The following rules apply for tactical battles in the Spherus system, where the battlefield is divided into a hexagonal grid, and each character on the battlefield has a position and orientation.
Movement: A character may choose to perform their action and non-actions at any point during their movement. The number of hexagons that characters can move is given below:
Any character that is on the same hexagon as an enemy character is said to be part of a combat engagement, and this can have an impact on their movement.
When a character attempts to move off a hex that contains a combat engagement, one and only one of the enemies at that location may elect to block the character's escape. The character that is attempting to leave can choose whether they wish to muscle past the blocker with an opposed strength check or slip past them with an opposed agility check in order to successfully move off the hex. Otherwise, the character's movement for the round is reduced to 0. Note that flying characters can automatically escape from an engaged hex if they spend the psi points to take flight, provided there is enough space in the combat area for them to fly overhead.
The following modifiers apply when attempting to disengage from an enemy:
Melee: A character may target any other character on the same hexagon with a melee attack.
Ranged: A character may target a hex with a ranged attack so long as their line of sight to that target hex is not obstructed by enemy characters or terrain obstacles. If there is a combat engagement on the target hex, the ranged attack will strike at a randomly chosen character from among those on the hexagon, including any allies. If there is no combat engagement on the hexagon being targeted, the enemies on that hexagon may choose who will be struck by the ranged attack.
Area Attacks: Ranged area attacks will strike all characters within the area of effect. Melee area attacks, such as spin-strike, will strike only enemies on the same hex as the character using the area attack. Some common area attacks are shown below:
Psi-Fire: Strikes up to 3 random characters on the three hexagons in front of the user. Note that psi-fire cannot be used to target foes that are on the same hexagon as the user.
Psi-Storm: Strikes all characters within a radius of one hexagon from the target location.
Spread-Shot: Targets a single character on up to three separate hexagons of the shooter's choice that are all within an 180-degree arc from the shooter's position. The usual rules for targeting with ranged attacks apply.
Launcher Weapons: Direct damage on single target in the target hexagon, concussion damage to all others within a radius of 1 hexagon.
This formalizes characters' attempts to recover consciousness during battle. Any defeated character that still has HP >= negative their health will slowly begin to wake up. In such a case, a counter is placed on the character upon their defeat indicating that they will rise again at 1 HP in 3 rounds. These counters are decreased by 1 at the end of each combat round. The pace of the counters can be affected by other characters on the battlefield. An unconscious character’s counter is immediately frozen if only enemies occupy their hexagon. Counters can be unfrozen if an ally steps onto the defeated character’s hex. If the defeated character's hex is occupied only by allies at the end of the round, the counter decreases by 2 instead of 1.
Note that healing and attacks can still be directed against defeated characters. A defeated character's counter is removed if their HP drops below negative their health. Conversely, if healing brings a character's HP >= negative their health, a new counter is placed upon them.
Traditional rules still apply: healing a character above 0 HP immediately brings them back into action for the next combat round. Similarly, dropping a character's HP < negative their maximum HP kills them permanently.
In the heat of battle, combatants don't always have control over when they get a chance to act. They must seize opportunity when it presents itself, or risk missing it altogether. Consequently, initiative will be treated as a strict combat order. Characters begin by choosing their action at the start of the round and adding that speed to their roll. Before making the roll, they must decide whether they wish to use their initiative modifier from agility or weapon/firearm skill to add or subtract from their initiative. The initiative number that is calculated from the roll cannot subsequently be changed. On their prescribed turn, the character may choose to:
Note that these options do not affect a character's ability to activate non-action skills, or to move about the combat map.