[Let’s Study Qin: the Warring States] Part 8: Sample Combat, Zhaohui vs. Swordman

Posted: August 24, 2012 by pointyman2000 in Articles, Let's Study, Qin: the Warring States, Roleplaying Games

Now here’s the article that people have been waiting for, where we check out the combat rules in Qin: the Warring States. We’ve already gone through the setting and the basic rules, but this is probably going to be one of the more involved articles.

The first thing about Qin’s combat system is that characters can make multiple actions per round based on their skill level in the main Martial skill that they plan to use in the round. The number of actions they can take corresponds to their skill level, so Beginner has 1, and Godlike has 7 actions per turn.

Each combat round is subdivided into Exchanges. A character may take only one action of his choice, including moving, drawing a weapon, attacking etc. However characters may defend in response to an attack even if they haven’t taken their action yet. However, this sort of Active Defense costs an action in a later exchange.

Therefore, a Combat round is broken up into multiple exchanges where the characters take turns performing an action. This cycle continues until both characters have run out of actions for the round.

Before we continue, let’s have a look at our character again from the Sample Character article below:

Ming Zhaohui

Metal 5
Water 3
Fire 1
Wood 2
Earth 3

Audacity of the Phoenix: Zhaohui has exceptional self-confidence and can redo any Test whose difficulty is at least “very Difficult”

Loyalty of the Dog: Zhaohui is also loyal to a fault. She’s a soldier through and through and will go to great (and perhaps unreasonable) lengths for the sake of her commanding officer and her companions.


Art of War (Metal) Apprentice (1 point)
Hand-to-Hand (Metal) Apprentice (1 point)
Gongshu/Archery (Metal) Competent (3 points)
Qiangshu/Spears (Metal) Expert (6 points)
Horsemanship (Water) Competent (3 points)
Survival (Water) Apprentice (1 point)

Chi: 2
Passive Defense: 7
Breath of Life:
7 Normal
5 Bruised
4 Slightly Injured (ST+1)
2 Seriously Injured (ST+3)
1 Fatally Injured  (ST+5)


Tao of Strengthened Body Level 1: The Cloak of Chi (1 point)
Tao of Destructive Breath Level 1: Gentle Breeze (1 point)
Tao of Destructive Breath Level 2: Sudden Gust (2 points)


Hand-to-Hand Level 1: Throw (1 point)
Qiangshu/Spears Level 1: Charge (1 point)
Qiangshu/Spears Level 1: Hold at Bay (1 point)
Qiangshu/Spears Level 2: Double Blow (2 points)
Qiangshu/Spears Level 3: Direct Hit (3 points)
Gongshu/Archery Level 1: Snapshot (1 point)
Gongshu/Archery Level 2: Long Shot (2 point)


Halberd (Damage 4, Resilience 9), Longbow (Damage 3, Resilience 7, Ranges: C25, M50, L75, E100), and a Leather Breastplate (Protection: 3, Resilience: 9).

Her opponent on the other hand is a spoiled swordsman who is a cruel bully

Metal 3
Water 3
Earth 2
Wood 2
Fire 3

Gift and Weakness : Luck of the Hare / Misogynist

Skills : Intimidation 1 ; Games 2 ; Hand-to-Hand 2 ;
Jianshu 2 ; Dunshu 2 ; Acrobatics 1

Combat Techniques : Jianshu (Direct Hit, Total Block)
Taos : Tao of the Six Directions 2 ; Tao of the Light Step
1 ; Tao of the Sudden Lightning 1

Chi : 12 Breath of Life : 19 (7/5/4/2/1)
Passive Defense : 7 Renown : 10

Equipment : Sword, shield, bottle of liquor,

Ming Zhaohui finds herself strolling along the back alleys of a city in hopes of being able to buy some supplies in the market before they close for the evening. In the process she finds a young man kicking a street urchin on the ground, yelling obscenities in the process.

“Oi!” Zhaohui accosts the man, “Leave that child alone!”

“Ha?!” the swordsman levelled a glare at her direction, “And just who do you think you are? Mind your own business, woman!”

Zhaohui was livid, “Clearly someone wants to be taught some manners.” she tugged on the leather cover of her Halberd’s blade. “I’m giving you this one last chance to stop it and leave, or else I’ll be forced to send you to your ancestors.”

The swordsman stopped at that, seeing the weapon, his lips twisting into a cruel scowl before he reached for the Jian strapped to his back, “Such confidence. I’ll tell you now that I have no qualms about killing a woman!”

Initiative is determined by a YyD+Water roll

Zhaohui rolls a 5 and a 1, for a YyD result of 4, plus her Water of 3 for a total of 7.

The Swordsman rolls a 7 and a 5, for a YyD result of 2 and adds his Water of 3 for a total of 5.

Zhaohui goes first.

Comparing their primary Martial Skills, zhaohui’s Spear skill of 3 grants her 3 actions, while the Swordsman’s sword skill of 2 grants him 2 actions per round.

Zhaohui was never one for extended conversations and so she decides to strike first with a vicious thrust of her Halberd.

Her player rolls a 5 and a 0, for a YyD result of 5, plus her Metal of 5 and Spears skill of 3 for a total of 13!

This definitely exceeds the Swordsman’s Passive Defense score of 7. Forcing him to consider an active defense of some sort to avoid injury.

The swordsman spends one of his actions in this exchange (leaving him with only 1 left) in order to parry the blow with his blade. He then rolls his YyDd + Water + Jianshu skill to intercept the blade.

He rolls an 8 and a 5, for a YyD result of 3, plus Water 3 and Jianshu of 2 for a total of 8, still not enough to match Zhaohui’s devastating strike!

The swordsman parries desperately hoping to deflect the halberd, but his sword was ineffective, bouncing off harmlessly from Zhaohui’s weapon as the blade finds it’s mark!

Damage is determined by simply adding the attacking character’s Metal aspect with the weapons damage rating. Zhaohui’s Metal is 5 and the Halberd has a damage rating of 4 resulting in 9 damage to the swordsman.

The swordsman staggers back, glancing at the wound as his blood stained his favorite shirt. “Curse you!” he growled as he struck back his with his own weapon.

This time it’s the swordsman’s turn to attack. This expends his last action for this round. Well aware that she’s wearing armor, he focuses his strike on the softer parts unprotected by the leather breastplate, such as her thighs or arms by means of his Direct Hit Combat Technique. This raises the ST of his attack by +1.

His attack roll is a 3 and 4, resulting in a value of 1. Adding his Metal of 3 and Skill of 2, yields a final total of 6. Not enough to get past Zhaohui’s Passive Defense Score of 7!

It was undeniable that the man was trained as he attempted a special technique, but perhaps the blood loss and lack of balance from Zhaohui’s initial strike made his attack go awry.

This puts the swordsman at a distinct disadvantage. zhaohui now has 2 remaining actions for this exchange and the swordsman has none left to spend on Active Defense.

“This is the end for you!” Zhaohui cries out, focusing her Chi onto her weapon before activating one of her combat style’s fearsome techniques, striking twice with blinding speed with the blade and then the handle of her halberd.

Zhaohui’s player decides to captialize on this advantage and activates her Tao of Destructive Breath, spending her 2 points of Chi to grant a +2 bonus to any damage she inflicts.

She also triggers her Double Blow Combat Technique, striking the swordsman with both the tip and handle of her halberd in quick succession at a penalty of +1 for the first attack and +2 on the second. Damage is reduced by 1 point on the first strike, and the by 2 points on the second.

She rolls a 2 and 9 for the first attack, resulting in a 7 + 5 + 3 for a total of 15, easily bypassing the swordsman’s Passive Defense Score.

She rolls a 9 and 3 for the second attack, resulting in a 6 + 5 + 3 for a total of 14, still going way over the increased ST of the Swordsman’s PD.

The First attack deals 9 damage +1 (+2 from the Tao, -1 for the Combat Technique), and the second attack deals 9 damage (+2 from the Tao and -2 from the Combat Technique.) for a total of 19 damage.

Considering that the swordsman has already taken 9 damage from the previous attack, this means that he has taken a total of 28 damage, more than enough to put him down.


One round was all it took for Zhaohui to take the swordsman down, which is quite interesting and admittedly closer to the fiction of Wuxia books than most people might think. That said I think that this was a sort of lopsided kind of battle given that Zhaohui is a combat focused character and her opponent seemed to be rather unlucky. Still combat flows pretty quickly in Qin, and while the Taos and the Techniques will involve a bit of looking up at the start, having a handy cheat sheet or reference guide for players will help speed things along.


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