Combat and Healing

Combat is an important part of Mass Effect. These are the guidelines players can use for running personal scenes or plots and that staff will use for major plots or missions.

Combat Overview

  • Combat is normally fought in 5 second rounds.
  • Determine the difficulty number to hit the target.
  • The attacking character rolls his attack skill.
  • If the roll is higher than the difficulty number, the attack hits and causes damage.

Ranged Combat

Each weapon description lists its damage die code and effective range. Remember, if you target an enemy beyond the weapon's effective range, the damage of the weapon is reduced to 0.

Shooting at Live Targets

To hit a living (or synthetic) target you refer to its Ranged Defense Value and try roll higher than it - if you succeed you score a hit. If the target is at "Point Blank" range (below 3 meters) you have to roll against his Brawling or Melee Defense Value depending on a weapon he is wielding.

Shooting at Objects

Range Difficulty
Target is within 3 meters : "Point Blank". Very Easy (5)
Target is between 4 meters and 15 meters is considered "Short Range". Easy (10)
Target is between 16 meters and 30 meters is considered "Medium Range". Moderate (15)
Target is between 31 meters and more is considered "Long Range". Difficult (20)
Target is beyond 100 meters is considered "sniper rifle range". Heroic (30)
The GM may adjust the difficulty to reflect changing circumstances

Sniping Live Targets

When firing on a living (or synthetic) targets use the same rules as firing other weapons (roll to hit against the target's Ranged Defense Value). However, when firing a sniper rifle you must to take one action to aim properly or your weapon damage is lowered as reflected in the sniper rifle equipment table (first damage code shown in +shop weapon for sniper rifles). When aiming before shooting you still incur the -3 modifier for making two actions in one round. If you should wish to shoot more than one target with a sniper rifle in one round you have to take aim again and you will incur another -3 modifier for the second aiming action and an additional -3 modifier for taking the shot on a second target, making all actions taken at a -9 total modifier (see Actions Per Round). But if you want to shoot the same target twice you do not need to take aim a second time and so will not suffer the third -3 modifier.

e.g. A sniper is trying to shoot an Eclipse mercenary with his Python Sniper Rifle. His player declares two actions in this round, first one to take aim and the second to shoot, he incurs a -3 modifier to the shot (his second action) and deals full damage of the sniper rifle. In the next round two more mercs come out of cover and the sniper decides to shoot at both this round. He declares four actions for the round and incurs a -9 modifier to both shots fired: -3 for the first shot fired, -3 for the second aiming action, and -3 for the second shot fired. If the sniper were to shoot the same target twice, declaring three actions for the round he would only incur -6 to the shots, because no additional aiming action would be required for the second shot: -3 for first shot taken, -3 for second shot taken.

Sniping Objects

Special: Sniper Rifles shooting at an object with a sniper rifle is a bit more complicated.
Take the range of the rifle and divide it by 5:

Range Difficulty
The first fifth of weapon range Very Easy (5)
The second fifth of weapon range Easy (10)
The third fifth of weapon range Moderate (15)
The fourth fifth of weapon range Difficult (20)
The last fifth of weapon range Heroic (30) or above
The GM may adjust the difficulty too reflect changing circumstances.

Brawling and Melee Combat

Brawling covers fist fighting, martial arts or any natural weapons combat. Melee combat covers any hand-to-hand combat weapon, including swords, daggers and similar weapons. If an attack roll is higher than the defense value or a difficulty number (by objects), the attack hits, roll damage.


You (and your target) can take cover behind objects such as walls, crates or parked rovers. Add the cover modifier based on how much of you or your target is obscured:

Target is: Modifier
1/4 covered +3
1/2 covered +6
3/4 covered +12
Fully covered if cover provides protection, attacker cannot hit target directly;
Attacker must eliminate cover first (typically by blowing it up)

Negative Wild Die Check

When rolling for To Hit rolls if you roll a 1 on the Wild Die, you must reroll the wild die again:

Wild Die Result: Roll Outcome
1-2 Heat Sink Failure: Fired Weapon Overheats
3-5 Heat Sink Full: Reload Weapon next Round
6 Shot missed the target.
An overheated weapon must be allowed cool down for 2 rounds before it may be fired again.
User may switch to an alternate weapon as the first action of the next round.
Reloading requires the first two actions of the next Round.


The character with the highest roll for Initiative goes first, and so on. Once a character has a spot in the order, it doesn’t change, regardless of how other characteristics compare. Ties are broken by moving to the next factor and looking at those values. The order: (1) any ability or talent that allows the character to act first, (2) Perception, (3) Search, (4) Dodge, (5) any special equipment or situation that allows the character to go before another character.


When characters are surprised, their attacks can automatically take their first action before the "surprised" side can act. The "surprised" side cannot roll defensive skills to dodge or parry this first action.

Quick Draw

This option allows you to act rapidly to draw and fire a weapon in the same round as one action.

The weapon must be suitable for quick drawing - pistol, SMG, or shotgun only.

You must announce that you intend to draw the weapon quickly. Then you must spend/subtract some of the skill number for the weapon (Ranged, or a Ranged: (Specialization) in the weapon) and add those points to the Initiative score for that round only.

For every +3 you spend from your chosen weapon skill you may add a +1 Initiative bonus for the act of drawing and firing your weapon more quickly.

You must leave at least +3 in used skill.

If the you want to make multiple attacks, subtract -3 for each attack beyond the first from the number of dice in the skill you are using before the determining the Initiative. You don’t incur a penalty for the draw. All attacks in the same round must be made with the same skill, though the results are determined with separate rolls and they all occur at the same die code because the multi-action penalty was already figured in.


When an attack hits, the attacker rolls for damage. Ranged weapons normally do a set amount of damage; for example a Lancer Assault Rifle has a damage of 4D+1. A melee weapon might have a damage code of STR +3, that means the attacker rolls their D in Strength and adds an additional +3 to damage. For brawling attacks, the attacker rolls his Brawling and adds special ability modifiers, if any. The target character subtracts his Damage Resistance (DR), armor and kinetic barriers (if any left) from the damage taken to see how many hit points he lost and what wounds result.

Damage: Wild Die

When rolling damage the wild die can only have a positive effect unlike normal Wild Die. If you roll a 6, you may reroll the Wild Die. You may continue to reroll if it comes up as a 6. Once it comes up 1-5 stop rolling and add the total of all Wild Die rerolls to the total roll results.
e.g. You have a pistol that does 4D+1 damage. You roll 4D+1 and get <6 3 4 2> + 1=17. The first die is *always* the Wild Die, and it came up a 6 so you reroll just that die - 1D. It comes up a 6 again. So you reroll 1D again. It comes up a 2 so you stop rolling and begin adding. The total is then: 17+6+1=24 total damage that is then applied to your target's barriers/shields/DR or Health.

Head Shots

When you declare aiming for head the difficulty is raised by +12 for the sake of that shot, and half of the damage dice become Wild Dice.

Targeted Shots

When a character declares they are taking an action for aiming, he can try to shoot someone’s arm or leg to slow him down or make him lose his weapon. The difficulty is raised +12 for the sake of that shot, this shot cannot kill the target at most it can cripple it. The damage is normal. If shot in the leg, the target falls and has to get up, and if hit in the arm the target loses the weapon he is holding in his hand. Additional special effects may be up to the GM to decide.

Injuries and Healing

Wound Levels

In combat situations - or in an accident of epic proportions - a character is likely to be injured. The following table breaks down the wound levels and whether they incur a penalty to actions. After all, trying to run with cracked ribs hurts. And trying to run with broken ribs is considerably more.. awkward. And risky.

Wound Table

Injury Level Penalty
Lightly Wounded: 100-75% 0
Moderately Wounded: 74-50% -3 to all rolls
Severely Wounded: 49-25% -6 to all rolls
Gravely Wounded 24-1% -9 to all rolls
Incapacitated 0% No Actions May Be Taken

Medi-Gel vs First Aid or Medicine for Healing

In combat, the chaos of the battlefield makes healing a complicated issue at best. The advancement of Medi-Gel is a very helpful thing to those who have an Omni-Tool to dispense it but not everyone is a Tech specialist. First Aid and Medicine Advanced are the alternatives to an Omni-Tool and Medi-Gel. They are, also, an enhancement to Medi-Gel when a character has all to put into play.

Medi-Gel on its own will heal +6 per application. Refer to the Omni-Tool section of the Weapons and Equipment lists for each model's application capacity.

Whether First Aid or Medicine (Advanced) are used to enhance a Medi-Gel application or used on their own in combat, the following table indicates the degree of effectiveness based upon a successful Technical + First Aid or Medicine (advanced) roll.

If used with Medi-Gel, add the results from the table to the +6 that Medi-Gel offers. Otherwise apply the roll results by themselves to combat injuries.

Healing Table

First Aid Difficulty Medicine Difficulty Result
Easy: 10 No roll needed +5 Hit Points, Stops bleeding
Moderate: 15 Easy: 10 +8 Hit Points
Moderate: 15 Easy: 10 Cure Common Disease
Difficult: 20 Moderate: 15 +10 Hit Points
Difficult: 20 Moderate: 15 Remove Poison
Very Difficult: 25 Difficult: 20 +12 Hit Points
Heroic: 30 Very Difficult: 25 +16 Hit Points
  • First Aid and Medicine Advanced may be used on one's own character or others.
  • Gravely Wounded/Incapacitated Characters may only be healed up to Moderately Wounded (50% Health) while in combat.

Proper medical care is required using Medicine advanced to recover from major injuries of this magnitude in the field.

Down Time Healing

Due to the advancements of modern medicine and the life support systems in all combat suits and armor, characters who finish combat at Severely Wounded or better will heal naturally at a rate of +1 Hit Point (HP) per hour while resting or performing non-strenuous activity. Combat? It's right out if you want to fully and rapidly recover. Go try to kill yourself again later, please. Sleeping allows a recovery of +2 Hit Points (HP) per hour. The restored Hit Points are returned at the beginning of the next IC day/At GM direction. Refer to +help +damage on the game for details of restoring subtracted Hit Points.

e.g. Out of Combat, all combat suits/Armor afford slow/minor healing. A Severely Wounded character who is at 8/28HP chooses to take it easy, doing simply weapon maintenance and non-strenuous activities, so recovers +1 HP per hour. Later, the character is feeling tired and goes to sleep for a while. During sleep their body recovers at +2 HP per hour. Over a 24 hour period, with 14 waking hours and 8 hours of sleep, the character will heal: 14hours x 1=14HP plus 8hours x2=16HP for a total of 30 HP healed in a day thanks to the miracles of modern medical capabilities and the best in gene therapy. Because the character has a max of 28/28 HP, any excess healing points are simply ignored once full health is restored.

If a character emerges from combat as Gravely Wounded or Incapacitated, then Natural Healing is reduced to +1 for every four hours of rest, +2 for every four hours of sleep. Science and Medicine cannot cure everything after all.

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