Kalos Mechanism 4e EN:Actions

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Order Of Play

Time is important. Without some way to keep track of time, everything would happen at once, and that would be terribly confusing.

Scenes

Time in a Kalos Mechanism game is usually divided into scenes. A scene typically starts when the characters arrive at a place, and ends when they leave. A scene could also be a period of time while the characters are together and moving toward a destination. In some cases, a scene might end even though the characters haven't moved at all, such as when they go to sleep, or when a fight ends and the characters begin talking.

Rounds

When someone decides to initiate combat, time is divided into rounds. One round is six seconds, give or take, giving us ten rounds per minute. During a round, each character gets a turn. The PCs take their turns in whatever order they like.

Turns

During their turn, a character can move a modest distance and still have time to attempt something useful (such as making an attack or using a skill) as well as perform minor useful actions like dropping a weapon, deactivating a power, or crouching behind cover. We call these "standard actions" and "quick actions", respectively. A character can perform these actions in any order. The character may also take one or more anytime actions, as usual.

Moving is not an action. A character can take an action while using their movement.

When every character has had the opportunity to take a turn, the next round begins.

Initiating Combat

Combat begins when one side decides to stop talking and start shooting. Combat begins with the side that starts shooting. If the PCs start the conflict, they take their turns in whatever order they like, and then the GM takes the turns of the NPCs. If the NPCs start the conflict, the GM takes the turns of the NPCs, then the PCs take their turns in whatever order they like. When every character has had the opportunity to take a turn, the next round begins, and so on until the conflict has ended.

The environment goes last in a round. Any falling objects (including characters) fall, and any uncontrolled vehicles move, after all of the characters have had the opportunity to take their turn. If any object or vehicle is under the direct control of a character, then the object or vehicle will move when that character does.

Delaying A Turn

If a player does not wish to use their character's turn when they have the opportunity, perhaps wanting to wait and see what an opponent does, the character may delay their turn, with the option of using it later in the round or on a successive round. The character may then interrupt another character's turn.

Delaying a turn does not alter the order of play. After the character has taken their turn, the order of play resumes its previous sequence.

Forcing A Turn

If a character needs to take a desperate action when it is not their turn, this is known as forcing their turn. Forcing a turn allows a character to use their next turn early, but only to take a purely defensive action. A forced action can also be used to take a defensive action on someone else's behalf, such as diving in front of an attack to protect an innocent bystander. The character may not force an action which the GM could construe as an attack, such as blocking a bullet with an opponent's unconscious body. When a character forces their action, they sacrifice their next available turn, whether that action is in the current round or on the next round. A character may only force an action once per round.

Because a forced action is always defensive, the attacker does not have the opportunity to "take back" their attack.

Forcing a turn does not alter the order of play. After the character's next available turn has passed (the turn they sacrificed in order to take a defensive action sooner), the order of play resumes its previous sequence.

Types Of Actions

Under normal circumstances, a character can move and perform one standard action during their turn. In addition, a character can perform as many quick actions as the GM deems reasonable.

Anytime actions can be attempted at any time, as often as the GM deems reasonable.

On your turn Move
One standard action
As many quick actions as the GM deems reasonable
Any time As many anytime actions as the GM deems reasonable


Movement

During their turn, a character may travel up to the sprint distance permitted by their Athletics and Powers.

A character who travels a distance greater than their base movement, up to their sprint, incurs a standard penalty (-3 AV, -3 DV).

Movement itself does not generally require a roll, although the GM may require an Athletics roll if there is some obstacle to the character's free travel (inclement weather, uneven ground, etc.), and reduce the character's movement to one-half its normal value if they fail the roll.

Moving is not an action. A character can take an action while using their movement.

Standard Action

With a standard action, a character may attempt to perform one task. This could be attempting to use a skill, attempting to attack an opponent in combat, activating a power and attacking someone with it, or a similar activity. Under normal circumstances, a character can perform this action before, during, or after they move.

Quick Action

A quick action takes little or no time, but a character can't perform quick actions until it is their turn to act in the round, but during their turn, they can perform as many quick actions as the GM deems reasonable (perhaps as many as a half dozen). Typical quick actions include activating a power (but not attacking with it), deactivating a power, dropping a weapon, crouching behind cover, and so on.

Anytime Action

An anytime action takes little or no time and which can be performed at any time, as often as the GM deems reasonable. Roleplaying, for example, is an anytime action. This might include banter with the character's teammates, making fun of an enemy's name or clothing, or noticing a trap. An anytime action may also be a response to something another character does, usually at the request of the GM.

Rolling Dice

When a character attempts a task, the player must roll dice to see if the character succeeds. The player rolls two six-sided dice (2d6) and adds them together. The player adds this to the character's appropriate skill (Ranged Combat, Socializing, etc.). This total is the character's Action Value, or AV.

The character's Action Value is used in a variety of ways: opposed tasks, standard tasks, extended tasks, and competitive tasks.

  • Standard tasks — No one is actively working against the character; the character attempts a roll against a set Difficulty Value, typically (DV 9) (e.g., climbing a tree)
  • Extended tasks — The task requires an exceptional amount of time or multiple steps; the character attempts a series of rolls against a set Difficulty Value, typically (DV 9) (e.g., baking a wedding cake)
  • Competitive tasks — Different characters are competing to achieve the same goal in a superior fashion; competing characters attempt the same roll, or series of rolls, and compare their results (e.g., playing a game of chess)
  • Opposed tasks — Someone is trying to prevent the character from succeeding; the character attempts a roll against 7 plus the opponent's appropriate skill (e.g., sneaking past a sentry)

If the character's Action Value equals or exceeds the DV (Defense Value or Difficulty Value) assigned by the GM, the character's attempt succeeds.

Expert Tip: If a task is too difficult, try focusing the team.

Rolling a "natural 2" (minimum on two dice) or a "natural 12" (maximum on two dice) has no special significance.

Standard Tasks

If no one is working against the character, the GM sets the Difficulty Value (DV). Moderately difficult tasks have a difficulty of 9 (DV 9). More difficult tasks have a higher difficulty. If the character's Action Value equals or exceeds the DV (Defense Value or Difficulty Value) assigned by the GM, the character's attempt succeeds.


Table: Difficulty examples
DV Example
-- Routine Perform a familiar task under ordinary conditions
9 Moderately difficult Perform an unfamiliar task, or a familiar task under hostile conditions
12 Extremely difficult Perform an unfamiliar task under hostile conditions


Extended Tasks

If a task requires an exceptional amount of time or multiple steps, the character attempts a series of rolls against a set Difficulty Value, typically (DV 9). When attempting an extended task, the GM sets a Difficulty Value and the required number of successes. The GM might also set a maximum number of attempts, to indicate tasks which have a time limit.

Competitive Tasks

If different characters are competing to achieve the same goal in a superior fashion, competing characters attempt the same roll, or series of rolls, and compare their results. When attempting a competitive task, the GM sets a Difficulty Value and the required number of successes. The GM might also set a maximum number of attempts, to indicate tasks which have a time limit. The character with the most successes within the given time limit is the winner of the contest.

Opposed Tasks

If someone is trying to prevent the character from succeeding, the Difficulty Value, or DV, is equal to 7 plus the opponent's appropriate skill. If the character's Action Value equals or exceeds the DV (Defense Value or Difficulty Value) assigned by the GM, the character's attempt succeeds.


Character AV Opposed Task DV
2d6 vs 7
+ [Skill] + [Skill]


Bonuses And Penalties

If something significantly aids or impedes a character, the GM may apply a standard bonus (+3 AV, +3 DV) or a standard penalty (-3 AV, -3 DV).

Only the highest bonus applies. Penalties are cumulative.

Some examples of circumstances which grant a standard bonus are being invisible or behind cover, being prone in ranged combat, and being part of a team (see Working Together). If a character has more than one bonus, only the highest bonus applies.

Some examples of circumstances which impose a standard penalty are attempting to disarm or takedown a target, being prone in hand-to-hand combat, being blinded or in the dark, being distracted or surprised, and being underwater or weightless. If a character has more than one penalty, the penalties are cumulative.

Attack bonuses and penalties typically apply to one roll. Defense bonuses and penalties typically apply until the beginning of the character's next turn.

Dodging

During their turn, or as a forced turn, a character may use a standard action to focus exclusively on defense, or "dodge". The character gains a double bonus to Defense Value (+6 DV)at the cost of a double penalty to Action Value (-6 AV) until the beginning of their next turn.

Prone Characters

In ranged combat, a prone character receives a standard bonus (+3 AV, +3 DV). In hand-to-hand combat, a prone character incurs a standard penalty (-3 AV, -3 DV).

Standing up from a prone or seated position normally requires a standard action, or a quick action if the character makes a successful (DV 9) Athletics roll. However, a character can also stand up instead of using their movement during their turn, instead.

Held Characters

A held character is not helpless, but they can't use any movement until they break free. A held character incurs a standard penalty (-3 AV, -3 DV).

If a flying character is held, the GM may choose to have the character make a rough landing, but if so, the character takes no injury from it.

If the character is completely immobilized, they are considered helpless rather then merely held.

Helpless Characters

The Action Value and Defense Value of a helpless or unconscious character is zero. The GM may allow a DV bonus to apply, if it makes sense (if they are behind cover, for example).

Trading Accuracy For Safety (Optional)

If the GM permits it, a character making an attack may trade accuracy for safety, or vice versa, to a maximum of +3/-3. For example, a character may choose to gain a +3 AV bonus at the cost of a -3 DV penalty until the beginning of their next turn.

Trading Accuracy For Damage (Optional)

If the GM permits it, a character making an attack may trade accuracy for damage, or vice versa, to a maximum of +3/-3. For example, a character may choose to incur a -2 AV penalty until the beginning of their next turn in order to gain a +2 damage bonus if the attack is successful.

Types Of Attacks

Each attack power, regardless of its source, is one of three types: normal, alteration, or mental.

Normal Attacks

Normal attacks are the default, and are the most common. A normal attack is either hand-to-hand or has a range based on the attacker's Power Level or Equipment Level, and it affects a single target. Normal attacks are targeted with and opposed by Hand-to-hand Combat or Ranged Combat, and they are usually obvious. A successful normal attack reduces the target's current Health (or Endurance, if it is a stunning attack). Damage Resistance is subtracted from the points of damage an attacker deals. The character takes the remaining points of damage.

Mental Attacks

Mental attacks are those which affect the target's mind directly. A mental attack has a range based on the attacker's Power Level or Equipment Level, and it affects a single target. Mental attacks are targeted with and opposed by Mental Combat, and they are obvious to anyone who has Mental Resistance or mental powers, but they are usually invisible to everyone else. Damage Resistance is not effective against mental attacks: only Mental Resistance is effective against mental attacks. However, mental attacks deal half of the points of damage which exceed the target's Mental Resistance (round down, even if the fraction is more than one-half, to a minimum of 1).

Alteration Attacks

Alteration attacks are those which transform the target in some way, or which directly affect one of the target's abilities. An alteration power is either hand-to-hand or has a range based on the attacker's Power Level or Equipment Level, and it affects a single target. Alteration attacks are targeted with and opposed by Hand-to-hand Combat or Ranged Combat, and they are usually obvious. Damage Resistance is not effective against alteration attacks: only Alteration Resistance is effective against alteration attacks. However, alteration attacks deal half of the points of damage which exceed the target's Alteration Resistance (round down, even if the fraction is more than one-half, to a minimum of 1).

Special Attacks

Some attacks have non-damage effects, or use special rules for how they are targeted and opposed.

Area Attacks

Area powers potentially affect everyone within a certain distance of the target. An area attack normally requires a separate successful roll against each target in the affected area.

With the GM's permission, the player may choose to roll once for a group of similar targets. If the player's roll:

  • Fails by 3 or more — The GM chooses one quarter of the similar targets (rounded down to a minimum of one), and the character's attack hits those targets.
  • Succeeds by 3 or more — The GM chooses three quarters of the similar targets (rounded down to a minimum of one), and the character's attack hits those targets.
  • Otherwise — The GM chooses one half of the similar targets (rounded down to a minimum of one), and the character's attack hits those targets.

The radius of the area is dictated by the character's Power Level or their Equipment Level . This distance is a maximum, not a requirement: a character may choose to target a smaller area. Also see the ×10 Area boost, which increases the maximum area of a character's area power.

Blinding Attacks

Attacking with a blinding attack requires a successful Ranged Combat roll against 7 + Ranged Combat of the target. If the target has Alteration Resistance, they may add it to their Defense Value (DV). Blinding attacks ignore Damage Resistance. Unless the target has Blindsight, a blinded character incurs a standard penalty (-3 AV, -3 DV), and they fail any Mental Combat attack rolls.

To recover from the blinding attack, the target must use a standard action to attempt a Self-control roll against 7 + Power Level of the attack (or the Equipment Level of the weapon). If the target has Alteration Resistance, they may add it to this roll. If the target succeeds at this roll, they recover from the blinding attack. If the target has not recovered from the blinding attack by the end of the scene, then they recover from it shortly thereafter.

Piercing Attacks

Damage Resistance, Alteration Resistance, and Mental Resistance are less effective against piercing attacks. The target's resistance against the attack is reduced to one-half of its normal value (round down, even if the fraction is more than one-half, to a minimum of 1).

Stunning Attacks

Some attacks are normal, but nonlethal. The points of damage are deducted from the target's Endurance rather than from their Health. If an attack would reduce the target's current Endurance to zero or less, the target's Endurance is reduced to zero. A character with zero Endurance is unconscious. Endurance may not be reduced below zero. If a character with zero Endurance takes additional points of Endurance damage from another attack, the damage is subtracted from their current Health. A character recovers their lost Endurance by resting for about an hour.

Terrifying Attacks

A successful terrifying attack causes the target to involuntarily cower or flee (defender's choice). The terrified character incurs a standard penalty (-3 AV, -3 DV), in either case.

To recover from a terrifying attack, the target must use a standard action to attempt a Self-control roll against 7 + Power Level of the attack (or the Equipment Level of the weapon). If the target has Mental Resistance, they may add it to this roll. If the target succeeds at this roll, they recover from the terrifying attack. If the target has not recovered from the terrifying attack by the end of the scene, then they recover from it shortly thereafter.

Consequences

Rolling Damage

If the attacker's roll succeeds, the player rolls for damage based on the character's Power Level (1d6 + Power Level) or on the Equipment Level of the weapon (1d6 + Equipment Level). The target's resistance (Damage Resistance, Alteration Resistance, or Mental Resistance) is deducted from the points of damage.


Damage Resistance
Power Level minus Power Level
(or Equipment Level) (or Equipment Level)
+ 1d6  


If the attack is a normal attack, the remaining points of damage are deducted from the target's Health (or Endurance, if it is a stunning attack).

If the attack is a mental attack or an alteration attack, divide the remaining damage points in half (round down, even if the fraction is more than one-half, to a minimum of 1). Roll damage and deduct resistance before dividing.

Death

In the source material which Kalos Mechanism seeks to emulate, main characters rarely die. That being said, if the GM and the player both agree that the game would be best served by the character taking the final bow, then so be it. The most important thing to remember about death is that it should never be decided by a roll of the dice.

Minions

Minions are the nameless thugs, technicians, and administrative staff who work for a mastermind or organization. Any successful attack takes a minion out of the combat.

Knockback (Optional)

Knockback is an optional rule which will make combat cover a greater physical area, possibly causing collateral damage in the process. This rule is more appropriate to superhero games than it is to pulp or horror.

Only normal attacks may do knockback. If the GM has chosen to allow knockback, then each PC may choose which of their normal attacks do knockback, and which don't. Once this choice is made, it may not normally be changed thereafter.

When a target takes damage from a normal attack that does knockback, they are pushed away from the attacker (or from the center of an explosion). The distance the target is moved is equal to the points of normal damage taken, multiplied by the attack's Power Level. If a defender takes two points of Health damage past their Damage Resistance, and the Power Level of the attack is 3, the target will be knocked back 6 meters.

If a standing target is knocked back more than 2 meters, they must succeed at a moderately difficult (DV 9) Athletics roll or be knocked prone.

Targets who take knockback may smash through walls and windows, destroying whatever they pass through or happen to land on, but they take no significant injury themselves from doing so.

Recovery

Recovering Endurance

A character recovers their lost Endurance by resting for about an hour.

Recovering Health

A character may recover half of their lost Health (round down, even if the fraction is more than one-half) by resting for about an hour. After that, a character recovers the rest of their lost Health by getting a good night's sleep. Barring some gruesome disfigurement, a character's Health will be completely replenished after a night's rest.

Recovering From Ongoing Effects

If the attack causes some unusual effect or affects the target in some unusual way, it lasts for the duration of the current scene or conflict. However, an attack that deprives a character of their free will or that alters them against their will in some way can be opposed and ended earlier.

To recover from an alteration attack with an ongoing effect, the target must use a standard action to attempt a roll against 7 + Power Level of the attacker or the Equipment Level of the weapon. If the target has Alteration Resistance, they may add it to this roll.

To recover from a mental attack with an ongoing effect, the target must use a standard action to attempt a roll against 7 + Power Level of the attacker or the Equipment Level of the weapon. If the target has Mental Resistance, they may add it to this roll.

If the target's roll is successful, they recover from the ongoing effect.

Maneuvers

Remember that only the highest bonus applies, but penalties are cumulative.

Disarm

A disarm is a special hand-to-hand attack that does not deal points of damage, but instead deprives the target of a piece of held ordinary equipment. A disarm attack requires a successful Hand-to-hand Combat roll against 7 + Hand-to-hand Combat of the target. The attacker incurs a standard penalty (-3 AV, -3 DV) until the beginning of their next turn.

If the attacker's roll is successful, the attacker may choose one equipment item held by the target and either take it away from them or knock it from the target's grasp.

Distract

Distraction can be used by a character to mislead an enemy into dropping their guard. Distracting an opponent requires using a standard action to attempt a Deception roll against 7 + Investigation of the opponent. A distracted character incurs a standard penalty (-3 AV, -3 DV) until the beginning of their next turn.

Dodge

During their turn, or as a forced turn, a character may use a standard action to focus exclusively on defense, or "dodge". The character gains a double bonus to Defense Value (+6 DV)at the cost of a double penalty to Action Value (-6 AV) until the beginning of their next turn.

Focus The Team

Focusing the team on a task means that everyone gets a standard bonus, but only one roll is applied to the task. To focus the team on a task, each of the players makes a roll as usual. Everyone on the team receives a standard bonus (+3 AV, +3 DV). Only the highest Action Value is applied to the task at hand.

If the task at hand is an attack, and if the team's focused attack is successful, the team may choose which one of their attacks strikes the target. That attack receives a +3 damage bonus.

Team members are not required to use the same skill or the same type of attack to focus their efforts in this fashion.

Grapple

A grapple is a special hand-to-hand attack that does not deal points of damage, but instead holds the target. A grapple attack requires a successful Hand-to-hand Combat roll against 7 + Hand-to-hand Combat of the target.

If the attack is successful, the target is held. A held character is not helpless, but they can't use any movement until they break free. A held character incurs a standard penalty (-3 AV, -3 DV).

If the attacker wishes to exert strength or leverage in an attempt to hurt the held character, they must use a standard action to attempt a Hand-to-hand Combat roll against 7 + Hand-to-hand Combat of the held character.

If the grappled character succeeds in a grapple attack against the original attacker, both characters are considered held. Neither character can use any movement until they break free of their opponent's grapple.

To break free of a grapple, the target must use a standard action to attempt a successful Hand-to-hand Combat roll against 7 + Hand-to-hand Combat of the attacker. If the target succeeds at this roll, they break free of the grapple. Alternately, the grappling character may release the held character at any time as an anytime action.

Run For Cover

Some attacks are particularly large, such as explosions and collapsing castles. The only way to avoid such attacks is to not be near them. A character may force their turn to move up to their sprint distance to beyond the area of the attack or to behind the nearest cover. A character who is sprinting (moving farther than their base move during their turn) incurs a standard penalty (-3 AV, -3 DV) until the beginning of their next turn.

Sweep Attack

A sweep attack permits a character to make hand-to-hand attacks against up to six adjacent targets simultaneously. A sweep attack requires a separate successful roll against each target in the affected area. The attacker incurs a standard penalty (-3 AV, -3 DV) until the beginning of their next turn.

Takedown Attack

A takedown attack is a special hand-to-hand attack that does not deal points of damage, but instead makes the target fall to the ground. A takedown attack requires a successful Hand-to-hand Combat roll against 7 + Hand-to-hand Combat of the target. The attacker incurs a standard penalty (-3 AV, -3 DV) until the beginning of their next turn.

If the attacker's roll is successful, the defender falls to the ground and is prone.