It will happen. Pirates will attempt to seize the characters' ship. A pair of naggas will wake up from stasis before they can be secured. Hostile fighters will attempt to shoot down a Marine landing craft as it's trying to land. The characters will find themselves in the middle of an epic brawl between two fleets of capital ships. Any decent role-playing adventure has at least situation wherein the only way for the characters to survive is for them to fight their way out of it. All of the rules, creation procedures and miscellaneous items in this rulebook lead back to one thing: how characters, creatures, vehicles and capital ships handle themselves in combat.
Combat in WCRPG is generally straight-forward. When combat is initiated, the normal progression of the game stops and switches over to a series of rounds. Each round is exactly 6 seconds long (ten rounds equals a minute’s worth of time). The combatants (anyone or anything actively involved in a combat action) roll Initiative values to determine the "order of battle" and determine the ranges to their selected targets. When a combatant’s "turn" in the order of battle comes up, they can exercise one of have several different options; all of these options fall into one of six major categories:
- Standard: Standard actions are simple activities that require a small amount of time in order to complete. Most actions are standard actions. A character may perform two Standard actions during the course of a round.
- Full-Round: Full-Round actions are more complex and time consuming than Standard actions. A combatant may perform only one full-round action during a round. Full-round actions usually have very powerful effects.
- Free Action: Free actions are extremely simplistic activities that take so little time as to be considered automatic. A combatant may perform as many free actions during the course of a round as they wish. Effects of free actions are usually very mundane.
- Special: Special actions are activities that have additional rules, usually indicating a set of on-going effects.
- Move: Move actions are a category of Standard actions that involve the relocation of a particular combatant or an adjustment of their armament. The rules regarding Move actions are complex enough that they receive their own sub-section of discussion in all scales of combat, though movement itself is usually simple enough).
- Attack: Attack actions are a category of Standard actions that involve the combatant attempting to apply damage to their target (generally a hostile combatant). Attack actions are usually the most complex of the available activities to combatants and so they also have their own sub-section in all scales of combat. If an Attack action is declared, a small series of calculations is required to determine the necessary DC. If the Attack action is successful, damage is applied to the target and any effects that may occur as a result come into play.
Combat continues until one group of combatants fulfills the necessary victory conditions of the combat action as laid out by the GM; usually this happens until all combatants in a group are either dead or destroyed, too badly beaten up to continue or withdraw).
The combat system in WCRPG has been designed to be as flexible as possible in order to cater to the favorite style of the player group. It may be that some players want to conduct combat as a full-on simulation, or perhaps they may want to use miniatures with simultaneous combat. Other groups may prefer quick combat; just pick an option and have it resolved immediately. WCRPG's system is capable of handling all of these possibilities, though because of this flexibility the rules may seem large, overly complex and intimidating at first glance; they become easier to handle with practice.
This Chapter is devoted to the particulars of how to fight. The first section discusses the basic rules that apply to all scales of combat. Sections two through four discuss combat on the character-scale, vehicle-scale and capital ship-scale respectively. Finally, the fifth section discusses what happens when combat involves combatants of more than one scale; this is a common occurence in the Wing Commander Universe, where fighters and bombers often find themselves dogfighting amongst capital ships.