Combat Conditions

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On the battlefield, a lot can happen to put someone in a less than ideal condition to fight. Indeed, there are whole industries devoted to disabling combatants, as the makers of Cryo Ammunition can attest. To simplify and streamline combat, the various negative effects of wounds, powers, and special equipment have been separated into ‘Conditions’. These conditions will be detailed here as to their exact effects in combat, and used as a shorthand in the rest of the system. This will also make it easier to have a broad range of combat abilities without needing to pile on excessive rules descriptions.

Most conditions have more than one version of the effect, generally a weaker and more common version of the effect, and then a stronger version that occurs when a stronger power is used, or when the condition is applied more than once. There are several categories of conditions, including: Confusion, Disorientation, Resistance, Slow, Staggering, Stun, and Suspension.

Many conditions can be followed by a number, indicating the severity of the condition. In each case the specific entry for that condition will explain what the number refers to. For instance, the Knockback condition often carries a number indicating how many spaces of knockback are inflicted. Seeing an entry on a power like “Knockback 3” indicates that the target suffers Knockback, and is moved 3 spaces by the effect. If the condition can carry a number but none is present, it should be assumed that the number is 1, unless the condition lists a different default.

Conditions list their effects as happening to ‘you’, for clarity when referencing this page after being told that one’s character has suffered a particular condition. ‘You’ always refers to the combatant actually suffering the condition.

Confusion Conditions

Confusion conditions are often caused by Biotics, except when they are applied to Synthetic targets, when some kind of Tech ability is required instead. There are a variety of ways to impose a confusion condition, from changing sensory input, the way the mind processes information, or higher level powers like Indoctrination.

Confused: A combatant that is Confused cannot be sure who is a friend and who is an enemy, either because of a legitimate confusion as to who is who on the battlefield, or perhaps overwhelming paranoia that everyone might attack him. A confused target is likely to attack friends instead of foes, and suffers a penalty to attack because of the uncertainty he feels.
  • Effects:
  • You suffer a -3 accuracy penalty to all attacks.
  • You choose targets randomly, indiscriminately choosing between friend and foe.
  • A number following the condition indicates the number of rounds the confusion lasts.
Dominated: A much more powerful type of confusion, Domination forces a combatant to fight for the enemy who dominated him for a time. Unlike Confusion, there is no hesitation and therefore loss of combat effectiveness. For the duration of the Domination effect the combatant fights as if he had always been a member of the dominator’s squad.
  • Effects:
  • You fight on the Dominator’s side for the duration of the effect. You need not use any special attacks or abilities unless specifically ordered to do so.
  • A number following the condition indicates the number of rounds the domination lasts.

Defense Conditions

These conditions weaken a character’s ability to resist damage, either by lowering defenses, or by causing incoming attacks to hit harder. Biotic effects like Warp often cause defense conditions, as do tech abilities like Incinerate and Cryo Blast.

Sunder: This condition indicates that the character’s defenses have been directly lowered, without affecting the attribute that defense is based on. This most often occurs when armor is damaged, but can also be an effect of some kind of persistant effect that slows the character down or makes footing less certain. Sunder applies to only the base Defense attribute unless indicated. Sunder Tech, for instance, would indicate that the penalty applies to Tech Defense. Sunder All means that all defenses are lowered equally.
  • Effects:
  • Your Defense suffers a penalty until the effect ends.
  • The number following the condition indicates the amount of the penalty.
Weaken: This condition indicates that the character’s defenses have been lowered because the attribute the defense is based on has been attacked. Poisons, biotic effects, and shocks to the mind might all account for the lowering of an attribute. A character who is Weakened not only suffers a penalty to the Defense that the attribute is based on, but also to any rolls that rely on that attribute. (Note that some accuracy penalties like Flashed are a form of Weakened that apply to Reflexes) The attribute most often affected is Toughness, bullet wounds are difficult enough to deal with under normal circumstances, having your body weakened while under fire makes dealing with enemy fire a lot worse. If any other attribute is to be weakened it will be listed with the condition, such as Weaken Int, or Weaken Str.
  • Effects:
  • Your Toughness suffers a temporary penalty, reducing your Defense and any rolls on that attribute.
  • The default Weaken penalty is -3. If a number follows the condition, then the penalty equals that number instead.
Vulnerable: This condition indicates that some effect is making the damage from all incoming sources worse. The most common examples are Cryo effects, which tear at armor and flesh when the freezing substance shatters. Some biotic effects also weaken physical integrity, making attacks hit harder. Whatever the case, the base Vulnerability condition indicates that all damage is increased by a certain amount. Some effects might give a vulnerability to only a certain kind of damage, like Fire damage, or Biotic attacks. In that case it will be indicated by notation such as, “Vulnerable Biotics”.
  • Effects:
  • All damage you take is increased by 5.
  • If a number follows the condition, then all incoming damage is increased by that number instead of the default 5.

Disorientation Conditions

These conditions impair a combatant’s ability to fight, usually by restricting his ability to see and sense the battlefield. Attacks that impair the combatant’s ability to think and react also fall under this category, but full Stun effects are found instead in the Stun category. In general the Disorientation effects leave a combatant able to fight but more poorly than before.

Suppressed: The classic way to disorient and impair an enemy is to simply keep them pinned with a hail of gunfire. Suppression forces an enemy to choose between taking fire and getting only small glimpses of the battlefield when trying to return fire. Either way the enemy find it much easier to advance on and flank a suppressed target.
  • Effects:
  • You suffer -5 accuracy.
  • Choosing to ignore the accuracy penalty means you take an automatic hit from the suppressor’s weapon.
  • If a number follows the condition then the penalty is equal to that number, otherwise the default penalty of 5 is used.
Smoked: Most often caused by a smoke bomb of some kind, this condition applies to any time the combatant has been hit by something that obscures vision and other senses. Depending on how thick the smoke or other interference is, it may be difficult or impossible to hit anything. In some cases Smoked may indicate a jamming of electronic sensors and smartlinks, and in that case the penalty generally only applies to attacks against Tech Defense.
  • Effects:
  • You suffer a penalty to accuracy rolls. The default penalty is -3.
  • The penalty persists until the smoke is somehow dispersed or you move away from the area.
  • The number following the condition indicates the intensity of the penalty.
Flashed: Flashbang bombs are designed to overwhelm as many senses as possible at once, and even deliver a minor stun effect if they can. Because the effect is to actually impair the combatant, rather than create an environmental condition, the Flashed condition usually wears off slowly, rather than being alleviated the moment the combatant gets away from the source.
  • Effects:
  • You suffer a -6 penalty to accuracy.
  • When the effect is first applied, you are Staggered.
  • Each subsequent round the accuracy penalty is reduced by 2.
  • If a number follows the condition, then the initial accuracy penalty equals that number.

Slowing Conditions

These conditions physically slow a character down, and may even prevent action. In most cases, the character is still conscious and aware, but physically unable to move rather than being unable to act because of a stun. Most commonly this condition is applied by Cryo effects, but riot-control rounds that use a plastic ‘goober’ substance can also inflict Slow effects, as can some Biotics.

Slowed: The target has been slowed down, but not brought to a stop. It becomes harder to move unless a lot of effort is put into the struggle to keep going. Accuracy is usually unaffected in slowed targets because the small motions needed to line a gun barrel up with a target are still possible, it’s only the larger movements of walking and running that have suffered.
  • Effects:
  • You lose your Minor Action for the duration of the effect.
  • If a number follows the condition, it indicates the number of rounds that the condition lasts.
Frozen: At this level the target’s body is completely locked up, unable to move, turn, fire, etc. No movement is possible until the effect ends, though some biotics might be able to be activated if they can be triggered by thought alone. Since most biotics use mimetic gestures to trigger their biotics, it’s normal for a frozen target to suffer a substantial penalty to the use of Biotics, usually -5 or even -10 (GM’s discretion).
  • Effects:
  • You lose your Standard and Minor actions, as well as any additional bonus actions.
  • If a number follows the condition, it indicates the number of rounds that the condition lasts.

Staggering Conditions

These conditions knock the character around with sheer concussive force. Obviously biotics are the most common way to apply a condition like this, but explosive effects from heavy weapons and other explosions can cause the same conditions.

Staggered: The target is hit with force, but not enough to knock him down or throw him around. Still, it’s enough to force some small movement and makes the target focus on keeping his feet and his bearings. During that time, the target is vulnerable to attack.
  • Effects:
  • You lose the benefit of any Cover you had until you are able to move again.
  • If you are on narrow or slippery ground, you must make an Athletics test at Difficulty 15 to keep from slipping or falling off.
  • If a number follows the condition that number directly increases the difficulty of the Athletics test. (Staggered 5 means the difficulty would be 20)
Knockdown: A more powerful impact makes it impossible for the target to keep his feet at all. Knockdown doesn’t move the character enough to move even one space, but depending on the terrain the target may end up falling off something or sliding down a slope.
  • Effects:
  • You are knocked prone.
  • If on treacherous ground, as with Staggered, you must make an Athletics test to avoid falling or sliding. The difficulty is 20.
  • If a number follows the condition that number directly increases the difficulty of the Athletics test, as with Staggered.
Knockback: The strongest explosions and biotic effects not only knock someone down but hurl them a fair distance. The minimum distance a Knockback effect can move someone is 1 space.
  • Effects:
  • You are moved 1 space.
  • You fall prone when you reach the end of the forced movement.
  • If a number follows the condition, that number indicates the total number of spaces you move.

Stunning Conditions

These conditions impair mental functioning to the point that the target can’t react or act effectively. Biotics, concussive shocks to the head, and poisons can all cause stuns. Because the target is unable to move but has no layer of restraining material around them, stuns generally lower defenses as well as taking away the chance to act.

Dazed: A dazed target is confused and unable to perform any complex actions but can still try to scramble for cover or away from danger. Being dazed is a minor stun effect and rarely lasts more than one round, though it is possible to be dazed for a while, especially if it was inflicted by a poison or mental biotic effect.
  • Effects:
  • You lose your Standard action.
  • You are Weakened Str 2.
  • If a number follows the condition it indicates the degree of Weakening that happens to Strength instead of the default 2.
Stunned: A target that’s fully stunned can’t do more than just try to keep his feet and fight off the stunning effect. A stun this powerful almost always comes from a biotic attack or concussive force to the head. Poisons and flashes generally aren’t strong enough to completely lock someone down.
  • Effects:
  • You lose your Standard and Minor action, but may use any bonus actions you have from Adrenaline Rush or Stims.
  • You are Weakened (Str, Tgh, & Int) 5.
  • If a number follows the condition it indicates the duration of the stun in rounds.

Suspension Conditions

These conditions put the target out of control but in a more gentle way, suspending them off the ground and making it harder to fight, and almost impossible to move. Biotics are by far the most common way to apply a suspension condition but there are some rare tech devices that can produce the same kind of mass effect fields that biotics routinely generate.

Suspended: The field suspends the target off the ground, and away from anything that can be used to easily pull oneself out of the field. Suspension doesn’t work on someone who’s tied down, wearing mag boots, or able to easily grab on to hand holds unless the effect is powerful enough to drag the target away from those advantages. This condition only applies to characters who are actually supported by a Mass Effect field and nothing else.
  • Effects:
  • You cannot use your Minor action to move normally. Instead, you may spend a Minor action to make an Athletics test at difficulty 20 to try to escape the field.
  • You are Smoked for the duration of the Suspension effect.
  • If a number follows the condition that number directly increases the difficulty to escape the field.
Pulled: This condition is much the same as Suspension with a couple of important differences. For one thing, a pull field is almost always smaller than other types of suspension fields, and thus it’s generally easier to escape by twisting around. Second, the pull field moves the target, almost always toward the biotic who created the field.
  • Effects:
  • You cannot use your Minor action to move normally. Instead you may spend a Minor Action to make an Athletics test at difficulty 20 to try and escape the field.
  • You move toward the biotic who triggered the Pull at 1 space per round.
  • You are Smoked.
  • If a number follows the condition then you move that many spaces per round instead of the default 1.

Combat Conditions

At the Heart of the Abyss Drascus