Complex Combat

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VERS -> Book II - Gamemaster Rules -> Optional Rules -> Complex Combat

The optional rules in this section take the combat of VERS and move it in a more simulationist direction, making it both more tactically rich and more complex. These rules can be taken as a whole, or can be taken in smaller chunks. They are arranged from least obtrusive to vanilla gameplay to greatest changes.

Attack Locations

A (slightly) more realistic (and thus more complicated) combat, this adds an additional uncertainty. In real life, being struck in the head is far more dangerous than being struck in the arm, at least for the purposes of surviving the blow. This system takes that into account, and adds that additional information to the die roll. In addition to the roleplay benefit of knowing where an attack lands, the attack location also suggests some additional conditions that more localized damage could cause.

Using this system is most easily accomplished by swapping out one of the dice for one of a different color. Compare the result on that die to the below table to find out where your attack hits (or where the opponent's attack hits you). If you do not have a die of a second color, you can designate one of the dice as the location die and roll it to one side, or you can roll a totally separate die for this purpose.

This optional rule is best suited for very gritty game or one in which much more variability is desired in the damage done in physical combat.


In real combat there is a certain give and take between aggression and defensiveness. Typically the more aggressive a character gets the more damage they stand to deal while they simultaneously open themselves up for be hit more easily. Conversely, using cover and being defensive is often much better at saving a character's life, however it makes it hard to line up those good shots or really take advantage of moments of opportunity. This system helps to simulate this, and, in its essence, is simply a series of standard bonuses and penalties that a character gets by taking certain "stances" or generalized types of actions. These are broken up into Aggressive, Balanced, Defensive, En Garde, or Ranged.

  • Aggressive: The aggressive stance represents the choice to forgo thoughts of protection in order to strike with greater strength. Characters who take an aggressive stance gain a +2 bonus to their Combat (of all types) rolls and EV at the cost of a -2 penalty to both Dodge and Parry.
  • Balanced: The base stance, representing neither bonuses or penalties.
  • Defensive: A reserved stance, focusing on protection in exchange for reduced ability to attack. Characters who take a defensive stance gain a +2 bonus on Dodge and Parry at the cost of taking a -2 penalty to all Combat Rolls and their EV.
  • En Garde: A defensive stance balanced with a tactical insight. The character who takes an En Garde stance gains a bonus +2 to Parry and a +2 bonus to Close Combat rolls to make a counterattack after a successful parry. In exchange, the character takes a -2 Penalty to Close Combat rolls and EV if not making a counter attack.
  • Ranged: A reserved stance, hanging back from the main conflict in order to offer support from afar. Characters who assume a ranged stance gain a +2 bonus on Ranged Combat rolls and ranged attack EV at the cost of -4 Parry.

Fatigue and Energy

Many settings and genres are more realistic in terms of how much a character can expect to do before getting tired. In the rules as written, VERS characters can run all day, or fight furiously in life or death combat for hours without breaking a sweat. This is because VERS is a much more cinematic experience than that of many settings. Exhaustion is a very real thing, and in more realistic "gritty" types of games it can lend a verisimilitude and drama to encounters or long journeys. The following rules for Fatigue and Energy are a great way to bring that into play within the VERS rules in a simple, straight-forward way.

Damage Trackers

The standard VERS system of conditions is good at that cinematic style of combat in which the hero gets knocked around and is fine after quickly brushing of the dust on their clothes and making some one-liner quip. Dipping down into more nuanced tracking of health brings us to tracking wounds using Damage Trackers that have a different number of boxes for each character based on their stats. Focus and Morale are also tracked this way, as is the Condition of inanimate objects.

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