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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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.


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 if they have a Deflector; or if they have a Reaction, try to dodge, parry or point defend. If they pass their test, then they evade the attack. If the Attack Action was one that scored multiple hits per Test, then they evade one hit per Degree of Success. The Enemy may only attempt a single Evasion action against an attack. 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 Critical Hit. 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 Critical Hit. Make a test with the same score you used for the Attack Test, but without any of the Modifiers. If you pass, then if you dealt damage past the target's soak, you roll a 1d5 and consult the Lethal Damage chart; the target suffers the listed effect, but does not count as actually taking Lethal Damage (ie. if you deplete them to 0 wounds, you have to deal Lethal Damage regularly.) If, however, the attack deals no damage past the target's soak, then it simply does 1 point of damage.
  • 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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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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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 60 squares 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 4-600 squares. 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 200 squares equivalent of damage; if they started at Low they take 60 squares instead.
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Characters can be granted Deflectors, which are shields that automatically repel incoming attacks.

Deflectors have a strength rating, represented as a number such as 50 or 100. Whenever you are attacked, you can choose to make a Deflector test, with the Deflector's strength being its success threshold. This works exactly like other forms of evasion, in that each DoS negates 1 hit. However, Deflectors are Free Actions, and can be used as many times as you wish. However, you can still only perform one Evasion action against a single attack, so unless the Deflector has a special rule, you can choose to Deflect or Parry, Dodge or Point Defend. You don't get to test Deflect and Dodge/Parry both.

If you have multiple sources of Deflectors, you take the strongest and completely ignore any others. Any mechanic that weakens your Deflectors weakens every source equally.


Ailments are special modifiers that apply a detrimental effect to a target.

Characteristic Decay

Characteristic Decay occurs when a character suffers an ailment or injury that lowers one of their characteristic scores. The decay is not permanent, but wears off at the end of the cycle.
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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, Ranged Half Action This action allows you to make multiple hits with a ranged weapon, and requires a Ranged 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 BS+10 test, 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 within 10 squares of the original target, and aren't harder to hit than the original target.
Flurry Attack, Melee Half Action This action allows you to make multiple hits with a melee weapon, and requires a Melee 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 test, 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 also within range, and aren't harder to hit than the original target.
Called Shot Attack, Melee or Ranged Half Action You make a single 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 4 square 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, but regardless of if you succeed or fail, you take a -30 penalty to all 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, Bursts and Flurries. You can also choose weapons to be fired on Burst or Flurry, 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.
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.
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.)
Suppressive Fire Attack, Ranged Full Action This action requires you to possess a weapon with either Semi or Full Auto capacity. You declare a kill zone, which is a 30 degree arc (if firing semi-auto) or a 60 degree arc (if firing full auto) in the direction you are facing. As part of the action, you fire either a Semi or Full auto burst, with a -20 penalty in place of any bonuses. Any enemies within the arc (regardless of hits) make a Pinning Test with a -10 penalty (for semi-auto) or a -20 penalty (for full-auto); on a failure they are pinned. If you succeed on your BS test, the GM randomly allocates hits with your weapon to targets within the kill zone, with every 2 degrees of success resulting in an extra hit on another random victim to the max of semi/full capacity. Burst attacks jam on a 94 or higher.
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: Activate Power Full Action You may activate a single Full Action or less Power that you possess, following all the normal rules for AT Field Powers The target of this Power does not need to be the other participant in a grapple; however, Powers that would physically move you may not be used.
- 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.
Guard Mode Attack, Melee Full Action Until the start of your next turn, enemies take a -20 penalty to attacks and Critical Confirm tests against you.
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.
Special Starship Attack Options
Boarding Attack, Melee Half Action This can only be done on other Starships. You make a WS test, modified by your Marines. The target may evade by dodging, deflecting or by using the 'Repel Boarders' action. Should they fail to evade, you deal damage as per your Marines' profile to the enemy ship's Hull, ignoring AP and TB. This attack has the Subdual quality.
Ram 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 4 square long straight line. Once you reach your target, you make a single melee attack by taking a WS test with a +20 bonus. The target may dodge or deflect, but not parry; either way, their dodge counts as a Free Action. Should you hit them, you deal 1d10+SB Impact damage, adding double your size to Damage and Penetration. After this, the enemy automatically inflicts a hit on you, dealing 1d10+SB impact damage and adding their Size once to Damage and Penetration.

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