How Combat Works

Combat Maneuvers

Each turn, you must choose one of the following maneuvers:

Aim, All-Out Attack, All-Out Defense, Attack, Change Posture, Concentrate, Do Nothing, Evaluate, Feint, Move, Move and Attack, Ready, or Wait


Aiming a ranged weapon (or a device such as a spy glass) takes a full turn. Specify your weapon and your target. You can’t aim at something that you can’t see or detect. If you follow an Aim maneuver with an Attack or All-Out Attack with the same weapon against the same target, you get a bonus to hit. Add the weapon’s Accuracy to your skill. If you Aim for more than six seconds, you receive an additional bonus: +1 for twelve seconds of Aim, or +2 for eighteen or more seconds. Any Active Defense automatically spoils your aim and removes all accumulated benefits. If injured while aiming, you must make a Will roll or lose your aim.

All-Out Attack

Attack any foe with a ready weapon, making no effort to defend against enemy attacks. If you make a melee attack, you must specify one of these four options:
• Determined: Make a single attack at +4 to hit.
• Double: Make two attacks against the same foe, if you have two ready weapons or one weapon that does not have to be readied after use. Attacks with a second weapon held in the off hand are at the usual -4.
• Feint: Make one Feint (see below) and then one attack against the same foe.
• Strong: Make a single attack, at normal skill. If you hit, you get +2 to damage – or +1 damage per die, if that would be better. This only applies to melee attacks doing ST-based thrust or swing damage.

You may move up to half your Move, but you can only move forward. You may take no active defenses at all until your next turn.

All-Out Defense

The maneuver of choice when beset by foes. Specify one of the following two options:
• Increased Defense: Add +2 to one active defense of your choice: Dodge, Parry, or Block. This bonus persists until your next turn.
• Double Defense: Apply two different active defenses against the same attack. If you fail your defense roll against an attack, you may try a second, different defense against that attack. If you try a parry (armed or unarmed) with one hand and fail, a parry using the other hand does count as a “different defense.”

With Increased Dodge, you may move up to half your Move. Otherwise, the only movement is a step. Choose any legal active defense, with bonuses as described above.


Make an armed or unarmed attack in melee combat, or to use a thrown or missile weapon in ranged combat. A weapon used in an attack must be ready. If using a melee weapon or unarmed attack, your target must be within reach. If using a ranged weapon, your target must be within the weapon’s Max range. To move more than one step during an attack, use a Move and Attack or All-Out Attack.

Change Posture

Change between the following postures: standing, sitting, kneeling, crawling, lying prone (face down), and lying face up. Any posture other than standing slows movement and penalizes attack and defense rolls, but also creates a smaller target for ranged attacks. Standing up from a lying position requires two Change Posture maneuvers: one to rise to crawling, kneeling, or sitting, and another to stand. You can switch between kneeling and standing as a step with another maneuver.


You concentrate on one primarily mental task (even it has a minor physical component, like operating controls, gesturing, or speaking). This may be casting a magical spell, using a psi ability, making a Sense roll to spot an invisible warrior, or any similar action, including most IQ-based skill rolls. This is a full-turn maneuver. If you are forced to use an active defense, knocked down, injured, or otherwise distracted before you finish, you must make a Will-3 roll. On a failure, you lose your concentration and must start over.

Do Nothing

Standing still is Doing Nothing. A character Doing Nothing may still defend normally, unless stunned. Someone stunned or surprised must take this maneuver. A stunned character defends at -4. To recover from physical or mental stun, he may attempt a HT or an IQ roll. A success allows recovery at the end of a turn.


Study an adversary to gain a combat bonus on a subsequent attack. You must specify a visible opponent close enough to attack or reachable with a single Move and Attack maneuver (see below). An Evaluate maneuver gives +1 to skill for an Attack, Feint, All-Out Attack, or Move and Attack made against that opponent, on your next turn only. You may take up to three consecutive evaluate maneuvers before you strike, giving a cumulative +1 per turn.


“Fake” a melee attack if your weapon is ready and your foe is within reach. This maneuver is not an attack and does not make your weapon unready. To Feint, choose a single opponent and roll a Quick Contest of Melee Weapon skills. Your opponent may roll against his Melee Weapon skill, unarmed combat skill, Cloak or Shield skill, or DX. If you fail your roll, your Feint is unsuccessful. Likewise, if you succeed, but your foe succeeds by as much as or more than you do, your Feint fails. If you make your roll, and your foe fails, subtract your margin of success from the foe’s active defense if you attack him with Attack, All-Out Attack, or Move and Attack on your next turn. If you and your foe both succeed, but you succeed by more, subtract your margin of victory from the foe’s defense. A Feint lasts six seconds. But if you Feint and then make an All-Out Attack (Double), the Feint applies to both attacks. You can move one step while feinting and it allows any active defense. Allies cannot take advantage of your successful Feint.


Move any number of yards up to your full Move score, but take no other action. Most other maneuvers allow at least some movement on your turn; take this maneuver if all you want to do is move. During a Move, a character can defend themselves normally. Move and Attack Move as described for the Move maneuver, but during or after your move, make a single, poorly aimed attack – either unarmed or with a ready weapon. You attack as described for the Attack maneuver, but at a penalty. If making a ranged attack, you have a penalty of -2 or the weapon’s Bulk rating, whichever is worse. If you are making a melee attack, you have a flat -4 to skill, and your adjusted skill cannot exceed 9. You can only dodge or block during this maneuver.


A Ready maneuver can be used to:
•Pick up or draw any item, prepare it for use, regain control of an unwieldy weapon after a swing, or adjust the reach of a long weapon.
•Complete physical actions other than fighting: opening or closing a door, picking a lock, etc.
•Switch an advantage “off” or “on” if it is not always on and does not require an Attack or Concentrate maneuver.

The combatant can both step and defend while taking a Ready.


Do nothing unless an event you specified in advance occurs before your next turn; e.g., a foe moves into range. If that happens, you may transform your Wait into an Attack, Feint, All-Out Attack (you must specify the option before acting), or Ready maneuver. You interrupt the turn sequence, but it resumes after you’ve acted. Specify your action and its trigger when you take the Wait maneuver. You may Wait with a ready ranged weapon if you have specified the zone that you are covering.

Loss of HP

3/4FP: [-1] Spd/Mv/Rolls 2/4FP: [-2] Spd/Mv/Rolls 1/4FP: [-3] Spd/Mv/Rolls
  • If you have zero or fewer HP left, you are hanging onto consciousness through sheer willpower and adrenaline – or are barely holding together, if you’re a machine. You must roll vs. HT each turn to avoid falling unconscious. If you pass out, see Recovering from Unconsciousness (p.423) for how long it will take to recover.
  • If you go to fully negative HP (for instance, -10 if you have 10 HP), you risk death! You must make an immediate HT roll to avoid dying. You must make another HT roll to avoid death each time you lose an extra multiple of your HP – that is, at -2XHP, -3XHP, and so on. If you reach -5XHP, you die automatically. See Death (p.423).

How Combat Works

Into the Burning Wastes Nehebkau