Melee Combat follows all of the same rules as the basic task resolution system with the additional rules listed below.
Basic Melee Combat
Melee Combat is divided into rounds. During each round it is presumed that every character involved in the fight is engaged in striking, feinting, parrying, dodging, and circling to find an advantage. Each roll of the dice, therefore, does not track a single sword strike or a single punch but rather captures the entire ebb and flow of several seconds worth of combat. A single round therefore can be as short as a few seconds, or as long as a minute as the fighters feel each other out. Combat rounds do not have a set length and will change according to the circumstances; a good rule of thumb, however, is that a combat round lasts about 5 or 6 seconds.
In order to determine the winner of a round of combat, both sides will choose the applicable Attribute and Skill to combine. Most often this will be Dexterity + either Melee or Fight, though certain situations may call for Strength to be used. Once the character has determine what attribute and skill to use she must then choose a stance, discussed below. A stance may give a bonus of +2 to the character's goal. The character then adds her Attribute, her skill, and any bonus she receives from her stance in order to determine her goal number.
A character will then attempt to roll under their goal on a roll of 3d6. VPs are assigned using the standard rules for task resolution. The character who rolls the highest number of VPs is presumed to have the advantage, whether that means holding an attacker at bay or forcing an opponent to lose ground. This advantage is referred to as "the edge".
Having the edge grants a +1 goal to combat actions in the next round. Additionally, having the edge means having momentary control of a fight, which may be important in a number of situations. For example, if two characters are dueling on the edge of a volcano, the character with the edge is presumed to have his back to the cliff, whereas the character without the edge is presumed to have his back to the lava. Some maneuvers may require the character to have the edge to perform, such as the Fencing maneuver "Press".
There are three basic stances a character may choose:
- Balanced Stance
A character fighting in balanced stance is fighting both offensively and defensively as the situation permits. Depending on the skill she is using this may mean that she is parrying and riposting, dodging and kicking, or gouging and head-butting then retreating. This style of fighting does not leave a character vulnerable, but it does not give any advantage to striking. It provides no bonus to goal rolls. However, if the character fails to tie or roll more VPs than her opponent, the character subtracts her VPs from her opponents VPs before calculating damage. Thus if a character in balanced stance scores 1 VP against an opponent that scored 3 VPs, the opponent would only add 2 VPs to her damage.
- Aggressive Stance
A character fighting in an aggressive stance is striking often and striking hard. Rather than waiting for opponents to make a mistake an aggressive fighter attempts to create her own opportunities, either by overwhelming her opponents under a flurry of blows or by knocking her opponents weapons with crushing attacks. A character fighting in aggressive stance receives a +2 bonus to goal rolls. However, unlike balanced stance, if a character using aggressive stance fails to tie or roll more VPs than her opponent she does not subtract her VPs from her opponents before calculating damage. In the example above, if the character rolled 1 VP and the opponent rolled 3 VPs, the opponent would add 3 VPs to her damage.
- Defensive Stance
A character fighting in defensive stance is parrying, dodging, weaving, and circling. Any attacks made while in defensive stance are more to stall an attack than to do damage. Fighting in defensive stance is a delaying tactic or a strategy for gaining the Edge. A character using defensive stance receives a +2 to their goal, and the VPs of the character's roll always subtract from an opponent's roll in the same fashion as Balanced Stance.
Damage and Armor
Damage and Damage Type
There are a variety of ways an individual can get hurt on the battlefields, streets, and even courts in the 51st Century. Damage type is categorized in the amount of force brought to bear by the weapon and how that force is transmitted into the target.
Basic weapons are most often powered by muscles. Weapons that are thrown, swung, or thrust do basic damage. When they strike a target the force of the blow is often diffuse over a broad area. Weapons that do basic damage include almost all melee weapons and most non-firearm ranged weapons. There are a few firearm weapons, such as shotguns loaded with shot, which strike a target over a sufficiently broad area to be considered basic damage.
Piercing weapons are weapons designed specifically to concentrate as much force as possible in as tiny an area as possible in order to punch through armor. This includes most firearms and a few mechanically powered ranged weapons, such as crossbows. Melee weapons made of advanced materials may occasionally be piercing as well.
Unlike basic and piercing weapons which rely on the transfer of kinetic energy into a target, weapons that do Energy damage cause harm by burning through armor and flesh. The super-heated ball of plasma propelled from a blaster pistol or the ignited Ka oil spit out of a Temple Avesti priest's flamegun are both examples of Energy damage.
Subtract applicable armor soak from damage.
Wounds and Healing
It will often be the case that one side of a melee battle has more people than the other. In many cases individuals will pair off and fight single combat but in the case where there are two or more individuals fighting a character, the side with the superior numbers receives a bonus.
If multiple individuals are attacking a character, each attacker rolls separately at a bonus equal to the amount that the attackers outnumber the target. Thus if three people are attacking on individual, each one of the three attackers receives a +2. If another attacker joins in then all four will roll at +3. Once all of the attackers have rolled only the roll with the highest VPs is kept. This is compared to the character's roll for the purposes of determining who has won combat and gained the edge.
In order to determine damage, use the weapon damage of the individual whose dice roll was kept.