In 7th Sea, there are two main types of combat actions; those based on Finesse, and those based on Wits. Finesse Actions are things like Attack(Fencing) or Climbing, while Wits actions are things like Parry(Fencing) or Taunt.
Each Combat Round, every character rolls two sets of Initiative. First, the character rolls a number of Initiative Dice equal to his Finesse. These are his Finesse Action Dice, which can only be used for Finesse actions. Then, he rolls a number of Initiative Dice equal to his Wits. These are his Wits Action Dice, which can only be used for Wits Actions. The character's Initiative Total is the sum of all of his Finesse and Wits Action Dice values. This total does not change during the course of the round, even as the dice get spent.
Finesse Actions may not be substituted for Wits Actions, or vice versa. However, if an Action does not require a roll at all, the character may pay for the Action with whichever kind of Action Die he chooses, as long as the Action Die is current. Interrupt Actions may not be used for unrolled Actions.
Each Round consists of 11 Phases, starting in Phase 10 and counting down to Phase 0. An Action Die may be used in the Phase that it rolled, or any Phase lower than that (but see Interrupt Actions, below). Any dice not used after Phase 0 (also called "Last Call") are lost. Once the Action is taken, the die is spent.
If two characters both want to act in the same Phase, the character with the higher Initiative Total may choose to go first, or may allow the other character to go first. If the Initiative Totals are exactly the same, flip a coin or roll a die to resolve the order.
If a character wishes to perform an Action, but none of his appropriate Action Dice are ready, he can "promote" an Action Die that is not ready yet, according to the following chart:
|Phases promoted||Penalty to Roll|
Initiative Effects of Wounds
Being Crippled or Distracted (see Damage) affects Initiative as well. If the character is Crippled, all of his remaining Finesse Initiative Dice for the Round are lowered by 2 (to a minimum of 0), and in future Rounds (as long as he is Crippled), all his Finesse Initiative Dice are lowered by 2. If the character is Distracted, all of his remaining Wits Initiative Dice for the Round are lowered by 2, and in future Rounds (as long as he is Distracted), all his Wits initiative Dice are lowered by 2. The subtraction occurs after the character's Initiative Total is calculated (in other words, the penalty does not affect the character's Initiative Total at all).
The Target Numbers for Physical and Social Attacks and Defenses are important numbers which will be referred to by the following acronyms:
The following circumstances can adjust a character's Physical TN:
|Ranged attack,no cover||-5|
|Ranged attack,some cover||0|
|Ranged attack,good cover||+5|
|Opponent's weapon has more Reach*||-5|
|Opponent's weapon has less Reach*||+5|
* The Reach of most common weapons are listed in the Weapons table below.
If an attack hits your PD or SD, you may spend a Wits Action to attempt to Parry the attack. The defender rolls the appropriate Defense Knack against a TN of the attacker's PA or SA, with the TN increased by +5 for every Raise that the attacker called on his roll to improve his damage (raises for other purposes are not counted). Further Raises may be called on this Parry.
Why would the defender want to call Raises on his parry? In the case of Physical Attacks, raises called to your Parry Roll increase the TN of your opponent's Parry-Defeating Knack roll, should your opponent have such a Knack. In the case of Social Attacks, each extra Raise you call on your Parry adds +1k0 to the damage inflicted on your opponent for failing his Social Attack Roll (see below).
A character makes a physical attack by spending a Finesse Action and rolling the appropriate Attack Knack. The TN is the opponent's Passive Defense. Success inflicts the appropriate damage, as listed in the Weapons table below. Each Raise called to the Attack Roll increases the damage of a successful hit by +1k0, and also increases the difficulty of Active Defenses made against the attack.
A character trying to attack (or defend) using his off-hand takes a penalty of -3 to his roll. Several Swordsman Schools teach how to avoid this penalty when using particular weapons with the style.
Attacking with a Ranged Weapon incurs certain penalties from range. The penalty is measured in an adjustment to the TN to hit the target. Each weapon's Range is listed in the Weapons Table below. Point Blank range is anything within 10 feet. Short Range is anything within half of the maximum range for the weapon. Long Range is anything beyond Short Range for the weapon.
Ranged weapons also incur a reload time, which is the number of Actions required to ready the weapon again. In the case of firearms or other slow-reloading attacks, it may be more time-efficient to change to another weapon instead.
Social Attacks are just as dangerous, in their own way, as physical attacks. There are three types of Social Attacks: Charm, Intimidate, and Taunt. These are all contained in the Repartee Skill, and may be Specialized. These attacks all do Social Damage in a similar fashion, but differ in their final effect, which is achieved when the opponent takes sufficient Social Damage.
Charm is used when the character is trying to persuade his opponent to perform some action that the opponent is resistant to doing. The Repartee Specialty to resist Charm attacks is Willpower. The Banter Swordsman Knack is an improved form of Charm.
Intimidate is used to more forcefully coerce the opponent into performing some action. The Repartee Specialty to resist Intimidate attacks is Courage. The Cutting Remark Swordsman Knack is an improved form of Intimidate.
Taunt is used to trick the opponent into action by getting him to lose his temper. The Repartee Specialty to resist Taunt attacks is Self-Control. The Quip Swordsman Knack is an improved form of Taunt.
When making a Social Attack, the character should declare what his intention is, i.e. what he wants to get his opponent to do. Depending on the nature of this action, the GM should decide which form(s) of Social Attack is appropriate to achieve this goal.
Making a Social Attack costs a Wits Action. The character rolls his Attack, with the target number being the target's SD for the appropriate type of Social Attack. Each Raise called for the purpose of damage on this roll increases the damage by +1k0.
Failing a Social Attack is risky. If the Social Attack fails, whether from a low Attack roll or a successful Active Defense, the attacker will take (Opponent's Panache)k2 Social Damage himself. Furthermore, for every Dramatic Wound inflicted by this damage, the defender gains +5 to his SD versus the failing attacker for all further Social Attacks for the duration of the Scene.
There are two kinds of damage, Physical Damage and Social Damage. These types of damage are always tracked independently of each other, as they have different game effects.
The damage that a weapon does is listed in the Weapons table below. Melee attacks add the attacker's Brawn as Unkept dice to the damage roll. Each Raise called for extra damage also adds an Unkept die to the damage roll. The total of the roll is the number of Physical Flesh Wounds done to the target.
Social Damage is usually 1k3, adding the attacker's Panache as Unkept dice. Certain Swordsman Knacks can increase the base damage for a particular kind of Social Attack to 2k4. The total of the roll is the number of Social Flesh Wounds done to the target.
The dice used for Damage Rolls, whether Physical or Social, are always 6-sided dice, rather than the 10-sided dice used for all other game rolls.
|Weapon||Damage||Reach||Range||Point Blank||Short Range||Long Range||Reload|
|Bow||3k3||N/A||150 yds||+5||+5||+10||1 Action|
|Crossbow||4k4||N/A||100 yds||+5||+5||+10||6 Actions|
|Musket||8k5||N/A||80 yds||0||+10||+15||30 Actions|
|Pistol||5k5||N/A||30 yds||0||+10||+15||20 Actions|
* Bucklers, Knives, and Panzerhands are considered to have a reach of 0 when attacking, but a reach of 1 when parrying.
When suffering any Physical or Social Damage, the target must make a Wound Check. The target rolls a number of dice equal to his Brawn (for Physical Damage), or Panache (for Social Damage), with a TN equal to the amount of damage taken. If the roll fails, the damage is erased and a Physical (or Social) Dramatic Wound is taken. If the roll succeeds, the target takes no Dramatic Wound, but the damage stays around until the next roll.
If the roll fails by more than 20, an extra Dramatic Wound is taken for each 20 points that the roll is short.
For Firearms, if the roll fails by more than 10, an extra Dramatic Wound is taken for each 10 points that the roll is short.
When a character has accumulated as many Physical Dramatic Wounds as he has Resolve, he becomes Crippled, suffering Initiative penalties to Finesse Actions, and when rolling Finesse Actions, none of his dice explode, except for Physical Wound Checks and Physical Damage Rolls.
When a character has accumulated as many Social Dramatic Wounds as he has Resolve, he becomes Distracted, suffering Initiative penalties to Wits Actions, and when rolling Wits actions, none of his dice explode, except for Social Wound Checks and Social Damage Rolls.
When a character has accumulated twice as many Physical Dramatic Wounds as he has Resolve, he is knocked unconscious, and is helpless. However, the GM should never kill a helpless character unless it is dramatically appropriate to do so, and the GM should consider it carefully even if it is dramatically appropriate.
When a character has accumulated twice as many Social Dramatic Wounds as he has Resolve, the character briefly loses control of himself (and thus, the player briefly loses control of the character). Depending on the nature of the Social Dramatic Wounds the character has taken, the character might recklessly challenge his opponent to a duel, ungallantly strike a woman in full view of the court, confess some dark secret that he does not want to reveal, leave himself wide open to a brutal thrust (which knocks him unconscious), or otherwise make an ass out of himself in public. The GM is the final arbiter of the consequences, but as a rule, the consequences should be at least as serious as being knocked unconscious due to Physical Damage, and potentially even more so.
A Prone character suffers the Prone penalty to his PD. He remains Prone until his next Action. However, he cannot spend the Action to get up any sooner than the end of the Phase when he was knocked down. Getting up does not take the whole Action, but it results in a +10 to the TN of whatever else the character does with the Action. This would be cumulative with any penalties from promoting the Action, so if a character heavily promotes an Action to get up quickly, he can just "throw away" the Action rather than trying to attempt something with a huge TN penalty.
Drawing a weapon may only be performed when a character spends an Action. Drawing the weapon does not take the whole Action, but it results in a +10 penalty to the TN of whatever else the character does with the Action. Certain Swordsman Schools offer the ability to instantly draw certain types of weapons without incurring any penalties. Characters possessing such an ability may also use it to draw the weapon and have it ready even if they do not have an available Action. This may be useful if, say, the character wishes to use the instantly-drawn weapon to Parry with as a Passive Defense.
Firearms are a special case, in that firearm attacks may not be Parried under normal circumstances.
A character with two drawn, loaded pistols may fire both pistols at the same target using a single Finesse Action. This raises the TN to hit by +5, and increases the damage by +1k1.
An Improvised Weapon can be anything that the wielder can pick up and swing. Improvised Weapons are rated as Small (1k3 Damage, Range 0(1)), Medium (2k3 Damage, Range 1), or Large (3k3 Damage, Range 1, +5 or more to TNs to use). If an improvised weapon is sufficiently dangerous, it may be given an additional +1k0 to Damage. Examples of improvised weapons:
If any dice explode on any combat rolls (but not Damage Rolls) when using an Improvised Weapon, the weapon breaks. This might be useful in the case of a bottle (at least the first time it breaks), but usually it will mean that the weapon becomes less effective or worthless. The GM determines the effect of any Improvised Weapon breakage.
Small Improvised Weapons may be thrown 5+2xBrawn Yards. Medium Improvised Weapons may be thrown 3+Brawn Yards. Heavy Improvised Weapons may be thrown only 3 yards or so, if they can be thrown at all.
Characters attempting to fight on horseback must use the Cavalry Attack option of their attack Skill. If the attack skill does not offer a mounted version, the attack Skill may not normally be used on horseback. Some of these Skills might still find use if the attacker chooses to leap to his target's horse in order to fight his target more closely.
Characters have a chance to fall from their horse when they suffer Physical Dramatic Wounds. They roll whatever Skill they are using to ride (Athletics usually, unless they have something better), against a TN of 5+5x(Current Physical Dramatic Wounds). If they take more than one Dramatic Wound at the same time, they need to make a roll for each Wound separately.
A character falling from a horse takes 4k2 Physical Damage, or 6k3 if the horse was galloping at the time.
If a character attempt to unseat his opponent from his horse by simply grabbing or shoving him, treat this as a Wrestling(Grapple) attack (see the Wrestling rules below) with an additional penalty of +10 to the TN. If the Grappling attempt succeeds, the target must make a roll to attempt to stay seated, rolling his riding Skill against a TN of 5+5x(Attacker's Brawn). If he fails the roll, he is pulled off. If he succeeds with this roll, he remains seated, but his opponent is now being dragged along for the ride, and can continue to grapple with him.
A character attempting to leap from one horse to another (or onto a passing horse as it goes by) uses his Horseman(Mounting) Skill, or rolls Athletics with a +10 to the TN. Success gets him onto the horse, although if the horse already has an unfriendly rider, the rider has to be dealt with in some fashion. While both on the same horse, the riders may use normal Cavalry Attacks, or fight unarmed or with other weapons (such as knives) at +5 to the TN.
If a character is concentrating on getting away rather than fighting, he may make one riding Skill roll per Round by spending a Wits Action and rolling against a TN of 5x(the highest Riding skill of his pursuers). Success gets him a 10 yard lead, with each Raise giving him an additional 10 yards. He may devote further Wits Actions to increasing his lead, but these merely add a flat 10 yards to his lead. The GM will decide how much lead is necessary before the quarry simply escapes.
If their quarry has a lead, pursuers must either use ranged attacks to strike at him, or must try to close the gap. They may also make riding Rolls in the same fashion as their quarry, with a TN of 5x(the highest Riding skill of the all the quarry), in order to close the distance. They may call for more Raises than the quarry actually has as a lead, with the intent to make it harder for him to escape. Each extra Raise the pursuers make beyond that necessary to catch up, will increase the TN for the quarry's escape roll by +5. Further Wits Actions may be spent to close the lead by 10 yards, or to increase the escape penalty by +5. The escape penalty will remain until the quarry succeeds in an escape roll. Multiple pursuers do not cause multiple penalties in this fashion- only the largest penalty applies to the quarry. The GM will decide how much of an escape penalty will indicate that the target simply cannot escape, and must instead either fight or surrender.
Chase scenes involving horses and carriages should be treated similarly. The riding rolls for escaping or catching up with a carriage are increased by +5 to reflect their speed disadvantage.
An unmounted person attempting to keep up with mounted riders will lose 20 yards at the start of each Round, and must try to make up the loss during the Round. His Athletics rolls to try to keep up are at +10 due to his speed disadvantage. Determined heroes with lots of Drama Dice, or possibly the Anne O' The Wind Glamour Legend, may be able to keep up for a considerable time, although they will probably be forced to drop out eventually, or try to leap onto one of the fleeing horses.
Wrestling is a tricky thing to handle fairly in any game system. Here's my attempt at it.
Those with the Wrestling Skill may use it to make normal unarmed attacks without Grappling their opponent. Wrestling is a little less effective than other unarmed combat when used this way, so the TN for Attack(Wrestling) is increased by +5 if the target is not Grappled.
When a wrestler attempts to Grapple an armed opponent, the opponent gets to make a free attack against the wrestler without spending an Action. Unarmed targets do not receive this free attack. If this attack succeeds, and inflicts a Dramatic Wound, the Grapple attempt is automatically foiled. Otherwise, the grapple attempt proceeds as normal. If the Grapple roll succeeds, the target is grappled until the hold is broken. Each two Raises to the Grapple attempt will increase the TN of Escaping from the Grapple by +5.
When Grappled, both combatants have the Grappled penalty (-10 to PD), unless they are using Parry(Wrestling) as their defense.
While he is maintaining his hold, the Grappling character may use Attack(Wrestling), Break, Head Butt, or Social Attacks. Other attacks or actions may be performed, but they will result in the target automatically breaking free.
The Grappled target may spend Finesse Actions to attempt Escape. The TN is the attacker's Wrestling(Grapple) Skill, plus any TN increases resulting from Raises called during the initial Grapple attempt. The target may either use the Wrestling(Escape) Skill, or Athletics. Using Athletics results in a further +5 penalty to the TN. If the escape attempt is successful, the target gets free, but is still prone until his next Action. If the escape attempt fails, the TN to further attempts is increased by another +5, and the grappler gets to roll his Bear Hug to damage the target.
The target may choose to attack his opponent rather than break free from the Grapple. Dirty Fighting, Panzerhand, and Pugilism attacks may be made, but their TNs are increased by +5. Knife or Pistol attacks have their TNs increased by +10. Other weapons have their TNs increased by +15. Social Attacks may be performed normally.
If the grappler suffers a Physical Dramatic Wound from any source, he loses his hold on the target, although both the grappler and the target remain prone until their next Action. Social Dramatic Wounds will not cause the grappler to lose his grip, except if the grappler Loses Control due to sufficient Social Dramatic Wounds, and the intent of the Social Attacks were to get him to let go.