Cascading Waits

When multiple fighters trigger Wait maneuvers simultaneously - or nearly so - it's crucial to know who goes first. This can arise in many situations, the most common of which are:

• One combatant's actions trigger another's Wait, his response triggers somebody else's Wait ... and so on.

• Two or more fighters with Waits wish to attack one another.

• More than one person with a Wait wishes to affect the same target (grab an object, count coup, etc.).

The GM could rule, "He who shouts first, acts first," but that would be unfair to timid players who play aggressive fighters. This is a roleplaying game, after all! Below is a fairer method.

First, determine which of the waiting parties wishes to commit to action immediately. The only choices here - for PC and NPC alike - are "I proceed" or "I continue to wait." No qualifiers are allowed!

Then roll a Quick Contest. Each fighter rolls against the score he intends to use: DX to grab an object or activate a simple control (e.g., press a button), a combat skill to attack, a DX-based roll against a technical skill to operate complex controls quickly, etc. Not everyone needs to use the same kind of skill. For instance, if one convict is trying to stab another, his would-be target is so close that he can grab the knife, and a guard is standing by a button that will close a door between the prisoners - and all three have a Wait - the first would make a Knife roll, the second, a Wrestling roll, and the third, a DX roll.

Modifiers: +1 for Combat Reflexes; a bonus equal to Basic Speed (drop all fractions); +2 for fighters who needn't move at all, +0 for those who need only take a single step, or -1 per yard of distance for those who must move further (to All-Out Attack).

Those who succeed act in order of decreasing margin of success, then those who fail act in order of increasing margin of failure. Tied fighters act truly simultaneously; if they attack one another, they cannot parry with the weapons they're using to attack! If a faster fighter's action renders that of a slower fighter impossible, the slower one loses his action (and his Wait).

If, at any time during the sequence of actions determined by this Quick Contest, the conditions become right to trigger the Wait of a previously uninvolved fighter, he can try to interrupt - but this isn't automatic! He rolls exactly as above, but with an extra -2 for jumping in late. He enters the sequence where his margin of success or failure indicates. If this is before the person he's trying to interrupt, he successfully interrupts him. If not, he just has to wait and risk losing his action if it becomes impossible.

Enhanced Time Sense: If one or more of those involved has the Enhanced Time Sense advantage (p. B52), resolve their actions first using the method above. Then settle things for those without this trait. Individuals with ETS and a Wait can interrupt those who lack ETS at any time.

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