Initiative Total: Weapon Initiative Modifiers (and any other modifiers specific to one type of action) do not apply to normal Initiative Totals. A character’s initiative order is not affected by the speed of her first action the combat.
Attack Total: This campaign makes use of a series of miscellaneous modifiers for Attack totals.
• Melee attacker has high ground (but is not mounted) ( + 1)
• Melee attacker is prone ( – 1)
• Melee defender is prone ( + 1)
• Ranged attacker (or her mount) moved in this or the prior round ( – 2)
• Ranged defender is running (moved twice in this or the prior round) ( – 1)
• Ranged defender is in melee (or in forward stance) ( – 1 per assailant, up to – 3)
• Ranged defender is prone ( – 1)
• Ranged defender is at least half covered or concealed ( – 2)
Defense Total: Instead of rolling a stress die to defend against each attack, simply add six. This “straight-six” is not treated as a roll result so any roll bonuses or penalties will not apply. Most importantly, this prevents wound penalties and Confidence Point bonuses from affecting Defense Totals. The cascading effect of multiple wounds is instead produced by the new wounds rules, below.
Damage Total: Damage Totals for ranged weapons (other than thrown weapons) include Perception instead of Strength.
Interrupting: If a delaying character wishes to interrupt someone else’s action, both make opposed initiative rolls to determine who acts first. This roll includes Weapon Initiative Modifiers where appropriate, or other action-specific initiative modifiers like the bonus from the Fast Caster Virtue.
Movement: A character can move and perform a significant action (like casting a spell or attacking with a weapon) during her turn in the initiative order. If it becomes important to determine how far she can move, the distance is calculated in paces: 12 + Quickness – Encumbrance – total Wound and Fatigue penalties, to a minimum of 3 paces. A character can forego her significant action in order to move a second time during her turn. A mounted character uses her mount’s speed in place of her own; instead of moving, she uses the effort to direct her mount to move.
This campaign only uses the group combat rules in rare circumstances, typically when only one player character is involved. Otherwise, combat in this campaign is very individualized.
Normal combat in this chronicle uses simple stances to determine the relative positions of combatants. Only during special occasions is the battle mat taken out to better represent complex terrain or larger, multi-faction conflicts.
Free-Form Combat (Stances): At the start of each round, each player must declare if her character is attempting to take a rearward stance. (All other characters take a forward stance.)
Rearward characters are farther from the action. They are protected from the rush of foes and can more easily cast spells or make ranged attacks. Characters in the forward stance are harder-pressed. They cannot use two-handed ranged weapons. And forward stance spellcasters must pass a Hard (ease factor 12) Concentration check after any successfully spell casting or their spells are disrupted without effect. The ease factor goes up to 15 for any spellcaster who has already suffered damaged on this round.
On open ground, each forward ally can block about two forward enemies. Choke points in the terrain, like narrow hallways, can reduce the number of forward blockers needed, at the discretion of the storyguide, to a minimum of one. Characters cannot take a rearward stance unless there are enough blocking (forward) allies or if the enemies are not engaging in close-combat tactics. If more forward allies are needed, the characters must negotiate among themselves who else will forego the rearward stance, assuming there are enough of them to do so.
Rushing (Stances): Characters in rearward stance can be targeted at range without any penalty by missile weapons, spells, and the like. A melee attacker can only reach a rearward person by rushing; she must beat one of the forward defending characters in an opposed stress roll of Size + Strength as part of her attack. Rushing must be rolled for each close attack made against a rearward foe. The rushing character usually chooses which in a line of defenders she attempts to pass, but in the case of multiple rushes against multiple defenders, the storyguide will require the attempts to be spread roughly evenly against each defender. A mounted character uses her mount’s Size + Strength rating in place of her own. Quadrupeds get a + 4 bonus to rushing rolls due to their stability.
Staged Combat (Battle Mat): A mat sectioned into 1-inch squares represents the “field of battle.” Each square roughly corresponds to a 5-foot by 5-foot area. Characters and creatures are represented on the field of battle with miniatures (or similar place-holder objects or counters). Unless a creature is immobile, it isn’t considered to have a front or side—at least not one you can locate on the tabletop.
Each creature occupies 1 square on the battlefield, though creatures of size + 3 or more take up 2 or more squares, as decided by the storyguide. It takes 2 paces of movement for a character to move 1 square vertically or horizontally (up, down, left, or right). Diagonal movement takes 3 paces of movement per square. All movement is made before or after taking any other action.
A character can pass through a square occupied by a friendly creature but cannot end her turn there. A character can also pass through a square occupied by a hostile creature, but must invoke the rules for rushing (below) for each creature she tries to pass. (Failure stops her prior to entering the hostile square and ends her movement there.) Dead, unconscious, bound, cowering, or otherwise-inert creatures do not block movement or occupy squares for these purposes.
Rushing (Battle Mat): To pass through a square occupied by a hostile creature, both the rusher and the defender make opposed rushing rolls. These are stress roll of Strength + Size. (A mounted character uses her mount’s statistics when rushing, and quadrupedal creatures add + 4 to their rolls due to their stability.) The rusher must subtract 3 from her roll for every prior rush roll she made during her movement this round. If the rusher’s result is higher, or the defender opts not to block her way, the defender passes through that square. Alternately, a successful rusher can end her movement in the occupied square, forcing the defender into an adjacent square of its choice.
This campaign uses two new rules to limit the number of injuries required to kill or incapacitate.
Wound Limits: Characters may no longer have any number of any type of wound. Now characters can have a maximum of 2 Incapacitating Wounds, 3 Heavy Wounds, 4 Medium Wounds, and 5 Light Wounds. A character that suffers a wound size of which she is already at her maximum instead suffers a wound of the next higher size that she still has the capacity to suffer.
Example: During a lengthy combat, Storshia suffers five Light Wounds. She then suffers another Light Wound, after Soak considerations. Because she cannot suffer any more Light Wounds, she instead takes a Medium Wound. If she had already taken four Medium Wounds too, she would instead suffer a Heavy Wound.
Creatures above Size + 2 (or below Size – 2) may have a higher (or lower) wound capacity than normal.
Soak Limits: Every successful hit inflicts at least a Light Wound, unless the target’s Soak Total doubles the attack’s Damage Total + Attack Advantage.
Example: Storshia has a Soak Total of 8 because she is wearing a full suit of metal scale armor and she has a Stamina rating of 1. She suffers a hit in combat with a Damage Total + Attack Advantage of 7, enough to inflict a Medium Wound on an unarmored person. Her Soak Total reduces the wound calculation to 0, but because it is not 14 or higher (double the Damage Total + Attack Advantage), a Light Wound is received.
In the case of damage from spells, the minimum of one Light Wound can be avoided if Soak is at least double the damage bonus of the spell, discounting the added roll.