Question on NPC Attacks and Use of Doom

Im solo playing “Vultures of Shem” as a practice session and my PC group just met their first Cursed Folk (Ghouls). I noticed that they have both a Bite and Claw attack. The Bite is Reach 1, while the Claw is Reach 2 but both do the same damage (albeit different effects). I wondered at first if they got to use both of them in their attack action but decided that based on what i understand of the rules you only get one attack unless you have some special means of gaining another standard action. I then wondered why the Ghoul would ever use the Bite as in most cases it would face the Guard disadvantage unless its target was unarmed or using only a dagger or something. Lastly I considered perhaps the Bite could be used if the Ghoul penetrated the target’s guard… but

Can the GM utilize the Momentum Spends as listed on the Table and in the rules such as “Break Guard”, “Disarm”, “Subdue” and “Swift Action” etc? Since they NPCs dont bank Momentum I assume if the answer is YES then they must use Momentum they just generated in their attack action. The GM cant substitute Doom for use as Momentum on this Table, can he?

Still reading here. On page 271 under “Non Player Character Momentum” it would seem to indicate that the GM may indeed use Doom in the same way as Players use Momentum. It says it Includes Immediate spends but doesnt specifically state it doesnt include other spends so… as per my question above, I suppose the GM may indeed use his Doom pool, or momentum generated during an attack, to allow the Ghouls to Break Guard, Disarm and so on. Right?

Yes NPCs spend momentum just like players just with Doom.

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Don’t forget a Swift Action only costs 1 momentum if the second attack is made with a second weapon.


This is, in fact, a common way that a lot of NPCs are meant to use their various attacks - Bears actually get a special rule where they can use Swift Action more than once in a turn to get two claw attacks and a bite, and a Ghoul can be especially nasty with Swift Action, as their claws have Grappling, so they can grapple their target, Exploit as a free action (because grappled enemies reduce the difficulty of Exploit, Exploit at D0 is a free action), and then get full use of Unforgiving on their bite attack.


Thank you for that clarification, Nathan.

I mean, my players will hate it, but I, as GM, thank you.


Do you need two types of attacks ore two weapons to be able too do a swift action? Or can you do it whit just one wepon?

One weapon is fine but costs 2 Momentum. With two separate weapons it costs only 1 Momentum.


Also, a mental attack would count as a separate ‘weapon’.

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As long as we’re discussing the Swift Action Momentum spend, let me pose a question regarding this sentence on page 115, “By spending 2 points of Momentum from a prior skill test (even one from a Reaction)…” [emphasis mine]. On the face of it, this indicates to me that the 2 points of Momentum for a Swift Action Momentum spend must be generated by the prior skill test (verses from the Momentum Pool, from Bonus Momentum, etc.).

Is that how everyone else reads it? If not, why is that phrase there “from a prior skill test”?

You can pay for Swift Action using Momentum from the group pool, but you only have the opportunity to use that spend after a successful test - you can’t just spend two points out of the group pool and get an extra action out of nowhere, it has to follow a successful test. It’s a matter of timing, not source, and the statement is there for emphasis (Swift Action is not an Immediate spend, so it cannot be used outside of a successful test) rather than as an additional prohibition.


Awesome Nathan, really appreciate your quick input. Very cool of you.

Given your impressive Forum attentiveness, I can’t resist to try bouncing a few other questions off you, for when you have time.

  • Page 107 states, “A character cannot perform the same type of action more than once in each turn.” This is reinforced for Free Actions specifically on page 113, “…but each specific Free Action can only performed (sic) once per turn.” I do not believe that reinforcing statement is made in the Minor Action section, nor the Standard Action section.
    However, Duel Wielding (p115) strongly implies that same actions on the same turn are allowed, since it describes a discount for using the same type of attack action, as long as you use different weapons.
    Would love to have your insight on when same type of actions would be allowed during a turn @Modiphius-Nathan .

  • Are there penalties for firing a Ranged Attack at a foe who is In Reach (engaged) of an ally? Didn’t see anything specific on that.

  • Regarding the Ready Standard Action (p116), and obtaining that necessary second Standard Action. Swift Action isn’t going to work, because that requires a successful test, which the Ready action won’t cause. Fortune works, but that seems a steep price to pay. “Additional Difficulty steps” is suggested - I didn’t find anything else in the text that illuminated that option. How do you see that working? Momentum is one of the suggestions but, without Swift Action, how would that be possible? Besides Fortune, what do you see being the go-to method of a player obtaining that second Standard Action for the Ready action?

Thank you! And thanks again for your very informative response regarding Swift Action.

Not sure why that broader prohibition is there: it should only apply to free actions. You can perform the same minor or standard action multiple times in the same turn, if you have a way of getting an extra standard action. The only other restriction is that you can’t take more than one movement action of any kind in a turn (i.e., if you moved as a minor action, you can’t move with any other action).

There’s no specific listing of one, but GMs are free to adjust both difficulty and chance for complications on tests as circumstances dictate. It’s also common practice for complications on a shot into melee to mean the attack has hit the wrong target.

You don’t need an extra standard action for Ready. Using the Ready action essentially means “I’m not using this action right now, I’m using it later in X circumstances”.


I don’t know where in the rule book this is written but I found a note on page 125 in The Book Of Skelos " that attacks don’t include bonus damage from attributes" those this rule count for all enemies?

NPCs and monsters are typically written to include bonus damage from attributes.


So does that mean you don’t need to ad extra damage from attributes, you just use the basic D6 damge as the attack is written for the enemies?

Correct - just use the damage listed.


@Modiphius-Nathan Nathan once again, this is so helpful. When you have time I have another question for you.

Page 117 of the Core regarding Ranged attacks says, “If the attacker has an enemy within Reach, then the Difficulty of the Ranged Weapons test increases by one step and the attacker may be subject to the Retaliate Reaction.” [Emphasis mine]
On that same page under Retaliate it says, “This reaction may be used when an enemy attempts to make a non-attack skill test when within Reach of the character or when an enemy attempts to move out of Reach of the character without using the Withdraw action.”

Firing a ranged weapon would not seem to activate the “non-attack skill test” trigger of the Retaliate Reaction. Yet the first quote regarding a ranged attack when an enemy is within Reach says the attacker “may be subject to the Retaliate Reaction”.

What exactly would make it subject to the Retaliate Reaction? Is it simply saying that because if the ranged attacker tried to move out of Reach of the enemy prior to attacking that Turn (without using the Withdraw Action, THAT would trigger the Retaliate Reaction? Or is it saying that a ranged attack against anyone besides the enemy within Reach would trigger the Retaliate Reaction (because the ranged attacker isn’t paying attention to the threat within Reach).

Thank you!

While shooting with the bow is an attack and not subject to Retaliate, drawing the bowstring is.

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For simplicity it is safe to assume that making a ranged attack triggers a retaliation. The reason they specify it is because ranged characters can take aim and hold their shot. This action triggers the retaliation not the releasing of the shot (thereby avoiding an archer being attacked twice for one attack). It doesn’t matter who the archer is attacking, so long as they fail to use the withdraw action they can be retaliated against once per attack.