Aberrant 2.0 Combat Alterations

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Rules Changes

Action Limits

A character may not take more than (Dexterity + Wits) total non-reflexive actions in a round. This includes parts of a flurry, and still applies if the character uses full defense, with each individual dodge or parry counting as one of those actions. A character may take any reasonable number of reflexive actions.

Cancelling Impossible Actions

Characters may cancel actions that are impossible (such as shooting someone who is already dead) by spending 1 Willpower or on a successful Willpower roll, taking a new action at +1 difficulty. Otherwise, they may only abort to a defensive maneuver on a successful Willpower roll or by spending 1 Willpower.

Grappling and Crushing

Grappling attacks are dangerous because they generally attack in a way which is difficult for armor to defend against. Even quantum powers often find it hard to stop grapples, as super-tough skin or nigh invulnerability is of less effectiveness against someone choking the life out of you. The person in control of the grapple has the advantage, allowing him to seek weak points and exploit them, levering off armor, twisting limbs, and so on.

Against a grapple, all non-natural soak is halved. Round fractional soak down as normal.

Area of Effect Attacks

Area Attacks
Area attacks have a radius of effect, and targets in that area of effect are automatically hit with the attack's full effects. Area attacks have an Area rating, which adds to the difficulty to dodge them by +1 per 2 levels of area (round up). Furthermore, Area attacks may hit secondary targets-or be aimed at the ground, which allows the character to place the attack where she wants to with 1 success on the roll (characters in the area of effect may dodge as normal). Area attacks do not gain additional damage from successes on the attack roll. Because good tactics implies good spacing, the secondary targets of an area attack may add their Tactics to their dodge rolls. Powers and attacks have an area of effect radius of 10m per level of Area (so an attack with Area 5 would have a 50m radius). If a character is incapable of moving out of the effect radius or finding some form of cover with their fastest movement mode, the character cannot dodge the attack.

Dodging and Cover

Characters may dodge attacks with an opposed Dexterity + Athletics roll against the attack. Success means that the character successfully evades the attack, taking no damage. This can be used against both melee and ranged attacks, although there are a few exceptions.

Baseline characters may not dodge bullets-they must dodge the aim. A character without Mega-Dexterity may only take dodge actions against bullets, lasers, or other such high-velocity ranged weapons if he or she has higher initiative than the shooter-you have to know someone's aiming at you to dodge their aim. Alternatively, a character may take a "dodge action" if the character is sprinting from cover to cover or some other method to minimize exposure. Novas may dodge bullets without an issue at Mega-Dexterity 1, but may have increased dodge difficulties for things such as speed of light weapons (which may add +1 difficulty to dodge rolls). No characters can dodge an area attack without moving out of its area of effect.

Human Shields

If using a person as a shield (generally a human shield is Superior cover for +3 difficulty) and the attack hits the person (this happens if it rolls at least 1 success but not enough to hit), damage from an attack is reduced by the person in question's soak + 1 before your soak applies. If this reduces the attack's damage to 0L or less, you take no damage. Damage is rolled for both parties. Taking a human shield requires a successful Grapple. A character may parry with a human shield, a successful parry negating the attack as normal (the human shield takes the full force)

Damage

Damage Types

There are four types of damage that apply to humans: Stun, Bashing, Lethal, and Aggravated. EMP damage is a special case that applies only to vehicles.

Stun: Stun damage is momentary impairment that has negligible long-term effect, examples including the damage from tasers, the disorienting effect of flashbangs, and other such attacks.

Bashing: Bashing damage is a catch-all for any form of damage which is relatively superficial and unlikely to be instantly fatal. Blunt trauma blows are often bashing damage, and so is superficial fire and most forms of electrical shock. Soft radiation, with low penetration, is also bashing damage as it liberates most of its energy into surface tissues.

Lethal: Lethal damage is any penetrating damage, which can hit vital organs directly by piercing or ignoring the protective structures around them. If a character's health levels are fully filled with lethal damage, they are dying and will be dead very soon.

Aggravated: Aggravated damage inflicts horrific injury that cannot easily be repaired. Certain chemical weapons and chemical fires inflict aggravated damage from a combination of poison and burning that is nigh-impossible to repair (although they tend to be soaked as lethal damage). Hard radiation's genetic damage is also generally aggravated, and loss of body mass is the most common method of dealing aggravated damage. Finally, extreme heat and force is also aggravated damage, as in the case of nuclear weapons.

Dazing and Stunning

A character is Dazed if he takes more than (Stamina) levels of damage in a single turn or Stunned if he takes more than (2*Stamina) levels. A Dazed character is at +2 difficulty to any actions taken on his next turn (and may not take multiple actions), while a Stunned character loses his next turn, or his next two turns if he takes more than (3*Stamina) levels.

Characters may attempt to "power through" being stunned by spending a point of Willpower, increasing their Stamina by +(Willpower/2), round down, for purposes of resisting Dazing/Stunning only.

Stun Damage

Stun damage is fully healed at the end of every scene, and heals at the rate of 1 health level per (10 - Stamina) turns inside a scene, healing at most 1 level per turn. Stun damage does not inflict wound penalties, but can daze or stun opponents, and a character with their entire health track filled with stun damage is rendered unconscious. Stun damage does not carry over to bashing damage. In general, stun damage is soaked as bashing damage, although certain attacks may deal unsoakable stun damage (such as Stun Attack).

Paying 1 point of Willpower allows a character to roll Willpower, with each success healing 1 level of Stun damage.

EMP Damage

Some attacks deal EMP damage. EMP damage, signified by an E for the damage tag, e.g. "10E" for 10d of EMP damage, represents the electronics-damaging ability of EMP grenades, HERF weapons, and the EMP technique of Magnetic Mastery. These attacks are not soaked by armor, although EMP hardened vehicles and computers may soak this damage. Generally only military vehicles and important infrastructure are hardened, and soak anywhere from 1 (low-priority objects like portable electronics) to 5+ (cutting-edge military vehicles, critical infrastructure) EMP damage. Each success rolled on an EMP damage roll deals 1 lethal level of damage to a machine and shuts it down for 1 turn (hardened systems such as military vehicles only shut down for 1 turn per 3 levels of damage instead). If 3+ levels are rolled against a non-hardened electronic system, the system is permanently destroyed.

EMP damage does not affect humans.

Soak and Survival

Baseline characters have natural lethal soak equal to Stamina/2 and bashing soak equal to Stamina before factoring in any additional sources of soak. A Nova has additional natural soak above and beyond that, adding +Quantum to his lethal and bashing soak ratings and Quantum/2 to his natural aggravated soak, for a total of (Stamina + Quantum) Bashing, (Stamina/2 + Quantum) Lethal, and (Quantum/2) Aggravated soak. Round all fractional soak down. In general, for baselines the only method of gaining additional soak beyond that (outside of body modifications representing genetic alteration or cybernetic enhancement) is wearing armor.

Damage Adds

Some particularly brutal or extremely powerful weapons (explosive or expanding bullets, vehicular weapons) are so powerful that they can tear through most targets particularly well. Other weapons can deal massive trauma to a target but are relatively easy to defend against-any target which can soak the damage is well off, but if they cannot, the damage such a weapon can cause is traumatic. These weapons have damage adds, or automatic levels of damage.

As long as a weapon penetrates the enemy soak (i.e. final damage is not reduced to 0 or less) the target takes a number of levels of damage equal to the damage add of a weapon. The damage add of a weapon is listed in brackets-a weapon that deals 10L [4] deals 10 dice of damage, and 4 automatic levels.

Note that a weapon with damage reduced to 0 or less by soak does not apply its damage adds even if it deals ping damage.

Ping Damage

If an attack fails to deal more damage than a target's soak, the attack rolls a single die of damage instead, "ping damage", representing the chance for a 'golden BB' or other form of lucky hit that causes some injury. However, ping damage is not of the same type of damage as the attack, but is downgraded one level of severity (aggravated -> lethal -> bashing -> stun). Stun damage, if fully soaked, deals no ping damage. The damage is still soaked as aggravated, lethal, or bashing, but applies as lethal, bashing, or stun, respectively.

Unconventional damage types such as EMP damage deal no damage if fully soaked.

Armor Piercing

Certain weapons and several powers have an Armor Piercing rating, which represents their ability to pierce protection such as armor plate. Each point of Armor Piercing reduces the target's Armored soak or power-granted soak by 1, down to a minimum of 0. The target's natural soak is not affected by armor piercing. Extras such as Impervious may render Armor Piercing less effective or even completely ineffective.

Armor

Armor is destroyed if an attack has raw damage equal to its Destruction rating. An armor's penalty decreases the user's dice pool for actions such as running, dodging, leaping, and so forth. It also adds to the difficulty of all rolls to resist exertion. Furthermore, the heavier and more tiring the armor, the harder it is for a character to act. A character must have both (Strength + Might) and (Stamina + Endurance) equal to (2 + total mobility penalty), or takes a -1 dice penalty to all rolls for every dot he falls short of this requirement. Some particularly light armor is now considered to be "lightweight" and has no strength or stamina requirements. Armored T-Shirts, Reinforced Clothing, and Eufiber are the only lightweight armor in the core.

Each "layer" of armor past the first increases the penalty of all worn armor by 1 if it has a penalty of 1 or more. Stacking multiple layers of armor with -0 penalty is somewhat less harsh, as it only adds 1 penalty for each layer of penalty-free armor past the first. More importantly, stacked armor becomes encumbering and poorly balanced-the total Penalty Rating now applies to all physical actions, rather than merely just movement.

Armor can be concealed under clothing if so stated in its description. For the purposes of advancement, only armors of a certain mass can effectively be hidden under clothing. Unconcealable armor can be of any mass.

  • Heavy Clothing (i.e. winter gear): 10kg or less
  • Normal Clothing (i.e. jacket, jeans, T-suit): 5 kg or less
  • Scanty Clothing (i.e. lingerie or swimsuit): 5 kg or less, must be capable of acting as a "second skin" (a la Bioweave armor, certain Novatech devices).

Health Levels

Health Track

Higher Stamina increases a character's health track. Assuming a Stamina of 1 or 2, a character has 1 x -0/2 x -1/2 x -2/1 x -4/Incapacitated. However, at Stamina scores of 3 or above, characters may better absorb injury before dying. Every odd point of Stamina (so Stamina 3, Stamina 5, Stamina 7, Stamina 9, etc) adds an additional health level, going in the order of -0/-1/-2/-4. So a character with Stamina 3 or 4 would have a health track of -0 x 2/-1 x 2/-2 x 2/-4 x 1/Incapacitated. A character with Stamina 5 would have a track of -0 x 2/-1 x 3/-2 x 2/-4 x 1/Incapacitated. This, along with natural lethal soak, helps baselines compensate slightly for the increased lethality of various weapons in this rebuild (but it still sucks being baseline).

Novas channel Quantum through their body, increasing the toughness of their skin, muscles, and bones to withstand the rigors of their godlike power, and as they become more adept at channeling such energies their body becomes tougher in turn to allow them to make use of their mastery. Each point of Quantum a Nova possesses gives the Nova an additional -0 health level.

Healing

A character who has taken damage heals each level at the rates given below. Novas heal at at least double normal rate by default, which increases via Mega-Stamina. Furthermore, Novas with Mega-Stamina 1 reduce wound severity by 1 category when calculating healing times, Novas with Mega-Stamina 3 reduce wound severity by 2 categories when calculating healing times, and Novas with Mega-Stamina 5 reduce wound severity by 3 categories for healing. A character heals an additional 1 category faster with competent medical care (a small clinic with decent provisions) and 2 categories faster with expert care (a top of the line trauma ward).

  • -0 HLs: 1 hour (bashing)/1 day (lethal)
  • -1 HLs: 2 hours (bashing)/1 week (lethal)
  • -2 HLs: 4 hours (bashing)/2 weeks (lethal)
  • -4 HLs: 8 hours (bashing)/1 month (lethal)
  • Incapacitated: 1 day (bashing)/3 months (lethal)
  • Dying: 1 day (bashing)/5 months (lethal)

Grievous Injury

The human body (and by extension, the transhuman body) can survive surprising amounts of injury as long as there is immediate medical care provided to prevent infection or death via blood loss. When someone is taken out of the fight, it is quite common for horrific damage to have been rendered that is not directly life-threatening. After all, as long as the heart, lungs, and brain are intact, someone may be salvaged.

When a character takes more than half of his current health levels (round down) in a single attack, the player (not the character) may choose to take a grievous injury instead, reducing the damage to 1 health level in exchange for being maimed. The bullet misses your character's heart but shatters her elbow joint instead, leaving her incapable of moving that arm for the rest of her life without significant reconstructive surgery. A bouncing betty mine malfunctions, removing both of a character's legs at the knees instead of tearing his chest open. A bone-breaking blow snaps the spine rather than driving a broken rib into the lung. So on. The only exception is if the attack deals enough damage in a single blow to convert the character from healthy to paste (so if an attack does enough HLs of damage to kill the character regardless of his current health, and then destroy his corpse) the character is irrevocably dead.

In any case, these wounds are always horrific in nature, and grant a character 5 points of flaws, or 7 points of flaws if the attack deals more than half the character's base health levels (round up). These grievous wounds cannot be healed naturally by baselines-the damage is too widespread, and it is only due to modern medical care that survival and continued function is even possible. Instead, they must be healed via more esoteric means such as psionic or quantum powers or mitigated by cybernetics or vat-grown biotech.

Novas with Regeneration can heal grievous injuries on their own, regrowing damaged body parts. Generally each individual flaw takes the Nova the same amount of time to heal off as a missing limb or organ.

Resuscitation

A character is not always irrecoverably dead after being incapacitated, unless the deed is done by truly horrific or irreparable forms of damage. Typically there is a window equal to the character's (Stamina) in minutes to resuscitate them via a (Dexterity + Medicine) roll with a base difficulty of +1, +1 for each minute the character has been "dead", +1 for each additional level of damage past Incapacitated the character has taken. This stabilizes a character and prevents them from dying, but does not heal any damage.

Being killed by some attacks may cause instant death and prevent any resuscitation without techniques such as Healing or Iatrosis 5. Instant death happens from one of several methods. Obviously, even a dead character who could be resuscitated might not be, if the circumstances of their death prevent it. Listed below are a few of the methods of preventing a character's resuscitation.

  • The character is killed by a called shot to a vital organ. CPR doesn't work if the heart or brain is destroyed.
  • The character is killed and their corpse loses all its HLs. Nothing can revive a character which has been reduced to a smear of reddish meat paste. A corpse typically has (dead person's Strength + Stamina) total health levels. Mega-Strength and Mega-Stamina each add an effective +2 per dot-even after the M-R node connection dies, something remains (which is how Soma and Mite work).
  • The character is killed by Aggravated damage. Any attempt to resuscitate in this case via mundane medicine merely prolongs the character's agonizing death.

Ranges

The range increment for most attacks is the short range of the attack. Medium range is up to double the range increment and +2 difficulty, Long range is up to quadruple the range increment and +4 difficulty, and an Extreme range shot is up to eight times the range increment, at +6 difficulty.

Thrown attacks have a range increment of (Strength + Might) * 5 meters for objects massing less than 1 kg, with each additional kilogram reducing this by 5m due to unwieldiness. Particularly aerodynamic objects (frisbees, etc) may add +1 to +3 to the character's effective Might skill. Novas with Mega-Strength add an additional 50m of range per dot of Mega-Strength and divide the effective mass of an object for calculating distances by 10 at Mega-Strength 1, and add 10 to the divisor per additional dot of Mega-Strength (so a character with M-Str 5, Str 5, and Might 5 can throw a 50 kg object with a range bracket of 350m.

Stacked Defenses

Stacking defensive powers becomes less and less effective the more of them you have. To allow the reduction in stacking effectiveness, there are now three categories of soak. Soak always rounds down.

  • Natural soak: Natural soak comes from Quantum, Stamina, Mega-Stamina, and certain body modifications.
    • Without Enhancements, Natural soak should equal (Quantum + Stamina + Mega-Stamina)B, (Quantum + Mega-Stamina + Stamina/2)L, and (Quantum/2)A.
  • Power-Based soak: Power-Based soak is gained from Quantum (or Psi) powers.
  • Armored soak: Armored soak comes from body armor or eufiber, and some other body modifications.

Any character may only gain the full defensive value of one source of each soak type (normally the highest soak value). The second source of said soak is halved, the third source has its value divided by 4, and so on, to a minimum of +0L/0B from stacking. Round stacking soak values down. Note that some soak is noted to be Stackable, primarily soak gained from body modifications. This means you add up all sources of stackable soak and treat it as one source of soak.

Example: A Nova with Eufiber 2 (+4B/4L soak), Advanced Body Armor (+6B/6L soak), and Subdermal Armor (+2B/2L soak) with a Hyperdense Skeleton (+2B/1L soak) calculates his armored soak by taking the full value of his Advanced Body Armor (6B/6L), then halving the value of his Eufiber (4B/4L halves to 2B/2L), and then quartering the value of his body modification soak (4B/3L quarters to 1B/0L), giving him a total of 9B/8L soak from armor, rather than 14B/13L.

Non-Soak Defenses

Similarly, all additional defensive powers become less effective the more of them you have. A character with multiple powers which increase their resistance to quantum powers, mental powers, or increase the difficulty to be hit use the highest bonus and gain an additional +1 bonus for every additional source of the same bonus that is meaningful.

A meaningful source has a bonus equal or greater than 50% of the total bonus given. For example, if a nova adds +5 difficulty to all enemy attack rolls, a power that adds to the difficulty of enemy attack rolls is not meaningful unless it adds +3 or more to the difficulty of enemy attack rolls. If the nova had 1 such meaningful power, he would increase that difficulty penalty to +6. If the Nova wished to increase that to a +8 penalty, he would need the basic +5 difficulty power, and 3 powers with +4 difficulty.

Ablative defenses, such as forcefield, stack fully rather than using these rules.

Extras

Nameless mooks don't use the same damage rolling rules as named characters, and often cannot take as much damage before giving up the ghost.

Gritty

Gritty extras generally have a bunch of rules to reduce bookkeeping but these rules don't make them easier per se.

  • Gritty extras do not roll initiative. Instead, they are always considered to have rolled a '5' for initiative.
  • Gritty extras do not suffer wound penalties, and can take 4 health levels of damage before being taken out of the fight (generally by retreat or surrender, although sufficient damage will kill them). Every full 2 dice of post-soak damage converts into 1 health level of damage.
  • Similarly, extra vehicles can take half damage before they break off/run into an obstacle and explode/whatever.
  • Gritty extras cannot take multiple actions and groups of them only roll once for their actions.

Cinematic

Cinematic extras are really bad at fighting to the point where even untrained protagonists can mow right through them. They follow significantly different rules. In a more gritty game, these rules can be used to represent poorly-trained unmotivated forces who will immediately break and turn tail once they start taking licks, such as rent-a-cops.

  • Cinematic extras do not roll initiative. They always go last and declare first.
  • Cinematic extras have no soak, no matter what armor they wear and have 1 health level. As long as an attack hits, they get brought down. The player is free to narrate how the extra gets his day ruined. Lethal attacks generally kill, while bashing attacks incapacitate, but against cinematic extras you're allowed to kill someone with a non-Mega-Strength punch to the face or similar.
  • Cinematic extras have no concept of spacing and as such an attack which gets more than 5 successes can knock out/kill multiple extras, incapacitating 1 additional extra per additional success beyond that.
  • Cinematic extras have really bad aim. Each Extra rolls 1d to attack, although extras combine their dice pools for a single attack. Extras may not attack the same character more than once.
  • Cinematic extra vehicles have 7 health levels, convert every 2d of post-soak damage into 1 HL of damage (round fractional HLs down) and are automatically defeated when these health levels are depleted.

Collateral Damage

Knockback/Knockdown

Particularly powerful blows can knock a character back or down, occasionally through an object. In general, if an attack deals more pre-soak damage than twice a character's (Strength + Might), the character is knocked back by 1 meter per two damage die over this total plus a number of additional meters equal to the attack's damage adds. This may possibly knock a character off their feet-characters who are knocked back more than (Dexterity) meters are automatically knocked down, characters who are knocked back less than that may attempt to keep their footing with a Dexterity + Athletics roll, difficulty equal to the number of meters they are knocked back. Large characters add an additional +2 to their Strength + Might for resisting knockback, while Huge characters add +4. Every dot of Sizemorph (Grow) or Density Control adds +4 to a character's ability to resist knockback above and beyond their bonuses to strength.

Mega-Strength adds +10 to the character's effective Strength for knockback, while Mega-Dexterity adds +2 to the character's Dexterity for checking for knockdown. In a more realistic game, low-momentum high-velocity weapons and energy weapons may not inflict knockback, although they still should check for knockdown (from shock and impact) as if they had knocked the character back that far.

Characters may be sent flying through walls or other objects. To deliberately aim to send a character flying into an inanimate object adds +1 difficulty to an attack, while aiming to send a victim flying into a moving object (such as a person) adds +2 difficulty and requires the character to split his attack successes between hitting the victim and hitting the moving object. Obviously, if the attack misses, no knockback occurs.

If a character is knocked into an object, both the object and the character take 1 die of bashing damage for every 2 meters the character was knocked back, as if the character had fallen onto the surface. Like fall damage, the damage cap is 25B and the damage becomes lethal if it exceeds a character's (Stamina + Athletics). The damage may also be lethal if the character is thrown into a particularly unyielding surface (the side of a main battle tank for example), a sharp surface (a wall of spikes), or a surface which easily breaks into jagged shards (through non-safety glass). If the damage exceeds the soak of a building or wall, the character can be assumed to have been sent flying through the object in question.

Attacking Inanimate Objects

Sometimes characters may want to destroy inanimate objects. Doing so uses the normal attack resolution rules, with a handful of exceptions.

  • Accuracy: Attack rolls are generally going to automatically succeed against non-moving targets such as walls and buildings. Occasionally very small objects like guns, apples resting on a person's head, and bulls-eyes will require an attack roll, with difficulty ranging from +0 to +4 depending on the circumstances, before factoring in range.
  • Size: Many buildings/etc are very large and as such take a maximum of 1 health level of damage from non area attacks. But due to the amount of widespread damage an explosive or FAE can do, area attacks with sufficient blast radius (equal to half of the object's smallest dimension) can overcome the protection of sheer size. More importantly, if an area attack is sufficiently large (equal to half of the building's largest dimension), it deals doubled post-soak damage to the building. Area attacks which engulf the building entirely deal quadruple normal damage.
  • Damage: Most inanimate objects do not have damage penalties as they tend to be solid slabs of stuff, and therefore only have two values-armor and structural levels. Some inanimate objects, such as firearms, may have their performance impacted with damage. It is up to the ST if he or she wishes to track this level of detail.

Example Objects

Firearm: Pull trigger, dispense bullet. The lower number of structural levels is for a pistol, while the higher one is for a rifle or light machine gun.

Armor 5, 3/6 Structure Levels

Window: A glass windowpane is easily shattered with sufficient force. The value after the slash is for armored glass. This is roughly representative of an office window which extends from roof to floor. Smaller windows such as those in houses or cars may have anywhere from half (3/10) to one-fifth (1/4) the structure levels.

Armor 2/8, 5/20 Structure Levels

Drywall: Weak materials like drywall and sheetrock are extremely easy to punch through, but they are also extremely useful for building because they are compact, cheap, and light. The Health Levels of damage required are for creating a hole large enough to push a human through.

Armor 2, 15 Structure Levels

Structural Wall: Load bearing walls are much harder to knock down, being generally made of brick or concrete. Again, it requires this many health levels of damage to make a gap large enough to move a person through.

Armor 12, 30 Structure Levels

Armored Wall: Generally only used for secure buildings like bunkers or hardpoints, these walls are solid metal and reinforced concrete, designed to take bomb blasts, artillery bombardments, and RPGs.

Armor 20, 60 Structure Levels

House: Your average one-bedroom one-bathroom house. Larger houses may have 5 to 15 more health levels on average. Houses are very large and require area attacks to deal significant damage to. Shooting through a house, rather than attempting to knock it down, is much easier, as most parts are merely made of drywall.

"Armor" 10, 30 Structure Levels

Bunker: Made of concrete and steel, armored bunkers tend to be rather hard to destroy, and often contain armed soldiers who may vigorously oppose demolitions attempts. Generally, taking out a bunker by killing its occupants is much easier than actually destroying one.

Armor 20, 60 Structure Levels

Skyscraper: Buildings reaching 100m or more towards the sky, skyscrapers are hard to destroy without powerful area of effect weapons. Even when destroyed, their extremely durable frames will tend to persist, monuments to human engineering.

Armor 10, 100 Structure Levels

Mass Combat

These mass combat rules are enhancements which allow people to use extras and other things in large scale combat.

Henchmen

Henchmen are irrelevant, faceless mooks who don't even have the status of an extra. They are used as enhancements to the actions of a leader figure, who may benefit from up to (Charisma + Command) * 2 henchmen at a time during most situations. Certain situations (wide open battlefields with no cover) may increase the number of henchmen that can be effectively used, while tight quarters may reduce or even eliminate the option of using henchmen.

  • Dice Pool: Each henchman adds to the commander's pool for attacks and defenses (the defensive bonus is generally represented by suppressive fire, fire and overwatch tactics, and other options that allow for increased survival rates). This bonus is generally +1d, but increases to +2d if the henchman in question has an attribute and ability total in that area over 7d. If the henchmen have Psi or Quantum powers (generally only for sub-aberrants and universally psi-capable aliens like Chromatics), this bonus is given to Psi usage as well, or adds to the dice pool for Quantum powers that both parties have.
  • Damage: Each henchman adds +1 to the damage of the commander's weapon. Henchmen with bigger guns than the commander are considered to have Support Weapons, and have their own rules. In normal operation, they simply add to damage, firing their light weapons.
  • Support Weapons: Instead of attacking himself, a commander can use a henchman's heavy weapon. This could be anything from molotov cocktails and AK-47s for the leader of a rioting mob armed with clubs and knives, to pulse cannons and plasma guns for a Trinity-era Legion strike team. This attack is made at full dice pool with henchmen accuracy/damage bonuses. Weapons capable of firing bursts are assumed to fire the largest possible burst they can. This attack can only be done once per combat per henchman equipped with a heavy weapon. The rest of the time, the henchman is assumed to be missing dramatically.
  • Damage Soak: Until all henchmen are eliminated, the leader cannot be targeted. When targeting a squad with henchmen in it, the squad's soak is assumed to be the representative soak of the most numerous henchman type. Similarly, damage is allocated differently against henchmen. Divide the post-soak damage by the number of HLs required to eliminate a henchman, then round up to find the number of henchmen eliminated. Some squads may be all-henchmen, which means the commander himself is eliminated like a henchman. Note that outside of area attacks, most henchmen generally don't die, they just surrender/drop their weapons and cower in fear/are too shocked or confused to contribute meaningfully for the fight. As henchmen become more and more elite the number of henchmen taken out of the fight without being killed or incapacitated drops.
Rabble (mobs, typical thugs, hastily organized militia): 1 HL/henchman
Disciplined (military conscripts, dedicated gangsters): 2 HLs/henchman
Professional (professional military): 3 HLs/henchman
Elite (elite forces, USMC, Rangers, Paras, Warrior-Monks, Knights): 5 HLs/henchman
Fanatical (Special Forces, SAS, Legion, Ancient Ninja Clans, Zombies, Military Robots): 7 HLs/henchman
  • Area Vulnerability: Area attacks have increased effect on squads. Generally, all post-soak damage is multiplied by (area + 1). Area attacks are dangerous things against groups, and the shock and noise can often scare poorly-trained henchmen into surrendering.