Physical Conflict

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VERS -> Gameplay -> Physical Conflict

Physical conflict is what most gamers are most familiar with. Battle is sometimes unavoidable, and that is when these rules come into play.

Turn Order

First is determining Turn order. VERS uses a system often referred to as Popcorn Initiative, in which each player hands off to another player when finished. This hand off is to whomever the first player wishes, so long as they have not yet gone this Turn, and this includes the NPCs and enemies. It is preferred if this hand off can be done in character, such as “Thorbjorn, give me a hand with this guy!” or something similar.

To determine which player goes first, each player should state their case for why they feel they should get that honor. It may be because X tracked the villain, or that Y is his nemesis, or Z is the fastest character. It could also be because W hasn’t gotten to go first yet tonight. The whole table then decides who has the strongest case, with efforts being made to spread the honor around.


VERS does not use a typical movement system. Instead it uses Zones. A Zone is a loosely defined area that is how far a character can move in a single action. If the ground is filled with rubble, then shrink the size of the zone. There is no preset “appropriate” size, although if that is comfortable, somewhere between 5 and 10 meters in diameter. A character can make an athletics roll to move into a second zone in a single move, however, failure on the roll can either leave the character short of their goal, or take up both of their actions, GM discretion.

Once a character has made a Close Combat attack on a target, or been the target of a Close Combat attack, the two characters are considered Engaged. This means that if either character wishes to retreat or otherwise move away from the other, they must Disengage. This requires them to take an action and make an Athletics roll, failure gives the opponent a free attack. If more than two characters are involved, then each additional character adds a -2 penalty to the roll.

Finally, a character cannot move through another character. If the only way out of a zone is through a character or within a reasonable attack range of a character (GM discretion, but a good rule of thumb is 2 meters) then they cannot proceed further. The only exception is with an Athletics roll, taking a penalty equal to the guarding character’s Close Combat ranks. Failure means they take damage and fail to get by. Similarly to the Disengage rules, multiple guard characters increase the penalty (and the possible damage) by 2.


When making ranged attacks, targeting characters in the same zone gives a -2 penalty, while attacks to targets in the next zone do not take a penalty. Each zone further away imposes an additional -2 penalty per zone. Finally, making a ranged attack on a character who is currently Engaged in close combat also gives a -2 penalty to the ranged attack, and an additional -2 per additional person engaged.

Thrown weapons can target any enemy in the same zone, or can target foes in the next zone over with a successful Athletics roll, and an additional zone over for every 3 Degrees of Success. This Athletics roll is subject to the same penalties as a ranged combat attack, and substitutes as the attack roll.


Some gear and even some abilities or advantages give a character a longer (or shorter) effective reach. This is a simple system to emulate that. When characters with different reaches come into conflict, the character with the greater reach gets a bonus equal to the different, while the other character gets an equivalent penalty.


Cover can be the difference between life and death in a battle. The VERS cover system is very simple, giving either a -1, -3, or -5 penalty on attacks against targets with cover, based on approximately how much they are covered (⅓, ⅔, or complete). If an attack misses by the amount of the penalty then it strikes the cover instead, and could damage it or even break it.

Injury Conditions

The physical conditions are, in order from least to greatest, grazed, wounded, impaired, and disabled. Distracted and flustered both have two slots, while disoriented and distraught each only have one. For a better description for roleplaying these conditions, see below.

  • Grazed: The grazed condition applies if the net EV is between 0 and 2. This is the equivalent of the dramatic cheek cut or slicing a Z in their shirt, and does not really impact a character in any other meaningful way. Conditions at this level do not impose a penalty on recovery actions.
  • Wounded: The wounded condition applies when the net EV is between 3 and 5. This is the equivalent of a flesh wound, a dull weapon, punch, kick, etc, would give the character a bruise while a cutting or piercing attack would be a minor cut that bleeds but is not enough to slow or otherwise harm the character. Characters take a -1 penalty to all Skills for each condition at this level until the condition is recovered. Recovery Actions take a -1 penalty if this is the highest level Injury condition the character has.
  • Impaired: The impaired condition applies when the net EV is between 6 and 8. This is the equivalent of a broken bone for dull types of attacks or a well-placed gunshot or stab. In addition, due to the trauma, any use of skills takes an additional -2 penalty until the condition is recovered. Recovery Actions take a -2 penalty if this is the highest level Injury condition the character has.
  • Disabled: This condition applies when the net EV is greater than 9. A character who gets hit by this much damage (or has lesser damage upgraded to this point) is disabled in a dramatically appropriate way. This could be physical unconsciousness, or death, depending on what type of damage it was. A character with the disabled condition can still make actions, although they are restricted to a single action per turn, take a -4 penalty to the action, and must make a Discipline roll to stay conscious. Recovery Actions take a -4 penalty if this is the highest level Injury condition the character has.

Breaking Stuff

Hardness Examples
Rank Example Material
-5 Butter
-2 Flesh
-1 Cloth, paper
0 Leather, rope
1 Glass, pottery
2 Wood, bone
4 Bronze
5 Stone, iron
6 Tempered steel
8 Diamond

In addition, objects also have conditions based on their size and hardness. Attacks on inanimate objects only take penalties if they are in motion or are small (such as a baseball). Otherwise it is a normal skill roll to make the attack. The EV of the attack is compared to the Hardness of the object, and the remainder, if any, determines the conditions, explained below.

The object conditions are, in order from least to greatest, worn, damaged, tattered, and broken. Each condition only has one slot. Objects can’t take recovery actions, but can be repaired with the right background or special skill, otherwise the process is the same.

  • Worn: The Worn condition applies if the net EV is between 0 and 2. These are small nicks, fraying, or other such small damage. This can be seen but does not impede the item's function. This level does not impose a penalty on repairs actions.
  • Damaged: The Damaged condition applies when the net EV is between 3 and 5. Knicks, cracks, rust, holes; these are the signs of the Damaged condition. Characters using the item take a -1 penalty at this level until the condition is repaired. Repair Actions take a -1 penalty if this is the highest level Damage condition the object has.
  • Tattered: The Tattered condition applies when the net EV is between 6 and 8. A tattered item is so damaged it is barely holding together, with large gashes, missing chunks, or other major signs of damage. In addition, due to the damage, any use of the item takes an additional -2 penalty until the condition is repaired. Repair Actions take a -2 penalty if this is the highest level Damage condition the object has.
  • Broken: This condition applies when the net EV is greater than 9. A broken item no longer functions but is in total disrepair. Any function that the object once had is lost, and if that function was structural then it crumbles, shatters, or otherwise physically comes apart, possibly with disastrous results.

The Chase

A common type of physical conflict in movies, novels, and video games, a chase is simply when one party, here referred to as the quarry tries to evade a second party, referred to as the hunter seeks to catch them. A chase can have three different permutations, and these stages can morph and change one into another depending on events. These permutations are interposing, pursuit, and tracking.

Interposing is often the final state of a chase, and represents when the hunter has gotten within a single action of the quarry. Alternatively, interposing can happen when two parties are both seeking a stationary target and wish to keep the other from achieving it. Either way, this stage is resolved with an Athletics roll, with a penalty equal to the NPC’s Athletics. If the player is the hunter, then success means the quarry is captured, if the player is the quarry, then success means they dodged or otherwise evade the hunter, and if the target is a mutually desired object then the player has taken control of the object.

Pursuit is the middle state, although it is often where the chase begins. At this time the hunter can still see the quarry (or otherwise actively sense them), but they are not close enough for a final attempt to bring them down. The GM needs to decide how many actions they want the pursuit to take, between 2 and 6. This creates a scale equal to double the length, in which both parties start on a central count. For this reason, your final scale should be an odd number. For example, on the shortest length, the scale is 5 positions long and the parties typically start at 3, while on the longest length the scale is 13 positions and the parties typically start at 7.

If the player is the hunter, each successful Athletics roll (penalized by the quarry’s Athletics) moves them down (toward 1) while failures move them higher. If the player is the quarry, the same roll would be made, but success takes them higher, while failure takes them lower. Once the character gets to 1, they may attempt to Interpose, while reaching the other end of the scale means the quarry has gotten away, possibly transitioning to the tracking phase.

It is important to note that each of these turns should be described and narrated, and not just treated as sterile rolls. The GM should impose bonuses or penalties based on tactics taken by the players. Pulling down bookshelves may give the hunter a penalty, as might heading into a crowded street festival, while the quarry may take a penalty if the hunter takes a shortcut, crashes through a window, or fires their firearm into the air to clear the street.

The final phase or stage is tracking, and at this point the hunter can no longer see or otherwise sense the quarry directly. To continue to the chase at this point, the hunter must have a way to do so, such as Survival or Investigation. This takes a similar structure as pursuit, but each roll is made for an hour’s worth of seeking. Hunters roll their Survival or Investigation to try and move closer to the quarry while the quarry rolls Stealth to leave as little trail as possible. If the player gets to 1 then contact is made and Pursuit can begin again, while if it gets to the end of the scale then the quarry is completely away.

VERSIcon.png VERS Playtest v20.7 - Online Rule Reference
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