Supplementary Combat Rules

These rules cover additional edge cases and situations that may arise in Combat. Everything on this page is optional reference material. GMs and Players are not expected to be familiar with these rules, and any of the situations they describe can be resolved through standard GM Discretion.

They are provided here for Players who like extended, structured rules and as an example of what The Contract's developers would rule in these situations.

Attack Difficulty Modifiers

If you are...

  • Behind cover: +1 difficulty, can't use turns to Aim but can dodge as a free action
  • Using your off hand: +1 difficulty
  • Lining up a shot: -1 difficulty per round spent aiming, capped at -3 in general and -2 for moving targets. Shooter must be standing still.
  • Using a Secondary Ability: -1 difficulty
  • Firing blind: +4 difficulty

If your target is...

  • Behind cover: +2 difficulty
  • Immobilized: -3 difficulty
  • Running: +1 difficulty
  • At point-blank range (within two meters): -2 difficulty (doesn't apply to melee weapons or sniper rifles)
  • At long range (beyond listed range for weapon): +1 difficulty, up to +2 at max range (which is weapon range x2)
  • Roughly the size of
    • A normal adult human: base difficulty
    • A child: +1 difficulty
    • A house cat: +2 difficulty
    • A small mouse: +3 difficulty
    • A horse: -1 difficulty
    • A truck: -2 difficulty
    • A house: -3 difficulty

If your surroundings are...

  • Dark: +2 difficulty, down to +1 with Perception at 5
  • Foggy: +3 difficulty, down to +1 within point blank range
  • Stormy (torrential rain, heavy snow, hail): +1 difficulty
  • Underwater, and you are using a...
    • Knife/your bare hands:+1 difficulty
    • Small melee weapon (short swords, hand axes, clubs): +2 difficulty
    • Large melee weapon (long swords, polearms, flails): +3 difficulty
    • Throwing weapon: doesn't work
    • Firearm: doesn't work, with the exception of harpoons and some specially designed pistols

Fully Automatic Weapons

Fully automatic weapons, such as machine guns and some rifles, are able to make a special type of attack. They may "sweep" an area with the weapon, covering 5 feet per 10 rounds expended, or a 10 feet area for an average assault rifle. This attack will damage anyone within its area of effect; however, characters in that zone are given the ability to Dodge, which ordinarily cannot be used to avoid a Firearms attack roll. Damage is calculated normally but is done separately for each person within the area of effect.

Rate of Fire

A standard Offensive Action represents an all-out attack. This means that, for Firearms, you shoot a number of bullets equal to your Rate of Fire. Some single-action revolvers and rifles have a rate of 1 bullet per 3-second round, but the vast majority of modern guns are semi-automatic, meaning they can fire 2 or 3 bullets in a span of 3 seconds without losing too much effectiveness. The Difficulty and Base Damage for guns is based on using a semi-automatic rate of fire (when applicable).

As a side note for Storytellers, be sure you narrate with this rate-of-fire rule in mind, and keep your players abreast of this particular nuance of the system, especially if they are new. For example, if a player simply says "I attack!", you'll depict the scene with multiple shots being fired.

Getting Specific

The combat system as-is simplifies the stats of firearms significantly, treating all guns of a particular type (sniper rifle, handgun, shotgun, etc) as essentially the same. This is largely done because we don't want to make copious record-keeping the default for the system. Simplicity lets the focus remain on telling a good story, rather than min-maxing your gear.

However, Cells can feel free to develop more realistic (but more complicated) methods of handling this. If players are interested in being meticulous about specific weaponry they can keep precise track of their magazine capacity and ammo usage per round, and GMs can establish their own values for gun damage, range, rate of fire, etc, which takes into account differences between various weapons within the same class.

For the sake of balance, we recommend at least starting with the default values as a base and then adjusting from there based on specific knowledge about a particular gun.



If a character is being held hostage(say someone is holding a gun to their head). If they attempt to break out, roll initiative. If they lose initiative, an attack may be made against them at a massive advantage. IF, on the other hand, the hostage taker decides to attack, they get one free attack before initiative is rolled.

"Mexican Standoff"

The first attack is free. Then initiative is rolled. If you attack the target you were already aiming at, you get a big bonus.