In Approximated Fray the combat is executed in a way that the actions are simultaneous. This means that every action is executed before any effects of those actions enter into play. The combat turn is divided into three separate phases in order to let some quick actions take effect before “normal” actions and have a few actions that are executed after all other actions.
The combat map
In Approximated Fray the combat map is divided into a number of areas instead of smaller hexes or squares. All creatures within the same area is considered to be within melee range of each other and all area effects are affecting one such area (like “Hedge of Thorns”, “Meteor Swarm” and “Fire Field”).
The Combat turn
A Combat turn is executed by going through the following steps:
1) The Staging – All participants select what they intend to do.
2) The First Phase – All actions scheduled for this phase is resolved and effects are distributed.
3) The Middle Phase – All actions scheduled for this phase is resolved and effects are distributed.
4) The Last Phase – All actions scheduled for this phase is resolved and effects are distributed.
5) The Mop Up – All Effects that can be dissolved by their Targets are Resolved and the Action Recovery Resolve is done.
During the Staging Phase all players choose what action to take during the Turn. The GM does the same for all NPCs.
The chosen Action is executed in the phase corresponding to its denomination (First, Middle or Last). All Actions in a Phase is deemed to happen simultaneously and the Effects takes place after all actions in that phase have been resolved.
Actions carrying the keyword “First” is there for often an advantage since their effects are realized before Actions keyworded “Middle” or “Last” as any effects resulting from the resolve of the “First” Action will be held against (or boost) them.
If the action carries the keyword “Middle”, which most actions do, they are resolved in the second phase of Turn execution. Hence any effects from their resolve is applied before cards keyworded “Last” are executed.
Cards carrying the keyword “Last” are resolved in the last phase of the turn and thus have the drawback of all negative effects that the creature using the card has against him from previous phases. However, most cards that are keyworded “Last” also have some form of inherent advantage, being more powerful or creating some extra effect. There is also the benefit of having all effects caused by other players affecting the target, possibly making the target easier to hit or triggering some additional effect.
The choice of action is done in secrecy for both PCs and NPCs, but the players are allowed to discuss the choices they make. They also secretly allocate a target for their action, an area or a Creature. All cards are placed face down in front of the players.
When all PCs and NPCs have chosen their actions and targets the staging ends and the first phase begins.
The First Phase
When the first phase starts all who have selected cards with the keyword “First” flip their cards over to show what they intend to do. The resolves are then done clockwise around the table ending with the GM and the NPCs.
All effects generated are placed beside the character cards and placed onto the card at the end of the phase when all cards have been resolved.
Since all actions are deemed to take place simultaneously the case of a Target moving out of the area and an attack against it is resolved as an attack and a move. Any effects from the attack only affects the creature in the next phase, i.e. the creature will move too the desired area but will be hit by the attack.
Executing the actions in a phase
When executing the cards of a phase all damage actions are executed before any moving is done in order to keep track of who is affected by what actions. After all effects of actions are established the moves are made.
An technical effect of this that might appear somewhat odd that charging is executed as an attack first and then a move. This is simply a technical meta effect from the practical handling of the simultaneous actions.
The Middle phase
The second phase is the same as the first round with two exceptions; any effects from the first phase is in effect and during this phase cards with the keyword “middle”.
The Last phase
The last phase is executed in the same way as the middle one but with all effects remaining from both the first and the middle phase.
The Mop up
In the mop up phase all players and NPCs gets an opportunity to dissolve conditions that affects them, if they are dissolvable.
Any effects not dissolved that causes damage are resolved at this stage (e.g. Burning and Drowning).
After dissolving any conditions one player rolls for recovery for the PC party. All cards with a lower or equal roll is returned to the players hand. The GM rolls for his creatures.
If the resolve of an attack is a success the attacker rolls a D4. The hit creature receives the number of levels of injury the dice shows. If the hit creature have Fatigue, it can be traded on a one by one basis.
Resolve uses mechanics in which getting hurt really is getting hurt. Injuries are represented by four different levels. The first one is bruised, representing the character getting hit in some way and have sustained injury enough to slow him down somewhat. This is represented by the character getting -1 on all actions (n.b. Defence is not an Action). The second level is Wounded when the character is really wounded giving him a -2 modifier on all Actions. Heavily wounded is the third level signifying a very badly wounded creature getting -3 on all actions. The fourth and final wound level is mortally wounded. When a creature becomes mortally wounded it automatically falls unconscious and will need resolve to avoid death.
Player characters and powerful creatures have fatigue. Fatigue the ability to narrowly escape potentially deadly blows and dodge certain injury.
When ever a creature with fatigue gets hit and should have sustained injury the creature can choose to reduce his fatigue by one for each wound level sustained.
Lost fatigue can be regained by using, among other, the card second wind.
Losing morale is the mental or spiritual equivalent of getting hurt. Some attacks hurt the Targets morale rather than hurt it physically. Lost morale is represented in four different levels.
The first is Disquieted, representing the character getting shaken and nervous enough to make him less competent. This is represented by the character getting -1 on all actions (n.b. Defence is not an Action). The second level is Scared when the Creature is really shaken and scared giving him a -2 modifier on all Actions. Terrified is the third level signifying a very badly shaken and broken Creature getting -3 on all actions. The fourth and final wound level is Panicked. When a creature is Panicked it automatically uses the best available move card to escape the scene.
All healing after the fighting have subsided is part of the combat scene and only heal spells still residing on a players hand can be cast. Healing using skill can be done once per creature.
After a combat scene has ended all cards are returned to the players’ hands and to the GM.
Fatigue is also reset for all involved (regardless of wounds).