Combat, at its core, is quite straightforward. To make an attack, roll and determine the outcome. Next, add your skill rating and apply any bonuses or penalties (Wound Penalties, modifiers due to circumstances, etc.). Subtract any defensive action, such as a dodge or parry. If the final outcome is positive, you have hit the target. The final number will also be used as the base damage for that particular target.

Numerous situational modifiers may complicate a battle. These usually provide a bonus or penalty no greater than 3. If the modifier is greater than 3, then the attempt is typically an automatic success or failure.

A critical success on an attack is treated as a result of 5. A critical failure on an attack is always a miss.

Multiple Actions

Characters who take multiple actions suffer a penalty to all actions equal to the number of actions taken. For example, starting a car and firing a pistol would require a roll for each, with a -2 penalty applied to each roll.

Actions that attack or evade multiple targets are always considered to be multiple actions. Thus, they suffer a penalty equal to the number of targets being attacked or evaded (plus the number of other actions being taken, if any).

When firing single shots or 3-round bursts, you are limited to engaging a maximum of 3 targets (with normal penalties for multiple actions).

It is not possible to use this rule to move twice, since the movement roll indicates the maximum distance you can cover during the turn.


A character may spend a turn aiming a firearm or bow at a stationary target, with each turn providing a cumulative +1 bonus to the attack, for a maximum of +3.

Cover and Concealment

Cover imposes a penalty from -1 to -3, depending on the amount of cover. Extremely good cover, such as a firing port that opens very briefly and then closes, may prevent an effective attack unless the attacker takes special measures (such as running up to the firing port and preparing to shoot through it as soon as it opens).

Concealment serves to prevent the attacker from pinpointing the target. If the attacker can pinpoint the target, then attacking that target may incur no penalty, or at most a -1 penalty, depending on circumstances. Even an invisible target can be attacked effectively if pinpointed. Penalties from cover and concealment do not stack.

Firing from behind cover imposes a -1 penalty. Firing from concealment may impose a -1 penalty if the concealment impairs the attacker's vision.

If the attacker is able to fire through cover, the cover may actually be concealment. Alternately, the cover may provide some level of armor (if it slows the bullet, for example, absorbing some of the kinetic energy that would otherwise go into the impact). If cover is considered armor, it stacks with both integral armor and worn armor.


If you are attacking a defender who is using a shield, you may attempt to strike around the shield, incurring a -1 penalty to attack (due to cover), or you may attempt to strike through the shield, in which case the shield provides 3 points of armor and stacks with both integral armor and worn armor.

If the defender has a shield and is also using cover, the total penalty from the shield and from the cover cannot exceed -3.

To be effective, the shield must be strapped to the defender’s arm, and the defender’s hand is considered occupied while employing the shield. However, using a shield as a passive defense does not require an action.

Because your shield is strapped to your arm, you cannot drop it as a free action. Unstrapping your shield requires an action, and may be impossible without assistance if your other arm is injured or occupied.

Putting on a shield often requires more than one action. For example, if the shield is on your back, you must spend one action to take it off your back and a second action to strap it to your arm, and both hands must be empty to perform either action.

A shield worn on your left arm is effective against opponents to your front and to your left front flank. It is not effective against opponents to your right front flank, to your rear, or to your rear flanks. Typically this means it is effective against no more than two opponents – although the second opponent is likely to circle behind you unless circumstances prevent this.

It is possible to parry or attack with a shield. This is covered by the standard rules for parrying and attacking. If you parry or attack with your shield, then the defensive benefits of the shield apply only against the opponent you are parrying or attacking, and cannot apply to more than one opponent.

A buckler is smaller than a standard shield. Bucklers do not provide the passive defensive benefits of larger shields; they do not provide either cover or armor. A buckler can be used to parry or attack, as with any other weapon. If you parry with a buckler, you receive a +1 bonus to your parry. A buckler does not have to be strapped to your arm and can be dropped as a free action.

If you are carrying a shield and an opponent attempts to grapple you, you do not receive a free defensive roll against the grapple; the defensive roll costs you an action. This is because the opponent can grab your shield and leverage it against you (by pushing it into you, for example), making the grapple much easier for the attacker. This does not apply to bucklers, which can be easily dropped and are too small to provide the attacker with significant leverage.

Burst Fire

A 3-round burst (or a shotgun firing buckshot at close range) grants a +1 bonus to the attack.


To hold a target, make an Unarmed attack opposed by a Physique or Unarmed Combat check (defender's choice). (This does not use the target's action; if they have not acted this turn, they still have their action available. Exception: It does use the target's action if the target is carrying a shield.) If successful, the target is now held, unable to take actions beyond a) harming you, or b) breaking the hold. You can continue to make attacks on the target, but cannot move or defend yourself without releasing the grapple. Note that maintaining a grapple requires an action each turn.

To pin a target, you must make a successful grapple attack against a target which is already grappled. A pinned target can take no actions other than attempting to break the hold. It is possible to grapple and then pin a target in a single turn by taking multiple actions (with appropriate penalties).

To break a hold, the target must make a Physique or Unarmed Combat check (as they prefer) opposed by an Unarmed Combat skill check by the attacker (with a tie indicating that the target breaks free of the grapple).

A garrote is a grapple attack at a -1 penalty. Success indicates the target is grappled and damage is inflicted each turn (including the first). The Damage Bonus is +2.


A feint is an opposed Melee or Unarmed Combat check and, if successful, causes one person to believe that you are attacking that person, when you aren’t actually doing so. To feint, the target must be within range of a Melee or Unarmed Combat attack (about 5 feet). It is possible to feint more than once, and it is possible to feint against multiple targets.

Feinting is an action; the penalty for multiple actions applies as normal. The defensive roll to realize that the attacker is feinting is not considered an action; thus, the penalty for multiple actions does not apply.

Example of Combat

In the final room, the surviving Contractors see the prize on a pedestal; whomever claims it wins the Game. Player 1, 2, and 3 all think: If I can surprise the others, I can win. Naturally, no one is surprised when the guns come out.

Player 1 rolls a 2 and adds his Discipline (+3); Player 2 rolls a 2 and adds Discipline (+2), Player 3 rolls a terrible -2 and adds Discipline (+3).

Results: Player 1: 5, Player 2: 4, Player 3: 1

Player 3 declares first. Gritting his teeth, he pulls his gun and shoots at Player 1, trusting in his Pain Tolerance to see him through.

Player 2 knows futility when she sees it; she declares a defensive action, bolting out of the room.

Player 1 sees that Player 3 is drawing his gun and Player 2 is running away. He coolly draws his pistol and fires at Player 3. His action is resolved first. Since no one is attacking Player 2, she successfully runs out as fast as her Competent Physique can carry her.

Player 1 rolls a 0. He has Ranged at Professional level (+3). He does not have time to aim, so he does not receive the bonus for aiming. The GM decides that there are no situational modifiers in this particular case. His result is 3.

Since Player 3 has already declared that he is firing, he cannot dodge; the bullet strikes him. Now that a hit has been scored, the damage bonus of +3 is applied, resulting in 6 levels of damage. Player 3 has 1 point of armor, which is subtracted from the damage. Thus, the net result is 5. Player 3 is now Critically Wounded; he cannot walk. He would suffer a -3 penalty to all rolls, but his Pain Tolerance obviates the penalty.

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