Combat (Part One)
Although combat in the Nexus has been simplified drastically from other gaming systems, there are a LOT of things which can make it very complex. We have decided to present combat in three sections (this one and the next two) and to use this first section to set forth the steps, in order, of all combat in the Nexus. In the following two sections, we will explain individual Actions and the role of Mental Combat in a straightforward way which will allow you to see how they fit into the following steps.
We must take a moment to explain that everything you are about to read is to be considered a framework for combat. There are so many rules here that are stretched or otherwise broken that it is hard to imagine any round of combat actually proceeding exactly as it is described below. So we will state now that in absence of any contradicting rules, this is the framework to be used, but any Item, Skill or Power which contradicts anything shown below will take precedence.
The key to understanding combat in the Nexus is that all of the following rules assume that an Avatar can hit another Avatar with a basic Physical attack (be it fist, pseudopod, leg, whatever), and that there is a base chance to hit (plus a random element) and a base amount of damage (plus a random element) that will be done, assuming no additional modifiers at all. The reason the following steps are necessary is because there are a LOT of modifiers which can be added into the sequence, and this is especially true when you have more than two combatants.
Some Powers (described later), Skills and Items are designated with the symbol "S", meaning "Surprise". ALL Mental Actions and Long Range Actions (see below) fall into this category as well. This means that they can be used ONCE on an Avatar or group of Avatars without a Combat declaration, unless that Avatar or Group is already in a Combat (in which case, the attacker must join the combat and draw Initiative in the NEXT round in order to affect it). Whether or not they are successful, the target(s) retains all knowledge of the Action (even after its effects are finished, unless otherwise noted), and can initiate a normal Combat immediately after, if he is able to. Note that under no circumstances can a Reaction be invoked because of a Surprise Action, but as explained in the Attributes Section, any Skill or Item which is designated with a "Y+" can be used automatically in defense, assuming the logical conditions for its existence are met (i.e. the Item is actually being held or worn).
ANY Long Range Action can be made by Surprise; the exact circumstances of this are as follows (note that these rules should also be applied to ANY Surprise Actions, except where specifically noted differently):
1) The target must NOT already be involved in a Combat (as noted above).
2) The target must actually NOT know that the Long Range attacker is anywhere near him and about to attack. Now it should be obvious that this rule is subject to misunderstanding, therefore it is the burden of the attacker to PROVE that the target did not know of his presence, and the best way to do so is with the use of a neutral third party (like a GM), who also assists in this rule. Mental Actions are exempt from this condition.
3) Someone who is neutral and not in character (it does not necessarily have to be a GM) can notify the target that he has been attacked at Long Range, OR the attacker can remove his House button and inform the target (and prepare to resolve the attack), and THEN the attacker can go back to his original vantage point and re-enter the game.
4) The resolution of the attack follows all normal rules and the target gets all of the defense he is entitled to.
Only ONE Surprise Action by ONE Avatar may be made in a given situation before a Combat must be declared, no matter what the circumstances are. If more than one Avatar wants to Surprise an unsuspecting Avatar, then an Initiative draw will be done to see who will perform the Surprise Action.
The following rules govern ALL Combat:
A Combat begins with a simple declaration of intent to use an Action. Once this happens, the intended target(s) must oblige the declaring Avatar with a game response (they cannot just run away out of character).
Once a Combat is established, it proceeds in "rounds", which consist of a series of steps. Until you are used to the details in each step, it is suggested that you have these rules handy and that you go through them one by one, even if they don't seem to apply to the current situation. This will give you the discipline necessary to deal with the more complex situations which you are bound to get into.
The very first thing to be done as soon as a Combat is established is to determine how much EM and LIFE each Combatant has. Each Avatar who is involved in the Combat must make a note of his remaining EM and his remaining LIFE. The beginning of Combat is considered to be an effect to both EM and LIFE and therefore the 10-minute counter is immediately reset without replenishing either.
Any EM which is used DURING the Combat will be replenished 10 minutes from the end of the Combat (or, if it is necessary, the end of the grace period). Any LIFE which is lost DURING the Combat will be replenished 10 minutes from the end of the Combat (or, it is necessary, the end of the grace period) UNLESS the Avatar dies during the Combat.
Whenever any AC Pick is made (NOT including the Initiative draw), any card OTHER THAN AN ACE which is drawn will be removed from the target's AC Deck until the entire round is over (all cards are replaced during the Clean Up step). In this way, a powerful Avatar who is being faced by multiple assailants can be worn down by numbers (each card removed from the deck makes a drawn Ace more likely). An Avatar who is being assailed in this fashion will think twice about drawing an extra card when a 10 is drawn, because it will further deplete his AC Deck and increase the chance of drawing an Ace at a catastrophic time.
The actual length of time of a round in game time is determined to be the amount of time it takes to sort everything out. In other words, there is no specific amount of game time that a round takes. Then again, time is mostly meaningless to immortal Avatars, isn't it?
If an Avatar wishes to enter a Combat after the first round has begun, he may do so at the beginning of the NEXT round (ONLY). He may NOT enter closer than 6' to any other Combatant (in other words, he must enter at Long Range until he (or someone else) is able to change his positioning. He must make a normal Initiative draw just like all of the other Combatants at the appropriate time. Note that there is NO WAY of surprising any Avatar who is already involved in a Combat.
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© 2005 by Double Exposure, Inc. All Rights Reserved. No portion of this text may be reprinted or used in any manner other than for the purposes of participating in the Avatar System 2.6 as managed by Double Exposure, Inc.