While not the largest of the combat scales (and arguably not the most important), character-scale combat is the most complex form of combat in WCRPG. This is because characters have the widest selection of available actions out of all the scales of combat and along with it the largest range of effects. Character-scale combat includes combat between all creatures whether they are sapient or not.
The range increments used on the character-scale depend on how far apart the combatants are from one another. If the combatants have closed in for a hand-to-hand brawl, then short-range combat is taking place; each range increment in short-range combat equates to 5 meters. If the battle is more of a firefight with bullets and grenades flying around all over the place, chances are that long-range combat is taking place; each range increment in long-range combat equates to 25 meters. Characters generally have much more freedom of movement in short-range combat. Combatants on the character-scale may withdraw from combat if they are greater than fifteen range increments from all hostile combatants; this equates to a distance of 75 meters in short-range combat and 400 meters in long-range combat. GMs have the option of switching over to long-range combat if a character moves out of short-range combat instead of simply allowing the withdrawal. Note that it is entirely possible for the conditions for both types of combat to be ongoing simultaneously; it is recommended in those situations that long-range combat be utilized. It is also possible for a character that has technically disengaged from long-range combat to be damaged by a hostile combatant if that combatant is using sniper-style weaponry (see Sniping under Attack Action Rules later in this sub-Chapter).
A character may perform two standard actions or one full-round action per round as well as any number of free actions. Characters are responsible for deciding upon and performing their own actions though they are free to speak to other characters and suggest actions for them to take (though if coming from hostile combatants, these are likely insults instead of helpful suggestions).
A combatant may choose to ready an action for later use. The combatant prepares an action to perform in the event that some other condition takes place between the time they ready the action and their next turn. If the conditions for the action's activation are fulfilled, the combatant performs the readied action at once; this delays any action the current combatant may be taking until the readied action is resolved. If the readied action is executed, the combatant involved loses one of their action phases during the next round; they may lose their entire turn if two readied actions are or a single full-round readied action are executed. Readied actions are only good for one round; if the conditions needed for their execution do not come about before the combatant's next turn, they must either renew the ready action or declare a different action.
A combatant may elect to stand-by as a standard action. By doing so, they declare that they will do nothing during the course of that action phase; game-play proceeds to the combatant's next action phase or to the next combatant's first action phase as applicable. There will probably be few occasions in combat where a combatant decides to just sit back and watch but sometimes it may simply be necessary...
Combatants may choose to use their natural abilities or make Skill Checks as a standard action during a combat round; the combatant simply declares their intention to use the ability/Skill and a target if appropriate. This is a general "catch-all" action that may be used for any purpose not explicitly mentioned elsewhere.
A character-scale combatant may choose to run as a full-round move action. Combatants must be standing up in order to run. When a combatant runs, they may move up to four times the speed of their normal Combat Move (see Move Actions later in this sub-Chapter). Burdened combatants may only move at a maximum rate of three times their Combat Move while strained combatants may only move at a maximum of twice their Combat Move (see the discussion under encumbrance in Chapter 5.4). A combatant may run for a number of rounds equal to half their Stamina score (round down); if they run for a longer period, they take 2d10 Non-Lethal Damage per round until they either stop running or reduce their NHP to zero or less (at which point they are Unconscious and will automatically stop moving). Running can be used to get close to an opponent, move closer to a friendly group or withdraw.
A combatant may declare that they are drawing or sheathing a weapon; this counts as a move action and the combatant must declare what item in their possession is being affected. The number of weapons a combatant may wield at one time is dependent upon the Appendages requirement of the specific weapons involved (see Chapter 5.2) and the number of Motor Appendages their species has; a combatant may not wield a weapon if they don't have a suffiicient number of available Motor Appendages. A combatant cannot sheathe a weapon and draw a second weapon with the same action; a separate draw weapon action is required. A combatant that sheathes all of the weapons in their possession at the same time is considered "unarmed" for combat purposes.
A combatant may declare that they are activating or deactivating a personal shield; this same action is used to ready and loosen physical shields and to don or remove all forms of body armor. Readying a shield is considered a move action. Combatants may only utilize one shield at a time; a combatant must lower any active shield before raising a new one. If the combatant doesn’t have a shield raised, they may raise any shield they are carrying; if they are carrying multiple shields, they’ll have to specify which shield is being raised. Personal shields are typically worn on the belt; physical shields are generally rare even in most non-Starfaring societies. Donning any physical armor requires that the part it covers be unarmored (a combatant cannot, for instance, wear two ballistic mesh coverings at the same time). Physical armor may or may not reduce the number of objects a combatant can access by covering up pockets on their clothing; for more on pockets, see Chapter 5.4.
A combatant may mount/dismount a steed or embark to/disembark from a ground vehicle as a move action. If a combatant mounts a steed, they gain the movement benefits of that steed and any Cover the steed may grant (rules regarding Cover are covered in Chapter 9.3). When a combatant boards a vehicle, the current combat situation may transform from character-scale combat to mixed-scale Combat (see Chapter 9.5). Combatants may also dismount steeds or disembark from vehicles, losing their Cover and/or movement bonuses in the process.
A combatant may attempt to Charge during the course of a round; this is a full-round attack action that allows the combatant to move, attack and then move again. A combatant must Run at least one full short-range combat increment towards their intended target and must be able to move the same total distance after the attack as before it; the combatant must be able to move the full distance involved or else they may not Charge their target. The attack takes place when they reach Range Zero and must take place with a melee weapon; the charging combatant gains a +10 bonus to their attack roll and the amount of damage inflicted but they suffer a +10 HD penalty until their next round. Charging provokes an Opportunity Attack.
A combatant may attempt a Push Attack during the course of a round; this is a full-round attack action that works in much the same way as a Charge action with a few minor changes. Push attacks can only be made against opponents up to one Size Class larger than the combatant making the attempt. A Push Attack requires the combatant making the attempt to be unarmed and they stop moving once they reach Range Zero. The "attack" is an opposed Three-Dimensional Maneuvers Check. If the target is larger, the combatant making the attempt takes a -10 DC penalty to their Check; if the target is smaller, they receive a +20 DC bonus instead. If the target is as stable or more stable than a quadruped (i.e. has at least four propulsive appendages or more), is lying Prone or is otherwise in an exceptionally stable position, they will receive a +20 DC bonus to their Check. Whichever combatant has the higher degree of success in their success wins, pushing their opponent away from the spot by one range increment per ten points in the degree of success of their Check. In addition, the losing combatant takes unarmed damage, drops Prone if they were not so already and drops one item they are currently carrying in a Motor Appendage. Push Attacks provoke Opportunity Attacks.
If a combatant is within Range Zero of an opponent in short-range combat, they may attempt to Trip them; this is an attack action. Trip attempts can only be made against opponents who are no more than one size class larger than the combatant making the attack. The "attack" is an opposed Dexterous Maneuvers Check; all of the same bonuses and penalties for Push Attacks apply. If the combatant making the Trip attempt is more successful than their opponent, the opponent immediately drops Prone and drops any one item they are currently carrying in a Motor Appendage. Against a Charging or Pushing opponent, a successful Trip automatically foils their attack and causes them to slide another 1d5 range increments (twice this distance on a relatively frictionless surface such as ice); they take 1d10 points of Non-Lethal Damage per range increment they slide and become Dazed for a minimum of 1d5 rounds. Trip attacks provoke Opportunity Attacks unless used against a Charging or Pushing opponent.
A creature combatant with the Trample natural ability may attempt to Trample their opponent as a special full-round attack action. Trampling works like a Charge with a few key differences. A combatant must be at least one size class bigger than their target to attempt a Trample. The attack is a standard melee attack applied against the target's THD; a successful attack deals (the combatant’s Power modifier times their Size Class) points of Basic Damage. If damage is indicated, the target may attempt a Reflex Save in order to take half-damage instead. Unsuccessful Trample attacks provoke Opportunity Attacks.
A combatant may attempt to Grapple an opponent attack during the course of a round; Grappling is a special action, requiring only one action phase to commence but continuing until the Grapple is "broken" by either the initiating combatant or their target. To Grapple with an opponent is to physically wrestle with them, which is sometimes the only way to subdue an opponent without actually killing them (if that’s an issue). Grapple attempts automatically fail against opponents that are at least two Size Classes larger than the combatant. Grapple Checks are required repeatedly during an on-going Grapple action; a Grapple Check is 2d10 plus the sum of the combatant’s Melee Attack Bonus and their Size Class. To start a Grapple, a combatant begins by making an unarmed, short-range combat attack at Range Zero using their target's THD in an attempt to grab them; this triggers an Opportunity Attack. If the target is successfully grabbed, the combatant performs a Grapple Check opposed by their target’s Grapple Check. If the combatant is successful, a Grapple is initiated and unarmed damage is applied to the target (see below). For another combatant to join in an already ongoing Grapple action, they must move to Range Zero of the already grappling combatants; the new combatant's grab automatically succeeds. While Grappling, all combatants make opposed Grapple Checks; the combatant with the highest Check may attempt to deal damage to another combatant in the Grapple, pin another combatant in the Grapple, break a pin or escape the Grapple. Damage attempts are made against the target's THD; if successful, unarmed damage is dealt. If a combatant chooses to pin another combatant, they begin to hold them immobile; a pinned combatant receives a +20 HD penalty on all attacks made against them. Pinned characters may be subject to strangulation attacks by their opponent; for details on strangulation, see Chapter 12.3. Breaking a pin and escaping from a Grapple are automatic. While Grappling, all involved combatants may not move, make Opportunity Attacks or make Finesse Checks.
A combatant with the Improved Grab special ability may elect to use it immediately after they make a successful short-range combat attack at Range Zero; this allows them to attempt a Grapple as a free action and without provoking an Opportunity Attack in the process. Should the combatant possess a Motor Appendage long enough to do so, they may initiate the Grapple at a distance greater than Range Zero; the target is automatically pulled to Range Zero upon a successful Grapple Check.
A combatant with the Constrict special ability may elect to use it immediately after successfully Grappling an opponent as a free action; the combatant deals two times their Power modifier to their opponent in Basic Damage. The target begins to suffocate as well (see Chapter 12.3). Constriction counts as a pin that must be maintained in order to keep the suffocation penalty against the target but must be released and re-applied in order to deal more damage. Re-applied Constriction actions are standard actions.
If a combatant is at least three Size Classes larger than their target and has the Swallow Whole special ability, they may immediately attempt to swallow their target after successfully completing a Grapple Check as a free action. To attempt to swallow, the combatant must successfully complete a second Grapple Check. The would-be lunch gets a +10 bonus to their Grapple Check if they are three Size Classes smaller than their attacker; this bonus drops by ten points for each additional Size Class they are smaller. If the second Grapple Check is successful, the target is swallowed whole; they take Lethal Damage equal to the combatant’s combined Power and Finesse scores. Assuming the target survives the damage from swallowing, they are assumed to be immersed in a mild Acid as they begin to be digested (see Chapter 12.3). If a target becomes disabled for any reason after having been swallowed, they are considered brain dead; this fulfills any dietary requirements for the swallowing combatant. A target can escape after having been swallowed by dealing a cumulative amount of Basic Damage to the combatant equal to fifty plus the amount of damage they received when they were swallowed; if they do manage to escape, they cause 2d5 Wounds to the swallowing combatant's Body (Vital) Area.
Coup de Grâce
A combatant may deliver a coup de grâce attack against any Helpless defender; this counts as a special full-round attack action. A coup de grâce can be delivered with any weapon as long as the target is within Range One while in short-range combat. The coup de grâce requires a standard attack roll, which counts as an automatic critical hit against the target if successful. If the target survives the attack, they must immediately attempt a Fortitude Save; if this Save fails, the target's HP drops to zero (if not below zero already) and they immediately suffer clinical death.
A combatant may drop Prone as a free action. If a combatant voluntarily chooses to drop Prone, they immediately drop to the ground; this provides a -10 circumstantial HD bonus but limits their movement to one-quarter their normal movement speed (round down).
A Prone combatant may stand up; this is a move action. Once a character stands up, all bonuses and penalties applied by the Prone condition immediately cease.
A combatant may move or manipulate an object during a combat round; this is a move action. A combatant may use this action to pick up items and either keep them in hand or store them if they have room to do so. This action may also be used to manipulate an object without picking it up. If there are multiple items in the combatant's vicinity that can be manipulated, they must specify which item they wish to affect. Manipulation of objects can have various effects; sometimes these effects can end a combat action immediately (such as what happens when an item is rigged to explode when it is handled).
A combatant may choose to use any piece of equipment in their possession during a combat round; this is a standard action. The combatant must declare what item they are using and, if appropriate, declare a target upon which they are using it.
A combatant may choose to drop an item during a combat round; this is a free action. The combatant simply declares what object is being dropped; the dropped item is placed on the ground at Range Zero from the combatant who dropped it. At any later point, any combatant that moves to Range Zero with the object may use a Manipulate Item action to pick it up.
A combatant may choose to attack an inanimate object or item during a combat round; this is an attack action. To attack an object, the combatant makes an attack roll as normal; if they wish to use a weapon to make their attack, they must have that weapon drawn and the weapon must be charged as normal. It should be noted that some weapons cannot be used to break certain objects; for example, it's rather difficult to break a rope with a club, or to break a reinforced steel door with a bamboo pole. The GM should use their own discretion in determining if a logically has any hope of damaging a target object; this is an instance where they may wish to get input from the rest of the group. If the attack is successful, damage will be inflicted upon the object; if sufficient damage is done, the object will be destroyed. Objects have hit points and are generally more resilient than living creatures. Depending on the nature and composition of the object, breaking it may be a simple matter or it could be a long ordeal. Some objects may have multiple hit point counts amongst their components. For example, an entire building would have a hit point count but so would the door needed to gain entry to it; the door would have fewer hit points than the entire building. Attacking an object usually creates noise, alerting anything around capable of hearing to the presence of the combatant. Objects cannot attack combatants in return unless they are designed as a trap; see Chapter 11.2.1. Objects are also more capable of resisting damage than living creatures; most have some damage reduction (see Chapter 10.2.7). The following table can be used to determine just exactly how hard it is to break certain objects. Note that this table covers common objects; more exotic materials will need damage reduction and hit points set at the GM’s discretion.
|Material Name||Damage Reduction||Hit Points|
|Glass||0||10 per centimeter|
|Wood||5||30 per centimeter|
|Stone||10||50 per centimeter|
|Metal||15||100 per centimeter|
| Dense Metal|
|20||500 per centimeter|
A combatant may attempt to disarm an opposing combatant or attempt to destroy any equipment they are carrying; this is a special full-round attack action and requires a further declaration of the specific piece of equipment to be affected. The opposing combatant must be no further away than five short-range combat range increments if the attempt is to be made with a ranged weapon or no further than one range increment away if the attempt will be made with a melee weapon; a combatant using sniper-style weaponry may make the attempt from any range. A combatant must make a subsequent fully successful roll (i.e. have an attack roll result lower than the target's HD and sufficient to succeed the associated Skill Check) in order to disarm their opponent; one subsequent fully successful roll is also required for every appendage required to operate the item in question. If all of the required attack rolls are successful, the opponent is disarmed and takes one-half the normal damage from the attack in the corresponding Motor Appendage; otherwise they take damage to the corresponding Motor Appendage as normal but continue holding the item in question. If an attempt to disarm an opponent is successfully made by an unarmed combatant at Range Zero, they automatically pick up the item for themselves. In all other cases, the object falls to the ground at their opponent’s feet and deactivates (if activated). If the final result of any attack roll has a degree of success of at least 25 points, the attack is so well-placed that the object itself is hit; the item is dropped and the GM must make a d% roll. If the result of this roll is greater than the final result of the attack roll, the object in question is rendered inoperative until repaired; if the object in question is an explosive or a charged energy weapon, it detonates, causing a blast that inflicts half of the weapon's full damage at Range Zero and a quarter of the weapon's full damage at one short-range increment.
A combatant may choose to speak to another combatant; this is a free action. Combatants may speak to one another at any time for any reason, though what they might want to speak about is totally up to the players and the GM. It is important that communicator and receiver speak the same language, to make sure all messages sent between them are understood clearly; this is particularly important when insulting an opponent. A Translate Check is required when communicating parties do not speak the same language; failure of the Check prevents them from speaking meaningfully to one another.
A combatant may make an attempt to aid another combatant during a combat round; this is a special action. Aid typically comes in the form of an Inspire Check or an Intensive Care Check. Both of these require the assisting combatant to be in close proximity to the intended target of the action; Intensive Care Checks require the assisting combatant to be at Range Zero while Inspire Checks may be made from up to two short-range combat increments away. An Inspire Check opposed by the target's Willpower Save can be used to rally a Shaken combatant; whoever has the higher degree of success wins. If successful, the target is no longer Shaken; all the associated penalties end immediately. Inspire Checks can be used to inspire non-Shaken characters; if successful, the target will not become Shaken if otherwise indicated to do so for a number of rounds equal to the degree of success divided by ten (round up). During that same period of time, the target may add the same amount (degree of success divided by ten, rounded up) to the DC of all Checks and Saves they perform. A combatant may only try to inspire one other combatant at a time. Finally, a combatant may make an Intensive Care Check to apply medicines and/or medical supplies (such as a bandage or stimulant) in an attempt to alleviate the adverse effects of any damage the target may be suffering (see Assisted Healing later in this sub-Chapter).
A combatant may decide to reload or recharge a weapon during combat. Reloading is a special action that may take a number of rounds, the number of which is wholly dependent upon the weapon itself (see Chapter 5.2) While re-loading, a combatant may not perform any other action; they should carefully consider whether or not the need for a particular weapon outweighs the amount of time it would take to reload it. Personal shields and other items that require batteries may also be reloaded/recharged using this action.
Move Action Rules
A combatant may decide to change their position during a combat round; perhaps unsurprisingly, this is a move action. Movement changes a combatant's range to all other combatants. All movement on the character-scale utilizes the combatant's Combat Speed ratings. Any "fractional" combat speed ratings indicate a number of rounds a combatant must wait after moving one range increment before they may move again. Combatants may move at any rate less than their Combat Speed if they so choose. A combatant conducting a move action must travel a minimum distance of one short-range combat range increment (five meters); any movement involving a distance of less than five meters is considered taking a step, which is treated as a free action but may only occur once per round.
Movement in short-range combat may or may not require a Three-Dimensional Maneuvers Check. A combatant is allowed to turn (i.e. change the direction of their movement) as a free action and may elect to turn at any point in the middle of their move action if they would like (they cannot, however, turn more than once). Turning and/or moving straight ahead does not require a Three-Dimensional Maneuvers Check provided the combatant's propulsive appendages aren't Wounded. Moves that involve fancier footwork (collectively known as stunts) will require at least one successful Three-Dimensional Maneuvers Check; the final number of successful Checks required depends upon what stunts are being performed, whether or not the combatant has Wounded propulsive appendages (each Wound subtracts five points from the Check's DC) and the combatant's total encumbrance (which is subtracted from the DC as normal; see Chapter 5.4). Stunts give the combatant an HD bonus until their next turn; these bonuses accumulate with each stunt performed during the course of the combatant's movement. If the combatant is targeted at any time up until their next turn, the total bonus applies. The price for this bonus is a (smaller) penalty to their Attack Bonuses, which apply through the combatant's next two actions; fancy moves make a combatant harder to hit but also makes it a little harder for them to aim accurately. If any Three-Dimensional Maneuvers Check fails during the course of performing a stunt, the combatant may still perform any applicable movement up to the first stunt they failed to complete, at which point they may not make any further movement and must perform a successful Reflex Save to avoid falling Prone. Advanced stunts usually have a minimum Finesse score requirement; if the combatant does not fulfill this requirement, they cannot perform the stunt (this automatically disqualifies some species from performing certain stunts). All movement (except for turning) requires a minimum of one available movement point to perform. Combatants with non-functional propulsive appendages cannot move at all.
The Three-Dimensional Maneuvers Check for movement does have critical potential. In the event of any critical success, all Attack Bonus penalties are nullified; the combatant is able to pull off their stunts and still come up aiming at their target. In the event of any critical failure, the combatant may not move from their original location; the GM changes their present facing to a new, random one. Additionally, the combatant is knocked Prone and takes 1d2 Wounds to their Propulsive Appendages; their Propulsive Appendages automatically fail if they were already Wounded before the combatant attempted the stunt.
|Minimum Finesse Score Required||Number of Successful Three-Dimensional Maneuvers Checks Required||HD Bonus||Attack Bonus Penalty||Description|
|Walk Forward||0||0||+0||+0||Combatant moves forward.|
|Forward Sidestep||10||1||-5||-1||Combatant moves diagonally forward and does not change orientation.|
|Sidestep||20||2||-5||-2||Combatant moves left or right and does not change orientation.|
|Backwards Sidestep||20||3||-5||-1||Combatant moves diagonally backward and does not change orientation.|
|Walk Backwards||20||2||-5||+0||Combatant moves backward and does not change orientation.|
|Jump Forward||10||1||-5||-1||The combatant jumps forward; they may move at twice their normal combat speed if moving forward prior to the jump.|
|Jump Backwards||20||2||-5||-2||The combatant jumps backwards; they may move at twice their normal combat speed if moving backwards prior to the jump. This stunt does not change the combatant's orientation.|
|Jump Sideways||20||3||-10||-2||The combatant jumps to one side; they may move at twice their normal combat speed if moving in the same direction prior to the jump. This stunt does not change the combatant's orientation.|
|Tumble Forward||20||1||-15||-5||The combatant ducks down into a crouch, rolling forward.|
|Tumble Backwards||30||3||-20||-10||The combatant ducks down into a crouch, rolling backwards. This stunt does not change the combatant's orientation.|
|Tumble Sideways||30||4||-25||-10||The combatant ducks down into a crouch, rolling to one side. This stunt does not change the combatant's orientation.|
|Handspring||30||3||-20||-6||The combatant rolls forward onto their Motor Appendages and then continues rolling back onto their Propulsive Appendages, remaining fully extended the entire time.|
|Back Flip||40||5||-25||-8||The combatant rolls backward onto their Motor Appendages and then continues rolling back onto their Propulsive Appendages, remaining fully extended the entire time. This stunt does not change the combatant's final orientation.|
|Cartwheel||40||5||-30||-8||The combatant rolls sideways onto their Motor Appendages and then continues rolling back onto their Propulsive Appendages, remaining fully extended the entire time. This stunt does not change the combatant's final orientation.|
|Somersault||40||3||-25||-6||The combatant jumps forward into the air and rolls while still airborne; they may move at twice their normal combat speed if moving forward prior to the jump.|
|Backwards Somersault||50||5||-30||-8||The combatant jumps backwards into the air and rolls while still airborne; they may move at twice their normal combat speed if moving backwards prior to the jump. This stunt does not change the combatant's final orientation.|
|Sideways Somersault||50||6||-35||-8||The combatant jumps sideways into the air and rolls while still airborne; they may move at twice their normal combat speed if moving in the same direction prior to the jump. This stunt does not change the combatant's final orientation.|
NPC combatants move in relation to their present target based on a comparison of their SI to that of their current target. Should the NPC combatant have a higher SI than their current target, they will move towards it and vice versa. NPC combatants will generally keep their movements limited to 45-degree turns and forward movement as a general rule. Any of these rules may be overridden at the GM's discretion.
If combat is not being conducted on a grid, a move action simply changes the range rolled to the current target (note that for purposes of the alternative range determination system indicated in Chapter 9.1, it is the original rolled range that determines what die type will be rolled in the next round, not the final amount indicted after the combatant moves). In the event that a combatant's final range to target is sixteen range increments or greater, their SI should be compared with the opposing group's Composite Strength Index (CSI); if the combatant's SI is less than one-fourth of the opposing group's CSI, they may immediately withdraw from combat if they so choose.
Attack Action Rules
A combatant may decide to attack an opposing combat during a combat round; perhaps unsurprisingly, this is an attack action and probably the most common type of action that occurs in combat. An attack action requires a declaration of one weapon to be utilized and the declaration of a valid target. NPC combatants will target the enemy combatant with the next lowest Initiative Check value or the enemy combatant with the overall highest Initiative Check value if no opponents with lower values exist; the GM may override this general rule at their discretion.
Before any attempt to attack a target is made, it must be within range of at least one of the attacking combatant's offensive weaponry options, it must be in their line of sight and the weapon must be ready to use. If these conditions are met by more than one of their weapons simultaneously, the attacker has the option to use more than one weapon though generally at a penalty.
Line of sight on the character-scale is somewhat dependent upon a combatant's species, specifically the part of their body that contains their visual sensory organs (eyes) and how they are able to coordinate with their Motor Appendages (arms). Every species has a field of vision statistic that includes both an optimal and a peripheral arc. An attacker may use a weapon in their optimal arc without penalties; attacking a target in the peripheral arc gives it a -25 effective HD bonus. Most of the time a player will want to position their character to face their target prior to attacking so that they don't risk being penalized; there may be occasions where they either can't or don't want to, which is when field of vision rules become important.
To determine if an attacker has line of sight, the GM may draw or visualize a straight line between them and their target; if the target's bearing is in either of the attacker's field of vision arcs and if there are no objects between them, the target in in the attacker's line of sight. If the target's bearing is not in either of the attacker's visual arcs, they don't have line of sight and can't attack. If what's in the way is something that can be reached or shot over (such as a low hedge or tree stump), the attacker has line of sight and may attack without penalty. If it's an obstacle that can be attacked through (such a plaster or wooden wall or something like a narrow stone pillar), the attacker still may still have line of sight; the GM should treat targets in the attacker's optimal arc as though they are in their peripheral arc and treat targets in the peripheral arc as normal. These types of obstacles may need to be destroyed (reduced to 0 HP) before any damage can be applied it to the target. If a large, sturdy object (like a mountain or a brick wall) is in the way, the attacker does not have line of sight. If a situation is ambiguous (such as when the target is partially hidden by the corner of a brickwork building), the GM may use their discretion and add HD penalties if they so choose. An attacker may not select a target if another combatant (friendly or not) is in the way.
If an attacker has more than one weapon drawn and ready to use, they may decide to use multiple weapons simultaneously. An attacker will take penalties on any attacks made "off-hand", i.e. made using any Motor Appendage other than their dominant one as determined by their Handedness stat. The penalty is -10 to the target's effective HD for each such attack; this penalty is reduced if the combatant has the Ambidexterity Talent. A single attack Roll may be used for all weapons if the attacker's controlling player so chooses. An attacker may attack more than one target in a single attack action; they must be able to use at least one weapon on all selected targets in addition to all other normal attack requirements (i.e. they must all be in range and must be within the attacker's current line of sight). An attack roll is applied to each target in turn and there is a -10 effective HD penalty that accumulates for each separate target attacked (i.e. the HD penalty for the second target is at -10, -20 for the third, -30 for the fourth, and so on). Repeating weapons such as submachine guns can be used to attack more than one target; this is handled like a multiple target attack. If a multiple fire weapon is fired at a single target, though, it counts as a single attack.
If an attacker's target is within one short-range combat range increment (i.e. within five meters), the two combatants are considered in melee. Making a ranged attack at any combatant in melee inflicts a -20 effective HD penalty to the attempt, provided the attempt is made by an attacker not involved in the melee. Similarly, combatants in melee take a -20 effective HD penalty if they attempt to make a ranged attack at any other combatant not involved in the melee. Any combatant that moves within one short-range combat range increment of an opposing combatant prompts an Opportunity Attack by that opponent.
If an attack is allowed, a final "to hit" number must be determined; this is sometimes referred to as the effective hit difficulty (or EHD). EHD is determined through a series of quick calculations. First, the appropriate Attack Bonus of the attacking combatant is subtracted from the target's Dodge Skill or appropriate Dodge specialization DC; this represents any low-level sparring going on between the two combatants (remember that during a surprise round the Dodge Skill of the target is ignored). The difference is subtracted from the target's applicable HD rating; this is their THD if the weapon requires a touch attack, their FHD if they are surprised and their normal HD in all other cases. The attacker's encumbrance total and any additional effects from any equipment they're carrying are subtracted from the EHD for attacks made with melee weapons. Any applicable HD-related range falloff penalties for the weapon will affect EHD as well. For example: Gilkarg is a Kilrathi firing a Second Class Hand Laser at a Terran Marine, who has an HD of 55. Gilkarg has a Ranged Attack Bonus of 14; the marine's Dodge DC is 24. In this case, ten points would be subtracted from the marine's HD, so the EHD is 45 (24 - 14 = 10, 55 - 10 = 45)). Gilkarg's current EC is 14, but since he's attacking with a ranged weapon, it does not affect the EHD in this case.
Once the EHD has been determined, the attacking combatant will perform an attack roll; this is a Skill Check that depends on the weapon being used. If melee weaponry is being used or if the combatant is making an unarmed attack (i.e. they aren't wielding a weapon), the attack roll is a Brawling Check; if ranged weaponry is being used, it is a Security Check instead. To be fully successful, the result of the Check must be equal to or lower than the EHD and must be sufficient for a successful Check of the Skill. If the result of the roll is insufficient to overcome the EHD, the attack fails regardless of whether or not the Skill Check succeeds. If the result of the Check is insufficient for a successful Skill Check but is sufficient against the EHD, a single hit with the weapon will be scored and will inflict the amount of damage indicated by the weapon's type and Class plus a number of points equal to the applicable Attack Bonus. How the damage affects the target will depend on how much of it is inflicted, what type is inflicted and which part of the target's body has been hit (see Resolving Damage, below). If the Check is fully successful, there is the possibility that the weapon will hit the target more than once; if the weapon used is a repeater weapon, the target will sustain one additional hit for every five points in the degree of success of the Skill Check up to the maximum amount of shots the weapon can be fired in a single round.
Attack rolls have critical potential. In the event of a critical success of the Skill Check (a critical hit), a hit occurs whether or not the roll succeeded against the EHD. Should the Check be fully successful in this case, the weapon inflicts double the full amount of damage for all applicable hits, regardless of range. In addition to the extra damage, the body part affected may take multiple Wounds regardless of the condition of the target’s defenses. The GM must roll to determine which body part is affected as normal (see Resolving Damage, below) and then roll 1d5; the result is the number of Wounds inflicted on the indicated body part. In the event of a critical failure (a critical miss), what happens depends on the specific result. On any result other than 99, the weapon malfunctions; it causes half-damage to the attacker and is rendered unusable. If the result is a 99, the weapon fires but inadvertently hits a friendly target by mistake; such “blue-on-blue” incidents can be quite costly. Another Check is made against the friendly combatant's HD. If this Check is successful, double the normal full amount of damage is applied to the friendly target; the normal amount of damage is applied otherwise. Any critical results on this subsequent Check are ignored. The combatant affected is the friendly character with the next lowest Initiative Check value, or (if no such character exists) the friendly character with the highest Initiative Check value. If there are no other friendly combatants in the area, the attacker hits themself. A critical miss result automatically overrides any hit result that may have otherwise been indicated.
Occasionally a combatant may want to try to attack a target from a range beyond that covered by long-range combat. All instances of attempting to attack a target beyond fifteen long-range combat increments are considered sniping action. Sniping is a full-round attack action that requires two things over and above the requirements for a normal attack: a weapon with the kind of range needed to hit the target (at least 375 meters) and a scope or targeting system that enables the attacker to see the target at that range. For all sniping attacks, the target should be treated as though it is at fifteen long-range combat increments. The target's HD is halved for the attack (round down); any bonuses from the sighting system apply to reduce the HD penalty. Sniping attacks are always considered surprise attacks; the target's Dodge Skill is ignored even if they are aware of the sniper's presence. Damage from the weapon is tripled in the event of a hit, unless the weapon is specifically designed as a sniper weapon; any Cognitive Organ or Body Area (vital) hit from a sniper weapon should be treated as a Massive Attack (as discussed later in this sub-Chapter) in all cases.
One of the most crucial parts of resolving damage on the character-scale is determining where on a combatant's body a hit has landed. Character-scale combatants have several body parts. Depending upon which body part is affected, the amount of damage inflicted can be substantially increased and could potentially have life-threatening results.
When a hit is indicated, the GM must roll 1d10; the result determines the location of the hit:
- 0: Cognitive Organs (Vital) - The Cognitive Organs are what enables an organism to control their life processes (the Terran equivalent is the brain and spinal column). It should go without saying that these organs are vital to an organism's continued existence; any hit to this area is potentially fatal. All Cognitive Organ hits inflict double indicated amount of Lethal Damage. In the round immediately following a Cognitive Organ hit, the affected combatant may only take one standard action and no full-round actions. Failure of the Cognitive Organs means immediate clinical death; maiming them means immediate brain death (both forms of death will be discussed shortly).
- 1-2: Motor Appendages - Motor Appendages include arms, tentacles, branches or anything else used for the purpose of manipulating other objects (i.e. any appendage that gives the lifeform fine motor control). In the round immediately following a hit to a Motor Appendage, the affected combatant cannot manipulate an object with the affected appendage nor can they attack with a weapon held by it. They do, however, maintain a hold on anything they were carrying with that appendage (unless otherwise specified). If a Motor Appendage fails, the organism may not use it to attack or manipulate objects until it heals; anything being held by that appendage is dropped. If a Motor Appendage is maimed, these penalties become permanent (although in Industrial and Starfaring Age societies, the combatant can later be fitted with a prosthetic replacement.)
- 3-4: Sensory Organs – Sensory organs (including eyes, ears, noses, antennae, infrared pits, etc.) are used to give an organism information about their surroundings; losing control of any of them can have ultimately fatal consequences. When this type of hit is indicated, the GM must make a second 1d10 roll to determine the specific organ type affected, as follows:
- 1-2: Visual Organs - Sight
- 3-4: Auditory Organs - Hearing
- 5-6: Olfactory Organs - Smell
- 7-8: Gustatory Organs - Taste
- 9-0: Tactile Organs - Feeling
- The affected combatant's Senses Trait for the specific sense is temporarily reduced by the same amount as the amount of Lethal Damage inflicted by the hit (to a minimum effective Senses score of -25). Failure of a Sensory Organ results in a temporary complete loss of the corresponding sense (-30 Senses Trait); maiming makes the condition permanent. In all of these cases, the affected combatant receives no building points). NOTE: A hit to the sensory organs affects only the specified organ without necessarily affecting the surrounding areas. For example, while a shot that affects a Terran's Visual Organs (their eyes) implies a head shot (and therefore also a Cognitive Organ hit), only the eyes are affected. GMs are welcome to alter this rule at their discretion if they want to add to the game's realism.
- 5: Propulsive Appendages - Propulsive appendages include legs, tentacles, cilia or anything whose purpose is to propel an organism. The affected combatant cannot move for one round after taking a hit to a Propulsive Appendage. Each hit to these organs slows down the affected combatant's movement by one meter per round per Wound inflicted. If a Propulsive Appendage fails, the affected combatant may only move no further than a single short-range combat increment per round (or half their normal rate, whichever is less) until the appendage is healed. If all of a combatant's Propulsive Appendages fail, they cannot move at all until the appendages heal. Maiming a Propulsive Appendage makes the movement penalties permanent (although in Industrial and Starfaring Age societies, the combatant can later be fitted with a prosthetic replacement)
- 6: Reproductive Organs - There are few things that can disable a combatant quite like a shot to the pills. The affect combatant suffers double the amount of Non-Lethal Damage, are Dazed for a number of minutes equal to one-tenth the total amount of damage received (rounded up) and cannot move for the same period of time. Failure of the reproductive organs completely immobilizes the affected combatant and renders them unable to procreate until they can receive medical attention. If their reproductive organs are maimed, an affected combatant cannot Run or procreate ever again. (The inability to procreate shouldn't be an issue in most campaigns; if it is, it usually says something about the GM...).
- 7-8: Body Area (Non-Vital) - This "body part" includes non-vital areas of the body located away from any major organs. While a combatant can still later bleed to death from any Wounds received, a weapons hit to this area does not cause any further penalties to the affected combatant. This body part cannot fail due to excessive Wounds. However, it is still subject to maiming; if the non-vital body area is maimed, the combatant suffers clinical death and their HP count immediately drops to zero.
- 9: Body Area (Vital) - This body part includes any vital organ other than the Cognitive, Sensory or Reproductive Organs (organs such as the heart, stomach and lungs are examples). All damage from the hit is doubled and the affected combatant will lose double the normal amount of HP per minute from any Wounds inflicted to the area. As with non-vital body hits, this body part cannot fail due to excessive Wounds but can still be maimed; if the vital body area is maimed, the combatant suffers clinical death; this is considered clinical death from excessive Wounds.
If a part is indicated that the combatant either does not have or is not available to take damage, roll again on this table.
There are three types of damage that can be inflicted on a character in WCRPG. Non-Lethal Damage is any kind of damage intended to disable a combatant without necessarily causing any permanent injury. Lethal Damage is any kind of damage intended to permanently injure or kill a combatant. Basic Damage is a combination of Non-Lethal and Lethal Damage; when a character suffers from Basic Damage, half of the amount (rounded down) is applied as Lethal Damage and the rest is Non-Lethal Damage. All character-scale combatants have two HP counts, one for Non-Lethal Damage and one for Lethal Damage. The amount of damage inflicted on a character after they take a hit is dependent upon the amount and type of damage indicated by the weapon used as well as the location of the hit as described above.
A hit does not automatically indicate injury; if the combatant is wearing any defensive gear over the indicated body part, it will absorb damage first. Injury only occurs if the damage is severe enough to penetrate the defensive gear and/or if it specifically indicates that it cannot block the particular weapon being used. The effectiveness of defensive gear is measured in hit points. If the gear can block the weapon, any Lethal Damage is automatically transformed into Non-Lethal Damage before it is applied; any damage effects due to hit location should be applied prior to this conversion. The transformation of Lethal Damage into Non-Lethal Damage reduces the armor's HP count by one per point converted. The current HP level of defensive gear not only indicates how much more cumulative Lethal Damage the armor can convert before it is rendered useless, but also indicates an amount of damage reduction for any Non-Lethal Damage sustained in a given area (for example, if a character would take 100 points of Non-Lethal Damage but has armor with 55 hit points protecting the affected area, the Non-Lethal Damage is reduced by 55 points before it is applied; the combatant would only receive 45 points of Non-Lethal Damage in this case). Non-Lethal Damage never reduces the available hit points of defensive gear and is still subject to damage reduction if it is the result of Lethal Damage conversion. The hit points from any personal shields are always reduced before the hit points of physical armor. Hit Points subtracted from defensive gear are also subtracted from the combatant’s strength index. If the hit points of defensive gear are reduced to zero, the gear is rendered useless and any excess damage is applied to the combatant as damage of the type indicated; for each point of excess damage taken, one point is subtracted from the combatant's appropriate HP count.
Regardless of the type of damage they take, a character must make a Reflex Save and a Willpower Save any time they are hit. If the Reflex Save fails, the character is knocked Prone as a result of the hit. Should the Willpower Save fail, the combatant becomes Shaken. The Reflex Save has critical potential: in the event of a critical failure, the combatant hits the deck with enough force to break part of their skeleto-muscular system; they take 1d5 Wounds to a body part chosen at random.
An unarmed attack is an attack made by a character or creature using a weapon available to them naturally; most types of slapping or slamming attacks (including punching, kicking, etc.) are treated as unarmed attacks. As stated previously, unarmed attacks use the creature's Brawling Skill DC as the attack roll. Successful unarmed attacks inflict an amount of Non-Lethal Damage equal to the degree of success plus one point of Lethal Damage for every ten points in the combatant's Brawling Skill DC; some items (such as Brass Knuckles) can be used to convert the Non-Lethal Damage into Basic or even Lethal Damage, if the GM wishes to utilize them.
If Non-Lethal Damage is inflicted, it is subtracted from the combatant's Non-Lethal Hit Point (NHP) count. A character that has lost at least half of their available NHP becomes Dazed; if they are reduced to zero NHP or less, they are rendered Unconscious. A character who continues to suffer additional Non-Lethal Damage after having been reduced to at least zero NHP (i.e. one who has a negative NHP count) has Impact Damage. A character with Impact Damage will remain Unconscious for a period of at least one hour; the exact amount of time depends on just how much Impact Damage they've absorbed. A character with Impact Damage can regain consciousness early but it requires another character to administer medical care (for details on how Non-Lethal Damage is healed, see Healing and Recuperation later in this sub-Chapter).
An Unconscious character whose NHP count is reduced by at least twice their maximum NHP count (i.e. has a negative NHP count equal to or greater than their normal NHP count) is comatose; this is more serious than being merely Unconscious. For every hour a character is comatose, they must successfully complete a Fortitude Save with the number of hours they've been comatose subtracted from the DC. If the Save fails, they do not heal any Impact Damage that hour (as discussed later) and sustain one point of Lethal Damage, lose one point from any one Physique Skill or specialization and lose one point from any Intellect Skill or specialization; the affected Skills/specializations are selected by the GM at random). Characters can die from being comatose. A comatose character cannot be revived back into consciousness with medicine, though it may help to mitigate the effects of the coma (in particular the loss of Skill points). The Fortitude Save has critical potential: in the event of critical success, the character immediately comes out of the comatose state (though they are still Unconscious) and instantaneously heals enough Impact Damage to put their NHP count at one point above the threshold for being comatose (e.g. if a character becomes comatose at -60 NHP, a critical success would heal them to -59 NHP). In the event of a critical failure, a d10 is rolled; the character sustains Lethal Damage equal to the result and loses an equal number of points from the selected Skills instead (a die result of zero counts as ten in this case).
Lethal Damage and Wounds
If Lethal Damage is inflicted, it is subtracted from the combatant's available Lethal Damage Hit Points (referred to simply as their HP count). One Wound is inflicted on a body part when it takes any amount of Lethal Damage. Wounds are another measure of how badly a character has been hurt; they generally have a negative impact on theirs performance. Every Wound inflicts a -1 DC penalty on all Checks a character makes and inflicts an additional point of Lethal Damage every ten rounds regardless of whether they’re conscious or not; this makes any Wound potentially lethal.
Being wounded is a very painful and potentially traumatic event. When a character or creature sustains Lethal Damage, they must successfully complete a Fortitude Save; if the Save fails, they are instantly reduced to zero NHP and rendered Unconscious.
If a body part has been Wounded, there is the chance that it may fail whenever the afflicted combatant attempts to use it (i.e. the damage to the part is so severe that the combatant either cannot use it at all or without causing a crippling amount of pain). To determine if a body part has stopped working, the combatant must make a Stamina Check with a -2 DC penalty for each Wound the affected part has sustained, plus an additional -1 DC penalty for every other Wound from which they are currently suffering. If the Check fails, the part fails; any penalties that occur as the result of a failure go into effect immediately. Sensory and Cognitive Organs should be checked at the beginning of the combatant’s turn, Propulsive Appendages when the combatant tries to perform any move action and Motor Appendages any time the combatant attempts any action involving the specific appendage. The Stamina Check has critical potential: in the event of critical success, one Wound inflicted on the part immediately heals. In the event of a critical failure, the part fails, 1d10 Basic Damage is inflicted on the combatant and they take an additional Wound to the same body part. A combatant’s Body Area can never fail. Once a part has failed, it will remain non-functional until it has a chance to heal sufficiently. Should a body part ever take a number of Wounds equal to half the combatant's Physique score bonus, that part fails automatically; if a body part takes a number of Wounds equal to the combatant's Physique bonus, that part is maimed; it will never function on its own ever again; once maimed, the part in question is no longer available to take Wounds. When a combatant is maimed, they automatically acquire the Amputee Complication at -5. If they already had the Amputee Complication, the strength of the Complication is increased by -5 (up to the maximum score of -25; as usual, the character gains no building points when inflicted with this Complication).
A character that has lost at least half of their available HP becomes fatigued. A fatigued combatant may only take one action per round, must take double any Non-Lethal Damage inflicted upon them (this stacks with any other NHP multiplier effects, cannot perform any full round action and takes a -10 penalty on all Checks and Saves.
If a character or creature is ever reduced to zero HP or less, if they take a total number of Wounds equal to three times their Physique bonus or if their Physique Attribute score drops below zero at any point, they are clinically dead. Clinically dead organisms are Unconscious but can still be brought back to the land of the living if resuscitated in time. An organism only has so long once they become clinically dead before their death becomes permanent; when they have been clinically dead for a number of minutes equal to or exceeding their Physique bonus, they become brain dead. An organism is permanently dead once brain death occurs; if the organism was a PC, it's time for the player who controlled that character to start working on a new one...
An organism whose NHP count is reduced by at least twice their maximum HP count (i.e. has a negative HP count equal to or greater than their normal HP count) has been mutilated or vaporized, depending on the method of damage. Mutilated/vaporized organisms are instantly brain dead no matter how long they've been in that state.
It may happen that a combatant takes so much damage in one blow that it is immediately life-threatening; if a combatant receives any single strike that causes 100 points of Lethal Damage or more in a single blow (a massive attack), they must immediately perform a Fortitude Save. If they fail the Save, clinical death occurs immediately, regardless of how many Hit Points they have remaining or how much of the damage can be absorbed by their defensive gear; reduce the combatant down to at least zero HP. If they survive the Save, the combatant is knocked Unconscious instead; reduce the combatant down to at least zero NHP.
The following is an example of how damage is applied. Gilkarg rolls to attack with his laser; the result is a 34, sufficient for a hit. 1d10 is rolled for the hit location; it comes up a six. Unfortunately for the Terran Marine, he gets the laser's full brunt right in the 'nads; he was wearing Ballistic Mesh only, so they have no protection there...
The laser causes a total of 34 points of Lethal Damage (20 for the weapon's base damage plus 14 for Gilkarg's Ranged Attack Bonus). The Marine becomes Dazed for four minutes (1/10 the damage rounded up) and cannot move for four rounds. Since the hit only inflicted Lethal Damage and twice zero is zero, no additional Non-Lethal Damage is applied; the Marine's NHP count remains at 62 while his HP count is reduced to 28. One Wound is also inflicted on his pills.
The Marine must now make all three Saves; the DC for his Reflex and Willpower Save is 41 and his Fortitude Save is 32. Trouble hits with the Marine's Reflex Save - a result of 99, a critical failure. 1d10 is rolled and a four results, indicating sensory organs; a second d10 is rolled and five results, so the extra damage from the critical result is to the Marine's Olfactory Organs. A third d10 is rolled for the number of Wounds; the result is a three. So the Marine is knocked Prone and winds up breaking his nose as a result of the fall, taking three Wounds. The Willpower Save result is 07 and the Fortitude Save result is 09, preventing him from passing out or becoming Shaken.
The Marine is by no means out of the picture just yet but he will have some pain to deal with. With four Wounds, he'll lose another 4 HP in ten rounds unless he takes some time to apply some bandages. Gilkarg, in the meantime, has likely crippled his opponent long enough to close in for a close-and-personal kill. Yes he did it with a low blow, but it hasn't been established that he did so on purpose and a kill is a kill in any case......
Healing and Recuperation
While the other scales of combat have "repair" actions that can take place while combat is ongoing, the character-scale is unique in that there isn't an equivalent action. While some items may provide a character with temporary relief from their injuries, true healing takes an amount of time far greater than the standard combat round. Nevertheless, since a discussion of how to harm characters has just concluded, this is a good time to talk about how they heal.
When it comes to natural healing, a character's best friend is their Recuperation Skill; the higher the DC of this Skill, the faster they will be able to heal and the more likely it is that they will be able to survive a serious injury. That's not to say that Recuperation is the best physical Skill in which a beginning player may put building points for their character but they would be remiss not to put at least a few points in it.
Any type of healing requires rest on the part of the patient; sleep is best but any type of light activity is sufficient. The GM can decide what constitutes "light activity" for purposes of healing; they should be gracious enough to notify the player when they've declare an activity for their character to perform that is too strenuous for healing. The GM may, at their discretion, increase the healing DC if the character decides to sleep instead of performing even light activities. Characters cannot heal naturally in combat situations.
Healing Non-Lethal Damage Naturally
A character performing light activity heals a number of NHP at a rate determined by their Recuperation Skill; for each point in the character's Recuperation Skill DC, one point of Non-Lethal Damage is removed per hour until the character has regained all of their NHP. If the character is conscious, no Check is required for this kind of healing. The situation is slightly different if the character has Impact Damage; this kind of healing requires a Recuperation Check with an amount equal to (the total amount of Non-Lethal Damage the character has received, divided by ten and rounded up) subtracted from the DC. This Check may be made once per hour. If the Check is successful, one point of Impact Damage is healed plus an additional point for every ten points in their Recuperation Skill DC; otherwise no healing occurs. This Check has critical potential: in the event of a critical failure, the character takes additional Impact Damage equal to 1/10 the degree of failure (rounded up); they can become comatose as normal if they exceed twice their NHP count. In the event of a critical success, an amount of Impact Damage equal to 1/10th the degree of success (rounded up) plus one heals in addition to the normal amount. When an Unconscious character's NHP is raised above zero, they regain consciousness provided that they aren't Unconscious for other reasons as well (such as having been placed in stasis).
If the character is comatose, they must make a Fortitude Save (as described earlier) before attempting their Recuperation Check. The Check for a comatose character has the same possible outcomes as a Check for a character that is merely Unconscious; the only difference between the two states is the potential for Lethal Damage and the fact that a Doctor may not revive a comatose patient.
It probably goes without saying that a clinically dead or brain dead character cannot heal Non-Lethal Damage at all.
Healing Lethal Damage and Wounds Naturally
Trying to heal Lethal Damage and Wounds naturally is not recommended but there may be times where a character has no other choice (such as when their ship has crashed and their crew-mates have all perished, or when a character is from a more primitive culture whose people haven't yet discovered rudimentary medicines or developed medical practices).
Healing Lethal Damage always requires a Recuperation Check, which can be made once every eight hours; one hour may be subtracted from this period for every ten points in the character’s Recuperation Skill DC. An amount equal to one-tenth the total amount of Lethal Damage the character has received (rounded up) plus one for each Wound they have received is subtracted from the DC of the Check. If the Check is successful and the character has no Wounds, one point of HP will heal for every point in their Recuperation Skill DC. If the character still has at least one Wound, one point of HP will heal plus one point for every ten points in their Recuperation Skill DC; they will also heal one Wound. If the check fails, no healing occurs. This Check has critical potential: in the event of a critical failure, the character takes additional Lethal Damage equal to 1/10 the degree of failure (rounded up) if they have no Wounds; if they have Wounds, they take an additional amount of Lethal Damage equal to the number of Wounds they have accumulated and must make successfully complete a Fortitude Save in order to fight off infection (see Chapter 12.3). In the event of a critical success, the character heals an additional number of Wounds equal to 1/10th the degree of success (rounded up).
Wounds may also "close up" naturally, preventing further HP loss. Closing Wounds is similar to healing Lethal Damage, though the amount of time required is not as long. A character may make a Recuperation Check to attempt to close up a Wound once every ten minutes; one minute may be subtracted from this period for every ten points in the character’s Recuperation Skill DC. One point is subtracted from the DC of the Check for every Wound currently inflicted upon the character. If the Check is successful, one of the character's Wounds closes plus an additional Wound for every ten points in their Recuperation Skill DC. If the check fails, one of their Wounds still closes but will leave a scar in the process; the character's Comeliness Trait is reduced by one point. This Check has critical potential: in the event of a critical success, all of the character's Wounds instantly close. In the event of a critical failure, no Wounds close and they all automatically become infected.
Characters have the option of seeking the aid of others when it comes healing their injuries. The chief advantage of assisted healing over natural healing is that the injured character has someone else they can rely upon for applying treatments and to resuscitate them if they happen to slide towards death (in more advanced cultures anyway). If their caretaker is a trained medical professional, the healing process tends to go smoother and takes less time. Granted, this type of care might wind up costing a character quite a bit of money but when you need a doc's help, you need a doc's help.
The quality of medical care a character receives is going to depend somewhat upon the technological level of the species of the character they go to for assistance. More primitive cultures have less of an understanding of medicine and so can botch things up royally; for Stone Age and Metal Age cultures, all Checks listed in this section are at a -25 DC penalty.
Healing with assistance is not much different than healing without it, except that the responsibility for making Checks shifts to the medic. Every ten points in the patient's Recuperation Skill adds a +1 DC bonus to all Checks the medic makes on their behalf. The Skill used in place of the character's Recuperation Skill is the medic's Treatment Skill. Note that while assisted healing is going on, the patient may still perform their own Checks for natural healing.
While in the care of a medic, a patient will heal Non-Lethal Damage at a rate equal to their Recuperation Skill DC every half-hour provided they are conscious. If the patient has Impact Damage, the medic must make a Long-Term Care Check with an amount equal to (the total amount of Non-Lethal Damage the patient has received, divided by ten and rounded up) subtracted from the DC. An additional -10 penalty is applied to the DC if both characters are located in a moving vehicle. If the Check is successful, the patient heals a number of Impact Damage points equal to 1/10th the degree of success (rounded up) plus one point for every ten points in their Recuperation Skill (rounded down); otherwise the patient merely heals one point of Impact Damage plus one point for every ten points in their Recuperation Skill DC. This Check has critical potential: in the event of a critical failure, the character takes additional Impact Damage equal to the degree of failure (rounded up); they can become comatose if they exceed twice their NHP count. In the event of a critical success, the character is restored to 1 NHP and they immediately regain consciousness, provided that they aren't Unconscious for other reasons as well.
If a patient is comatose and fails their Fortitude Save (as described earlier), there is still a chance for the medic to keep them from losing part of their physical and mental faculties; this requires a Treatment Check with an amount equal to one-tenth (rounded up) the total amount of Non-Lethal Damage the patient has received (including all Impact Damage) subtracted from the DC of the Check. An additional -25 DC penalty is applied if both the medic and their patient are located in a moving vehicle. If the Check is successful, the ability loss does not occur. This Check has critical potential: in the event of a critical failure, the patient crashes - reduce them to zero HP. If the medic manages to pull them through, the patient is restored to their previous HP level but they lose an additional 2d10 Skill points from any one Physique Skill and one point from any Intellect Skill, both selected by the GM at random. Regardless of the result, the medic can't prevent the loss of HP corresponding to the failure of the Fortitude Save.
Healing Lethal Damage in the presence of a medic requires a Treatment Check, which can be made once every four hours; one hour is subtracted for every ten points in the medic's Xenobiology Skill DC and/or applicable specialization to a minimum of one hour. An amount equal to one-tenth the total amount of Lethal Damage the character has received (rounded up) plus one for each Wound they have received is subtracted from the DC of the Check. An additional -25 DC penalty is applied if both the medic and their patient are located in a moving vehicle. If the Check is successful and the character has no Wounds, the character recovers a number of HP equal to the degree of success. If the character has at least one Wound, they heal one point of HP for every ten points in the medic's Treatment Skill DC and heal a number of Wounds equal to 1/10th the degree of success (rounded up). If the medic fails the check, no healing occurs. This Check has critical potential: in the event of a critical failure, the character is inflicted with an additional amount of Lethal Damage equal to 1/10 the degree of failure (rounded up) if they have no Wounds; they also take one Wound. If the character has Wounds, they are also inflicted with an amount of Lethal Damage equal to the number of Wounds they have accumulated and must successfully complete a Fortitude Save to fight off infection.
A medic may attempt to close up a patient's Wounds every fifteen minutes; one minute is subtracted from this period for every ten points they have in their Xenobiology Skill and/or applicable specialization to a minimum of one minute. Closing Wounds requires an Intensive Care Check; one point is subtracted from the DC of the Check for every Wound currently inflicted upon the patient. If the Check is successful, the medic successfully closes a number of Wounds equal to 1/10th the degree of success (rounded up). If the Check fails, one of the patient's Wounds will still close but will leave a scar in the process; reduce the character's Comeliness trait by one point. This Check has critical potential: in the event of a critical success, all of the patient's Wounds are instantly closed. In the event of a critical failure, the patient must make a Fortitude Save to stave off infection; if this Save fails, all of the character's remaining Wounds become infected.
Ordinarily when a character's body part fails, they must wait until all of the Wounds inflicted on that part are healed before they regain its use; this is true whether the patient is healing naturally or not. If a part is maimed, however, characters in Industrial Age and Starfaring Age societies may be fitted with prosthetics as a means of regaining the part's function. Fitting a prosthetic requires six successful Treatment Checks in a row. If all of the Checks are successful, the fitting is a success and the patient instantly regains the use of the part in question. Any penalties inflicted on their Amputee or Senses traits still apply. If any of the Checks fail, the medic must wait two weeks before trying again. In the Starfaring Age, a medic has the option of regrowing parts. This is like fitting a prosthetic except that eight successful Checks are required; if all of them succeed, a fully functional part replaces the old one and any Trait penalties are nullified. Should any of the Checks to regrow a part fail, the medic must wait four weeks before trying again, though any successful Checks made up to that point still count towards final success.
Assisted Revival, Resuscitation, and Stasis
Characters that take very serious damage in combat may find themselves in need of a quick wake-up or some quick life-saving action on the part of a medic. While revival and resuscitation are considered assisted healing, they are different from other forms of healing in that they can take place on the time scale of combat; it is possible that a medic may find themselves trying to keep someone else from dying while someone is shooting at them...
The primary Medicine Skill needed for revival or resuscitation actions is Intensive Care. When attempting to revive or resuscitate a patient, every ten points in the patient's Recuperation Skill adds a +1 DC modifier to all Checks a medic makes on their behalf.
Reviving an Unconscious character is almost always a temporary measure and can cause more harm than good if done improperly. Nevertheless, there may be situations where knowing what a character knows or giving them the ability to get up and go someplace where it's a little more convenient for them to pass out can be critical. To attempt to revive an Unconscious character, a medic must have access to some form of revival medicine (stimulants, smelling salts, etc.) and must have the capability of delivering it to the patient. If the medic can deliver the medicine to the patient, they may make an Intensive Care Check to temporarily revive them; one-tenth (rounded up) of the total amount of Non-Lethal Damage the patient has received (including all Impact Damage) is subtracted from the DC of the Check. If the Check is successful, the patient heals to zero NHP and gains a number of NHP over that equal to the degree of the success of the Check up to their normal maximum NHP amount. Each round after being resuscitated, the patient loses one NHP until they return to the original total amount of Non-Lethal Damage they had sustained, losing consciousness again when their NHP falls to zero. If the patient heals NHP or is inflicted with new Non-Lethal Damage in the meantime, the amount of healing/damage is figured into the original total. A medic may only make one attempt to revive a character per hour safely; they can administer additional wake-up drugs before the hour is up but the patient gains ten less NHP in the event of a successful Check. This is cumulative per premature revival attempt (e.g. if a character receives a shot of stimulants, another a half hour later and then yet another forty minutes later, the NHP penalty for the last shot is -20 even though it's been more than an hour after they received the first shot). If ever a premature revival Check fails or if the NHP penalty involved completely negates any gain the patient might have received, the patient has overdosed on the drug, takes Lethal Damage equal to the degree of failure or negative gain and is poisoned (see Chapter 12.3). All revival Checks have critical potential: in the event of a critical success, the patient recovers the amount of NHP indicated without it subsequently draining away.
Resuscitation of clinically dead characters becomes possible in Industrial Age societies; it is vastly improved with the Starfaring Age. The important thing about attempts at resuscitation is that they happen as soon as possible after the patient dies - else they exceed the amount of time needed for brain death to occur, making their death irreversible. The manner of clinical death is also important, as some forms of it are easier to reverse than others.
A character who becomes clinically dead via sufficient loss of HP is comparatively easy to resuscitate; moreover, resuscitation for this kind of death can occur using normal combat time scales. This form of resuscitation requires an Intensive Care Check; one-tenth (rounded up) of the total amount of Lethal Damage that has been inflicted on the patient is subtracted from the DC of the Check, with an additional -25 DC penalty applied if the attempt is made while both the patient and the medic are in a moving vehicle. This Check can be performed once every fifteen rounds (90 seconds); one round is subtracted for every ten points in the medic's Xenobiology Skill and/or applicable specialization. If successful, the patient immediately heals an amount of HP equal to one-tenth the degree of success (rounded up). In the Check fails, the patient is inflicted with additional Lethal Damage equal to one-tenth the degree of failure (rounded down). Resuscitation occurs and the patient's slide towards brain death ends if and only if they are restored to at least 1 HP.
If there isn't enough time to save a patient before brain death sets in, a medic may make an attempt to place them in stasis. Stasis places the patient in a state of suspended animation either by subjecting them to extreme cold (cryogenic freezing) or through use of chemical compounds. While in this state, the patient cannot perform any natural healing but at the same time the process of death is slowed down dramatically. If a character is successfully put in stasis, a medic may treat them with Treatment Checks as normal without the risk of causing additional Wounds. It should be noted that stasis does not stop the death process, it merely delays it though the delay is significant; for every minute that the patient could still have remained clinically dead before the onset of brain death, stasis extends the period to the same number of days in the Industrial Age and weeks in the Starfaring Age. To place a character in stasis, the medic must have access to some method of placing the patient in stasis (either stasis-inducing drugs or access to a cryogenic chamber; vehicles and capital ships with the Emergency Stasis Unit or Refrigeration Module have this capability). If they have ready access to this equipment, an Intensive Care Check must be performed; one-fifth (rounded up) of the total amount of Lethal Damage the patient has received is subtracted from the DC of the Check. If the Check is successful, the patient enters stasis and remains in that state until revived by the medic. If the stasis entry Check fails, the patient will enter stasis and remain in stasis for a period of one hour but will suffer some damage in the process. If stasis was chemically induced, the character is poisoned; the character suffers cold damage for cryogenically-induced stasis (ten severity levels equivalent; see Chapter 12.3 for more information on poisons and cold damage). This Check has critical potential: in the event of a critical failure, the Check causes the same damage of a normal failure but the patient does not enter stasis; the medic must wait one minute before trying again in the Starfaring Age. No additional attempts at inducing stasis may be made in the event of critical failure in the Industrial Age.
A character whose death occurs because they've received a number of Wounds equal to or greater than three times their Physique bonus is much more difficult to save. In the Industrial Age, this is going to require emergency surgery. To perform emergency surgery, the character must first be placed in stasis as prescribed above. If the character is successfully placed in stasis, a medic may begin attempting to close up at least as many Wounds as are necessary to reverse the character's death. This will require an Intensive Care Check with an amount equal to twice the total number of Wounds the patient has received subtracted from the DC. This Check may only be made once per hour regardless of the medic's Skills. If the Check is successful, one Wound is healed for every ten points the medic has in their Xenobiology Skill DC. This Check has critical potential: in the event of a critical failure, the medic inflicts a new Wound for every ten points of the degree of failure. In the event of a critical success, enough Wounds to reverse their death heal immediately; their total number of Wounds is reduced to three times their Physique bonus minus one and an extra Wound is healed for every ten points the medic has in their Xenobiology Skill DC. All remaining open Wounds automatically closed as well (i.e. all HP loss stops). Regardless of the result of the Intensive Care Check, the patient comes out of stasis at the end of the hour; a fresh Check is required to put them back into stasis before additional surgical healing may take place. A cumulative -5 DC penalty is applied to each stasis Check for each hour the patient remains in emergency surgery. In the Starfaring Age, the medic may simply place the character in stasis and begin the normal healing process; the character must, of course, be placed in stasis before the onset of brain death.
It is nearly impossible to successfully resuscitate a patient whose death occurs via the complete drain of their Physique attribute; technically the only way to do this would be to raise their Physique attribute score back to at least one point but that's hard to do that when the patient is already dead to say the least. At best, stasis would put the patient into a permanent vegetative state, technically alive but with little chance of ever recovering. The GM must decide whether or not to allow a character who dies in this manner to remain in stasis or to just let them go; a creative GM might be able to use death from Physique drain as a springboard for an adventure...
As previously mentioned, once a character is brain dead, their death is permanent. The idea of resurrection, bringing a character back to life after brain death, is something that cannot be performed by medical means and will not be discussed here.
Miscellaneous Terms and Definitions
Shaken: A Shaken combatant has had a traumatic, frightening experience, psychologically stunning them and making them ineffective. A Shaken combatant will not follow any orders given to them by any other combatant; any attempt to make them do so wastes the other combatant's action. While Shaken, a combatant is at a -30 penalty to all Checks except Saves. A Shaken combatant can "snap out of it" with a successful Willpower Save.
Helpless: As the name suggests, a Helpless combatant is unable to help themselves; in general, the combatant is in a state wherein it is physically impossible for them to make any combat action. This can include being Unconscious, asleep, tied up and so forth. Helpless characters are vulnerable to coup de grâce attacks.
Unconscious: This refers to any combatant that has been reduced to zero NHP or less. Unconscious combatants are Prone, cannot take any actions and are considered Helpless. When a situation calls for a combatant to fall Unconscious, the GM should automatically lower their NHP to zero unless otherwise indicated.
Opportunity Attack: An Opportunity Attack usually occurs in special situations wherein an opposing combatant is about to do something particularly nasty to their target; it allows them to make a single strike at their oncoming attacker. Opportunity Attacks are free actions conducted by the target during their attacker's turn. The target must itself target their attacker but is otherwise free to do as they wish within the bounds of a standard attack action; they may not make any full-round attack actions. Any weapon utilized during an Opportunity Attack is considered discharged should the target's turn be later in the order of battle.
Prone: A combatant that is Prone has dropped to the ground whether voluntarily or not. The ground provides a +20 circumstantial HD bonus to the combatant but limits them to one-quarter their normal movement speed (rounded down) if they are still conscious.
Dazed: Combatants may become Dazed as the result of a special attack or if they are reduced to at least one-half their full NHP. Dazed combatants suffer a -5 DC penalty to all Checks; the penalty increases to -10 for all Dexterous Maneuvers Checks. These penalties are cumulative with all other injury effects the combatant may have received.