In the chaos and confusion of battle it is highly beneficial to maintain Focus. This can give a significant advantage to a combatant and allow feats of martial skill that few can compete with. Focus based skills are divided into four categories: unarmed, kicks, armed and ranged attacks, plus an additional sub-category for self-defensive skills (which are passive skills which take place during the enemy turn). Depending on the type of Focus class they have access to these skills in varying proportions. As Focus classes refine their skills and gain experience they increase the likelihood of successfully executing their vast array of skills.
The amount of Focus your character has is measured by the Focus resource. This is tracked on the character sheet, with the maximum amount calculated based on the following formula:
MAX FOCUS = RESOLVE / 2 + LEVEL / 2
Maximum Focus is recalculated after each level up and any time a permanent increase to Resolve is attained (i.e. though stat training, enchants, etc…). Focus skills do not “cost” Focus or reduce Focus in any way. However, anytime a Focus class takes damage from any source (including self inflicted) they lose 1 Focus. This can reduce Focus to zero, but that does not prevent the use of Focus skills, just the likelihood of positive results.
Focus can be thought of as a gamble mechanic. Unlike most other Primary Skill mechanics you never “run-out” of the required resource to use it. In order to remain balanced it therefore has the potential for both positive or negative outcomes, above and beyond a regular attack. This is accomplished by using the Focus Dice, which provides an indication of how well a particular Focus skill is executed.
At character creation (effectively level 0), all focus classes are granted a single Focus Dice that they can use each round to execute a focus skill as either a reaction, instant, or action (MH or OH). The number of Focus Dice available each round increases based on each individual focus classes Title System, up to a maximum of four for mixed focus classes or five for a full class Martial Artist. Your pool of Focus Dice is replenished at the start of each new round.
The Focus Dice is a D20, rolled at the same time as your Hit Dice, any time a Focus-based attack or skill is used. The number rolled is added to your current Focus to determine your Focus score. Depending on the value of the Focus Score there are four possible results which, should your attack hit, dictate how successfully the Focus skill is executed.
>30) Perfect Execution: Often maximum damage and/or other accelerated effects
>20) Good (standard) Execution: Typically regular damage with standard effects
>10) Fair Execution: Typically regular damage with no effects or very limited effects
<=10) Poor Execution: Typically minimum damage only or complete failure of the skill
Regardless of the Focus score, the follow effects apply on the natural roll on the D20 Focus dice:
Rolling a natural 20 is ALWAYS a Perfect Execution
Rolling equal-to-or-less-than the Skill rank used is ALWAYS a Poor Execution (i.e. a rank 3 skill is always Poor on a 3 or less)
The lower a characters focus becomes, as a result of taking damage, the more difficult it is to favorably execute skills. This makes it important to regain Focus whenever possible. The simplest way to do this by using the Meditation skill. This is a basic Focus skill available to all Focus classes, and the only one that does not require a Focus dice roll.
- If using Meditation in combat, it counts as an action and causes you to be Vulnerable until the start of your next turn. If by the start of your next turn you do not take any damage, 1d12 Focus is restored.
- If using Meditation outside of combat, and maintained for at least a half rest, Focus is restored to its maximum amount.
Learning New Focus Skills
To learn new Focus Skills you must spend Focus Skill Points. Each Focus Skill Point awards a single rank in a given Focus Skill.
Characters gain two skill points per level up to and including level 10, then one skill point per level after that. You cannot spend more than one point per level in a single specific skill (i.e. Each Focus Skill can only gain 1 rank each time you level up). Skill Points awarded from a Title-up are an exception to this and may be applied to gain more than 1 rank at a time.
Characters cannot learn a previously unknown skill (i.e. Rank 1) unless taught by an Expertise Trainer that knows the corresponding skill (there may be a cost associated with this). If the Focus user has Expertise Trainer level 3, may self-teach new skills. If assigning a point to existing skill (i.e. advancing from Rank 1 to Rank 2), no trainer is required.
There is a maximum number of points that can be spent in each Discipline, depending on the class:
|Discipline||Martial Artist||Weapon Master||Ninja||Pit-Fighter||Runeweaver||Samurai||Shaolin|
Focus skills are divided up between five different disciplines that vary in their application. Armed and Ranged Focus Disciplines require a weapon, and use the action phase of your turn, while Fist and Kick Focus Disciplines can be used as either an instant or an action, or even as both. Defensive skills typically not used in the characters turns at all, and can be used in response to damaging attacks. A complete list of Focus Skills can be found the Focus Skills page.
Considered an ‘unarmed’ attack. Can be used as an instant or action but must have at least one free hand. If wielding a main hand weapon, an offhand fist attack can be used as a follow up to the main hand attack as part of a single action (offhand must be empty). If both hands are empty, can perform two fist attacks as part of a single action (one main hand, one off hand). Each fist attack consumes one focus dice from your available pool. Can be used in combination with a kick as part of the same attack action (i.e. main hand fist + “off hand” kick or vice-versa)
Considered an ‘unarmed’ attack. Can be used as an instant or action, where it acts as equivalent to a main hand and/or off hand attack. Kicks can be used while armed, however if a kick is used as either a main hand or off hand attack it replaces the use of the weapon equipped in that slot. Alternately, can be used in combination with a fist attack as part of the same attack action (i.e. “main hand” kick + off hand fist or vice-versa). For Focus classes footwear is as much a potential weapon as any blade or bludgeon, as such Focus classes may use weapon based enchants and crafting’s on foot armor pieces to enhance their Focus Kick attacks.
May only be used while armed. Counts as an action with effects applying to the main hand only. If attacking with a weapon in only the main hand, the empty off hand can be used to execute an focus fist attack, as part of the same attack action. If no off hand attack is made as part of that action, a focus kick attack can be used. An armed Focus skill consumes one Focus Dice from your available pool.
Ranged Focus Skills count as an action and may only be used with ranged or thrown weapons. Most Ranged weapons require two hands, but if not, an empty off hand could be used to execute a unarmed focus attack (fist or kick). If throwing two weapons as part of the same action, they can both use a ranged focus skill. Each Ranged Focus skill consumes one Focus Dice from your available pool.
A mixture of defensive skills that are are often activated during the enemies turn and count as an instant on the next turn (aka an Out of Turn Instant or OT Instant). A Self Defense focus skill consumes one Focus Dice from your available pool.
Though not truly a discipline unto itself, Racial focus skills are a unique subset of skills that most races naturally have access to. They may contain skills from any of the other disciplines, but do NOT count towards the maximum skills points for those disciplines. Because Racial focus skills are outside the normal disciplines, classes that have certain disciplines unavailable (i.e. a Weapon Master’s cannot use Kick based focus skills) may be able to circumvent those restrictions (i.e. the Kayden Racial focus skills are mostly centered around kick attacks, so a Kayden Weapon Master could use kicks from the Racial discipline only).
Examples of valid attack action combos, where MH = Main Hand equivalent, and OH = Off Hand equivalent:
- MH weapon/cast (1 or 2 handed) + “OH” kick
- MH weapon/cast (1 handed) + OH fist
- MH kick + OH weapon (non-focus skill)
- MH fist + “OH” kick
- “MH” kick + OH fist
- “MH” kick + “OH” kick
- MH fist + OH fist
- MH fist + OH weapon (non-focus skill)