Tales Of Action

A Game Written By: Brad Morin
(Dedicated to the man who started me in this hobby:  Jason Rife)

Tales of Action is a tabletop skirmish game based on the time period spanning the 1930’s and 1940’s.  It is a time of intrepid heroes, damsels in distress, rising evil abroad and on the home front, the occult, science gone mad and lost civilizations.  It is designed to be a loose system for easy adaption to multiple adventure settings during this time period.  Welcome to the adventure.

Models:  Tales of Action is a game designed for 28mm models.  These models should stand on 25mm round bases.  As it is at its essence a beer and pretzels game designed for fun, quick play if you wish to adapt it to another scale or to use models on different sized bases, please feel free.  That being said, it is polite to get the permission from opponents before doing so.

All of the measurements in this game are measured in inches be it distance between models, how far a model can run or how far a model can jump over a gaping chasm. When measuring from one model to another it is customary to measure from the closest edge of one base to the closest edge of another (when measuring weapon ranges for example).

I do not endorse models from any particular miniatures company.  Tales of Action should be played with models that excite you as a hobbyist and help you to feel more involved in the game.

Model Statistics:

The strengths and weaknesses of the people, creatures and beings represented by models in Tales of Action are reflected in their statistics.  Statistics represent how tough, strong, or combat savvy a model is.  The higher the statistic the better the model is in this area to a maximum score of ten.   Note: equipment does not generally change statistics (with the exception of armour which is described later).  A model is not what it carries but what it is on the inside.


Movement - How fast a model can move in inches during it’s movement phase.
Shooting - How good a model is at firing projectile weapons.
Combat - How able a model is in (hand to hand) combat and how sharp that model’s reflexes in a combat situation are.
Strength - How strong that character is. 
Grit - How easy (or how hard) it is to injure a model and how quickly a model can recover when hurt.
Health - How much damage a model can take before being removed from play.
Dodge - How able is the model at dodging attack or harm.
Armour - Does the model have some sort of protective skin, armour, or shield that can protect it from harm? If so how much protection does it give?
Moxie - The model’s metal so to speak.  It is its willingness to stay in the fight and/or its ability to influence others to do heroic things they would not otherwise consider.


Turns and Phases:

Tales of Action is a game that is broken into turns and phases. Players each get a turn to move, act with and otherwise use their models before it is their opponent’s turn. After that player’s turn is over their opponent has their turn.  This trading of turns continues until the game is finished as specified by the adventure being played.

Each player turn is broken down into multiple phases. 

Movement Phase - When models move and manoeuvre.

Action Phase - When models shoot, run, or carry out any number of activities.

Combat Phase - When models fight in hand-to-hand combat with one another.


Movement:

Movement is based on the model’s profile and is measured in inches.  A basic human can move 5 inches. There will be models in the game that can move faster and slower than this.  A model’s movement will be listed in it’s characteristics.


Action phase:

In an action phase a model can commit one action.  Models can only commit one action per player turn. 

Actions include: Running, leaping, firing a weapon, opening a door, turning on a machine, throwing a grenade, taking aim, hiding, climbing a ladder, laying in wait. etc.

Running:  By running a model can forgo all other actions to sprint at the best speed they are able.

Firing a weapon:  If the model is carrying a weapon that fires a projectile of some sort, it may fire it one time (note certain weapons can be fired more than one time a turn).

Leaping: If the model has moved in a straight line in it’s previous move it may jump in the same direction it moved an additional D3 inches.

Opening a door: In order to open a door a model cannot have moved more than half its movement allowance in the movement phase.

Throwing a grenade or other thrown weapons:  Models may throw (depending on what they are carrying) grenades, knives, axes, idols, etc. A model can throw an object twice its strength value worth of inches. 

Hiding: A model that hides must have some form of cover between it and all enemy models. It cannot have moved more than half its movement allowance during the movement phase.

 Turning on a machine:  A model may activate a Death Ray, switch on a doomsday device, or use a can opener by standing next to the machine (not moving that turn) and using its action phase. Note: some machines take multiple turns to activate/ use.  With these machines a model must not move, fight in combat, or use any action but “Turning on a Machine” for the number of turns necessary to use the device.  For each turn of effort place a counter next to the model to keep track of its progress. Unless otherwise specified, if the number of turns is interrupted the model loses all of its counters and must start from zero.

Taking Aim:  If a model takes aim it may not move or engage in any other activity that turn.  The model is considered to be aiming its weapon to fire the following turn.  In order to benefit from this rule a model must also not move in its following movement phase.

Laying in Wait:  In order to lie in wait a model must not have any enemy models in line of sight.  Just like aiming models that lie in waiting do not move that turn as they set up their ambush.  They ready their projectile weapon or combat weapon for their opponent to appear.  As soon as an enemy model appears (even if it is during the opposing player’s turn) the ambushing model can attack (even if it is in the middle of the opposing model’s move).  When the ambush is declared the movement is paused until the ambushing attack is resolved.  In order to ambush into combat the opposing model must appear within half the attacking model’s movement.  The attacker then moves this distance into base-to-base contact.  The attacked model’s movement ends at that time.

Climbing:  A model can climb up or down the full length of a ladder by starting its movement phase next to a ladder (and not moving) and by using its full action phase not doing anything but climbing.


Combat phase:

Hand to hand combat is a dangerous place where combatants struggle to win using every advantage and strength they can muster. It is a place where brawn and sheer toughness can win the day but where skill (and sometimes pure luck) is king. 

Combat begins when models from opposing sides enter base-to-base contact with each other.  A model can move into contact with an enemy model during the movement phase.  It can also move into base-to-base contact in the action phase although their attack is more likely to be frantic and hasty.  

In the combat phase even though it is one player’s turn both players get to attack.  The order of combat is determined by comparing the combat statistics of the combatants.  Whoever has the higher value is assumed to be the more proficient fighter and goes first.  If the values are equal the attacks are resolved as if the two fighters were striking simultaneously. 

Models can attack a number of times equal to half of their combat statistic (rounded up).  So for example, a model with an attack characteristic of 5 will get to roll three dice to attack.  Sometimes equipment or weapons will increase or decrease the number of dice that a model will roll when they attack.  Items will have a note in their descriptions indicating this.

To attack a model must choose an enemy model in base-to-base contact to allocate its attack dice to.   Models may split their dice between multiple targets if they wish.  Thus an adventuring archaeologist (who started with 4 attack dice and is in base-to-base contact with two Nazi guards) might allocate two attacks to each guard.  If attacks are split like this, a model must try and split its attacks as evenly between models in range as possible.  If there are more models in range than there are dice the attacking player chooses which models the attacks get allocated to.

The attacking player rolls the proper number of attack dice and consults the chart below comparing their combat statistic to the combat statistic of their foe.  If the attacker rolls the number on the chart or higher the attack hits home and could possibly hurt their opponent.

Combat Attack Success Chart
Attacker’s Combat Statistic listed Vertically.
Defender’s Combat Statistic listed Horizontally.

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10
2
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4
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5

At this point the defending model has a chance to evade or shrug off hits before they strike home and cause damage.  The defending model can ignore any hit if the controlling player can roll that model’s dodge statistic or better on one ten sided dice. 

For every successful hit (that is not dodged) the attacking player must roll on the chart below comparing the strength of their model (taking modifiers like weapon strength into account) to the grit statistic of the model they are attacking.  Hits successfully hurt their target for every roll that matches or exceeds the number listed on the chart.


Strength VS Grit
Attacker’s Strength Statistic listed Vertically.
Defender’s Grit Statistic listed Horizontally.

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6

A model can try to soak up damaging hits if they are wearing armour. Some models wear armour to protect themselves from bodily harm.  Just like with the dodge roll, the controlling player rolls a ten-sided dice and if the roll can match or beat the model’s armour statistic the injury is prevented.

  Should a model fail both of these defensive rolls it takes damage equal to the number of times it was hurt.  Remove this many health points from its total until the model reaches zero.  It is usually easiest to mark this by placing ticks next to a model’s profile or by placing markers next to the model showing damage done.  It also ensures that previous damage is not forgotten about in the heat of the moment.  Should a model reach zero health it should be considered unconscious, hurt badly, or worse.  In any event it will not be taking further part in the game.

            If still capable (or alive) the attacked model (or models) now gets to strike back following the same rules.  Once this process is over combat is over for that turn.  It is possible depending on models surviving combat for a combat to go on for multiple turns.  This is fine and expected when combatants meet in the heat of the moment.  Sometimes a model desperately needs to get out of a combat that does not seem to end or is stuck in a combat they cannot win.  If the player of that model can roll the models moxie statistic or higher on a ten –sided dice the model can break off and try to escape in the movement phase using its regular movement. 

            If a model moves away from combat in its movement phase the remaining models in the combat get one attack that automatically hits to the fleeing model as it turns to run.  The damage from this attack must be resolved before the fleeing model actually gets to flee.  Should the escaping model survive this attack it may operate normally for the rest of its turn.

            Models that are engaged in combat with other models may not undertake any other actions such as firing weapons, climbing ladders, turning on machines, etc. If a weapon is allowed to fire in combat it is used in the combat phase as one of the model’s attacks rather than in the action phase as an action.  Note only certain weapons may be used in this way.  Weapons fired in this way use the combat statistic of both models to determine the hit not the firer’s shooting statistic.

            Instead of attacking in this way a model can opt to grapple with an opposing model in base-to-base contact.  The attacking model rolls to hit the same way as usual but with only one attack dice.  If successful both players roll a ten-sided dice.  The attacker and the defender both roll a dice and add their result to the strength statistic of their model.  If the attacker’s result is equal to or higher than the defender’s result the defender is considered “pinned” until the beginning of the attackers next movement phase.  Pinned models may not move away from combat and may not attack.  Models wishing to strike a model that is pinned in combat automatically hit but they still get their dodge roll.  Should they dodge their attack they have shifted themselves in such a way that the attack hits the grappling model instead.  Shooting attacks are randomized as usual. 


Shooting:


            Models using projectile weapons attack in a similar way.  In the action phase a player may declare that one (or more) of his models will use its action allowance for the turn to fire/ throw/ spit some kind of projectile as long as that projectile is in range of its projectile.  As the models in Tales of Action are supposed to be fluid beings not frozen statues on a base weapon ranges are measured using the closest points from the firing model’s base to the target model’s base.  A model is considered have a 360-degree field of vision and can see or shoot in any direction.

A that model is in range of and can be seen by a projectile-weapon wielding model can be targeted by a projectile attack.  Hitting a target depends on two factors.  First of all, how good a shoot the modelling firing the projectile is.  The Second depends on how combat experienced the target is.  Take Professor Whiting for example, at the age of 65, he has spent most of his years reading books and studying the science.  He would not be terribly apt at bullets compared to Dirk Flintlock, former soldier and seasoned adventurer.   To represent this, firing models compare their shooting statistic to the combat statistic using the cart below.  The firer must roll the number listed on the chart or above using a ten-sided dice.


Shooting Chart
Shooter’s Shooting Statistic listed Vertically.
Target’s Combat Statistic listed Horizontally.

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10
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4


Providing the shot hit its target uses the same Strength VS Grit chart listed previously in the combat section to determine if the successful shot indeed injures its intended target.

Some weapons have (like submachine guns) can fire more than once in a turn.  If a weapon has this option the firing player can choose to fire one or more shots up to maximum number of shots available depending on that weapon.  If a weapon fires more than one projectile a turn the firer suffers a -1 penalty to its die roll to hit due to the wild bucking of the weapon’s recoil.  This penalty does not worsen if more than two shots are fired.  The penalty always remains at -1 this takes into account models “walking” their shots towards their target. A model may “walk” one or more of its shots from a target to a nearby target if both targets are within 3 inches of each other. There is an additional -1 to the model’s to hit roll for the 2nd target in addition to the -1 for multiple shots.

            Each weapon in Tales of Action has a short and a long-range statistic. If a model is firing a weapon at long range it adds a -1 to its die roll to hit. Models firing weapons do not suffer any penalties but do not gain any bonuses either.


            A model can gain benefits from cover if there is terrain such as trees or walls or the shell of a burned out panzer tank between it and a model firing at it.  As long as 25% or more of the target is hidden by intervening objects a model suffers a penalty to hit it with projectile weapons. As models are considered to be fluid moving beings not static figures stuck on a base it is assumed that models will duck behind cover when it is presented.  The degree of cover they receive depends on what they are hiding behind not how much their figure can be seen by the opposing model.  Models that have solid terrain such as brick walls, intervening automotives, and wooden counter tops between them and their target receive a -2 to hit with their shots.  If the cover is less substantial (things like hedges or picket fencing) the penalty is reduced to -1 to hit.


            Models that use their action to aim (and forgo moving while they brace their weapon) gain a +2 to hit.  Weapons firing more than one shot a turn loose this bonus.

            Some weapons require too much time to set up, brace, etc to allow a model to move and fire and fore them in the same turn.  This is listed as no move and shoot in the weapons profile.

            In order for a model to fire a weapon into combat between two other models it must roll its moxie value or higher on a ten-sided dice.   Because combat is a distracting, confused mess use a combat statistic of 4 when rolling to hit regardless of the target’s actual statistic.  If this roll is successful randomly determine which combatant the shot hits by rolling a dice or flipping a coin (it is dangerous for anyone when weapons are fired their way and it is all too easy to fit a friend in the confusion.  From this point on calculate damage as usual.

More than one weapon at a time: A model can carry a projectile weapon and a combat weapon at the same time if both weapons only need one hand.  A sword and a pistol can be used for example.  The model can then use the sword’s abilities in combat and the pistol’s abilities to shoot at a distance in the same turn.  The same model could not use the same sword with a rifle (in the same turn) for example as the rifle uses both of the model’s hands.  The player has to choose which combination of weapons a model is using at the beginning of each turn.


Weapons and Gear:

Anything from a thrown pipe to the most advanced death ray pistol can be used as a projectile weapon in Tales of Action.  Listed below are the profiles of weapons, their ranges and other vital information key to game play.  This list of projectile weapons is by no means exhaustive but it gives you an idea of where to begin should you want to add more in your own adventures. 

Projectile Weapons
Type
Strength
Short Range
Long Range
Shots Per Turn
Notes
Pistol
5
6
12
1
One Hand
Sub Machine Gun
5
8
16
3

Rifle
6
16
32
1
Additional +1 to hit if aimed
Machine Gun
7
8
32
4
No move and fire
Throwing Stars
4
Model’s Str
X2 Model’s Str
3

Thrown Weapons
Model’s Str
Model’s Str
X2 Model’s Str
1
One Shot Only
Bows
4
16
32
1
No move and fire
Whip
4
5
N/A
1
 Entangle, One Hand
Additional Notes:
Projectile weapons are assumed to use two hands unless specified otherwise.

Pistols:  Some models may use two pistols at once.  If carried this way the pistols may both be fired as one action.  They suffer the -1 to hit for more than one shot fired per turn though. Additionally pistols may be fired in combat.

Whips:  If a whip projectile attack hits its target there is a chance the attack will entangle its target.  The target must roll its strength statistic or lower on a ten-sided dice of become entangled.  Entangled models can perform no actions except to try and break their entanglement (by testing on their strength statistic as described above) and they can move no farther than 5 inches from the model carrying the whip.  If another friendly model moves into base-to-base contact and uses its action to help the entangled model the two models automatically break the entanglement caused by the whip.


Combat Weapons
Type
Strength
Notes
Sword
User Strength +1
 Parry: Can make an attacking model reroll one attack dice per turn
Club, Pipe, Bat
User Strength +1

Really Big Weapon
User Strength +2
 User attacks after everyone else has attacked, Uses both hands
Additional Notes:
Combat weapons are assumed to use one hand unless otherwise specified.


Armour
Type
Protection
Notes
Helmet
8+
 Can combine with other armour.  Will reduce other armour by 2.
Armoured vest
7+
 Reduces movement by 1 due to weight




I have not written any adventures for Tales of Action yet but for those of you that want to give it a try here are some possible models for you to try in the game.

Play Test Sample Models:

Dirk Flintlock
Movement
5
Shooting
6
Combat
6
Strength
5
Grit
5
Health
3
Dodge
5+
Armour
-
Moxie
4
Gear
Pair of Pistols


Nazi Guard
Movement
5
Shooting
4
Combat
5
Strength
4
Grit
4
Health
1
Dodge
8+
Armour
8+
Moxie
6
Gear
Helmet & Submachine gun or Rifle



Tong Gang Member
Movement
5
Shooting
2
Combat
6
Strength
4
Grit
4
Health
1
Dodge
7+
Armour
-
Moxie
7
Gear
Pistol & sword or pipe

Dr. Thinkoscope
Movement
4
Shooting
2
Combat
2
Strength
3
Grit
3
Health
1
Dodge
9+
Armour
-
Moxie
4
Gear
Remote Control

The Thinkodrones
Movement
6
Shooting
-
Combat
6
Strength
5
Grit
4
Health
2
Dodge
-
Armour
6+
Moxie
-
Gear
Large Claws
Notes: Lumbering: +2 to hit when shooting at The Thinkodrones




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