Combat in AARPG is all about resource management. You have to manage your initiative, and your energy.
At the beginning of each round, each combatant rolls 3d6 and adds their initiative skill modifier. They get this many Initiative Points (IP). Ip should be kept track of with some kind of physical token.
Whoever has the most IP goes first. In case of ties, players go before NPCs. If players are tied with each other, they decide which of them goes first amongst themselves. Similarly, when NPCs are tied, the GM decides the order they act in.
Every action has an IP cost, which is a measure of the time and effort required to perform that action. The character spends an appropriate amount of IP, performs the action, and then their turn is done.
After each turn, whoever has the most IP goes next. If a character had a significant lead in IP and performed a quick enough action, they might actually get to take several turns in a row.
If a player doesn’t have enough IP to pay for the action they’d like to use, they take the amount they’re short in IP debt. For example, if a player wanted to use an attack which cost 5 IP but only had 3, they’d get 2 IP debt. IP debt is subtracted from your next initiative roll.
Whenever a character has no IP left, they may take no further actions in the current round. When all characters have run out of IP, everyone rolls initiative and gets IP again, just like at the beginning (although they may have to use some of it right away to pay off IP debt from the last round).
Every class uses a different type of energy, such as focus, discipline, rage or mana. The class”s description contains specific details on how much energy you start each battle with and how you recharge energy.
Casting and Channeling
Some powers are cast or channeled. These are similar in that both are hampered if someone casting or channeling is damaged while doing so. A cast spell does not take effect until it finishes casting, and will take longer to cast if you’re damaged. A channeled spell has a certain duration which is shortened when you’re damaged.
To track a casting power, first spend however much energy the power costs and then place 1 IP in your casting pool (it no longer counts for your total IP). Each turn thereafter, place an additional 1 IP in your casting pool. When you’ve accumulated enough IP in your casting pool, you execute the power. Whenever you’re damaged, you discard one IP from your casting pool. If your casting pool is ever empty, the power fizzles and you lose it; any energy spent to cast the spell are lost as well.
When you use a channeled power, first spend however much power it costs and then place as much IP in your channeling pool as the power specifies. Each turn thereafter you will continue to place IP in your channeling pool and continue the power’s effects. Once you have as many or more IP in your channeling pool than the power specifies, the power may no longer be channeled. You may also choose to stop channeling it sooner, though any energy spent remains spent. Whenever you’re dealt damage while channeling a spell, place 1 IP in the channeling pool. If you don’t have any IP left, take on one point of IP debt and then place an IP from the supply in your channeling pool.
Each character and NPC has three defense matrices–melee defense, ranged defense, and magic defense–which attackers will roll against to hit. With a melee attack, for example, you’d roll 1d100, add your melee skill modifier, and compare the result to your target’s melee defense matrix.
Defense matrices list a number of different results, based on the attacker’s roll. In general, higher rolls are better for the attacker. Here are a set of typical defense matrices.
|Melee Defense Matrix|
|Ranged Defense Matrix|
|Magic Defense Matrix|
Results generally don’t have any inherent meaning. Rather, the power you use will tell you what happens when you roll particular results, and additionally you or the defender may have traits which are triggered when a certain result is rolled, such as counterattacking when someone rolls parry on your melee defense matrix, or regaining hit points when you roll a crit against someone else.
Your class will tell you how ‘wide’ each result should be. You use the width of each result to determine the start and end of each range.
Characters may have one or more armor values, which directly reduce damage taken. For example, if you’re wearing a chain shirt which gives 5 armor and your shield gives you 5 armor on a block, you’d reduce damage you take by 5 when you’re hit and by 10 when you block.
Some attacks may have the armor piercing (AP) quality. Armor piercing reduces each individual armor value, so in the above example if you were being attacked with a spear which gives AP 2, your shirt’s armor would count as 3 against the attack and your shield’s armor would also count as 3. Armor value cannot be reduced below 0, and excess AP above the target’s armor value does not result in increased damage.