Combat Rules

Structured Time

There are times when characters' actions have to be carefully charted, most often in combat but also in other intense, time-sensitive tasks. This is known as Structured Time, and it is broken down into Rounds, Turns, and Actions.

  • Rounds. A Round consists of every character in the encounter taking a single Turn. Although characters take actions in a strict order, in reality they are assumed to be acting roughly simultaneously; either way, a Round usually consists of about 5 seconds.
  • Turns. Each character gets one Turn per Round in which to act. During this Turn, the character can perform one or more actions. Turn order is determined by Initiative Order.
  • Actions. Characters use Actions on their turn in order to accomplish goals- moving, shooting and diving for cover are all actions. A character may perform either one Full Action or two Half Actions a turn. They also gain a Reaction, which may be used for actions during other characters' turns.

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Combat Structure

Combats are structured in a six-step structure seen below.

  • Step One: Set Layout. Before combat begins, the GM lays out the combat zone, including the locations of all known characters and the locale in which they're fighting.
  • Step Two: Determine Surprise. At the beginning of each combat, the GM determines if any characters are surprised. Surprised characters lose their first turn and may take no reactions; furthermore, attack actions against them take a +30 bonus. If no one is Surprised, move directly to step three.
  • Step Three: Determine Initiative. Every character rolls initiative, which is determined by rolling a 1d10 plus their Agility Bonus. Once everyone's Initiative has been established, they are placed into the Initiative Order, which is a list from highest to lowest. If two characters share the same initiative score, then the character with the higher Agility is placed higher; if they have the same Agility, then roll a 1d10 for each, with whoever scoring higher being placed higher.
  • Step Four: Participants take Turns. The Round now begins. After effects marked as 'Start of the Round' trigger, the characters then take a Turn, going in descending order starting with the character highest in the initiative order. Note that 'Start of Character's Turn' refers to before they take any actions; 'End of Character's Turn' refers to after they have taken actions. Once every character has taken a Turn, the Round ends.
  • Step Five: End of Round. After every character takes an action, the Round is now over. Any effects which are marked as acting or ending at the 'end of the round' now trigger.
  • Step Six: End of Encounter. Repeat Steps Four and Five until the combat is finished (which may be when all enemies are dead or when the PCs escape) or until the task that triggered a movement into Structured Time is over.

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Each character receives one Turn per Round. During their Turn they may perform actions. There are five types of Actions: Full Actions, Half Actions, Reactions, Free Actions and Extended Actions. They may perform their actions in any order they choose.

  • Full Actions. Representing complex or intensive tasks, a character may perform one Full Action per Turn. A character who performs a Full Action may not perform any Half Actions.
  • Half Actions. Representing fairly complex but not so complex as to take all of the character's attention, a character may perform two Half Actions per Turn.
  • Reactions. Reactions are special Actions that may be used on other characters' turns. They're most often used for evading incoming attacks.
  • Free Actions. Free Actions are for actions which take next to no attention or time to execute. There is no formal limit on Free Actions, but players are warned to keep any Free Action uses reasonable.
  • Extended Actions. Extended Reactions are for actions which take more than one round to execute. A character performing an Extended Action may or may not be told how long it will take; it may depend on passing tests or just dedicating actions. A character using an Extended Action may do nothing else that turn. If a character is interrupted during this time (ie. is unable to do nothing but Extended action), depending on the action, they will be forced to start again.

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Attacking is a highly common action in combat for obvious reasons. Attacks are executed in the following way.

  • Step One: Choose Attack Action. You choose a valid attack action and a valid target. For melee attacks, this almost always requires you to be adjacent to your enemy; with ranged attacks, then this requires you to shoot at an enemy within Maximum Distance of your weapon, which is double your weapon's stated range.
  • Step Two: Apply Modifiers. Attack actions often come with many modifiers. Charging, aiming or attacking from higher ground all grants bonuses to a test, whilst shooting through fog or when fatigued apply penalties.
  • Step Three: Make the Attack Test. You now make the Attack Test, which is a WS test (for melee and thrown melee weapons) or a BS test (for ranged weapons). If the Test is a pass, then the attack has hit. Certain Attack Actions may incur extra hits depending on the attack type and the number of Degrees of Success generated. Certain attacks may use different characteristics; in this case, they're done in replacement of either WS or BS and receive the same bonuses.
  • Step Four: Enemy Attempts Evasion. The enemy now may make an evasion action: they may try to Deflect with an AT Field or, if they have a Reaction, try to dodge or parry. If they pass their test, then they evade the attack. If the Attack Action was one that scored multiple hits per Test, then you evade one hit per Degree of Success. If there are any hits left over after this step, proceed to Step Five.
  • Step Five: Roll Damage. You now roll Damage, which is dependent on the weapon you are using. Melee attacks usually add your SB to the damage total. During this step, you may replace a single damage die result with the Degrees of Success you gained from the Attack Test. If your attack was one that generated multiple hits, only one of these attacks may have their damage die result replaced with DoS.
  • Step Five-A: Confirm Righteous Fury. If you rolled a natural maximum on a damage die (for example, a 10 on a 1d10 or a 5 on a 1d5), then you have the chance for a Righteous Fury. Make a test with the same characteristic you used for the Attack Test, but without any of the Modifiers. If you pass, the attack deals an extra 1d10 damage (even if the attack only used a 1d5). If this roll is also a 10, then you automatically roll another righteous fury 1d10; this continues until you roll something other than a 1d10. Note that Qualities that modify Righteous Fury thresholds (eg. Vengeful) only modify Fury for the very first attack; the rest require a 10. Note that only characters possessing Fate Points can trigger Righteous Fury.
  • Step Six: Determine Soak. The Enemy now determines their Soak Value, which is their TB, plus AP, with the latter reduced by the Penetration of your attack. If their Soak Value is higher than your damage, then the attack is negated; otherwise proceed.
  • Step Seven: Deal Damage. The Enemy now loses a number of wounds equal to dealt damage. Most characters perish if they are dropped to 0 wounds; characters with Fate Points instead take Lethal Damage when taking damage past 0 wounds.

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Moving is common in combat. Your speed depends on your Agility Bonus (AB). Speed comes in four bands: Half Move, Full Move, Charge and Run:

  • Half Move is distance equal to your AB, plus modifiers (such as size, or special traits).
  • Full Move is Half Move*2.
  • Charge is Half Move*3.
  • Run is Half Move*4.

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Unarmed Attacks

Sometimes, attacks are settled with fists, knees or a solid shoulder. In this case you are always treated as having an Unarmed weapon available. Unarmed attacks deal 1d5-3+SB impact damage with no penetration, and count as having the Unarmed and Primitive qualities. If the damage dealt is equal to or higher than the target's TB, they suffer a level of fatigue. Unarmed attacks can be modified with the Unarmed Warrior and Master traits. They are not the same as Natural Weapons.
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Ranged Weapon Range Brackets

Ranged Weapons, abilities and attacks fall into one of six Range Brackets, illustrated below.

  • Assault Range. This is within 10m of the attacker.
  • Close Range. This is within 30m of the attacker.
  • Medium Range. This is within 60m of the attacker.
  • Long Range. This is within 100m of the attacker.
  • Very Long Range. This is within 150m of the attacker.
  • Longshot. This is anywhere within the attacker's line of sight and effect. Longshot attacks always possess the Longshot Quality.

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Some entities are capable of flight. Instead of working out exact altitudes using complex equations, we use three broad altitude bands for flying creatures and vehicles. The altitudes, in ascending are Ground, Low and High.

  • Ground altitude includes anything walking on the ground or at most, hovering a metre or two above the ground.
  • Low counts as being the equivalent to 60m off the ground. Ground characters both cannot melee attack Flying Low targets and take a -20 penalty to all other attack tests against them. Flying Low characters suffer no penalties for attacking characters on the same altitude.
  • High counts as being extremely high, anywhere above 4-600m. Characters at this altitude cannot attack characters or be attacked by characters at lower altitude, unless they possess a specially long-ranged weapon, as per GM's approval.

Characters who can fly may move one band up or down as part of a half move action, or two bands up or down as part of a Full Move, Charge or Run action.

If a character in the air begins to fall (either due to its flight systems being knocked out etc) it falls one band at the end of each round; once it moves from Low to Ground, it crashes and takes falling damage. If they started at High, they take 200m equivalent of damage; if they started at Low they take 60m instead.
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Ailments are special modifiers that apply a detrimental effect to a target. They are divided into four categories: Staggered, Physical, Mental and Spiritual.

  • You may only possess a single Ailment from each category at once. Ie. You can possess 1 Physical and 1 Mental ailment, but not two Physical ailments.

Special Combat Effects

Special Combat Effects are actions and effects unique to the Persona system, which adds a sense of momentum, teamwork and decisiveness to the flow of battle. They are Elemental Affinities, One More, Baton Pass, Critical Hits, Technical Hits, Special Damage and All Out Attacks.

Elemental Affinities

In Persona, there are ten regular elements- every attack (bar a few) falls into a type of elemental attack. Shadows and Personas each possess a relationship with the elements, which determines if they are especially vulnerable to that element or whether they're actually tougher against it. These are known as Elemental Affinities.

  • The ten regular Elements are: Melee, Missile, Fire, Ice, Wind, Electricity (Elec), Nuclear, Psychic (Psy), Bless and Curse.
  • A Persona or Shadow may possess one of the following Affinities per Element: Weak, Normal, Resist, Block, Absorb or Repel.
    • Weak is the lowest Affinity. Targets struck by an element they are Weak against are Staggered. The attack itself also gains Special Damage and +30 to Critical Confirm tests. If the attack has an ailment or Quality affect that requires a test to resist, the target has a -20 to tests to resist it.
    • Normal is the default Affinity. Attacks proceed as normal.
    • Resist is the fourth highest Affinity. The target doubles TB against the attack. The attack also takes a -30 penalty to Critical Confirm tests. If the attack has an ailment or Quality affect that requires a test to resist, the target has a +20 to tests to resist it.
    • Block is the third highest Affinity. The target is completely immune to damage of this type and cannot be affected by it in any way, including from any Quality effects.
    • Repel is the second highest Affinity. The target reflects the attack back against you, and you roll normal damage against yourself. If you also have Repel towards that affinity, you Block it instead.
    • Absorb is the highest Affinity. The target absorbs the attack, healing 1d5 wounds, +1 per Tier of the attack (so 1d5+1 at Tier 1, etc). Mundane physical attacks always count as Tier 1.
  • There is an eleventh element, Almighty. This special element is notable in that no one has strengths or weaknesses against it. Furthermore, Almighty attacks usually ignore certain spell protections.

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One More

One More is a special Persona mechanic which rewards exploitation of weaknesses and controls the initiative of the battle.

  • Certain actions cause targets to suffer the Staggered status effect. When you hit an enemy with an attack that Staggers them, then you gain a One More. No matter how many enemies you Stagger with a single action, you only gain a single One More action.
  • Enemies are Staggered if they are sucessfully hit an enemy with an element they are weak against. Enemies are also staggered if you score a Critical Hit with a Physical-type attack and as part of the Critical Effects of certain spells.
  • A One More is an extra single action (Full or Half) that you can perform at the end of your turn. This action ignores the rules on doing the same action twice; with One More, you can repeat any action type if you so choose, such as casting the same spell twice. One Mores do not provide extra Reactions, and do not count down any statuses with a turn duration.
  • It is possible to use a One More to Stagger another enemy, which will grant you another One More action. However, enemies who are already Staggered cannot be Staggered again.
  • Instead of using the One More on an Action, you can transfer it to allies (Baton Pass), expend it to gain a single charge of Stamina or, if every enemy is Staggered, use it to perform an All Out Attack.

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Baton Pass

Baton Pass allows you to transfer a One More to an ally, allowing for coordinated and devastating actions.

  • On gaining a One More, you can designate one ally (designated the Receiver) who is also a Confidant with a Social Link rank of at least 1. At the end of your turn- but before the turn of the next character in initiative order-, this character gains your One More instead.
  • The Receiver may then act as per a normal One More. They, too, may score One Mores off this action.
  • If the Receiver is using an action that deals damage, they add their S-Link rank with the giver to the damage dealt. If they're healing, they instead add that rank to the amount healed. Either way, any actions the Receiver performs counts as being Assisted (normally a +10 to the test).
  • The Receiver may, if they gain a One More of their own, Baton Pass it onto another teammate. That Receiver may do the same, and so on and so forth- but a character who has already given or received a Baton Pass during this chain cannot receive a second one.

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Critical Hits

Special rolls during damage results can trigger a Critical Hit, which adds new effects.

  • When rolling for damage, if you score a 10 on any dice, you have the chance to land a Critical Hit. If your damage die is 1d5 instead, you score a Critical on a roll of 5.
  • After rolling a 10 (or a 5 for 1d5s), you then roll to confirm (known as a Critical Confirm test). This is a flat test using whichever characteristic the attack used; it is not modified by fatigue, range, or any other bonuses whatsoever unless they specifically say they modify Critical Confirm tests.
  • Should you successfully confirm the Critical, then you produce an extra effect. The effect depends on the type of attack used, noted below.
    • Physical attacks, including the normal attacks with weapons or fists, gain Special Damage and Stagger the target.
    • Magical attacks produce a special effect outlined in the spell's profile.

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Technical Hits

A Technical Hit allows you to deal higher damage against a target depending on certain circumstances.

  • When a character is inflicted with an Ailment, then attacking them with an attack that uses a certain element will count as a Technical Hit. Technical Hits gain Special Damage and ignore the target's 'Resist'-tier Elemental Resistances.

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Special Damage

Several actions effects gain 'Special Damage'.

  • Any attack that gains Special Damage gains an extra 1d10 in damage. This 1d10 can score a Critical Hit effect as normal.
  • If an attack gains multiple sources of Special Damage, such as (for example) a Physical attack that hits a Weakness and Criticals at the same time, then you do not gain extra 1d10s. Instead, if the Special Damage 1d10 rolls a 10, then it becomes an 'exploding die', meaning you roll another 1d10 damage, adding another 1d10 each time you roll a 10.

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All Out Attack

A decisive attack that can devastate almost any enemy.

  • An All Out Attack is enabled when you gain a One More and all enemies are Staggered. You may choose to expend your One More to engage in an All Out Attack, a special attack that hits all enemies.
  • Every ally taking part in the battle who isn't suffering from an ailment may contribute to the All Out Attack. You roll an attack which deals 1d10+X damage, where X is the number of contributors. This damage ignores AP and TB, is of the Almighty element, and is an 'exploding die', meaning that if you roll a 10 on the damage die, you may roll one more 1d10, adding another 1d10 each time you roll a 10.
  • Once an All Out Attack is finished, all enemies struck by the attack lose the Staggered ailment.
  • An All Out Attack can only be conducted if you have at least two contributors, including yourself (ie you and one ally).
  • If the attack defeats all Shadows, then one of them are obliged to provide you with a single benefit of your choice- such as being healed, providing money, an item, information or some other benefit (although especially extreme benefits require you to nominate a contributor to make a social skill test). After this, all Shadows die.

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Action List

Below is the full list of Actions available to a character. Note that Actions often possess Action Subtypes, which determine how they may be used. For example, an Immobilized character may not make Movement based actions.

A Character may only perform one Concentration Subtype Action per turn and one Attack Subtype Action per turn. Reactions with this subtype may still be undertaken, as Reactions are considered to exist outside of the normal Turn Order.

Name Type or Subname Action Description
Attack Actions
Standard Attack Attack, Melee or Ranged Half Action You make either a single Melee attack by testing WS or a single-shot Ranged attack by testing BS, with a +10 bonus. On a success, you inflict one hit on the target.
Burst Attack, Melee or Ranged Half Action This action allows you to make multiple hits with a weapon, and requires a weapon with a Hit rating of 2 or higher. You designate how many hits you intend to make, up to your weapon's Hit rating, then target a single enemy. You then make a WS+10 or BS+10 test depending on whether the weapon is melee or ranged, with a -5 penalty for every hit you intend to make, to a net max of -30. If you pass, you score 1 hit per DoS. You can allocate hits to targets beside the enemy you targeted, so long as the other targets are both within range of your weapon and within 10 squares of the original target, and aren't harder to hit than the original target.
Called Shot Attack, Melee or Ranged Half Action You make a single melee attack against a specific location on an enemy's body. This counts as a Standard Attack against a specific body part with a -20 penalty. At the GM's discretion, this action may be used to attack specific locations on creatures or in the environment, such as a weapon or a lock on a door.
Charge Attack, Melee, Movement Full Action You rush at a foe; this foe must be within range of your Charge Move, and you must finish the charge by moving in a 4m long straight line. Once you reach your target, you make a single melee attack by taking a WS test with a +20 bonus; on a success, you score one hit. You may make a Grapple or Knockdown action in place of an attack as part of a Charge action.
Heavy Attack Attack, Melee Full Action You make a single melee attack against a target. This attack gains a +30 bonus to hit and a +10 bonus to Critical Confirms, but regardless of if you succeed or fail, you take a -20 penalty to Evasion tests until the start of your next turn.
Multiple Attack Attack, Melee or Ranged Full Action This requires you to possess more than one weapon equipped. You choose to attack with as many weapons as you have equipped, then roll separately for each weapon. You then test WS and/or BS as appropriate, although every attack has an inherent -20 penalty instead of the +10 you usually get from Standards and Bursts. You can also choose weapons to be fired on Burst, which stacks the penalty from those settings.
Attack of Opportunity Attack, Concentration, Melee Free Action If an enemy is engaged in melee with you and undertakes an Movement-type action in order to leave combat with you, unless the action is the Disengage action you may make a Standard Attack against them as a Free Action.
Cautious Attack Attack, Concentration, Melee Half Action You make a single Melee attack by testing WS with a -10 penalty, but take a +10 bonus to Evasion tests until the start of your next turn.
Overwatch Attack, Concentration, Ranged Full Action You declare a kill zone around yourself, then specify a Ranged attack action (Standard or Bursts), along with the conditions on which you will perform the attack (for example, "Any enemy performs an action", "Enemy out of reactions," "Specific enemy attacks", "Enemy attacks specific ally"). This attack occurs the moment the conditions are met. If it occurs at the same time as another character's action, you make an opposed Agility test against that character to see who goes first (if the character is an ally, they may voluntarily fail). After the attack is resolved, even if it missed, targets must make a Pinning test or become Pinned on wherever location they were when they triggered the attack's conditions. If you perform any actions, such as dodging, before Overwatch resolves, your Overwatch immediately ends. (Doesn't include Free Actions such as talking.)
Counter-Attack Attack, Melee Free Action Requires Counter-Attack Talent. Whenever you successfully parry a melee attack, you may, as part of the parry action, instantly make a free melee attack against the attacker. This attack takes a -20 WS penalty to hit. After performing a single Counter-Attack, you may not perform another until the start of your next turn.
Grapple (Initiate) Attack, Melee Full Action You make a WS Test against a single target. You must have at least one hand free in order to perform a Grapple attack, and may use a Grapple in place of an attack as part of a Charge. The target may not Parry this attack, but they may Dodge it as normal. On a success, you and your opponent begin to grapple with you in control. Participants in a grapple may perform special actions and must follow certain rules, shown below. If you are the controller of a Grapple, you must take the 'Grapple' Full Action on your turn, or the Grapple ends; once you have taken this action, you may instantly perform one of the special Controller actions below (or one of the 'Either' actions). Anyone may use the 'Either' actions, and the Restrained actions are open only to the Restrained participant.
- Controller: Damage - You may attempt to harm your opponent by making an opposed Strength test against your opponent. On a success, you inflict Unarmed (or melee Natural Weapon) damage to your target, and deal a single level of Fatigue. Allies may assist on this action.
- Controller: Push - You may attempt to force your opponent to move by making an opposed Strength test against your opponent. On a success, you push your opponent 1 square in a direction of your choice, plus another square per Degree of Success. This distance may not exceed your Half Move distance. You may move with the target and maintain grapple; if you do not move with the target, then the grapple ends. Allies may assist on this action.
- Controller: Release Grapple Free Action You may release your opponent if you are in control of a grapple. This release may come at the start of your turn, or after you've performed a Grapple action.
- Controller: Stand - If both participants are on the ground, you can use this to regain your feet. You may also attempt to drag your opponent with you as part of this action; you make an opposed Strength test and, on a success, pull your opponent up with you. Allies may assist on this action.
- Either: Unarmed/Knife/Natural Weapon Standard Attack Full Action You may make a Standard Attack against a target, following all the usual rules of a Standard Attack, using either a Natural, Unarmed, small melee (1d5 damage weapon) or Pistol weapon. This target does not need to be the other participant in a grapple.
- Restrained: Break Free Half Action You may attempt to break free of the grapple by making an opposed Strength or Acrobatics test against the controller's Strength. On a success, you break free.
- Restrained: Take Control Half Action You may attempt to take control of the grapple by making an opposed Strength test against the controller. If you succeed, you become the Controller and your opponent becomes the Restrained. You may then instantly perform one of the Controller actions (but not one of the Either actions). Allies may assist on this action.
Knock Down Attack, Melee Half Action You make an Opposed Strength test against a single target; if made after a Half Move action you gain a +10 bonus, and may be made in place of an attack with a charge action. If you win, your target is knocked prone. If you surpass your enemy's DoS by two or more, you may choose to deal Unarmed damage to the target and inflict a level of fatigue against them. If the target wins, then they keep their footing; If they surpass yours DoS by two or more, then you are knocked prone instead. This can be done as part of a Grapple.
Take Down Attack, Melee Half Action Requires Takedown talent. You make a single Melee attack by testing WS against a target. On a success, roll for damage; if the attack deals at least one point of damage past soak, then the damage is negated and instead your target must take a Toughness test or be stunned for one round. The target takes a -10 penalty if you deal more damage than their TB; this penalty increases by 10 for every multiple of their TB (So TB3 takes a -20 penalty at 6 damage or more). This can be done as part of a Grapple.
Aim Concentration Half or Full Aiming as a Half Action grants a +10 bonus to your next attack test, whilst Aiming as a Full Action grants a +20 bonus. The next action you perform after an Aim action must be an attack action, or else the bonus is lost. If you perform a Reaction (such as a dodge or parry) before making your attack, this bonus is also lost. Aiming may be used with both melee or ranged attacks.
Disarm Melee Full Action Requires Disarm Talent. You may attempt to disarm an opponent within melee range. You make an Opposed WS Test with the target; on a success, the opponent drops a single held object of your choice to the ground. If you score three or more Degrees of Success, you may instead choose to take the item from the opponent. The Advanced Disarm Talent adds a +20 bonus to your test.
Feint Melee Half Action You make an opposed WS Test against a single target. On a success, so long as it is the next action you take, your next melee Standard or Called attack against this target may not be parried or dodged. This also applies to the Guardian action, but not to the Protect Ally action.

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