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Initiative Actions Resolving Attacks Health and Dying Cover

Each time a character has his turn, he can do a couple of things. Combat rounds are fast, but trained combatants can still manage to do more than one thing as long as those actions aren’t too involved.

In a typical combat round, a character may perform two different kinds of actions.

Standard Action: This is an action that directly affects the combat and often requires a roll.
  • Attacking with any power or weapon almost always counts as a Standard Action
  • Reloading a weapon is a Standard Action
  • Activating a power or ability generally requires a Standard Action even if it’s not an attack.
  • Performing a Skill Task is generally a Standard Action unless the skill specifies otherwise.
  • Perform any minor action.
Minor Action: These actions rarely require rolls and have less impact on the combat.
  • Moving a few meters is a minor action. It is assumed that the character moves carefully to avoid fire.
  • Getting up off the ground requires the use of a minor action.
  • Activating a com, door panel, or other quick use of a technological item is a minor action.
  • Using a ready-use medical item like a stim-patch is a minor action.
  • Getting an item out of a backpack or other container is a minor action.

Once the character has performed a Standard Action and a Minor Action, (or chosen not to perform one or both of those actions) the combat moves to the next combatant’s turn.

Special Actions

There are two other action types a character might perform in combat, depending on the situation. These are Free Actions, and Reactions.

Free Actions: Free actions don’t take up a meaningful amount of time. A free action doesn’t count against any other types of actions, the character can perform as many of them in a round as he wants. Examples of free actions follow.
  • Shouting something quick to a comrade, taunting an enemy, “I WILL DESTROY YOU!”
  • Dropping prone, letting oneself drop off an edge or roll down an incline.
  • Dropping any item.
  • Some abilities and powers can be activated as part of another action, making them free actions.
  • Some powers and abilities can speed up a Minor Action so that it becomes a free action.
Reactions: Reactions happen on the enemy’s turn, in response to what is happening. These actions are usually defensive, an attempt to avoid damage, releasing a held biotic field, etc.
  • Reactions normally occur in addition to the enemy action that provoked them. A reaction to being shot still gets the character shot, in addition to how he responds.
  • Some reactions prevent the triggering event or change it. These reactions make it clear in their description that this is happening.

Full Round Actions

Some actions are more time consuming, taking up the character’s entire round. The three most common such actions are Full Attack, Full Defense, and Full Run.

Full Attack: The character devotes everything to attacking, while still trying to avoid enemy attacks. The character can’t perform a minor action this turn, but gains a +2 to accuracy and a +3 to damage.

Full Defense: The character gives up both his actions to concentrate on defense, though he can still move, as that is part of the full defense action. If not under cover, he gains +5 to Defense, but must be moving away from the enemy or toward some kind of cover, not charging. If already behind cover, the enemy simply cannot hit the character without destroying the cover or flanking the character.

Full Run: The character spends his entire turn running flat out. No attacks can be made, no minor actions done, but the character covers a lot of ground in a short time. When faced with a large space that lacks cover, Full Run is often a good choice.

Suppressing Fire: The character lays down fire not to wound, but to force the enemies to keep their heads down. The enemy suffers a -5 to accuracy on his next round.
  • Someone under Suppression can choose not to take the penalty if they really need accuracy, but that means they have to pop out of cover in a hail of bullets. Ignoring the Suppressing Fire penalty means the character is automatically hit.
  • The automatic hit from firing carelessly during Suppression deals the weapon’s base damage, or its base Auotfire damage if it’s an automatic weapon.

Extended Actions

Some actions are simply too complex to perform in a single combat turn. These extended actions take more than one turn to resolve. In general, extended actions involve some kind of skill check that simply can’t be done quickly, like fixing a machine or disarming a bomb.

Extended actions are listed in terms of the number of Standard Actions they require to accomplish. Minor actions can contribute toward the total at 2 minor actions per standard action.

So a character faced with trying to get a shuttle running while under fire might be told that it will require 6 standard actions to fix the shuttle. He can spend 6 full turns fixing the shuttle, while using his minor action to use the com and keep appraised of the situation, or maybe activate some of the shuttle’s undamaged subsystems that would be useful in the fight.

Or, he can devote all his effort to fixing the shuttle and get it done in just 4 turns, spending 4 standard actions and 4 minors to make up the remaining 2 standard actions.

The most common extended action is reloading a Heavy Weapon, which takes 2 standard actions to reload.


At the Heart of the Abyss Drascus