Conflicts in SGS take the same basic format as many other TTRPGs, organizing the action into discrete rounds and turns. While physical combat is likely to be the most frequently encounterd, SGS opens the door to other kinds of conflict to be handled using the same types of rules. You could, for example, have a game where magical duels are fought on an ethereal plane, or one where court intrigues are treated as social combat.

Describing the Action

Combat is chaotic. A lot of things are happening all at the same time, and people are usually doing everything in their power to live and beat the other side. Even though combat is divided up into descrete time units, it's assumed that people are attacking, blocking, bluffing, evading, feinting, and assessing all the time. The attacks where characters actually roll are the ones that have a real chance of succeeding.


The first thing to do when the GM announces a conflict is for all active participants to roll initiative. This is a special skill check using a limited subset of skills, usually things like Notice and Combat Sense.

Once everyone has rolled their initiative, they GM will tabulate them from highest to lowest. The highest goes first. Ties are resolved by roll-off, or by decisions between players if desired.


Time in a conflict is divided up into rounds. Each round, everything is assumed to happen roughly simmultaneously, but the causal relationships between events is maintained. It may only be split second before one blow and another, even though they're several turns apart, but one definitely happens before the other.

Rounds progress through time, however. One round is definitely a few seconds or a few minutes after the next.

How Long Exactly?

Unlike D&D, no specific time is given for rounds and turns. No mechanical effects in the game are on a timer. Time is left to be dramatically appropriate. Some sword fights might occur in the order of seconds, while others might take many minutes of gunfire from behind cover.

If specific timing is needed ("The bomb's about to go off guys, but there's still two more Thranic Knights keeping you here") the GM can decide either how many turns there are until the bad thing happens, or how long each round takes.


Each round is divided up into turns. Each character (ie entity able to take actions) in the conflict gets a turn. Turns progress in order of Initiative.

By default, on their turn, each character gets to take 1 action and move once.


Actions allow characters to do stuff, especially to other characters. These actions need not always be attacks, they can be any normal type of skill check that could be performed in the circumstance. You can just as easily use a Melee Attack action or a Stealth Overcome action.

You generally don't use the Defend action as your own action; it's reserved for defending against others' Attacks or attempts to Create Advantage on you, and therefore doesn't usually take up your action on your turn.

Read more about what actions are available here.


On your turn, you may move up to your speed in map squares or hexes. In many games, these squares or hexes are 1", and represent 5 feet, but depending on the scene and type of conflict, the GM may change the size of each square in real-world units. This doesn't affect the Range or Speed stats of entities, the rules are functionally the same, you're just changing the layout of the scene.

Movement in theater-of-the-mind style situations is normally handled by vague "distance" value between characters, in squares. The GM might describe an enemy as being only 4 squares away, but requiring 7 squares to reach in melee on foot because there's a "Boxes and Crates" aspect on the scene.


Damage calculation is defined here, but in short, the base damage is the difference between the attack roll and the defense roll. If the attacker was using a weapon or had their own Damage stat, that stat is rolled and added to the base damage.

The damage is then compared to the target's thresholds. For each threshold surpassed, the target takes 1 damage to the appropriate pool.

Knock Out

When a character cannot put a point of damage in an open box, they are Knocked Out. They become unable to continue to take actions or move. At the GM's discretion, they may be conscious or unconscious during this period.

Character Death

By default, games of SGS are not lethal outside of extenuating circumstances. Characters are knocked unconscious instead of killed outright. This fits with most action-oriented franchises and media styles.

At the outset of the game, the GM can suggest upping the ante by implementing one of the following death conditions:

  • Instant Death: Characters are killed when they would normally be Knocked Out.
  • Bleeding Out: Characters Knocked Out are given an autobound Bleeding Out aspect. If the character doesn't recieve medical attention within 1 hour, they die.

While by default characters don't die, it's possible that one or mor unconscious characters might be taken by the enemy, which could be very bad indeed. Unconscious characters in the presence of their enemies are at a very real risk of death; they're at their opponent's mercy.

Ending Conflicts

There are several ways a conflict can end.

  • Elimination: Physical fights usually end when only one side remains able to act.
  • Retreat: One side can attempt to flee or escape. The opponent force might try to out maneuver them.
  • Surrender: One side voluntarily gives up. Smart combatants will often surrender when they're outgunned so that they may live to fight another day.
  • Deescalation One or more sides might try to deescalate the fight, possibly using social skills or negotiation
  • Changing Context: Sometimes one type of conflict can morph into a new type of conflict. A social conflict between samurai might devolve into a physical one if someone's honor is damaged too far, for example.
  • Interruption: Sometimes a conflict is interrupted by some outside event that takes precedence over the desire of the two sides to continue to engage. A street fight between rival vampire gangs is likely to end when a meteor explodes in the street and spews out an eltritch abomination.