Scenery (Action)

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Heroic Action Role-Play
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Action is an dramatic game, and dramatic action requires exiting scenery. Scenery can be used to great effect to turn what could be a dull slug-fest into an exiting action scene. It can also add complications and dangers all of its own, usually making the hero's job that much harder.

Scenic Rules and Hints

Home Ground Advantage

Natives to a terrain are usually less fazed by its dangers. Generally, natives of the scene where the action takes place treat all stunts interacting with local scenery as Routine. As long as they are skilled enough, such actions no longer require dice rolls. This lets the GM focus on the heroes and their struggles against unfamiliar environments. Sometimes, the heroes can have this kind of home-ground advantage usually in scenes putting heroic natives against colonialists, and there are also numerous schticks and powers that make these rolls routine.

Spectacular Sets Exist to be Blow Up

Scenery in Action is rather fragile and easy to blow up. This is intentional. Never be afraid to have scenery break down in spectacular ways, either while the heroes are in harm's way or just after the climax, forcing them to make a quick getaway.

Types of Scenes

Scenery can be of many kinds; wilderness terrain, cities and built-up areas, dense crowds, highways, large moving vehicles such as ships or trains, and so on. Only your imagination sets the limit.

Many of the types of scenery described here are link to other rules; the roadway scenery link to the chase rules and so on. This chapter is more a list of ideas and a collection of links than a set of rules.


Falls in action are intense events, to be exploited for dramatic potential. Characters in free fall actually move three shots after the fall begins, so that they there is a chance to save them. Characters who initiate their own falls generally get one action before actually falling. Any unresolved falls happen at the end of each round.

This lets a character use Teleport powers to teleport safely from point top point in the air - as long as the teleport is a Basic Action and no shots are spent in between. The character teleports into thin air, and three shots later (before falling) teleports again. Watch out of the end of the round effect tough.

Falls of 100 meters or less end instantly. Longer falls end at the end of a round. Each round you fall 400 meters, which means long falls can take several rounds. Treat a long fall as a Chase with a base speed of 10 using Fly.

A fall does damage based on height, with a maximum based on free fall speed. All falling damage is Concussion damage, soaked with Reflexes.

Damage depends on the height of the fall and the hardness of the surface landed on. Note that for high falls, the impact of the surface is minimal, as such falls do a lot of damage either way. Subtract 1-5 points from the damage depending in the surface, with -3 being soft organics like branches or hay and 5 being water of soft snow.

Height (m) Damage Fall speed (Move)
1 5 0
1,5 7 1
2,5 9 2
4 11 3
6 13 4
10 15 5
15 17 6
25 19 7
40 21 8
60 23 9
100 25 10

After 100 meters, a character is in free fall and damage no longer increases. This table is based on in normal gravity and atmosphere. Heavier gravity adds to falling damage, thinner atmosphere allows falling damage to escalate more; the reverse is true of lighter gravity and denser atmosphere. Since higher gravity often indicates denser atmosphere, these two effects tend to cancel each other.

To make falls frightening even for named characters, a character taking a Damage Setback from falling should always be in bad trouble, breaking bones and otherwise taking a severe injury even if they have more than 2 Hits. In a gritty game the GM may judge that such a character dies, irrespective of the number of Hits remaining.


The nightlife of the city is the bread and butter of many Action characters. Smoky gin parlors, sleazy strip joints, posh dance halls, all are popular. Casinos and gambling halls are typical settings, from classy Monte Carlo to seedy, smoke-filled dens of vice and corruption. These places are often full of people, and the villains often have a vested interest in keeping them secure, making them good places for a meet and restricting the amount of hardware that can be brought.

Stunts & Rules


Locks, Traps & Alarms

Classical dangers in dungeons and hi-tech labs alike.