With the basic concepts and character creation out of the way, this chapter ties up the loose ends and explains all the ways the previous information interacts to form a framework in which characters and create stories, interacting with each other and the environment.
One of the three primary types of gameplay in any roleplaying game is combat. In VERS there are three types of combat. Physical Combat is the standard model that most people think of when they say the word combat, but there is also mental and social combat.
Mental Combat typically takes the form of out-thinking your enemy, tricking them, surprising them, or otherwise using cunning to defeat them. This could also take the form of a riddle contest or some other more esoteric mode. Regardless, the idea with mental combat is always outsmarting the opponent in some way, eroding their Focus and reducing their ability to continue trying to outsmart you. When an opponent is defeated in mental combat they do not lose their life or even their consciousness, but they still feel the repercussions: confusion, panic, or even just simple exhaustion.
Social combat, on the other hand, is about outmaneuvering your enemy in a social situation. Maybe its trading witty barbs with your nemesis at a fancy party, or intimidating the thugs who accost you in the alleyway after. The goal with social combat is to weaken the character’s Morale and make them no longer desire to engage your character further or to submit to your force of personality. When a character is defeated in social combat they are not injured physically but can be embarrassed, intimidated, or otherwise easily manipulated.
Regardless of the type of combat, it is all resolved in basically the same way. One roll. Remember the player rolls all rolls, so if they are the ones making the attack they roll their relevant skill competence (Deception + Intuition, Ranged Attack + Agility, or Influence + Charisma, as examples of all three types) and subtract the opponent’s defenses (Discipline, Dodge, or the target's Parry competence, depending). Conversely, if the player is the defender then they roll Dodge, Discipline, or Parry and use the attacks skills as a penalty. Attack skills are always based on a Finesse attribute.
Attack Roll = Attack Skill - Defense
Once an attack has succeeded, it is time to calculate the damage. Every character has a base Effect Value (EV) equal to their power attributes (Strength for physical attacks) that automatically applies to a successful strike. This EV would be added to any additional EV that would come from abilities, advantages, weapons, or stunts. This total EV is how much damage the character does on the successful strike.
EV = Power Attribute + Abilities + Equipment + Stunts
Having calculated the total EV, compare the EV against the target’s Resistance Value (RV). Just like every character has a base EV, every character also has a base RV equal to their Stamina (for physical attacks). Again, like EV, RV can also be modified by advantages, abilities, equipment, or stunts.
RV = Resistance Attribute + Abilities + Equipment + Stunts
If the attacker’s EV is greater than the defender’s RV, the target takes damage based on the remainder, referred to as the Normalized Damage Value, or NDV. The level of damage is determined by the NDV.
Conversely, if the original attack misses then the attacker may be subject to defensive stunts, based on the Degrees of Failure. Depending on the nature of attack and defender it may even be appropriate to damage the attacker, based on what is dramatically appropriate at the time (fist-fighting a knight in armor, for example).
Attacks that target a group use the average of their defenses to resist. An Olympic gymnast cannot tumble out of the way if she is surrounded by clumsy oafs, nor can the most stoic of characters prevent a group from becoming a riotous mob just by their presence.
Any penalties from damage dealt are cumulative across damage types, meaning that taking damage on all three fronts (mentally, physically, and emotionally) is far worse than simply facing a foe attacking from one angle.
Becoming Disabled, Disarrayed, or Debilitated is the type of stress that could easily put a permanent mark on a character. This could be the development of a disadvantage, but only if dramatically appropriate. As usual, the GM is the final arbiter for these decisions.
It is also important to remember that many times actions affect us on multiple levels. A sneak attack, for instance, deals Focus damage as well as Injury damage. A sneak attack by a treacherous ally may even warrant that same action also dealing Morale damage. Not only is that fine, it is an expected situation that brilliant strategists have used for millennia to win wars. The above example is essentially what happened to Julius Caesar, after all, allowing a group of regular people to kill off a trained soldier. The most important thing to remember, however, is not to get too carried away. Multiple types of damage in one attack should be rare and something that the character works hard to set up. It shouldn’t happen every other attack. Yes, a character’s feelings are probably hurt whenever he gets stabbed, but unless that stab represents a betrayal or other emotionally charged event it doesn’t qualify for extra damage.