Combat Overview and the Role of Fate


Combat is usually resolved using “structured time,” divided into Rounds, Turns, and Actions. Each character, including Non-Player Characters (NPCs), takes one Turn each Round. The order in which Turns are resolved depends on Initiative Order.

Combat Overview
When a new combat begins, follow these steps to determine what happens.

Step One: Surprise
At the beginning of a combat, the GM determines if any characters are Surprised. This can only happen once at the beginning of a combat, and there will be many combats in which nobody is Surprised. A Surprised character loses his Turn on the first Round of combat because he has been caught unawares by his enemies. If no one is Surprised, move immediately to Step Two.

Step Two: Roll Initiative
At the start of the first Round, each character rolls for Initiative. Each character rolls 1d10 and adds his Agility Bonus (the tens digit of his Agility Characteristic). The result of the roll applies for all successive Rounds in the combat.

Step Three: Rank Initiative
The GM ranks all the Initiative rolls, including those of the NPCs, from highest to lowest. This is the order in which the characters take their Turns during each Round of combat.

Step Four: Combatants Take Turns
Starting with the character at the top of the Initiative Order, each character takes a Turn. The character currently taking his Turn is known as the Active Character. During his Turn, the Active Character can perform one or more Actions. Once his Actions have been resolved, the next character in the Initiative Order becomes the Active Character and takes his Turn, and so forth.

Step Five: Round Ends
Once each character has taken a Turn, the Round is over. Any lingering effects that specify a duration of “until the end of the Round” now end.

Step Six: Repeat Steps Four and Five as Needed
Continue to play successive Rounds until the combat is complete or until the event that triggered the switch into structured time is resolved.

Actions in Combat

Types of Actions
Every Action is categorized into one of the following types.

Full Actions
A Full Action requires a character’s complete attention to
accomplish. A character can take one Full Action on his Turn
and cannot take any Half Actions.

Half Actions
A Half Action is fairly simple; it requires some effort or concentration, but not so much that it consumes a character’s entire Turn. A character can take two different Half Actions on his Turn instead of taking one Full Action. A character cannot take the same Half Action twice in the same Turn.

A Reaction is a special Action made in response to some event, such as an attack. A character receives one Reaction each Round. Unlike the other types of actions, a character usually performs a Reaction when it is not his Turn.

Free Actions
A Free Action takes only a moment and requires no real effort by the character. Free Actions may be performed in addition to any other Actions on a character’s Turn, and there is no formal limit to the number of Free Actions one character can take. The GM should use common sense to set reasonable limits on what can be done in a few seconds.

Action Subtypes
Into addition to its type, every Action is also categorized into one or more subtypes. Action subtypes do not do anything in and of themselves, but they are used to clarify what a character is and is not allowed to do in a variety of special circumstances. For example, a character that is Immobilized cannot perform any Actions with the Movement subtype.

Using Actions
During his Turn, a character may perform one Full Action or two different Half Actions. A character could, for example, make an All Out Attack (Full Action) or Aim and make a Standard Attack (two Half Actions).

More Actions
The combat actions described in this booklet represent only a sampling of the options that are available in Only War.

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The Role of Fate

The Player Characters in Only War are men and women of promise and skill, who stand out among the teeming masses of the Imperial Guard, and have survived the most hellish of warzones and come through victorious. The role of Fate in a Player Character’s life is what separates him from the countless ranks that he serves alongside. All PCs begin play with a number Fate Points, which is determined at character creation. For some, these Fate Points represent destiny, a sign that the God-Emperor has marked them for greatness. For others, Fate represents simple luck.

Using Fate Points
Fate Points allow a Player Character to manipulate situations by mitigating bad results or turning a mishap into fortune. A Player Character has a limited pool of Fate Points, and when a Fate Point is spent, that pool is reduced by one. Spent Fate Points are restored at the beginning of the next game session, or possibly under special circumstances in the middle of a game session if the GM deems it appropriate.

Spending one Fate Point allows for one of the following:

  • Re-roll a failed Test once. The results of the re-roll are final.
  • Gain a +10 bonus to a Test. This must be chosen before dice are rolled.
  • Add an extra Degree of Success to a Test. This may be chosen after dice are rolled.
  • Count as having rolled a 10 for Initiative.
  • Instantly remove 1d10 Damage (this cannot affect Critical Damage).
  • Recover from being Stunned.
  • Recover all levels of Fatigue.

Combat Overview and the Role of Fate

Only War: The Tsadian Campaign Damian_Drayden