Unlike Abilities and Modifiers, Actions have no upper limit. However you may gain variable bonuses to different actions depending on your background and/or race; ask your GM for more details.
Each Character has a unique combination of different Actions that represent what you can do during play. You begin an Action by placing an amount of energy in the appropriate Action Box on the CAD, then describe what your character plans to do. The amount of energy involved determines the outcome of the Action. Simply put, if you assign more energy to the Action then it requires you succeed. If you have less, you fail, but you may be allowed to continue until you succeed.
The resolution of all Actions follow that simple formula: If you have enough energy, you succeed.
The amount of energy you may place in the Action Box is determined by the combining of Action Number with and applicable Abilities or Modifiers. The total represents how much energy you are willing and able to put into accomplishing your Action.
Some character may have more Actions then other and some Actions are more powerful than others. Each Action Box will have the name of the Action on it, along with the number. This Action name might be very general, such as Melee combat, Ranged Combat or vehicles Operation. The name might be very specific, such as telepathy or shape shifting. Some actions represent powers or special skills. In either instance, though, the Action only represents a rough category that your Action falls into. It is up to you, that player, to specify what it is you do with that Action. You might even attempt Actions that you don’t have, such as Driving or Dancing. In this case you can fall back on your basic Abilities as if they were an Action. In the case of Dancing or Driving you can use Agility.
Although the amount of energy you put into and Action must be exact the description does not. Please note, however, the Gm will interpret the descriptions and react accordingly with his/her own characters. The more detail the Gm has to work with the more and the more likely you are to succeed as what you are doing. (You wouldn’t want to forget an important detail like “…and I am careful to avoid the poison spines…” now would you.)
You may, of course, be as descriptive as you like, but the more descriptive you are the more fun everyone has, and the GM can throw in good bonuses (like lowering the resistance) for being more descriptive. Keep in mind however to keep your descriptions within the confines of your Action. Describing that you “Fly” across a room and assault a thug with Melee combat would only be accurate if you actually had the power to Fly, otherwise you would simply “Run” or “With determination and haste” across the room and assault the thug with Melee combat.
Some Actions, such as Melee combat and Ranged Combat, allow for specialties, and some, such as Social Skills, depend on them. When you purchase an Action with the option for specialties you can place a number of specialties to that action equal to its value. So, purchasing a Social Skills Action of 2, grants you 2 specializations, like Street and Underworld. This holds true for just about every Action. The more vague the Action the more room you have for a specialization. Adding a specialization after character creation is a little more difficult. You will need to have written along with experience that the character has been working on the specialty.
2r: Melee combat (Underwater)
1r: Melee combat (While Falling)
That shows that the character has experience toward fighting underwater and fighting while falling. For when the Action gains a level they could add one of those to the specialization list.
Action Specializations grant the character bonuses when performing certain tasks. In the case of Social Skills the specialization will allow you to interact on that level more effectively, avoiding social mistakes that could end badly, while in a combat situation having a specialization can grant you a bonus free energy from the “bonus” pool. Often this is done by comparing the specializations of the two combatants. If you have a sword and specialized, and your opponent doesn’t know how to fight people with swords, you have an advantage, and therefore are granted a bonus free energy from the “bonus” pool. Then again, it’s up to your Gm to determine what the full extent of your bonus for specialization is. Your Gm could choose even to have your “Specialization” under Melee combat to be a proficiency of use with a weapon instead of a focused training from general combat.
Actions that have area effects are very powerful. That’s because an action that has an area effect applies to all with-in its range. Some actions are automatically area effect, and some have the options to be area effect.
You determine the area by comparing the amount of energy to the distances listed in the Are/Leaping row on the D&R chart. The distance listed is the Diameter of a spherical area affected.
It is possible to maintain the intensity of an area effect, while decreasing the area affected. This is done by spending extra energy on the action to minimize the area by 1. This energy doesn’t count towards the damage of effect, only decreasing the area.
For example, a 7-energy blast would affect everyone in a 500 foot diameter (7 on Area), but by adding 2 more energy (9 total) to decrease effect only 100 feet (7-2 = area 5) would suffer the 7-energy blast. Keep in mind that you cannot spend more energy on the action then the Action number plus and Ability Bonuses or Modifiers.
The concept of Difficulty and Resistance is the core to the ARS (Action Resolution System). It simply states you need the skill to perform an action and be able to put forth the effort to accomplish it.
Difficulty represents how complicated as Action is. Flying a Jet Fighter is more difficult then riding a bicycle. That is represented by the Difficulty Level. If the total of your Action Number and your Ability Bonus is not equal to or greater than the Difficulty level, you can’t even attempt the Action. You just simply lack the ability.
However, you don’t always need an action to perform a task. In the case of riding a bicycle a character could use just their ability to perform the action. Though it most likely at a higher resistance. This “defaulting” is often used to compensate a characters natural ability over training.
Resistance represents the amount of effort the character needs to apply before the action is completed. When you put energy into an Action you are actually putting effort towards accomplishing a goal. This energy is compared to the resistance of the action, if you have more energy than the resistance, you succeed, less then you fail. Some Actions are extended actions where the amount of energy you put each sequence are tallied up until the resistance is met. While other actions need to have the resistance met in a single event to be completed.
Game Masters can find Difficulty and Resistance examples on the D&R chart. While players won’t always know the Difficulty or Resistance of an action until they attempt it. This is the way of life. Just because the D&R chart says a standard door would only take a strength of 3 and 2 resistance to break doesn’t mean it’s always that way.
Sometimes putting two heads or two strong backs together can solve a problem that neither could solve alone. The rule of thumb is that it takes two characters of the same Ability or Action number to solve a problem that is one Difficulty level higher then ether could solve on their own.
This is represented by “Teaming Up”. If two characters with strength of 2 worked together they could lift an object requiring strength of 3. As long as they both had enough energy, total, to overcome the resistance. Likewise two characters with Vehicle operations of 3 could fly a Jet Liner with Difficulty 4.
The GM should use common sense here when character are trying to team up. Such as you can’t combine two characters with a speed of 2 to run at a speed of 3.
This team bonus can extend beyond 2 man teams, but beyond that point it is just a matter of additional energy placed towards the resistance.