Combat (Part Two)
The following steps must be followed in order for EACH round of combat:
Step 1 - Establish Combatants: Each person who will be performing an Action during this round must announce his intention to do so now. Note that players do NOT need to say WHAT they are doing, only that they will be doing something. Also, any combatants who are Taking a Blow (explained later) for another Avatar as determined in the previous round should declare their intention to continue in that capacity during this round (they will NOT do anything further this round other than ensuring that the Avatar they are Taking a Blow for will not be attacked). At this time, if ALL potential combatants decide to end the combat, it is ended, and all wounds are healed (except actual deaths).
It should be determined immediately at the beginning of any given round that all of the Combatants are ELIGIBLE to be in the Combat. This means that they have been wearing a House Button for at least a minute before the combat was even suggested, and this in turn means that they are in possession of their CC. Checking this at the beginning of the Combat and for any new players entering a subsequent Round will save a lot of aggravation later. Also, once established, Combatants may NOT move from the spot they were in when the round is established.
Each Combatant's Range Status is determined at the beginning of each Round, and is no more specific than 5' increments (usually that is good enough to settle disputes, and no distance measurement in the System is more specific than 5' increments). Any Combatant who is 5' or closer to an Avatar is in Short Range of the Avatar. Any Combatant who is greater than 5' from an Avatar is in Long Range of the Avatar. An Avatar may be Short Range to some Avatars and Long Range to others. We will discuss the difference in a few paragraphs.
Step 2 - Establish Items Worn or in Use: Each Combatant, during his first round of any given Combat (in no particular order) must put aside any Items which are being worn or otherwise being held (and in use). Combatants do not need to reveal which Items are in this pile, but they must be clearly set aside from other Items he just happens to be carrying. In subsequent rounds, a player may add a single Item and/or remove a single Item from this pile INSTEAD OF performing an Action during that round; this is called an "Item Swap". Any Item he Swaps into the Pile is immediately "in use" in whatever fashion it works. Only Items which are in this pile may be used during the Combat.
The pile of Items in use may include ONLY one Weapon (or Activated, non-worn Item) and ONLY one Armor (as defined by their Type). At the end of an Item Swap, the pile must still contain only one Weapon and only one Armor. There are some Items which are exempt from this rule (such as Throwing Weapons), and the text of those Items will clearly show the exemption.
Step 3 - Establish Defensive Stances: Each Combatant involved in the round can declare that they are taking a Defensive Stance for this round (only). This doubles their base DR for the rest of the round, and prohibits them from taking any Action at all for the rest of the round. Items which are Continuous or Wearable/Continuous are factored into calculations, but all other Items, as well as all Skills and Powers (unless they are simply continuous defensive and are automatically factored) can NOT be used. The rationale behind this rule is that the player is so busy dodging or otherwise concentrating on the incoming attack(s) that he has no time to activate or otherwise use any other game effects.
Step 4 - Determine Initiative: Each Combatant (as established in step 1) determines his Initiative result for the round using the following calculation: (IN + AC Pick). This will establish the order of Combat for this round (only). If there are enough Combatants that it will be difficult to remember who goes first, it is suggested that you write down the order of combat. Any ties in the Initiative calculation should be broken by a single AC Pick (do not add IN to tiebreaking draws). Continue with single AC Picks until all ties are broken. All Cards drawn during the Initiative step are returned to the AC Deck; all subsequent draws will remain pulled from the deck until the end of the round.
Step 5 - Perform Actions: Each Combatant (as established in step 1) will now, in order of determined Initiative, announce and perform a single Action. This Action may be one of the basic maneuvers shown in the next section, or it may be the use of a single Item, Skill or Power. Note that each Combatant does NOT need to reveal what he will be doing until it is his turn to Act.
At this time, we will discuss Long Range Actions. As long as a Combatant has a valid Long Range target (defined as any Combatant who is more than 5' away from him), he may use a Long Range Action (if he has one available). By doing so, he will HALVE his DR (rounded up) for the remainder of the round for all subsequent calculations which involve it. This effect is CUMULATIVE for the remainder of the round (should the combatant have a second opportunity to use his Long Range weapon during the same round), but is reset at the beginning of the next round.
Long Range Actions have a range of line of sight unless otherwise specified. Most Powers and Items DO specify that they have a maximum range that they can be used, and this must be honored once Combat positions have been determined. In addition, when a Combatant is targeted by a Long Range Action, a "Melee Check" must be performed. A Combatant is determined to currently be in a Melee if A) He has attacked any other Combatant with a Short Range (P) attack during the very last Action he was eligible to take or B) He has been attacked by any other Combatant with a Short Range (P) attack SINCE the very last Action he was eligible to take.
If a Combatant uses a Long Range Action directly on another Combatant who is involved in a Melee, there is a chance that he will hit someone else involved in that particular Melee. A Combatant is considered to be a part of the Melee if he is currently involved in either part A or B of the Melee Check as defined above (for example, if the target is attacking one Avatar and being attacked by a third, all three are considered to be in his Melee). Once the Action is declared, a random draw must be made to see WHO is actually targeted by the Action. This is on a one-to-one basis, so if there are three Combatants involved in the melee, there is a one in three chance (draw from three cards or some other random number generator) of hitting any one of them. There are two modifiers to this chance: First is the level of Marksmanship Proficiency the attacker has (which is discussed in the Weapons Proficiencies" section), and second is the S/M of the Combatants involved in the Melee. For each point of negative S/M of each Combatant in the melee, one chance is removed from the draw (with a minimum of one chance to hit that target), and for each point of positive S/M of each Combatant, one chance is added to the draw. Once the drawn target is established, the Action MUST be performed, even if it will target someone whom the Combatant does not want to target.
Step 6 - Determine Reactions: Some Powers, Skills and Items allow Avatars to REACT to the declaration of an Action by another Avatar (designated by the (Y) Attribute). At this time, ALL Reactions MUST be declared immediately and simultaneously, even if they are identical. After Reactions are declared, each one will be resolved individually in order of Initiative, and all Reactions are considered to be used, even if they duplicate results. For example, if several Suggestions are to be used to prevent an Avatar from performing a certain Action, they must all be declared simultaneously, and even if the first Avatar successfully Suggests that the Action not be taken, all of the other Suggestions which were declared MUST also be used. After all Reactions are resolved, the initial Action will be resolved.
Special Note: Any Avatar who is already under the control of another Avatar (via one of the Mental Skills, Powers or Items) may be commanded as necessary (and freely) as a Reaction, BUT that command must be declared, in Initiative order, along with any other Reactions. This rule even includes commands to Zombies on how to react to a given Action.
Step 7 - Clean Up and Establish Next Round: During this step, any loose ends from the round will be cleaned up and finished, and it will be determined whether the combat will continue or not. If there are at least two Combatants still in the Combat and at least one of them who wishes to continue the combat, it MUST continue. If there is only one Combatant left, the combat immediately ends or enters the grace period. Note that while there are ways to escape combat (for example, Fleeing, explained in the next section), simply refusing to enter a combat is NOT one of them. If an Avatar wishes to attack you, it must be in the combat structure (whether or not you are fighting back). Such is the risk you take by being in character. All effects which last until the end of the current round will stop at the beginning of this step. All Cards pulled from the AC Deck are returned to the Deck at this time, ready for the next round (if necessary).
At the end of Combat (or at the end of the grace period, if it is necessary), ANY Combatant has the ability to declare a free "Flee" Action (explained in the next section), which will take effect without contest. If he does so, all the rules of Flee apply as if he had fled during the Combat. If he does not choose to Flee, he is subject to being attacked as normal. He must declare his intention to Flee immediately at the first opportunity, and must be given a chance to do so before any new Combat is initiated. Note that no Surprise attacks may be made by anyone who was in the Combat he has just finished, and no surprise attacks may be made by other Avatars until he has been given the chance to declare his Flee Action.
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