Running a Forge Engine-style combat is reasonably straightforward. The following steps summarize what needs to be done:

1) Determine Initiative for the next 3 Rounds of combat

2) Statement of Intent
3) Resolve Actions

4) Repeat steps 2 & 3 for each character until every character has had a chance to do something. After three Rounds, determine Initiative again and repeat the process until combat has ended.


Rolling 2d6 and adding the character's Dexterity Stat determines initiative. If there is a tie, then the character with the highest Dexterity Stat wins. If it's still tied, the winner of initiative is the one with the highest Spirit Stat. If it's still tied, then roll 1d20 until someone rolls a higher number than the other.


On the player's initiative point, she should decide what her character will. If a player wants her character to wait to see what happens, she may do so, but all Skill Checks for that round are made with a penalty of -1. Characters may perform up to three actions during a round, but each action after the first suffers a -2 cumulative penalty to any Skill Check involved. In addition, this penalty applies to the character's defense. See Resolving Combat below.

Since each round represents about 3 seconds, the Game Master may rule actions that would obviously take longer than a moment may not be done in the same Round. The following is a suggested, but by no means comprehensive list of actions that may be done in a Round of combat.

You may strike an opponent with a weapon. A character may take up to two Attack actions in a round.

The character dives out of the way of incoming ranged attacks like arrows, sling bullets and other objects which may be thrown or fired at you. It may also be used to dodge attacks made in close combat. Make a Dodge Skill Check. The total rolled here becomes the new base Success Number any attack must meet or exceed in order to hit the character. A character may perform this action even if it is not her Initiative. Note that a character can spend points from her Pool to improve the total rolled. This new total affects all incoming attacks only one Action need be spent.

The character lunges and tries to grapple her opponent. A character may attempt a Grab based straight off DE (no bonus, penalty, or Skill Levels allowed). If trying to grab an armed opponent, the character is at a -2 to her attack and defense until her next action (cumulative with any other penalties incurred during the round).

If using the optional hit location rules with the complete Forge Engine system, the character may also try to grab specific body parts by taking the appropriate penalties to attack. For complete rules on grabbing an opponent using the optional hit location rules, refer to the Forge Engine Rules Book.

Once grabbed, the victim may attempt to escape on his turn. To do so, the victim must make a DE or ST roll (defender's choice) vs a SN of 8 + 1 for every level of success of the initial attack. Thus, if an attacker grabbed her opponent and score a Good Success (a third level success), the defender may only escape if he makes a successful DE or ST roll vs. a SN of 11. If the defender has the Escape skill, he may apply any levels in that skill to the roll. Only one escape attempted may be tried each Round.

Summary: Grab, -2 to attack armed opponents. May apply 2d4+ST damage, or attack with weapon at +2 to skill (if hands are free). Roll 2d6 + DE or ST + Escape vs. SN 8 + Level of Grab success to get away.

Move the character a number of yards equal to twice their Speed Score. A character may perform only one Run action per round, but may combine this activity with other actions.

Resolving Combat

To make an attack, a character makes a Skill Check just like any other. However, the Success Number in the case of close combat is the Opponent's Dexterity + Combat Skill + 8 OR Dexterity + Dodge + 8, whichever total is better. If the character has attempted more than one action in a round, then the success number to strike them in combat is lowered by an amount equal to the final action penalty. Thus, if a character had taken two actions, the Success Number to hit them would be Dexterity + Combat Skill + 6, since 8 minus 2 (the penalty for two actions) is 6. If they had taken three actions, it would be Dexterity + Combat Skill + 4, and so on. This number will remain the Success Number to hit the character until the character's action on the next Round. Ranged attacks are resolved against a Success Number of 8 unless the target is Dodging. In this case the ranged attack is resolved against a Success Number of Dexterity + Dodge + 8. If the character chose to take a Dodge action the total rolled on 2d6 + Dexterity + Dodge is the total all attacks must beat.

If the Skill Check equals or exceeds the Success Number, refer to the Success Chart listed earlier and note the damage multiplier. To find how much damage is done, look up the base damage of the weapon used, add the character's Strength Stat, and multiply it by the damage multiplier you just referred to. The recipient of the damage then subtracts whatever resistance his armor may provide, if any, and the rest is compared to his Damage Levels. He puts a check by the highest damage level equal to or exceeded by the amount of damage done as discussed in the section describing Hits.

Modifiers to Combat related Skill Checks
Striking from behind: +1
Striking from ambush (a surprise attack): +2
Attack as Second Action: -2
Attack as Third Action: -4
Using a ranged attack against a fast-moving (running) target: -2
Throwing a ranged attack while running (spear, javelin, boomerang): -2, but add +1 damage for every 5 points of Speed.
Firing a bow while running: -8

Modifiers to Defense
Took two actions: -2
Took three actions: -4

Attacking Things of a Different Size
Very small things (under one foot in size, body parts like the head, neck or gut): -4
Attack small things (under three feet in size, including body parts like legs and arms): -2
Human-size things (around 6 feet in size): 0
Large things (around 12 feet in size): +2
Very large things (24 feet in size or bigger): +4

Modifiers for Ranged weapons:
Up to 10 yards: -0
Up to 20 yards: -1
Up to 30 yards: -2
Up to 60 yards: -3
-1 for every 30 yards thereafter.

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Precursor setting Copyright 2002 Dustin Evermore | Art by Chris Rich-McKelvey and Edward Cupps