Firefights are intense physical conflicts involving a wide variety of lethal weaponry, from basic lasguns, to chainswords, to multimeltas. These are based on the conflict rules from Fate Core, with inspiration from the combat system of Steam, Steel and Murder

A firefight proceeds in rounds. During each round, the combatants take turns one at a time, according to initiative order. A participant may take one Standard Action and one Minor Action each turn.


In a firefight, initiative is ordered based on Perception or Tactica rolls. At the beginning of each round, all combatants must declare their actions and targets in reverse initiative order. They are then resolved in initiative order. There is a -1 penalty for changing your action from what you declared.

Actions and Defense

There are three broad types of standard actions you may take: regular actions, focused actions, and defensive actions. Both regular actions and focused actions may be used for attacks.

Regular Action

Taking a regular action allows you to roll your full skill for the action, but halves the skill rating for any defense rolls (rounded down). This may be used for attacking, overcoming and maneuvering (creating advantages).

Focused Action

A focused action gains +2 bonus to the roll, but cannot make a defense roll (effectively skill 0 with no roll). You may still use the cover defense bonus. This may be used for attacking, overcoming and creating advantages.

Note that certain skill check that requires a character’s full concentration can only be taken as Focused Actions. They do not receive the +2 bonus.

Active Defense

When you use Active Defense, you focus all of your attention this round to defending yourself. Pick a defensive skill. When you defend using this skill, you may roll at its full value. If you must use a different skill to defend, it is still rolled at half value. Active Defense also becomes a temporary aspect that can be invoked for defensive purposes this round.

Attacking and Maneuvering

Range Attacks

Range attacks are resolved by pitting the attacker’s attack skill (typically Marksmanship) against half the target’s defense skill (typically Athletics), plus any applicable cover bonuses (see below). If the attack roll ties or beats the defense roll, the attack hits, generating an amount of shifts equal to the difference between the rolls.

A character may take the Brace Weapon Minor Action to gain a +1 bonus to this roll.

If the attacker rolls a -3 or -4 on the dice, then they suffer a Weapon Complication.

Note: A defender never creates advantages against an attacker in range combat, even when the defense roll succeeds with style. Instead, they may choose to cause a Weapon Complication by expending a Fate Point.

Resolving damage

1. Determine the number of Attack Shifts generated between the attack and defense rolls.
2. Determine the Weapon Damage of the attack. This is based on the Damage of their weapon, and any applicable stunts. However, Weapon Damage can never exceed the number of shifts generated from the attack, but has a minimum value of 1. This effect is called Glancing Blow.
3. Determine the Effective Armor of the target. This is their Armor rating, reduced by the weapon’s Penetration, to a minimum of zero. (Note: Toughness, Hull and other mechanics function similarly)
4. The target takes physical stress equal to Shifts + Weapon Damage – Effective Armor.

For example, guardsman Alister attacks a ganger scum with a heavy bolter (damage 3), rolling a 4 attack against a 2 defense. His attack succeeds by 2 Shifts, and can only benefit from 2 Weapon Damage from his weapon (due to Glancing Blows), for a total of a 4 stress hit on the ganger. If he had rolled a 2 instead (0 shift attack), he would only score a 1 stress hit.

Melee Attacks

Melee attacks function similarly as range attacks, except that it is usually a contested Assault check between the combatants, and both parties receive penalties for attempting to disengage. See Melee Combat for details. Damage is determined similarly.


Creating advantages (or maneuvering) may be used to place Aspects or create Boosts during a firefight. Certain weapons grant a bonus when you use them for maneuvering against targets within zones they can also attack: melee weapons may only be used against targets in the same zone, and range weapons may only be used when the target is within range.

A character may take the Brace Weapon Minor Action to gain a +1 bonus to this roll.

Defending against Attacks and Maneuvers

When defending against maneuvers, always roll the skill at its full value (even if the maneuver is performed using a range weapon).


Range weapons typically have ammunition counters. You must expend an ammunition counter each time you attack or maneuver with that weapon.

Using Cover

You may use your Minor Action to take cover behind an Aspect in your current zone. This allows you to invoke for free that aspect when defending against a range attack or maneuver.

This bonus remains until you choose to leave that piece of cover, you are forced out of your cover, or the Aspect no longer applies.

The cover bonus never applies when the attacker is in your zone. Suffering a melee attack forces you out of your cover.

This option is not available for vehicle operators.

Directional Cover

If a cover aspect exists on the border of a zone, it may be tagged this way by combatants in either zone. This cover is only applicable to range attacks whose path crosses the border.


A character may move using a standard action by rolling an appropriate skill (typically Athletics), and move that many zones. If the result of the roll is 0 or less, they may still move one zone, but this uses up their minor action.

Certain zone or border Aspects impede movement, either by disallowing it entirely, or requiring additional shifts for movement.

Special Conflicts

See: Melee Combat
See: Vehicle Combat


Fate: Warhammer 40,000 Andante