It’s simplest to think of combat as a series of actions, with each participant taking it in turns to do things. Combatants might charge into battle swinging a blade, hide behind cover firing a gun, dodge past enemies to leap across a chasm to escape or perform any number of heroic (or cowardly) actions.
Combat has to be structured (or there would be literal chaos) and therefore it is split into rounds. Each round is roughly 3 seconds long, meaning there are 20 rounds in a minute.
Determine Initiative and Turn Order
To work out who goes when (the Turn Order) you need to determine Initiative. Roll a d10 for each combatant and add their PA and MA to this to get their Initiative score. Whichever combatant has the highest Initiative score gets to go first, followed by the next highest and so on. If there is a tie, each combatant that is tied rolls a d10, with the highest going first. If they roll the same, just roll again until you have a winner.
Some actions during combat take hardly any time at all, or can be done while doing something else without penalty. These are called Free Actions. Below is a list of suggested Free Actions, but the GM is free to use their judgement when the players ask for things not on the list!
- Move up to their normal walking speed
- Draw a weapon that is easily accessible
- Shout a command or short warning
Movement During Combat
No one stands still for long during combat and in Shapers it is no different. Characters can move and perform other actions, but they may suffer penalties for doing so.
As listed above, characters can move up to their normal walking speed as a free action without penalty.
Characters may jog while performing other actions, but will suffer penalties. Refer to the Combat Difficulty charts in the next section for examples.
Characters may run, but cannot perform another action with one exception. Characters may elect to charge into combat, when doing so they move up to their normal running speed and must engage in melee combat at the end of the move, at which point they may make one attack.
Characters that are sprinting in combat may not charge an opponent and therefore do not get an attack even if they are standing right next to an opponent. Additionally, the GM may require them to make a Physical Agility + Athletics roll to avoid tripping over, etc.
A character may attack another in melee if they end their movement within 2m of their opponent. Some very large weapons or creatures may be able to make melee attacks at greater distances. This will be noted in their description where appropriate.
Combat is frantic and confusing, with combatants ducking and diving and moving around quickly, while all sorts of explosions, clashes of weapons and other distractions are going on around them. Therefore the base difficulty of any attack in melee or at range is Average (TN 50). Use the character’s Physical Agility Attribute + appropriate Aptitude to attack.
Most melee attacks will be Opposed Rolls, so decide which Attribute + Aptitude is relevant for the defender and make a roll for them..
Characters may use their Physical Agility + Dodge to defend against a ranged attack, but only if they are able to see the shot coming. If the defender is within melee range they may instead use a Melee Aptitude to defend.
In melee if an attacker is 10 sizes or more larger than you, you may only use Dodge to defend and cannot use Melee (Unarmed) or Melee (Armed).
Optional: Passive Defence
If you find there are too many dice rolls involved in combat, then you may use the following optional rules.
The GM decides what Attribute + Aptitude is relevant for the defender and deducts that from the result of the attacker’s roll.
For example, if the attacker succeeded by 15 points, but the defender’s Attribute + Aptitude is 20, the net result is -5 which turns that success into a failure! If the attacker had instead failed by -15 points, the defender’s Attribute + Aptitude would turn it into an even worse failure of -35 points!
During an opposed Melee test, if the attacker loses by 30 points or more, then they have left themselves exposed to a counter-attack. The defender automatically hits, using the attacker’s roll to calculate damage. A failure by 30 points would therefore translate as +3 damage, a failure by 45 points would be +4, etc.
While Shaper’s is a game set in a world where the walls of reality have collapsed in upon themselves and kind of smushed everything together, there is still one very different place that characters can find themselves outside of the physical world.
Dreamscapes are an altered state of consciousness where the laws of physics no longer apply. Characters can enter a dreamscape either while asleep or while awake. It goes without saying that characters do not have real physical bodies while in a dreamscape. Instead they are represented by an avatar, which may look, sound and feel like them in real life, but will often be an aspirational version of themselves.
In game terms, wherever the rules would normally refer to Physical Strength, Physical Agility or Physical Fortitude, substitute one of the Social or Mental Attributes instead. As a general rule of thumb, if the character is asleep or otherwise unconscious when entering the dreamscape substitute using their Social Attributes. If the character is fully awake when entering the dreamscape substitute using either their Social or Mental Attributes, whichever is higher.
There are of course other factors that may affect the TN in combat. The GM is advised to use their own judgement, but below are some suggestions to help you.
|Attacking a blind opponent||+20|
|Attacking a prone opponent||+20|
|Attacking an engaged opponent in the rear||+20|
|Charging into combat||+10|
|Outnumbering an opponent||+10 per combatant on the outnumbering side|
|Attacking a larger opponent||+Difference in Size|
|A standard melee attack||0|
|Attacking a smaller opponent||-Difference in Size|
|Attacking while prone||-10|
|Attacking a specific hit location||-20|
|Attacking through fog, mist, heavy rain and other weather effects||-20|
|Attacking while blind||-40|
|Shooting at Point Blank (up to 10% of the listed range)||+20|
|Shooting at a Large target (example: Stone Guardian)||+10|
|Shooting at Short Range (up to half the listed range)||+10|
|Spend a round aiming||+10|
|Size modifier||Creature Size -10|
|Shooting at Normal Range (up to the listed range)||0|
|Shooting while you or your mount is jogging||-10|
|Target is behind light cover (example: bushes)||-10|
|Attempting to use a Learned Aptitude without any points in the Aptitude||-20|
|Shooting at Long Range (up to double the listed range)||-20|
|Targeting a specific hit location||-20|
|Target is behind medium cover (example: a wooden fence)||-20|
|Target is behind heavy cover (example: a car or brick wall)||-30|
|Shooting at Extreme Range (up to triple the listed range)||-40|
When you outnumber an opponent in melee combat, a couple of things happen. First and foremost your chances of hitting your opponent go up. Increase the TN by +10 per combatant on the outnumbering side.
As it is much easier to get a good hit on your target, finding the weakest points and chinks in their armour, each combatant on the outnumbering side gains a damage bonus. Increase damage caused by +1 per combatant on the outnumbering side.
For example, 4 humans are facing a rather nasty looking monster. It could be a dragon, or an ogre, or any of a number of hideous nightmares. As they outnumber the creature by 4 to 1, they each receive a +40 bonus to their TN to hit the beast and a +4 damage bonus too!
On a successful hit calculate how much damage your attack does based on the weapon you are using. When using the Melee or Ranged (Throwing) Aptitudes add your Physical Strength to the damage caused by the weapon. When using any other Ranged Aptitude, add your Physical Agility to the damage caused by the weapon. See Weapons and Armour for details.
For every 10 points of success, increase the damage caused by 1 point as the attacker manages to strike accurately for maximum effect.
Armour (see the Consumer Guide) may also reduce damage taken for particular damage types.
Lastly, the damage is reduced by the victim’s Fortitude Attribute (either Physical, Social or Mental, depending on the type of attack), before being deducted from their Health.
Optional: Lethal Damage
If this was the real world, would someone really be able to withstand more damage because they have a good constitution? Hardly. If you are finding fights are taking too long, or simply aren’t dangerous enough, then just ignore the Fortitude Attribute when calculating damage taken. Armour and other resistances will still apply.
Sometimes you will want to know where a character has been hit, particularly if they are wearing armour that does not cover their entire body. To do that simply roll a d100 and consult the chart below.
|01 – 10||Head|
|11 – 25||Left Arm|
|26 – 40||Right Arm|
|41 – 70||Body|
|71 – 85||Left Leg|
|86 – 00||Right Leg|