“Talk is cheap, hero.”
Fighting happens often in superhero comics. In Men & Supermen, fighting goes by very quickly. The standard unit of time for combat is the segment, which is approximately a quarter second. Fifty segments make up a round, and 250 segments make up a minute. When combat starts, start it at Segment 0 and count up.
An Example of Surprise
Lariat is surprised for 8 segments. She reduces that by 5 segments. On her next Action (segment 3), she has a penalty of 5 to her Action Roll (presumably a Combat Roll) Q. She can also make a saving throw vs. Perception minus 5. If successful, she doesn’t have a penalty on her next Action Roll. Otherwise, she does. On each Action, she may make another Perception saving throw, until she is successful.
Surprise is generally taken care of just before combat erupts. If everyone knows that fighting is about to occur, there is no surprise. Any participants who are not aware that fighting is about to occur (even if they know that fighting is likely) must make a Detect Danger Perception Roll. Surprised characters lose the amount this roll was missed by, (Sphere Chart) segments. If their Combat Bonus Pool is negative, increase the number of segments of surprise by that much.
Characters can reduce the amount of time they are surprised, by up to the number of segments they are surprised. The number of segments that surprise is reduced by is the penalty to all Action Rolls that follow, until the player makes a successful Perception Roll, at a penalty equal to the number of segments reduced. This save is made at the end of each non-passive action, until the save is successful. The character can also decide to rest for a number of segments--every two segments during which the character uses no actions, the penalty is reduced by 1.
A surprised character cannot initiate any action.
Non-Player Characters: Editors could have a tough time handling a large number of non-player characters in combat. If you’re using more than three non-player characters, keep their character sheets (or 3x5 cards with their names, Attack, Defense, and when their action is completed) in a ‘pile’ in order of when their next action is. When their turn comes due, complete their action, roll again, and put them back in the pile in order of when their new action will be completed.
A character can only initiate one action on any segment, and most actions cannot be initiated while another action is in progress. Each Combat Action requires a specific Performance Time (see the Weapons Chart). A fist, for example, takes 10 segments to use, while a normal handgun takes 20 segments. If a character initiates firing a handgun on segment 12, the action will be performed 20 segments later, on segment 32.
Payment Segment: Actions must be paid for when performed. Some actions can remain in effect for a duration. Power shields are a common example. These must also be paid for every round, on the Payment Segment. Payment Segments occur every 50 segments (every round), starting on segment 50.
Attacking: Players roll to attack with a 2d10, the same as any other Action Roll. Look up the character’s Combat Bonus Pool on the Sphere Chart, and add this to the character’s Combat Roll. If the player rolls less than or equal to this on 2d10, the attack is successful, though it may or may not actually hit, and if it hits, it may or may not actually do any damage.
If the Combat Roll fails, apply the negative Q evenly to Attack and Damage. It is possible that the target has a negative Defense, so a negative Attack can still hit.
If you feel that using Quality points in combat will be confusing at first, introduce it slowly. First, just assume that a successful Combat Roll hits, and an unsuccessful one misses. Then, add Attack and Defense into combat. Finally, include Damage and Performance Time. Don’t do this too slowly, though. Speedsters and skilled heroes need to be able to reduce Performance Time.
Combat Q: Subtract the dice total from the roll needed for the Quality of the Combat Roll. The Quality can be used to increase the character’s Attack, Defense, or Damage, and may also be used to decrease the attack’s Performance Time. See the description of the Combat Roll under Action Rolls.
There are four different kinds of attacks: Close Combat attacks, Projectile attacks, Throwing attacks, and Explosive attacks.
Close Combat attacks are traditionally called melee attacks, or hand to hand combat. Weapons such as fists, swords, clubs, and knives are all used in Close Combat. Hand damage is generally added to the damage caused by Close Combat weapons (see the Weapons section). Remember that using Hand Damage costs EP.
Projectile Attacks are those in which the weapon is projected by a device. Guns, bows, and slings are all examples of weapons used for Projectile attacks. Range is important for Projectile attacks--it gives a bonus to the target’s Defense. Each Projectile weapon has a Short Range, a Range Set and a Maximum Range. If the target is within the Short Range (usually given in meters) of the weapon, there is no bonus to Defense. Otherwise, there is a bonus of 1, plus 1 for every Range Set between the target and the end of Short Range. Subtract Short Range from actual range, divide by Range Set, round up, and look this up on the Sphere Chart, for the bonus to Defense.
A normal handgun, for example, has a Short Range of 4, a Range Set of 3, and a Maximum Range of 80. If the target is 17 meters away, the Defense bonus is 5--the target is 13 meters beyond Short Range, and 13 divided by 3 (Range Set) gives 5.
If the target is beyond Maximum Range, there is an additional penalty applied to Damage. Divide the distance beyond Maximum Range by the Range Set, for the penalty. If the above target were 98 meters away from the handgun, this is 94 meters beyond Short Range, and 18 meters beyond Maximum Range. So, there is a bonus of 13 (94/3 = 32, on the Sphere chart) to the Defense, and a penalty of 6 to Damage (18/3).
Projectile Misses: When a Projectile Attack misses, it can still cause trouble somewhere else. Subtract the Attack from the Defense, and multiply by the distance to the target (in meters) for the number of centimeters the shot missed by. Use a d8 on the Misses diagram to determine which direction the miss went.
Anyone in the line of the miss must make a Detect Danger roll, or be hit. There is a bonus to this roll equal to Agility, and a penalty of 10 (if the miss is coming from behind) or 5 (if it’s coming from the side).
Thrown Attacks are those in which the character throws the weapon at the target. Often, Thrown attacks are carriers for Explosive attacks, and the attacker is not trying to hit a single target, just a place. In this case, treat the attack as against a 1 by 1 meter square (Defense 0).
Thrown Misses: When a Thrown attack misses, it’ll still land somewhere. Roll d8 on the Misses diagram to find the direction (from the target). For the distance from the target, subtract the Attack from the Defense and multiply by the distance from the attacker to the target. Divide by 10. If the d8 roll for direction was either 7 or 3, half this. This is the distance the miss lands, from the target.
Explosive Attacks are those which explode, usually in all directions. They generally hit everyone within range, but range usually drops off very quickly. Explosive attacks often have to be Thrown first. An Explosion attacks everyone in sight like a Projectile attack. A separate Combat Roll is used for each possible target, and Q is applied evenly to Attack and Damage. Explosions are usually Massive Body Attacks, and always Death Shots, usually to the Body. See the section on special combat rules for a description of Massive Body Attacks and Death Shots.
Explosions usually do a random amount of damage.
Damage: Most attacks do some sort of damage to the target. A normal handgun, for example, does d6 points of damage. Standard damage is subtracted from the target’s Virtual Damage Points (VP). When the target is out of VP, damage is subtracted from Damage Points (DP). If the target has an Ignore Damage greater than 0, subtract this from the damage done. If the target has a Skin Temper above (or below) 1 (Row 0), multiply the damage done by Skin Temper.
There are three special types of damage: Stun Damage, Poison Damage, and Illusory Damage. Stun Damage is subtracted from VP as normal, but does not subtract from DP. After VP runs out, every point of stun damage stuns the target for 2 segments. Targets have an increased Ignore Damage to stun damage. Look up the target’s Maximum Body DP on the Square Chart for the bonus to Ignore Damage (subtract 1).
Some Stun Damage is listed as potentially deadly. If an attack causes 10 or more segments of stun, the target also takes 1 DP of dmage per 10 segments stunned by that attack.
Poison Damage is only effective if the carrier attack does at least one point of DP damage, or the poison is ingested/injected into the target. The description of the poison will describe the damage the poison does. If the poison is being carried by a carrier attack (poison on a blade, for example), the target is allowed a saving throw vs. Resist Death, on 2d10. There is a penalty to the pool equal to the Type of the Poison.
Some poisons are so potent that merely touching the skin or the tiniest scratch is enough to get into the bloodstream. In this case, even carrier attacks that only do VP damage can carry the poison to the target, if the attack is a Called Shot to an unprotected part of the body. The saving throw is the same as above, with a bonus equal to agility to the pool.
An attacker using a carrier weapon (such as a dart gun) to inject poison will often have a hard time getting through the target’s VP. Players in that situation can use 5 Quality points to make the carrier successful. Carrier damage is treated the same, but if the carrier does do VP damage, the carried poison will affect the target.
Illusory Damage is only real if the target believes it. For the duration of belief, treat it as real. Once the target realizes it is illusionary, all but one tenth (round up) of the damage disappears, healing per round. The one tenth that remains is standard Bludgeoning Damage.
Pushback: Every point of DP and every 10 points of VP add to the Pushback. Look up the Pushback on the Sphere Chart for the number of segments the character’s next Action is delayed. Also add any damage that is ignored with Ignore Damage to the pushback. If a character’s next Action is on segment 35, but the character loses 15 points of VP (1 point of pushback), then uses Ignore Damge to ignore 3 points of damage (3 points of pushback), then takes 25 VP and 3 DP (5 points of pushback), the character’s total Pushback is 9, and the character’s next Action will be pushed back 8 segments (9 on the Sphere Chart) to segment 43.
Throwback: After a character takes damage, that character may be thrown. There are two situations that can throw a character: being hit for DP, and being hit for VP while surprised. The player must roll 2d10 vs. their Throwback Roll, with a penalty of the damage rolled. If the character was only hit for VP, there is a bonus of the highest of Strength or Agility, on the Sphere Chart. If the character lost any DP from the attack, the bonus must be from Strength, and if the character was surprised and lost DP, Strength is halved. If this roll is failed, the character is thrown back. Look up the amount it was failed by from the Result column to the Sphere column of the Action Chart, for the distance thrown, in meters. See the description of the Throwback Roll for a longer explanation.
If a character is thrown into a wall or other obstruction, see Collisions, under Situations for the damage taken. Assume that the character’s speed is the distance thrown.
Defending and Attacking Multiple Opponents: Normally, the Attack and Defense scores are effective against one opponent. If the player wants the defense (and possibly attack) scores to apply to multiple opponents, each extra opponent gives a penalty of 1 to the character’s Combat Bonus Pool.
If the character has multiple opponents, the character can attack these multiple opponents as well. The character’s combat Q must be applied separately to the Attack for each target, but damage is only rolled once and divided as desired. Each attack occurs on succeeding segments.