Vehicles and Vehicle Combat

It's largely an issue in Sirian, but still occasionally happens in Vaxia: having to handle combat when vehicles are involved. It's important to note that "vehicle" here means anything that propels one or more characters around the battlefield, so a horse can be a vehicle as easily as a tank or a thruster backpack.

Understanding Vehicle Stats
Vehicles have four stats:

  • LIF is the HP of the vehicle. At zero, it’s disabled. At negative its LIF, it's beyond repair.
  • END is its armor and helps defend against outside attacks. It replaces the END might for passengers and pilot alike for any damage coming from outside the vehicle.
  • STR is the power of its weapons or its ramming speed for attacking. This replaces the pilot's stat, just like the fixed STR of a handheld gun would.
  • DEX is the maneuverability of the vehicle. This is the maximum might that a pilot driving/flying it can use. If the pilot's might (DEX + skill) is less than the vehicle's DEX, use the pilot's might. Else, use the vehicle's DEX. It serves as a cap.

You can see a list of standard vehicle numbers on the Sirian Vehicle Numbers or Vaxian Ships and Vehicles pages.

Vehicle Combat
When it comes to taking or dealing damage from the outside, these Stats will overlap the pilot or passengers most of the time. If the vehicle is rammed by another vehicle, it's the vehicle's END stat and pilot's DEX might (assuming it's not higher than the ship's DEX stat) that determines damage or dodge results. The passengers inside don't get to roll to dodge unless they're leaping out of the vehicle.

The pilot still uses their piloting skill and their own DEX might, capped by the vehicle's DEX - its maximum maneuverability. In combat, a pilot attacking uses the STR of the vehicle rather than her own for determining the STR might of any attacks (whether it's ramming or firing fixed-position weaponry, like the guns on a fighter jet). The piloting skill serves as a combat skill while flying, so it's:

  • Pilot DEX + Pilot Skill
  • Vehicle STR + Pilot Skill
  • Vehicle END + Pilot Skill

There is no need to roll to fly the ship and also roll to attack - it's just one roll, and it uses DEX and STR instead of DEX and INT for non-combat piloting. All the maneuvers and skillful flying are just part of the attack or dodge.

Except in special circumstances, the only combat actions available to vehicles are Attack and Dodge. A vehicle that specifically has shield capabilities can attempt to Block, and targeting an enemy's guns should be ruled like a Parry.

Open Vehicles
Vehicles which don't contain the pilot/rider/driver, like motorcycles, thruster packs or horses, don't lend their END stat to the pilot or passengers for defensive purposes. In those cases, use the END of the pilot/passenger instead, unless the attacker is specifically targeting the vehicle (in which case, use its stats).

A passenger or pilot may attempt to dodge if they flee the vehicle (jumping off a bike or out of a shuttle, for instance), in which case they use all their own stats for the dodge attempt. Similarly, vehicles like shuttles or APCs that come with gun ports can allow passengers to use their own stats (plus whatever weapon they're firing) for combat in addition to the pilot's actions.

Non-combat piloting
Outside of combat, pilots use far more care and far less instinct for flying, represented by the fact that it becomes a Tech roll (DEX & INT) instead of a combat roll (DEX/STR/END). The same piloting skill is used, with the same vehicle cap on the DEX might.

"Non-combat" piloting just means the pilot isn't taking a combat action (attack, dodge, etc). A pipe fighter landing in the middle of a shoot-out uses DEX & INT to land, even though they're technically in combat.

Vehicle Death
When a vehicle reaches 0 LIF, it should become immobile or inoperable. Onboard systems like communications or life support may remain intact, but the ship can no longer fight, dodge, maneuver, etc. At best, it may be able to limp along at a very slow pace.

Vehicles can be repaired just like people can be healed. Someone with an appropriate vehicle repair skill repairs one point of LIF per PP on their repair roll. The moment a ship crosses back into positive LIF, it becomes operational again.

A vehicle that reaches negative it's LIF total is completely destroyed. Ships may explode or else lose all systems (comms, life support, etc), which may have dire consequences for those inside. A ship which reaches this point can no longer be repaired, though some key parts may be salvaged to help in the building of a new vehicle later.

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Staying Conscious

When characters take enough damage to hit zero LIF, but not enough to hit negative their LIF score, they fall unconscious but are still alive.

If a character wishes to try and stay conscious despite crossing the zero-LIF mark, they must make a roll using against 25 + the damage they've taken past zero LIF.
For example, if a character with LIF 30 takes 45 damage and wishes to stay conscious, they will need to roll again a difficulty of 40:

25 base + 15 damage taken past LIF 0 = 40

Several characters have a skill for exactly this situation, commonly called a "hardcore" skill. The skill is added to their chosen stat might to assist with the attempt at Staying Conscious

Which stat to use can vary, however End is the most common stat to be used, however Str, Spir or Cha could also be used pending on the character's theme.

As an additional ruling, you can base how long the character can remain conscious on the PP they generate with the stay-conscious roll, often giving them PP/7 rounds of consciousness before they must roll again. If a character produces 15 PP on their initial roll, they get two rounds of consciousness before they have to roll again. Any damage they've taken in those two rounds is added to the new roll's difficulty, so it can be trickier to stay conscious the longer they keep fighting.

NOTE: Hardcore skills are deceptively dangerous. A lone combatant against a villainous foe obviously has to worry about passing out in the middle of a fight, as it leaves them defenseless. However, when fighting in a group, many combatants will ignore someone who falls unconscious in favor of others still slinging spells or throwing punches.

What that means is that falling unconscious is a bit of a safety net in more dangerous situations, since most sessions involve a group who can come to the add of a party member who drops or otherwise draw off attackers simply by still being an active combatant.

By contrast, staying in the fight when you're already past zero LIF keeps enemies engaged and makes the character a target. Allies may not even realize how close to death they are, since they're still up and fighting as if they're relatively unharmed. Be wary of characters staying conscious despite grievous injury, as it becomes much, much easier for them to reach negative their LIF score and be gone for good. Staying conscious is a gamble, and should be used with caution.

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Environmental Damage Base Damage Chart

Environmental SourceRecommended DamageResisted By...Additional Notes
Fire/Extreme heat10 damageENDFor smoke inhalation, see Noxious gas below
Electrocution10 damageENDRaise damage to 20 if targets are wet or standing in water
EMP10 damageENDOnly impacts electronics. This covers "natural" EMP from large explosions, not specifically weaponized EMP devices
Frostbite/Extreme cold5 damage each roundENDIn place of LIF damage, this can instead be applied as a stacking DEX penalty.
Extreme Radiation5 damage + 5 END penalty each roundENDEND penalty lasts 1 hour or until treated
Molten lava15 damageENDBeing near (but not in) lava is only 5 damage (ongoing) for extreme heat exposure
Falling ceiling/Collapsing building10 damage per floorDEX+ENDIf the building collapses under someone, apply normal falling damage. If they're in the middle (and thus both fall and have a building fall on them), apply both falling damage and collapsing damage as outlined here.
Noxious gas5 damage per round, cumulativeCONGas can take the form of stale crypt air, smoke from burning chemicals or perfectly ordinary smoke in high quantities. It can also impose additional penalties to AWA (if it's thick enough) alongside the damage it deals.
Drowning5 damage per round, cumulativeCONNone
Deep sea15 damage per round, cumulativeENDCombines extreme cold, drowning and high pressure at 5 damage each. Creatures who breathe naturally underwater still must resist cold and pressure.

Each Round vs. Cumulative Damage
Damage listed as occurring "each round" remains at a static value that the PCs roll against once each round until they are no longer exposed to the source. For instance, in an extreme cold environment, the PCs are rolling to reduce 5 damage every round they're exposed to the frost.

Damage listed as "per round, cumulative" raises by the base value each successive round. For noxious gas, PCs must roll to reduce 5 damage the first round, 10 damage the second, 15 damage the third round, and so on. If they escape the gas for a round or more and then are exposed again, the counter resets to the base damage and increments again normally from there.


System Reference for Players

Players do not need as full of an understanding of the system as our SHs, but you still need to know how to play your character. This guide should help provide the basics to do just that.

Additional resources can be found in the Help section, which has (among other things) a video tutorial on using the Dice Roller for when you need to use your Stats skills and items.

Terminology Reference - A collection of terms and their meanings.
Game Mechanic Walkthrough - A quiz designed to teach the basics of our game mechanics and system.

Understanding Your Stats

A character's stats are a numerical representation on how well they may be able to perform tasks. The higher these numbers are, the more likely that character will be successful on their actions.

Stats - Complete break down on the stats, what they tend to represent and how to level them.

A number score of 25 is average, this is the baseline. Anything below 25 is considered weaker then normal which means you will have a harder time succeeding in the game.

10: Incredibly low, incapable, most tasks of any kind using stats with this score will likely not succeed.
15-20: Below average, will have difficulty with even simple tasks using stats with these scores.
25-30: Average, baseline, will have 50% chance to complete most simple tasks using stats with these scores.
35-40: Talented, trained, will be able to complete most simple tasks using stats with these scores.

Skills are more specialized actions a character can do. They also have a numerical value which is an additional representation on how well a character can perform more specific tasks. Skills can be added to a stat for a roll to further increase the chance of the character's success doing a specific action. Often they can help double the value, so skills are very valuable and advised to have your character stick to actions for which they have skills for.

This combination of Stat and relevant Skill is known as a Might.

The higher a character's mights, the more likely they will succeed at actions in the game.

Related Resources:
Character Creation - Guide on Character Creation for our game.

Using Your Stats and Skills

The use of stats and skills by a character is to have some kind of effect on the game world. They use these stats to overcome obstacles in sessions or react to actions of NPCs or the environment. If there is no roll for an action, then there is no impact. No matter how you describe what your character is doing, nothing will happen unless there is a roll.

Rolls for actions will use the associated stat and related skill if the character has one. There are two ways to put your stats into the dice roller, use the preloaded buttons for the most common actions (When you mouseover them it will tell you which action its for) or use the drop down menus of the dice roller. They can be found right under the text and background color selections. If you use the preloaded buttons you still need to use the drop down to select any related skills.

How to Perform Actions in Game - A more indepth guide on in game actions, guidelines on what to roll when, multiple action penality, and difficulties.

Item Creation
Item creation, like many things, is best left to skilled individuals, and almost never happens inside a session. Item creation tends to take several rolls and a lot of RP, depending on what you're creating, so be prepared to spend a little time fashioning an item if you're interested in anything from armorsmithing to alchemy.

Detailed rules on item creation are available in the Items and Equipment guide.

Never be afraid to ask!
Any time you have a question about a ruling, or aren't sure what to expect or what to roll in a session, never be afraid to ask the A/SH running it! They'll be able to answer your questions and help you know what you can expect with whatever action you're attempting.


Environmental Damage

"Environmental damage" is any time a character takes damage that wasn't caused by a direct, intentional force. When a mage casts a spell at you, that's direct and intentional. If the mage's spell misses you but knocks out a load-bearing beam that drops the ceiling on you both, the falling ceiling is environmental. The same thing is true if someone falls to jump across a chasm and hits the ground below, hard. Or if someone is caught in an avalanche, or breathing the toxic air in a sealed crypt.

But what Stats do you give a falling ceiling or an avalanche to determine the damage it deals, and how do you determine what stat the PCs use to resist getting crushed, buried or suffocated?

Resisting Environmental Damage
The simplest way to calculate Environmental Damage (if you don't want to try to figure out the relative Strength stat for gravity) is to instead pick a base damage for the affected characters to roll against.

Let's take our falling ceiling example. Let's say we set the base damage for a falling ceiling at 15 PP. That's the damage a PC standing under that roof would take unless they can dodge or resist the damage.

Then, have the PC roll the appropriate stat(s) against a difficulty of 1. Any PP they produce are subtracted from the base damage, and if anything remains, that's the damage the PC takes. If they produce as many or more PP as the base damage, they avoided or resisted taking any damage at all.

This formula works with either single-trait rulings (someone rolling CON to resist the effects of toxic air in a sealed crypt, or rolling END to sump a fall from a high height) or two-trait rulings (rolling DEX and END to avoid and resist damage from our falling ceiling). In both cases, the difficulty is 1, and any PP generated subtracts from the base damage you set.

Determining Base Damage
All that remains is to set the appropriate base damage for the environmental effect.

It's important to keep in mind that, most of the time, a character will be resisting with a stat only. Most combat and magic skills aren't directly applicable to resisting environmental damage (although many mages could chose to try and conjure a shield instead rather than simply rolling END). So understand the scale you're working from.

If your average PC is bringing a stat of 25 to the situation, then 80% of the time they'll only sump 4-5 damage from an environmental effect. Even someone with a high stat and skill who brings an 80 might to the situation is only sumping 15 damage 80% of the time. Use that to gauge the best base damage to set based on the situation, so you know what to expect.

Base damage most of the time for environmental effects should be 10. Anything above 10, assume that most of your PCs will be taking the difference. In our falling ceiling example, at 15 PP, you can expect most of the characters to take 5-10 damage. Some exceptional effects (being caught in a lava avalanche, teleporting to the bottom of the ocean by mistake, etc) will go beyond that, but the majority should fall within the 5-15 range.

For specific examples, refer to our Environmental Damage Base Damage Chart

Special Cases - Falling and Space
Falling damage follows the same rules, with one exception - it scales based on how far the character is falling. Set your base damage to how many feet the character has fallen when they land (a 20-foot fall has 20 PP of base damage). That may seem extreme, but in the real world, a fall of over 30 feet is rarely survivable. In IC terms, that would only knock out most characters, if that (and if they absorbed none of the damage at all), so we're actually allowing for falls from higher heights, because it's a game :)

Additionally, we currently have exactly one environmental situation that follows separate rules than these - space. They're listed at the bottom of the Monkeys in Space wiki page.

Normally applicable only to Sirian, the space rules handle round-by-round rulings for anyone suddenly finding themselves in a vacuum. If you feel inclined, you can use similar rules for handling situations like drowning or deep ocean environments (extreme pressure, extreme cold, lack of air) or toxic environments (holding breath, dealing with corrosive effects, etc).

Armor and Environmental Damage
The damage reduction from Armor and Shields does NOT protect or absorb Environmental Damage from sources like natural fire, extreme cold, noxious gas, etc.

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Order of Actions

Most of the time, actions in a given round all take place at roughly the same time. If two characters attack one another, or attack the same target, the only difference in the timing of their attacks is when you mention them in their narrative.

But every once in a while, determining which action happened first will be critical to understanding the outcome of the situation.
So how do we determine the Order of Actions when it matters?

The rule of thumb is to use the PP produced by the 'speed' Stats involved. The most common 'speed' stats are INT (for magical actions) and DEX (for physical actions), though an argument could be made for others (STR when blocking is involved, for instance).

Once you've picked the speed stats involved, simply perform a Trait-vs-Trait ruling with the two and the associated rolls that the characters made for whatever action they were about to perform. Whoever produces the most PP (or has a lower failsby) goes first in that instance.

Again, most of the time the exact order doesn't matter - all the actions are essentially happening at the same time, but if you run across a situation where timing is everything, this method tends to save time and help determine what happened first.

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Magic/Psi vs Mundane Actions

In this game there is no real difference in handling of magical or psi based actions compared to physical or mundane actions. For anything one can do with a magic or psi skill someone can also achieve the same effects with a non magical skill as well.

The main difference between a magical action and a mundane action is how the player will get to describe their character trying to achieve the action, and possibly what Stats are used to roll with.

One can use a fire magic skill to hurl a fireball to do damage. However the same effect can be done with a skill that makes use of setting stuff on fire and throwing it.

Teleporting may seem to be the one exception to this, however technology type skills can replicate the exact effect, as well as teleporting is a kind of movement as well and other movement skills can achieve a similar effect, as well as use of vehicles.

Being a magic/psi skill does not give any action an inherit bonus, edge, or advantage. Those actions follow the same exact rules as mundane actions trying to achieve the same effects. Same goes for any mundane action, just because it makes more sense as a mundane action doesn't give it any advantage. The rules are universal and applied the same.


Ruling Narration

On translating the ruling outcome to more fluid narratives:

The most critical thing about the numbers in Vaxia isn't numeric at all; it's literary. The numbers are there to form an overall view of what happened. "You deal ten damage" isn't nearly as descriptive as "your punch sends him reeling, leaving his nose bloody."

Now, the tricky part is that you don't get a real guide for translation. It varies so completely from situation to situation that there isn't a way to teach it, really. But I'll give you the best guidelines that I can. The rest, you'll figure out for yourself as you begin Running Sessions

The Quality of Success and Failure

Obviously almost any ruling comes down to one simple concept - win or lose. The problem is that there is such a strata between success and failure that it can easily turn itself inside-out. In English? There is more than just win or lose, there is a scale of how much one wins or loses by.
We all know that 2 PP is not nearly as good as 48 PP, but writing a narrative isn't as simple as "you really succeed." You have to understand what success means before you can put it into actual words.

The first step is looking at what the character wants to do. It's not always obvious from the post, so from time to time you'll have to put yourself in the character's shoes. If a mage in a cave is trying to cast a minor light spell so that he can see his way around, the player may only say "He casts a light to see by." It's up to you to decide if it's a glowing orb, or more of a cone of light, like a flashlight. Those kind of little specifics are the bread and butter of your narration. And if the players don't specify, then it has to be up to you to fill them in.

Once you think you have an idea what the character is actually attempting, do the calculations and get your numbers. From here, you get kind of a scale in your head of how much they succeeded or failed by:

Barely - Typically when PP are in the single digits, or failsbys are less than 15 or so, you narrowly succeeded or failed.

A narrow failure doesn't incur much penalty beyond just the fact that you failed. You nearly did what you were aiming to do, but you may have been thrown off by some small factor that caused you to "just miss it." A thief picking a lock with a narrow failure may only get two of the four tumblers to click, and have to start all over again, causing a minor delay.

A narrow success doesn't give you anything more than what you asked for. In fact, it may give you quite a bit less. A sculptor rolling a narrow success isn't likely to craft a smooth, epic statue, but it will still at least look like the person it's modeled after.

Moderate - The mid-range, when winsbys and failsbys are somewhere between 15 and 25. It's more than just a narrow success, but it's not a Peronuke.

An artful swordsman with a moderate success can pull off his moves with a flourish, but he isn't pioneering a new style. A mage with moderate failure drops the spell completely, but at least doesn't suffer any backlash from it.

Moderate success is really what you'll see the most often. It means that the character gets almost exactly what they were looking for, if still a tick or two short.

Extreme - You either aced it or botched it. With a winsby of 25+, you're either very happy or very in danger.

An extreme success can take many forms. A wounded knight may find the strength to vault right back into action, and at his full strength, no less. A healer may not only stabilize the patient, but find the source of the illness serendipitously in the process.

On the other hand, extreme failures can be deadly. A Cavum fighter may hack off his own leg, having so over-committed himself to his strike. A mage will backlash, possibly hurting, stunning, or even knocking herself out. A ninja will accidentally step on an unseen dog, who will awaken, bark, and alert the guards. Extreme failures are not to be taken lightly.

Now, back to the "no more" part from above. With a moderate or extreme success, more so with the extreme, remember that success is not power, success is doing what you wanted to do. A mage trying to create a small candle-sized light to read by happens to roll two 99s. It doesn't mean she gets a portable sun. It means she gets a long-lasting, stable, and if she wishes, heat-less little bauble of light, perhaps even one that knows to follow her as she moves about the room.

Likewise, a surgeon making a delicate incision who rolls a 99 for Dex may not cut any faster than one who rolls a 50, but the 99 one will make a near-perfect incision, whereas the one who rolled a 50 gets an incision that's "good enough."

Success is not always power. Always refer to the first step - Know what the character is trying to do. That's what you're measuring in the end. That's what the numbers are telling you.

The Lopsided Two-Trait Ruling

A dangerous and oft misunderstood scenario is the lopsided roll, or more accurately, the lopsided pair of rolls.
If a character has an extremely high roll for one stat, and an extremely low roll for the other, either they have a lot of contol and now power, or a lot of power and no control. Both can be equally dangerous, and equally fun for the SH. What? It can't be work all the time ;-)

So, you have an uneven pair. You know what the dice look like, but what is the actual, real, narrative result? For that, you have to look at three major factors - the mights, the edge, and the task.

The Mights are rather obvious, but here's what people often forget - If I roll an 87 and a 15, but my mights are 10 and 70 respectively, I actually get about the same PP for both rolls. The dice alone don't decide the outcome, dice and mights have to work together, so don't assume the outcome is lopsided until you consider both.

The Edge is about finding where the side is lopped to, or, in English, figuring out which part gets the high and which gets the low. As I said earlier, most rolls come down to the elements of power and control, but not always. Analyze what each stat means so you know what was overdone and what was underdone. That will form the basis of the narrative to come.

The Task is what the player is actually trying to do. A lopsided roll typically results in an extreme something, but to divine what that something is, you have to consider what the character set out to do. A mage who tries to make a tiny campfire may have just set off a signal you could see from space. A fighter trying to work a delicate finesse move may have succeeded in the finesse, but hit his opponent with all the force of a flung toothpick. A singer trying to hit that high note at the end of his aria may have over-excelled, and shattered every glass (and ear) in the room.

Just be aware that not every lopsided roll equals instant explosion, even in the case of magic. There are many, many different outcomes from something like this. Be willing to seek out the one which best fits the IC.

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History of Magic Ruling

In 2014 Magic ruling made the most use of Dynamic Difficulty which was later removed

Afterwards the magic ruling in system was adjusted to account for this as well as to keep magic users from becoming too powerful as well, so a base difficulty was kept in for magic, but for no where else.

After some consideration especially as the system was moving towards the idea that there should be no difference between mundane actions and those deemed magical/psi in order to try and balance all actions and afford the opportunity for any theme of character to be doable within the game here.
The goal was to streamline a bunch of ruling as well as solve the issue where some skills were way too powerful, and some rules had some uneeded bloat.

The reasoning is covered here:

The sections below were how magic ruling was handle until the above proposed changes.

All spellcasting, whether it's arcane magic, psionics, divine intervention, etc., uses INT and SPI along with the appropriate skill.

Base difficulty for spellcasting is 25 in almost all cases, with only a couple of exceptions (noted below). As always, additional circumstance modifiers may apply, just like any other roll. Otherwise, magic is a simple two-trait ruling.

Combat Magic
When you're casting against a being, say in combat, the target's defensive Stats get added to the mix. What stat they defend with will depend on the nature of the spell - a fireball goes against DEX and END, an attempt to read someone's thoughts goes against INT and SPI. In both cases, the casting mage's INT is paired off against the target's DEX or INT, and their SPI goes against END or SPI.

You simply add the spell's base difficulty (typically 25) to the defending stat. This is the stat, not the mights, since most skills used in combat can't work against magic directly. If a fighter has DEX 30 and END 40, the mage casting the difficulty-25 fireball is now up against difficulties of 55 and 65, respectively. See the Magic vs Mundane Combat page for how to handle opposed maneuvers like blocking or dodging.

If a mage fails to affect their target, don't automatically treat it as a failure. In those cases, check the mage's rolls against the base spell difficulty - if they succeeded in casting the spell but didn't affect their target, the spell still went off, the target simply resisted (or successfully dodged, blocked, etc), and your narrative should reflect that.

To help understand the impact this'll have in practice, let's look at how this compares with mundane combat. The base difficulty for the spell is effectively replacing the target's combat skill for passive defense. A fighter would be up against stat + skill when attacking, a mage is up against stat + spell difficulty instead.

In the rare case that a target has a skill specifically to deflect or endure magical effects, that skill can be added to the overall difficulties where appropriate. Most standard combat skills do NOT fall into this category, it would typically need to be a skill dedicated to magical resistance or avoidance.

While it may not be called this in the skill, metamagic is any form of magic that affects other magical effects.

As its own skill, metamagic typically allows things like draining or empowering other spells and effects, creating "dead magic" zones, and redirecting or reshaping the spells of others. It typically doesn't generate any effect on its own, it needs another spell or magical effect to operate off of.

Treat this similarly to combat magic, with the INT and SPI might of the caster whose spell is being targeted as the difficulties for the second part of the ruling.

From a system standpoint, the biggest difference with metamagic is that it starts at a base difficulty of 45, not 25, like most magic. The rationale is that metamagic is simply that much more intricate than other forms of magic because it's tinkering with the fabric of magic itself, magically. If that has your head spinning, just remember that metamagic is typically +20 difficulty over normal magic

If the metamage succeeds, the raw Points Produced can be added to bolster or weaken the spell directly, depending on the intent of the effect. If a metamage wishes to change the nature of the effect (fire to ice, for instance) or redirect it somewhere else, they need to produce as many PP as the original caster in order to succeed. You can choose if you wish to allow a partial success or not.

Otherwise, it works a lot like blocking or parrying in mundane combat: a metamage trying to affect another character's spell rolls their mights versus 45 + the opposing mage's INT and SPI, respectively (the target's magic skill doesn't apply). If they bolster another mage's spell, the metamage's PP add directly into the original caster's PP for a combined effect. Similarly, if the metamage drains the spell, their PP subtracts from the original mage's PP to cast the spell, reducing the effect.

If a metamage only partially succeeds on something like redirecting another spell, it won't likely hit its original target, but it won't hit whatever target the metamage was directing it toward, either. How that plays out exactly is up to you to describe.

Mundane vs Magic Combat

So we've covered magic damage, and mundane combat maneuvers, but what happens when they wind up at odds with one another?

If a mage flings a spell at a warrior who's attacking the mage, nothing changes: the warrior does damage using the mage's stats as her target, and vice versa. But if the warrior raises her shield to block a fireball, how do we calculate the result?

The answer is to rule it in two parts. First, rule the spell as normal, accounting for the possible shift in resisting stats (a mage targeting a blocking opponent adds their STR and END stats to their ruling, rather than the usual DEX and END). Only the stats are accounted for here, even though they're actively defending.

Second, the person blocking or dodging the spell rolls their combat Mights versus the mage's INT and SPI Mights (INT roughly equates to speed and accuracy, while SPI is the measure of power and force). Any points they produce subtract from the mage's PP for the spell, directly reducing the damage taken.

Magic vs Mundane in the Dice Ruler

The dice ruler doesn't include a magic-vs-mundane option, so you'll be using a combination of the Magic Ruling and the Multi-Trait Ruling : Two-Trait Ruling selections.

Rule the magic as normal. Then, enter the defender's appropriate Mights into the Two-Trait Ruling section, with the mage's INT and SPI Mights as the difficulties (see below). That will give you the defender's PP. The casting mage's target stats may also change:

If the defender is trying to dodge...

  • Their DEX Might is opposed by the mage's INT Might
  • Their END Might is opposed by the mage's SPI Might

If the defender is trying to block...

  • Their STR Might is opposed by the mage's INT Might
  • Their END Might is opposed by the mage's SPI Might

It is very rare that a spell can be parried, but in such a case (like an ice mage flinging deadly icicles at a target):

  • The defender's DEX Might is opposed by the mage's INT Might
  • The defender's STR Might is opposed by the mage's SPI Might

NOTE: Some spells, like mental effects and others that target SPI instead, cannot be blocked, dodged or parried. Someone rolling a skill specifically designed to resist such spells can do so via the One-Trait Ruling option, and the PP subtract as described above.

For the mage's PP, use the Magic tab in the Helper, as normal. They still use the spell's base difficulty plus the target stat (and any relevant magic-resisting skill, even though the target may be using a combat skill to dodge).

Assoc. Files

Combat Ruling

Combat is a specific kind of two-trait ruling involving actions that are about attacking a target or defending against attacks.

However unlike other two-trait rolls combat rolls may come with three instead of just two.
The reason for this is due to the multiple kinds of combat actions there are between attacking and defending. A player may not always remember which two traits will achieve what they want so they will roll all three Stats related to the physical combat or magical/psi combat action. It is sometimes more efficient to roll all three stats and pick and choose rather then have to ask for extra rolls.

An A/SH will need to read carefully what the player posted to make sure they know which stats to use, and a player should make it very clear what their intended combat action will be even if you do not know the stats.

There is also no difference in how physical combat is handle and magical/psi combat is handled. They both now use the same exact rules, only just using different stats.

What counts as combat?

Broadly speaking it is any action that is an attack against a target and any reaction in order to defend.

The first thing that comes to mind is essentially doing damage and defending against damage. However not all attacks against a target will be about doing damage, but they follow the same rules in this system in terms of ruling them.

With a damaging attack any PP generated by the attack is how much damage they do to the target.
This PP is then subtracted from the targets Life Score
Damaging attacks can be non-lethal if the attacker chooses to. Any PP they generate will not be counted beyond what would be needed to take their target to 0 Life which is when the target would be considered unconscious.

In the case of a non-damaging attack the PP generated determines if the attacker succeeds and how much of an effect their action would be. Depending on what the effect is PP/7 will determine duration, and the target may have to generate more PP in order to break the effect.

There are also a few different ways one can defend in the game, each able to cover a spread of stats as well as 'flavors', so no one type of character theme excels then another in terms of being able to handle incoming attacks.

Combat Stats and Skills

Physical combat actions will make use of END, STR, and DEX.
Magical/Psi combat actions will make use of INT, SPIR, and CHA

General idea of function in combat

Function Magic/Psi Phsyical
"To Hit" INT DEX
"Power" SPIR STR
"Soaking" CHA END

Skills related to combat will often have a Damage aspect and/or an Avoid aspect that enables the character to access the basic defense actions of Blocking, Dodging, Parrying/Countering, and Redircting/Disarming.

Keywords to look for in skills to help identify the intent of the aspects are any of the related defense actions, descriptions of fighting styles, or anything about resisting damage or avoiding it.

Attacking and Defending

Attacking often makes use of the stats that represent the function of "to hit" and "power". For one stat indicates how well a character can aim their attack and the other one represents the potential power behind it, so when combined one is able to attack a target.

If a player happens to roll a failure on one of the stats but still succeeds, you as a SH get to have the opportunity to have some fun in your narrative. So the results can come about in an unexpected way. You can use these general ideas of the stats function to play off of.

Stats used to attack

Physical Magical/Psi

If the target does not attempt to defend against an attack then you do not need to worry about ruling any defense rolls.
Instead you just use the the target's "To Hit" stat and "Soaking" stat along with their highest skill that has the Standard Defense Action avoid aspect as the difficulty and rule the attack.
Then the PP generated by the attack is how much damage is done.

    Mights used as the default difficulty are:
  • DEX and END with relevant skill for physical attacks
  • INT and CHA with relevant skill for magical/psi attacks

However if the target actively tries to defend against an attack then the mights used for the difficulty change depending on which defense action is being used.
The defender's difficulties are the attacker's attack mights, and the attacker's difficulties the defender's chosen defense mights.
The defender's defense mights rolls are used and will produce PP which has an additional effect on the attacker's PP.

Blocking (and resist soaking) is the action to just "soak up" any incoming damage.
Any PP generated by the blocker is subtracted from the attacker's PP, then whatever is left is the damage done. Blocking is also a universal defense action, meaning it doesn't matter if the physical version or magical/psi version is rolled, it will block the incoming damage regardless of the type of attack.
Blocking also enables a character to use a shield to gain some extra absorb value.

    Stats Used:
  • Physical - STR and END
  • Magical/Psi - SPIR and CHA

Dodging is the action to try and avoid any incoming damage.
Any PP generated by the dodger is subtracted from the attacker's PP, then whatever is left is the damage done. Dodging is the other universal defense action, meaning it can be used to try and avoid any type of incoming attack.
    Stats Used:
  • INT and DEX

Parrying/Countering is the action to fend off an attack, often with a kind of counter move.
Physical mights can only be used against physical attacks, and magical/psi mights can only be used against magical/psi attacks.
Any PP Any PP generated by the parry/counter is subtracted from the attacker's PP, then whatever is left is the damage done.
    Stats Used:
  • Physical - DEX and END
  • Magical/Psi - INT and CHA

Redirecting is the action to attempt to change the target of the attack.
Disarming is the action to remove a target's weapon or cancel out a spell completely.
Physical mights can only be used against physical attacks, and magical/psi mights can only be used against magical/psi attacks.
For both Redirecting and Disarming they require the one attempting the action to generate the same amount or more PP then the PP generated by the attacker. If they do not the action fails, however they only take as much damage as the PP they did manage to generate subtracted from the attacker's PP.
    Stats Used:
  • Physical - DEX and STR
  • Magical/Psi - INT and SPIR

Wounded, Unconscious and Dead
There are various states once a character or NPC starts taking damage that should be taken into account.

  • A wounded character is typically 100% effective until they fall unconscious. Specific type of attacks may result in penalties at SH discretion, but those are rarer. Just taking damage doesn't automatically lead to penalties.
  • A character who takes damage equal to or greater than their LIF stat falls unconscious. Healing bringing them above zero LIF instantly revives the character.
  • A character who takes damage equal to double their LIF stat is dead, a state which is typically permanent in Vaxia and Sirian. Before ruling a character dead, however, check with the player to be sure the Real Life Harm protection isn't being invoked.

For example, if our dwarf has LIF 30, they suffer no change after 29 damage, fall unconscious after 30 damage, and die after 60 damage (barring real-life harm).

And that covers any basic Combat Ruling :)

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