The Combat Round
Combat in Ersatz is divided into small increments called rounds. During each round all characters have the opportunity to perform one or more actions. These actions are executed simultaneously. Effects from each character’s actions do not effect their enemies (or friends) until the next action. The GM and players should roll checks for the actions of all combatants in any order they see fit, so long as they try not to forget anyone. GMs should resolve any conflicting actions as they see fit (eg if two characters want to occupy the same space at the end of the round).
During each round each combatant may take one action for free. A combatant may also spend one point of initiative (discussed in the Bout section below) per action, to perform additional actions. However, a combatant may only make a single standard action and a single move action each round. The combatant may make as many minor actions in a round as they wish as long as they spend an initiative point for each.
The Combat Bout
Combat is further divided into Bouts. A bout consists of five combat rounds. Each bout, the combatants get a number of initiative points to spend on extra actions as they have initiative score. In addition to initiative, other resources may refresh at the beginning of each bout. Further, time dependent effects frequently have a duration based on bouts.
Combat should be carried out on a hex grid. The distance between the center of one hex and its neighbors is generally considered to be one meter. However, the GM may alter the scale if it seems appropriate.
The following are recommended targeting shapes for use in Ersatz. A targeting shape is shortened way of describing what set of hexes can be targeted simultaneously by a power. These are by no means an end-all be-all list of targeting shapes, but are a good, general purpose set of shapes.
- Pinpoint <x> specifies that the power targets X hexes of the subject’s choice. If a combatant occupies multiple hexes within range, they may be targeted multiple times — once per hex they occupy in range.
- Cluster <x> specifies that X contiguous squares of the subject’s choice are targeted. If a creature occupies more than one square in the cluster, they are targeted multiple times.
- Burst <x> specifies that all hexes within X of a center hex are targeted. If a creature occupies more than one square in the burst, they are targeted multiple times.
- Path <x> specifies that X contiguous squares of the subjects choice are targeted. However, unlike a cluster, each hex in a path may be contiguous to no more than two other hexes in the path. If a creature occupies more than one square in the path, they are targeted multiple times.
An additional consideration in choosing targets for an power is the range. Powers will specify a range for each attack. The entire targeting shape must fit into the range with the exception of bursts, in which case only the center of the burst must be in range.
Combatants typically have a facing. Facing is an arc of hexes around the character’s occupied space that is considered front, side and back for the character. Attacks originating from a combatant’s back put a -2 penalty on the combatant’s defenses. Attacks originating from a combatants’s side put a -1 penalty on the combatant’s defenses.
When a combatant moves, movement into a front hex costs one movement point, movement into a side square costs 2 movement points and movement into a back square costs 3 movement points. Facing may be changed by 1 hex of rotation when moving. Alternately, Facing may be changed by 2 hexes of rotation by spending 1 point of movement while executing a move action.
Each combatant has a size. Sizes indicate how many hexes a combatant occupies on the battle map. Combatants with a size of 3 or greater also have a shape, like cluster, burst or path.
A wound is inflicted when a character makes an attack that does damage. The margin of success of the attack, the weapon and the power employed determine how much shock and pain are inflicted by an attack. The character’s fortitude resists these wounds.
Shock and Fortitude
When a blow hits an enemy, it immediately inflicts shock. Shock reduces the target’s dice pools for one round by a number equal to the shock minus the target’s current fortitude. So if the wound does 4 shock damage and the target has 3 fortitude, they take a -1 penalty to all dice pools for the next round. If the target’s fortitude is greater than the shock, they take no penalty. If the effective shock is greater than the target’s fortitude (ie the original shock was double or more than the target’s fortitude), the target is knocked down and the shock penalty lasts an additional round.
Pain and Fortitude
When a blow hits an enemy it may also inflict pain. Pain is not reduced unless otherwise indicated. For the remainder of the battle, add pain to all shock that the target suffers. Pain is cumulative, each attack that inflicts pain adds to the amount of pain the character currently has. When a target’s cumulative pain is equal to their fortitude, they fall unconscious. When a target’s cumulative pain is greater than double their fortitude, they die.
A condition is a penalty or bonus that the combatant operates under. The following are common conditions.
Push, Pull, Slide
The target is forcibly moved. If the target is moved into a wall, they take shock equal to the number of additional squares they could have been moved. There are three kinds of forced movement. Push moves the target away from the origin of the power; Pull moves the target towards the origin of the power; Slide moves the target as desired by the power’s user. The success rate indicates how many hexes the target is moved.
Hindering and Quickening a target modify their initiative score. Hindering reduces initiative by the number of successes; quickening increases it by the number of successes.
Slowing and hastening a target modifies the target’s speed. Slowing it reduces the target’s speed by the number of successes; hastening it increases the target’s speed by the number of successes. If a specific movement type is targeted, it will be specified in angle brackets, eg Slow <fly>.
Degrading or improving a target modifies a target’s target-numbers. Degrading it reduces the target’s target-numbers by the number of successes (to a minimum of 1); improving it increases the target’s target-numbers by the number of successes (to a maximum of 6). If a specific type of check is targeted, it will be specified in angle brackets, eg Improve <attacks>
Weakening or augmenting a target modifies the target’s dice pools. Weakening it reduces the target’s pool by the number of successes; augmenting it increases the pool by the number of successes. If a specific type of check is targeted, it will be specified in angle brackets, eg Weaken <willpower>.
Vitiating or Fortifying a target modifies the target’s defenses. Vitiating it reduces its defensive numbers by the number of successes; fortifying it increases the defensive numbers. If a specific type of defense is reduced, it will be specified in angle brackets, eg Fortify <dodge>.