TACTICS is based around the idea that all players should be engaged at all times (or as much as is reasonably possible). To accomplish this the game is designed under certain assumptions. The first is that the players who spend an action exerting control, attacking, or otherwise influencing another character will be suitably engaged by the act of making interesting choices. In other words, the very act of making tactically interesting choices is enough to keep a player invested in the story and the action when on the offensive or when being pro-active. They do not need to roll dice. Rolling dice is a property of resisting attacks, control, influence, etc. The second assumptions defenders are engaged both by having the choice to make reactionary defensive options against an opponent and by virtue of rolling dice to resist the action.
-To play TACTICS you only need 1d20. You may want to have 2 d20’s of differing colors available for ease of use but it isn’t necessary.
-TACTICS is a turn based game. Everyone gets 3 actions per turn with notable exception to “minion” creatures and certain slow brutish heavy’s who only get two. There are three types of actions Maneuver, Press, and React. You are limited to only one react action per turn, but may otherwise take any combination of these three types of actions you wish.
Maneuver – A maneuver represents actions such as taking cover, tactical repositioning, aiming, drawing a weapon, etc.. Maneuvers usually provide a bonus of some sort, such as a bonus to Agility versus projectiles after moving. Maneuvers can also be done as a React.
Press – A Press represents offensive or pro-active actions taken against a target who is resisting the effect. It includes using a firearm, pinning down a target, disarming an enemy, etc. Each Press action taken in a turn inflicts a penalty on all subsequent Press actions.
React – A React is an action that is taken in reaction to a Press. Regardless of the number of presses made against them, a creature can only make one react action per turn, and he must choose to do so before any rolls are made to resolve those presses.
-Actions are resolved on the defenders turn. Attackers take their actions on their turn. Those actions do not resolve until the defenders turn. WHY? While it’s true that this makes it so that an attacker will not know if his first attack has killed an enemy until the defenders turn, the benefits far out way the cons in our minds. In this system there is no need for interrupting the action, and “immediate” type actions can be pushed to the beginning of a defenders turn, rather than interrupting the attackers turn. Because of this, we are able to create a paradigm where the defender starts his turn by deciding how or if he wants to react against an opponent’s actions. Any React action that the defender takes, comes out of his total pool of actions for the round.
Another reason to do it this way is to have as many actions as possible resolve in two steps. Attack phase and defense phase.
-Players have four Attributes. Two of them are Offensive and are meant to attack, exert control against, or force an effect against an enemy. And two of them are Defensive and are meant to apply resistance to, hinder, or deny the offensive action. This number may be increased later.
-Offensive Attributes are Precision and Endurance. Attributes are static. That is, they are never rolled. Though they can be modified up or down.
-Defensive Attributes are Agility and Acumen. Defensive Attributes are dynamic. That is, they are rolled. Defensive attributes represent modifiers to a d20. The d20 represents your preparedness for the attack or maneuver being used against you in the chaos of battle. The Attribute represents your skill, natural ability, instinct, etc. and modifies the d20 roll accordingly.
-Precision determines how accurate you are with your attacks. When you make an attack this sets the number that defenders need to roll against with their Agility. A high enough roll dodge/avoids the attack altogether. A moderate roll might take minimum damage. A poor roll might mean that you didn’t move out of the way or that you didn’t represent much of a moving target, meaning you take additional damage.
-Acumen is in flux. Left blank on purpose.
-Endurance determines how much damage you soak with your armor, natural armor, cover, etc.
How it all works: The attacker declares he is attacking. He might say something like “I’m firing my pistol Damage 14, Precision 13”. On the defenders turn, assuming he doesn’t use a reaction action, he makes an agility check to avoid the attack. Let’s assume the defender has an agility of +2. He rolls a d20 and adds his bonus to result. He gets a 7 and has a +2 bonus so he has rolled a 9. Unfortunately, that isn’t enough to dodge the attack. For every point of damage, he fails the roll by he adds 1 point to the pistols base damage. In this case, he failed by 4, so he adds 4 points to the pistols base damage for a total of 18 damage.
Next, the defender rolls his soak roll adding his endurance and his armor together as a modifier to a d20 roll. Let’s say the defender has an endurance of +1 and an armor of +2 for a total of +3 to his soak. The defender will subtract his soak result from the damage. If the defender rolls high enough he can absorb all of the damage and negate the attack. For this example let’s assume the defender rolls an average soak result of 10 and adds his +3 bonus for a total of 13. The pistols 18 damage is reduced by 13 for a total of 5.
-Everyone can suffer up to 20 wounds. Tougher creatures take less wounds from the same amount of damage. Once a creature has taken 20 wounds they are incapacitated. If all the wounds came from the same source, or during the same scene you are dead instead. If you receive a wound while incapacitated they are dead.
Creatures can have shields. Not all creatures will have them but a many do. Shields come with a corresponding score which represents their maximum shields. Each point of shield can negate 1 wound. Once the wound is negated that point is temporarily spent. While a creature has even a single point of shields unspent, he is considered to be shielded. While shielded, the target is protected from any and all wounds they may receive. Shields regenerate at a rate of 1 point per turn as long as you are shielded. If you all of your shields are spent (or if you don’t have shields) then you are considered to be unshielded. When you’re unshielded you are vulnerable to wounds. When unshielded you cannot begin regenerating your shields again until you succeed on a cooldown check.
Distance ideas: Represented as I, C, M, F, and S
Immediate – Same zone, but requires access be unhindered
Close – same zone.
Medium – up to X zones away with X currently 3
Far – up to Y zones away with Y currently 6
Sight – any distance, restricted only by sight.
Splash – The effect hits a target and any other targets exploiting the same Zone feature or anyone who is within Immediate range. If the target is in a gas cloud, everyone in the gas cloud gets hit. If the target is behind cover, everyone using the same source of cover is hit. If the target was hit by a mercenary at melee range, than the mercenary is in immediate range of the target and gets hit (unless that target has moved out of immediate range since then).
Explosions come in three sizes.
Small Explosions are small enough that it may or may not hit everyone in a zone. Each person in the zone rolls agility. If they “Dodge” then they either maneuvered out of the way or weren’t in the explosions radius. The worse they roll on their agility, the more within the radius of the effect they were (or the worse they failed at getting out of the way of the grenade). Then they roll soak as normal.
Medium explosions cannot be dodged normally. You simply have to try to brace yourself and hope for the best.
Large explosions are rare. They target multiple zones. One zone is considered the center of the blast, and the others are simply in its radius. The zone in the center of the blast acts as a medium explosion. The other zones act as small explosions.
Chain Lightning effects hits up to a certain number of targets within a zone or range. Cones do this.
Cloud effects create a zone feature on top of a creature or multiple creatures within a zone. They can “move” out of the effect. They can also be moved back into it.