Time, Turns, Actions, and Conflicts


Time in Dystopian Heroes passes in one of two ways, scene by scene or panel by panel. If there is no conflict and the action is primarily roleplay then time will progress by scenes. If conflict does arrise, or if conflict is present at the start of the scene then time will progress by panels.

Each individual character’s actions (be they player or GM controlled) is reffered to as a panel. A single action may be taken in each panel by the character.

A full round of panels, each character involved in the conflict having taken a turn, is reffered to as a page. A page has no set measure of time, but can be assumed to be between 30 and 60 seconds of action.

A scene is the entirty of action at one location. Whether the scene is resolved with or with out conflict it dtill counts as a single scene.

Lastly there is the issue. The issue is a collection of scenes involved in a single short story arch, but may or may not take place within a larger overall story arch. An issue is usually the duration of a sinle session of play, but several sessions may be required to complete some issues.


When a conflict begins, who’s turn it is depends heavily on the type of conflict. For physical conflicts Physiocal Fitness may be used, for mental conflicts it may be Mental Vigor, and for social conflicts it may be the highest Social Skill. The Game Master will determine which skill will be determined for initiative.

After a page is completed the turn will shift by a single movment, with the perosn who was going second now going first and so on, with the original fastest reacting character now going last. This round robin approach to turns allows a simulated form of exhaustion and reactions.


While the most simple of actions may take no effort, and thus require no dice roll, a majority of the interesting actions will require dice rolls and occur during conflict. To succeed a character need only to meet the difficulty for the action established by the game master, for every point of success beyond this the character recieves a Shift, which may be used to modify the results of the action to some degree.

Shifts may be used to reduce the amount of time required for the action, increase the quality of the action, or increase the subtlety of the action making it harder to detect. Shifts are not limited to these actions and players are allowed to make suggestions within reason as to how their shifts can modify their action.

There are three types of actions: Simple, Contest, and Conflict. With a simple action the character is trying to achieve success against a static value difficulty number. In a contest action two characters are trying to achieve a higher value through one, or multiple, rolls. Lastly, a conflict action occurs when two ro more characters enter in to a conflict and a single roll of the dice will not be enough to resolve the outcome.


During a conflict each character may decide to do one of the following:

Attack – an attack is not neccessarily physical violence, but instead is an attempt to cause stress to an opponenet with the goal of making them concede the conflict. All attacks are contested with a matching skill used to oppose what the declared attacker is using. Some examples follow:

The attacker is… So they use… And is defended by…
Physically attacking Combat Combat, Physical Firness
Decieving Persuasion Mental Vigor, Empathy
Intimidating Intimidation Mental Vigor, Empathy

Maneuver – a maneuver is an attempt to modify the scene in some way. This can be used to take any action that does not negatively effect or cause force on an opponent in a scene. If a manuver is successful the player may declare a single temporary aspect on the scene, location, object, or any character (themselves or opponents included). Some exmamples follow:

Disarming an opponent Blinding an opponent Blocking a path
Carrying an object Throw an object Mark an enemy

Block – a block is an attempt to prevent an opponent from successfully taking an action in a conflict. Whether this action is an attack, manuver, movement, etc does not matter. The player must declare what his character is trying to prevent from happening and with which skill he is intending to prevent it. If the GM accepts the chacter rolls and all attempts to perform the action being blocked must roll against this value instead of the normal difficult number.

This can also be used to defend another character in which instance the attacker and defender still roll as normal, but the defender recieves the highest defense, either his own roll or the block result. Blocks can be taken to provide overwatch, prevent a hacker from accessing a database, or any other potential action. This block remains in place for the duration of the page.

Full Defense – a full defense surrenders all choice of action for a character but provides them with a +2 to all defense and reaction rolls for the remainder of the page.

Movement – a character may either move a single zone without contest, or may declare they are Sprinting" and make a Physical Fitness roll with their total allowed movement being the number of Shifts on the result.

Multiple Actions – during a conflict a character may choose to attempt to take more than a single action per panel, but each subsequent action suffers from a -1 to the result.

Combining Skills – during a conflict sometimes an action may take more than one skill to determine the outcome. In these cases the GM must declare the primary skill, with all other skills being supporting skills. For each supporting skill higher than the primary the character will recieve a +1 to the result, when the supporting skill is lower than the primary skill the character will recieve a -1 to the result.

Time, Turns, Actions, and Conflicts

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