Combat 101

Setting Up and Running Combat

So you want to run some combat. Here's how to do it:

Step 1: Starting Combat

The first thing you'll need to do is decide who is going to start the combat, and what sort of combat it will be. Mock combat is for spars, training sessions, OOC tests, and any other time the characters involved aren't actually trying to hurt one another. Real combat is for battles, skirmishes, challenges, and any time when the characters are trying to do actual injury to one another. Code-wise, the difference is that all damage from a Mock combat is wiped away when your character leaves the combat.

Only one person has to start the combat.

+combat/start mock
+combat/start real

Step 2: Joining Combat

Everyone else involved in the combat will have to join the combat at this point, and if the person who started the combat intends to fight, they will have to leave the combat and join again themselves. The reason is that there are two basic types of participants — observers and soldiers — and the person who starts the combat is automatically joined as an observer. A character may only join one combat at a time.

There are also a few additional preset types of participants that will automatically provide certain weapons and armor:

/grounder (sword and light grounder armor - most Grounders)
/guard (stun baton and guard armor - Ark Guard)
/security (assault rifle and flak jacket - Mountain Men Security Detail)
/panther (natural weapons, light hide, and quadruped hit locations)
/hound (natural weapons, light hide, and quadruped hit locations)

You will need to know the combat number to join it. You can get that number by checking the overall list of combats currently running on the game.

+combat/join #<number>/soldier
+combat/join #<number>/observer

Step 3: Setting Weapons and Armor

Everyone is automatically set with a knife when joining combat as a soldier. Any player who wants their character to use another weapon should check our weapon list and the individual entries for each weapon to decide which one they want their character to use.

+gear/weapon <weapon name>

Once they have decided on their weapon, they will need to set it in the code. Weapons with an ammo clip have to be reloaded for a round after they have run through all of their ammo.

+combat/weapon <weapon name>

Each character will also need to be set with armor as appropriate. Just like weapons, there is an overall list and detailed entries for each type of armor.

+gear/armor <armor name>

Once you have chosen your character's armor, set it up in the combat system.

+combat/armor <armor name>

Step 4: Add NPCs

Any command that can be used for a PC can be used for one of the numbered NPCs (grounder# or guard#) or on a +sheeted NPC. The combat organizer will probably want to set one side to Team 1, and the other side to Team 2 just to make things easier (PCs are automatically added to Team 1, including NPCs with full +sheets, while numbered NPCs are automatically added to Team 2).

+combat/join Grounder1=#<number>/grounder
+combat/weapon Grounder1=Axe
+combat/armor Grounder1=Heavy Grounder Armor
+combat/team Grounder1=1

Step 5: Choose Stances

Everyone enters the combat in Normal stance. Any character may use the Aggressive or Defensive stances. Reserve stance is used for those who are neither Aggressive nor Defensive, and are behind the lines, out of range of melee. It usually takes a turn of passing (not attacking anyone) to reach someone in Reserve stance. Out of Sight stance is used for those entirely hidden from view — they may neither attack nor be attacked. The effects of those stances can be seen on The System page.

+combat/stance Aggressive
+combat/stance Normal
+combat/stance Grounder1=Defensive

Step 6: Choose your actions

At the beginning of combat, and any time you switch weapons, use a non-attack action, are KOed, or your target is KOed, you will have to choose a new target.

By default, all attacks are aimed at the chest (although they may hit elsewhere), but a character can aim for another body part to avoid armor or attempt to strike a Vital target (or just to fit the RP) by calling their shot. This gives a slightly greater chance to miss, but sets the attack's aiming point as the chosen location.

+combat/attack <name>
+combat/attack <name>/called=<location>
+combat/attack Grounder1=<target>

In addition to attacking, you can reload an empty weapon; attempt to rally a KOed teammate (giving them another Brawn + Brawn roll to recover); spend a turn aiming at a target to increase your chances to hit; treat a recently-wounded ally (attempting to remove the damage mod from their wounds — only the ones taken in the last 2 RL hours can be treated), or pass to close the range with a distant target, gain range from an attacker, or finish off a downed foe.

+combat/rally <name>
+combat/aim <name>
+combat/treat <name>

There are a couple of other advanced ways to attack as well. Explosive weapons use the /explode command rather than /attack, and can target multiple people. Automatic weapon-fire uses the /fullauto command rather than /attack, and fires 6 shots at 1-3 targets. It "wastes" one shot between each additional target, so think carefully about how many you want to target. Burstfire is a modifier to the /attack command that fires 3 shots at a single target. Later shots in both fullauto and burst take a cumulative penalty equal to the weapons recoil stat. You can use the /suppress command with a single target with any weapon, or against multiple targets with a fullauto weapon to apply additional attack penalties (but no damage). The last option is +combat/subdue, which can be used to represent temporary joint-locks, holds, or disarming attempts. A character who has been successfully subdued should usually use +combat/escape the next round to attempt to break the hold, recover their weapon, or whatever the RP directs.

+combat/explode <close-by target1>, <close-by target2>/<more-distant target1>, <more-distant target2>, <more-distant target3>
+combat/fullauto <target1>, <target2>, <target3>
+combat/attack <target>/burst
+combat/suppress <target1>, <target2>, <target3>
+combat/subdue <target>

Step 7: Roll a Turn

The person running the combat can roll a new turn at any time, but it is good to give a minute or two of warning so that people can make last-minute changes to their stances and actions. The first new turn in any combat will set random targets to any numbered NPCs — you will have to start another new turn to actually roll the first round of combat.


At any time, any character in the combat can use +combat to see a general over-view of the state of the combat. Keep in mind that the colored Xs representing wound modifiers are not a precise measuring tool — a character can be KOed from a Moderate plus a Light wound, or go well beyond the total number of Xs shown. For more detailed information you can check their combat settings or damage.

+combat <name>
+damage <name>

Step 8: Repeat 5-7

You can use Luck to add 3 dice to a single attack or defense, but perhaps the most powerful use of Luck is to instantly recover from a KO. You should still pose being knocked down, staggered, badly wounded, temporarily disarmed, or otherwise stymied, but by spending a Luck point, you can get back into the fight without having to make the Brawn + Brawn check that accompanies a rally attempt (and you don't have to have anyone rallying you). NPCs without +sheets cannot use Luck.

+combat/luck <attack, defense, or initiative>
+combat/hero (to immediately recover after being KOed)

You can also see who has yet to pose in a given turn (numbered Grounders and Guards will show up here even if the GM has posed, just ignore them).


Step 9: Close it Down

When you're done with the combat, each player can leave individually, but the organizer will still have to stop the combat as a whole.

+combat/stop <number>

Healing happens every night at midnight Central Time, but only to characters who are not currently in a +combat. Your character will automatically make a Brawn + Brawn roll (and any character +healing you will make a Medicine + Wit roll). Successes will shorten healing times. Only one character may heal a given character at a time and a given healer can only tend to a number of characters equal to half of their Medicine skill.

+heal <name>
+stopheal <name>

GM's Guide to Encounters

We've included a large number of NPCs to the game, allowing players to run skirmishes against Grounders at their leisure. As you get into your scene, here are a few useful points to keep in mind:

Don't be afraid to adjust balance during the scene
Unless your combatants are fighting in an enclosed area, you can always have further enemies join the fight from somewhere out of sight, or have some of the enemies move off to attack other targets. This is especially easy if the +combat is part of a larger fight, when it's easy for combatants to move between the larger battle and the +combat. This can be useful if you misjudge the difficulty of the encounter or if the dice are simply rolling hot or cold for one side or another. Alternatively, you can let the dice fall as they may, and allow the PCs an easy win or force them to retreat in failure.

Remember that only a few enemies can attack at once
We see heroes (and villains) taking on a dozen enemies on the show, but that's just not likely when a Random Number Generator is involved. To simulate this sort of thing, you can always start with 2-3 enemies per hero (for a really tough fight), and pose others swarming around them, adding more enemies to +combat as the original ones fall.

Have some fun with ambushes
If you have some stealthy characters, or stealthy enemies, or both, feel free to have one side or the other make a single round of attacks with the other side all passing. If the ambush was particularly good, you can even have the attackers set Aggressive stance for a turn, since they won't be getting any counter-attacks that turn. If the ambush was amazing, you can even set the 'defenders' to Aggressive stance, to give them penalties to their defenses for a round (and of course still not allowing them to attack for the first round).

Control the flow of movement
It can be useful to determine who can attack who by using the Teams feature of +combat. One way to do it is to set Team1 as the PC starting point, Team2 as the nearest enemy forces, Team3 as more distant enemies, and so on. Then melee characters can move to an adjacent Team by Passing for a turn, ranged combatants can attack adjacent Teams or their current one, and faster units can move to an adjacent Team without missing an attack. This allows for some tactics as to which forces are engaged, and how they are engaged. It will also allow the GM to provide more targets for the PCs, but control how the enemies are able to gang up on them.

Watch the power of multiple attacks
Feel free to tell people that they can't get multiple enemies at 'close range' and only one or two at 'nearer' range for their /explode attacks, or that they can only hit two enemies with autofire, or whatever you like. After all, it's not like they're all packed into a 2-meter-wide hallway, right? And if the PCs are packed into a tight area, feel free to hit them with some /explode attacks (Frag Grenades from Mountain Men security once Mount Weather is discovered) or autofire (Mountain Men again).


You can see how +combat works with the Combat Example wiki page.

House Rules

Below are a few rules that Staff uses in their scenes and which we strongly suggest all GMs use in their own:

  • You cannot +combat/treat a character in a vehicle unless you're in the same vehicle with them. Neither can someone in a vehicle +combat/treat someone outside of the vehicle.
  • A character being +combat/treat-ed must Pass their action for the turn — you can't do first aid on someone who is currently trying to hit someone else.
  • If a character is KOed by an enemy, and that enemy is not engaged by someone else, the enemy may Pass its action and finish the KOed character off in the next round.
  • Fullauto cannot be used against targets attacking you with a melee weapon. Ask your GM about what targets you can hit with a single fullauto attack before making it.
  • You cannot +combat/aim if you are not in range of your weapon. If you want to aim with a melee weapon, you have to wait until you're actually in melee range, if you want to aim with a ranged weapon, you have to be within at least long range of your target.

The points above are not hard and fast rules, so if you don't want to use one in a scene you're running, just don't use it.

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