Librium: Combat Basics, Part 2


When encountering an intelligent dragon, it is best to talk while you still have a chance.

Last week we focused on basic attacking and defending. This week we will look at a breakdown of actions in combat. Be aware, this is going to get pretty detailed to ensure as much as possible is covered. (If anything is missing, post a comment or send a message and I’ll fix it.)

Combat occurs within a single scene, a volatile period of time in which actions and interactions take place within a single location. A scene lasts exactly as long as it needs to last, whether it’s a few hours or just a few minutes. Combat scenes usually require at least a few minutes and will encompass several rounds of action. Each round is the sum of each combatant’s turn, over the course of one minute of time, so between the start of your first turn and the start of your next turn would be an entire round. On your turn, you will take a number of individual actions. Your turn is divided into two steps: Actions and Recovery.


When you begin your turn, you decide what Actions you want to take. You can use any action that requires Action Points (AP), and you should have 10 AP when you start your turn. Most actions cost 4 or 6 Action Points. The following is a list of basic actions you can take:

Use a Talent: You can use any talent you have that has an AP cost.

Basic Attack ([W] AP): A basic attack is a simple attack that does not use any talents.

Delay (10 AP): Your turn ends and your initiative is reduced.

Aid Ally (6 AP): Choose one of the following:

  • Adjacent ally can take a 4 AP action.
  • Make a Weapon/Communication vs Insight against a target within [W] range. If you succeed, they suffer –1 outcome to attack rolls for 1 round.
  • Make a Weapon/Subterfuge skill check against a target within [W] range. The next ally to attack the target gains +1 outcome.

Escape (6 AP): Make one of the following checks against a target that is grabbing or pinning you; If you succeed, you break the grab or are no longer pinned and may move 1 meter if you are standing:

  • Fitness/WIT vs Reflex
  • Fitness/STR vs Fortitude

Grab (6 AP): You must have a free hand. Make a Fitness/STR vs reflex. If you hit, the target is grabbed. While grabbing, you are both immobilized and may only attack with light weapons. The grabbed creature grants you heavy cover. Any attack that misses you requires the attacker to reroll against grabbed target. You may attempt to move yourself and the grabbed creature by remaking this check, moving both of you one space per outcome.

Prepare (6 AP): Choose an action and an event. Your turn ends. Immediately after the event occurs, you perform the action and your initiative moves to before the trigger of the event.

Charge (4 AP): You pursue the target up to your speed and must move at least 2 spaces. For 1 round, creatures gain +1 outcome on melee attacks against you. If your next action is a melee attack, it gains +1 outcome. You cannot perform other actions while charging.

Overwatch (4 AP): Choose an Area 3 space. Whenever a creature enters or takes an action in the area, you may spend 1 CP to make a basic attack against them. While overwatching, you suffer –1 Cover.

Move (4 AP): You may move up to your speed this turn.

Run (4 AP): You may move twice your speed. You grant advantage until the start of your next turn.

Focus: (2 AP): You recover 1 Energy.

Half-Move (2 AP): You may move up to half your speed this turn.

Defensive Maneuvers (1 CP): Use when you or an adjacent ally is targeted by an attack. Make a Deflection/INS check using an item you are holding to interfere with the attack.  The target uses the result as their Reflex defense against the attack.

Certain actions can be performed in place of moving. To use these actions, you spend spaces of movement.

Stand (2 Movement): You stand up from prone.

Retrieve Item (2 Movement): You retrieve an item from storage or change weapons.

Take Cover (2 Movement): You can hide behind adjacent cover, granting you double the normal cover bonus.  This bonus remains as long as you do not expose yourself.

Quick Retrieve (1 Movement): Retrieve an item stored in an easy-to-access location such as an item in a pouch, an item on your belt, or a sidearm.


Once a character enters this phase of combat, they may no longer spend action points until their next turn. During this phase, several steps occur:

  1. The character recovers 5 energy, minus their burden.
  2. The character chooses to pay Upkeep costs and maintain their effects, or relieve stress.
  3. The character replenishes back to 10 action points and 1 command point.
  4. The character’s turn ends and the next combatant’s turn begins.

Relieving stress takes time. A character cannot relieve stress if they have taken any stress within the previous two rounds.  If they have not, they relieve 15 endurance stress.


Snack timeAn attack is an attempt to deal harm to a target or multiple targets using a weapon, talent, or technique. An attack takes the following steps:

  1. Choose which attack or talent you wish to use. Pay cost and trigger any use
  2. Select the targets for the ability. They must be within range and you must be able to target them.
  3. Make an attack roll. if you have a positive outcome, deal damage and trigger the hit
  4. Trigger any other lines of the power.

Attack Roll

The attack roll represents your attempt to strike an opponent. The attack roll is comprised of two parts: Your proficiency with the weapon and the weapons own potency. Most attacks target reflex though certain attacks may target fortitude or even resolve. Basic attacks are against Reflex.

When attacking multiple targets, make a single attack roll for all targets

Secondary Attacks

Certain attacks can have additional effects tied to them. A bolt of frost might ensnare the target, a heavy blow might knock a target prone, or a poisoned dagger might test a character’s fortitude.

Secondary attacks are annotated as “Secondary/Attribute vs Defense.” The “secondary” refers to the outcome of the primary attack. This outcome is used as part of the potency of the secondary attack, combined with an attribute’s potency or sometimes a skill’s potency. Secondary attacks are usually made against a different defense than the primary attack.

Example: Raelynn makes a leg sweep attack against an orc. She had an outcome of 2 on her primary attack. She missed her attack and doesn’t deal damage, but may still trip her target. The attack calls for a Secondary/Wits vs Reflex. Raelynn has 3 wits, so makes a 2 (from primary) + 3 (wits) check vs the orc’s Reflex. If she gets an outcome of at least +1, she will knock the orc prone.

Attack Types

Attacks are formatted broken in a manner that is easy to understand and read.

  • Melee: Melee attacks use the attacker’s space as the origin space. If the weapon does not have a melee range listed, it is considered to have a range of one. Melee attacks cannot exceed one range increment.
  • Ranged: Ranged attacks use the attacker’s space as the origin space. The range of the attack is measured in increments; each time the range is exceeded, the attack suffers –1 favor.
  • Area X: The attack effects an area with a diagonal of X spaces.
  • Line: The attack effects all spaces within a straight line from the origin out to its maximum distance. Line attacks cannot exceed one range increment.
  • Thrown X: The attack has a range increment equal to X plus the attacker’s strength.


The maximum distance away the target space can be from the attacker’s space.

  • Numeric: Most attacks give the range as a number. If it is a ranged attack, this is the increment value.
  • [W]: a range noted with the weapon symbol, [W], uses weapon’s range value as its range.


When you use an action that allows you to move, with the exception of a charge action, you can move that distance before, during, or after any other actions before the end of your turn. You cannot take an action while in an occupied space nor end your turn in an occupied space. You can move through spaces occupied by allies, drones, or obstructions as well. Entering an obstructed space requires an extra space of movement.


Willpower represents your force of character and ability to push yourself above and beyond your normal limits.  It can also use them for a variety of other actions (listed below). Willpower is awarded to players who perform exemplary feats, such as good roleplaying, participation, or playing the character in accordance with its background. Characters also gain Willpower at the end of an extended rest. Players also have a “personality” which defines their character’s general behavior and gives them an additional means to earn Willpower.

Characters start with two Willpower and can have a maximum of five. The following is a list of simple actions a character can invoke using tactical points.

  • Competence: gain +2 outcome on any one roll.
  • Endurance: ignore up to 3 points of status effects for 1 round.
  • Prescience: Gain a helpful bit of information from the Architect.
  • Obstinance: Gain 6 action points.
  • Discordance: Gain 2 conflict points.
  • Resurgence: Gain 15 energy.
  • Defiance: Increase all defenses by 2 for 1 round.
  • Disencumbrance: +2 speed for 1 round.


Whew. Okay. That’s technical and detailed, but I hope it is not too confusing. I’m working on a glossary of all game terms, which should help a lot of people out. If you have any questions, feel free to leave a comment or contact me.

Michael McElrath

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