The Flow of Combat
Combat flows from second to second,
moment to moment. Combat starts at second 0, with the Game Master counting up
the seconds through combat. All character actions have a unit of time attached
to the task they wish to perform. When a character performs an action they
incur a time debt equal to the action’s time cost. The character must wait
after their performed action for the total number of seconds equal to their
time debt. Once their time debt is cleared the character may act again.
In the event that two or more characters act on the same second, the order is determined by the actions they choose to take. Characters who do not engage the foe or move, such as performing skill rolls, reloading a weapon or consuming items, act first. Then any character who chooses to move goes second. Finally, characters who perform hostile actions, such as casting spells or discharging a weapon, act last. For more detailed information see Simultaneous Action (Page XYZ).
Within every combat encounter there are three phases: The Initiative Phase, the Action Phase and the Terminus Phase.
Initiative is a character’s ability to react to combat and be ready to engage a foe. A character’s initiative score is equal to the character’s total perception, plus their total cunning, including temporary effects that boost or hamper these attributes. Initiative is automatically assigned when any combat encounter begins.
The character with the highest initiative starts on second 0. If two characters share initiative scores they perform a simultaneous action. The next highest initiatives goes next on second 1. If any characters have less than half the initiative of the starting character they take their turn on second 2.
Ambush and Surprise
If a character attacks while other characters are unaware of them they perform an ambush and all characters who were unaware of them are surprised.
If the ambush starts combat the attacking character’s action is done on second 0. Initiative follows normally but every character who was surprised must act 1 second later than they normally would. If the ambush occurs in the middle of an existing combat, then only the target(s) of the attack suffer from surprise.
A surprised character can only choose two dice from their dice pool when attempting to avoid or resist the ambushing attack.
Every character enters an action phase when their time debt is paid off and they choose to act. During an action phase characters must choose to perform an action, no matter how minor. For information on what actions can be done and their time cost see Actions in Combat (Page XYZ).
At the end of every 10th second combat enters the affliction phase. During the affliction phase all of passive damage take their toll. All characters, at once, take damage from any damage over time effects, any abilities that trigger during affliction phases do so and effects that disperse during affliction phases dissipate. Once the affliction phase is over the next second begins as normal.