Combat is broken down into short, distinct turns. Every turn, each character and NPC involved is allowed to take one combat action.
If one side in a conflict surprises the other, for example in an ambush, that side gets to act first. They may do so in whatever order they like. When they're done, those on the other side take one action each, after which the turn ends and a new one begins. Should there be any doubt which side is more surprised, roll one d20 for each team, adding any bonuses from relevant traits among their members. The side with the highest sum acts first. In the event of a draw, players win.
Anything that is very simple or easily combined with other tasks (e.g. shouting an order or dropping whatever you're holding) doesn't require spending a combat action. After an attack roll, do not immediately pick up the dice again. That same roll is used for armor- and damage checks. With a bit of training, you’ll read the whole outcome instantly.
In an attack the roll must not only succeed, but also do better than the opponent's efforts to not get hit. This requires a Success higher than the opponent's Defense. If the defender has made (or is about to make) a melee attack in this turn, use the Defense from that attack. Otherwise, use Unarmed Defense. If the defender is unaware of the attack or chooses to ignore it, the Defense is 0. Note that you don’t roll Defense. It is simply the number the attacker needs to overcome in order to hit.
A defender who hasn't already acted this turn may immediately make a counterattack, using the same rules as a regular attack. Note that a counterattack is simultaneous with the initial one and both attacks are to be resolved - even if one of them kills the opponent!
A ranged attacks is a hit if a successful result is higher than the approximate distance to the target. Use the range scale on the lower right side of the character sheet to the determine the distance. If it’s about 100m, the attacker needs a success higher than 7. At distances under 5m, all successes are hits.
Shooting at a target beyond the weapon’s Range incurs a -2 penalty for each step above Range, up to a total of -10. A weapon can’t reach distances more than five steps above its Range.
Targets that are harder to hit (small, prone, fast-moving etc) incur penalties to the attack roll. For example, if the enemy is entrenched in a good position, the GM could rule a -3 to hit that target. Conversely, large targets (like cars or buildings) could give bonuses. Most ranged attacks use Attack, but there are some situations in which the attacker will use the weapon’s Defense value in place of its Attack value when making the attack:
You could also spend an action aiming a ranged weapon, which grants a +2 to Attack next turn. Aiming requires steady ground and can't be combined with any other action.
If you stay too long in a firing position, someone will have time to aim at you. You will want someone to cover you as you advance, to put that pressure on the enemy instead.
Type C weapons have very limited ammo capacity. If there’s a number written next to it, that’s how many rounds it has. For example, a double-barreled shotgun is a C2, that is two shots before reload. Just “C”, without a number, means it must be reloaded after every shot.
For weapons without Type C, single shots don’t count, but automatic fire might: A number between 5 and 19 is written after the A type, for example A12 or A17.
Reloading a weapon takes one action, and allows you to skip the ammo-check the first turn of Auto. Weapons are normally considered reloaded at the start of each fight.
Example: A character begins the fight by firing full Auto with an A13 weapon. Since it’s a fresh clip, no ammo check is made this turn. The character continues to fire full auto the second turn. The first attack roll comes up black 17, white 2. After this attack, the magazine’s empty (black die is above A13), and no additional attack is made this turn.
This adds two features: first, you don’t have to keep track of how many bullets you have. Second, you never really know when you’re going to run out.
Hiding means eliminating the line of sight, for example ducking all the way down behind a cover or stepping back from the corner around which you were firing. Hiding counts as an action, but it normally doesn't require a roll. Going from Hiding to Cover also takes one action.
Shooting at someone in Cover incurs a penalty, depending on the quality of the position and the angle of attack. The Tables section contains a few examples. Cover does not stack: use only the highest penalty.
As soon as a move action is declared, the character is considered a moving target. All move actions are resolved simultaneously at the end of each turn; characters who are still able to do so arrive at their destinations. Any actions combined with moving are also carried out at the end of the turn, in the order in which they were declared. Move actions:
Waiting means simply passing the turn on to the character who’s next in the initiative order. A waiting character may declare one specified action, which may then be used to cut off another character's action later in the turn. If the waiting character wishes to take any action that is not specified as above, this action will be resolved after the event that the character reacts to. When the waiting character has acted, she returns to her regular place in the initiative order as of next turn.
When sneaking, you can not move faster than the distance to the closest known observer. Roll the observer's Perception, minus the sneaking character's Stealth. If the result is higher than the distance to the sneaker, the observer sees some sort of movement and may roll Perception again. If the sneaking character stays still, this roll suffers a -5 penalty. A consecutive success locates the sneaking character.
If attempting to sneak closer to the observer, use the lowest distance intended. The result states at which distance the movement was observed.
This is the tricky part: find the last digit of the die that missed. For Damage, there's no difference between 4 and 14. 10 and 20 both count as 10. If both dice hit, use the last digit of the black die. Finally, add the weapon’s Damage. Example 1: The Attack is 12 against Defense 6. The black die comes up 3 and the white one 11. The black die missed, so its last (and only) digit, a 3, is added to the weapon’s Damage. Example 2: Attack 15 vs Defense 5. The roll comes up 15 Black, 7 White. Since both dice hit, the black one is used. The last digit of 15 is 5; a 5 is added to the weapon’s Damage.
When someone who wears armor is hit by an attack, the next step is to determine whether or not the armor protects. An armor with Coverage 20 is completely sealed - all attacks will hit armor. For Coverage 1-19, compare the white die of the attack roll to the armor's Coverage. If the white die is higher, the attack bypasses that layer of armor completely. For this comparison, the white die does not have to be successful to count. If the armor is struck, reduce the incoming Damage by the Armor's Protection.
Damage translates directly into Wounds: if a character receives Damage 12, mark the circle below the 12 in the Wounds section at the bottom of the character sheet. If the circle is already filled from a previous Wound, mark the nearest empty circle to the right instead.
Wounds higher than your Toughness means you're incapacitated and in need of urgent medical attention. Lower wounds may very well prove fatal later on, but right now - in this particular fight - they do not stop you.
Once you've been hit, but before you know the exact Damage, you have the option to roll with the attack. You do this by immediately sacrificing your next available action (from the next turn if you've already acted), describing how you get hurt and how it affects you. This reduces the Damage by -2. You may choose to be knocked down and/or back, if that makes sense in the context. If you’re in the middle of an action when attacked, for example moving, Rolling with it replaces that action after no more than half of the intended distance.
After the fight, check if any Wound is equal to or higher than Toughness.
If a Wound is more than 5 above your Toughness, the character is irreversibly dead. Some groups prefer to play without these rules, allowing all characters to be resuscitated. This should, of course, be agreed upon before the game starts.
Every group needs to agree on the recovery rate. While it can be argued that one roll every month is quite realistic, this is often shortened to once a week or even after each good night's sleep. Recovery rolls are made using your Toughness. If the result, whether success or failure, is equal to a marked Wound, there’s been a complication (infection, rebleeding etc). Mark the nearest empty circle above that number. You do not heal this time.
Example1: A character with Toughness 8 has suffered a 6 and a 7 Wound. The Recovery roll is Black 11, White 4; that is 4 Success. The 7 Wound is lowered to a 3 (7-4), and the 6 Wound along the way is removed. Example2: If the same character had rolled Black 11, White 6, the 6 would have been equal to a Wound. That would mean marking the nearest empty Wound above the result: Wound 8.
This action assumes the physician has medical tools handy, and uses one combat action. Better circumstances, as well as using more time to treat the Wound, grant bonuses to Medicine.