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Combat Maneuvers

Players enjoy a nearly limitless number of Power possibilities in the Atomic Role Playing Game, but they they also have access to a common set of abilities used in Battle Time called Combat Maneuvers. Combat Maneuvers are similar to many of the “special actions” players are able to use in other games such as Dungeons and Dragons, but Atomic makes them easier.

Combat Maneuvers are abilities that are always available to both PCs and NPCs. They can be used over and over and are never expended. This means that a player character will always be able to use a Combat Maneuver even if they have already used it during Battle Time. In fact, a player could use nothing but Combat Maneuvers and still be quite effective!

To use a Combat Maneuver requires an Action. If the character is unable to use an Action, they unable to use Combat Maneuvers. Combat Maneuvers are considered At-Will Powers when determining when they can be used.

Trait Based Combat Maneuvers

The following Combat Maneuvers are based off one of the three Character Traits: Body, Mind, and Spirit. Combat Maneuvers use these Traits to determine the Attack and Defenses involved. They loosely align with the different Archetypes in the Atomic Role Playing Game but any PC or NPC can use any of these Combat Maneuvers.

Combat Maneuvers Can Be Modified by Powers, Items, and Specialties.

Knock Around

Force another character to move.

Characters will use their Body Attack against their target's Body Defense when attempting a Knock Around Combat Maneuver.
Knock Around Attempt
The character rolls a Body Attack against the target's Body Defense. If the character matches or exceeds the target's Body Defense, the attempt is successful.

Moving Target on Success
The target can be moved the attackers Character Tier in Spaces.

A Character Tier 3 (Level 9-12) can move their target 3 Spaces.

Exploit Weakness

Lower a target's Defenses.

Characters will use their Mind Attack against their target's Mind Defense when attempting an Exploit Weakness Combat Maneuver.
Exploit Weakness Attempt
The character rolls a Mind Attack against the target's Mind Defense. If the character matches or exceeds the target's Mind Defense, the attempt is successful.

Lowering Defenses on Success
The target's Defenses are lowered by the attackers Character Tier for 1 Round.

A Character Tier 4 (Level 13-16) will lower the all of the targets Defenses by 4 for 1 Round. On the attackers next turn the penalty will end.

Head Games

Force target to attack character or have a penalty to Attack.

Characters will use their Spirit Attack against their target's Spirit Defense when attempting a Head Games Combat Maneuver.
Head Games Attempt
The character rolls a Spirit Attack against the target's Spirit Defense. If the character matches or exceeds the target's Spirit Defense, the attempt is successful.

Target Attacks Character or suffers a penalty to Attack on Success
The target's must attack the character or they will have a Character Tier penalty to Attack for 1 Round.

A Character Tier 1 (Level 1-4) will lower the all of the targets Attacks by 1 for 1 Round if they do not attack the character.

Additional Considerations with Combat Manuevers

General Use Combat Maneuvers

The following Combat Maneuvers can also be used by any PC or NPC.  They can be very handy in a wide variety of situations.

These Mobility Combat Maneuvers cover all of the actions the player can make in a round. Think of them as a specific Bonus/Buff the character gets for the round which has conditions on their Action.

Reckless Offense

Charge into battle with modifiers.

Speed bonus and Attack bonus of Character Tier for 1 Round
Defense penalty of Character Tier for 1 Round
Reckless Offense Attempt
The character doesn't need to roll for the Reckless Offense, just for the Basic Attack or At Will Power they use while taking into account the modifications.

Reckless Offense Success
Gain a bonus to their Speed and Attack. Also suffer a penalty to their Defenses. These modification last for 1 Round. They also get the result of whatever At-Will was used.

A Character Tier 2 (Level 5-8) will have +2 to Speed and Attack as well as a -2 Defenses.

Careful Defense

Used to escape battle.

Speed bonus and Defense bonus of Character Tier for 1 Round
Characters can only use a Free Action for a Round.
Careful Defense Attempt
Does not need to make any rolls. The character simply takes on the short term character modifications.

Lowering Defenses on Success
Characters automatically succeed.

A Character Tier 5 (Level 17-20) will gain +5 to Speed and Defenses for 1 Round.


Used to de-escalate a battle.

All Characters (of the side that wants to de-escalate) work together to move the Encounter Style from Battle Time to Turn Time.
Parley Attempt
The entire group must Parley or withhold their attacks for a Parley to be successful.
Characters use their best Trait to roll their checks. If the checks match or are higher then the matching Defense that check succeeds. The majority of the group must succeed to have a chance to de-escalate.
GM has final say on success.

Parley on Success
The game moves from Battle Time to Turn Time.

Parley Combat Maneuver Trait Examples

Parley is great to use when characters want to stop a battle without further bloodshed, to capture prisoners, or to confuse a poor dumb NPC about whose side it is actually on.

Body Attack
Body Defense

An example of using the Body Trait would be posturing and intimidating through size and might.

Mind Attack
Mind Defense

An example of using the Mind Trait would be explaining to someone the reasons they don’t want to continue the fight.

Spirit Attack
Spirit Defense

An example of using the Spirit Trait would be trying to convince someone you’re want to be friends.

Important Note: If the target of a successful Parley is attacked afterward or other offensive actions are taken it will immediately cancel the Parley. If that target was Delaying Actions they can immediately act.

GM Parley Modifications

Since Parley is more focused and subduing a group, the GM can add situational modifiers to the Parley. Here are some modifiers that the GM may assign to Parley Attacks or Defenses:

  • If the target’s party is attacked after the Parley, the GM may give the party a Minor Bonus (Character Tier) Defense against further attempts.
  • If the character’s party stops attacking immediately after the first Parley, the GM may assign an additional Minor Bonus (Character Tier) for each of the character’s party members that have Parleyed instead of attacked.
  • A pack of extremely hungry wolves may have a Major Bonus to Defenses (Character Tier) against Parley due to the fact they are starving.
  • A character’s group might get a Major Bonus for each Parley against friendly troops that mistakenly attacked them thinking they were enemies.


Using Powers With Combat Maneuvers

Players may use Powers with Combat Maneuvers if the Power only affects Combat Maneuvers themselves. Defensive Powers that increase the character’s Combat Maneuvers can automatically be applied. Offensive Powers that affect a target of a Combat Maneuver must still be attacked. However, either type of Power happens before the actual Combat Maneuver attempt. This does not use up any extra Actions and is considered part of the Combat Maneuver Action.

Powers that modify Combat Maneuvers Attack or Defense only work for those specific actions. These Powers do not increase the character’s normal Attack or Defense.

Examples of Combat Maneuver Powers

  • A character may have a Power that increases their Combat Maneuvers for one round. This is a simple Power to increase to the Combat Maneuver Roll.
  • A character may have a Power that lowers the Combat Maneuver Defenses of a target for a few rounds. In this case, the character must first roll an Attack against the appropriate Defense for the Power. Then if that is successful, the character will then roll the Combat Maneuver against the newly lowered Defenses.

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