When you want your character to hit another character in combat, you make a task check using the appropriate combat skill. If you are hitting in hand-to-hand combat, the relevant skill is Martial Arts. If you are hitting an opponent from a distance with a missile weapon, the relevant skill is Guns. If you are attempting to hit an opponent with a spell, use Sorcery. Some attacks can be made with the Arcanowave Device or Creature Powers skills; if you have a schtick that requires that these skills be used, this will be indicated in the schtick descriptions.
If your opponent is stationary and does not defend against you, the Difficulty of the task check is 0. If the opponent is dodging or parrying, the Difficulty equals the Action Value of the opponent's dodge or parry attempt (this is covered in the next section). Your opponent might also successfully execute a reactive stunt that prevents you from attacking him at all.
Other factors such as range, cover, and impairment from wounds can alter Action Values and Difficulties during combat.
Few characters who know that they're in the middle of a fight are going to stand stock still waiting to be creamed. Any character engaged in combat is assumed to be moving about; this is considered to be a passive dodge and has no shot cost. If a character is making a passive dodge, the Difficulty of any attempt to hit her equals her Dodge Action Value.
A character's Dodge Action Value equals her highest Action Value from the following list: Arcanowave Device, Creature Power, Guns, Martial Arts, Sorcery (if they have Blast), or the Agility secondary attribute. You should always have the Dodge Action Value for characters you are running available for easy reference.
Characters may also choose to make an active dodge against any attack. This means that the character is, for the moment, concentrating entirely on not getting hit. An active dodge has a shot cost of 1. Making an active dodge increases your Dodge Action Value by 3.
An active dodge counts as a defensive action, as does a parry (explained next).
In especially close quarters, dodges--whether passive or active-- may be especially tricky: your GM will reduce your Dodge Action Value accordingly.
A parry is a kind of active dodge, in which you are placing a hard object such as a shield or sword between you and the incoming blow. Or maybe you're grabbing the guy's sword arm or otherwise forcefully preventing him from going upside your head. Your Parry Action Value is always equal to your Martial Arts Action Value (though Sorcerers can use Blast or Movement schticks instead if they have them). There is no other rules difference between active dodging and parrying, but the result is described differently by GM and players. It is merely a matter of style. GMs may rule that parrying is inappropriate in certain circumstances, and insist that characters dodge instead.
Many of the opponents you will be facing are of low skill: their only advantage is numbers. Heroes in action flicks mow through cheap henchmen with little trouble. In Feng Shui, we call these opponents unnamed characters. If the GM hasn't bothered to give them a name, they're not really important to the plot. They're set dressing, basically, but more fun to beat up. (Don't get too overconfident, though--they can still do damage to you when the GM rolls high.) Unnamed characters follow a different set of rules than named characters, as explained below.
If an unnamed character is hit and the Outcome of the attack was 5 or more, he is out of the fight. If the Outcome is between 1 and 4, the GM may elect to describe various ill effects of the fight that the unnamed character might be suffering, but this is simply a style thing: the character suffers no impairment or other game consequence.
Named characters are harder to take out in a fight, because they are sufficiently important to the story for the GM to have given them names. PCs are all named characters, as are the main bad guys your characters will be fighting.
Here's the basic formula for determining the result of a successful hit on a named character: Attack Outcome + Damage - Victim's Toughness = Wound Points suffered.
Here's how this works: when a character hits an opponent, take the Outcome of the attack check; this is the difference between the attacker's higher attack Action Result and the defender's lower Dodge or Parry Action result.
Add this figure to the damage value of the attack form. Each type of attack does a different amount of damage: see the Damage Values Chart. Then subtract the victim's Toughness value.
The result of the equation is the number of Wound Points that the character suffers. If the result is 0 or less, the character suffers no Wound Points.
Copyright 1996 by Robin D. Laws.
Used by kind permission.
Permission granted to print and photocopy for your personal use.