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Initiative and Combat Rounds

Combat Rounds

In Psi-punk, combat is resolved in rounds. Each round totals about 6 seconds, to make it easy to cal- culate how many rounds are in a minute and to give an idea of the relative amount of time it takes to perform certain actions. In general, if an action can be performed in 6 seconds, it can be performed in a combat round.

Initiative (Determining Who Acts First)

Characters in combat alternate attacking and defending based on their initiative. Initiative is an opposed action that is modified by the character’s Dexterity or Focus attribute (whichever is higher), plus any applicable Gifts (such as Combat Reflexes, Danger Sense, or Quickness).

Play continues in the order of initiative from the highest rolled to the lowest, with each character taking a turn during their initiative. Initiative can be rolled once each round to keep combat more fluid and cinematic or it can be rolled once only at the beginning of combat to keep the game moving quickly—the choice is up to the GM, and she may choose to alter it during a given session depending on the needs of the combat.

Initiative Modifiers

A variety of modifiers can be applied to initiative. Characters who are caught unaware may receive up to a -3 penalty (depending on how unaware they were at the time they were attacked; were they sleeping, or just distracted?). If a character has poor footing, such as a slippery or narrow surface, he may take a -1 penalty to his initiative because he is constantly needing to focus some of his attention on remaining stable. If a character has a positional advantage he may receive a +1 bonus.

These are just some examples of initiative modifiers; feel free to look for your own as the circumstances allow. Note that two opposing characters should not both receive modifiers for the same circumstance; for example, a surprised character may take a -1 on his initiative or his attacker may gain a +1 for getting the drop, but not both.

If two or more characters receive the same initiative result, they act simultaneously that round. GMs may choose to call for the player’s action first or may choose to resolve the NPC’s actions first, de- pending on their style and whatever is easiest for them to manage. However, once all actions are resolved they should be compared as if they had happened at the same time; in this way, it is possible for two shooters to wound (and possibly kill) each other, rather than one shooter killing the other before he has a chance to act.

Once initiative is determined, the GM should note the order in which each player and NPC will act, in order of highest initiative to lowest.

 

Holding Initiative

Sometimes a character may wish to “hold” his action, choosing to delay taking his turn to wait and see what might happen. On his initiative, a character may declare that he is holding his action and choose to do nothing. At any point before the end of the round he may choose to re-join the initiative and take his action.

A character particularly gifted in acting swiftly (such as one with a Combat Reflexes, Quick Reflexes, or similar Gift) may opt to interrupt the actions of another character. This means they are allowed to see what another character chooses to do before taking their own action and may use their turn to block, distract, or otherwise interrupt the actions of their opponent. When doing so, treat the two characters as acting simultaneously, as if acting on a tied initiative.

Taking Action

Characters may perform any action they are capable of doing in about a six-second combat round, which may include movement, negotiations, attacks, or activating special powers such as psionics or magic. The GM may rule that certain actions a character wishes to perform would take longer than a combat round and thus, the character may need to spend more than one round performing the action.

Using psionics or magic in combat as either a melee or ranged attack takes one round (six seconds) unless otherwise noted or required by the GM. Most of these types of attacks are represented by a quick discharge of power rather than sustained use.

The following table is a list of common actions and a generalization of how much time each action takes to perform. Characters can take as many of these actions in a round as time permits, unless the GM rules that the actions they are trying to take together are not feasible. Extraordinary gifts may allow for characters to perform these actions faster, thereby granting them a greater number of actions per round.

This list is not intended to be inclusive, but can be used to provide players with a guideline for basic action times.

 

Table: Action Times

 

Action

Time

Crawl 5 feet, walk 15 feet, or hustle 30 feet

3 seconds

Attack with a weapon

6 seconds, can be done with movement

Climb 15 feet or swim 20 feet

6 seconds

Use psionics or magic

6 seconds

Speak or shout a command or relay minor details

No time required; part of another action

Attempt to negotiate with the enemy

6 seconds

Grapple/wrestle an opponent

6 seconds