Disengage during Fight

I didn’t find any option for disengage during Fight… but is that right?

Imagine situation…
There are 4 players, each fighting with an enemy. Everybody is still fighting but one player (doesn’t really matter if it is player or DM’s enemy) succeeds to incapacitate his foe in first or second volley. Now what? He stares at the body, which is not moving, probably wanting to help his friends. Does he really need to clap his foot impatiently waiting for the end of all the volleys and then choosing to disengage and engage other enemy?

Or other example…
My rogue is really squishy thing. Not ready to fight. She was not careful and is surprised with enemy. OK, she’s engaged and Fight actions in 3 volleys needs to be chosen. In the first volley she tries to (physical action) push a nearby wooden chair under enemies’s feet, so that he can stumble. If that is successful, you are telling me, that the rogue has to just watch her enemy get himself ready again to strike? Wouldn’t it be better to just try to disengage and run for her life?

My point is that there is no action or possibility to do disengage during Fight, volleys. Or am I wrong?
Do others think that there should be this possibility?
Thank you for your opinions.

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1.) Fight exchanges are really fast. Like, think of two boxers or MMA fighters closing in and exchanging blows. Each punch is an action. You can imagine that a character has to spend the end of one exchange getting to and finding a way to approach another fight. Note that more than two characters can be involved in an exchange; if the character still had an opponent standing, they would be able to play their remaining actions against them.

2.) The system generally does not expect that your character is a perfectly efficient killing machine unaffected by the stresses of violence. So, you can imagine that instead of clapping his foot, he’s psychologically acclimating to the new situation, thanking his gods that he’s alive when his opponent is dispatched, or privately reluctant jump in just this second.

3.) Or you can imagine he’s clapping his foot! Either way, you are correct that he cannot engage another opponent until the top of the exchange. However, because you fall under the Eye of the Storm rules, you may be best served by accepting the conceit and using your remaining actions to shrug off wounds, ready weapons, overturn tables, etc.

1.) You can generally attempt to Disengage at the start of an exchange, when your would-be opponent attempts to engage you or vie for position. If you succeed, you get away from them for the exchange at least – maybe it’s time to break out the chase rules. If they succeed, you are engaged for the exchange; that’s what your opponent’s victory means: Your rogue is cornered, or she’s running away but her attacker is faster and more coordinated and is keeping pace – she has to weather this exchange. I recommend scripting a lot of Avoids if she’s no fighter; it’s even in line with trying to run away.

2.) If she’s surprised by her enemy, she has to make a Steel test. If she succeeds, she can act as normal; if she fails, she has to pick one of the four Steel actions and carry it out for one heartbeat or Fight action (again, these exchanges are quick) per point of obstacle she missed by. She might choose to Run Away Screaming – this would let her (force her) to attempt to Disengage as above, at the top of the coming exchange and make her a little harder to hit. Or, she might Fall Prone and Beg for Mercy, this might be better if there’s nowhere to run and her enemy isn’t an entirely cold-blooded murderer. The other two options are likely to be catastrophic. So, to sum up, if she doesn’t want to fight, she gets her chance to Disengage at the top of the round if she doesn’t hesitate; if she does hesitate, she can choose an option that lets her attempt to Disengage anyway. So she can always try to Disengage. If she doesn’t try – or tries and fails – she’s got to live with that for the exchange.

3.) The wooden chair kick is actually quite the gambit. It seems like she’s leaving herself open for two actions against an aggressive opponent. She’ll definitely want to place those two actions as strategically as possible to mitigate the risk of getting tagged twice, which may result in a Steel test and lingering injury. She’ll still likely be hit. And if she succeeds, how debilitating do you imagine a stumble to be? The Push and Charge actions describe “staggering” an opponent associated with a +1Ob to their next action. We might imagine the poor footing created by the chair to impose +1Ob to all of the opponent’s actions until the next exchange (including the preceding positioning test) or the opponent scripts a Phys Ad to clear the chair. That would help the rogue survive the exchange without obviating the engagement results. And the logic here is double-edged: If it’s a mild penalty, then it makes sense that it’s not enough to Disengage from the Fight; if it’s a truly debilitating penalty (like, say, being knocked down), then there’s little need to Disengage.

4.) I think the big take away is that, yes, once you are successfully engaged, you are drawn into the exchange for its duration or until one of you is incapacitated.

I like the way it works now. It keeps the engagement test consequential, keeps the timing of things manageable – “I kick the chair at your feet and run! I disengage in the middle of the exchange and start shruggingoff my wound!” “Well I right myself and chase you! I reengage in the middle of your Eye of the Storm exchange!” It’s a mess – and it keeps combat scary and chaotic, which is a thematic intention in the game.


And welcome to the forums! It’s good to have you!

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I think Quincy answered your question really well, but I’ll add some extra stuff:

  1. Fight! is even quicker IC than you think. And because the choices are all made before scripting, execution inside an exchange tends a little quicker OOC too.

Roughly speaking, each action takes a heartbeat. That means if you run your opponent through in the very first volley, waiting until the next engagement opportunity means waiting two seconds or less: 1/3 of a DnD round.

  1. You can script with overconfidence. it’s your funeral, but there’s the Assess action, which can be used to prepare yourself for the next engagement.

  2. If she’s waiting for someone she just tripped, she’s kinda safe. I’d never script “get back up” if I wasn’t already on the floor. She’s much more likely to be making a few final dodges away from his scrabbling lunges.

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