CORE RPG RULES
Iconoclast -- RPG -- Combat Beats
Once a full-blown combat is brewing, determining who goes first is a simple matter of comparing the Physical Agilities of all concerned. Each icon, and every other contestant, will fall into one of six "beats" based on their Physical Agility.
The first beat in the round (beat 1) is known as the preactive phase. It represents the very first second in which action begins for that round, and is reserved for icons and other contestants whose Physical Agility is 40 or higher (which is to say, almost certainly augmented in some way by a special ability or other augmentation). Spectres using Preaction, Daemons, Savants, Goths, Morphs and many other genotypes will be able to act during this beat if they use the right skills, giving them a true advantage during combat.
The second beat (beat 2) is the initial action phase, the period when the fastest-reacting individuals will be able to kick off the action which will influence the remainder of the round. Falling into this beat are individuals whose PA is 30-39; again, Spectres, Morphs and Daemons will be commonly found here, as will Goths, many Ragers and anyone with a combat edge.
The third beat (beat 3) is the initial reaction phase, so dubbed because it is when those individuals not fast enough to be in the first two beats get their very first chance to react to any events initiated in those two beats. This is where many skilled combatants will find themselves, as well as anyone with a PA of 20-29.
The fourth beat (beat 4) is the secondary action phase, the place where most normal humans and other genotypes will find themselves, having PAs of between 11 and 20 (average range). This is also the default, the beat within which any contestant will fall if their PA is unknown for any reason whatsoever.
The fifth beat (beat 5) is the secondary reaction phase, where anyone with a PA of 1-10 finds themselves (a PA of 0 being impossible, of course). For most individuals, this is where the combat round officially ends from an active point of view.
The sixth and final beat (beat 6) is called the postactive phase. It is not specifically associated with any particular range of Physical Agility, but rather represents a final possibility for action at the end of a round without the possibility of any reaction. Ragers are particularly good at getting in a final parting shot, and many Savant and Psycho skills will take place during this phase as well. Just as beat 1 is restricted to certain situations, so beat 6 is likewise restricted--unless you're using a skill that allows it, you cannot participate in any action in this beat.
Unless your Physical Agility changes (or a specific skill you're using to otherwise increase it ends), your beat position does not change during the course of a contest. In other words, if your first action occurs within beat 3, then it will occur in beat 3 of each and every round thereafter.
Within beats, a comparison of Physical Agilities will determine who gets to act or react first, second, and so on. When necessary, a simple d100 roll can be used to break ties which occur among actors and reactors within a specific beat. For example, if Joe and Bob both fall into beat 4, and they both have a PA of 15, then they each roll a d100 to break the tie, with the higher number winning. This number is only used for the purposes of tie- breaking, and the results stand for the remainder of the contest.