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Order of Action

  • highest Initiative
  • tie: highest INI base stat
  • tie: higher result of 1D6


Options in Combat

During combat, you can attack an enemy, throw yourself to the ground, defend against an attack, or move a certain distance. Whether you perform an action, a defense, or a free action depends on how long the action takes to do and what you want to achieve. In each combat round, every combatant can perform one action, one or more defenses, and one free action.



With actions, you can do things like attack your enemy or cast a spell. Characters take actions when it’s their turn in the initiative order. If you’re willing to wait, you can use your action at any point later in the combat round.


Examples of Actions

Make an Attack

Make a ranged attack

Move (up to your Movement stat in yards)

Try to kick in a door

Draw a weapon

Pull a lever

Load a missile weapon (which can take more than one action, depending on the weapon)

Cast a spell (which can take more than one action, depending on the spell)

Cast a liturgical chant (which can take more than one action, depending on the liturgical chant)



You use defenses to react to attacks. You can defend yourself by parrying and dodging and you don’t have to declare your defense until it’s necessary (such as after an opponent has made a successful attack roll). A hero can attempt more than one defense during a combat round, if necessary (but only against different attacks).


Examples of Defenses




Free Actions

Free actions are very short actions you can perform without much concentration and without expending much effort.


Examples of Free Actions

Shout a short sentence

Drop an item

Stand up from a sitting position

Drop to the ground

Turn around

Move (up to your Movement stat in yards, but only if it is your turn in the initiative order)


Long Actions

Certain actions (like casting spells or liturgical chants, or reloading ranged weapons) might take more than one action to complete. These are called long actions.

  • You measure long actions in terms of the number of individual actions they take to complete.
  • You cannot interrupt long actions without causing failure. Note: some time-consuming tasks can be interrupted without failing (such as felling a tree), but we are not talking about those here.
  • You can defend while performing a long action, but you must interrupt your long action to do so. You can wait until after your opponent makes an attack roll to decide whether you want to defend.
  • You can normally take free actions without interrupting your long action. The GM can decide differently, based on the situation.
  • If the hero suffers a distraction during the long action, the player must check to see if the hero is able to continue concentrating. If not, the distraction interrupts the long action. To maintain concentration, make a check using Self-Control (Ignore Distractions) and apply any modifiers for the situation or damage points you have suffered. If you fail the check, the long action fails.
  • The long action takes effect at the end of the last required individual action.

Attack from Behind

When attacked from behind, your defense suffers a penalty of 4 because you cannot see the attack properly or don’t notice it coming until it is too late. 


Weapon Attack and Parry Modifiers

Some weapons have qualities (well-balanced, top-heavy, and so on) that modify Attack and Parry values, as shown in the weapon charts. Apply these modifiers after calculating the base stats. 


Cramped Spaces

The GM can decide that small rooms, hallways, and similar surroundings are cramped. Short-reach weapons suffer no penalties in cramped spaces, but longer weapons do, as shown in the following table.


Type   Penalty

Short-Reach Weapon          +/-0 AT, +/-0 PA

Medium-Reach Weapon     -4 AT, -4 PA

Long-Reach Weapon           -8 AT, -8 PA

Small Shields -2 AT, -2 PA

Medium Shields        -4 AT, -3 PA

Large Shields -6 AT, -4 PA 

Wielding One-Handed Weapons with Two Hands

Wielding a one-handed weapon with two hands gives +1 DP and -1 Parry. Changing from one-handed to twohanded use requires no action, but you can do so only when it’s your Initiative. You can change your grip when it is your Initiative again in the next combat round. This rule does not apply to weapons used with the combat techniques Daggers and Fencing Weapons



You do not always want to fight every combat to the bitter end, but if you want to flee from combat, you must be careful. If you aren’t engaged in combat at the moment (meaning that you don’t have to defend against enemies and are not attacking enemies yourself), you can move using the normal rules. However, if you are engaged in active combat and want to move away, you must first disengage. This takes one action and a check using Body Control (Combat Maneuvers) with a penalty equal to the number of opponents within attack distance. If the check is successful, you can move your MOV in yards, but be mindful of moving within other opponents’ attack distances so as not to provoke unwanted attacks of opportunity (see below). If the check is not successful, you suffer an attack of opportunity and can move only MOV/2 yards. 


Picking up Items in Combat

The special ability Disarm, a botch, or any number of other circumstances might cause you to drop your weapon. In that case, you probably want to pick it up as quickly as possible. These rules apply to any item the hero might want to pick up during combat. Picking up an item in combat requires an action and a check with Body Control. The GM assigns penalties based on the circumstances. If you fail the roll and an enemy is within attack distance, that enemy can make an attack of opportunity against you. Picking up an item in one round is possible only if it lies within the maximum distance the character can move in one round. Picking up an object always requires movement, and therefore requires an appropriate action (usually a free action). 


Low Life Points

Once you have lost a quarter of your total LP, you suffer one level of the condition Pain. The same happens again when you lose half your LP, again when you lose threequarters of your LP, and yet again when your LP drop to 5 or less. If your LP rise above one of these thresholds, the relevant level of Pain subsides. Characters that are reduced to 0 LP or less are dying.



Sometimes robbers ambush heroes, and sometimes heroes try to ambush their enemies. To set up an ambush, make a competitive test of Stealth (Hide) against Perception (Detect Ambush) and apply bonuses and penalties as applicable (for hiding places, the time available to plan the ambush, and so on). If the group that is the target of the ambush wins the competitive test, they notice the ambush and can react normally. If they lose, however, they walk into the ambush without noticing and gain the state of surprised.


Combat in Water

When you are in water, you suffer penalties to attack and parry and cannot move as well as you can on land. In hipdeep water, AT and PA each suffer a penalty of 2. While completely submerged, they each suffer a penalty of 6. You cannot use a ranged weapon underwater unless the weapon’s description says otherwise.


Attack of Opportunity

There are many conditions that warrant attacks of opportunity. Combatants suffer attacks of opportunity when they fail their check to disengage, or fail certain maneuvers, or when an opponent rolls a critical success while defending, or when they

move within an opponent’s attack distance without engaging that opponent in combat. Attacks of opportunity are close combat attacks that do not require an action. No defense is possible against an attack of opportunity, but the attack suffers a penalty of 4 and cannot be combined with combat special abilities (such as Feint or Forceful Blow). There are no critical hits and botches for attacks


Tactical Movement

If you prefer not to keep track of movement by narration and want a clearer idea of the distances between combatants, you can usetactical movement. Combatants use an action or a free action to move a number of yards equal to their MOV stats (as modified by conditions or states). 


Advantageous Position

An advantageous position in combat grants a bonus of 2 for attack and defense. Advantageous positions can include standing on a table or large rock, or fighting an enemy who is downhill from you. It is also possible to gain an advantageous position while swimming, climbing a ship’s rigging, flying, and so on. Getting into an advantageous position in combat (for example, by climbing on to the aforementioned table) requires at least one action and, depending on the situation, a successful check with Body Control (Combat Maneuvers). You don’t suffer any penalties for a failed check, but might suffer an attack of opportunity if you botch.