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Combat is treated the same way as other forms of rolls. An applicable Stat and Skill are combined, Modifiers are applied, and the results indicate the success of the attack, or spell. Unlike many other tabletop games, rolls to hit and rolls for damage are combined into a single roll. This helps keep combat moving quickly so players don’t spend the bulk of the game waiting for other players to roll.

Types of Actions

Actions that may be performed during an encounter are classified in a number of different ways. This helps to structure what a character can and cannot do in a given length of time. There are Free Actions, Fast Actions, Move Actions, Standard Actions, and Full Actions. Additionally, you can modify these actions with Readied Actions or Delayed Actions. There are other subtypes of actions (such as charges and rituals) that may only be utilized in specific circumstances. Each turn, a character is allowed one Fast Action, one Move Action, and one Standard Action unless otherwise enabled by a special power (e.g. Alacrity, Tactical Retreat, etc). For more information on types of actions, check out the main article listed above.


The basic formula to get the initial dice pool for all attacks is: [Base] + [Statistic] + [Skill] + [Applicable Modifiers] = Dice Pool

Attack Roll Dice Pools
Type Base Statistic Skill Optionally Example
Melee Weapons Weapon Dice Strength or Dexterity Melee Weapons Weapon Style Modifiers
* One Hand & Shield
* Dual Wield
* Assassination
* Two-Handed Slashing
* Two-Handed Piercing
Vex's Sneak Attack

6 [+5 Dagger] + 5 [Dexterity] + 5 [1H Piercing Skill] + 8 [+50% Weapon Style] = 24 dice
The target gurgles and goes strangely silent as Vex slips his dagger between their ribs

Thrown Weapons Weapon Dice Dexterity Thrown Weapons Weapon Style Modifiers
* Thrown Weapons Style
Yúnónë's Deadeye

4 [+3 Dagger] + 8 [Dexterity] + 4 [Thrown Weapons Skill] = 16 dice
Yúnónë flings a deadly blade at her target

Ranged Weapons Weapon Dice Dexterity Ranged Weapons Weapon Style Modifiers
* Ranged Weapons Style
Whisper's Steady Shot

6 [+3 Composite Longbow] + 4 [Dexterity] + 5 [Ranged Weapons Skill] = 15 dice
Whisper takes careful aim, and punches an arrow straight through her target's heart

Casting (Channeler) Domain Rank Intelligence Channeling Caster Focus Modifiers
* Channeler Focus

Casting (Mage) Sphere Rank Intelligence Magecraft Caster Focus Modifiers
* Mage Focus

Casting (Shaman) Spirit Rank Intelligence OR Willpower (see Choosing a Path) Shamanism Caster Focus Modifiers
* Shaman Focus

Casting (Sorcerer) Seed Rank Willpower Sorcery Caster Focus Modifiers
* Sorcerer Focus
Malatar's Energy Blast

1 [Seed Energy Rank] + 4 [Willpower] + 5 [Sorcery Skill] = 10 dice
Malatar's hand extends and a gout of black and green witchfire scours the pitiful creatures

The dice pool is then reduced by any applicable defenses that the target has, such as armor, dodging, and magic armor.

For example:
Mar wants to hit a city guard with his longsword. His Strength Stat is 3, and his Weaponry Skill is 4. His raw dice pool before Modifiers is 7 dice. Longswords add a 3 dice bonus to attacks, which raises his attack to 10 dice. The city guard is wearing leather armor and a light shield. Leather armor adds 1 to defense, while the light shield adds another 1. The guard also has a Dodge of 1. This makes his combined defense a 3. This defense is applied as a penalty to Mar’s attack roll reducing his dice pool to a total of 7 dice. Any successes Mar rolls with this dice pool are applied as Lethal damage to the guard.

The target's defenses may be further modified by further attack attributes or circumstances

  • Armor Piercing reduces the target's effective armor. If the armor value is reduced to 0, then any Damage Reduction the armor would have provided is also negated.
  • Ignore Dodge reduces the target's effective dodge defense against attack. This does not apply to other attackers, or count towards making the target Flatfooted.
  • Dodge is reduced by 1 for every melee physical attack received in a single round. This is referred to as Dodge Reduction. A target who has their Dodge reduced to 0 in this way is considered Flatfooted.

These reductions can be further modified by defensive bonuses:

  • Armor Piercing Reduction reduces the Armor Piercing applied.
  • Parry prevents Dodge Reduction for a number of attacks each round equal to the Parry value.

This can get confusing very quickly, so take it slowly until you understand what all applies when.

Here is an example using all of these factors:

Edward Sumner is a retired General and is under attack by two cutthroats wielding daggers and their archer friend. Edward is wearing full plate armor with a light shield and a longsword. Edward has a total defense of 5 [3 Full Plate + 1 Shield + 1 Dodge].
Cuttthroat 1 attacks with a starting dice pool of 7 (1 [Dagger] + 3 [Strength] + 3 [Skill]). This pool would be reduced by Edward's 5 defense to a dice pool of 2. However, daggers have a 1 Armor Piercing bonus, so 1 of 3 Armor that Edward would not count, so the Cutthroat's dice pool would be 3, not 2. The adjustments are not yet complete. Edward's shield has Armor Piercing Reduction of 1, so the dagger's 1 Armor Piercing is reduced to 0. The Cutthroat has an attacking dice pool of 2.
Cutthroat 2 then makes his attack, and since he is Cutthroat 1's twin brother, he has exactly the same skill and strength, so his starting dice pool is also 7. This time, Edward has already been attacked once in the round, so Edward's Dodge is reduced by 1 to 0. The same Armor Piercing, and Armor Piercing reduction applies, which negate each other. Edward's 3 Armor and 1 Shield defense are removed from the dice pool for a final attack dice pool of 3.
The hostile archer gets in his attack then, and uses a full action to Steady Shot, and has a starting dice pool of 8 (2 [Longbow] + 3 [Dexterity] + 3 [Skill]). Steady Shot negates up to 3 of Edward's Dodge. Edward doesn't have any Dodge left anyway, so this does not have any further impact. Longbows have 2 Armor Piercing, and Edward's shield negates 1 of those, so Edward still has his armor reduced from 3 to 2. With his shield, Edward is still able to remove 3 dice from the Archer's dice pool, for a final pool of 5.
Edward then gets in his attack, and then the round starts over again, and the Dodge that Edward had lost from Cutthroat 1's attack is restored. The cycle continues until Edward has the cutthroats on the run, or begging for their lives ... because Edward is a badass and it is never smart to attack an experienced soldier in full plate.

Defense Terminology

Physical Defense

Physical Defense is the combination of Dodge, Physical Armor, and Shield bonuses and protects against physical attacks from melee/mundane sources and some types of magical attacks.

  • Dodge is the portion of Physical Defense that represents the innate agility that is used to avoid attacks. Dodge may be reduced by Ignore Dodge. Dodge is not available if you are flat-footed.
  • Physical Armor is a 'hard shell', either through worn armor or physical armor spells like Seed: Conjure(Sorcery Source), and Ice Armor (Magecraft Source). Armor is always present, but may be reduced by Armor Piercing.
  • Physical Damage Reduction converts physical damage actually received from lethal to non-lethal (until Vigor is used up, then no more conversion).
  • Shield is the portion of Physical Defense that represents a shield or other hard shell that can be raised to protect against attacks from a given direction. Shield bonuses are not available if you are flat-footed.
  • Armor Piercing reduction reduces how much Armor Piercing may be applied against your armor.
  • Parry ignores Dodge Reduction applied by melee attacks.

Magical Defense

Magical Defense is granted by magical abilities to protect against some types of magical attacks.

  • Magical Damage Reduction converts magical damage actually received from lethal to non-lethal (until Vigor is used up, then no more conversion).
  • Ward is a magical shell that absorbs incoming damage before the damage is actually applied.

There are also situational defenses that can occur, either as part of abilities or the natural environment.


  • Resistance is a dice pool used to oppose certain types of attacks, including poison, disease, and some magical attacks
  • Magical Resistance is a bonus to the Resistance dice pool to defend against some magical attacks


Cover is a penalty to ranged attacks provided by environmental obstacles or abilities that would reasonably obstruct the view of or limit access to a chosen target. These penalties favor the target.

    • No Cover is no change or penalty
    • Light Cover is a -2 penalty
    • Moderate Cover is a -4 penalty
    • Heavy Cover is a -6 penalty
    • Full Cover means that the target is entirely out of sight, and a different targeting method must be used. If Full Cover is granted by something that isn't substantial such as thick smoke, random attacks could be made and the Storyteller should roll for direction and distance, and if there is a chance at hitting, roll the damage for the player at an appropriate penalty.


Ward is often confusing, as it blocks damage, not attacks. In an attack scenario, any successes AFTER all other defenses are first applied to Ward before being applied to health. Each point of Ward absorbes 1 point of Lethal damage or 1 point of non-Lethal damage, and the ward is then reduced by the same value. Any damage remaining after all Ward points have been used is applied to Health or Vigor appropriately.

If a reactive effect requires a successful attack, that effect will trigger even if all damage is negated by Ward. Examples include Magecraft's Fire Armor and Shamanism's Frost Burst.

If a reactive effect requires lethal damage to be dealt, if the Ward negates all damage, it will also negate that effect. Examples include Bleed effects and Poisons.

Damage Tracking (Health / Vigor)

Your character gets a number of Health Points (Constitution + Racial Modifier) for tracking lethal damage, and Vigor Points (Constitution) for tracking non-lethal damage. Lethal damage is applied to Health Points. When Health Points are reduced to 0, you are disabled (unconscious and unable to take actions) and begin to bleed out into Negative Health Points. A player has a number of negative Health Points equal to their Maximum Health Points. Some special powers and abilities will allow characters to continue to perform actions or fight while at Negative Health Points. Any additional damage when at Negative Health Points (including non-lethal) is dealt as lethal. When the player reaches the last Negative Health Point, they die. Non-lethal damage is applied first to Vigor, when Vigor runs out any additional non-lethal damage is applied to Health Points instead.

Mortal Damage

Most damage is either Lethal damage (axes, swords, fireballs) or Non-Lethal damage (falling, weapon damage reduced by armor, sorcerous Backlash). However, some rare and dangerous sources may deal Mortal damage. Creatures take Mortal damage from inimical sources. When a source deals Mortal damage, calculate damage as normal and then double the result. If a Fireball spell would deal 3 damage to a zombie, it would instead deal 6.

Health and Vigor Recovery

Players naturally recover one Health Point after a night of restful sleep. A successful Medicine roll can increase this to two Health Points per night of restful sleep. This is the only way to heal lethal damage caused by Sorcerous Backlash.

Players naturally recover one Vigor Point every 15 minutes. Nonlethal damaged caused by Sorcerous Backlash is naturally healed this way. Vigor replenishment may not be improved by Medicine rolls, however, some benefits may allow characters to recover more quickly.

Magical/Lethal Healing

Each point of Lethal healing recovers one Health Point or two points of Vigor, with Health Points being replenished first. Some magical effects may exclusively replenish Vigor, but unless otherwise specified, magical healing is always considered Lethal healing. Any damage dealt by Backlash, either lethal or nonlethal, must heal naturally over time and may not be reduced by magical healing.

Environmental Effects

The environment can have a very significant impact on how a session plays out. Characters may find themselves falling from great heights, running through a burning building, or even navigating an underwater cave. For information on the effects of extreme environments, check out the Main Article.


There are a variety of Conditions that players may experience in an encounter. These are most often caused by spells, special abilities, or the environment, and have widely-varying effects. For a complete list of conditions that may be applied, check out the Main Article.