Primary Combat Statistics and Modifiers

Note that everything is not set in stone in respect to items on this page, as we continue with play-testing details could change.


This represents a character's will, endurance, morale, and the natural and trained ability to take blows. Taking Vitality damage is not directly lethal, but dropping to zero creates a situation where all subsequent Vitality Damage is taken from the Life total. Vitality will be able to be trained.


This represents a character’s Life Force, the primary drain on which is from Critical Hits, both from straight damage and bleeding. Life is based strictly on statistics, and remains relatively stable throughout a character’s career and is not able to be trained.


This represents a character’s cognitive awareness during combat and their ability to retain that awareness while being hit and attacked.  Anytime a character drops to -25 Focus they are effectively “stunned” and any actions are seriously hindered. When Focus drops to -50, they are effectively stunned and defenseless.  The character’s Focus is stat based, while the ability to shrug off Focus effects and regain Focus are skill and stat based.


This  represents how well balanced a character is in combat, an extremely important aspect to combat.  Balance typically starts at 0 without special abilities, but may fluctuate up and down with the tide of battle. Negative balance will detract from ones ability to fight at peak levels, while a positive balance will enhance one’s abilities. Dropping to -50 in Balance means the character has fallen to the ground.  Many a time will a character have to decide between recovering balance and risking balance.


This is the result of structural damage to the body received via Critical Hits which impede one’s actions.

Starting Stats

Vitality = ((Health Bonus + Will Bonus + Presence Bonus)/2) + Vitality Skill 

Life = Health Stat + Health Bonus + Will Bonus

Focus Bonus= (Endurance Bonus + Health Bonus + Cunning Bonus + Will Bonus)/4

Balance = 0.  All PC’s wander the world at a zero balance rating, but Agility will help resist imbalancing attacks, while Agility and Reflexes assist the Recovery Skill in regaining balance. Also, high Agility and Reflexes will assist in obtaining positive Balance Ratings.

Vitality & Absorption in Combat

In Combat a Character's Vitality is an important statistic and being without it will lead to trouble, but there sits Viality Damage on the To Hit Chart, threatening the well-being of every Character. Heck! it doesn't even take a quality hit to cause Vitality Damage! Well, here is the good news, every Character also has something called Absorption.

Where Vitality is a representation of a combination of several factors, such as morale, endurance, and the will to fight amongst others, Absorption is the basic ability to resist the Endurance aspect of having one's Vitality damaged. Therefore, standing there in their street clothes, all Characters receive 25 Absorption, which means that if they get into a duel while in those street clothes and take a "hit" for less than 25 Vitality, their Vitality effectively takes no damage, as it is "absorbed".

At this point the observant and suspicious natured will question the reference to street clothes! Here is the big secret: wearing armor not only doesn't protect you from Vitality Damage (directly through Absorption anyhow) it will, due to its weight and difficulty to maneuver in, decrease your Absorption as you wear more of it. The strength of Armor, as you will find in other sections, is to decrease the lethality of the roll on the Hit Severity Chart.

When combined with maneuver penalties, the result is that there is a major difference between an unarmored and heavily armored character, with the former harder to hit and wear down, and the other easier to hit and wear down. On the flipside, if you do whack that dancing unarmored bugger, they're much more likely to die soon, while you might wear yourself out trying to get through that armor. The expected result is that a good many Players will find themselves not stuffing their Character into the best, heaviest armor they can, but rather trying to balance the pros and cons.

Encumberance & Absorption

In the same vein as wearing armor diminishes one's Absorption, so will fighting when overly burdened by the sundry stuff Characters are known to tote around. Fighting with a backpack stuffed with gold will certainly hinder your ability to fight.

Note that it is conceivable that a heavily burdened Character could take Vitality Damage even when their opponent misses an attack.

Basically speaking the use of Absorption here is a fatigue system built directly into the mechanics.

Background Art by Jon Gibbons

© 2018 L. James Rice