Combat

Combat is essentially nothing more than a prolonged series of contested tasks. You choose an appropriate attribute (usually Dexterity and sometimes Strength) and Skill (Firearms, Weapons, or Brawl generally) against a difficulty determined by an opposed roll. The following rules can be used to dictate the flow of a combat scene.

NOTE: This is a simplified version of the Unisystem combat rules.

Combat Flow

Even though combat involves +rolls it is still role play and should be treated as such. The following flow should be used for combat scenes…

  1. PC 1 poses their intended actions.
  2. PC 1 makes necessary +rolls.
  3. PC 2 makes any necessary counter rolls(this could possibly include any related damage rolls by PC 1).
  4. PC 2 poses any reactions/consequences from the above pose and rolls as well as their own intended actions.
  5. PC 2 makes any necessary +rolls for their intended actions.

Repeat as necessary. Large scenes can get unruly. We recommend splitting scenes up into manageable groups.

Optionally, one can get the +rolls for everyone's attacks over with for one 'round', and then RP the results out, then +roll for the next round - alternating play-by-play, color, play-by-play, color, et cetera.

Initiative

So who goes first? Generally this is dictated by common sense. Someone with a gun gets to act before someone without a gun for instance. Someone who managed to sneak up on someone else gets to go before them.

When things don't fit nicely into a common sense type area simply +roll <dexterity>. Higher rolls get to act before lower rolls.

Actions

There are two types of actions available in combat Attack and Defense. All characters are capable of 1 of each per round without penalty(some may have more actions based on powers or attributes).

Attack: This is where you use a weapon, your fists or some power to harm another person. Generally attack actions take the form of <Attribute> + <Combat Skill> but certain powers may call for other combinations.

Defense: Pretty much like above except you're trying to avoid being hit. Often this will be the same roll that someone made against the defender(Kung Fu or brawling attacks etc). Any character may attempt to dodge any attack(using Dexterity + Acrobatics, or just Dexterity if that is all they have). Hand weapons can also be parried by other hand weapons or with brawling. Brawling attacks may be parried by other brawling attacks, close combat attacks or dodged. Unless you suddenly need to change the skill used for the parry/dodge only a single defensive roll is required per round to keep things speedy.

Multiple Actions: Barring special powers a character is granted 1 attack action and 1 defense action per round. If you run out of actions in a turn and are still being attacked you defend as if you had rolled a 0.

Exception: Characters with high Dexterity scores get free extra actions every turn. This is where vampires shine in combat(and why their fights are often little more than limb filled blurs). A character receives a number of special actions starting at Dexterity 5 per the chart below.

Additional Actions Table


Dexterity Additional Actions
5-6 1
7-8 2
9-10 3
11-12 4
+2 +1 per

The extra actions may be taken as attacks or defenses. As it is difficult to do more than two things at once (or walk and chew gum for some of us), additional actions suffer cumulative penalties of -2. The player only rolls once – successive attacks or defenses each reduce the total by two. If the target defends against any of those attacks, all attacks cease.

Example 1: Andrea the Vampire with a Dexterity of 7 has already taken her 1 attack action(and missed) and is now being attacked by a group of hellish fiends. They are all attacking using the Brawling skill so she uses the same in defense. She makes 1 roll getting a total of 15(enough to dodge the first attack, her free defensive action), which is modified to 13 against the second(still enough to dodge, her first additional action) and 11 against the final attack(not enough to dodge, Andrea is struck by the final creature).

Example 2: Same as above except Andrea is being attacked by 4 creatures and rolls very lucky getting a total of 22(7 for her Dexterity, 4 for her Kung Fu and 11 for her luck filled die roll). That would technically be enough to evade all 4 attacks if she had enough actions. Unfortunately Andrea tops out at 3 total defensive actions(1 free + 2 for her high Dexterity). The last attack is resisted as if she had roll a 0(giving her a defensive total of 11) which is not enough to defend against the final attack.

MULTIPLE OPPONENTS: Numbers count. When two or more attackers gang up against a single target, their actions gain a +1 bonus for each attacker, to a maximum of +4 (more than four attackers just get in each other’s way). So, if two humans attack a vampire, they each get a +2 to their Combat Score. Again, if the defender doesn’t have enough actions to defend against all attacks, some attacks are resisted with a zero defense roll. Here is another way for below-nine Combat Score characters to have a chance of hitting their opponent—attack in numbers.

Damage

So you've hit(or been hit) now what? Well potentially you inflict(or receive) damage. How much damage is determined by the type of weapon being used(see our weapons page for detailed damage ratings).

Armor: Damage can be reduced by armor(artificial or natural). Simply subtract the total damage from the armor total and that is the amount of damage inflicted.

NPCs: NPCs never roll damage. Instead they use the flat modifiers found in damage ratings, as notated by an enclosed series of () symbols.

PC or NPC

On NVM Mux we try to keep the scenes PC focused. When a +roll is called for it should be a PC making it, rarely an NPC. This speeds scenes up and keeps the attention firmly where it belongs, on the player. That means combat(and indeed most contested tasks) come down to one of two types: PC vs PC or PC vs NPC.

PC vs PC: In PC vs PC scenes both players are responsible for their own +rolls. One player will roll to hit and the other player will roll to defend(with poses supporting both actions as shown below).

PC vs NPC: NPCs should rarely, if ever, be making +rolls. Instead there are special rules for determining Task Scores for NPC characters as follows…

NPC Task Scores: <Appropriate Attribute> + <Appropriate Skills> + <Any Applicable Modifiers> + 6 = Total Difficulty/Combat Score. This is the score a player must meet or exceed in order to beat them in a roll. See the NPC section for a collection of NPCs and details on their abbreviated +sheet.

Example: A scene calls for a player to square off against a vampire thug. The thug has no weapons so will be using his Dexterity(5) and Brawl skill(3). His total Combat Score is 14(5 + 3 + 6). That means the player must meet or beat a 14 in a contested +roll. Were the player shooting the vampire and needed to know his Dodge Score they'd simply add his Dexterity(5) and Dodge skill(2) and add 6 for a total of 13.

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