Most Swords of Infinity adventures involve conflict of various sorts, and this section addresses how characters and their opponents can use everything from swords to words to resolve their differences.
- 1 Rounds and Turns
- 2 Moving
- 3 Attacking
- 4 Defending
- 5 Taking Damage
- 6 Advanced Combat
- 7 Social Interaction
Rounds and Turns
Combat is broken down into rounds and turns, with each participant getting two actions per turn, and with a round ending after every participant has finished its turn. This phased approach to keeping order during conflict is referred to as Tactical Time and is used whenever combat takes place. It is also a useful tool for whenever Storytellers need their players to pay special attention to the order of events or to simulate limited time during a story.
Initiative determines the order that characters take their turns in combat or other situations for which Tactical Time applies and it is the first thing that must be determined in such a case. When Tactical Time begins, each player should make a power roll with a maximum power equal to their Dexterity plus their Awareness, and the Storyteller should make a similar roll for every non-player participant in the encounter. All of these numbers should then be recorded in descending order, with the highest number going first.
All participants in combat start out with two actions that they can use to perform any full action and a minor action that they can use for quick things like dropping a held item or speaking. Some combat conditions can affect the number of actions a participant gets, and will be explored later. Examples of each sort of action can be found in the table below.
|Action Type||Example Actions|
|Full Action||Attacking, Casting a Spell, Moving, Using an Item, Picking up an Item|
|Minor Action||Speaking, Dropping a Held Item, Making an Awareness Skill Check to Notice Something|
Characters get a number of bonus actions equal to their level (e.g. a level 3 character gets 3 bonus actions) that can each be used once per game session to perform extra actions during their turn. These bonus actions can be used to perform any of the sorts of actions listed above.
Timing in Tactical Time
Although Swords of Infinity breaks combat down into a well-separated, turn-based exchange, most combatants would actually be acting nearly simultaneously, with some acting slightly faster than others (i.e., those with higher initiative scores). Players should keep this in mind when imagining the story as it unfolds and bear in mind that their characters are not actually standing and waiting for their turn to act!
Duration of a Turn
A single turn represents 6 seconds of real-world time and a minute is therefore divided neatly into 10 rounds. This means that combat is actually taking place very quickly in the story, even though it may take several minutes to resolve an encounter in the game.
Moving costs one action and allows a combatant to walk up to its maximum move distance (e.g., 35 feet for a size 0 character), or use one of its movement skills to cross distance in special ways. As a rule, any sort of resisted or finesse movement skill — usually Dexterity- or Strength-based — qualifies as moving and costs one action.
Jumping, Sprinting, Climbing, and Swimming
Special forms of resisted movement, notably jumping, sprinting, climbing, or swimming, require Skill Checks when attempted. To perform these actions, a combatant must succeed in a Success Check using its Strength score, plus any relevant Skill Specialization in the type of movement, minus a one-point penalty for each foot of distance that it is attempting to cross. Note that when attempting a Sprint a combatant is still able to move up to its regular movement distance and that this skill simply allows it to move beyond that distance with a successful Skill Check.
Example: Deseneus is attempting to close the 50-foot distance between himself and a foe, and so he uses his 35-foot movement distance and then needs to try to sprint the remaining 15 feet. Deseneus must make a Success Check with a target number of his Strength (30), plus his specialization in Sprint (10), minus the distance in feet that he is attempting to cross (-15), for a final target number of 25. If Deseneus successfully rolls a 25 or less on his Success Check then he will have successfully sprinted the 50-foot distance, and if he rolls higher, he will only have reached his regular 35-foot mark.
Combat usually involves physically attacking opponents, and in Swords of Infinity this requires choosing a target, rolling a Success Check to hit the target, and then optionally rolling a Power Check to determine the damage. Attacks are resolved according to the following steps, and typically cost one action (it is possible for attacks to cost two actions, and this will be explored later).
- The player declares a Damage Target for the attack (if it is a Targeted attack)
- The player rolls a Success Check to see if the attack hits, compare the one's place on the d% to the target's composition to determine the location
- If the player's attack hits, the opponent gets a chance to defend
- If the opponent does not successfully defend, the player rolls a Power Check to determine damage.
Types of Attacks
- Targeted: This type of attack deals damage to the Damage Target determined by the dice roll, most attacks with with weapons are Targeted.
- Untargeted: This type of attack deals damage to the Damage Target of the defender's choosing, attacks with an Area of Effect (spells, explosions, etc.) and Blocked attacks are Untargeted.
Swords of Infinity differs from some other role-playing games in that it tracks damage in multiple places, referred to as Damage Targets. The collection of a creature's Damage Targets is their Composition, which will also include the number required to hit it. On a human opponent the composition is, predictably, two legs (1-2), the torso (3-6), two arms (7-8), and the head (9-10) and stress (the damage target affected by Social Conflict). Damage Targets for monsters are going to depend on their Composition, and may include wings, tails, extra heads, etc.
Hitting a target requires a Dexterity based Success Check. To make this check, simply take the attacking character's Dexterity score, add any weapon skill specialization score and any modifier for the weight of the weapon being used, and roll a d%. If the result of the roll is less than the sum of these scores then the attack hits and the attacker's opponent must defend.
Size 0 characters can typically reach targets up to 5 feet away with their Melee weapons. Weapon Traits can modify this distance.
Attacks made with ranged weapons suffer a -1 penalty for every five foot increment of distance between the attacker and the target.
A critical success on a hit check results in one of the following additional special outcomes that can be selected by the player or the Storyteller.
- The attack can only be defended by a critical defense, even if the defensive roll is lower.
- The attack does full damage
- The attack causes a Narrative Effect that lasts for one round.
If an attack successfully hits it usually does damage, unless it is one of the special techniques described later in this section. In either case, however, the power of the attack has to be determined and this is done using a Power Check. To make a Power Check roll a d% and compare it to the Strength Score of the attacking character, plus any Strength based Skill Specializations that tie into dealing damage and any damage bonus granted by the weight and type of the weapon. The damage dealt (or power of the technique) is either the result of the roll or the sum of these scores, whichever is lower.
Generally speaking, larger creatures are easier to hit and notice, but harder to hurt. Likewise smaller creatures are easier to hurt, but have an easier time maneuvering against a larger opponent. As a general rule, there is a bonus equal to ten times the difference between the size of the attacking character and the target. Note that the Power modifier is applied to Special Abilities, Spells and Techniques as well as regular attacks.
- +10 Damage maximum to smaller creatures for every size category larger
- +10 to Physical Resistance against the attacks and abilities of smaller creatures for every size category larger
- +10 bonus to Success chance against larger creatures for every size category smaller
- +10 bonus to Success chance on block and dodge for every size category smaller
- +10 bonus on Awareness skill Success chance for every size category smaller
Whenever a combat participant is successfully attacked they get a chance to defend themselves unless special circumstances would prevent it (e.g. the attacker has snuck up on the defender, or the defender is restrained). Defenders have two options for protecting themselves from physical damage, blocking and dodging, and resist the effects of special techniques like a disarm or pin with Physical Resistance. Some characters are going to be better at defending themselves by dodging, while others are more effective blockers, and it is up to the player to decide which method is the best for the situation.
Blocking involves interposing a weapon, limb, or shield into the path of an incoming attack and can be used against both Targeted and Untargeted attacks. Defending this way does not prevent an attack from hitting, but instead it gives the defender the ability to direct the attack to a more well-protected area and also to use a shield or weapon to absorb some of the damage. To block the defender needs to succeed on an Awareness based Success Check, adding any appropriate skill specialization in blocking. Should the defender succeed the attack becomes Untargeted and he may then choose a new Damage Target for the attack, overriding the attacker's original intent, and add any damage bonus from his weapon or shield's weight modifier to his armor. The defender reduces the damage he receives by this final value, potentially preventing all of it.
Example: Bjoric is being attacked and opts to defend himself by blocking. He has a 20 point specialization in block and an awareness of 35, so he needs to roll a 55 or less to succeed. Bjoric's roll is successful, and he chooses for the attack to hit him in the left arm instead of the attacker's original target, his head. Bjoric has class 3 (-30 damage) armor on his left arm, and adds the weight bonus from the size 3 (another -30 damage) shield he carries, which brings his total armor on his left arm up to 60. When his opponent rolls the power of his attack he comes up with a score of 63, Bjoric only takes the difference between these values in damage, 3 points.
Blocking can be used in lieu of Physical Resistance to prevent some physical damage from a spell.
Dodging is an Dexterity based Opposed Success check that allows a defender to avoid an attack entirely, and receive no damage. As an Opposed Success check the defender needs to roll less than or equal to both their opponent's roll and their own target score. Dodging cannot be used against Untargeted attacks or spells.
Example: Parthenia is getting attacked and opts to defend herself by dodging the incoming attack. She has a dexterity of 25 and a skill specialization of 30 in dodging, so her target score for success is 55. Her opponent's attack roll is 27. Parthenia rolls a 13, which is less than both her opponent's roll of 27 and her own target score of 55, so she successfully dodges the attack and avoids all damage.
Armor reduces the amount of damage taken from an attack, and is a combatant's last line of defense. If a combatant would receive damage to a Damage Target where they are wearing a piece of armor, reduce the amount of damage taken by the armor's class times 10 (e.g. class 2 armor reduces damage by 20 points).
There are special techniques discussed later in this section that eliminate the protection provided by armor at the cost of a lower chance of hitting the target.
A critical success on a defense check results in one of the following additional special outcomes that can be selected by the player or the Storyteller.
- The defender gets to make a counter attack at no action cost.
- The defense causes a Narrative Effect that lasts for one round.
- The defender is able to move up to their max distance at no action cost.
The special combat techniques mentioned later in this section cause Narrative Effects that must be resisted rather than causing damage. To defend against these Narrative Effects the defender must make a Power Check based on their Physical Resistance score and compare it to the Power Score of the incoming technique. If the defender's Physical Resistance Power Score is higher than the Power Score of the technique then the effects are completely resisted by the defender.
Physical Resistance can also be used to avoid the ill effects of area of effect attacks, such as multi-target spells or explosions. If the defender's Physical Resistance check is higher than the power of the area of effect attack, the defender receives no damage.
When all defensive options fail combatants take damage, which brings them closer to death, and it is this consequence that makes combat exciting and risky for players. Damage is tracked as a set of numbers for each of the combatant's Damage Targets, and causes penalties the higher it gets.
Each Damage Target tracks its own damage separately and can either go up to a maximum of 100 points of damage or twice the combatant's Vitality score whichever is higher.
Consequences of Damage
As damage gets high enough, and passes certain thresholds, penalties are applied to combatants making it more difficult for them to continue to do battle. The exact values for these damage thresholds is dependent on the combatant's vitality score.
There are two thresholds for damage, Wounded and Disabled, and each applies its own sort of penalty to the combatant. Determining a combatant's Damage Thresholds is as simple as the following:
- If a combatant's damage exceeds his Vitality Score he is wounded.
- If a combatant's damage exceeds twice his Vitality score he is disabled.
- If this damage is beyond 100 points and more than twice his Vitality Score, the Damage Target is destroyed (i.e. limbs are cut off, etc.). Destroying vital Damage Targets like the head or torso typically kills the combatant, but this is up to the Storyteller's discretion.
If a combatant is Wounded she receives a penalty of -10 to all Power and Success checks until the damage is healed. These penalties combine with each other if multiple Damage Targets are Wounded.
If a combatant is Disabled she loses one action per turn for each Damage Target that is Disabled, this effect combines with the Wounded penalty. Enough Disabled Damage Targets can leave a combatant completely unable to act.
Disabling an opponent's head, if there is one, typically knocks the opponent unconscious until the damage is recovered. Opponents rendered unconscious this way can still attempt a Resist Impairment Skill check to regain consciousness for the rest of the turn.
Whenever a combatant would take damage that Wounds or Disables them, they can attempt to ignore the penalties succeeding in a Resist Impairment Success Check, success means they ignore the negative effects of the wound or disability until that Damage Target takes damage again. Only the worst penalty is ignored, e.g. a Wound cannot also be ignored on a Damage Target that has passed the Disabled threshold. This cannot be done for Damage Targets that have been destroyed.
Recovering from Damage
A living combatant will eventually recover from her wounds over time. The exact magnitude of the recovery is based on the combatant's Physical Resistance score and her level of activity during a 24 hour recovery period. Every 24 hours of in-game time roll a Power Check based on the combatant's Physical Resistance score, this number is how many points of damage she heals. If the combatant did nothing but rest during that 24 hour period, she recovers from damage on every injured Damage Target, otherwise damage is healed on a single Damage Target. This process repeats until all damage on the combatant has been healed.
A successful Intelligence based Success Check, adding any Skill Specialization in First Aid, can reduce the negative effects of an injury. First aid does not heal damage, but it does allow the injured combatant to treat a Wounded Damage target as unwounded, or a Disabled Damage Target as merely Wounded.
Using First Aid during tactical time takes 1 action for every 10 points of damage that have been dealt.
Storyteller's Note: Players that leave open wounds untended to for several days make prime candidates for disease and infection, which can add an interesting challenge to the story.
The basics described in the beginning of this section are enough to get most players through combat, but some are going to be interested in taking more complicated actions during a battle. The advanced combat rules below give combatants more options and add a deeper strategic element to Swords of Infinity.
Power and Careful Attacks
A normal attack costs one action, but combatants can obtain different results by taking their time with them. Combatants are able to increase either their maximum potential damage by reducing their chance of success or increase their chance of success by reducing their power. Doing so costs two actions and is a one for one exchange.
Examples: * Desdinova is caught by surprise and has to fight an opponent hand to hand, despite not being very good at it. He uses two actions to attack his opponent with an increased hit chance at the cost of some of his attack power. Normally Desdinova would need a roll of 25(His Dexterity score) or less to hit, and would deal a maximum of 20 damage, but by removing 10 points of power now he only needs a 35 or less.
Magic is covered in its own section in detail. Casting a spell typically costs one action, and the success or power of the spell can be modified using the Power & Careful Attack rules above.
Special Abilities cost one action to perform and do not require a Success Check at all. Each Special Ability can only be used once per combat encounter unless they are recharged. Recharging a Special Ability costs one action and a Success check against the ability's target number.
A combatant using obstacles to protect parts of their body from projectile fire receives a +10 bonus to defensive actions (Block or Dodge) made against incoming Ranged Attacks and to Physical Resistance checks made against Untargeted attacks for every Damage Target that the obstacle is capable of covering (e.g. A chest-high wall would grant a +30 bonus because it can cover a character's torso and legs, a waist-high wall would grant a +20 bonus because it can protect the legs, etc.). Using cover in this way costs one action per turn.
The Prone Position
Characters that lie prone receive a +20 bonus to Ranged Attack Success Checks and defensive actions (Block or Dodge) made against incoming Ranged Attacks to represent the character's improved stability and smaller target profile. Likewise a prone character receives a -20 penalty to Melee Attack Success Checks and defensive actions made against incoming Melee Attacks to represent the constraining nature of lying on the ground. Getting into and out of the prone position costs one action.
The following special techniques allow combatants to create Narrative Effects in battle, or gain advantages over their opponents. Each of these Techniques uses the specializations and weight modifiers of the weapon being used to perform the technique.
The Disrupt technique allows a combatant to prevent an opponent from casting spells. To initiate this technique the attacker must hit with their weapon. Should the combatant succeed he must then make a Power Check opposed by his opponents Mental Resistance check. If the power is greater than than his opponent's Mental Resistance the target loses the ability to cast spells for one full round, this also has the consequence of prematurely ending any Channeled spells that the caster may have been maintaining.
The Pin technique allows a combatant to keep an opponent from using any action that would be considered moving for one round. It is useful for trapping opponents that are attempting to flee. To use this technique the combatant must hit with her weapon. Should the combatant succeed she must then make a Power Check opposed by her opponent's Physical Resistance check. If her Power is greater than her opponent's Physical Resistance the target is successfully Pinned.
Maintaining a Pin
A Pin can be maintained for multiple rounds by spending an action on each subsequent round.
Escaping a Pin
A Pin can be escaped by spending an action and succeeding on a Physical Resistance check opposed by the aggressor's Pin Power check.
The Disarm technique allows a combatant to knock a held object away from an opponent, the Storyteller decides where the weapon lands. To use this technique the combatant must hit with her weapon. Should the combatant succeed she must then make a Power Check opposed by her opponent's Physical Resistance check. If her Power is greater than her opponent's Physical Resistance the weapon is successfully Disarmed.
The Knockdown technique allows a combatant to knock an opponent to the ground, into the Prone Position, where it is harder for them to defend against and perform melee attacks. To use this technique the combatant must hit with her weapon. Should the combatant succeed she must then make a Power Check opposed by her opponent's Physical Resistance check. If her Power is greater than her opponent's Physical Resistance the knockdown is successful.
The knockback technique allows a combatant to push an opponent back a number of feet equal to the Power of the technique. This can be used to give other party members space, or even to force the opponent off of a cliff or into an environmental hazard. To use this technique the combatant hit with her weapon. Should the combatant succeed she must then make a Power Check resisted by her opponent's Physical Resistance. If her Power greater than her opponent's Physical Resistance check, the target is successfully pushed back a number of feet equal to the difference in their rolls, to a minimum of 5 feet. Targets that collide with a wall or other solid object take damage equal to any untraveled distance (e.g. a target would take 20 points if it hit a wall 10 feet away after being hit with a 30 foot Knockback).
The Precise Strike technique allows a highly accurate combatant to strike the Damage Target of their choosing. The attacker takes two actions and performs an attack normally, using the one's place on the d% to determine hit location. The attacker is then able to increase or decrease the hit location number by one for every -10 penalty applied to their attack damage.
Stealth allows a combatant to attempt to deny her opponent the chance to defend herself by remaining unseen or unnoticed during battle. To use this technique the combatant must succeed on a Dexterity based Opposed Success Check that is opposed by her opponent's Awareness plus either their Listen or Spot skill modifiers. If the combatant manages to succeed on the Opposed Success Check then her opponent is unaware of her, and may not take a defensive action if attacked. This Narrative Effect lasts until the combatant successfully hits her opponent, after which her location is revealed.
Storyteller's Note: It may not always make sense for players to be able to sneak around an opponent (e.g. there is nowhere to hide or the opponent is staring directly at them), and in these situations the opponent should receive a situational bonus to their Success Check of a magnitude that makes sense in the story (e.g. a +40 when a player is attempting to sneak in a well-lit room with nothing to hide behind).
Combatants can fight using a weapon in either hand, this allows them to make an attack with both weapons using a single action. Attacks made when dual wielding suffer from a -30 penalty to their hit Success Check, but deal full damage if they hit. Characters with the "Ambidextrous" Trait gain a +10 bonus to offset this penalty.
A combatant can use two actions to move in a straight line and attack immediately after, adding the total distance in feet moved as a bonus to the attack's Power Check (e.g. moving 35ft in a straight line grants a +35 bonus to the attack's Power Check). This covers any sort of movement followed by an attack, such as a leaping or dropping from above, and the distance traveled can be extended using a Skill as part of the same action (i.e. the Sprint skill can be used to help a character charge further).
Not all combat involves swords and blood in Swords of Infinity, combatants can do battle with each other verbally as well. Social Interaction functions very similarly to physical combat, but uses Intelligence and Personality in many places where Dexterity and Strength are used.
The only Damage Target available in social interaction is the opponent's Morale.
A combatant's Intelligence is keyed to their Success in Social Conflict, and so replaces Dexterity when a combatant makes their Success Check to "hit".
Mental Resistance is used to avoid the effects of Social Conflict attacks, and also techniques like negotiating or bartering. If the target's Mental Resistance check is higher than the power of the social attack, all effects are avoided.
Personality is the key Ability for determining the damage dealt by a combatant's words, and so replaces Strength when making Power Checks in Social Conflict. The combatant is also able to decide whether this damage affects the target positively or negatively (i.e. a pep talk or tongue lashing respectively).
Consequences of Taking Damage
The Stress Damage Target behaves a little differently from physical Damage Targets, like an arm or a leg, in that a target's Stress uses their Personality score as the threshold.
Recovering from Stress Damage
On their turn, a player can spend an action to reduce their Morale by 1 and heal 10 points of stress damage.
Advanced Social Interaction
Combatants are able to do more than just hurt or bolster a target's morale, special Situational Modifiers allow them to deliver their words with more impact and verbal Techniques allow them to deceive, barter, and more.
Certain conditions during Social Conflict will affect a combatant's chance to succeed or the power of their words. These Situational Modifiers can be found in the table below and are applied with stacking results for each relevant modifier.
|Target is in love with the attacker||+30 Power|
|Target trusts the attacker||+10 Power|
|Target is a well known or public figure||+10 Success|
|Attacker has secret information about the target||+20 Success|
|Target is with one or more allies||-10 Power|
|Target is inebriated||+10 Success & +10 Power|
|Target's ally has been killed||+20 Power|
|Target's ally has been disabled||+10 Power|
|Target's ally has been wounded||+10 Power|
|Target is not a native speaker of the language||-20 Success & -20 Power|
The following special techniques allow combatants to create Narrative Effects in Social Interaction, or gain advantages over their opponents. Each of these Techniques can be Specialized in to either increase their chance of success or their power, but any combatant can attempt to use them.
The Barter technique allows a character to either increase or decrease the agreed upon Value Level of an item that is being purchased or sold. To use this technique the character must succeed in an Intelligence based Success check, adding any specializations for Social Interaction. Should the character succeed she must then make a Power Check opposed by her opponent's Mental Resistance check. If her Power is greater than her opponent's Mental Resistance, then the agreed Value Level is successfully reduced or increased by one at the discretion of the initiating character.
Storyteller's Note: Most merchants are attempting to make a profit and will not be willing to purchase an item for more than half of its actual Value Level and, likewise, will not sell an item for less than half its true Value Level. In situations where players successfully Barter the Value Level beyond these thresholds you may simply have merchants declare that they have reached the best price they can give and will not go any lower or higher.
The Provoke technique allows a character to draw the aggression of an adversary to herself. This technique is useful in situations where a more vulnerable ally is being accosted and the character wishes to draw their attacker away. To use this technique the character must succeed in an Intelligence based Success check, adding any specializations for Social Interaction. Should the character succeed she must then make a Power Check opposed by her opponent's Mental Resistance check. If her Power is greater than her opponent's Mental Resistance, then they are successfully provoked and will direct their attacks in the direction of the provoking character for at least one round.
The Intimidate technique allows a character to force a target into taking a single action through the use of fear. This technique is particularly useful in situations where the character wishes to chase an adversary away rather than physically fight them. To use this technique the character must succeed in an Intelligence based Success check, adding any specializations for Social Interaction. Should the character succeed he must then make a Power Check opposed by his opponent's Mental Resistance check. If his Power is greater than his opponent's Mental Resistance, then they are successfully intimidated and will take a single action at the command of the intimidating character.
Storyteller's Note: Targets of intimidation are unlikely to perform certain actions regardless of any intimidation, such as physically harming themselves or an ally, and in those situations it is recommended that you apply an appropriately high bonus to the target's Mental Resistance score (e.g. a +40 or +50 if the target is instructed to physically harm himself).
The Deceive technique allows a character to trick a target into believing something that is untrue. It can also be used to distract an enemy in battle and thus open an opportunity for an ally to use the Sneak technique. To use this technique the character must succeed in an Intelligence based Success check, adding any specializations for Social Interaction. Should the character succeed he must then make a Power Check opposed by his opponent's Mental Resistance check. If his Power is greater than his opponent's Mental Resistance, then they are successfully Deceived and will believe a single piece of false information related by the deceiver.
Storyteller's Note: Some deception is just too outlandish to believe and, in situations like these, it is recommended that an appropriate bonus be applied to the target's Mental Resistance (e.g. a +50 bonus for a piece of information that the target knows empirically to be false).
The Calm technique allows a character to remove the hostile intentions of a target. This technique is particularly useful in situations where the character wishes to avoid a physical confrontation. To use this technique the character must succeed in an Intelligence based Success check, adding any specializations for Social Interaction. Should the character succeed she must then make a Power Check opposed by her opponent's Mental Resistance check. If her Power is greater than her opponent's Mental Resistance, then they are successfully Calmed and will refrain from physically attacking the character until given a new justification to do so.
Storyteller's Note: Some offenses are so egregious that a target is unlikely to be calmed and in situations like these it is recommended that an appropriate bonus be applied to the target's Mental Resistance (e.g. a +50 bonus if the target is already in combat with the characters).