identifiers on two opposite sides of the defending team. The defending team has to place their identifiers first, and the GM should have them be placed towards the center of the battle mat so that there is enough room for the attacking team to be placed appropriately. This illustration only gives one possible example of placement in this situation.
Attacking Team Surround Example
Here is an example on how to place your character’s identifiers if you are involved in an attacking team surround situation. The red represents the attacking team and the blue represents the defending team.This illustration shows that the attacking team must and can only place their identifiers on all sides of the defending team, to surround them. The defending team has to place their identifiers first, and the GM should have them be placed towards the center of the battle mat so that there is enough room for the attacking team to be placed appropriately. This illustration only gives one possible example of placement in this situation.
Defending Team Pincher Example
Here is an example on how to place your character’s identifiers if you are involved in a defending team pincer situation. The red represents the attacking team and the blue represents the defending team.This illustration shows that the defending team must and can only place their identifiers on two opposite sides of the attacking team. The attacking team has to place their identifiers first, and the GM should have them be placed towards the center of the battle mat so that there is enough room for the defending team to be placed appropriately. This illustration only gives one possible example of placement in this situation.
Defending Team Surround Example
Here is an example on how to place your character’s identifiers if you are involved in a defending team surround situation. The red represents the attacking team and the blue represents the defending team.This illustration shows that the defending team must and can only place their identifiers on all sides of the attacking team, to surround them. The attacking team has to place their identifiers first, and the GM should have them be placed towards the center of the battle mat so that there is enough room for the defending team to be placed appropriately. This illustration only gives one possible example of placement in this situation.
When involved in a regular battle situation, you can place your identifiers anywhere on the battle map.
6. The Flow of Battle: Active and Defensive Rounds
Now that everything is set up for battle, it is time to actually begin the fight! But how do we know who's turn it is, what we can do, and when we can do it?
The way battle works is really pretty simple. Battle turns take place in what are called rounds. A round is a time frame that takes up 10 seconds of game time in which everyone from both the defending party and the attacking party have all had a turn. Once everyone has had their turn, a new round starts. This continues until the battle is finished.
Each round is further divided into Active and Defense Rounds. The active round is the part of the round in which your character can act, move about, attack, and so on. The defensive round is the part of the round in which your character can only defend. Active and Defense Rounds are further explained on their own pages.
Before the battle can even begin though, we have to decide who goes when.
6.1. Determining Initiative
Determining initiative, or turn order, is simple. Everyone simply rolls a 1d20 and adds their Initiative stat to what is rolled. The person with the highest number goes first. That person is followed by who ever has the next highest initiative, who is followed by the person with the next highest initiative, and so forth, until everyone has gotten a chance to go. So if your Initiative is 4 and you rolled a 10, you'd have an initiative of 14. If the enemy had a total initiative of 10, you would go before that enemy in battle. If the enemy's total initiative was 15, the enemy would get to go before you would.
Now if any two or more characters have the same total initiative, they would do a second initiative roll to determine who gets to go before who. The highest roll would get to go first, followed by the second highest roll. If the same number is rolled, the two players would have to roll again.
Familiars, pets, and livestock all use the initiative of their owner, even if that familiar or pet has an initiative stat.
Once you have determined the turn order, or the initiative, of each participant, the battle begins.
7. End of Combat
Eventually the battle will end with hopefully you on the winning side of it. Should you be defeated in a duel, you will have no rewards, except for anything you stole from your opponent or any skill points earned. A battle is over when either you kill your opponent, you are killed, the enemy surrenders and you accept, or you surrender and your enemy accepts. There is no retreat from a duel. Once the battle is over you or your GM will need to determine the Spoils of Battle. You should also understand the many faces of defeat that do not end in death.
If you are in a duel, the battle can end with you defeating the enemy, the enemy surrendering and you accepting it, the enemy defeating you, or you surrendering and the enemy accepting it. The duel can also end and become a normal battle if more participants join the fight.
Victory for you is if you are on the winning side when the battle ends. This could mean that you and your allies have defeated all of the enemy targets, or that the enemies have fled, or that they have surrendered. Should you be victorious, you will get to partake in the spoils of battle.
There are many different spoils that can be won during and at the end of battle.
- Skill Points: You will gain skill points anytime you use a skill. If you use a skill successfully you will get skill points at your success rate. If you fail while attempting to use a skill, you will get skill points at your failure rate. Either way, you will constantly get skill points as long as you try to use a skill, mastered or not, and you will keep these skill points whether or not you win the battle.
- Stat Points or Character Points: You do not get stat points or character points from defeating enemies at the end of combat, unless your GM decides to give some to you. Instead, the GM will decide on how many character points to give you at the end of the play session based on your performance during the play session, which may or may not include defeating enemies. This is done this way so that the focus on the game is role play and not combat.
- Money: Some enemy targets will carry money. Once you kill the target you can search the body for any money that character may have and take that money for your reward. You do not have to wait until the end of battle to loot bodies. You can loot any body you are standing no more than one hex or square from as long as the body is dead. You can also use a stealing skill to attempt to steal money from living targets. It takes a full round to loot a body and can only be done in the active round or at the end of battle.
- Treasure or Equipment: Like money, some enemy targets will have other treasures or equipment for you to loot. You do not have to wait until the end of battle to loot a dead body, you just have to be within one hex or square of the target. You can use a stealing skill to attempt to pick off some loot from a living target as well. Some treasure may not be able to be obtained from the target until it is dead. Some treasure may even be parts of the target, such as a rare shell or a certain rare alchemical ingredient. It takes a full round to loot a body and can only be done in the active round or at the end of battle.
Defeat does not always mean death. There are other forms of defeat where you can still live. You just won’t get the glory of a victorious battle. The other ways you can suffer defeat are if you retreat from battle or if you surrender and your enemy accepts.
- Retreat From Battle: To escape a battle, simply move to the edge of the battlefield and announce that you are escaping. If any enemy targets try to pursue you, you would need to make a speed check to see if you can escape, otherwise you simply escape and become a spectator.
- Surrender: You can only surrender when facing an intelligent opponent, usually the case in a cause and effect or story driven battle. You can plead and even offer up some money or other valuables to surrender. It will then be up to your GM or the player playing your opponent to accept or deny your surrender. If the opponent denies your surrender, the battle will continue. If the opponent accepts your surrender, the battle ends.
Of course the battle ends in defeat if you and your allies are all killed.
- Combat Rules | Advanced Combat Topics
- Combat Rules | Indirect Combat
- Combat Rules | The Defensive Round
- Combat Rules | The Active Round
- Combat Rules | Combat
- Gameplay Rules | Keeping Track of Time
- Gameplay Rules | Exploring Dungeons and Ruins
- Gameplay Rules | Gameplay in Civilized Areas
- Gameplay Rules | Exploring the World
- Gameplay Rules | The Basics