Here's a downloadable PDF of the current playtest! 


In HWC, combat is a cycle of rounds. Combat follows this sequence until it is concluded:

1. When combat begins, all characters roll 2d6 + their Poise or Jets attribute (whichever is higher). If the characters are surprised, they do not get to add their Poise or Jet attribute to this roll.

2. Characters take their turns in order, from highest to lowest number rolled. In the event of ties, player characters go before NPCs and monsters. If two players have tied, they decide who acts first with GM having the final say.

3. When everyone has had a turn, the next round begins with the same order as determined previously. 


There are three types of action you can take during your combat turn. During a normal round, you can perform an attack and move action on your turn and a free action at anytime. Players shouldn't get more than three free actions during a single round.




Use your weapon, move your full movement, using an opposed skill, manipulating a complex device or machine, revive a downed ally


Move your full movement, using an unopposed skill, retrieve a possession, stand up, manipulating a simple device or machine


Speak, drop a possession, drop to the floor, aim a projectile weapon, use a plot point

Aim projectile weapon: If a player is using a projectile weapon or firearm, they must spend a free action each combat round to aim their weapon or they suffer a -1 to their attack roll.

Manipulating a machine or device: the GM determines what constitutes simple and complex machines or devices. In most cases, simple is civilian grade equipment, while complex involves military or prototype technology and vehicles.

Move your full movement: You can move your character up to six squares. If you are climbing, swimming, or jumping as part of your movement, you also need to roll an unopposed Athletics skill check. Moving through obstructed or difficult terrain requires an unopposed Dodge skill check, unless you are moving through an enemy square (at which point it is an opposed Dodge vs Fight skill check). Failing any of these skill checks knocks your character prone and ends your movement.

Retrieve a possession: If you have a hand free, you can retrieve any of your possessions on your character as a move action.

Revive: If an ally is unconscious, you can attempt to revive them. You can spend either a plot point (which has a range of 6 squares) or use a heal utility item when next to a down player. Spending a plot point puts them immediately at 6 HP, while using a heal utility item heals them of however much the bonus was like normal.

Stand up: Standing up from a prone position is a move action.

Use your weapon: You can attack with a weapon. Melee weapons can only strike enemies that are within 1 square of you. Thrown weapons can reach up to 5 squares away, while projectile weapons are accurate up to 10 squares away; see 'Attacks'.

Using a skill: You can use a skill that is actively opposed by an enemy or NPC as an attack action. If the skill check is unopposed, then it counts as a move action instead.


When making an attack, you roll 2d6 + your relevant skill bonus as opposed by a Dodge skill check. Success means you hit, dealing damage equal to your weapon's bonus. Failure means you miss. Unarmed attacks always deal 1 point of damage. Some enemies or targets might count as unopposed skill checks, such as shooting a mindless zombie or gas tank, per GM discretion.


Projectile weapons and firearms have a set amount of ammo. Roll 2d6 when you find a weapon in game to determine the amount of bullets you find with it. All purchased weapons come with a full 12 shots. Spending a plot point can give you infinite ammo during combat, see 'Plot Points'.


Critical Success: When rolling an attack, if you roll two 6's you automatically hit. In addition to your weapons damage bonus, roll an additional d6 and add the number to your damage. Some monsters with distinct weaknesses may be instantly killed by a critical success, such as a zombie being hit with a head shot. Players should not be instantly killed by a critical success automatically (unless you are a sadistic GM).

Critical Failure: On the other hand, if you roll two 1's while making an attack, you automatically miss, plus the weapon malfunctions and cannot be used for a round.


GMs looking to reward good battlefield placement can choose to grant cover and concealment bonuses. GMs can determine to grant anywhere from a +1 to +5 bonus to a player's opposed dodge skill check against an enemy attack. As a rule of thumb, award a +1 for roughly every 10% of body coverage or concealment.


Every time a player is struck in combat, they take 1 point of damage, which is subtracted from their HP total. Certain creatures may deal more than 1 point of damage with their attacks, but these are extremely strong and should be saved for climatic fights. As a rule of thumb, most creatures deal 1 point of damage. Creatures that deal 2 points of damage are rare, and creatures that deal 3 points of damage should be unique and saved for boss fight scenarios.

When your HP is reduced to 0, you are knocked unconscious. If you still have plot points, you can revive yourself. Otherwise, you remain out for the rest of the combat. As long as one player character remains standing at the end of combat, all players will auto revive and be put at 3 HP following the conclusion of combat. 

If all players are knocked unconscious without a way to revive themselves, the game is over. 


Plot points are extremely powerful, allowing you to shift the story in your favor. All characters start with two plot points. GMs may award plot points during game to represent critical situations or for completing major tasks, but you may never have more than 2 plot points at a time. Your plot points return at the end of every game session or at story conclusion, whatever the GM determines. 

You can use plot points to do the following:

Last Stand: You can spend a plot point to give yourself infinite ammo for one combat. 

Revive: If you are knocked unconscious, you can spend a plot point to put your HP at full and rejoin combat the following round. Enemies ignore recovering players in favor of those currently attacking.

Revive Ally: You can spend a plot point to revive an ally up to 6 squares away automatically, allowing them to rejoin combat the same round.

Stroke of Genius: You can spend a plot point to automatically succeed at any non-attack skill.

Weapon Cache: You can spend a plot point to find a permanent +5 weapon hidden near you. The GM may choose to have the weapon up to six squares away, but the player is automatically aware of the weapon's existence. GMs should not make it more difficulty than an unopposed skill check to retrieve this weapon. The player chooses if it's a melee or ranged weapon. Projectile weapons are found with a full 12 shots. This weapon goes away at the end of the combat. Some examples may be a chainsaw that has it's motor burn out at the end of combat, a shotgun loaded with incendiary ammo that melts the barrel with the final shot, alien technology that mysterious fails, or a discovered detonator hooked up to explosives. Combining the Weapon Cache ability with Last Stand could produce a discovered mounted gun that finally runs out of ammo at the end of combat.


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