Combat is simple and fast, meaning people die quickly. While there are real world cases of people taking great deals of punishment and living the reality is long fights in RPGs are boring and time consuming. No one wants to sneak up put their knife to the guards throat and then spend fifteen minutes rolling attacks and parries since he was only able to nick the guard with his knife. After a while all the characters are packing bazookas as sidearms trying to get an edge in a fight. The flip side is, combat is deadly and if you rush too much trying to hit that guy and miss, he might not.
First thing to determine when starting a fight is if everyone involved knows there’s a fight. Back-shooting may not sound romantic, but it is a good way to win. Sometimes this is predetermined, there’s no way for the victim to detect the attack, other times it requires a stealth vs. awareness check, and sometimes it’s simply not possible (target has sixth sense). If the target is surprised the attacker gets one attack roll before determining initiative.
If there isn’t surprise, or after a surprise action initiative is determined. Characters roll a d10 and add the result to their Reflexes (and combat sense if a solo). The character with the highest total goes first and after their action is resolved the next highest is resolved and so on until everyone has had a turn then the next round starts.
Sometimes going first is more important than being accurate. A character may add up to 5 points to initiative for a round, but takes a 5 point penalty to all other actions that round.
During their turn a character can do one action at no penalty. A character holding a weapon in each hand could try to use both of them at -5 to each, or a character could move while acting taking a -5 (trying to move and fire 2 guns would give a -10 penalty).
A character can move 30 feet in a round (10 mph), but if trying to do something while moving they take a -5 penalty. The same applies if trying to shoot from a moving vehicle. Fast Moving targets are hard to hit though characters shooting at moving targets take a -1 penalty to hit per 10 mph of the target.
Firing a gun or other ranged weapon is a simple action. Roll a d10 and add the character’s firearms skill and Reflexes plus any bonuses or penalties. If the target is in close combat range (about 3 ft) a 5 or better hits, although they may attempt to parry at that range. Short range (1/4 the listed range) requires a 10 to hit, Medium range (1/2 the listed range) requires a 15 to hit, Long range (listed range) requires a 20 to hit, Extreme range (double the listed) requires a 25 to hit.
Range and Damage
At point blank a firearm does maximum damage. At extreme range it does half damage. Neither of these apply to explosives.
The difficulty to hit in melee combat is 5, but any opponent aware of the attack may defend using melee, martial arts, or fencing. Defending does count as an action, although an opponent who approached and attacked after the characters action can be defended against at -5, if the attacker was already in melee range and ignored the target gets no defense.
Sometimes a more or less lethal attack is desired or the opponent has armor that a character would like to avoid. By taking an extra action and a -5 penalty on the attack roll a character may try to hit a specific location. If the character isn’t pressed for time they may combine the aiming action with the called shot taking three total actions, but then only taking a -2 to the called shot.
Spending an extra action readying a shot will give the shooter a 3 point bonus to hit as long as nothing happens to interrupt them before the shot is made. This cannot be done with paired weapons, when defending from melee, or riding in a moving vehicle.
Going Full Auto
For every 10 rounds expended in a burst the shooter gets a 1 point bonus to hit, if attempting to sweep more than one target with a burst the attack is -5 per target shot at. If a target is hit with a burst and the attacker beats the target number by 5 or more an additional round hits the target for every extra 5 rolled.
Firing into an area to prevent movement or return fore is suppression. Divide the number of rounds fired into the suppression area by the width of the suppression area in yards and this is the difficulty to move through the area using athletics skill (note the 5 point penalty for moving and using athletics) a failure means the character is hit, a failure by five or more means they are hit by more than 1 round. Attempting to fire out of suppression zone applies a -5 penalty to firearms and athletics checks (-10 if moving).
A character can announce a specific action to trigger based on some change, such as I shoot anyone coming through that door. In these cases the character must continue to hold the action until the trigger even occurs, but then gets to interrupt the action with their pre-stated action (when someone goes to move through the door the character gets to shoot before they get to finish their movement). A character holding to see what will happen cannot interrupt an action, but may take their turn after an announced action is resolved.
When a character is hit they take damage, depending on what they were hit with the damage could be a very small range like half a d6 or a very large amount of damage like 2d6x10. Determine damage location by rolling a d10 with 1 being the head (double damage), 2 being right arm, 3 being left arm, 4-6 being the torso, 7-8 being the right leg and 9-0 being the left leg. Damage done is then recorded next to the body location, a character takes a penalty to all actions equal to the damage they’ve taken. If the damage in an area is greater than the character’s body that part is disabled. If the disabled part is the torso or head the character is dying (roll a d10 plus body each round, if the roll is less than total damage taken the character dies). A medicine roll with a target number equal to the damage the character has taken will stabilize them, but not bring them back to consciousness.
Since it takes very little damage to kill someone most characters will want armor. Armor has a rating (AR or Armor Rating) that represents how much damage it stops from each attack. Enough armor will render an attack harmless, but armor gets cumbersome and armor that covers the entire body is very obvious. Heavy armors have a Penalty rating which is subtracted from Reflexes while the armor is worn, so the armored character gets slower and less accurate.
Energy weapons, railguns, and shaped charges are always armor piercing, while conventional handguns are never armor piercing. An armor piercing attack treats armor as 1/2 and may damage the armor. A character with 12 armor would subtract 12 from a shot from a regular 9mm or beer bottle, but only 6 from the damage of a 7.62mm AP round or laser.
Armor Piercing attacks doing 10 or more damage remove 1 point of armor rating per 10 full points of damage done (Which explains the big capital ships pounding each other with cannons for a while before one is defeated).
Stun damage causes penalties like real damage, but is not location specific and doesn’t result in death. If Stun Damage exceeds Cool the character becomes unconscious.
A character normally heals 1 point of real damage a day and 1 point of stun damage per minute. Doctors and supernatural healing abilities can speed these rates up. A successful first aid check will heal 1 point of damage in a minute or three points of stun in a minute. Full medical care will heal as much damage as the attending physician has ranks of Medicine in one day.
Smoke, darkness, sand, water, and other things can make fighting inconvenient. In general poor lighting is worth a -1 to -5 penalty as is smoke and rain or other inclement conditions. Total blindness/visual obscurement is a -10 penalty and the character must correctly guess where the target is to make an attack roll.
Body Type Modifier
|Body plus Strength||Description||Damage Modifier|
|2||Very Weak||Subtract 2|
|9-10||Very Strong||Add 2|