Time and Combat

Time Scale: the Turn

Previously we discussed movement, and repeatedly referred to how fast one can move in a turn. But just what is a turn, you ask? In Edition 13 of the 4C System, a turn is six seconds - usually enough for every character to attempt at least one action each. In non-combat play, this need not be too precise; a player simply states what he or she wants to do, and with the Gamemaster's blessing, makes any applicable rolls.

On the other hand, when one or more lives are on the line, it may be absolutely vital for the Gamemaster to know what happens when. When this is the case, it is imperative that players follow the combat sequence for a turn, which allows each player to act in an orderly fashion - unless one character's actions obviate the need for another's. Turns proceed in the following fashion, and are defined in much greater detail below:

  1. Declare Actions
  2. Roll for extra ACTIONs (if necessary)
  3. Determine Initiative
  4. Resolve Actions in Order
  5. If Multiple Rounds Needed, Resolve Extra Actions
  6. Wrap Up

Step 1: Declare Actions

To start with, all players must determine what their character will be doing in a given turn. This applies to player characters and non-player characters alike. In the interest of fairness, the Gamemaster should decide what non-player characters are going to do before the players make their declaration. This helps to keep non-player characters from seeming omniscient - especially when they shouldn't be.

This does not mean the Gamemaster need declare NPC actions first, or at all, at least until they are made - just that NPC actions should be determined beforehand. This may lead to the players occasionally ruining the Gamemaster's carefully laid plans, but then that's what player characters are for. That and it always gives players a warm, fuzzy feeling to get a surprise victory out of left field now and then.

Step 2: Roll For Extra ACTIONs (if necessary)

If a player intends to attempt more than one action in a given turn, he or she must roll an ACTION to determine if they may in fact do so. This ACTION can be resolved on table 21, which shows how many combat actions per turn a character may try. Where multiple actions are concerned, the ACTION is made with one's Melee trait, and shows how many active tasks the character may attempt in a turn.

Table 21: Combat Actions Per Turn
Rank ValueAction(s)
30Two Attacks / Aversions
50Three Attacks / Aversions
100Four Attacks / Aversions
200Five Attacks / Aversions
1000Six Attacks / Aversions
3000Seven Attacks / Aversions
5000Eight Attacks / Aversions

Making the number of offensive actions indicated on table 21 is a Melee ACTION that is equal to the indicated intensity; for example, squeezing three actions into a six second period is a rank value 50 intensity Melee ACTION. If one has a Melee trait of rank value 40, making so many moves would require a yellow Melee ACTION, while a character with rank value 75 Melee would only need to make a red Melee ACTION to pull this off.

If this ACTION roll fails, the character can only attempt one action in this turn, and does so at a -3 RS. If they are successful, however, characters may attempt more than one action. These can either be resolved as separate actions (if dissimilar) at a -1 RS each, or if the player chooses, they may occur as a 'flurry' of action, adding a +1 RS to the damage inflicted for each doubling of attacks, instead of making separate assaults.

Where defensive actions are concerned, table 21 indicates how many defensive actions a character may attempt without penalty (no roll required). For instance, a heroine with a Melee of rank value 40 may attempt to avert two separate attacks with ease. Attempting subsequent aversive actions is still possible, but occurs at a cumulative -2 RS for each maneuver the character tries.

Another thing to keep in mind is that if using their full movement in a given turn, characters can only attempt one action during that time, no matter how many they would like to. To perform multiple attacks under such circumstances, they must wield them all in a singular burst. Regardless, unless attempting a charging attack, actions attempted while moving one's fullest in a turn are made at a -1 RS.

Step 3: Determine Initiative

Initiative is the order in which characters act. Unlike just about everything else in the Edition 13 rules, initiative can be determined with just one d10, not percentile dice. What you do is roll said d10, and add it to the modifier indicated by your Awareness rank value on table 22. Characters with a higher initiative go first, counting down until everyone has performed their first action.

Table 22: Initiative Modifiers

While this is reasonably accurate, and helps to break things up on a turn-by-turn basis by showing the fortunes and misfortunes of combat, perhaps the standard initiative system is simply too cumbersome for some games. This may occur with a very large number of participants in a given battle, or maybe a particular game group simply prefers not to spend so much time rolling the dice (or die, as it happens).

As such, here are a few optional initiative rules:

  1. Instead of rolling for initiative each turn, the players can instead just roll once - at the beginning of play. They merely recall their initiatives (or scribble them down), and whenever action gets complicated enough to require initiative, they simply refer to their earlier roll. NPCs need only determine initiative when they first appear.
  2. Instead of rolling initiative at all, simply make use of the initiative modifiers the characters' Awareness traits give them. Whoever has the highest bonus gets to go first, and the rest may act in descending order. This way a roll is only actually needed in the event of a tie (or just flip a coin). This works for NPCs as well; keep their modifiers in mind as they appear, but otherwise act normally.
  3. Ignore initiative entirely. Players may simply act in a set order - perhaps clockwise around a gaming table. While this often fails to reflect the 'reality' of combat or the relative speed of characters, it's definitely consistent and easy to remember. NPCs can then go either before or after the players do, according to the Gamemaster's whims (speedsters and ambushers go first, while the rest go after, or whatever).

Players can mix this up to their advantage on occasion, as well. Perhaps they decide to coordinate their actions as a true team, instead of handling each brawl on their own. If using 'team' tactics, players should just have one character roll their initiative, and they all go relative to the NPCs whenever the die indicates. When using teamwork, it's sometimes amazing what a group of players can actually accomplish.

Step 4: Resolve Actions in Order

As the Gamemaster counts down initiative values from the highest to the lowest, each character may act in turn. In complex encounters, PCs and NPCs will act in varying order, which can make some matters tricky. In fact, as some characters act, the actions of others will be rendered moot or impossible (knocking out one character means, quite naturally, that the unconscious person cannot perform his or her desired action).

If, after seeing the actions of others playing out, or even if they change their mind upon hearing the declarations of other players, a character has the option of changing their stated action. This requires a blue Coordination ACTION roll, and if successful, the newly declared action can proceed as normal, though at a -1 RS (which accounts for the lack of preparation, et cetera).

If this blue Coordination ACTION roll fails, however, the character in question may not act at all in a given turn. This represents them dropping the ball, either figuratively or literally, and often leaves them in a particularly disadvantageous position upon the start of the next turn. What form this disadvantage takes will depend on what task(s) they failed to accomplish, but may or may not represent a negative Row Shift.

Step 5: If Multiple Rounds Needed, Resolve Extra Actions

Step five is only required if one or more characters pass an extra ACTIONs roll at the beginning of the turn. For instance, say three characters out of six attempt an extra actions ACTION roll. Two of those characters manage to acquire two actions that turn, while the other secures a total of three. Everyone then acts normally, performing their actions as declared earlier.

Once everyone has acted once, a second round begins, and the three characters with extra actions go again. With this done, the one character with three actions makes their final move, and then...

Step 6: Wrap Up

Once every character (player or non-player) has expended all of their actions, it is time to end the current turn. The Gamemaster will use this time to take stock of the action at hand, and determine if another turn of activity is necessary or if the action is done for the moment. He or she will also use this opportunity to introduce any events or changes in the situation as it currently exists.

This is when bombs go off, floors suddenly collapse, fires ignite... that sort of thing. Assuming the Gamemaster has any 'events' in mind, or if circumstances cause them to occur, they will fall into the flow of action here, if they weren't already forced by characters during steps 4 or 5. This is also a good time to calculate things like recovered Health (for people who regenerate) or to count ammunition (if applicable).

Combat Essentials

As you can see from the above, the structure of a turn is very precise to best allow combat between characters to function as seamlessly as is possible. So keeping that in mind, let us speak about the essentials of combat in the 4C System. Standard combat maneuvers all make use of the first four primary abilities, each of which has its own offensive capabilities.

Slugfest Combat

Various forms of hand-to-hand fighting, slugfest combat is resolved with one's Melee trait. To engage in melee, or hand-to-hand combat, two characters must be generally adjacent - in other words, very, very close. Sometimes certain techniques will allow a character to engage non-adjacent characters in melee (the elongation power, ridiculously long melee weapons), but normally this isn't an issue.

Bashing (Ba) attacks are assaults with one's bare hands, boxing gloves or gauntlets, or any number of other (you guessed it) blunt instruments. Whether punching or swinging a bat, bashing attacks are all resolved on the aptly named bashing attacks portion of the effects table, which you can find on the Master Table. Bashing attacks have one of four results, depending on the color rolled.

A black result indicates a miss, which means you did not connect with your punch, kick, or whatever. A red roll means you hit, and can then determine how much damage you inflicted. A blue result acts per a red hit, adding the potential of a Pound - physically knocking the foe about. A yellow roll also behaves per a red hit, with the added possibility of inflicting a Concuss result on one's foe.

This assumes the target of such attacks is not attempting to avoid them. Melee combatants may attempt to either evade or weave against bashing attacks, which will either prevent them from connecting or apply negative Row Shifts to hit. Alternately, they may try to block the damage, taking the hit and using their Brawn against its incoming harm (on top of any other protection they may have access to).

The advantage of bashing attacks is that their wielder need not use maximum force when applying them. By declaring that he or she is pulling their punch, a character has the option of either reducing the damage inflicted or the color result after the dice have settled, allowing them to avoid inflicting lethal damage or potentially harmful effects - particularly useful if one is possessed of super-human strength.

Slashing (Sl) attacks involve assaults made with sharp, pointy objects. Whether using a sword, a dagger, or even some sort of inherent weaponry, slashing attacks are all resolved on the (that's right) slashing attacks segment of the effects section on the Master Table. As is the case with bashing attacks, slashing attacks have one of four possible results, depending on what color is indicated by the die roll.

Black results mean your sharp, pointy implement missed your target. A red die roll means that you have struck your foe, and may determine damage based on the rank value provided by either your Brawn or super-human physical weaponry. A blue result acts per a red roll, adding the potential of a Concuss result on top of the damage. A yellow roll indicates, in addition to doing damage, a Kill result may have been achieved.

This assumes the target of such attacks is not attempting to avoid them. Melee combatants may attempt to either evade or weave against edged attacks, which will either prevent them from connecting or apply negative Row Shifts to hit. Alternately, the target may try to block the damage, taking the hit and using his or her Brawn against its incoming pain (hopefully along with other protection they may have), to avoid being cut.

Slashing attacks, particularly when compared to bashing attacks, tend to do a little less damage. On the other hand, they're a whole lot more lethal - swords usually mean business, after all. Unlike a bashing attack, the user of a slashing attack does not have the option of pulling their punches; they get to live with whatever result they rolled, possibly killing their foe in the process. Which may of course be the idea!

Ranged Combat

Table 23: Thrown Weapon Ranges
Rank ValueRange in SectorsRank ValueRange in Sectors
23 sector7577 sectors
47 sector10088 sectors
611 sectors150110 sectors
1022 sectors200165 sectors
2033 sectors500220 sectors
3044 sectors1000440 sectors
4055 sectors3000880 sectors
5066 sectors5000Line of Sight

Ranged attacks are assaults which work over a long distance - possibly extremely long. They include projectile weapons ranging from rocks to rockets, as well as energy weapons both artificial and inherent. While ranged attacks place their wielder in less immediate danger from their foe (who needs ranged attacks to strike back without closing), they also involve a lot more details - usually to the detriment of a ranged attacker.

Based on their wielder's Coordination, ranged attacks suffer penalties for extreme range; for each sector away from one's target beyond a ranged attack's listed range, it suffers a -1 RS modifier to hit. Furthermore, each object in the path of one's ranged attack inflicts a -2 RS to-hit penalty. Even something as seemingly simple as a window can act to deflect the trajectory of a ranged attack, no matter what form it takes.

In that same vein, if a ranged attack strikes something on the way to its intended target, the material value of whatever it attempts to pass through is directly subtracted from its damage sum before it even hits its target. For instance, a door of MV 10 is struck with a hail of bullets. This intensity 20 attack is reduced by 10 points, and then inflicts what's left on those on the other side, if it hits.

The last thing to keep in mind about ranged attacks is simple physics. While you're (usually) not in danger of striking others if you miss a slugfest attack, a ranged attack just might hit someone else if one launches it at a heavily occupied area. If a ranged attack misses, and if anyone is adjacent to its target, make a roll for each additional person that may be struck by it instead.

Energy (En) attacks are specialized assaults making use of non-physical projectiles. They involve striking something with lightning, cutting it with a laser, or even killing it with fire. Energy attacks are very powerful and versatile, and often quite lethal, as the human body is not designed to absorb energies at this level. Energy attacks are resolved on the (yep) Energy attacks effect portion of the Master Table.

A black roll details a missed energy attack, which may be very bad for the surroundings. A red ACTION means the energy attack has struck its intended target, and damage is inflicted. A blue roll is the same as a red, and indicates a bullseye was struck (if precision attacks are attempted). A yellow energy attack inflicts damage per a red result, but may also inflict a Killing blow on top of mere Health loss.

The target of an energy attack may attempt to avoid it as he or she can most other ranged assaults, by performing either a dodge or feint maneuver. On the other hand, the target of an energy attack can instead take the hit, while trying to brace themselves against the damage inflicted. The wielder of an energy attack may partially pull their punches, lowering the intensity of damage inflicted, but not the color result rolled.

Force (Fo) attacks are an odd combination of blunt and energy attacks, and involve striking a foe with a physical manifestation of energy in some form or another. This can include blasts of pneumatic power, bolts of kinetic energy, or even bursts of anti-gravitic repulsions. Force attacks are resolved using the Force attacks portion of the Master Table's effects row. See a pattern yet?

A black force attack indicates the blast missed its intended target, but can always strike someone else. A red roll means the force attack struck, and may inflict damage normally. Blue results behave per red rolls, but are also bullseyes, meaning a precise blow has been struck (if attempted). A yellow force attack indicates damage per a red roll, plus the potential for a Concuss condition to be inflicted as well.

A force attack can be avoided in a number of ways, as befits its strange, hybrid nature. Its target may attempt either a dodge or a feint maneuver, either preventing it from connecting entirely or providing a negative Row Shift to be hit. Also, a force attack may be blocked, just like a bashing attack. A user of force attacks can partially pull his or her punches, inflicting less damage but retaining whatever color result was rolled.

Piercing (Pi) attacks are the single most common form of ranged assault. They come into play when someone grabs a handgun or bow (or a hybrid, the crossbow) and fires it at whoever has irked their ire. Some larger weapons also inflict shooting damage as well, primarily being huge-caliber military weaponry. Piercing attacks are resolved on the similarly named portion of the Master Table's effects row.

A miss with a shooting attack means the shooter has struck something by or behind their target. A red roll indicates that he or she has hit, and may determine damage per the norm. A blue ACTION performs like a red, with the added bonus of a bullseye effect (if desired or required). A yellow roll indicates damage was inflicted, and the shooter may have also inflicted a Kill result with their projectile as well.

As is the case with energy and force attacks, the target of a piercing attack may attempt several maneuvers to avoid harm. These include both the dodge and the feint, which involve not being where the bullets (or arrows or whatever) are going. However, no one can block or brace against piercing attacks, for they are simply too penetrative for brute strength or endurance to work against.

Thrown Bashing (TB) attacks are similar to ordinary bashing assaults, but they introduce distance into the equation. This basically involves throwing something at an opponent, whether it's a rock, shoe, cue ball, or even a bus. Thrown bashing attacks are not directly lethal, and are resolved on the thrown bashing portion of the Master Table's effects row, based (of course) on one's Coordination.

A black roll naturally means the thrown object missed its target. A red result indicates that the flinging fighter has indeed struck their foe, and may determine damage normally. A blue roll is the same as a red, but is known as a bullseye, and may be required for trick shots (hitting a specific part of a target, for instance). Yellow results indicate that in addition to inflicting damage, the flinger may have Concussed their foe as well.

Thrown bashing attacks may be avoided just like standard bashing attacks, though different maneuvers are needed for this. The target of thrown bashing attacks may dodge or feint against them, or alternately may attempt to block, taking the hit and hoping to 'muscle' the damage away. Finally, the wielder of a thrown bashing attack may pull his or her punches, just like they could if inflicting bashing damage in melee.

Thrown Slashing (TS) assaults are similar to standard slashing attacks, save for the obvious factor of range. A thrown slashing attack involves flinging some sort of sharp, deadly object at another person, whether it's designed to be used in that way or not. Shuriken, daggers, some axes, and even spears fit this bill, though an improvised edged weapon can often be thrown as well - albeit at a considerable negative Row Shift to hit.

As you can imagine, a black thrown slashing attack misses its target completely. A red result means the thrown weapon hits its target, and its wielder may determine damage normally. Blue rolls indicate a hit, per a red to-hit ACTION, with the added possibility of a Concuss. A yellow ACTION on a thrown slashing attack indicates a hit, in addition to potentially inflicting a Kill result on its hapless target.

Thrown slashing attacks may be avoided just like normal slashing attacks, though different maneuvers are needed for this (as is the case with thrown bashing attacks). The targets of a thrown slashing attack may dodge or feint against it, or alternately may attempt to block, taking the hit and hoping to 'shrug off' the damage to be inflicted. Note that you may not pull your punches on a thrown slashing attack.

Wrestling Combat

Wrestling combat is a Brawn-based affair. It almost exclusively requires that one be adjacent to another when engaging in wrestling attacks, unless powers such as elongation are in play. A wrestling maneuver involves using one's Brawn directly against another, not necessarily with brute force so much as with leverage, grappling, and pinning maneuvers, literally overpowering another with technique and muscle.

Grabbing (Gb) attacks involve taking something from someone else by force. To grab an item, one must overcome the Brawn of whatever is holding it in place - without breaking it in the process. Thus, a grabbing attack is fraught with peril, for one must apply the proper amount of Brawn to the task without going overboard - or ham-fisting the attempt and knocking an item away from oneself.

A black grabbing attack is a miss; the grabber failed to grab that which they wanted to grab. A red grabbing ACTION means one may have grabbed the target, if their Brawn is greater than that of their opponent (or the MV of the item, if not held); if not, a red result indicates a struggle. A blue ACTION indicates the grabbing attack took the item away, and a yellow result means this has occurred, and the item may be broken!

Grabbing attacks may be avoided with an evasion or a weave maneuver.

Grappling (Gp) attacks are those in which an attacker attempts to limit the motions of another with his or her very body. A series of maneuvers on the part of the grappler allows them to shift their Brawn such that it will partially or fully pin their foe, and may inflict damage in the process. A black or red grappling result means that the maneuver has failed utterly, and that one's opponent has avoided being grappled entirely.

A blue grappling attack indicates a partial hold has been scored, and that the attacker has limited his or her opponent's movements somewhat. A yellow grappling ACTION means a grappler has achieved a full hold, and has prevented their foe from moving at all. Damage is inflicted on the held individual if his or her Brawn is greater than their opponent's. One may perform one action in addition to maintaining a hold each turn.

One can avoid a grappling attack in the first place with an evasion or a weave maneuver. Once a partial or full hold is applied, however, only an escape maneuver can be used to dislodge a grapple - unless the grappler lets go... or is made to let go, somehow. While somewhat less effective than normal melee attacks, grappling maneuvers are great for incapacitating a foe without beating them senseless.

Charging Combat

Charging (Ch) attacks are those which combine movement and combat, a high speed body check which terminates at the target - usually violently. A charging individual may make his or her full movement and still execute a charging maneuver. In fact, this is usually required, as one must move at least eleven sectors to inflict a charging attack upon a target (whether it is a living foe or an inanimate object).

A character may add a +1 RS to hit for every eleven sectors moved through before attempting a charge, to a maximum of +3 RS (with a practical limit of rank value 500). A charging character rolls on his or her Fortitude to see whether or not they can hit, cross-referencing the die roll against the charging portion of the Master Table's effects row. There are four potential results of a charging attack.

A black result indicates that the charging character missed his or her target entirely - and it's quite possible they'll careen into something else if their target was in a crowded area. A red ACTION means they struck their foe, inflicting full damage (see below). A blue ACTION indicates the target was hit, and may suffer a Pound result as well. A yellow charging ACTION shows a Concuss result has been scored in addition to mere damage.

Damage for a charging maneuver is based on the Fortitude or body armor of the attacker, whichever is higher.

This damage is supplemented by the amount of sectors traveled though before the charge connected; add two points for every eleven sectors a charging individual traveled through, with a maximum of the character's Fortitude or body armor value (whichever is higher). A character with rank value 100 Fortitude, then, could benefit from up to 50 sectors worth of bonus charging damage!

The thing is, this damage is subject to the target's body armor. If a character charges into another with body armor, an amount of damage equal to said armor value will rebound back onto the charging individual. If he or she also possesses like armor, this damage will be radiated out into the environment, usually harmlessly (though windows in the immediate vicinity may be damaged if such a hit is powerful enough).

Charging inanimate objects works the same, treating the object's material value as if it were body armor, whether it is a wall or a tank. If the charging character inflicts damage, they may break the object - or barrel right through. If not, they may instead hurt themselves in the attack. Falling damage is also handled in this fashion, treating the 'fall' as a charge against the ground - or whatever else is under a falling character!

The character attempting a charging attack may 'pull their punch' as far as the result rolled, but the damage is pretty much set depending on both his or her Fortitude (or body armor) rank value and the amount of distance traveled.

Defensive Maneuvers

Every basic attack form described above may be avoided in at least one fashion, often in multiple ways. A defensive maneuver is one made specifically to avoid the attack of another, an aversive technique to prevent incoming damage from connecting with or otherwise affecting its executor. All characters may attempt at least one defensive maneuver per turn without penalty, more with higher Melee prowess.

Block maneuvers involve using one's Brawn to counter incoming damage. No effort is made to avoid being struck by an attack; instead, one leans into it and attempts to 'muscle' away the damage with brute force. A blocking character may use the result of this maneuver or any other protection to absorb the force of an attack, but not both - that is, unless the values are close enough to stack, per a normal buddy RS.

When blocking, a black ACTION provides one's Brawn -6 RS in protection against incoming damage. A red ACTION will provide one's Brawn -4 RS, a blue ACTION one's Brawn -2 RS, and a yellow ACTION one's Brawn +1 CS. This is why the block is the preferred defense mechanism of many super strong heroes and villains - it doesn't take great dexterity to avoid incoming harm, just a whole lot of muscle.

A block may be used against most physical damage forms. It can be wielded against Bashing, Slashing, Thrown Bashing, Thrown Slashing, and Force damage - but not Piercing attacks.

Brace aversions are similar to blocks, but involve using one's Fortitude to withstand incoming damage instead of Brawn. Working in the same basic fashion, a brace doesn't involve moving, so much as trying to 'soak' up damage. A bracing character may use the result of this maneuver or any other protection to absorb an attack's energy, but not both - that is, unless they are close enough in value to stack, like a normal buddy RS.

When bracing, a black ACTION provides one's Fortitude -6 RS in protection against incoming damage. A red ACTION will provide one's Fortitude -4 RS, a blue ACTION one's Fortitude -2 RS, and a yellow ACTION one's Fortitude +1 RS. This is why the brace is the preferred defense mechanism of many super tough heroes and villains - it doesn't take great coordination to avoid incoming pain, just a whole lot of endurance.

Brace maneuvers are primarily useful against Energy attacks, but can apply to other forms of directed, special energy forms (some Sorcerous, Karmic, and Deionic powers fall into this category).

Catching actions are those intended to, well, catch an object. This can be something that is falling, something that was thrown at the character or someone else, or even a projectile weapon, if the character is fast enough. Coordination is used when determining the success or failure of a catching maneuver, and one may only catch one item at a time - though multiple actions may allow several catches in a given turn.

A black catching ACTION indicates an auto-hit - the character not only didn't catch the item in question, but it struck them! A red catching action indicates the would-be catcher missed, and if the item to be caught was aimed at them, it gains a +1 RS to hit. A blue catching ACTION indicates the item was caught, but might be damaged in the process (roll a Brawn ACTION against its MV). A yellow ACTION indicates a successful catch.

As with evasions and feints, a catch maneuver prevents one from attacking in a given turn. Catching something specifically aimed at oneself applies a -3 RS penalty.

Dodge maneuvers are the basic way to avoid a ranged attack, whether one is flinging a rock or fireball at you. This basically involves getting out of Dodge, so to speak, and being somewhere else when a ranged attack comes calling. A dodge maneuver does not overtly negate the ability of an attacker to score a hit on its executor, but may do so based on the dodge result rolled. Dodges use a character's Coordination.

A black dodge result means that no penalty was applied to the attacker - one's movements made no practical difference. A red dodge ACTION reduces one's ability to hit the dodger by -2 RS, a blue by -4 RS, and a yellow by -6 RS. Against many 'normal' opponents, these Row Shifts may be enough to drop one's 'to hit' value below rank value 0, thus making the scoring of a hit in that instance impossible.

Dodges may be attempted against Energy, Force, Piercing, Thrown Bashing, and Thrown Slashing attacks. They can also apply to most other ranged attack forms that have a 'to hit' roll (some Sorcerous, Karmic, and Deionic powers fall into this category).

Escape attempts are those which are designed to extricate oneself from a partial or full hold inflicted as a result of a successful grappling attack. While an evasion or a feint will stop a grappling attack from sticking, an escape maneuver is the only way to get out of such once it has been applied. Escape maneuvers can also be used on equivalent attacks such as a telekinetic power's use (save for the application of a reversal).

A black or a red escape result indicates failure - in other words, the character's struggles are for naught. A blue escape roll demonstrates success, and the formerly held individual is now free of the partial or full hold he or she was in before; they may not act this turn, but can on the next. A yellow escape result indicates a reversal of the hold, and that the escapee is now the grappler, if they so choose.

As stated above, escape maneuvers are only useful against grappling attacks already in play, and are based on one's Brawn.

Evasion is a Melee technique by which a character actively tries to avoid being affected by hand-to-hand attacks. It involves possibly playing for time, 'feeling out' a foe's offense, or maybe just a serious desire to avoid being struck. Evading counts as a full action, which means one cannot attack in a turn that they are evading, but the benefit of this is that the evading character can easily avoid incoming damage.

A black evasion ACTION roll indicates failure, and that one walked right into an attack. Even if the attacker would've otherwise missed, they have managed to somehow strike thanks to the failed evasion. A red evasion ACTION means the attack is avoided, while a blue adds a +1 RS to the evader's next action against that foe, and a yellow ACTION adds a +2 RS to whatever offensive action the evader takes against his or her foe.

An evasion can only be attempted against melee attacks, and then only against one opponent at a time. These include Bashing and Slashing attacks, as well as initial grappling attempts and any special attack powers or energy forms which are delivered on touch.

Feint aversions are similar to evasions, in that they involve an active defense, a sacrifice of one's own attack in a given turn to ensure that they avoid being struck. The difference between the two is that a feint involves actions against a ranged opponent, and that Coordination is the base of the feint maneuver. They are otherwise the same, in that one can only feint a single ranged opponent per feint attempt.

A black feint ACTION roll means one bungled it and walked right into an attack. Even if the attacker would've otherwise missed, they have managed to somehow strike thanks to the failed feint aversion. A red feint ACTION means the attack is avoided, while a blue adds a +1 RS to the feint executor's next action against that foe, and a yellow ACTION adds a +2 RS to whatever offensive action the feinter takes against his or her opponent.

Feint aversions apply to Energy, Force, Piercing, Thrown Bashing, and Thrown Slashing attacks, as well as other special, ranged attack and damage forms that require a to-hit roll (some Sorcerous, Karmic, and Deionic powers fall into this description).

Weave maneuvers are attempts to directly avoid incoming melee damage. While an evasion can completely prevent a melee hit from connecting, it involves a more active defensive posture and technique - and takes one's combat action in a given turn. Essentially, a weave maneuver functions just like a dodge, only that it applies to melee attack instead of that which is ranged in nature.

A black weave result means that no penalty was applied to the attacker - one's movements made no practical difference. A red weave ACTION reduces one's ability to hit the weaver by -2 RS, a blue by -4 RS, and a yellow by -6 RS. Against many 'normal' opponents, these Row Shifts may be enough to drop one's 'to hit' value below rank value 0, thus making the scoring of a hit in that instance impossible.

A weave aversion may primarily be used on Bashing and Slashing attacks, as well as initial grappling attempts or any other damage form or attack power that requires direct physical contact. Weave attempts are rolled with one's Melee trait.

Pound, Concuss, and Kill Results

Above and beyond standard combat results, there are three which particularly stand out: the Pound, the Concuss, and the Kill. All three of these may be ignored if no actual damage is inflicted in the attack which scores one, but if it does, the character suffering from such must immediately make a Fortitude ACTION roll. The possible results of said ACTION rolls are presented here.

Pound results describe a hit so powerful that it may physically knock a character around. A Pound result prompts an Endurance ACTION made on the Pound? portion of the Master Table's effects row. A yellow ACTION means the target of a Pound was not, in fact, Pounded at all. A blue ACTION indicates that he or she may have been pushed back a few feet, or perhaps down on one knee, but the target may still act normally.

A red ACTION to resist a Pound result states the character is in fact pounded eleven sectors away. A black ACTION against a Pound result indicates utter failure, and that a Crushing Pound has occurred. This means the Pounded character will be physically launched away, as if thrown, with a Brawn equal to the damage inflicted after his or her body armor or other defenses (see table 23, above, for specific distances).

When a Pound occurs, roll a d10 to determine which direction a character is pounded (if the attacker has none in mind). A one or two means the character is knocked straight down, a three or four means a character is thrust to the left, a five or six means he or she was pounded to the right, a seven or eight means they were knocked backwards, and a nine or ten means the pounded character was smashed straight up into the air.

If the pounded character strikes something while in motion, it should be treated per a charging attack, which may be particularly disastrous to both the environment and the pounded character if he or she was hit hard enough. But then again, if they were hit hard enough to fly one hundred and ten sectors, that may be preferable to being within melee distance of the person that hit them so hard to begin with.

Concuss indicates a strike was powerful enough to potentially incapacitate its target for a while. When a Concuss result is rolled, the character might be dazed, confused, or otherwise rendered unable to act for a short period of time, depending on the Fortitude ACTION rolled on the Concuss? portion of the Master Table's effects row. There are three possible results of a Concuss check.

A yellow or blue Fortitude check means that the target of a Concuss result is not, in fact, concussed. While it may have looked like a powerful strike at first, the target managed to avoid being dazed (or whatever) by the attack. A red ACTION roll, on the other hand, will Concuss its victim for one turn. If the character has not yet acted, the Concuss applies to the current turn, but if he or she has acted already it applies to the next.

On a black ACTION, a Concuss will affect its target for 1d10 turns. The character so affected is knocked out for all intents and purposes, either unconscious or so disoriented that he or she cannot do anything other than twitch or convulse. A stunned character may be revived by someone with the first aid skill, but otherwise they're at the mercy of the elements - and whoever it was that knocked them out.

Kill results indicate a potentially lethal attack has been executed on the target. A Kill result requires a Fortitude ACTION made on the Kill? portion of the Master Table's effects row. A roll must also be made on the Kill? sub-table whenever a character's Health sum drops to zero, or when a character suffers additional damage while otherwise out of Health.

As with a Concuss, a yellow or blue Fortitude ACTION upon receiving a Kill result means the character is just fine - at least, as a result of that particular attack; their situation may still be quite dire. A red ACTION means the character will be affected by the Kill result if the source of the damage was either Slashing or Piercing. A black ACTION means that the Kill result was successful, and that the victim loses one Fortitude rank.

For every subsequent turn the victim of a Kill result lies unaided, he or she will lose another Fortitude rank, doing so until they die. This assumes that no one helps them at all. A dying character who is helped before slipping below rank value 0 Fortitude will live (assuming nothing else happens to them), but may be in dire straits nonetheless thanks to their reduced Fortitude trait, which must heal normally.

Other Combat Results

In addition to a Pound, Concuss, or Kill, all manner of other combat results may occur on the Master Table, as each attack technique has its own set of potential outcomes. Those which are not quite as critical as the above three are listed below, to give one a better handle on the variables that may occur in the midst of a fight while using the Edition 13 rules.

Auto-hit is what happens when one zigs when they should have zagged. A catch, feint, or evasion that achieves this result has caused its executor to quite literally walk into an attack. Even if the attacker would've otherwise missed, the character who scored an auto-hit will make it strike him or her somehow, possibly by inadvertently walking into the space the missed attack would've otherwise occupied.

Break results occur on a grabbing attack where too much force may have been used. The grabber grabbed the item in question, but he or she must roll a Brawn ACTION against the MV of the item. If their Brawn overcomes the MV of said object, it may be broken, or may otherwise hamper the grabber's activities. A bomb may detonate, while a statue might crack, or a gun might even go off!

Bullseye is a combat result that is required when one wishes to strike a precise location on a target with distance attacks. No matter the weapon or attack form, the idea is that a bullseye is required to strike something specific, such as the gun in one's hand, that spot between the eyes, or anything else desired. If a precision strike isn't intended, a bullseye is treated as a normal hit.

Catch results are the best possible outcome of a catching attempt. A Catch means that the character not only avoided being struck by whatever it was he or she intended to catch, but that they avoided damaging it in the process of catching it. If an inanimate object, the caught item is now in the character's possession, and if it was a living being, it may be safely set down without further risk.

Damage is a potential result of a catching attempt gone awry. This result indicates that the item was indeed caught, but may have suffered damage as a result of the catch. The catching individual must make a Brawn ACTION against the MV of the object to determine if it was damaged or destroyed. If catching a living being, this maneuver may instead damage the caught entity, per a charging attack!

Escape is a combat result that only occurs when attempting an escape maneuver (really). When this result is scored, the character attempting the maneuver has managed to shake themselves loose of whatever hold their opponent had him or her in. He or she can engage in no other actions on that turn, but may act normally on the next - assuming they are not grappled anew by their foe.

Evasion / Feint indicates success when attempting the aversive maneuver in question. The executor of this maneuver has successfully avoided being struck, if at the expense of their own offensive maneuvers. These results do not place the evader / feinter in an advantageous position against their foes, but on the other hand, they have not suffered damage of any variety either.

Full Hold indicates that a grappling attack was successful. It means the held individual cannot move at all, until let go or they successfully execute an escape attempt. A grappler may inflict damage upon his or her foe if they can pass a Brawn ACTION against the held individual's Brawn, though this also requires overcoming any body armor or other protections they may have as well, if any.

Grab results of grabbing attacks mean that the grabber has managed to grab the item in question away from his or her target. This occurs regardless of the Brawn of their opponent or the material value of the object in question, and the grabber now has full possession of the item. Mind you, there may not be anything to subsequently stop its former possessor from grabbing the item back.

Hit results rolled on the Master Table indicate that yes, you have struck your target. Aside from inflicting damage, assuming no protective items or powers in play on the target, a hit does not inflict any additional combat effects. Mind you, simply inflicting damage can be enough to accomplish what a character intends in the first place, but that's neither here nor there.

Miss indicates just that - the attack in question failed to connect with its target. This may or may not have serious consequences; when a ranged attack misses, it may very well strike someone or something in the vicinity of the intended target, with potentially dire results. Alternately, a miss may place the attacker in a disadvantageous position against his or her foe (or target, if grabbing) on the next turn.

Partial Hold indicates that a grappling maneuver has been partially successful, and that its target has been somewhat constrained in their movements. A partial hold inflicts a -2 RS penalty upon all actions a held individual attempts. The only way to remove this penalty is to make the grappler let go somehow, or to successfully execute an escape attempt against him or her... which is easier said than done.

Reversal results are the best possible outcome of an escape attempt. When a reversal is rolled, the character attempting the escape may, if he or she so chooses, or is physically able, reverse the hold they were previously held in. If the escapee does not wish to continue grappling with his or her foe, they may simply push or kick themselves loose, and may instead engage in any one action of their choice during that turn.

Row Shift results indicate a RS applied either to an attacker or a defender, based on some ability or another. Dodge and weave maneuvers usually apply a negative RS to attacker's hit rolls, while a block or brace applies one to one's own Brawn or Fortitude to determine momentary protection. Normally negative, a RS can demonstrate a bonus, particularly where evasions and feints are involved.

Take results of a grabbing attack indicate the item may or may not be in the grabber's possession. On a take result, the grabber must roll a Brawn ACTION against either the Brawn of the person holding the item or the item's material value. If this ACTION fails, the grabber has not liberated the item, and he or she must struggle with its current possessor to take it (or if 'loose', treat as a miss result instead).

Determining Damage

Damage in Edition 13 of the 4C System can be tallied in two fashions. The first, and less accurate, is to just use the listed rating whenever an attack is used. For instance, a rank value 50 fire generation power will always inflict rank value 50 SD Energy damage, no matter the circumstances in which it is used. The advantage of this method is that combat can be resolved somewhat faster.

On the other hand, damage may be rolled after a hit has been scored. This involves making a second die roll upon hitting a target, but allows the damage to be represented as an intensity, meaning that rank value 50 fire attack listed above can cause rank value 20 damage on a black result, rank value 40 damage on a red, rank value 50 damage on a blue, and rank value 75 damage on a yellow roll.

While the former method can greatly speed things up in a game, it is far from dynamic; combat will be generally predictable. Furthermore, it does not allow for extremes of action, and can cause many of the results seen so often in comic book battles to be downright impossible. The Gamemaster should declare which method they prefer at the beginning of a campaign - though it may behoove them (and the players) to switch now and then.

This can be done to streamline action when conditions at a game are different than normal. For example, a Gamemaster may normally run a game for a few close friends, perhaps up to six, and prefers the damage intensity method. But when running a game at a convention, and inadvertently winding up with over a dozen players (as has happened to this author more than once), the static method may work best.

Last | Main | Next

Questions or comments? Contact the author at your convenience!