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.
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. 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. Depending on the number rolled there are four possible results which, should your attack hit, dictate how successfully the blow connects.
1) Glancing: Attack does the minimum possible damage based on the damage of the selected Focus skill, with no skill effects applied
2) Connecting: Attack does regular damage based on the damage of the selected Focus skill, with no skill effects applied
3) Solid: Attack does regular damage based on the damage of the selected Focus skill, with corresponding effects applied
4) Perfect: Attack does maximum possible damage based on the selected Focus skill, with corresponding effects applied
The Focus resource is tracked on the character sheet, with the maximum amount dictated by the Focus class’s current level. All Focus classes begin with only one Focus. Through leveling up, the maximum amount of Focus can reach as high as seven. During combat, if a Focus class takes damage, the current amount of Focus is reduced by one. Under normal circumstances, a maximum of one Focus can be lost each round and Focus can never be reduced below one under any circumstances.
The loss of Focus after taking damage can be prevented if successfully passing a Resolve stat test:
- If successful, the damage is still taken but no Focus is lost for the remainder of the round
- If unsuccessful, the damage is taken and 1 Focus is immediately subtracted
Either way, no further Resolve stat tests for preventing loss of Focus needs to be taken that round.
Focus can be regained by using the Meditation skill. If using Meditation in combat, the Focus Class must surrender their entire turn (no movement, instant, or actions allowed) and are considered to be Vulnerable for the duration. If they do not take any damage they regain one Focus. Meditation can also be used outside of combat. Provided that the equivalent of at least a half rest is spent in Meditation, Focus is restored to its maximum amount.
Learning New Focus Skills
To learn new Focus Skills you msut 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:
Focus skills are divided up between five different disciplines that vary in their application. Armed and Ranged Focus Disciplines require a weapon, are 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 are 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). Always counts as glancing versus mail/plate (except for Dragon Punch) unless using a Fist Weapon. If using a Fist Weapon, Focus Fist attacks can benefit for weapon based enchants and craftings.
Considered an ‘unarmed’ attack. Can be used as an instant or action, and may be used while armed. However if a kick is used as an action the player cannot attack with weapons. Can be performed with a single Focus based Fist attack, as part of a single action, if not wielding any weapons. Focus classes can use weapon based enchants and craftings on foot armor pieces to enhance their Focus Kick attacks.
May only be used while armed. Counts as an action and if scoring effects, they apply to the main hand only. If not wielding a weapon or shield in the off hand, can be combined with an fist focus attack as part of a single action.
Ranged Focus Skills count as an action and may only be used with ranged or thrown weapons.
A mixture of passive skills that are always in effect and skills that can be activated during the enemies turn, no focus dice rolled, some skills count as an instant on the next turn (aka an Out of Turn Instant or OT Instant).