Battle Abilities

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Abilities On This Page:
  • Assassination: A Sniper Rifle specialization power.
  • Assault Training: Regain Resolve faster, respond more quickly in combat.
  • Barrage: An automatic weapons specialization power.
  • Brawling: The modern warrior’s answer to a punch in the face.
  • Carnage: A Shotgun specialization power.
  • Combat Armor: A power to get the most out of protective armor.
  • Gunslinger: A Pistol specialization power.
  • Particle Ammunition: Weird and highly technical ammunition types.
  • Primitive Weapons: Melee options for barbarians and others who use old-style melee weapons.


This power is a specialization ability for Sniper Rifles. The bonuses gained from this power only function when the character is firing a Sniper Rifle, or other high-precision rifle. Hunting rifles would qualify, most other weapons wouldn’t. Strange alien weapons or weird rifle configurations might put a weapon in the ‘Sniper Rifle’ catagory, but for the most part the scope of the power is pretty narrow. Use of this power comes from long familiarity and practice with a sniper rifle, to the point that the character feels completely comfortable with it.

This power, as with all Weapon specialty powers, includes both passive upgrades to the weapon’s functionality, and activate-able abilities at each level. Because of this, the abilities are not as strong as those of some other powers. On the upside, weapon specializations never require Resolve to activate the abilities (though they might offer a bonus) and don’t need Resolve to activate any kind of ‘mode’.

  1. Breath Control: At the sniping level of precision, the most important thing to learn is breath control. That tiny tremor introduced from breathing while taking a shot can make a long-distance shot miss, or a closer up shot miss a juicy target like an eye or a suit’s shield generator.
    • All attacks with Sniper Rifles gain +1 to both base damage and accuracy.
    • If the character spends a minor action to take aim and control his breathing, he gains a number of advantages on his shot. The weapon’s critical range increases by 1, and he gets an additional +5 to accuracy. Using this ability also negates the damage penalty for firing a Sniper Rifle at short range.
  2. Vulnerable Spot: The precision offered by a scoped-in and aimed shot is something no other weapon can boast. Sniper rifles can do some amazing things in the hands of a trained professional, including bypassing Krogan armor by shooting an eye, shooting out a suit’s shield-generator so it can’t rebuild the barrier, destroying an opponent’s weapon, and more.
    • The bonus to damage and accuracy increases to +3.
    • Making a called shot forgoes regular aiming bonuses for some special benefit. As with Breath Control, the Sniper has to set up a shot with the expenditure of a minor action. The effects of the shot are up to the GM and the situation, but generally they allow the sniper to destroy an item of enemy equipment, bypass armor, gain an automatic critical hit, etc.
  3. Armor Piercing: Any suit of armor that the wearer wants to move in has weaknesses. By this point the sniper is so adept at picking perfect shots that he can devastate armor not by shooting at less armored points, but at picking armor plates that are weaker to stress, and relying on the high powered rounds from his rifle to break them down.
    • All sniper rifle shots add +10 damage whenever they deal damage to armor.
    • If an enemy is in critical condition, and the sniper can line up a line of sight that passes through that enemy and another target, he may fire a penetrating bullet. This shot expends enough energy to kill the first target, and then passes on whatever it has left to the second. The bullet doesn’t gain any bonuses from special ammunition or the like if it hits a shielded target on the other side, passing through a body is enough to remove most of a bullet’s special features.
  4. Pure Focus: At the top of the sniper’s art, the character can now take amazing shots with minimal need to aim. Lucky shots tend to do more damage as well.
    • The bonus to base damage and accuracy increases to +5.
    • The critical range of all sniper rifle attacks increases by 1, and critical hits automatically move to double damage, stacking upwards normally from there.
    • The sniper can spend a point of Resolve instead of a Minor Action to activate the abilities of Breath Control or Vulnerable Spot if he chooses.

Assault Training

Assault Training prepares operatives to blitz the enemy down, giving them no time to rest or recover. It can be a dangerous ability to use, because it tends to expose the operative to more enemy fire than a more cautious approach, but it also teaches him how to bear up under the inevitable injuries of battle and keep going.

In contrast to many other powers, most of Assault Training’s abilities are reactive, that is, they are activated off the player’s turn, when certain conditions are met. Alternately, some of the abilities provide the operative with extra options on his active turn following a certain event. It should be noted that only one power of Assault Training can be activated per event. Even if a particular attack or ability use on a character meets the conditions for more than one ability to activate, the player must choose which of those benefits the operative will take.

  1. Dire Need: Movement is important on the modern battlefield, and it forms the basis of Assault Training. If you can’t get up close, or flank the enemy, you’re not doing a very good job disrupting their plans.
    • The Operative may spend a point of Resolve to move an additional space when using an action to move.
    • When hit by an attack that deals Health damage, the Operative may move 1 space, typically using this to get under cover, but he can also use it to continue to close distance.
  2. Rolling Thunder: When the tough get knocked down, the tough keep going. This level of Assault Training protects the operative from two common interruptions to a forward assault. Being knocked down, and the need to reload.
    • When using a Standard Action to reload a weapon, the operative may also move 1 space.
    • When knocked down by an attack or power the Operative may make a reactive Athletics task roll to do a kipup and be back on his feet. The difficulty of this roll is 15, +5 for every space of knockback inflicted.
  3. Tunnel Vision: Not allowing attacks or enemy fire to interrupt a charge is what makes for a terrifying and implacable operative. This ability provides some resistance to effects that stun the Operative, and provides a better way to charge.
    • When hit with an attack that inflicts Stun or Daze, the Operative can choose to spend a point of Resolve to ignore that stun effect. If the Resolve isn’t spent at the time of stun, it’s too late, and he must simply deal with the stun effect.
    • The Operative can now perform an Assault Charge. This maneuver is a Full Round action, consuming both the Operative’s Standard and Minor actions. The operative moves forward, firing rapidly at his target. He moves his normal movement plus 1 space, and makes an attack on the target he’s charging. If the operative is using a weapon capable of suppressing fire, the target is also suffers Suppression until the start of the operative’s next turn.
  4. True Grit: Digging deep down inside himself, the Operative finds a way to keep going even in situations that render another helpless. It takes a lot to stop a man this focused on relentless action.
    • Once per combat, the operative can gain all the benefits of spending a point of Resolve without actually spending the point. This covers only 1 point of expenditure, in the case of actions that require spending more than one point.
    • When suffering a battle condition, the operative can spend a point of Resolve to clear that condition. Only one condition is cleared per point, should the Operative be in the unfortunate position of being under more than one.


This weapon specialization is for all weapons that have a fully-automatic fire mode. Most such weapons also can only be fired in full auto or burst mode, but rifles that have a single-shot mode can be used with Barrage as long as they are capable of going full-auto. The specialty focuses not so much on the individual weapon, but on the kinds of fighting you can do if you have a hail of ammunition available to you.

This power, as with all Weapon specialty powers, includes both passive upgrades to the weapon’s functionality, and activate-able abilities at each level. Because of this, the abilities are not as strong as those of some other powers. On the upside, weapon specializations never require Resolve to activate the abilities (though they might offer a bonus) and don’t need Resolve to activate any kind of ‘mode’.

  1. Tight Grouping: The accuracy bonus that most automatic weapons has doesn’t reflect the innate accuracy of the weapon, so much as the fact that it can spray enough ordinance downrange that the operative is sure to hit something. Thus, the damage ratings for most automatic weapons assume that the operative is going to miss with a fair amount of the fired rounds. The first thing a Barrage specialist learns to do is keep those bursts nice and tightly grouped, so that the weapon can reach it’s full damage potential.
    • All attacks with Automatic Weapons gain +2 to base damage.
    • When firing on Burst mode and performing a Full Attack, the operative significantly increases the damage output of the weapon by making every round hit the target. Instead of the usual +2 Accuracy and +3 damage from a Full Attack, the Operative gets +5 Accuracy and +10 damage. If it seems like this makes the burst mode better than the full auto mode on most weapons, that is indeed the case. Truly skilled operatives value precision over drowning the enemy in lead.
  2. Spray and Pray: Despite the earlier lesson about tight groupings of shots, there is an advantage to having a full-auto mode on a gun. While it will never be possible to get a tight grouping on a fully automatic fire mode, proper use of a gun firing an unrestricted amount of rounds can be quite useful on the battlefield, mainly enabling the operative to keep the enemy pinned.
    • The bonus to base damage increases to +4.
    • When firing on full automatic, the operative may suppress an entire short-range area, applying the full suppression penalties to every enemy within that area, instead of just one. If this ability is used with an Autocannon, the entire arc between the operative and the suppression area is considered suppressed. Further, the Autocannon allows the operative to make a regular attack in addition to laying down insane suppression.
  3. Carnival of Carnage: Regular, run of the mill fighters simply can’t deal with being wounded in multiple places. Where a tough, trained operative would fight through the pain, and trust the medi-gel in his suit, they just give up. This ability works only on enemies that don’t possess Resolve, and is less likely to work on tough, regenerating enemies like Vorcha or Krogan. However, the vast majority of organic foes can be made to buckle under a little pain.
    • The bonus to base damage increases to +7.
    • When the operative shoots an organic enemy with a burst or auto attack, and deals Health damage, that enemy will almost always simply drop and either pass out or surrender. Either way, he’s out of the fight. This means that unshielded, unarmored mooks can be taken out with a single burst of fire.
  4. Shield Tearing: Kinetic barriers are less good at dealing with many incoming impacts than they are at a single, powerful impact. This is true of both technological shields and biotic barriers. On either burst or automatic mode, the operative now knows how to spread out shots just enough that they can tax a shield more than usual.
    • Any shot against a kinetic barrier, technological or biotic, deals +5 damage.
    • The bonus to base damage increases to +10.


Brawling as a power is distinct from the skill of hand to hand combat because it’s an expression of that Martial Arts knowledge specifically for modern combat situations. Some expert Martial Artists might be tournament winners, or street-fighters, but simply be unable to handle a soldier in modern armor. A character with this power doesn’t have that problem, or at least has much less of a problem with armor and the various other modern defenses. Unlike the Martial Arts power, this ability doesn’t rely on Biotics, or even Cybernetics. While cybernetics are certainly helpful when engaging armored foes in melee, this power can be used without them.

Unless otherwise specified, Brawling is a passive power like the Ammo powers of other classes that modifies melee attacks. Thus there is no ‘activation roll’, the various abilities of the power simply give the character more options when making hand to hand attacks. Brawling is a more brutal, direct style of hand to hand fighting than the graceful movements of a biotic fighter. Without augmentation, there’s simply no room for fancy flourishes. Still, the style has a poetry all it’s own, in the sheer effective simplicity of its attacks.

  1. Precise Striking: The truth about fighting hand to hand in the modern galaxy is that very few fighters expect that kind of close quarters combat to happen. Those that do expect it, most notably the Krogan, don’t expect their opponents to have any finesse. Indeed, it’s a rare Krogan that actually trains in hand to hand instead of just relying on brute power. The quick, clean, precise strikes of a Brawler tend to surprise most opponents, making it easy to get past an enemy’s guard, and hit vulnerable areas thereby.
    • Melee attacks gain a +6 bonus to accuracy, across the board.
    • When spending a Resolve point to improve the attack roll, the character doubles the increase to accuracy, making it +10 for most Brawlers, though humans can add in their racial advantage, for a massive +13 bonus from the resolve point.
  2. Battle Control: Your average Brawler can’t rely on Barriers or the rejuvenating power of a biotic Charge to refresh his shields. That means that control of the battle situation is paramount at all times. At this level of ability the Brawler is able to use palm-blocks and movement to keep his opponent’s gun out of line with his own body. He also gains Cover against the opponent’s allies, unless they have him flanked from behind.
    • The accuracy bonus on Melee attacks increases to +8, or +12 for attacks improved by a Resolve point (+15 for humans).
    • Any opponent in melee range of the Brawler has a -10 to hit the Brawler with a short range weapon like a Pistol, SMG, or Shotgun. Assault Rifles, Sniper Rifles, and other large weapons cannot be brought to bear from point blank range at all.
  3. Stun Strikes: Though biology differs from species to species, it’s true for almost any life form that striking it near the brain or sensory organs will cause some disabling effect. Brawlers learn to take advantage of this, and the most skilled of them can often completely shut down an unprepared foe.
    • The accuracy bonus on Melee attacks rises to +10, or +14 when using a Resolve point to boost the roll (+17 for humans).
    • Beating the target’s defense by 10 or more allows the Brawler to inflict Daze on the target. Beating it by 20 or more inflicts Stun. Either way, the condition affects the target on his next turn.
  4. Armor Mastery: Modern armor is wonderful, but it still has to obey the laws of physics and inertia. While the curved surfaces of modern armor are wonderful at deflecting small projectiles, along with their momentum, a highly skilled Brawler can pick spots to hit that will transmit the force directly to the wearer’s body, rather than spreading it out. This saves considerable time, as it’s no longer necessary to batter an opponent’s armor apart before damaging him directly.
    • The accuracy bonus on Melee attacks rises to +12, or +16 when using a Resolve point to boost the roll (+19 for humans).
    • Any attack that gains at least a +4 bonus to damage from accuracy ignores armor and deals health damage directly, assuming the target’s shields are down. Stun Strikes now activate on armored targets as long as the Brawler has met the requirements for ignoring armor.


There’s nothing quite like tearing someone apart with a shotgun. While someone armed with a shotgun can be safely ignored at long range, they immediately become the #1 priority when that range is closed. It’s actually fairly difficult to use a shotgun well, there’s an art to timing the slower shots for maximum impact. Most people with a shotgun will fire too early, whereas a specialist will wait for the moment where the entire shotgun bust will impact the target.

This power, as with all Weapon specialty powers, includes both passive upgrades to the weapon’s functionality, and activate-able abilities at each level. Because of this, the abilities are not as strong as those of some other powers. On the upside, weapon specializations never require Resolve to activate the abilities (though they might offer a bonus) and don’t need Resolve to activate any kind of ‘mode’.

  1. Shotgun Charge: Is there anything worse than being charged by someone who is also firing a shotgun? It’s difficult to gather data on this issue because most of the people with that experience are dead. The first thing a specialist in the shotgun learns is to make the most out of closing to short range.
    • All attacks with Shotguns increase the critical range by 1.
    • If the character uses his minor action to close to short or melee range with the enemy and his standard action to fire the shotgun, he gets two benefits. For the first, the attack deals +5 damage if successful. For the second, the incoming rush is so intimidating that the enemy who was is Suppressed on his next turn. This ability can be used with a Biotic charge, if the specialist is a Vanguard.
  2. Point Blank: Most weapons don’t offer any kind of bonus for being fired at point-blank range, simply because that situation is so rare that the average fighter doesn’t train to take advantage of it. Shotgun specialists routinely like to close to the closest range they can, so they learn to use their weapon in it’s most devastating possible way. Pressing the barrel up against the enemy and pulling the trigger.
    • The critical range bonus to shotgun attacks increases to 2.
    • The operative can make a special attack when in melee range of an opponent. He rolls to attack as if fighting unarmed, using his shotgun specialty bonus to accuracy in place of any unarmed specialty he might have. If the attack succeeds, the damage is automatically a critical hit. On a critical roll, the damage is double the base.
  3. Cascade: Repeated hits from a shotgun can really do a number on anyone, even a tough foe like a Krogan. In fact, it often takes a tough foe like that to even be around long enough to take multiple hits. Regardless, the specialist now knows how to build on the success of previous hits to just really wreck his foe.
    • The critical range bonus to shotgun attacks increases to 3.
    • Each time the specialist hits the same enemy, the damage is greater. All the hits must follow one another with no breaks for missing, switching to another target, or performing another action, but the damage increase is substantial. On the second hit, the shotgun gets +10 damage. On the third, +20, on the fourth, +30, and so on. This damage increase is cumulative with bonuses like Shotgun Charge, but is not multiplied by critical hits.
  4. Dismemberment: The specialist is now a fucking surgeon with his shotgun. Too bad for his enemies that all he’s interested in is quick battlefield amputations.
    • The critical range bonus to shotgun attacks increases to 5.
    • When dealing a critical hit against an opponent with no shields or armor, the shotgun specialist actually severs a limb. This is enough to put anyone without Resolve down. Even foes with Resolve suffer Stun on the next round, and will suffer some kind of big penalty on any further actions depending on which limb they lost.

Combat Armor

Most soldiers take their armor for granted, because of how advanced armor has become. The suit takes care of everything, protection from hostile environments and vacuum, dispensing medi-gel, and of course protecting from weapons. However, with a little attention to improving both the fit of the armor, and it’s functioning, an operative can end up with substantially better protection than his counterparts.

This power, much like Weapon specialty powers, includes both passive upgrades to defenses and armor, and activate-able abilities at each level. Because of this, the abilities are not as strong as those of some other powers.

  1. Adaptation: The most important part of wearing armor is that the user be perfectly comfortable in the suit, able to perform battlefield maneuvers without any kind of slowdown or awkwardness. That’s why some operatives simply aren’t comfortable in heavier armor types, they didn’t have time to train with the heavier stuff. This ability takes the armor training past it’s usual level, until the armor seems like a second skin.
    • The character’s Defense increases by 1. Armor points increase by 5.
    • During a Full Defense action, the character gains +10 defense instead of +5.
  2. Emergency Patch: Omni-gel is rarely used outside of the workshop anymore, ever since security systems became advanced enough to ignore the effects of being overloaded with gel. However, an astute operative can use Omni-gel to repair damaged armor, gaining a valuable opportunity to restore lost armor in combat.
    • The total bonus to Defense increases to 2. Tech Defense increases by 2.
    • Once per combat, the character can take a Full Round action to patch his suit, assuming he has at least one application of Omni-Gel. The character rolls Reflexes + Combat Armor. The result is added directly to his armor rating, up to the normal maximum.
  3. Custom Armor: Mods are the normal way to customize armor, but an operative with this much knowledge of armor can go beyond what is normally possible with a suit, and make a truly custom system that offers superior performance in every way.
    • The total bonus to Defense increases to 3. The total bonus to armor points increases to 10.
    • The character’s armor can now hold 1 more mod than is normally possible to fit into the armor’s systems.
  4. Armadillo: Like the (legendary?) Armadillo, the operative is encased in a suit of armor that protects as if it were an entirely different class of armor from what others are equipped with.
    • The total bonus to Defense increases to 5. Biotic Defense increases by 2.
    • The Emergency Patch ability now automatically restores the armor to full strength.
    • The operative can spend a point of Resolve to increase his Defense by 5 until the end of his next turn.

Particle Ammunition

Special ammunitions require special care and maintenance of the operative’s weapon. Because of this, not all operatives bother with them, but for those who take the time to deal with the extra requirements, they make a wonderful addition to any arsenal. Particle Ammo types consist of the ‘weird’ ammos that don’t see a lot of use, but can be very effective in the right situation. These types of ammunition are often unappreciated by the rank and file of soldiers across the galaxy, finding more acceptance among more intellectual types who can appreciate the artistry that went into their design.

Ammunition powers are special in that they need not be activated in combat unless the character is switching from one type of ammunition to another. If the character habitually uses Armor Piercing ammo, for instance, it is assumed that his weapons fire that unless he says otherwise before the combat or makes the switch during.

  1. Flechette Rounds: This ammunition exists as a liquid inside the custom casing. When fired, the casing breaks apart once it’s free of the barrel, leaving the liquid to travel to the target. As the liquid flies, it’s molecular structure forces it to break apart into long needle-like flechettes, striking the target like a long-range shotgun blast.
    • Flechette rounds add 5 to any weapon’s base damage.
  2. Sledgehammer Rounds: Like Warp ammo, these rounds contain trace amounts of low-grade eezo. The rounds themselves are made of a soft, easily deforming metal, laced with charged particles. When the rounds strike a target they deform, charge the eezo, and actually increase their mass. The result is that the target is often knocked down, or at least staggered by the impact.
    • Sledgehammer inflict Knockdown if they do damage equal to or greater than the target’s Biotic Defense, Staggering the target otherwise.
    • On a critical hit, the rounds do not inflict any extra damage but instead inflict Knockback 1.
  3. Snowblind Rounds: These rounds are filled with a substance much like Cryo rounds, but designed to achieve a much colder state. The supercooled substance partially penetrates shields, though unlike Particle Rounds, it doesn’t split it’s damage between the shield and the target. Instead, what comes through is a fine, electrically-charged mist that obscures the target’s vision and taxes his shield-generator.
    • Snowblind Rounds deal 10 extra damage against shields, but not biotic barriers.
    • On a hit, the target suffers Smoked 5 on his next turn.
    • Any weapon firing Particle Ammunition has it’s heat buildup reduced. Thermal clip capacity is increased by 20%, rounding up.
  4. Radioactive Rounds: Putting a round that contains actively decaying radioactive elements into someone is a pretty nasty thing to do. On the other hand, so is putting a round into someone, period. These rounds sicken and nauseate the target, making it more difficult to use advanced combat maneuvers.
    • The target suffers Weaken (Int & Will) 3 for 3 rounds.
      • If the target continues to be struck by Radioactive rounds, the duration is extended, only ‘cooling down’ when the foe is no longer being shot with the special rounds.
    • Flechette Rounds now add +1 to the critical range of the weapon firing them.

Primitive Weapons

Very few people in the galaxy use actual melee weapons. Even races that routinely fight in hand to hand, like the Asari and Krogan, prefer to simply fight unarmed, or are content with striking someone with their gun. This power is usually possessed by members of more ‘primitive’ races that have not fully integrated modern technology into their combat training yet. It takes a lot of work to make a sword effective on the modern battlefield, but it can be done by a dedicated fighter.

Primitive weapons combines passive bonuses and active abilities, much like modern weapon specialties. However, it doesn’t apply only to a single weapon, but rather to the entire gamut of primitive melee weapons.

  1. Penetrating Attack: Part of the reason that swords and maces are rarely used is that modern armor is well designed to make such weapons ineffective. Swords can’t penetrate the tightly integrated plates, and blunt weapons find their force well… blunted. To be effective against a modern soldier, the first concern is to learn how to strike to counteract at least some of the armor’s protective effects.
    • Large weapons now add 2 more damage to the character’s melee damage, making swords and the like worth +5 to a successful melee attack. Small weapons do not get any bonus.
    • When spending a Resolve point to improve the attack roll, character also adds +5 damage to the attack.
  2. Sweeping Strikes: One of the advantages of having a weapon with reach is the ability to threaten a wider field than can be reached with fists or the butt of a gun. When confronted by multiple opponents in melee, the master of Primitive Weapons can unleash a deadly surprise.
    • The damage bonus on large weapons increases to +7, or +14 for attacks improved by a Resolve point.
    • When multiple opponents are in melee range, the fighter can attempt to attack more than one of them at a time. For each opponent he wishes to attack, he gets a -5 to the attack roll, and he must roll against the highest Defense among his targets. A successful hit strikes all the designated targets.
  3. Dirty Fighting: A great way to take advantage of a well-equipped enemy is to put them in a bad situation. Most of the traditional dirty-fighting tricks are prevented by modern armor. There’s not much point in throwing dirt in the face of a man in a helmet. However, the classic standbys of knocking someone down, and kicking them while they’re down there still work quite well.
    • Attacks against Prone targets get a +10 bonus to damage.
    • When attacking a target with a large weapon and making a Full Attack, the fighter inflicts Knockdown if he can inflict enough damage. The damage to health and armor must equal or exceed the target’s Biotic Defense.
  4. Whirling Dervish: When all else fails, the master of primitive weapons can simply go all out and attack his foe with a furious rain of attacks. That kind of intensity is hard to keep up, but the results are equally difficult to argue with.
    • When making a Full Attack in Melee, the fighter can spend a point of Resolve to attack twice.
    • The damage bonus on large weapon attacks rises to +9, or +18 when using a Resolve point to boost the roll.

Battle Abilities

At the Heart of the Abyss Drascus