Types of Action

The type of action is defined largely by when characters can take them.

Narrative Action

Outside of the initiative turns and combat rounds, characters take narrative actions. Without the pressure of combat characters can take their time to prepare for and recover from the action. Critically, characters do not have to worry about spent potential. It is assumed a character will always take a few moments recouping their potential before acting again. Consequently characters can use all their potential in narrative actions.

Ms Maple, an elderly amateur detective, is investigating a murder in a large country house. During the search for clues she wants to casually chat with the staff as they go about their duties in the hope that one of them will accidentally let something slip. This is her strong suit and she can bring her four dynamic potential and two static potential into play.

Each time she encounters one of the staff she engages them in conversation using Cunning (dynamic; 1d6+0), Small Talk (dynamic; 1d6+3), Body Language (dynamic, 1d6+1), Quick Wits (dynamic; 1d6+1), Psychology (static; 1d6+3) and Domestic Service (static; 1d6+0). Ms Maple has a fearsome 6d6+8 to deploy against every servant.

Narrative Actions In Detail

A narrative action follows the six step process of declaring the action's goal, selecting advantages, agreeing situation bonuses, rolling the dice and deciding the outcome. Characters may make a narrative resistance action to resist the effects of a narrative action. A narrative action represents several initiative rounds compressed into a single action, allowing the character time to recoup all their potential.

If the character has magic, technology or other special abilities allowing them to temporarily increase their potential or add beneficial status effects, these can be used in narrative actions. The only limitation is time. If the benefits of a magic spell only work for one round, can the character cast the spell and take advantage of it in time? The easiest way to solve these questions is to step into initiative rounds. During each turn the character uses and recoups their potential. If a player can engineer a way to take an action beyond the normal limits of their character (e.g. briefly gaining more potential), then it is a valid narrative action.

Initiative Action

An initiative action takes place in combat. It covers all actions a character chooses to do in their initiative turn not covered by one of the other types of actions. This type of action has no special rules or restrictions but as an action taking place in combat players may only spend the potential they have in the bank.

Resistance Actions

Whenever a character is attacked or threatened, whether by someone assaulting them with a sword, a landslide falling on them or strange psychic radiation from another galaxy, the character has a chance to defend themselves with a resistance action. This type of action can only be done in response to an attack. The character may use any available potential and advantages that are available, in any appropriate combination. Once the advantages are decided, both the attacking and the resisting characters roll their action dice. If a character cannot or chooses not to play any advantages they automatically get a resistance score of one. The attacker must score more than the resistance action to succeed.

Resistance actions are most common as part of combat but can occur during narrative. The only difference between the two situations is that in a narrative resistance action the character may use all their potential without worry. In narrative it will all be available again before their next narrative or narrative resistance action. During combat, the character must manage their potential more carefully as they recoup it at a fixed rate.

Using Free Resist Advantages

Characters with one or more designated Free Resist (FR) advantages can use them in resistance actions. These have no cost in potential to use but in all other ways they are used as normal, i.e. they must be available and appropriate.

No Effect

Resistance actions have one important limit which is that, other than protecting the character (preventing the effects of the attack), they have no effect. They can neither harm the attacker or anyone else nor place status effects on anything unless the advantage specifically states it can do so in a resistance action. Characters can still use 'offensive' advantages such as weapons with special powers in resistance actions and include their dice score, however the advantages simply have no additional effects.

Razir is in trouble (again). He is under attack from a sword-wielding orc and has only one static potential available. His free resist advantage is his 1d6+2 armour which helps but Razir needs more to protect himself against the incoming blow. He uses his 1d6+1 Knockdown advantage as well. With a lucky dice roll Razir beats the attacker's score but the attacker remains on his feet. It was Razir's attempt to knock the orc down that forced the attack to miss, but as Razir was only resisting rather than attacking, the Knockdown has no other effect.

Keywords In Resistance Actions

Keywords apply to a resistance action exactly the same as to an initiative action, e.g. advantages may be penalised because of the Freq. keyword and the Dice keyword can improve the dice score.

A character can assist another character with a resistance action if they have an advantage with the Aid Resist keyword. The scores from the two (or more) resistance actions are combined against the attack. If the resistance is still beaten, only the character initially targeted is affected by the attack.

Opportunity Actions

Opportunity actions can only be performed during another character's initiative turn. These actions require an advantage with the Opportunity keyword and may be combined with any available and appropriate advantages. Opportunity actions follow the standard six step process of resolution.

Each opportunity advantage specifies a trigger event enabling its use. For example, the Retreat ability can only be used when a foe moves towards the character. Unless the circumstances fit the trigger, an opportunity action cannot be used. The character must be aware of the trigger, so Retreat cannot be used if the character doesn't notice the foe approaching. The character is also limited to the type of action described by the advantage - for example, Retreat cannot be used in an attack.

Opportunities can only be used between actions and not part-way through someone else's action. For example, a monster who uses its charge ability to move and attack in a single action will trigger an opportunity such as Retreat because of the movement. However the attack and any damage from the charge must be resolved before the character can use their opportunity action because the movement and attack were part of a single action.

It is up to the player with the opportunity advantage to ensure they pay attention and declare their opportunity action at the right time. If the player whose initiative turn it is has already played another action, the opportunity has been lost. Each player may only make one opportunity action per action by the character whose initiative turn it is. Events may trigger opportunity actions from two or more players. In these circumstances, the one who declared first gets to act first, but all the characters who declared must act. Opportunity advantages can only be triggered by initiative actions. Other players' opportunity actions, resistance actions or any other types of action do not trigger opportunities.

Boban and Razir are exploring the abandoned temple of Ftumch only to discover that it was not as abandoned as they thought. Three acolytes of Ftumch are charging towards them.

The first acolyte ends their movement action right in front of Boban and has enough potential left for a serious blow on the gnome. Boban declares she is using her Retreat ability. This opportunity advantage allows her to move away from anyone who has just moved towards her. Even though it is still the acolyte's initiative turn, Boban can take an action. Spending two potential to combine her Retreat advantage with her Speed, she backs off to a safe distance.

Realising he has just been left to face three angry acolytes on his own, Razir wants to run after Boban using his Follow-Up opportunity advantage. It allows him to move whenever someone moves away from him. However the Game Leader reminds him that Boban's retreat was an opportunity action and they never trigger other opportunities.

The first acolyte resumes their interrupted turn. Rather than using more potential chasing after the gnome he decides it is better spent dealing with the foul temple-defiler standing in front of him.

Potential Actions

Advantages represent a character's strengths and notable abilities but these do not cover all aspects of life. It is common for characters to lack any suitable advantages for routine tasks. One notable area where this is true is in movement as most characters lack advantages with the Movement keyword. For any situation where a character lacks suitable advantages for everyday activities such as movement or awareness, the player can take a Potential Action.

A potential action uses a single dynamic potential instead of advantages and is worth 1d6+0. No advantages can be added to this so a potential action is always just 1d6+0 plus any situation bonuses. Potential actions are only possible in narrative and initiative actions. They cannot be used in resistance actions or types of actions requiring a keyword, e.g. opportunity actions.

The Game Leader may require a potential action whenever characters wish do something which requires a notable amount of effort or attention but where there is no possibility of failing, such as waving vigorously to attract attention. If the character's action is trivial and success in no doubt, the player simply spends the potential without rolling the dice.

Free Actions

Almost nothing a character does is free in the 6d6 RPG. Potential must to be used to perform even the smallest of tasks. However, there are one or two things that can be considered as having no cost.

Talking is free as long as it is in a language the character speaks fluently, consists of a simple statements such as "Look Out!" and the character is not trying to trick, convince, confuse or in any way gain an advantage over a foe. Shrugging, flipping the bird and other gestures are also free but operating a gesture-controlled computer would require suitable advantages to be played. In short, anything that adds fun and panache to a character's turn is free as long as it provides no benefit.

Immediate Actions

Immediate actions only occur as a result of control effects such as magically compelling a person to act. Immediate actions interrupt the normal sequence of play and have their own supply of control potential which is used to activate advantages belonging to the controlled person. The potential can be used in a single action or over several consecutive actions. Only when all the potential is used up or the character decides to relinquish control does normal play resume.

Immediate actions do not trigger opportunity actions nor can they be used to create more immediate actions.

You could leave a comment if you were logged in.
open/mechanics/core/types_of_actions.txt · Last modified: 2013/11/01 14:16 by darth_tigger
Recent changes RSS feed

The 6d6 RPG tabletop store is owned and operated by Chris Tregenza. Who also owns and runs Myomancy, a site about ADD / ADHD medication, Autism and Dyslexia Treatments and also site called Poosk. Chris also provides copy-writing, web design SEO advice to sites like Dingles' Games pathfinder rpg resources.