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Fighting Back or Dodging in a Single Melee Round

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I want to clarify some of the rules on combat as my group's sessions are becoming more combat-heavy as we advance through more difficult scenarios. In our earlier sessions, most of the session was investigation and role-playing with an end fight that lasted perhaps several rounds against one or two NPCs so fights were generally not complicated.

I have read all of Chapter 6 (Combat) in the Keeper Rulebook and then I re-read the 7th edition Quick Start rules on Combat. What I'm not sure about is how many times an Investigator, NPC, or monster can Fight Back or Dodge in a single melee round (the rules for firearms are different).

From Page 12 of the Quick Start rules, "The duration of a combat round in Call of Cthulhu is best described as “long enough for everyone to take one significant action.”" This statement seems to limit Fighting Back or Dodging to only once per round, per player or NPC.

But, also from Page 12, "Every time you are attacked you may choose to fight back (attempt to avoid, block, or parry an attack while making one of your own) or dodge (attempt to avoid the attack completely)." So an Investigator may have to Fight Back or Dodge several times in a round if attacked multiple times or by multiple NPCs/monsters.

The example on the next page seems to confirm this. On Page 13, "The ghoul is a monster with 3 attacks per round. On its second attack it tries to bite Brian, who fights back. Brian achieves a hard success; the ghoul achieves a regular success. Brian has a better level of success than the ghoul and so he successfully fights back — not only does he avoid injury, but he also inflicts 1D3 points of damage on the ghoul." The Investigator, Brian, had attempted to Dodge and failed during the Ghoul's first attack. The Ghoul will also have a third attack that Brian may either Dodge or choose to Fight Back against the Ghoul.

Is there a limit on how many times an Investigator or NPC can Fight Back or Dodge in response to attacks in a single melee combat round? It seems that an Investigator could go through a dozen or so Fight Back or Dodge actions if attacked by several Ghouls before even taking his or her single Fight action in a round.

@Mike M et al. may have to answer this one.

Edited by ColoradoCthulhu
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I'd be interested in seeing an "official" answer here as well. I have been running combat and giving the characters the opportunity to fight back or dodge as a reaction to any attack focused on them (as opposed to a proper Action). It typically works well, but I've wondered if I have been inadvertently giving them an unfair advantage in combat by doing so.

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Page 108 - Outnumbered covers this. "Once a character has fought back or dodged in a the present round, all subsequent attacks are made with one bonus dice."

I view it that an investigator fighting a ghoul is Outnumbered as the ghoul has three attacks to the investigators one.

And to add - I don't think there is a limit bar common sense by the Keeper on how many attacks are actually feasible.

Edited by Psullie
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There isnt a limit to the number of times you can fight back or dodge but each attack after the first gains a  Bonus Die.( Outnumbered Pg 108 Keeper Rulebook.) Unless you are a creature with multiple attacks, if so they can fight back without incurring a Bonus Dice for their opponent until they have done so equal to their attacks.

Also the rules are loose enough, intended going by past answers, for the DM to advocate as fit. A dozen Ghouls may have difficulty space wise attacking one PC. And youd have to be pretty lucky to survive a couple of Ghouls. 

Edit: I posted this before seeing the post before mine. Which is basically the same answer.

Edited by andysyk
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Everyone (human) can initiate ONE attack per round. Everyone can 'react' to EVERY attack made against them (if they are conscious) - however, after one 'reaction' the Outnumbering rule is applied if further attacks are made on that same human character. 

Outnumbering - humans are outnumbered after 'reacting' once in a round. A ghoul with 3 attacks, is outnumbered after 'reacting' 3 times in a round. And so on. 

Initiating  - attacking (melee), attempting a maneuver, shooting (firearm, bow) or throwing (knife etc.) - or do one thing else (cast a spell, move away, use a non-combat skill, etc.). You make or take one significant action that you initiate.

Reacting - dodge, fightback (melee), or maneuver. If being shot at - you may dive for cover (dodge) or stand and take it (hope they miss). You may react to all attacks directed at you.

Everyone initiates their action on DEX in a round. 


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