[Let’s Study AMP: Year One] Part 4b: Battles

Today kicks off with a bang as we take a look at the combat mechanics for AMP: Year One.

The Law of Attraction

There’s nothing attractive about this particular law as far as AMPs are concerned.

The Law of Attraction is described as a primal reaction that all AMPs possess that urge them to go into conflict with each other. Whenever an AMP runs into another they both make a Discipline + Empathy check to try and keep in control. Otherwise they immediately confront the other in a manner of their choosing, but never in a nice way.

It’s an interesting mechanic to simulate the usual superhero trope of people punching each other when they first meet each other, but it also makes sense in the context of the setting as they all share a single origin.

While this might appear to be tricky, I expect most GMs will only really use this on player characters in their first interaction or ignore it entirely when dealing with PC meets PC situations

Battle Rules

Combat is broken down into five main steps:

  • Roll Initiative
  • Acting player chooses their action
  • Defending player chooses their reaction
  • Both players choose applicable skills
  • Resolve damage, if any


Initiative is checked in combat at the start of every round, which involves a 1d20 + Intuition + Speed check by all combatants. The highest rolling character moves first, followed by the next highest and so on. Ties are broken by comparing speed skills, and a roll off if further necessary.

An alternative Abstract system is presented as well, where the GM determines who goes next by what “feels” right. The suggestion is to let characters who plan to take noncombat actions to go first, followed by those with ranged actions, and finally close combat actions.

Choosing Actions

The Players whose turn it is in initiative then decides what actions they’d like to take. The actions listed in the game aren’t meant to be exhaustive, but do cover the most common options, and a few others that serve as maneuvers. These include:

Inflict Harm (Close Combat), Inflict Harm (Ranged), Inflict Pain (which is more of an non-lethal attack that is meant to inflict penalties), Prepare, Grab, Break Grab, Feint / Distract, Knock Back, Knock Down, Touch, Take Aim, Change Emotional State, Move, Sprint/Rush, Use Power, Non-Combat Action and Retreat.

As you can tell, it’s a LOT of actions that you can choose from. Each one has a short writeup and talks about any minor bonuses or penalties you’ll have to take to perform them, as well as the results of a successful action.

Choosing Reactions

Like Actions, Reactions are also listed in the book. A character gets one free Reaction per Round, but suffers a cumulative -1 penalty on each additional Reaction they use during a round. Reactions include:

Block, Dodge, Grab, Find Cover, Catch, Resist and Protect.

There might not be a lot of Reactions, but that’s because it’s easy enough to counter several action types with the same action.

Choose Skills

Given the flexibility of the DGS-Combo System, the players can pick their choice of skill combo for the action they’re taking as long as that makes sense. This allows for a lot of creativity on the part of the players and the GM and may end up putting a lot of non-traditional skills into combat. Kung Fu Movie junkies will probably get a kick out of this.

Deal Damage

This is where the actual resolution of the actions are taken. Both parties roll the respective actions, and if the attack is successful, damage is resolved by a simple calculation:

Close Combat Damage = 2 + Weapon Damage + Boost + Modifiers

Ranged Combat Damage = Weapon Damage + Boost + Modifiers

Modifiers and Special Cases

The rest of the chapter talks about the special cases of combat, everything from Automatic Fire, Armor, Pain, Bleeding, Fear, Dying and all sorts of other unpleasant things that happen in a fight.

Other things discussed in the chapter would be a fairly exhausted listing of weapons, drugs and poisons and other gear.

The chapter wraps up with an example of combat, which goes into a standard fight scene in AMP: Year One and will be of use to any GM who is starting to learn the system.

AMP: Year One certainly lives up to it’s promise. I’m particularly impressed by the simplicity of the basic mechanic, paired with the number of options in combat. Given the focus on combat in a title like AMP: Year One, you can’t really get away with just having a system that can’t handle it and it seems that Eloy managed to knock this one out of the park.

Tomorrow we’ll wrap up this series on AMP: Year One with a look at the Storytelling chapter, and calling out some of the other neat features of the book, including the rather extensive sample AMPs in the book.

For those who’d like to check it out, AMP: Year One is available on PDF in DriveThruRPG for $14.99 or roughly Php 645.00

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