The flow of battle on Battle Fantasia involves tactical interplay between combatants trying to reduce one of their opponent’s three resource bars to the negative extreme. At Fatigue 0, Mana 0, or Morale -100, a combatant is unable to continue fighting. Bars are reduced (or increased) by the use of attacks by all parties. Combatants react to incoming attacks by using the reaction commands: +dodge, +brace, +counter, and +accept. Consecutive uses of successful reaction commands incur a stacking Reaction Penalty, making it generally worthwhile to regularly change up one’s reactions. +cover can be used to try to take an attack for someone else, though at the price of heavily reduced defenses.
Because of the element of Finisher-tier Attacks, battle typically involves trying to reduce one’s opponent’s Fatigue to as low a value as possible such that a Finishing Attack will most likely finish them off, while moving one’s Morale past one’s Finishing Attack Morale Threshhold and maintaining enough Mana to actually be able to use the Finishing Attack at all. There are innumerable tactics to achieve these goals (and deny them to one’s opponents), expressed both at chargen in the construction of stats and abilities and attacks to support a given character’s fighting style, and within battle as various opponents and scenarios arise.
Battles typically begin, before any other actions are taken, with all sides transforming into their primary Henshin Form; that is usually the only transformation in a battle, but this is not always the case.
Reactions - Dodge, Brace, Counter (and BEAMWAR), Accept and Cover; options for reacting to an incoming attack.
Items In Combat - Optional rules for resolving the possession of a contested item during combat.
Battle Commands - A guide to the actual commands used on the MUSH to play the combat system game.
The Flow of Combat
The combat system is naturally interspersed with roleplay. The order of operations is always the same:
- 1. Use reactions to defend against any incoming attacks.
- 2. Pose, including in your narrative both the outcome of any attacks you just defended against (which can include posing your counterattack, if you used the Counter reaction), and details on your next attack, including who it's targeting and the threat it poses, but not its outcome, in terms of whether or not it succeeded or failed to hit or damage anyone.
- 3. Use +attack to make your attack with the combat system.
- 4. Now your opponent uses reactions to defend, poses the outcome and their attack, and attacks you back. This back and forth continues throughout the scene!
In a combat with more than two players, it is sometimes hard to know what the pose order should be. When in doubt, it's fine to ask! The simplest rule of thumb is to pose/attack no more often than your opponent. For example, a lot of scenes are comprised of a group of magical girls vs. a single boss. The order in which those girls act each round can be a little fluid (though you may also want to wait to see the poses of some or all of your allies, to whom you want to also react in-character, since your characters are all in the same room). Whatever order they pose in, the boss will wait for them each to react, pose and attack once, before making their next move.
Most characters only transform once a fight, right at the beginning of combat, before any other combat system actions are taken. (It is occasionally amusing to disrupt the usual ‘wait for everyone to stock footage transform’ but attacks should never target someone’s Base Mode without the defender’s consent.)
However, once a battle has begun, a character can opt to transform up no more than once per round, before they attack and after all their previous attacks have been reacted to, as well as after they have reacted to all attacks in their Reaction Queue. In other words, at the very beginning of their next combat round, as defined by ‘when they’re about to make their first (and usually only, barring boss modes) attack. If someone transforms more often by accident, as long as the transformer immediately swaps back before any ongoing attacks or reactions involving them proceed, there’s no harm done.
The Battle Fantasia Combat System is not designed to accommodate someone swapping between six or seven different forms, lasting one round apiece (as this is not behavior appropriate to the genre it’s trying to emulate -- Henshin Forms are not fluid combat stances, they are fundamental transformations through one’s very spirit); our usual “don’t be a dick” policy applies here, as in all places. Swapping, over the course of the fight, from one non-Base Henshin Form to another, and then perhaps back again to the original Henshin Form, is generally sufficient flexibility. Excessive mid-combat transformation may lead to conversations with the staff about alternative ways to build a character in the combat system, such that their concept is preserved along with the spirit of the rules.
Rather than health or HP, a character's endurance is represented by their Fatigue. Everyone begins with a pool of 100 Fatigue, and at 0 is completely unable to move their body to fight any longer. Sometimes Fatigue represents damage, but other times it is there to just show how tired a character is getting. For example, if they dodge an attack but it takes a lot of effort to do so, they will incur a little Fatigue (but not as much as if they took the attack fully). We feel this is a better representation of damage in the Magical Girl setting, since very rarely do horrible wounds happen. More often than not, a Magical Girl is simply too beat up to be able to fight back any more. Fatigue is the most common way of rendering someone unable to battle. It will almost never increase over the course of a fight.
Notable Fatigue-related flags: Vampiric
Notable Fatigue-related abilities: None
Mana is the energy used to make attacks and counterattacks. All attacks, whether physical or magical, use Mana; Mana cost increases with attack Power Level, and is increased further by individual attack Flags. Power Level 0 attacks provide an opportunity to regenerate up to -15 Mana (such an attack does nothing but ineffective flailing, or perhaps effective stalling). Finisher-tier attacks get a significant mana discount at higher Power Levels, compared to Specials and Frees. If a character runs low on Mana, they’ll be unable to fire their big attacks. If they reach 0 Mana, they’re unable to keep up their henshin mode and can no longer fight; at that point mana regeneration cannot save them.
Notable Mana-related flags: Mana Attack, Mana Drain, Efficient
Notable Mana-related abilities: Fade, Block, Reverse
Morale is defined on a scale from -100 to 100. It begins each battle reset to 0. Morale represents a character’s overall feeling about a battle. If they’re doing well, they’ll have high Morale! Do poorly and their Morale will rise more slowly; opponents can also target Morale directly with certain attacks. Passively, good morale improves an attack’s average damage and critical chance, while negative morale decreases it. This effect is larger for low Composure characters, and smaller for high Composure characters.
Using Finisher-tier attacks usually requires one’s morale to be far from 0, whether above or below, past a given finishing attack’s Morale Threshold. However, unlocking and using a finishing attack very early may backfire badly if it fails to finish an opponent off, so be careful!
In addition, if one’s Morale ever drops to -100, they become unable to retain their henshin and are functionally KOed; for example, someone who's just been so completely overpowered that they lose all hope, their eyes go all glassy, and they can barely even stand up straight, let alone fight back.
Once per round (computed the first time someone reacts to their attack(s) that round), a character will gain 10 morale by default. If their attack is successful (in other words, if it isn’t critically reacted to), they will gain 10 additional morale for a total of 20. There are attack flags that can alter both the values of default morale gain and successful attack morale gain. Note that area attacks grant multiple chances for a successful attack (since there are multiple defenders), but the successful attack morale gain will only be granted once per round.
Notable Morale-related flags: Psych, Quip, Taunt, Cheer
Notable Morale-related abilities: Flash, Parry, Tactician, Hot-Blooded, Intimidation, Unshakable, Calm, Battlefield Presence, Befriender, Demoralizer, Cheerleader
It can mean whatever the player wants, within reason; posing an attack being totally ineffective when it has knocked one's character out of the fight isn't very classy. Often, it means that the character can no longer retain their henshin, and revert to their base mode -- perhaps draped in ribbons of energy that somehow prevent their enemies from learning their true identity, a last bastion of Recognition Inhibition.
Here are some suggestions:
Fatigue 0: This is the most common 'KO' condition, typically caused by an opponent's attack. Being literally knocked out is fine, but simply too worn out to stand is just as genre-appropriate -- which is actually one reason why our hit points are called 'Fatigue'! Because a magical girl often has a higher purpose than crushing their enemies, their mission isn't always over when they reach KO! They are still allowed to speak and (weakly) move around. Remember, as a magical girl, your true power is in your heart, and some foes you cannot erase with an energy beam can be reached in other ways.
Mana 0: This usually happens due to an Energy Drain attack, a Supercharged Henshin Mode's mana surcharge, or, in desperation, spending the absolute last of one's magic on an attack that reduces the character to exactly 0 mana; either way, it generally means the same thing: the character lacks the energy to maintain their henshin (or re-transform), and reverts to their Base Mode. Such a lack of energy also often causes unconsciousness, but it need not.
Morale -100: This usually happens either due to a Quip or Taunt attack. A Morale KO generally represents a character losing the will to fight. Whether they become blank-eyed zombies, collapse in silent tears or walk -- or run -- away, they may retain the physical and magical strength to fight, but their heart just isn't in it, and in Battle Fantasia, it's the heart that matters most.
Escape: In all cases, it is sometimes appropriate for a character to withdraw rather than collapse. This is perfectly reasonable! However, it's good form to limp a little, after being walloped with a gigantic lovebeam, before tossing your cape, twirling your mustache, and vanishing.