There are a number of extenuating circumstances under which conditions may change during combat. Most of these, such as injury or attacking a concealed opponent, are dealt with in appropriate locations throughout these rules. However, there are several of these situations which do not fit anywhere else which will be dealt with here.
The GM should decide a penalty level to set for dark, clouded, smoky, or dusty situations based on the extent of the condition. Someone trying to shoot a target in the dark but in a well-lit area under a full moon might only get a -1 rank penalty, while someone engaging in a melee in the middle of a heavy sandstorm might get a -4 penalty.
Attacking Disabled Targets
A combatant who is unconscious, has been knocked down, or is being held by a wrestler is a sitting duck. Any melee attacks made against disabled targets receive a bonus of +2 ranks. The same goes for any melee attack made against a kneeling or prone target. A combatant who has been knocked down must spend his next full turn standing up, and anyone who attacks him until his next combat turn, during which he attempts to stand up, receives the bonus. Ranged combatants actually receive a penalty when firing on such a target at range, since a prone target is a smaller target.
Fighting from Inside or on Top of Vehicles
When fighting from inside, on top of, or in the back of vehicles, the combatants will have the bonus of full cover while inside the vehicle or half cover while in the back, but will suffer a penalty of one rank to all attack rolls if the vehicle is moving on a smooth road or two ranks if the ride is bumpy. The driver of the vehicle may attempt to assist any defender or attacker in his vehicle by performing an assistive Dexterity roll modified by Driving. The GM may not wish to allow this in conditions where such driving may cause an accident, and may impose penalties for slick or otherwise hazardous roads.
A character whose turn has come may choose not to take their action on that turn in order to unleash a full action at the appropriate time. For example, if a character is in close combat and their turn comes, they may hold action and wait for their opponent to open up a weakness. In this case, the combatant may wait for the opponent to throw a punch and then take their action in order to swing their blade at the opponent’s attacking arm and hack it off. Since this has actually become their move and is not just a defensive action, they don’t have to jump through the usual hoops or take any penalties.
With all this movement occurring during the battle, even the best GM may find it impossible to keep track of the locations of every combatant. This is where tabletop miniatures come in. You can use the counters that come with most board games, as long as everyone can keep track of which one belongs to which character. Some gaming stores also sell miniatures that can be painted and used in tabletop combat, although many of these are fantasy-oriented. Anything of a similar size will also do.
You can keep track of distances on the battlefield by using a tape measure or by laying out graph or hex paper. For larger-scale battles, you may wish five feet in game terms to equal one inch on the table, or one square on the graph paper. For battles taking place in small rooms, you can change this to one foot for every inch or hex. When the bases of any two counters come into contact with each other, or are in adjacent squares, those two characters are in melee distance of each other.
The GM may wish to sketch the area out on the paper, or set objects, miniatures, or pre-fabricated terrain pieces around to represent the surroundings. This will certainly assist in the combat, especially when the battle involves gunfire or sneaking combatants.
Characters may take one major action on their turn (unless otherwise specified by another rule or the GM). The extent of this action isbased on how much the GM decides it would be reasonable for the character to do. For example, if Jon and his opponent are the only two fighters in combat, and Jon punches his opponent in the face with a result of a Knockback, the GM may decide that he can continue to step forward and punch until he either knocks his opponent down or out. There are special actions, called Free Actions, which anyone can do at any time, even on an enemy combatant’s turn, without exhausting their own major action. The GM may determine what this entails, but may include (and is not limited to) calling out, operating a switch, swinging at an enemy that is running past you (provided you have no combat focus) or altering the effect of a spell or Psi.
A Knockdown occurs when a character is hit in such a way in combat that he falls to the ground. When a Knockdown is achieved, the GM may under certain conditions feel the Knocked-down character should have the capability of recovering and not falling to the ground. Normally, this would be reserved for a character with an Advantage like Balance, but if the attack was not very successful or if the character has a high Dexterity, or just if the conditions are right, a DEX (if the character was tripped) or STR (if the Knockdown was due to a violent attack) roll can be made, modified negatively by the success rate of the opponent, to see if the character can avoid being knocked down.
Knockdown means the character is on the ground, and must spend a turn getting up (if they choose to get up at all).
Attempting a Knockdown
A melee combatant can attempt to knock his opponent down to the ground. This may be done by means of a leg sweep, or by hitting them as hard in the face or chest as possible. If an attacker attempts a Knockdown, the GM must determine if the attack against the target is good enough to achieve such an effect. If the enemy is extremely agile or Balanced, or if they are very large and imposing, the GM may decide a Good or even Excellent or better roll must be made in order to succeed. The target may also, as shown above, have the chance to avoid being knocked down. For every size larger OR smaller the defender is, the attacker gets a penalty in attempting a Knockdown.
A character who is hit in such a way to be Knocked Back will be moved a certain number of feet backwards. If the attack was a regular strength attack, this amount will usually be only five feet or so per rank of success. The GM may choose a larger multiple if, for example, the target is hit by a monster with a superhuman STR score. Many Knockback attacks will end in an automatic Knockdown, which the defender may attempt to avoid by rolling Agility.
Attempting a Knockback
An attacker may attempt a knockback attack by forcefully striking the target in the middle of the body or face or by throwing them using a Wrestling technique. As above, the Strong or Agile defender may try not to succumb to the Knockback attack using the same methods listed for avoiding Knockdown, and the same rules for attempting a Knockdown may also be employed in attempting a Knockback. The difference is that there would be a penalty for every size larger than the attacker the defender is, but a BONUS for every size smaller.
Special Knockback Rules
A creature or superhuman entity with a Strength score higher than 100 may multiply the distance its opponent is knocked back.
STR 100-150: Multiply distance by 2
STR 151-200: Multiply distance by 5
STR 201-250: Multiply distance by 10
STR 251-300: Multiply distance by 20
STR 301-350: Multiply distance by 30
STR 351-400: Multiply by distance 50
STR 401-450: Multiply distance by 75
STR 451-500: Multiply by distance 100
A Knockout is an attempt to knock a target unconscious in a single blow. This is done by disrupting the flow of blood to the brain for a moment, such as a good strike to the head which causes the neck to turn about violently and jar the brain, or by chopping or squeezing an artery such as the carotid. The GM may decide a certain level of success is required, but he should remember that a small, skilled martial artist can often take out much larger opponents with relative ease using this type of technique. In terms of race, for every size larger the defender is, there is a rank of penalty, but for every size smaller there is a rank of bonus.