Simple Combat Resolution
There are three major steps to resolving a round of combat:
Step A: Identify the Combatants
Once a player decides to attack someone, he/she informs the intended
target. Anybody else nearby has just a second or two to join in,
otherwise they miss this round of combat. Once combat starts, there
may be a brief "time freeze" while the combatants sort
out what they are doing (or find a Game-Master to help them).
Step B: Declare your Actions
Each player will be wearing a name badge. On the back of the
badge, normally hidden, is a number. Each round of combat, those
involved must flip over their badge and reveal their number. This
number indicates what sequence your actions are declared in; lower
badge numbers declare before higher badge numbers. Badge
numbers are unique, so there are no ties.
The action you declare is probably going to be one of your skills
or special abilities (see below), and may target another player
("I punch you"), or not ("I run away"). You
do not have to declare defensive maneuvers like Dodge,
since it is assumed you always try to do this. For simplicity,
it is encouraged that players show special ability cards they are
using when actions are declared.
Step C: Resolve your actions
The badge number also indicates what sequence your actions are
resolved in; higher badge numbers resolve before lower
badge numbers. If a player is no longer able to carry
out his/her action when it comes his/her turn to resolve (because,
for example, he/she have gone "down"), then his/her action
To resolve your action, you hold out 0 or more colored
beads (aka Aura) in your closed hand, and your target,
if any, does the same. If there was no target (e.g., you ran
away), then you automatically succeed. You and your target reveal
your beads/Aura at the same time, the higher
number of Aura wins. Ties go to the "pacifist," so
the shootee or punchee would win all ties. In other words, an
attacker must exceed their target's Aura number. If you are using
a special ability for the current action and have not shown the
card already, you MUST show it at this point. The only exception
is if you have no skill card for the current action (i.e.
you were bluffing) and
up zero Aura/beads.
YOU HAVE COMPLETED ONE ROUND OF
GO BACK to Step A until nobody wants to (or can) fight any
- Special Abilities
over-ride the normal combat rules. This means that it is always possible for
somebody to show a special ability card which
permits them to bend or bypass the normal flow of events. Example:
Somebody could have the "Quick-draw" ability, which permits them
go first when using a gun, even if they have a low badge number. The
rules of how the ability works will be written on the special ability
card. See a Game-Master if an ability card is not clear.
combat is obvious to all participants. There is no general "surprise" rule,
although there is always the chance somebody has a special ability
which permits them to do something like this.
can choose how many Aura you reveal. The means that you might
not reveal all your Aura for any
given action, in order to hide
how "powerful" you
- Once you have "used" Aura for something during
a combat round, you cannot re-use them later in that round. This means that Aura you
use to defend (Dodge) with cannot be used later in the same
round to fight back. A "round" is considered to be
one cycle of Steps A, B, and C
above. Conversely, Aura you use to attack with cannot be used
later in the same round to defend. You must decide how to "allocate" your
each turn. At the beginning of the next round, if there is
one, you have
access to all your Aura again.
- Common Combat Skills and Default Effects of Success. The three most
common skills used in combat are Melee, Firearms, and Dodge. Melee is used
for all hand to hand combat. Firearms is used for all ranged combat. Dodge
is used for all defensive actions (i.e. avoiding damage). The default effect
of a successful Melee or Firearms action is to do damage to an opponent.
You can describe your attack more colorfully (e.g., I grab them, I trip
them, etc). You will not, however, gain any special advantage for doing
so unless you have a specific special ability allowing you to gain an additional
- If you are attempting
to use a skill that you do not possess a "skill
you may do so at an Aura number of Zero. This
means that you can try just about anything, but will generally
you are skilled at. This might come up quite often for three
types of skills: Firearms, Melee, and Dodge. Anybody can
fire a gun,
a punch, or try to get out of the way. However, unless they
actually have a skill card for Firearms, Melee, or Dodge,
it is at Aura
number 0, and thus has a much lower chance of actually succeeding.
may declare multiple combat actions during your turn. Each
action is independent of the others, and may have a
However, each action requires its own Aura declaration,
so there is a practical limit to how thinly most people can
action is resolved separately during that player's turn.
- You may not Attack and Run
Away in the same round.
Unit Scale Combat
At some point in the game,
there may be a need to resolve a conflict between two military forces.
Some characters have a special ability
called Military Unit. This ability represents the character’s command
of some kind of militia which can be used to protect their domain or
attack someone else’s. Each military unit has a strength rating
which indicates how large, well armed, and well trained it is. Unit
Scale combat always occurs “off stage” and does not take
time away from normal game play. In
order to resolve conflict between two units, the following simple
- Unit Movement. Throughout
the game, characters who control Military Units may ask them to
move through Evermore. As a general rule,
Military units can only enter territories you already control or
If you try to enter a domain controlled by someone else, your units
will automatically be engaged by any military units stationed there.
It may, therefore, be necessary to negotiate with someone to allow
your troops into their domain. Note also some locations are
secret and cannot be reached by military units unless the secret
code is known.
the forces involved
in the conflict. Once a conflict is about to start, figure
out how many Military Units are involved
the conflict and which side they are fighting on. Add the strengths
of all military units fighting along side each other to determine
the total military strength for each force. In order to join in
the military units must have been assigned to the correct location.
Military units can not split their strength. The total military
strength of each side is kept secret from the opposing commander.
- Choose a commander. Each
side has to choose one character to act as its general. For simplicity,
the character does not need to be in the same location as the troops
and they can continue their normal character interactions in the
primary game space once the unit scale combat is resolved. The
commander is simply responsible for resolving individual challenges
for his or her side. Some special abilities provide advantages
in unit scale combat. Military Units can only benefit from the
special abilities of a character chosen as their commander.
- Resolve the
The two commanders play rock-paper-scissors. If one side
wins, the other side’s military strength is reduced
by two. If there is a tie, each side loses one unit.
or Surrender. If one side has no military strength left, they have been defeated
and must retreat or surrender. If
both sides have military strength remaining, they may choose to reengage
or cease hostilities. If they reengage, the repeat the combat process.
special abilities or items may affect this simple process so be careful
who you engage in battle with.
Other Stuff You Want to
Skills and Special Abilities
every skill or special ability is combat-oriented, although the same general
system is used. To use a
skill or ability, you show the card to your target,
or the Game-Master (if there is no target), and declare what you are
trying to accomplish. The card will state how the skill or ability works, and
what the target should do. Example: The "Detect Lie" special ability
let you ask someone if the last statement he/she made was true or not. The
card would inform the target to answer that question honestly. By default,
abilities are "obvious," that is, the target knows you used this
them, unless the card states otherwise. If you are ever the target of a
special ability that is not obvious, then please role-play as if you did not
know what just happened.
Some skills or special abilities
may also require the user to reveal, temporarily "use," or even
permanently "spend," a number
of their Aura.
Aura temporarily "used" are regained according to the text written
card, typically after the effect is over. Aura permanently spent (indicated
by "Cost:") are given to
a Game-Master. Aura expenditures are on the honor system.
players will start the game with a certain number of colored beads, which
roughly represent their
personal "power” or Aura. These beads do NOT actually
exist in-game. During the course of the
game, you may gain or lose Aura (mostly lose:-), indicating a "change" in
your character, but not without some sort
of special ability or circumstance. Sometimes you will need to temporarily "use" or
"set aside" a bead to
activate a special ability. This represents the amount of "attention" you
focusing on that activity. Sometimes (when the word "Cost" is present)
you will need to spend beads outright, giving them to a Game Master. Usually,
choose if, and how many, beads
you reveal to other players. However, as always, special abilities and circumstances
might exist which over-ride this rule.
Dross are items that have been invested with a certain amount of magical
power. Any time an ability calls for the permanent expenditure of Aura,
a character may chose to expend an equal amount of Dross instead. Once
Dross has been used in this way, the magic is expended and the item is
consumed. Some Dross items are worth more than 1. When these items are
used to power special abilities or spells, all of the magic in them is
consumed regardless of whether or not it was needed. In other words, a
2 point Dross item can be used to power a special ability that costs 1
Aura or 1 Dross, but the additional point of Dross is wasted and can not
be used later. Dross may NOT be used to boost your Aura in any kind of
By default, all characters
can take four (4) wounds before going "down." Special
abilities or item cards may modify this number. What happens to you when
you are down depends on how you went down, and whom you are with.
You are mostly helpless, so you can be killed the next combat
round, if your opponent wishes, and nobody intervenes. If nobody kills you
may or may not recover, depending on the type of wound, and if healing is
available. See a Game-Master if you go "down."
Note: Healing is rare in this environment, so please do not rely on it.
By default, all guns
do four (4) points of damage. All hand-to-hand attacks do one (1) point
of damage. Special abilities or item cards may modify this
Every player will
wear a name badge, displaying his/her "given" name,
more keywords, any political titles, and his/her current Guild affiliation.
This is the only public information available about most people at the
start of the game. It is likely there is more information about
you in your background, which you may
choose to reveal at your own risk. The keywords are often visible descriptors
or reputations. They may, however, also include Stigmas such as being a
Guild Outcast or an Oathbreaker. Again, there may be more to you than meets
the eye, so once the game
starts, reveal secret information at your own risk.
The back of each badge contains a unique badge number, which should be
revealed if you get into combat, or if somebody shows you an ability card
permitting them to look at it.
In your character
packet, you might find one or more sealed envelopes, with
some sort of "opening criteria" written on the outside. Please pay
the conditions written on the envelope, and at the proper time, open the
envelope, and respond appropriately to the contents. Examples of opening
criteria: "Open at the start of the game," "Open when you meet
Character X,""Open when you see the keyword 'Cold-Blooded Killer.' " Yes,
if you guessed that some of the keywords on the name badges might trigger
people to open their contingency envelopes.
Items and Item Cards
Your character might start the game with, or acquire during the course
game, physical items, which you are presumed to be carrying upon your
person. While you might have lots of personal props in conjunction with your
costume, items which have game significance may be represented by item
cards, which describe the item, how it might work, and any other keywords.
By default, all items are transferable, which means they can be lost, hidden,
By default, we will provide an
item card for any significant item your character might have. If you show
up with a cool prop to actually represent
the item (called a "phys rep" or "physical representation"),
then you may or
may not need to carry the item card (just leave it in your character packet,
so there are not "two" of the same item floating around). However,
item card has any codes, or keywords on it, then you should attempt to
attach it to your phys rep, since those codes probably have some game
significance to whomever holds the item. See a Game Master if you are not
Some item cards are marked with
the keywords "OVERSIZED" or "AWKWARD." An
OVERSIZED item may not be concealed casually, so the item card must be either
worn or carried openly. An AWKWARD item is small enough to be concealed on
your person, but large and clumsy enough that all other AWKWARD items you
possess must be treated as OVERSIZED. In other words, you may hide one AWKWARD
item, and all other AWKWARD items must be worn or carried openly.
is considered the default language in this game. All characters automatically
speak English. Your character should have a skill card for each language
you know. When speaking in that language, you must hold up that card. Only
people who can
understand what you are saying (because they also speak the language, or
have a special ability) may approach you.
His grace, the Deacon of the
Sunken Cathedral, is traveling home from the Night Market with some new
incense. Along the way, he is confronted by two Jack Rollers, Corsair and
Jemmy Greenteeth. They taunt the Deacon, all the while secretly being watched
by Raven, a mysterious woman from the outer tunnels. Fed up with the Jack
Rollers bullying, the Deacon attempts to give them a sermon on the evils
of their ways. Corsair responds by immediately declaring combat.
an actual combat, any one player will probably not know the number of beads/Aura
held by other players. For the purposes of this sample combat, "play
along" with Raven, who secretly has 5 Aura.
A. Identify the Combatants
Corsair and the Deacon are both involved by default (Corsair started it,
and the Deacon was his target). Jemmy immediately joins in, to back-up
her partner. Raven also joins in, to protect the Deacon.
B. Declare your Actions
Each player flips up their name badge, revealing the numbers. From highest
to lowest, they are:
||(she's a tad slow)
Actions are declared from lowest to highest, so Jemmy declares first, then
the Deacon, then Corsair, then Raven:
- Jemmy -
declares she will try to grab the Deacon. Jemmy shows her “Melee,
may use Aura in hand-to-hand combat” special ability card. She
does not show any special “Grab” ability. If Jemmy is successful,
she will only do her normal damage and will gain no actual "grab"
advantage in the combat.
- The Deacon - declares he will
whack Jemmy with his staff, and reveals a special ability card: "God Protects Those Who Protect Themselves -
may use Aura in hand-to-hand combat."
- Corsair - declares he will
stab the Deacon with his Rapier and reveals a special ability card "Melee, may use Aura in hand-to-hand combat."
- Raven - declares she will side-kick
Corsair, and reveals a special ability card "Martial Arts, +3 damage in hand-to-hand combat."
Nobody has to declare they are Dodging, since this is assumed, even if they
don't have the skill or any Aura devoted to it.
C. Resolve your Actions
The actions resolve, from highest name badge number to lowest:
- Raven - Raven and her target
Corsair hold out, and then reveal beads. Raven reveals 4 beads, and Corsair
reveals 3 beads and the Dodge ability.
Raven’s 4 beats Corsair’s 3, so Raven successfully kicks Corsair
for 4 points of damage (the default hand-to-hand damage is 1, plus 3 for
the Martial Arts ability). This is enough to normally knock Corsair down,
but he reveals a special ability card "Extra Tough, can take +1 wound",
so he is still up, and will get his action.
- Corsair - Corsair and the
Deacon reveal beads. Corsair reveals 2, as does the Deacon, who also
reveals the Dodge ability. Since ties go to
the pacifist, Corsair misses the Deacon with his rapier.
- The Deacon -The Deacon and
Jemmy reveal beads. The Deacon reveals 1, and Jemmy reveals 0, because
she does not have the Dodge ability. The
Deacon whacks her on the head, inflicting 1 wound. Jemmy can take 4 wounds,
so she is still up, but mighty upset.
- Jemmy - Jemmy and the Deacon
reveal beads. The Deacon reveals 0, but he is still considered
Dodging at Aura level 2 this round from his earlier
encounter with Corsair. Jemmy reveals 4 beads and the Melee ability.
Jemmy grabs the Deacon and reveals another special ability – Troll
Strength (+1 damage in hand to hand combat). The Deacon simply
damage (since Jemmy has no special “Grab” ability).
He still has two wounds left (because the default is four) so he
is still standing. If he wanted to, and had the Aura, The
Deacon might have
avoided this by holding out more beads, and boosting his Dodge
higher than 2.
Nobody is backing out yet, so the combatants go to round two:
A. Identify the Combatants
B. Declare your Actions
The players declare their actions:
- Jemmy - declares she will
squeeze the Deacon.
- The Deacon - declares he
will attempt to escape from Jemmy’s
grasp and run away.
- Corsair -
declares he will draw a flintlock and shoot Raven. He reveals a Firearms
card ("You may use your Aura with ranged attacks").
- Raven - declares multiple
actions: she will kick both Jemmy and Corsair.
C. Resolve your Actions
The actions resolve, from highest name badge number to lowest:
- Raven - Raven secretly splits
up her 5 Aura against her two opponents, 4 against Corsair and 1 against
Jemmy, and all three (Raven, Corsair, and
Jemmy) reveal their beads. Raven reveals 4 and 1, Corsair reveals 3,
and Jemmy reveals 0 (because she still doesn't know how to Dodge). Raven
kicks both of them for 4 points of damage apiece (the +3 Martial Arts
still applies). This inflicts Corsair's 5th wound, and Jemmy's 4th, knocking
- Corsair - Corsair was knocked
down and loses his action. This is a good thing for Raven, because
Corsair had one more Aura left with which to
use Firearms, and Raven had no Aura left with which to Dodge.
- The Deacon - The Deacon
starts to run away, becomes aware that he is no longer in any danger,
and voluntarily aborts his action.
- Jemmy - Jemmy was knocked
down and loses her action. This is a good thing for the Deacon, who
could not have Dodged enough to beat Jemmy's 4
Aura and Melee skill.
Note that Corsair and Jemmy are now helpless, and at the mercy of Raven.
If she does not kill them (she doesn't), they may recover with the help of
others, or at the Game-Master's discretion.
Combat is over, since nobody wishes to (or is able to) continue to the next