Action Turns

Action scenes in Eclipse Phase are handled in bite-size chunks called Action Turns, each approximately 3 seconds in length. We say “approximately” because the methodical, step-by-step system used to resolve actions does not necessarily always translate realistically to real life, where people often pause, take breaks to assess the situation, take a breather, and so on. A combat that begins and ends within 5 Action Turns (15 seconds) in Eclipse Phase could last half a minute to several minutes in real life. On the other hand, the characters may be in a situation where their breathing environment decompresses to vacuum in 15 seconds, so every second may in fact count. As a rule, gamemasters should stick with 3 seconds per turn, but they shouldn’t be afraid to fudge the timing either when a situation calls for it.
Action Turns are meant to be utilized for combat and other situations where timing and the order in which people act is important. If it is not necessary to keep track of who’s doing what so minutely, you can drop out of Action Turns and return to “regular” free form game time.
Each Action Turn is in turn broken down into distinct stages, described below.
Step 1: Role Initiative
At the beginning of every Action Turn, each player involved in the scene rolls Initiative to determine the order in which each character acts. For more details, see Initiative.
Step 2: Begin First Action Phase
Once Initiative is rolled, the first Action Phase begins. Everyone gets to act in the first Action Phase (since everyone has a minimum Speed of 1), unless they happen to be unconscious/dead/disabled, starting with the character with the highest successful Initiative roll.
Step 3: Declare and Resolve Actions
The character going first now declares and resolves the actions they will take during this first Action Phase. Since some actions the character makes may depend on the outcome of others, there is no need to declare them all first—they may be announced and handled one at a time. As described under Actions, each character may perform a varying number of Quick Actions and/or a single Complex Action during their turn. Alternately, a character may begin or continue with a Task Action, or delay their action pending other developments (see Delayed Actions). A character who has delayed their action may interrupt another character at any point during this stage. That interrupting character must complete this stage in full, then the action returns to the interrupted character to finish the rest of their stage.
Step 4: Rotate and Repeat
Once the character has resolved their actions for that phase, the next character in the Initiative order gets to go, running through Step 3 for themselves. If every character has completed their actions for that phase, return to Step 2 and go the second Action Phase. Every character with a Speed of 2 or more gets to go through Step 3 again, in the same Initiative order (modified by wound modifiers). Once the second Action Phase is completed, return to Step 2 for the 3rd Action Phase, where every character with a Speed of 3 or more gets to go for a third time. Finally, after everyone eligible to go in the 3rd Action Phase has gone, return to Step 2 for a fourth and last Action Phase, where every character with a Speed of 4 can act for one final time.
At the end of the fourth Action Phase, return to Step 1 and roll Initiative again for the next Action Turn.


Timing in an Action Turn can be critical—it may mean life or death for a character who needs to get behind cover before an opponent draws and fires their gun. The process of rolling Initiative determines if a character acts before or after another character.

House Rule: Initiative

For each point of SPD a character has, roll one INIT die. Instead of worrying about Action Phases, characters get to act on each INIT count rolled.
Example: A Fury morph with SPD 2 rolls 1d10 + INIT and 1d10 + INIT. Both numbers are recorded. If the character rolled an 11 and a 14, they would get an action on count 14, and again on count 11. Movement for that character is divided by the number of available Complex Actions.

Initiative Order

A character’s Initiative stat is equal to their Intuition + Reflexes aptitudes divided by 5. This score may be further modified by morph type, implants, drugs, psi, or wounds.
In the first step of each Action Turn, every character makes an Initiative Test, rolling 1d10 and adding their Initiative stat. Whoever rolls highest goes first, followed by the other characters in descending order, highest to lowest. In the event of a tie, characters go simultaneously
Adam, Bob, and Cami are rolling Initiative. Adam’s Initiative stat is 8, Bob’s is 11, and Cami’s is 6. Adam rolls a 3, Bob rolls a 2, and Cami rolls an 8. Adam’s total Initiative score is 11 (8 + 3), Bob’s is 13 (11 + 2), and Cami’s is 14 (6 + 8). Cami rolled highest, so she goes first, followed by Bob and then Adam. If Cami and Bob had tied, they would both go at the same time.

Initiative and Damage

Characters who are suffering from wounds have their Initiative score temporarily reduced. This modifier is applied immediately when the wound is taken, which means that it may modify an Initiative score in the middle of an Action Turn. If a character is wounded before they go in that Action Phase, their Initiative is reduced accordingly, which may mean they now go after someone they were previously ahead of in the Initiative order.
Before Bob’s Action Phase comes up, Bob takes 3 wounds, knocking his Initiative down from 13 to 10. This means that Adam, with an Initiative of 11, now goes before him.

Initiative and Moxie

A character may spend a point of Moxie to go first in an Action Phase, regardless of their Initiative roll. If more than one character chooses this option, then order is determined as normal first among those who spent Moxie, followed by those who didn’t.
Speed determines how many times a character can act during an Action turn. Every character starts with a default Speed stat of 1, meaning they can act in the first Action Phase of the turn only. Certain morphs, implants, drugs, psi, and other factors may cumulatively increase their Speed to 2, 3, or even 4 (the maximum), allowing them to act in further Action Phases as well. For example, a character with Speed 2 can act in the first and second Action Phases, and a character with Speed 3 can act in the first through third Action Phases. A character with Speed 4 is able to act in every Action Phase. This represents the character’s enhanced re exes and neurology, allowing them to think and act much faster than non-enhanced characters.
If a character’s Speed does not allow them to act during an Action Phase, they can initiate no actions during the pass—they must simply bide their time. The character may still defend themself, however, and any automatic actions remain “on.” Note that any movement the character initiated is considered to still be underway even during the Action Phases they do not participate in.
Delayed Actions
When it’s your turn to go during an Action Phase, you may decide that you’re not ready to act yet. You may be awaiting the outcome of another character’s actions, hoping to interrupt someone else’s action, or may simply be undecided about what to do yet. In this case, you may opt to delay your action. When you delay your action, you’re putting yourself on standby. At some later point in that Action Phase, you can announce that you are now taking your action—even if you interrupt another character’s action. In this case, all other activity is put on hold until your action is resolved. Once your action has taken place, the Initiative order continues on where you interrupted.
You may delay your action into the next Action Phase, or even the next Action Turn, but if you do not take it by the time your next action comes around in the Initiative order, then you lose it. Additionally, if you do delay your action into another phase or turn, then once you take it you lose any action you might have in that Action Phase.

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