Combat in Torg is the combat of adventure fiction. Arrows fly, providing danger - but far less frequently do they provide death, at least for the heroes. The chance of death, however, is always present in combat, and probably more frequently than in fiction, where the author has complete control the outcome of events. Combat occurs in round play with each round representing 10 seconds of “game time.” Resolving everything that happens in a combat round takes longer than 10 seconds of real time do, but for the characters only 10 seconds pass. During combat there are nine general types of actions that characters can perform, which are described in the following section.
An attack is taken in order to damage a target. An attack action always requires generating an action total. A defenseaction is the use of a defensive skill such as dodge or melee weapons. Most defensive actions are passive and do not require generating an action total. Characters can elect to perform an active defense though, in which case an action total is generated. On an active defense, if the bonus number is less than +1 it is considered to be a +1 bonus. A simple action is an easy task that usually doesn’t require any kind of skill check to perform. Shouting a command, flipping a switch, reloading a clip-fed weapon and moving a short distance are examples of simple actions. A movement action involves any movement that covers more than a short distance or requires the use of a skill, such as climbing, jumping and running. All speed push attempts are movement actions. Maneuver is an aggressive movement designed to tire an opponent or throw her off balance and is covered by use of the maneuver skill and the Interaction Results Table.
Trick, Test, Taunt, and Intimidation are uses of the skills with the same names designed to unsettle and throw off an opponent, giving the character a tactical advantage. In general, a character may only roll the die for one type of action in a round. Passive defense and simple actions do not require die rolls so they may be performed in conjunction with an action that does involve a die roll. Generally there is no limit on the number of passive defense actions a character can perform; they can always passively defend against every attack directed at them in a round. The number of simple actions a character can perform in one round is generally limited to what makes sense within the ten-second period of time represented by a round. Characters can attempt to perform more than one action that requires a die roll in a round by performing a multi-action. The rules for multi-actions are described later in this chapter.
Initiative, which side gets to go first during the round, is determined by the Drama Deck and is explained in Chapter Five. Everyone involved in a combat is divided into two factions, the Heroes and Villains. One side will get to go first in a round and when everyone on that side has finished taking their actions the other side gets to take their actions. Once both sides have finished taking their actions, the round is over and initiative is determined again for the next round. The order in which everyone on a side takes their actions is usually determined by the Dexterity attributes of everyone on that side. Characters act in Order from highest to lowest Dexterity. Gamemasters may also simply progress from one side of the table to the other instead of having characters go in Order of Dexterity if this seems easier than keeping track of when each character would go in Order of Dexterity.
Attack skills include Heavy weapons, unarmed combat, melee weapons, missile weapons and martial arts. Attacks made with magic spells, miracles or some other kind of special ability would use the associated skill as an attack skill. When using an attack skill, if the action total is equal to or higher than the difficulty number of the attack, the attack hits the target. The difficulty number is the opponent’s appropriate defensive skill, which may be passive or an active defense
Most of the attack skills also serve as their own defensive skill. The main exception is ranged combat where the dodgeskill is used for defense instead of the skill used to make the ranged attack. Most defenses will be passive, using the base value of the skill, but characters can elect to make an active defense and increase the difficulty number for their opponent. When rolling a bonus for an active defense, treat all bonus numbers of less than +1 as +1. An active defense can never make a character easier to hit, only harder. A character does not need to have the initiative to perform an active defense; it can be taken during the opponent’s initiative. An active defense does have to be declared before the attacker rolls the die. Because an active defense requires a die roll, characters can only perform an active defense if they have not already taken a dice action that round.
Once a character is hit, the effect total (usually called the damage total) determines damage. The attacker’s damage value is his Strength, possibly modified by a melee or missile weapon, or the damage value of the weapon itself (for weapons that provide their own energy like a crossbow) Plus the skills used with the attack. The difficulty is the target’sToughness (which might be modified by armor) plus the skill adds used in defense. The more the difficulty number is exceeded, the more the target is damaged. Remember that to get an effect total, you use the same bonus number that generated the action total. The result points determined by applying the damage total against the opponent’s Toughness or armor value are read on the Combat Results Table to determine the amount and type of damage done by the attack. There are two columns on the chart, one for Mooks and one for possibility-rated characters. By their nature, possibility rated characters (whether they are player characters or nonplayer characters) are better able to endure damage than Mooks.
Types of Damage
A character can suffer up to four types of damage when an attack successfully causes injury: shock, knockout conditionand wounds are the three main kinds of damage. The fourth type, knockdown, is very temporary and is more of a condition than actual damage.
Shock damage is expressed as a number. When the total number of shock points taken equals or exceeds a character’sToughness, he falls unconscious. Unconscious or resting characters recover shock damage at the rate of one point a minute if the character does not also have a KO condition. An unconscious character will wake up when his shock damage is reduced to an amount less than his Toughness.
Example: Quin’s Toughness is 11. If he takes 11 or more points of shock damage in a fight he passes out. He will remain unconscious until enough shock damage has been healed or removed to bring him to 10 or fewer points of shock damage. If Quin also has a KO condition he won’t heal any shock damage until the KO is gone.
Knockout conditions represent blows to vulnerable areas. The letters “K” and “O” mark knockout conditions. When a character takes a K, the player should record that on the character sheet. If a character with a K later takes an O, that’s a KO, which knocks the character unconscious.
COMBAT RESULTS TABLE
S 1 1
1 O 1 1
2 K 1 O 1
3 O 2 K 1
4 K 2 2
5 Knockdown O 3 O 2
6 Knockdown K 3 Knockdown K 2
7 Knockdown K/O 4 Knockdown O 3
8 Wnd KO 4 Knockdown K 3
9 Wnd K/O 5 Knockdown K/O 3
10 Wnd KO 5 Wnd K/O 4
11 2Wnd K/O 6 Wnd K/O 4
12 2Wnd KO 6 Wnd KO 4
13 3Wnd K/O 7 2Wnd K/O 5
14 3Wnd KO 7 2Wnd KO 5
15 4Wnd KO 8 3Wnd KO 5
+2 +1Wnd +1 shock +1Wnd +1 shock
A K condition lasts for half an hour, representing a serious jolt to the nervous system. If a character already has a K result and takes another K, the shock damage for that blow only is increased by three. Any Os taken before a K result last for only a round and then fade. If a character already has an O result and takes a K, that’s also a KO result and he is knocked unconscious. A K/O result means that if the character has no knockout condition already, he takes a K. If he already has a K, he takes an O instead. After five minutes, the O of a KO condition will fade, leaving the character with just a K result. The character will regain consciousness at this point (unless he’s also unconscious from shock damage, which won’t heal while a character has a KO result.)
Example: In the first round of a fight, Quin takes a K result in damage. In the next round, he takes another K and three points of shock damage. Since he already has a K result, the second K becomes three additional points of shock damage and he takes six points of shock that round. In the third round, he takes a K/O result. Since he already has a K, he takes an O, which gives him a KO, and he’s knocked unconscious. After five minutes he will wake up with just a K condition.
Knockdown causes a character to spend his next action getting up, although he is not completely helpless - he may take an active defense action while getting back up. Alternately, the character can remain on the ground and take an action from that position but at a penalty. The penalty will depend on the action the character attempts and the circumstances, but should be at least a +2 to the difficulty.
Example: Quin suffers a Knockdown during a fight. Instead of getting back up he decides to shoot at his opponent from the ground. Becky assigns a +2 penalty to the attempt. In the next round, instead of getting up Quin decides to intimidatehis opponent. Becky decides that being laid out of the ground is not the best position for intimidating a standing opponent and assigns a +5 penalty this time. If a character suffers a Knockdown result while already under the effects of a Knockdown, or takes multiple Knockdown results at the same time, the extra Knockdowns further limit what the character can do while she is knocked down. A second Knockdown limits the character to only being able to perform simple actions during their next action (they can get back up, but they can’t actively defend while doing so since that is not a simple action.) Any further Knockdowns extend the number of rounds that the character can only perform simple actions.
Example: While he’s still on the ground from a previous Knockdown result, two of Quin’s opponents run up and start kicking him. Each one manages to hit and each gets a Knockdown result as part of their damage on Quin. Because he’s already under the effects of one Knockdown, these two additional Knockdowns mean that Quin can only perform simple actions for the next two rounds. Even if Quin stands up during the next round, he will still be too dazed to do anything but simple actions in the next round as well.
Wound damage is serious injuries that linger and hinder a character’s ability to act. There are four levels of wounds:wounded, heavily wounded, mortally wounded, and dead (more than four wounds also counts as dead.) The number of wound levels taken from an attack precedes the abbreviation “Wnd” on the Combat Results Table.
Wounds are cumulative: a heavily wounded character that takes another wound is now mortally wounded, and so forth. When a character reaches the mortally wounded level, he will soon die unless he receives medical attention. Whenever a character takes any level of wound damage in combat he also suffers an automatic Knockdown result (see above). While wounded, a character suffers a penalty on any action she attempts because of the pain caused by the injury. The resist pain and willpower skill can be used to temporarily ignore these penalties. Certain painkilling drugs, magic spells and other effects may also allow a character to ignore the penalties caused by injuries. The penalty is equal to the character’s wound level: wounded characters have a +1 penalty, heavily wounded characters have a +2 penalty and mortally wounded characters have a +3 penalty. Dead characters of course can’t do anything (the ultimate penalty).
Additionally, when a character is at mortally wounded, he takes one shock point of damage a round until one of two things occurs:
- He receives medical
attention (first aid or medicine skill) to stop the accumulation of shock damage
shock damage equals his Toughness, at which point his wound level increases to dead and he dies. When a character dies at four wounds, immediate emergency medical attention (first aid or medicine skills) can be used to improve her condition to mortally wounded if applied within one round of the character taking the fourth wound. Characters who have taken five or more wounds cannot be saved. Characters who go from mortally wounded to dead due to accumulated shock damage can have their condition reversed back to mortally wounded with successful medical treatment. A second medical treatment must be made immediately in the next round to stabilize the character or their condition will worsen todead again and this time it cannot be reversed.
Each type of damage (except Knockdowns) takes a different amount of time from which to recover. Knockdowns are recovered simply by standing up. Shock damage is removed at a rate of one point per minute. An O by itself is removed after one round. A K requires a half an hour to go away. The O portion of a KO is removed in five minutes. A character will not recover any shock damage while suffering from a KO result. Once the KO has faded to a K result then the character will start recovering shock points.
Wound damage takes much longer to heal and isn’t automatic. In Order to heal a wound, the character makes a healing check. The player generates a Toughness total for her character against a difficulty number based on the character’s total wound level. Another character can use the medicine skill to try and help out the recovering character. The amount of time a character has to wait before making the first healing check depends on his total wound level. Once that first healing check has been made, if any further checks are needed they can be made on a daily basis until the character has fully recovered. A successful healing check will improve a character’s wound condition by one level. A failed check does not make the character’s condition any worse.
Wound Level Difficulty Time
Wounded 8 one day
Heavily Wounded 12 three days
Mortally Wounded 15 seven days