Time In Combat

Game time is an abstract concept with periods of time being sliced into a loosely defined time scale. During combat players will focus on the smaller units of game time: actions and rounds. Almost all actions a character makes take an 'action' length of time which is about a second, short enough to allow several actions to be taken in the same round. However characters will occasionally wish to take actions taking a whole round.

Longer actions are needed when characters wish to gain situation bonuses by extending the action's duration. Characters may also wish to use advantages with the Time (Specify) keyword which commonly specifies a longer time scale such as a scene or session. Shortening this time scale to a single action usually involves adding significant situation bonuses to the resistance. Taking a round rather than an action can minimise those penalties.

Full Round Action

In order to take an action lasting a complete round, during their turn the character must place the required potential on the advantages they are using in the action. It must remain there until the start of the character's next turn when the action is completed. While the potential is in place the character cannot undertake any form of action that requires the expenditure of potential or the rolling of dice. The character is defenceless though they do gain the automatic minimum resistance score of one and may benefit from situation bonuses such as range which require no effort from the character. The action can be abandoned at any point if the character wishes to take an alternative action (such as defending themselves) but the placed potential is immediately moved to the spent pile.

The action is completed once the character's potential has been in place from the end of one turn until the start of their next turn. At this point situation bonuses are applied, the target gains a resistance action and the action is resolved. The character may choose their target, area or effect when the action is completed but they must use all the advantages with placed potential and no more.

It is meaningless for characters to take actions longer than a single round. Time is measured in distinct steps from actions to rounds to scenes. These units do not add up in the way sixty seconds add up to a minute. A round can be made up of any number of actions. A scene can be any number of combat rounds. Taking two or even twenty rounds to perform an action is the same as taking a single round. As combat is generally considered a scene by itself, a character wishing to take a scene for an action must spend the entire combat performing the action, which is only completed once the fight is over.

Status Effects in Combat

Status effects can be time-dependent in two different ways. They have a limited duration and some statuses have effects that occur at regular intervals, e.g. every round.

Pre-Combat Status Effects

Characters may have status effects with limited durations in place prior to the start of the combat. The start of combat is generally the begining of a new scene and most preexisting status effects with durations of a scene or less will expire as combat starts. However, characters who know a fight is imminent can prepare themselves (this is commonly called buffing). In this situation the preparation and combat are part of the same scene. Effects with durations of a single round or even a single action may be in place if the characters can time the start of the fight to their benefit.

Game Leaders and players should discuss what status effects are active at the start of the fight. The overriding principle is the narrative, the character's on-going story. What makes sense given the character's personality, history, recent actions and the situation they find themselves in?

Start-of ...

Some status effects, particularly hazards like On Fire, have the Start-Of-(Specify) Keyword indicating it has an effect whenever a new time period starts. For example, Start-of-Turn takes effect at the start of a character's turn. Statuses with the Start-of-Scene keyword will have their effects right at the beginning of combat or shortly before, depending on when the scene started. Longer time scales are unlikely to come into play during combat. Effects always happen first in any sequence of play; specifically Start-of-Turn happens before a character has the chance to recoup or act and before any unused anticipated potential is moved to the spent pile.

Short Durations

Status effects last for an entire scene by default but characters may wish to shorten this to gain situation bonuses. Status effects with a duration of one round last until the end of the affected character's next turn. This ensures a character is under its effects (for good or ill) for at least one full turn. Characters can place effects on themselves during one turn and benefit from the effect for the remainder of the turn, in any resistance or opportunity actions they take in between turns and through all of their next turn.

An effect with a duration of a single action is handled as per an effect with a duration of a round, remaining on the character sheet until the end of the character's next turn. However, once the status has been used it is removed from the character. For beneficial effects this allows characters to choose when to take the benefits and even to accumulate several status effects before acting.

Detrimental effects tend to either use the Start-Of-(Specify) keyword or have a specific trigger such as the character using a Body advantage. If they only have a duration of a round, depending on circumstances they may wear off or be removed before they has any effect. As with positive effects, if the status has a duration of a single action and does take effect, it is removed from the character sheet afterwards.

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open/mechanics/core/combattime.txt · Last modified: 2013/11/05 23:02 by tregenza
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