ZeroSpace 4e EN:Actions
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.
Time in a ZeroSpace 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.
During a scene, 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. During their turn, a character can travel a distance up to their base movement (walking, typically) and still have time to do 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 "move actions", "standard actions", and "quick actions", respectively. A character can perform these actions in any order.
Conflict 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 before they have had the opportunity to take their turn in a round, or after they have already taken their turn in a round, this is known as forcing their turn. Forcing a turn allows a character to sacrifice their next turn in order to dive clear, activate a defensive power, or take another 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 or running into someone. 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
There are three types kinds of actions a character may perform during their turn in a round: move actions, standard actions, and quick actions. Under normal circumstances, a character can perform one move action and one standard action during their turn. In addition, a character can perform as many quick actions as the GM deems reasonable.
When it is not a character's turn, they can still react to events around them. Free actions can be attempted at any time, as often as the GM deems reasonable.
|On your turn||One move action|
One standard action
As many quick actions as the GM deems reasonable
|Any time||As many free actions as the GM deems reasonable|
With a move action, a character may move the distance permitted by their Agility and/or Brawn (depending on whether they are walking, swimming, or jumping), or they may use a movement power to move up to the distance that the power allows. The character may instead perform an equivalent action: opening an access hatch, standing up from a prone or seated position, squeezing the throttle on a motorcycle, or what have you.
A character making a double move (running) or an all-out move (sprinting) receives a +3 DV bonus, but incurs a -6 AV penalty.
Movement itself does not generally require a roll, although the GM may require an Agility + Athletics roll if there is some obstacle to the character's free movement (distractions, inclement weather, uneven ground, etc.), and reduce the character's movement to one-half its normal value if they fail the roll (round down, even if the fraction is more than one-half, to a minimum of 1).
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.
A quick action takes little or no time. 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.
A free action takes little or no time and can be performed at any time, as often as the GM deems reasonable. Roleplaying, for example, is a free action. This might include banter with the character's teammates, making fun of an enemy's name or clothing, or noticing a trap. A free action may also be a response to something another character does, usually at the request of the GM.
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 attribute (Agility, Brawn, etc.) and skill (Diplomacy, Ranged Combat, etc.). This total is the character's Action Value, or AV. If the character has appropriate equipment, they may add their Equipment Level to their Action Value, but only up to their skill level.
Expert Tip: Only roll when there is risk.
If the character is actively competing against an opponent, the Difficulty Value, or DV, is equal to 8 plus the opponent's appropriate attribute and skill. The opponent's equipment helps them just as it helps the player characters, up to their skill level.
|+ [Attribute] + [Skill]||+ [Attribute] + [Skill]|
|+ [Equipment (up to Skill)]||+ [Equipment (up to 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.
Expert Tip: If a task is too difficult, try working together.
A character may attempt a task in which they have no skill, if the GM says it is possible.
Rolling a "natural 2" (minimum on two dice) or a "natural 12" (maximum on two dice) has no special significance.
If no one is actively working against the character, the GM sets the Difficulty Value (DV). Moderately difficult tasks have a difficulty of 12 (DV 12). More difficult tasks have a higher difficulty.
|--||Routine||Perform a familiar task under ordinary conditions|
|12||Moderately difficult||Perform a familiar task under hostile conditions, or an unfamiliar task under ordinary conditions|
|15||Remarkably difficult||Perform an unfamiliar task under hostile conditions|
|18||Extremely difficult||Perform an esoteric task under ordinary conditions|
|21||Inconceivable!||Perform an esoteric task under hostile conditions|
A character's roll may have one or more bonuses. Only the highest bonus applies. Receiving a +1, a +2, and a +3 bonus at the same time adds 3 to the character's roll.
A bonus is usually +3 added to the character's Action Value (AV) or defense, although some maneuvers such as suppressing fire have a variable bonus. Similarly, a character's damage roll may have one or more bonuses. These are usually +1 or +3 points of damage. The highest bonus is added to the attacker's damage.
|Character is blinded or in the dark||-6 AV||-3 DV|
|Character is attempting a called shot||Varies||+1 damage bonus for each -1 AV penalty|
|Character is behind cover||+3 DV|
|Character is attempting to disarm a target||-3 AV|
|Character is distracted or surprised||-3 AV||-3 DV|
|Character is dodging||+6 DV|
|Character is helpless||AV 0||DV 0|
|Character is invisible or hidden||+6 DV|
|Character is prone in hand-to-hand combat||-3 AV||-3 DV|
|Character is prone in ranged combat||+3 AV||+3 DV|
|Character is restrained||-3 AV||-3 DV|
|Character is running or sprinting||-6 AV||+3 DV|
|Character is using suppressing fire||Varies||-1 damage penalty for each +1 AV bonus|
|Character is attempting a sweep attack||Varies||-1 AV penalty for each target|
|Character is attempting to takedown a target||-3 AV|
|Character is terrified||-6 AV||Target must cower or flee (defender's choice)|
|Character is underwater or weightless||-3 AV||-3 DV|
|Character is part of a team||+3 AV||Only the highest final AV applies; +3 damage bonus|
A character's roll may have one or more penalties. Penalties are cumulative. Incurring a -1, a -2, and a -3 penalty at the same time subtracts 6 from the character's roll.
A penalty is usually -3 subtracted from the character's Action Value (AV), although some maneuvers such as sweep attack have a variable penalty. Similarly, a character's damage roll may have one or more penalties. These are usually -1 or -3 points of damage. All damage penalties are subtracted from the attacker's damage.
Some tasks are more complex or time-consuming than can reasonably be resolved with a single roll. 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. In extended opposed tasks, such as a competition between rival scientists to create a vaccine, the first person or team to achieve the required number of successful rolls succeeds at the task.
Types Of Attacks
Each attack is one of three types: normal, alteration, or mental.
Normal attacks are the default, and are the most common. A normal attack is either hand-to-hand (1 m) or has a range based on the character's weapon or Power Level, and it affects a single target. Normal attacks are targeted with and opposed by Agility + Ranged Combat or Brawn + Hand-to-hand 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. Normally, an unarmed hand-to-hand normal attack deals Endurance damage.
Mental attacks are those which affect the target's mind directly. Mental attacks are targeted with and opposed by Presence + Mental Combat, and they are obvious to anyone who has Mental Resistance or mental powers, but they are usually invisible to everyone else. A mental attack has a range based on the character's Power Level, and it affects a single target. 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 are those which transform the target in some way, or which directly affect one of the target's attributes. An alteration power is either hand-to-hand (1 m) or has a range based on the character's Power Level, and it affects a single target. Alteration attacks are targeted with and opposed by the Agility + Ranged Combat or Brawn + Hand-to-hand 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).
In addition, some attacks have non-damage effects, or use special rules for how they are targeted and opposed.
Area attacks deal damage to everyone within a certain distance of the target -- everyone within 5 meters, typically. An area attack requires a successful roll against each target in the affected area. The attacker rolls once for the attack.
A successful blinding attack renders the target unable to see clearly. Unless they have Blindfighting or Blindsight, a character who can't see incurs a -6 AV penalty on any task or attack, a -3 DV penalty on their defense, and they fail any Mental Combat attack rolls.
To recover from a blinding attack, the target must use a standard action to attempt a Brawn + Athletics roll against 8 + 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.
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).
Some attacks are normal, but nonlethal. The points of damage are deducted from the target's Endurance rather than from their Health. A character with zero Endurance is unconscious. If a character with zero Endurance takes additional points of Endurance damage from another attack, the damage is treated as points of Health damage. The target recovers their lost Endurance after the fight is over, when the character has had a chance to rest and recuperate.
A successful terrifying attack causes the target to involuntarily cower or flee (defender's choice). The terrified character incurs a -6 AV penalty on any task or attack.
To recover from a terrifying attack, the target must use a standard action to attempt a Presence + Athletics roll against 8 + 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 character has not recovered from the terrifying attack by the end of the scene, then they recover their composure shortly thereafter.
If the attacker's roll succeeds, the player rolls dice 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.
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 attack).
If the attack is a mental attack or an alteration attack, half of the final points of damage are applied to the target (round down, even if the fraction is more than one-half, to a minimum of 1). Roll damage and deduct resistance before dividing.
In the source material which ZeroSpace 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.
An unnamed character is defeated on any successful attack. They make up for this by vastly outnumbering the player characters.
Inanimate objects have Health, reflecting the structural integrity of the object. An object which has lost more than half of its Health is damaged, and may not work properly. An object which has lost of all of its Health is destroyed.
Knockback is an optional rule which will make combat cover a greater physical area, possibly causing collateral damage in the process.
When struck by a normal attack, a target is pushed away from the attacker (or from the center of an explosion). The distance the target is moved is equal to the amount by which a player's roll exceeds the target number. If the target number is 12, and the player's total is 15, the target will be pushed back 3 meters.
If the target is pushed more than 2 meters, they must succeed at a moderately difficult (DV 12) Agility + Athletics roll or be knocked prone. If the target is flying or swimming and fails this roll, they don't fall to the ground, but recovering their equilibrium requires a move action.
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.
Endurance represents a character's ability to physically and mentally exert themselves. Endurance acts as a reservoir of points which is expended as the character takes damage. When a character loses Endurance, that amount is subtracted from their current Endurance.
Endurance may not be reduced below zero. A character with zero Endurance is unconscious. If a character with zero Endurance takes additional points of Endurance damage from another attack, the damage is treated as points of Health damage.
The target recovers their lost Endurance after the fight is over, when the character has had a chance to rest and recuperate.
Health represents a character's ability to withstand physical and mental injury. Health acts as a reservoir of points which are expended as the character takes damage. When a character loses Health, that amount is subtracted from their current Health.
Health may not be reduced below zero. A character with zero Health is unconscious, their Endurance is also reduced to zero, and they are probably out of the fight.
Normally, 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 additional Health by getting a good night's sleep (or its equivalent, for characters who don't 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 "break out" of an alteration attack with an ongoing effect, the target must use a standard action to attempt a Brawn + Athletics roll against 8 + 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 "break out" of a mental attack with an ongoing effect, the target must use a standard action to attempt a Presence + Athletics roll against 8 + 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.
Conditions And Maneuvers
Remember that only the highest bonus applies, but penalties are cumulative.
A called shot is an attempt to hit a target in a vulnerable spot. A character attempting a called shot incurs a -1 AV penalty for each +1 damage bonus. If the attacker chooses to incur a -5 AV penalty, they gain a +5 damage bonus if the attack is successful.
A character hiding behind an obstruction is more difficult to hit. The character gains a +3 DV bonus.
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 equipment. A disarm attack requires a successful Brawn + Hand-to-hand Combat roll against 8 + Brawn + Hand-to-hand Combat of the target. The attacker incurs a -3 AV penalty on this attack.
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.
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 Presence + Deception roll against 8 + Presence + Investigation of the opponent. A distracted character incurs a -3 AV penalty on their next task or attack, or a -3 DV penalty on their next defense, whichever happens first.
During their turn, or as a forced turn, a character may use a standard action to focus exclusively on defense. A character who is using their action to dodge may not attack or use a move action, even if they otherwise could. Dodging might involve using finesse to harmlessly divert attacks away, or it might entail using brute force to withstand attacks: the choice is up to the player. Dodging grants the character a +6 DV bonus. A character who is using their action to dodge continues to receive this benefit until they take their next turn.
A grapple is a special hand-to-hand attack that does not deal points of damage, but instead restrains the target. A grapple attack requires a successful Brawn + Hand-to-hand Combat roll against 8 + Brawn + Hand-to-hand Combat of the target.
If the attack is successful, the target is restrained. A restrained character is not helpless, but they can't use movement until they break free. A restrained character incurs a -3 AV penalty on any task or attack and a -3 DV penalty on their defense.
If the attacker wishes to exert strength or leverage in an attempt to hurt the restrained character, they must use a standard action to attempt a Brawn + Hand-to-hand Combat roll against 8 + the restrained character's Brawn + Hand-to-hand Combat.
If the grappled character succeeds in a grapple attack against the original attacker, both characters are considered restrained. Neither character can use move actions 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 Brawn + Hand-to-hand Combat roll against 8 + Brawn + 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 restrained character at any time as a free action.
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 (cover, for example).
Ranged combat is easier for a prone character, but hand-to-hand combat is more difficult. In ranged combat, the character receives a +3 AV bonus and a +3 DV bonus. In hand-to-hand combat, the character incurs a -3 AV penalty and a -3 DV penalty.
Standing up from a prone or seated position requires a move or standard action.
A restrained character is not helpless, but they can't use movement until they break free. A restrained character incurs a -3 AV penalty on any task or attack and a -3 DV penalty on their defense.
If the character is completely immobilized, they are considered helpless rather then merely restrained.
Running For Cover
Attacks which are particularly large, such as explosions and collapsing castles, are much more difficult to avoid. The only way to avoid such attacks is to not be under them when they land. A character may force their turn to move to the nearest open ground which is beyond the area of the attack or behind the nearest cover. As usual, a character making a double move (running) or an all-out move (sprinting) receives a +3 DV bonus, but incurs a -6 AV penalty.
Spreading An Attack
Spreading an attack permits a character to make ranged attacks against adjacent targets simultaneously. The character chooses a primary target, and then makes a separate Agility + Ranged Combat roll against that target and against each target within hand-to-hand range of that target. The attacker incurs an AV penalty equal to the number of targets.
Suppressing fire is an attempt to hit a target by spraying them with multiple shots. A character using suppressing fire gains a +1 AV bonus for each -1 damage penalty. If the attacker chooses to gain a +5 AV bonus, they incur a -5 damage penalty if the attack is successful.
A sweep attack permits a character to make hand-to-hand attacks against anyone within reach of the character simultaneously. The character makes a separate Brawn + Hand-to-hand Combat roll against each target within hand-to-hand range. The attacker incurs an AV penalty equal to the number of targets.
A takedown attack is an unarmed hand-to-hand attack that makes the target fall to the ground. A takedown requires a successful Brawn + Hand-to-hand Combat roll against 8 + Brawn + Hand-to-hand Combat of the target. If the attacker's roll is successful, the defender falls to the ground and takes damage from the impact.
The attacker deals Endurance damage equal to their Brawn. The target subtracts their Damage Resistance from the amount the attacker rolled. The target's Endurance is reduced by the remaining amount. This damage can be increased with the Iron Fists gift or the Strike power.
A prone character must normally use a move or standard action to get back up.
Characters are more effective together than they are alone. To work as a team on a task, each of the players makes a roll as usual. Everyone on the team receives a +3 AV bonus. Only the highest final Action Value is applied to the task at hand.
If the task at hand is an attack, and if the team's attack is successful, the team may choose which one of their attacks strikes the target. That attack receives a +3 damage bonus.
Characters are not required to use the same skill or the same type of attack to work together.