Three Types of Combat

Combat is handled in Anesidora using three different methods: Abstract, Cinematic, and Tactical.

Each combat type exists for different situations, whether the player is being stalked in the woods, fighting through a wave of enemies in battle, or using precise positioning in firefights. It really depends on the moment and the play style of your game.

Abstract Combat

Abstract combat is recommended for very long engagements and when precise combat is not necessary or important to your group. Abstract combat happens in a normal sequence, but instead of taking a normal action, the character may choose to fight. This could be stalking enemies in the woods, taking out scouts at the edge of a town, or fighting creatures that attack the party as they journey. Abstract combat is often used one other skills are necessary to ensure the party's survival that combat could not handle, like digging through a library while its being defended, gathering food, or helping civilians escape a hostile area.

If the acting character knows where the enemy is, their Skill Check is rolled like a normal attack, including using the melee defense of nearby enemies and any appropriate cover, but the target takes 3 times the normal amount of damage. If there are multiple enemies, the game master or player may determine which enemy receives the damage, depending on the situation. It is possible to defeat a group of enemies in a single abstract attack.

Enemies may also make abstract attacks on their action in a sequence. If they successfully hit a player character, the amount of damage dealt is tripled, effectively causing an Injury with each success that makes it through the PC's defense.

Abstract Combat Sequence

Run as a normal Sequence with the Chaos deck.

Character may use normal actions. Instead of a normal action, characters may attack.

Melee Attack - highest Melee Defense in area = Dice Pool Rolled

Attacks Deal 3x damage

Characters can still benefit from Cover, Surprise Attacks, Outnumber, and other combat bonuses, but they are tracked as appropriate for the storytelling.

A Character still needs to see an enemy to attack them.

Cinematic Combat

Rather than using the Zone rules, it can be easier to have a loose idea of where characters are. If that is the case it is only important to know if characters are in melee or at distance and what kind of cover they have. A player might say that they move to an enemy’s flank to shoot, at which point it is up to the GM and group to determine if that is possible.

This method is usually better for very short or very large scale combat where Zones are impractical or unnecessary.

Just like Abstract Combat, Cinematic Combat is mixed with the regular Actions. The biggest difference is that Cinematic Combat cares more about the specific actions and positioning of characters in the fight.

Attacks in Cinematic Combat deal 2x damage

Tactical Combat

Uses all the full rules for Combat and Zones. Tactical Combat is still loose, each round lasting about 10-20 minutes, but it is more precise. Sometimes, it can be useful to use the Tactical Combat rules for non combat situations, like escaping a collapsing building.


Many Actions and abilities refer to “Melee.” A Character is in Melee if there is an Enemy Character in their Zone, they are aware of each other’s presence, and at least one Character wants to attack the other.

When making a shooting attack into or while engaged in Melee, after applying all other modifiers, only roll half the dice pool.

Tactical Actions

There are four types of Tactical Actions. Each No Action can be performed once in addition to other actions during a character’s turn. Basic Actions can be performed by any Character. Skill Actions can only be performed by a character with the correct ability; they are described in the Skill Abilities. Reactions are Skill Actions that happen in response to another character’s Action. Each Reaction specifies when and how often it can be performed.

A Character may always choose to do nothing on their turn, but they may not wait to use their Actions without an Ability.

Keep in mind that each turn represents a large amount of time and movement. Normal combat in Anesidora is not tactical fighting in a single room, but large scale positioning with short bursts of brutal action. Brawls and duels in tight spaces are handled using the rules of combat in a single zone.

No Action

A Character can use each No Action once each turn. However, keep in mind that they only have about 10 minutes to do all their actions. Try to keep it reasonable. It is up to the GM and Players to determine what a Player can realistically do in a Turn, and if they even care about realism.

Change Facing
Once during their turn, the Character may change their facing.

Interact with Environment
A character may open and close doors, press switches, and do any number of small actions during their turn that they could realistically fit into a few minutes; 10 minutes if it is the only thing they are doing.

A Character may get on/off an animal or inside/out of a vehicle in their Zone.

Swap Weapons and Items in Hand
Once during a Character’s turn, they may exchange what weapons and items they are holding or pick something up. If they take an Action using a particular item, they must have those items in their hands at the end of their turn.

A Character may always talk in addition to other Actions, but must use the Skill Check Action if they would need to make a roll. Characters may whisper or speak normally to characters in their zone, speak loudly to characters in an adjacent zone, and yell at characters 2 zones away. If a character talks while attempting Stealth, remove one success from their result and an additional success for each zone away they are throwing their voice.

Basic Actions

A Character may only make a single Basic or Skill Action on their turn.

The Character may reposition twice and then make a Melee or Shooting Attack. A Character may only Charge if the movement would cause them to enter Melee.

The Character tries to put anything between them and the enemy. As long as there are Allies in the Character's Zone in Melee, enemies cannot target them with Melee Attacks.

The Character tries to get down and out of sight. They gain an automatic success on Stealth checks. They cannot make shooting Attacks and always lose one success on Awareness checks. A Character may not Hide if they are in Melee. They cannot take any other Actions while Hiding until their next turn. If they are engaged in Melee, they immediately lose all benefits of hiding.

The Character may move to an adjacent zone. If they enter Melee, they may make a Melee or Shooting attack.

Reposition and Ready Melee Attack
The Character may move to an adjacent zone, and if an enemy enters melee before the end of the Round, the Character may immediately make a Melee Attack.

Reposition and Skill Check
The Character may take the Reposition Action and make a Skill check in any order.

The Character makes two Reposition Actions, but in their haste they sacrifice a lot. The Character may not benefit from Cover in their Zone or Stealth, though enemies still suffer the normal effects from intervening Zones. Their Melee Defense is reduced to 0. They may not Rush if they begin their turn in Melee. They may not make Attacks until their next Turn.

The Character throws obstacles aside as they hunt for someone. Awareness Check against enemies in their Zone gain an automatic success. If they find an enemy, they may immediately make an attack. They may not Stealth until their next Turn.

The Character may make a Shooting Attack.

Skill Check
The Character makes a Skill Check. They may not attack this Round.


PCs and NPCs attack and defend differently. NPCs use a set defense the PC must overcome and their attacks use a set amount of successes and damage if they hit. The GM does not roll for NPC attacks.

Attacks Per Round (APR)

Weapons define the maximum number of attacks a Character can make in a Round. Normally, Characters make a single attack on their turn, but sometimes due to Overwatch and Attacks of Opportunity, they will make more. Each Character’s APR only resets at the beginning of their next turn.

Overwatch and Attack of Opportunity are both Skill Abilities

Melee Attacks

A Melee Attack works just like a Skill Check, except the Player is trying to overcome the enemy's defense to deal damage.

If the attacker rolls more successes than the enemy's defense, they have scored a hit. The attack deals as much damage as the number of successes exceed the enemy's defense, plus any bonus damage from other symbols based on their weapon. They may spread the damage however they see fit against enemies in the Melee.

Special symbols do not increase the chance of hitting, they only add to damage if the attack hits with basic successes.


Only Characters armed with melee weapons count towards outnumber. If all the Characters on one side of a Melee are unarmed or only armed with ranged weapons, they count as a single combatant for the purposes of outnumber.

If a side outnumbers another in a Melee by 2 to 1, they all roll two more dice for their Melee Attacks. If they outnumber their enemy 3 to 1, they add 3 Dice. If they outnumber the Enemy 4 to 1, they add 4, and on forever. Some Characters count as more than one Character due to their incredible size or awareness.

If a side in the Melee outnumbers another, Characters may safely leave the Melee without provoking Attack of Opportunity until the enemy is no longer outnumbered.

Melee Defense

NPCs do not roll for attacks, instead PCs roll for their defense.

Shooting Attacks

Trace the straightest possible line between the shooter and the target’s Zone using the least amount of Zones. A Character can only shoot at Zones in their Line of Sight (LOS). If there is more than one option for the path, the shooter chooses.

After determining the direction a shot is coming from against the target’s facing, that determines the defenders dice pool. NPCs get automatic defense successes equal to the cover rating and PCs get 3 dice for each level of cover.

If the shot passes through any Zones, use that Zone’s “Rear Cover,” if it is higher than the target’s cover.

The shooter needs an Eye of Horus result for each Zone the shot passes through with that symbol. Remember the shooter does not need the Eye of Horus for the Zone the shot is originating or the location of its target, only for the Zones between them.

If the target or the shooter are in Melee, divide the final dice pool in half.

If the shooter rolls more successes than the target's cover and enough Eyes of Horus, they have scored a hit. The shot deals as much damage as the of successes exceed cover, plus any bonus damage from other symbols based on their weapon.

Shooting Defense



If a Character is Trained in Shooting, they can enter Overwatch. When a Character is overwatch sees an Enemy move to another Zone, they may fire at them any point during their movement. The Overwatch shot works like a regular shooting attack, except the target only gets Flank Cover in the Zone they occupy when the shot happens. They still benefit from Flank Cover and Eyes of Horus in intervening Zones like normal.

A Character may only make a number of Overwatch Shots equal to their weapon’s APR.


All ranged weapons have a Range Stat. The shooter must roll an Eye of Horus for each range distance needed to reach the target, not counting the first one.


Make a Throw Check. For every 2 Successes, the Object may be thrown one Zone. If you do not get at least 2 Successes, the Object lands in your Zone. If you throw an Object through a Zone with an Eye of Horus, you must expend an Eye of Horus result in your dice pool or the Object lands in that Zone, and goes no further.

Explosives will say when they detonate in their stats.

Damage and Injuries

Standard NPCs, Companions, and Enemies take a set amount of Damage to bring down or Disable, much like Hit Points in other systems. If a Character deals more damage than what is needed to Disable an Enemy with a Melee Attack, any extra damage goes to another target of the attacker’s choice in the same Zone. It is possible to Disable multiple enemies in a single round.

More Powerful NPCs, PCs, and Villains, have special Injury tables. When they take a set amount of Damage, the Character receives an Injury Marker, and the Player rolls on the Injury Table. PCs have a special set of PC Injury Tables, while NPCs have their own unique Injury Tables.

Injury Check

When a PC takes 3 Damage, they receive an Injury Marker and make an Injury Check.

Roll a number of dice equal to the amount of Injury Markers a Character has. The number of each symbol rolled and the type of damage, determines which Injury table to roll on.

No matter the result, after rolling on the Injury table, the Character receives 1 “Injury Marker,” that is added to all future Injury Checks until it is healed.

Damage Type

Not all Injuries have the same effects. The damage caused by a gun, sword, or falling rocks might be similar, but are very different from poison or frostbite. We plan to add special Injury Tables will be added in expansions.

The types of damage in Anesidora are: Trauma, Bleeding, Disease/Poison, Frost, Starvation


Zones are how Anesidora tracks the location of Characters. Zones are very large, about 30'x30', the size of what many tactical TTRPGs would use for an entire combat. Large areas give a lot of opportunity for dynamic scenes, and are especially relevant in a setting where someone with a gun can kill from a long distance. Tight combat in a single Zone can happen, but it is incredibly brutal and deadly. This is further explained in the Combat section.

Anesidora is not concerned with character’s specific positions within a zone beyond their facing, that is for roleplaying. If the Zone rules do not cover a specific situation or position, the GM can freely adjust the rules.

Exterior and natural zones are hex shaped, but interior zones are square.

Cover and Facing

Cover is essential for surviving shooting attacks. Once during a Character's turn, they may pick one edge as their facing to take cover against shooting. Characters in Melee or who Rushed do not have facings. We recommend placing your character marker on the edge you are facing to track it.

The first number on the zone is the cover provided from the front, which is the character’s facing. On a hex, the two adjacent facings on the hex are also the front.

The second number is the flank. For hexes this is the two zones behind the character that are not the direct rear. In square zones, the flanks are simply the two sides.

The third number is the cover from the rear. The rear is the side of the Zone opposite the character’s facing. Most Zones provide no cover from the rear; this represents the difficulty to get cover from every direction.

Line of Sight and Movement

In addition to determining cover, facing also determines line of sight. Characters can see every zone in front of them, but not to their flanks or rear. These zones are considered to be in their Line of Sight or LOS. In square zones a character may see the zones diagonally in front of them, if they have open corners. Most interior Zones do not have open corners and are connected by doorways and other small openings.

In order to see another character, draw the shortest possible line between the two characters. If you can draw the line without passing over any edges or zones that block LOS, and the target is in their front arc, then they are in LOS.

Characters may move to any adjacent zone that has an open side. All interior edges are closed and block line of sight and movement unless they are specifically marked with an opening.

Some zones block line of sight to zones behind them.

Some zones have edges that cannot be crossed without making a successful skill roll.

The Eye of Horus

If a Zone contains the Eye of Horus, that means that the terrain is dense and difficult to see through. Characters in the Zone gain an automatic success on Stealth Checks and if a Character attempts to shoot through the Zone, one of their dice must show an Eye of Horus or they fail to get a clean shot.

Some Zones have multiple Eyes of Horus on them. If a Character fires through multiple Zones with the Eye symbol, or Zones with multiple Eyes, they must roll an equal number of Eyes to connect their shot. Remember that Eyes in the target Zone and origin of the shot do not count, only Zones between them.

If the Eye of Horus has an X through it, it is not possible to shoot through the Zone without a specialized weapon. These Zones also block LOS to Zones behind them. Characters in the Zone still gain the automatic success on Stealth Checks.

Stealth and Awareness

You must know where a character is to attack them. Characters have a Stealth and Awareness number that determines what they are aware of and who is aware of them.

In an opposed check to see another Character, they need an equal amount of Awareness successes as the other Character has Stealth successes.

If a Character attacks, they lose all benefits of Stealth. If they make a Skill Check other than Awareness or Stealth, they lose one Success from their Stealth and Awareness totals they rolled that turn.

All PCs lose one awareness success against targets out of their LOS.

PC VS NPC Stealth

PCs and NPCs deal with Stealth and Awareness very differently. PCs make checks when they move or enemies move that are trying to remain undetected, but NPCs do not make checks. Instead, they have a set number of successes that the PC must check against. Sometimes NPCs will have an ability or special actions that adjusts those numbers, or may even generate random numbers, but only PCs actually make checks. This is intended to make the game faster.

As a general rule, PCs and NPCs have one less awareness success in all Zones outside their LOS. In addition, their awareness is reduced over long distances.

Environment and Weather

Sometimes a Character’s surrounding affects their ability to perform Actions. Everything from light to sound can make Actions more difficult.

Light Sources can also affect a Character’s ability to make Skill Rolls and Shooting Attacks. The only light that matters is the light in the target’s zone.

Low Light (Candlelight, Flashlights, Torches) - Need 1 Eye of Horus in your dice pool to Succeed a shooting attack if you are more than 1 Zone away from the target.

Starlight (The light of the stars and moons) - Treat all Zones between you and the target as having the Eye of Horus symbol. All Melee and shooting Attacks require at least 1 Eye of Horus to Succeed.

Total Darkness (Complete and absolute darkness) - You can only make shooting attacks against targets in your Zone. Shooting and Melee attacks require an Eye of Horus to succeed.
Precipitation and Wind
Precipitation and Wind are distracting, difficult to see through, and physically affect a Character. Precipitation and Wind effects are added to any other Environment effects. They only effect zones exposed to the elements.

Light Rain/Snow = Characters cannot Rush.

Normal Rain/Snow = Remove one die with a success result from each die pool. Characters cannot Rush.

Hurricane/Blizzard = Remove one die with a success result from each die pool, and +1 Eye of Horus needed to succeed at all actions, including attacks. Treat all exposed zones as having an additional Eye of Horus symbol. Cannot Rush.

Other Sections

Character Creation
Skill Abilities