Combat is handled very simply in Novus Infinitas. the step by step process is outlined below.
Step 1) Roleplay it out! It’s as simple as that. Apply Aspect tokens to the situation, describe your actions, roll for successfulness, apply Mastery Points, rinse and repeat! I have never been a fan of the separation between roleplaying and combat in other, more traditional RPGs. I do, however, recognize the need for a few special qualifiers, however.
Order – The Order of action is determined by the players, collaboratively. Before players describe their action or apply Aspect tokens, they have time to discuss their plans and decide who will go first. The GM may insert the opponents’ actions or reactions at any point in this sequence. This is to prevent Round-Robin style of play, in which characters who see an opportunity before them never get a chance to act on it before it closes itself off through the actions of players preceding them in the order. After opponent reaction, the players are given another chance to alter their plan of action to fight dynamically. Novus is about imaginative story progression and creativity leading to fun adventures and situations. Waiting for your friends to finish fighting or casting so you get a chance to run forward 10ft in your next round is not fun (trust me…).
The order is less important than the method of resolving conflicts. House rules may be made at will to the action order.
Just as with other, social, actions, the GM may veto a description if he feels it is God-Modding, of course. The goal of Novus, however, is to give players more freedom, so GMs should use this power sparingly. Relax your definition of God-Modding a little.
Length – The Length of a battle is determined by, as with anything else, the vitality of the opponents. In lieu of health points or hit boxes, Novus employs negative aspects upon Crit rolls. When a combat action lands a critical hit on someone (the roller or the opponent of the roller), a negative aspect is given to the player or NPC who deserves it. These vary drastically depending on the type of action described, and are chosen by the GM. Anything from “Concussion,” to “Broken Shin,” to “Temporary Insanity,” to “Constricted,” to “Impaled on Wooden Pike,” and finally “Death,” or “Unconsciousness,” can and should be applied. Get creative, GMs, and play fair to your players. A character is incapacitated and removed from battle with loss of consciousness type effects, and of course will die with death effects.
Healing – Based on techniques of your occupation, you may heal yourself or others during your action. This is done by specifically describing what you are doing, and the corresponding negative aspect being lifted. Alternatively, negative aspects are lifted automatically after a reasonable amount of time. It may take a few hours for “Migraine” to go away, and a few weeks for “Broken Ribs” to go away. The GM controls this as well, but is urged to view game time and real time as separate timescales. If, after a large fight, several characters are wounded, and they begin their trek back to their safe haven (conveniently half way across the country), the GM must be aware that what may be a 15 minute time span in real life, may take several hours, days, or weeks in game time depending on the situation. Negative aspects and their removal (and cumulative effects, such as one might experience with “Rapid Blood Loss”) are to be handled with In-Game Time.
Death – That’s it. Kaputski. The Big Dirt Nap. Poof, You’re Gone. If a character dies, they cannot come back or be healed conventionally. To prevent overpowered GMs, Death is only given to a player character if the Negative Aspects applied to him will result in death in real life. A GM cannot simply give a character “Death” after one round of battle when starting with no negative aspects. However, this is a world of imagination. If you can think of a great story to bring a player back, be my guest. Far be it from me to define when you can and can’t play your character. Discuss resurrection campaigns with your GM. GMs, make’em juicy and be stingy. Resurrection isn’t a small task by any means.
More will be added, and modified later. Playtesting has yet to occur. (12/19/09)