MPNP Combat Instances and Rounds

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This page covers combat rules for the Pen and Paper game and does not include attack roles or spellcasting. For full combat rules, you will also need to reference Combat and Magic and Threat.

For obvious reasons, combat has to work differently in the PNP than in the MMO. For full combat information, see Combat and Magic.

Combat is divided into Instances and Rounds. And Instance is the whole of combat, a Round is a specific set of turns within combat.

Combat Instance

The entire battle, from encountering an enemy until the last enemy is slain, is considered one "instance" of combat. This typically includes all enemies currently in sight, though the WorldShaper can decide which units are and are not involved in the combat. The Game Master should signal start and end of combat.

With regard to Weave Spells, combat is generally very fast. Weave spells are enchantments that generally have a duration of several minutes to several hours. If a spell is cast before or during combat, it should generally be considered to last for the rest of combat. The WorldShaper is free to hand-wave this as needed.


At the start of a combat, all players must roll for initiative for each character, this determines what order they may act in. This order persists for the rest of combat.

Initiative is determined by rolling 1d20 + Speed. If two characters tie on this roll, the one with the highest speed stat goes first. If they are still tied, flip a coin.

Additionally, any player who rolls a 20 for initiative gets 1 additional action per round.

Combat Round

A Combat Instance is divided into rounds, each round is a series of turns. Each player gets a turn for each character he or she is playing. When all characters, enemies, and NPCs have taken a turn, the round ends. If enemies are still present, a new round begins.

WorldShaper Note: Rounds do not have specific measures of time associated with them, however we can generally assume that they go by very fast. Estimate about 6 to 10 seconds if you absolutely need a time measure(say a bomb is counting down or something similar). Just remember that it call comes down to the two basic rules.

Combat Turn

A round is further divided into turns. Each player character and enemy gets 1 turn each round to make an attack, move, cast a spell, or perform some other action. The number of 'actions' available is equal to the speed modifier, rounded down to the nearest whole number, with a base minimum of 1. If the character has speed of less than 10, they have 1 action per turn.

Some actions count as Free Actions. Anything that says "as a free action" for example.

Attack Speed

Every player gets 1 attack, 1 move, and 1 free action per round. This is the base. Unused actions do not role over per round. Casing a spell counts as an attack action. Using an activated ability counts as a free action. The movement action can also be sacrificed for an additional free action.

A Speed Modifier grants 1 additional free action at mod 2, 3, 5, 8, and every point after 10. (E.G. a character with SPD 15 would have a mod of 3, granting 2 free actions).

Three free actions can be be used to gain 1 additional attack.


Casting a spell counts as an attack action. If the spell is slow-cast, it still takes 2 rounds regardless of how many actions the character has available. If the character has an extra attack-action, they may cast an additional spell. This can be either starting a second slow-cast or casting a different fast-cast.


In Mage Wars PnP, every time a player or a unit is the target of a melee or ranged attack(an attack roll is made against them) their Base DV drops by 10 points for the duration of the round. This stacks, so a second attack will drop the DV by another 10 points. This does not effect AC.

Activated Abilities

Using an activated ability costs 1 action. Some activated abilities also involve making a melee attack(Injure, for example). In this case, the ability is combined with the attack and does not cost an "extra" action point. Activated Abilities can only be used this way on the first attack per turn, for any subsequent attacks the ability will cost one extra Action.

Magic-based Activated Abilities such as Enforce are applied to the next spell being cast and therefore cost 1 additional action point. Since using the ability and casting the spell are considered two separate actions, they are not subject to an interrupt the way a slow-cast spell is.


The playing field is divided into rough 1 inch by 1 inch grid squares, though a mat is not necessary. The squares represent 1 square foot, so the game is played on a 1 inch = 1 foot scale. See Play Fields for more information. Each player should have a miniature to represent each character they are playing. The miniature should take up no more than 1x1, unless the player has created a larger character. Feel free to fudge the details on this. If someone is squinting at a ruler they're doing it wrong.

Each character can move a number of grid squares equal to his speed each turn. The first movement is considered a Free Action. Each declared movement after the first costs 1 action. So if a player wishes to run up to one enemy, attack, and then run to another and attack again, they would need a total of 3 actions.


Encumberance covers how the stuff you are carrying affects your movement. General encumberance is covered under Inventory. This section is about how what you are wearing and what you are holding impacts your ability to run, jump, and fight.

Base Encumberance

Very Large8


Leg and Chest pieces:

  • Shins = Large
  • Legs = Large
  • Chest = Vary large

All the Rest:

  • Head = Medium
  • Hands = Small
  • Wrists = Medium
  • Feet = Medium
  • Shoulders = Medium

Type Modifiers: (Per Piece Equipped)

  • Cloth - +0
  • Leather - +1
  • Chain - +2
  • Plate +4

So, what we have here, are several numbers that have to be added together to determine a character's combat encumbrance. All the math is only necessary if a character is mixing and matching armor types. Let's provide a nice baseline here:

  • Cloth: no impact, you are wearing a full set of cloth now(hopefully) so that's our baseline normal.
  • Leather: 28
  • Chain: 36
  • Plate: 52

From this you base number, subtract your armor Proficiency and Stamina. Whatever's left over is your Encumbrance. If your Encumbrance is less than your speed, then you are Unencumbered and may move freely. For each point over your Speed stat, take a -1 penalty to speed(A character with an Encumberance of 15 and Speed of 10 will have their speed reduced to 5). This penalty is only used when calculating movement speed and number of actions.

If Combat Encumbrance reduces a character's movement speed to 0, that character is immobile.

Combining Actions

Actions can be combined through the use of the Flourish system. Essentially, each level of flourish grants the player 1 additional action point to spend on his or her character's actions for this turn. If a character has only 1 action point to spend, and they would like to use it to run up to an enemy and attack, they would need a successful Level 1 Flourish.

However, a flourish does not grant universal actions, the player may only use these actions to carry out the effect described in the flourish.

Example: a character is wielding a very large weapon and and has only 4 actions. The player wishes his character to make a second attack on a target standing several feet away. Normally, this would require a total of 7 actions. The player succeeds on a Level 4 Flourish, granting a total of 8 actions, and then wants to use the remaining action to run towards another enemy. Unless that movement was described in the initial flourish, they may not use the remaining action.

See Also:

Mage Wars RPG