Combat Rules

Persona Combat uses the Dark Heresy/Only War combat rules as a base, but where these rules cannot cover, new concepts have been created to both fill in the natural gaps and create an experience more authentically Persona. The rules for One More, Party Attacks, Elemental Affinities, Shadow natures and more are all included here.

Combat in Persona

Battles and Dungeons

In Persona, many abilities or rules may carry the addendum of only being active during 'Battle' or after 'ending a Battle'. In Persona, a Battle is defined as a conflict between two hostile groups, usually the PCs and one or more Shadows. A Battle begins when both parties are aware of each other and have rolled for Initiative. A Battle ends when one party is either destroyed or the parties can no longer draw line of sight to a member of the enemy.

Dungeons are full of enemies, but they do not count as continual Battles. Furthermore, Dungeons often have very limited areas of sight due to Chaos Miasma. Because of this, the following rules are used:

1) If no Characters are in a Battle (i.e. the enemy cannot see them), then Initiative is not used.
2) Round counting is still kept, with a Round passing after every Character has moved.
3) If a Character sees a Shadow, they do not immediately roll for Initiative; rather, an Awareness test is made to see if the Shadow notices them, using the highest Awareness if there is more than one Shadow present. This test may carry modifiers such as if players are actively using the Concealment/Silent Move skills.
4) Naturally, Characters may decide to attack unaware Shadows, in which the rules for Surprise Attacks are used. Shadows may also attack Characters the same way.
5) Once a decision to attack has been made, or both groups are aware of each other, Initiative is rolled and combat begins. Once one side is wiped out or out of vision, then the Initiatives are scrapped.
6) Talents or items such as Trafuri or Vanish Balls will teleport the party so that they are at the minimum safe distance (i.e. out of line of sight) away from the enemy, and towards the entrance of the dungeon.
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Stumbles are a new mechanic that affects melee attacks. Mundane WS attacks that roll a 96 or above result in the attacker stumbling- their round immediately ends and they test agility. If they fail, they become Prone.
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Jams operate exactly like they do in Only War, except they do not affect Hand weapons.
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Super Hits

Super Hits are especially effective attacks, and can be triggered as part of a normal attack test. When making an attack test with any attack- such as a normal weapon attack or a spell- and you roll below your Super Hit Threshold, you cause a Super Hit.

Super Hit Thresholds are set to rolls of 5 or less; however, there are modifiers that can increase the Threshold, such as specific weapons or status ailments on the target.

With normal weapons and Physical abilities, a Super Hit causes the enemy to be Exposed, allowing you to roll for One More. With Magic talents, this can result in other effects such as special ailments.
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New Actions

Guard Mode (Full Action)

You put yourself into Guard Mode. Guard Mode works exactly like Only War's Defensive Stance, and all modifiers that apply to Defensive Stance apply to Guard Mode. However, in Guard Mode you do not have Elemental Weaknesses, take +20 tests to resist Status Effects, cannot be Super Hit and add your Persona's Grade to damage reduction.
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Heavy Attack (Full Action)

This replaces All Out Attack from Only War. You make a particularly strong attack. Heavy Attacks work exactly like Only War's All Out Attack, and all modifiers and talents that apply to All Out Attack apply to Heavy Attack. However, Heavy Attacks gain a +10 to Super Hits.
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Swap/Activate Persona (Half Action)

You swap from one Persona to another, or activate a Persona if you have none in Active Mode. You may not swap more than once per round, even with One More actions.
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Use Persona Power (Varies)

You use a Persona Power, subtracting the amount listed on the power's description from your SP Pool if it's a spell, or from your Exertion Pool if it's a physical ability. Magic attacks roll against your Magic Characteristic; Physical attacks roll against WS or BS, whichever is higher.
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One More and All Out Attack

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One More

Certain actions cause targets to suffer the Exposed status effect. When you hit an enemy with an attack that Exposes them, there is the chance for a One More- you gain an extra single action (Full or Half) that you can take immediately, or, if you still have a half action left, after that is performed. 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.

The first step is to incur the Exposed status. This is done in the following ways:
1) Hitting an enemy with an element against which they have a weakness
2) Hitting an enemy with a Super Hit with a Physical attack
3) Certain Critical Damage results.

Once an enemy has been Exposed, both you and your enemy roll Initiative. If you roll higher, you gain a One More! If they roll higher, you do not.

If you Expose more than one enemy in a single action, only the enemy with the highest Initiative rolls as a representative of the entire group.

It is possible to trigger more a One More off a One More action. You may not, however, trigger a One More action off an already Exposed enemy.
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All Out Attack

If all enemies present have been Exposed, and you just scored a One More action, then you can perform an All Out Attack! During an All Out Attack, you and all allies immediately make a free standard WS or BS attack (which auto-hits), and roll damage. Once all damage has been rolled, it is added into a single pool; all Shadows in the battle then take this damage. This applies even if you are out of range of an enemy.

Once an All Out Attack has been performed, you may all make a free Move action of your choice, and your turn ends.

Exposed, Stunned or Dazed enemies hit by All Out Attacks automatically lose these statuses.

Shadows may also use this mechanic.
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Damage and Resistance

Damage works the same as it did in Only War, with a few deviations. The most important is Elemental Resistance.

Every Persona and Shadow has a set of elemental resistances covering the four physical elements (Energy, Explosion, Impact and Rending) and the six magical elements (Fire, Ice, Wind, Lightning, Light and Darkness). The resistances are as follows:

Resistance Description
Weak The attacker adds half their Persona's (or Shadow) Grade to damage dealt before soak, and the target is Exposed. +30 to Super Hit threshold.
Normal The target takes damage as normal.
Resist The target takes half damage from the attack after soak. Attacks made with this element take a -40 Super Hit Threshold penalty, and Light and Dark spells take a -20 penalty to confirm Righteous Fury.
Block The target is completely immune to damage of this type and cannot be affected by it in any way.
Repel The target reflects the attack back against the attacker, who rolls normal damage against themselves. If the attacker also has Reflect, the attacker blocks the attack instead.
Absorb The target absorbs the attack, healing an amount equal to the damage inflicted before soak (reduction from TB and AP).

Magic attacks have their own set of special rules as well. First and foremost, they use En/Ex/I/R codes only for the sake of critical damage and otherwise do not count as physical elements for the sake of resistances. Secondly, their Super Hits typically do not Expose the enemy but instead cause a secondary effect.
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Fatigue in Persona operates differently to Only War. When you take a level of Fatigue, note it down and compare it to your natural, unmodified Characteristic Bonuses. If your Fatigue level is equal to a Characteristic's Characteristic Bonus, you take a -10 penalty to Characteristic tests for that Characteristic. Once your Fatigue level is equal to your Toughness Bonus, you suffer the Exhausted status effect (see 'Physical Status Effects') until your fatigue is reduced to below this number.

Should Fatigue reach a level equal to twice your natural, unmodified Toughness Bonus, you must make a Toughness Test per round or collapse. This test takes a -10 penalty for every level above this.
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Injury and Defeat

In Only War, when you take damage, you reduce the damage from your Wound pool. When you drop below 0 wounds, you begin taking Critical Damage which inflicts greater and harsher penalties and results on you the more damage you take. Persona is a little different, less lethal- most of the time.

All Personas have their own Wound Pool, which is a number of wounds (which depends on the Persona) added to your Toughness Bonus, including any other modifiers. So long as you have a Persona in Active Mode, whenever you take damage, you reduce the Persona's Wound Pools and not your own. If the Persona takes damage that drops them below 0 wounds, they begin taking Critical Damage just like normal PCs.
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Persona Critical Damage chart

Threshold Description
-1 The attack shakes you and makes it difficult to concentrate or focus. -10 to all tests for 1 round.
-2 The attack is wearing, causing brittle fatigue to wash through your body. Gain a level of fatigue.
-3 The attack tosses you to the ground from its force. You are Exposed.
-4 The attack leaves you dazed and you find it hard to get back in the fight. You take 1 level of fatigue and are Dazed for 1 round.
-5 The attack dazes you and leaves you reeling on the ground. You are Exposed, take a level of fatigue and Dazed for 1d3 rounds.
-6 The attack interferes with your ability to manifest your Persona. You take 2 levels of fatigue and cannot manifest your Persona for 1 round.
-7 The attack's lethality is absorbed mostly by your Persona, which is weakened by the strain. You take 1d5 levels of fatigue. Reduce all Persona Characteristic Bonus Boosts by 1d3 (roll once).
-8 The attack punishes your Persona and breaks it, leaving you vulnerable. You take 1d5 levels of fatigue, are stunned for 1 round and your Persona becomes Inactive and cannot be re-activated for 2d5 rounds, after which it returns with zero wounds.
-9 The attack effectively ruins your Persona and knocks it out of the fight. You take 1d5 levels of fatigue, are Exposed and stunned for 1 round, and your Persona becomes Inactive and cannot be reactivated for a day.
-10 The attack would've utterly killed you- your Persona absorbs the blow, but the sheer effort of it damages it in a way that disrupts its connection to you. You take 1d10 levels of fatigue, are Exposed and Stunned for 1d5 rounds, your Persona becomes Inactive and cannot be reactivated for 1d7 days, and you suffer 1d10 Identity Erosion.

Should a Persona become Inactive, you will have to swap to activate another Persona on your turn. Until you activate another Persona, you are vulnerable, as attacks against you target your own pool of wounds and you take erosion damage per round.
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Shadows and Combat

Shadows are the bizarre, unnatural entities that form from the Chaos Miasma. Their forms are erratic and highly stylised and often possess a degree of symbolism. They are extremely dangerous, capable of casting spells and dealing massive damage with their bodies.

Shadows are not equal, however, and some Shadow types are much weaker than other types. The space below deals with types of Shadow and other rules for Shadows.
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Shadow Categories

Horde Shadows

Horde Shadows are minions who are so weak that the threat they pose comes not from their individual ability or strength, but rather from their sheer overwhelming numbers. Horde Shadows work differently to other enemy groups and the rules for them can be found here: Horde Shadow Rules
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Lesser Shadows

Lesser Shadows are minions who typically have small Wound pools and limited attack options. They instantly die to Critical Damage. They're often found in numbers, clustered around an Elite Shadow. Examples from the games include Magic Hands.
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Elite Shadows

Elite Shadows are powerful Shadows that draw lesser Shadows to them. They often have powerful abilities and more defenses than a Lesser; this makes them very dangerous for basic enemies. They instantly die to Critical Damage. Elite Shadows only rarely cluster together. Examples from the games include the Turrets, Knights and Beetles.
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Master Shadows

Master Shadows are lieutenants who lead the Lesser and Elite Shadows and act as an overseer. They have larger wound pools, are stronger and tougher, and have Critical Damage tables but die at -6 to the head or body. They are immune to fatigue and fear. Usually, only one Master Shadow exists on each floor of a dungeon, and defeating it is sometimes necessary to progress. Examples from the games include the Tartarus Guardians, such as the Jotun of Grief or the Sleeping Table.
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Greater Shadows

Greater Shadows are the supreme form of Shadows, with intense power and unique abilities. They have individual wound pools for every body part, are often extremely tough, and have full Critical Damage tables and a Fate Point to spend. They are immune to fatigue and fear and often have other Status immunities. When set on fire they take only 1 point of damage at a time. Finally, they cause 1d5 Identity Erosion to anyone within 20 metres who does not have an active Persona equipped. Examples from the games include the Full Moon Shadows from P3 and the Shadow Selves from P4 (such as Shadow Yukiko).

Super Hits from Hama or Mudo spells, or Righteous Fury hits, do not deal Critical Damage to a Greater Shadow. Instead they deal an extra 1d10 damage.

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Shadow Critical Damage Charts

Shadow Head

Threshold Energy Exploding Impact Rending
-1 Test Toughness or take -10 to all tests for 1 round Dazed for 1 round Test Toughness or take a -10 to attack rolls for 1 round No significant effect
-2 Test Toughness or be blinded for 1 round Test Toughness or be blinded and deafened for 1 round -10 to all tests for 1 round -10 to attack rolls for 1 round
-3 Dazed for 1 Round Dazed for 1d3 rounds Test Toughness or be stunned for 1 round -2 AP to the Head
-4 Blinded for 1 round, test Toughness or -10 to all tests for 1d5 rounds Exposed Prone Stunned for 1 round
-5 Blinded for 1 round, loses all Head AP Stunned for 1d3 rounds Exposed and Stunned for 1 round Blinded for 1 round, loses 1d5 permanent Perception and BS
-6 Exposed, loses 1d5 permanent Int and Fellowship Deafened for 1 round, Exposed and Stunned for 1d5 rounds Stunned for 1d5 rounds Blinded for 1d5 rounds
-7 Stunned for 1 round, loses 1d10 permanent all stats Stunned for 1d5 rounds, TB halved Exposed, Stunned for 1 round and loses 1d10 Toughness and Perception Test Toughness or be permanently blinded, lose 1d5 TB
-8 Stunned for 1d5 rounds, blinded and TB Halved, test Toughness or die The Shadow dies a painful death. Blinded, TB halved Blinded, TB halved
-9 The Shadow dies, its head bursting into flame that ignites the entire body and burns it into a pool of viscous black slag. As above, but the head causes 1d5 damage to everything within 1d10m from burning chunks of shadow ichor The Shadow dies, its head caving in The Shadow dies, its head ripped in twain and leaving behind a bisected mask
-10 As above, but it unleashes a dying scream that strengthens nearby Persona, granting 1d5 Identity Realisation As above, but the damage becomes 1d10 and it leaves a greasy stain on the ground As above, except the attack passes right through the head, slamming into anything behind it, friend or foe The Shadow's head is completely cut off, and it flails about in a mad fury as though it were Raged for 1d5 rounds before finally dying.

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Greater Shadow Fear

Status Effects

Status Effects are divided into two broad categories: Physical and Mental. Physical effects affect your body in some way, such as causing deafness, blindness or exhaustion. Mental effects affect your mind, such as by confusing, sealing or distressing you.

When suffering or rolling to resist Physical Status Effects, you test Toughness; when suffering or rolling to resist Mental Status Effects you roll Willpower.

Many status effects bear a Super Hit Bonus. When making attacks against targets with these effects, you increase your Super Hit Threshold by the amount listed. These effects stack.

Note that common sense is to be used in regards to the curing of status effects. A character who has been temporarily blinded due to, for example, an ability or a flash-bang can be cured with a Re Patra spell. However, a character who has been blinded due to, for example, having no eyes cannot be cured in any way that doesn't involve somehow giving them perfectly functioning eyes.
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Physical Status Effects

Name Effect Super Hit Threshold Duration
Bleeding You roll Toughness once per round. On a failure, you take 1 Rending Critical Damage to body (ignoring soak). - Until staunched
Blinded You auto-fail BS tests, take a -30 to WS, Parry and Dodge, and if you make a Charge or Run movement, you must test Agility or fall. +20 Until Cured or wears off
Crippled (X) Affects a location. If you perform anything more than a Half Action per round, you take X rending damage to that location, ignoring soak. - Until the end of the Encounter, or until you are healed of all wounds.
Dazed You may take only a single half action on your turn. Furthermore, enemy attacks against you take a +10 bonus to hit. +10 Until Cured or wears off
Deafened You auto-fail any test that relies on hearing. Enemy attacks against you take a +10 bonus to hit. +10 Until Cured or wears off
Debilitated The TP costs of all your Physical abilities are doubled. - Until Cured or wears off
Enervated All characteristic scores take a -20 penalty, and you must test toughness once per round or take a level of fatigue. +20 Until Cured or wears off
Exhausted All characteristic tests take a -10 penalty (stacks with Fatigue), and you take an extra 1d10 damage on all attacks that do damage. TP replenishment is halved. Any tests made in Narrative Time take twice as long. +25 Until fatigue is reduced below Toughness Bonus
Exposed Same as prone, except you cannot dodge, and if whilst Exposed you are hit with another Exposed effect, they test Toughness or are stunned for 1 round. - Until you stand up
Frozen You take a -20 penalty to Dodge and Parry tests. +30 Start of sufferer's next turn
Helpless Attacks auto-hit you and do double damage. - Until source of helplessness is removed
Immobilized Cannot move, -20 to parry, auto fail Dodge +25 Until Cured, wears off or source of immobility is removed
Magic Poison Test TB-20 per round. On a failure, take 1d10 damage per round, ignores AP or TB, cannot do critical damage. Any damage dealt in excess of wounds deals Toughness decay instead. - Until Cured
Prone Enemies take +10 WS to hit you and -10 BS to hit you unless they're Point Blank. You take a -10 to WS and a -20 to dodge. +10 Until you stand up
Shocked You take a -20 penalty to Dodge and Parry tests. +30 Start of sufferer's next turn
Stunned May take no actions, enemies take a +20 bonus to hit you. Replaces Dazed. +20 Until Cured or wears off

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Mental Status Effects

Name Effect Super Hit Threshold Duration
Addled Whenever you make an action or reaction with the Concentration subtype, you must test Willpower. On a failure, nothing happens and the action is wasted. - Until Cured or wears off
Charmed You are now controlled by the caster, who can give simple commands as a free action ("Attack that target" or "Retreat", for example). You may still make Reaction actions against attacks not from the caster. - Until cured, you snap out of it or the source is removed
Confused Roll on the hallucinogenic table. Enemies take a +10 bonus to hit you +20 Until cured, wears off or you are struck with an attack
Distressed You must make WP tests to act on their turn, and will flee at top speed if you fail. If you pass, you may make another WP test as a half action to remove Distressed. You may take evasion actions no matter what. Bonuses/Penalties vs. Fear affect bonuses/penalties vs. Distress. +25 Until cured, you snap out of it or the source is removed
Dominated You are completely controlled by the caster, and can do nothing without his permission. The caster may split his actions with you (eg. Giving one of his half actions to you). You may not act unless the caster grants you one of these actions. You may make a +20 Willpower Test if an order is particularly suicidal or self-harming. +20 Until cured, you snap out of it or the source is removed
Frenzied +10 to WS, Strength, Toughness and WP, but cannot parry, dodge or use Persona abilities, and must attack the nearest foe. May make a free WP test once per turn to remove effect. +15 Until Cured, you snap out of it, or all enemies are dead
Sealed Cannot use Magical Abilities - Until Cured or wears off

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