Combat in Arcana should be fast and exciting. You’ll want to maneuver to draw Fate Cards into your hand, then use those cards to launch devastating attacks on your enemies while Cheating Fate by taking advantage of any Aspects placed on the opponent or the scene. Spells, gadgets, miracles and spirits may further influence the tide of battle.

Combat Round sequence:

  1. Flip for initiative
  2. The GM flips the opposition card
  3. The character with the highest initiative takes his turn and acts first
    1. Declaration phase: The player declares actions
    2. Resolution phase: The player’s actions are resolved
    3. Conclusion phase: The player concludes his turn
  4. The character with the next highest initiative takes his turn and acts
  5. After all characters have acted, the round ends and the GM discards the opposition card. Repeat steps 2-5 until one side has conceded.

Initiative: Every character or group involved in the combat receives an initiative score. The player or GM flips a card and adds the character or group’s Alertness statistic.

The opposition card: To speed gameplay, the GM may use a single card to represent the massed force of the opposition. She flips this card at the beginning of each round and uses it to resolve the Defense Totals of (and possibly other actions taken by) the PC’s opponents. She may also Cheat Fate on behalf of the opposition by using any cards in her Hand of Fate to replace (temporarily or permanently) the opposition card.

Declaration phase: At the beginning of his turn, the player declares the actions he will undertake. Each character may take one simple action (i.e., an action that does not involve flipping a card to resolve an action) and one complex action (i.e., an action that does require flipping a card to resolve an action) per turn. Note that aiming and channeling do not count as complex actions, as the cards flipped while aiming and channeling are not immediately used to resolve an action. Alternately, a character may take two simple actions in his turn. Characters may take any number of free actions, actions which do not require effort.

Free actions: Simple actions: Complex actions:
Dropping an item Drawing a weapon Attacking an enemy
Shouting a warning Walking/Running Performing a maneuver
Casting a quick glance Aiming/Channeling Casting a spell
Flipping a switch Opening a door Using a device

Resolution phase: Using a device, making a statistic check, or performing a maneuver to place an Aspect on a scene or on oneself are resolved as Unopposed Actions, with TNs set by the GM.

Attacks are resolved as Opposed Actions, with the following resolution mechanic:

Melee Attack Total:
Strength (or Finesse) + Flip (+ Weapon Bonus + Edges) vs. Opponent’s Defense

Ranged Attack Total:
Finesse + Flip (+ Weapon Bonus + Edges) vs. Opponent’s Defense

Defense Total:
Agility + Flip (+ Armor Bonus + Edges)

If the opponent’s defense is higher than the character’s attack, then the attack fails. If the attack is higher than the defense, then the attack hits and damage is calculated. The difference between the Final Attack Total and the Final Defense Total is the Starting Damage of the hit.

Starting Damage:
Attack Total – Defense Total

Melee Damage Total (minimum 1):
Starting Damage + Weapon Bonus (+ Edges) – Opponent’s Toughness

Ranged Damage Total (minimum 1):
Starting Damage + Weapon Bonus (+ Edges) – Opponent’s Toughness

Armor Bonus (+ Edges)

A maneuver is an attempt to change the situation in some way, affecting the environment or other people, but without damaging or forcing the target (if force is used or damage is dealt, it would be an attack). When a character tries to jump to grab a rope, throw dust in an enemy’s eyes, draw eyes upon himself in a ballroom, or take a debate down a tangential path – that’s a maneuver.

A maneuver is either an Unopposed or an Opposed action, with the difficulty or opposition determined by the nature of the maneuver. A maneuver that doesn’t target an opponent is resolved as an Unopposed action. Most Unopposed maneuvers like this result in a character performing a statistic test against a GM-set difficulty, with the Aspect placed if successful. A maneuver can also target an opponent, and, if successful, place a temporary aspect on him. Either kind can also be used to place a temporary aspect upon a scene. Any maneuver that places an Aspect on an opponent or scene allows the character to draw a Fate Card.

Conclusion Phase: After resolving all actions, the player concludes his turn. Effects that lasted until the end of his turn dissipate during this phase. Play passes to the character with the next highest initiative.


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