Combat Rules #
In general, every attack involves rolling 3d6 + Level + Volition + Escalation. Various effects can give bonuses beyond this as well, but they’re rare. You compare your total to the target’s AC, PD, or MD as specified in the attack. If your roll matches that value or is higher, you hit. If you roll a Natural 17+, you Crit, which typically deals double damage. If you roll less than the value, you miss. If you roll a Natural 3, you Crit Fail, meaning you have no miss effects and might cause some other negative thing to happen.
If an ability requires you to make attack rolls against multiple targets, roll multiple attacks. Some abilities may also require you to roll all attacks before determining damage for any of them.
Basic Attacks #
Basic Melee Attack
Melee, At-Will, Standard
Make an attack vs. AC on an engaged target.
Hit: X x Level + Volition, where X is the damage die indicated by your stance.
Miss: None or Damage equal to your Level (see each Class).
Basic Ranged Attack
Ranged, At-Will, Standard
Make an attack vs. AC on a target within your stance’s range.
Hit: X x Level + Volition, where X is the damage die indicated by your stance.
Miss: None or Damage equal to your Level (see each Class).
The purpose of most attacks is to deal damage. This subtracts from the target’s hit points. Damage from attacks rises with your Level and Tier, and is largely dependent on your weapon’s damage die and your Volition. When rolling damage, you may find that determining the result of a large number of dice is a tough proposition. When you’re rolling 5 or more dice, consider the following options:
- Just Roll Them Out: This works well if you’re quick at addition, if it’s a particularly dramatic moment, or when using an online dice roller.
- Average Many of Them: Take the average of half or more of the dice and roll the rest (see the chart to the right). It’s usually ideal to leave 2-4 dice un-averaged to avoid making the game into a solved system.
- Multiply a Die: Instead of rolling YdX, roll 1dX and multiply the result by Y. Use multiples of 5 and 10 when doing this: for example, if you’re rolling 10d6, you could instead convert that into 10 x 1d6. You can combine this with normal rolling: for example, if you’re going to roll 6d8, you could instead roll 5 x 1d8 + 1d8. Bear in mind that this will give much swingier results unless used with a multiple (like 2d8 x 10).
Averages for even-damage die rolls are below. Columns are the die type and rows are the number of dice: for example, the average of 4d6 would be the row labeled 4 and the column labeled d6.
Damage Types #
There are a number of damage types specified by attacks, resistances, and weakness. If unspecified, the type of the damage is assumed to be weapon.
-Acid: Damage from exposure to corrosive liquids or gases. -Cold: Damage from severe drops in heat and frostbite. -Fire: Damage from extreme heat and burns. -Force: Damage from raw magical energy. -Lightning: Damage from electricity. -Necrotic: Damage from rot, poison, and unholiness. -Psychic: Damage from abilities that attack your mind, thoughts, or emotions. -Radiant: Damage from light or a divine source. -Thunder: Damage from very loud noise, literal or mental. -Weapon: Damage from contact with tangible objects such as slashing, stabbing, blunt trauma, etc.
Resistance and Weakness #
Some characters and enemies have Resistance to a damage type. This is noted as Resist [damage type] X+. If an attack’s Natural roll result is less than X, it deals half damage. X is typically 12 or less for low resistance, 13-14 for medium, and 15 for heavy.
Some characters and enemies are Weak to a damage type. This means that attacks against them that deal damage of that type (including attacks that deal multiple types of damage) crit on a 16+. If they’re also Vulnerable, those attacks crit on a 15+.
Combat Sequence #
At the start of an encounter, determine which Initiative band each player and enemy is in.
Surprise and Ambushes #
In general, if one party was more aware than another party, they can act first. Two characters of the ambushing party’s choice may act in the Surprise Round. After this round, initiative proceeds as normal. If this is an explicit ambush performed by PCs, it might be appropriate to start the Escalation die at 1 in the first real combat round.
Initiative Bands #
Each Initiative band during a round is played out in order: Very Fast, Fast, Medium, Slow, Very Slow. For each initiative band, if there are PCs in that Initiative band, they go in any order, then any enemies in that Initiative band go in any order.
For example, there are five PCs (one Fast, two Medium, two Slow) and five enemies (two Medium, three Slow). The Fast Initiative PC acts first, then the two Medium Initiative PCs act in an order of their choosing, then the two Medium Initiative enemies act, then the two Slow Initiative PCs act, and finally the three Slow Initiative enemies act.
Most PCs and enemies will be Fast, Medium, or Slow.
Escalation Die #
At the start of the second round, the Escalation Die is put on the table. At the beginning of each subsequent round, it’s increased by 1, to a maximum of 6. This number is added to all PC attacks (and sometimes NPCs), and some abilities key off of the value of the die.
Some abilities key off the escalation die being even or odd. When the escalation die is 0, it counts as neither.
Delaying your Turn #
On your turn, you can choose to delay until a certain Initiative band that’s lower than your current one. Your Initiative band is set to that one for the rest of the encounter. This can’t be used to interrupt anyone else’s action.
Readying an Action #
On your turn, you can choose to Ready a Quick, Move, or Standard action by specifying the action and a trigger. The readied action takes place immediately before the action that triggers it, possibly interrupting it depending on your action. If you take the readied action in the same round, your Initiative band is set to whatever Initiative band you took the action on (right before the triggering character or enemy). If you take your readied action in the next round prior to your turn, you can’t use the type of action you readied during your turn that round, but your Initiative band is reset to the higher amount after your turn.
During your turn, you can take one Quick Action, one Move Action, and one Standard Action. You can also take a handful of free actions as well (but don’t push your luck).
At the end of your turn, take any ongoing damage, then make saves for any save ends effects.
When it’s not your turn, you may take one Interrupt action before the start of your next turn.
Action Types #
These are the types of actions. Between Quick/Move/Standard, you may substitute better actions for less good ones (Standard for Move, or Move for Quick).
- Standard: The main thing you’re doing in a round. Oftentimes, this is an attack or a powerful spell.
- Move: Actions that involve moving, including disengagement, or actions that are halfway between your primary action and a .
- Quick: Small actions like switching stances/weapons, opening an unlocked door, or performing some quick actions.
- Free: Very minor actions, or actions that are triggered from other actions. Some actions can trigger certain kinds of these outside of your turn (such as Intercept or Opportunity Attack), but typically a free action that you have to initiate has to be on your turn.
- Interrupt: You can use one of these per round outside of your turn. These are generally limited to powers which specify the conditions under which you can use them as an Interrupt.
Ability Entries #
Most actions are phrased as Abilities. They’re usually formatted as such:
Type, Frequency, Action
Provokes, Sustain X, Spend X Power, Escalation X+, Other
Name and Description speak for themselves. As for the rest:
Name and Description speak for themselves. As for the rest:
- Type: This can be empty, but usually indicates if the Power is Ranged, Spell, or Melee. Some abilities are triggered or triggerable by using actions with certain Types. Some classes have a custom Type for actions that’s usually a subset of one of those 3.
- Frequency: This indicates how often you can use this ability. At-Will means you can use it every turn as long as you spend the action and meet all requirements. Encounter means it’s replenished at the next Quick Rest or Full Rest. Daily means it’s replenished during a Full Rest. Recharge means that the power is like a Daily power, but at any Quick Rest, you roll the Recharge indicated (9+, 11+, or 13+) to see if the ability is Replenished.
- Action: Standard, Move, Quick, Free, or Interrupt. If this is Interrupt or Free, there’s typically a triggering event indicated.
- Provokes: Using this ability provokes Opportunity Attacks from engaged enemies.
- Sustain: To maintain this ability, roll the noted Sustain using the same action as initiating it. Otherwise, it expires at the end of your turn.
- Spend X Power: You have to spend X Power to activate this ability. For characters that have a secondary Power resource like Momentum or Command that acts as Power, this is indicated as Spend X Secondary/Power.
- Escalation X+: This can only be used if the Escalation die is X or higher. If (see special) or something similar is indicated, this means that it’s usable below the indicated Escalation, but there’s some ability or caveat that activates above or below the noted Escalation value.
- Other: Some classes have special abilities (such as Blaspheme) that will be noted here.
Allies and Enemies #
Enemies are anyone or anything in an encounter that a character would want to inflict harm on or attack, be they actual enemies or inanimate objects. Anything that specifies targeting enemies can be used to target allies as well if you have ill intent towards them.
Allies is the term used for other characters friendly to a character. It does not apply to the character themselves by default, only their friends.
Positioning and Movement #
Movement is abstracted greatly, and largely concerns itself with general and relative positioning for the purposes of movement and ranges.
- Engaged/Next To: Targets who are engaged are at very short range with each other, which allows them to make close-range attacks on each other freely but puts limits on other actions (such as ranged attacks or movement). For two allies, Next To is used, because they’re (presumably) not going to restrict each other in the same way.
- Nearby: If two characters are Nearby each other, they can be next to/engaged with each other with one move action. If you’re Nearby another character and Free, you can intercept attacks intended for them if you’re free. Abilities that target a Nearby ally/enemy may also target characters that are Engaged/Next To you.
- Far: If two characters are Far to each other, they can be next to/engaged with each other with two move actions or Nearby each other with one move action.
Free and Engaged #
A character is considered Free if not engaged with any enemies. This means they can freely move and not provoke Opportunity Attacks for various actions. They can also Intercept a melee attack intended for someone who’s Nearby to them.
A character who’s Engaged with an enemy is restricted in a few major ways: they can’t Intercept enemy attacks, they can’t use Ranged Attacks or Ranged Spells without provoking Opportunity attacks, and they can’t move without provoking Opportunity Attacks unless they Disengage.
Disengaging and Popping Off #
Disengaging from an enemy or group of enemies is a move action, typically, though sometimes it can be a different kind of action when certain abilities indicate. To make a Disengage check, roll 3d6 against a Difficulty of 11 for one enemy. You can choose to Disengage from multiple enemies at once, in which case you add 1 to the Difficulty for every enemy past the first. If you fail the check, you lose your move action.
On a successful Disengage check, you Pop Off the enemies in question (meaning you are no longer engaged with them). You can then move as normal with a move action. Some abilities allow you to Pop Off of some enemies, skipping the Disengage check entirely.
Special Actions #
Dicey Moves #
If you want to do something with movement that might be risky or has a chance of failure, your character makes a Dicey Move as a move action. This involves rolling a skill check against an appropriate Difficulty for the environment. In some cases, the reward for this is obvious, but in others, performing a Dicey Move that has a point might give the character or an ally 1 Advantage on an attack performed right, deal some environmental damage, add a condition for a round, or give an ally 1 Advantage on Disengagement if it would make sense that the Dicey Move would help in some way.
As mentioned earlier, when you are Free and an ally is nearby or next to you and an enemy is trying to become engaged with them, you may Intercept that enemy as a Free Action. This stops their movement and puts them into engagement range with you. In most cases, any attack intended for your ally will now be directed towards you.
You cannot Intercept an enemy who is moving to Intercept.
Opportunity Attacks #
If an enemy engaged with you uses an ability with Provokes or moves without attempting to Disengage while you’re in a melee stance, they provoke an Opportunity Attack. This is a free action Basic Melee Attack. You can make any number of Opportunity Attacks in a round.
Fight in Spirit #
If your character is permanently out of a fight (like if they’re petrified or separated from the party) they can Fight in Spirit on their turn. This involves giving an ally advantage to attacks, advantage to saves, or disadvantage to attacks against that ally for 1 round as long as you can provide a reason every round for the bonus.
Fleeing is an action that the entire party can decide on at a given time. If the party comes to a consensus, every character can decide to retreat (along with any downed characters), but they receive a Campaign Loss: something major goes wrong in a way that simply trying again won’t fix. This should move the narrative forward, and is intended to be a setback to overcome.
As a Standard Action on your turn, you can choose to Rally. This lets you heal using a recovery and immediately attempt to save against one instance of ongoing damage or one save ends effect (or a 13+ save against a one-round effect). The save gains a bonus equal to Escalation.
Coup de Grace #
If you use a Standard Action to attack an engaged, helpless enemy and spend your Quick and Move actions alongside it, that attack crits as long as the attack only targets that enemy.
Damage and Recovery #
When you deal damage to an enemy, they subtract the damage from their Hit Points.
When a character or enemy is at half their hit points, they’re Staggered. For enemies, this can be slightly flexible based on the narrative circumstances, but it should be around half.
When a character is at 0 hp or less, they’re Dying. When an enemy is at 0 hp or less, they’re usually dead, though sometimes with some premeditation they can be knocked unconscious.
Each PC typically has a maximum of 8 Recoveries (but sometimes more). Most healing requires you to use a Recovery (though some magical healing can surpass this using a Free Recovery). Each PC has a base recovery amount based on their Class, Level, Vitality, and abilities.
If you would be healed but have no recoveries left, you can still be healed, but the amount is halved. In addition, every time you do this, you take -1 to Volition and all Defenses until a Full Rest.
Any character can either roll their recovery dice as-is or take average. When taking average, round each die down to the nearest value (so 2d8 becomes 2 x 4 = 8 instead of 2 x 4.5 = 9). The average is listed next to the die type.
NPCs are healed either 1d6 per level or 1d10 per level if it matters.
Dying and Death #
When a PC is at 0 hp or less, they’re Dying. This means that on their turn, they roll a Death Save, which is usually a 13+ Save. If the PC is dropped by a crit or put to negative hit points equal to half of their maximum, they gain 2 Disadvantage on their first Death Save.
- Success: Your character heals using a Recovery from 0 hp (regardless of what their Hit Points were at). They can act on their next turn.
- Crit: As Success, and the character can act immediately.
- Failure: Mark a failed Death Save down. If you fail four Death Saves in one encounter, your character dies.
Any healing brings a character back from dying (recover from 0 hp) as if they had succeeded at a Death Save. A character can also make another character not be at risk from death by taking a Standard Action to stabilize them. When stabilized, they still can’t act, but failed Death Saves don’t put them at risk of dying.
Depending on your preference, characters might only become unconscious instead of dying, but should only be able to be revived during a Full Rest.
Last Gasp Saves #
Last Gasp Saves are a kind of Death Save triggered by effects that have the potential to kill or disable a PC outright. When something tells you to start making Last Gasp saves, your character starts making Death Saves as if they were dropped below 0, and suffer the consequences from the effect. On a success, they maintain the HP they had at the start of the effect. Allies can’t bring someone back from Last Gasp saves with healing, but they can grant a save with a standard action that doesn’t count against the 4 total if it fails.
Resting and Recharging #
There are two kinds of rest: Quick Rest and Full Rest.
Quick Rest #
A Quick Rest is a small breather between significant events or encounters. You can heal using any number of recoveries during a Quick Rest, you restore every Encounter power, and you roll any Recharge powers.
Full Rest #
A Full Rest should only be taken at a narratively significant moment (and after 3-5 encounters). This usually involves some downtime, but sometimes this is just a moment where everyone can reflect on what happened. You reset all Hit Points, Recoveries, and Powers. The time between two Full Rests constitutes an adventuring “day”, and any Daily abilities are keyed to this. (If there’s a significant amount of downtime during an adventuring “day”, though, you might consider giving characters a Recovery or Daily ability back).
If a party can’t handle another encounter, they can declare a retreat to take a Full Rest. This invokes a Campaign Loss in the same way that Fleeing does (but sometimes it makes sense).
Conditions and Effects #
This is a list of common conditions and effects. Conditions with different names stack with each other (for example, a character who is Weakened and Dazed has 2 Disadvantage on attacks).
- Confused: If you make any attacks while Confused, on a Natural Odd Hit or Miss, you take half of any damage you deal. Calculate this before multiplying/dividing damage (such as for crits or resistance). If you use any non-attack abilities or attacks that don’t deal damage, roll an 11+ save; on a failure, you deal damage equal to your tier to yourself.
- Dazed: You gain 1 Disadvantage on attacks.
- Enervated: You gain 1 Disadvantage on saves.
- Flying/Flight: You can’t be intercepted except by enemies who also have Flying/Flight.
- Grabbed: You gain 1 Disadvantage to Disengage from the enemy grabbing you unless you’ve hit them with an attack this round, you can’t use Opportunity Attacks or Ranged Attacks/Spells, and the enemy grabbing you gains 1 Advantage to hit you.
- Hampered: You can only use basic attacks (for enemies, this is the first listed attack with any non-damage effects stripped away), make Opportunity Attacks, move, Rally, Sustain existing abilities, and use relationship dice.
- Helpless: You’re Stunned and you can be the target of a Coup de Grace.
- Invisible: You gain 2 Advantage on Skill checks to sneak anywhere. Anyone trying to attack you has to roll a 11+ save first; if it fails, the attack has no effects.
- Ongoing Damage: You take damage equal to the listed amount at the end of your turn before making saves.
- Shaken: You gain 1 Disadvantage on attacks and count the escalation die as 0.
- Softened: Attacks against you gain 1 Advantage.
- Stuck: You can’t move, disengage, pop free, or change your position in any way.
- Stunned: You gain 1 Disadvantage on attacks, attacks against you gain 1 Advantage, and you lose your move action.
- Vulnerable: Attacks against you crit on a Natural 16+ instead of a Natural 17+.
- Weakened: You gain 1 Disadvantage on attacks and attacks against you gain 1 Advantage.