Combat is handled in sequences. Each sequence represents roughly three seconds of time. In turn, each sequence is divided into a variable number of shots. Shots are a game abstraction: they are a way of determining who gets to do something in what order within a single sequence
At the beginning of each sequence, each participant in the fight makes an Initiative Check. This is a roll of one die, to which the character's Speed is added. Sixes are not rerolled. The resulting number is the shot at which the character first gets to act. A sequence starts with the highest Initiative Check Result of any character participating in the fight.
Once the highest shot has been determined, the character with the highest shot gets to act. Then the GM counts down shots from highest to lowest to see who gets to act next. Actions that take place during the same shot occur in the order of the GM's preference. When a character's shot comes up, he can act. The complexity of the action he chooses to make determines how many shots elapse before he can act again. Even the slowest characters generally get to act several times during a sequence.
Most complex actions cost three shots. In three shots a character can (for example) attack in hand-to-hand combat, aim and fire a weapon. reload a revolver, draw and nock an arrow, pick up an object, or throw an object. At the same time, he can also travel a distance up to his Move rating in meters. If just running, he can travel twice his Move rating in meters (this can't be a snapshot). In a sequence in which he rolled initiative, he can move a total of three times his Move. (If not in combat, he could go four times his Move.) Some simple actions take only one shot. In one shot a character can, for example: parry or block an attack, resist a wrestling maneuver, draw a weapon from a scabbard or holster, reload a clip-fed gun, duck or dive hat. or catch a thrown object.
Once the GM has counted down through the shots, and resolved all actions that take place on shot I, a new sequence starts with a new round of Initiative Checks. There is no shot 0.
At shots 2 and 1, characters may take actions that cost up to 3 shots even though there aren't enough shots left. There's no penalty for this, and the unaccounted-for shot cost is not carried over to the next sequence
Actions with a shot cost higher than 3, however, do carry over. See "Extra-Long Actions" for more infermation.
It is possible to take defensive actions even when it is not your shot, as long as your next shot is greater than 0. Defensive actions include dodging or parrying incoming blows and dodging incoming missiles such as bullets or arrows. Reduce your next shot number by 1 unless otherwise specified.
If your opponent is significantly faster than you. it is possible to spend all of your shots on defensive actions and not ever get to take an offensive action. Hint: you're in big trouble.
When attacked, often the best thing to do is to execute a stunt to not only prevent your opponent from attacking you, but to give yourself an advantage of some sort over that opponent. See the discussion of Stunts in the rulebook.
It is possible to decrease the shot cost of an action by doing it recklessly. An action performed in this manner is called a snapshot. To reduce the shot cost by 1, subtract 2 from your action value for the task check. To reduce the cost by 2, subtract 5 from the action value. You can't reduce your action value any further with a snapshot.
For those of you who really like putting things into categories, a snapshot can be considered to be a type of stunt. It is possible to combine a snapshot with other stunt elements for an even greater Action Value penalty but a cooler result.
Sometimes your characters will be doing one thing throughout a sequence while also trying to perform other actions. These are called continuous actions. Examples of continuous actions include driving. attempting to remain balanced on a precarious or slippery perch, or using certain fu powers. These do not have a shot cost, but increase the shot costs of all other attempted actions by 1.
Some actions in a sequence take more than 3 shots. Certain fu powers require more time than it takes to make a standard attack. Or your character might also be engaging in a non-combat action, such as defusing a bomb or frantically trying to repair an out-of-control vehicle, while her pals and enemies are furiously hammering on one another.
Characters who wish to take actions that take 4 or more shots when there aren't that many shots left in the sequence subtract the remaining number of shots from their first shot of the next sequence This result gives them the shot on which their current action is completed and a new one may begin.
Copyright 1996 by Robin D. Laws.
Used by kind permission.
Permission granted to print and photocopy for your personal use.