|Reload weapon||Reloads most weapons that require it, including bows, crossbows, guns and grenade/rocket launchers.|
|Spot||Point out a target that you can see but allies cannot, so they can target it.|
|Aim||You focus and gain +1 accuracy which stacks for your next attack. It resets to 0 when you attack or do something else.|
|Draw/Switch Weapons||Drawing or switching your equipped weapon costs one action.|
|Cast a Spell||Requires at least 1 arcane focus skill. Check the spell list for options, or improvise it with the GM.|
|Autofire||A different attack allowed by some ranged weapons. If you declare it before your attack roll, then you spend 3 ammunition instead of the usual 1 and can apply +2 damage to hits.|
|Use Skill and/or Item||This action can be used to accomplish a wide variety of useful things in combat. These include hijacking vehicles, analyzing enemy weak spots, hacking computers to disable automated defenses, commanding animal or robotic minions, healing allies, throwing bombs, shoving heavy objects off ledges, etc|
|Overwatch||You forgo immediate action, instead preparing to make 1 special attack on any enemy that moves or acts within your held weapon's range. This special attack takes place just before the enemy performs its action.|
|Speak||You taunt the enemy, demand they surrender, attempt to deceive or confuse them, etc. as 1 action. Speaking to your allies does not cost an action.|
CPA: Combat and Chases
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Combat in CPA is deadly, fast, tactical, creative, and fun.
The rules support these principles:
- High attack damage and low health points (hp) ensure that combat is always tense and risky and is never a slog or an assumed-win speedbump.
- A typical player character (10 hp) has a good chance of being seriously wounded by single burst of an enemy's auto-rifle or a axe swing.
- Even if a player or enemy misses a melee attack, they can apply graze damage to keep the scene moving forward towards its conclusion.
- Low HP, high movement speed, and high damage ensures that combat is quick and doesn't last more than 1-3 rounds.
- Combat is tactical, everyone has a turn for each round, position matters, the environment matters, and the unlimited special attack rule allows combat focused fighters to always use their creativity to improve the effectiveness of their attacks with no opportunity cost.
When are combat rules necessary?
- Combat rules are only necessary where it makes sense to break events down into 6-second turns. Examples:
- Executing a bound, paralyzed, or unconscious target in a calm context does not require combat rules. If players know how to kill this person quickly and there isn't a risk then they simply will, no rules needed.
- Combat rules MIGHT be used when there is a rapidly progressing dangerous disaster.
- If players' planet is being bombarded from orbit with megaton bombs, then the game will likely focus more on the broader goal of getting to shelter as soon as possible.
- If players' space ship is being rapidly depressurized, compartment by compartment, turns will be used to see how the disaster might be stopped or escaped.
- If players' area is being bombed or attacked by seemingly invincible aggressors who have similar speed and attack ranges to PCs, then turns might still be used to see how these enemies can be delayed or escaped.
- A Chase is similar to a combat in that we zoom in to moment by moment action, but it's different in that the goal is not to conquer but to move quickly, on foot or with vehicles.
- For this reason, in a Chase, the GM simply goes around to each player, asks what they're generally doing and calls for occasional rolls. Instead of making specific targeted attacks and moves, players can declare a general action such as "I'm loading the damaged robot into the submarine" or "I'm shooting cover fire to keep the mutant sharks away" or "I'm powersliding my truck into the glass wall".
- This alternative system is convenient for many types of vehicle combat because they can allow other players to contribute general skills and actions to the scene even though not directly piloting the vehicle.
- You can use this more freeform mode of play for normal combat as well, if you want to promote a more narrative and less concrete playstyle.
When and how does combat start?
- Combat begins when there is imminent danger to at least one group of people that could be mitigated or resolved within 6-second turns.
- The participant with the highest Speed statistic goes first, and then in descending order by speed.
- If players prefer, they can elect to "hold" their turn until a later count in the same round.
When does combat end?
- Combat ends when no actors are in imminent physical danger that could be mitigated within 6-second movements and actions.
How does combat work generally?
- Generally, on each actor's turn, they get 2 actions, each of which can be used for one movement, attack, skill, spell or items to try to resolve or end the combat.
- Combat can be resolved by the use of social and technical skills, magic and tool use, but it is often focused on attacks and defenses.
- Attacks by players and by enemies are handled differently, ensuring that players are the active focus in each case:
- Attack rolls are made when players want to destroy or disable an enemy or enemy vehicle or other object such as a fuel tank.
- Attack rolls are made with 2d8 plus combat skill and any other bonuses, to try to hit an enemy's defense target number
- Degrees of success apply according to the combat skill you used; some still deal damage on a miss.
- When players hit enemies, their damage is a consistent value usually equal to their combat skill plus their weapon damage. This keeps the game fast and players confident with their weapons.
- Defense Rolls are made when an enemy or other danger threatens to damage a player, and the player does not want this.
- They are typically rolled with 2d8 plus skill and any other bonus, versus an enemy's attack target number.
- The result of the defense roll determines whether the attack hits fully or partially. This will be generally dodge (for attacks and explosions), but it can also be Resilience (for unavoidable hazards like poison, cold, and radiation), or Meditation (for hostile magic and psionics).
- Critical Success: You take no damage or harm.
- Success: You take the enemy's minimum damage, minus your damage reduction.
- Failure: You take the enemy's maximum damage, minus your damage reduction.
- Critical Failure: You take maximum damage, armor is ignored.
Actions in Combat
On each turn, each player gets 2 actions. One or both actions can be any of the following:
Special AttacksSpecial attacks are intended to showcase the creativity of a warrior player in using the combat situation to their advantage. General rules:
- The appropriate combat skill focus is required to perform a special attack with that skill.
- Special attacks must make sense given the context of environment, weapons, enemies, etc.
- Special attacks should not simply increase damage without leveraging a cost or environmental factor--otherwise that would be the only one chosen.
- Special attacks should usually only inflict debilitating conditions for a 1-round duration.
- Boss-level enemies can choose to ignore a special attack but must sacrifice 5 HP to do so.
|Special Attack Name||Requirements||Effects|
|Blind||Works with any weapon.||When you successfully hit with this technique, the enemy cannot see for 1 turn.|
|Slash/Cleave||Requires a long bladed melee weapon such as a bardiche, claymore, labrys, or wakizashi.||When you successfully hit with this technique, your 1 attack action hits up to 2 adjacent enemies in your range for the same damage.|
|Cripple||Works with any weapon.||When you successfully hit with this technique, the enemy's speed is reduced by half on their next turn.|
|Disarm||Works with most weapons.||When you successfully hit with this technique, the enemy drops their equipped weapon on the floor.|
|Grapple||Requires Brawl.||When you successfully hit with this technique, the enemy cannot move. They are at a disadvantage to do anything other than to make another brawl attempt to punch you and free themselves. Grappling an enemy is a prerequisite to throwing or choking them.|
|Lacerate||Works with any bladed weapon.||When you hit, a biological enemy will start to bleed profusely and will take 1d6 damage per turn at the start of their turns. For robots or vehicles, this might instead drain battery acid or fuel tanks.|
|Leap Attack||You must be on a platform that is higher than your enemy, and this must be a melee or brawl attack.||When you hit with a leap attack, you apply extra damage to the enemy equal to 1d6 per 3 meters dropped. If you miss, that damage is instead applied to you.|
|Lunge Attack||You must be wielding a melee weapon or have Brawl skill.||You step out to attack an enemy who is otherwise 1 or 2m out of your reach.|
|Pierce Attack||Works with any projectile weapon and also long thrusting weapons such as rapiers, spears and javelins.||When you hit with a pierce attack, the enemy and one more enemy or other target behind them is also damaged for the same amount.|
|Pin Attack||You must be using either a thrusting weapon such as a spear, trident, foil or javelin, or a large projectile weapon such as a crossbow or magnetic rail gun.||When you hit with a pin attack, the enemy is stuck to the nearest surface by the weapon shaft penetrating their clothes or armor. They must use an action to free themselves, otherwise they cannot move and are at a disadvantage to attack.|
|Shove||Works with most weapons, but best results are with Melee and Brawl. When used with ranged weapons, only 1m distance generally. Must be in the direction of your attack.||When you hit, the enemy is pushed back a certain amount relative to the success of your roll, the weapon used, and other conditions. If they hit an environmental obstacle such as a cactus, pit, open flame or thin glass, more damage or conditions may be applied.|
|Stun||Requires the talent 'Hammer Expert' and a blunt weapon such as a mace, maul, lead pipe or thrown brick.||When you successfully hit with this technique, the enemy loses 1 of their actions on their next turn.|
|Sunder||Works with most weapons.||When you successfully hit with this technique, the enemy loses 1 or more points of their defense value, based on the magnitude of your accuracy roll.|
|Throw||Requires Brawl, and requires you to be grappling an enemy.||When you score a direct hit with this technique, you can throw the enemy in any direction up to 3 meters per brawl skill level, where they will fall prone, and take falling damage.|
|Trip||Works with most weapons.||When you successfully hit with this technique, the enemy falls prone.|
- Some talents, spells or skills grant a bonus action. If you have one of these, and meet its requirements, you can use it on your turn in addition to your normal 2 actions and reactions. Otherwise, you cannot.
- Each player only ever has 1 bonus action to spend per round. If used, then it becomes available at the start of your next turn.
ReactionsReactions are actions done in response to something that someone else does. They are not generally limited, but rather triggered. Many are granted by talents.
Specific Combat Situations
What happens on a miss with an attack?
- With a missed attack, generaly something behind or nearby the target will be hit. This could still be dangerous if glass, tethered animals, fuel canisters, support beams, control panels, hazardous materials or explosives are nearby.
- Actors who are highly skilled with melee or ranged attacks may still cause graze damage to their targets on a miss. Check the skills list for details.
- Heavy Ranged weapons (grenade launchers, fusion cannons, etc) that miss may still damage the target, depending on the blast context.
- If you missed but really wanted to hit, ask the GM if you can push yourself at a cost.
How do critical strikes and misses work?
- Critical strike range by default is when you roll a total of 6+ over the target number, and also when you roll maximum numbers on your dice.
- Some skills and talents increase critical strike range. If they do, this increases it by 1 unit each time. So if you have +1 critical strike chance, you crit when you roll 5 units over the target.
- If a player rolls in their critical strike range, they get a critical hit on the enemy which deals double damage.
- If a defending player rolls 6- under the enemy's attack TN, or two 1's on their defense dice, they take a critical hit from that enemy, taking the maximum damage from that enemy - armor does not apply.
- If a player rolls a total of 6- under the target on an attack roll, OR two 1's on the dice, they make a critical miss.
- Critical misses still miss even if the total would hit. They may also cause complications such as jammed weapons, broken weapons, dropped weapons or ammunition explosions.
How is stealth used in combat?
- If players are in stealth and attack, then unaware enemies are surprised until the end of their first turn, only able to use reactions but not actions.
- If enemies are sneaking up on players, the most perceptive player should roll perception. If it fails the enemy's TN, then players are surprised until the end of their first turn, only able to use reactions, not actions.
- If players are sniping distant enemies or vice versa, combat rounds might begin when the assault is realized and end when there are no longer any possible shots.
- Depending on the situation, players may lose stealth after making an attack. If they fire a loud, flashy gun from a small opening, enemies may fire back. If it's a silenced and suppressed shot or throw from a disguised bush, it may be harder for enemies to accurately know where they are being attacked from.
- During combat, actors may use a main action when in 3/4 or better cover to "hide". Thereafter, if they attack or shoot, they receive a +1 to hit and damage.
- Players who want to better use stealth during combat can take the Stalker and/or Sniper talents. These increase the speed of hiding and the power of attacks from stealth.
How does "cover" affect combat?
- Participants who put an object between themselves and enemies get a bonus to their Defense Roll. Cover is assigned to one of the following categories:
- Tall grass, paper walls or thin glass is light cover, giving +1 defense.
- Shrubbery, low barriers, or light fog / smoke is medium cover, giving +2 defense.
- Leaning around redwood trees, peeking over high barriers like a concrete traffic wall, or thick fog or smoke is heavy cover, giving +3 defense.
- Full, thick barriers are full cover--the target cannot be harmed until the barrier is destroyed or circumvented.
What is a prepared firing position?
- A prepared firing position is a defensive position that you or someone else spent an hour or more time to make. It usually involves a weapon stand, cover, and supplies.
- Having this asset gives you +1 to hit and damage on all shots, and any other cover benefits that you prepared. If you disguised it, it may also give you stealth.
How does dual wielding work?
- A character attacking with two one-handed weapons (such as daggers or pistols) gains -2 accuracy and +2 damage.
- Some enemies might be immune to certain attacks. Use your intuition and judgment.
- A flamethrower may have no effect on a lava lizard. A lightning gun may have no effect on a rock monster. A poison dart may have no effect on a robot.
- A normal person punching a tank may have no effect or even hurt the attacker. But a legendary martial artist (skill 6) may be able to flip it into another, damaging both.
Melee vs. Ranged
- Two-handed ranged weapons, such as bows or rifles, are too large to be fired at an attacker in melee range, and so cannot be used in melee, except as a club for 1d6 damage (with risk of breaking the weapon).
- Melee attackers receive +1 advantage to hit a prone character (i.e., 3 accuracy dice and take the highest 2, or 4 take 2 if you have another source of this such as Rage). The opposite is true for ranged shots against prone targets.
- Players may fire a one-handed ranged weapon at a melee attacker with -1 disadvantage to hit: i.e., roll 3d8 and take the lowest 2, then add modifiers.
Being Prone in Combat
- Crouching, sitting, or lying down are all functionally prone.
- To go prone or stand up is a move action. You can drop prone as a free action if you are willing to take some damage, usually 1d4 falling damage.
- Being prone can help grant additional cover.
- Moving while prone is called crawling and is done at half speed.
- Prone combatants roll with a lower die size to make melee attacks against upright targets.
- Melee attackers receive a big advantage to hit a prone character (i.e., 3 accuracy dice and take the highest 2, or 4 take 2 if you have another source of this such as Rage).
- The opposite is true for ranged shots against prone targets: roll 3 accuracy dice, take the lowest 2.
Weapons & Armor
For a list of weapons & armor, please see the Items page.