Regardless of whether it is a character with wings or a jetpack, or one piloting a mech, aircraft, or spacecraft, when two or more flying individuals enter combat it is referred to as an engagement. While the goal to defeat the opponent is the same, an engagement revolves more around maneuvers and positioning than attacking and defending, though these actions take place in an initiative round with the same number of actions as grounded combat.
Being outnumbered is typically deadly, for this reason, pilots prefer one-on-one battles. In most engagements, pilots in the offensive position will attack as often as possible, while pilots in defensive positions use maneuvers in an attempt to flip the positions.
Vital to flight-to-flight combat, pilots occupy one of three positions during an engagement.
Neutral - this is a Ready status in which no pilot is engaged, with no advantage.
Offensive - this is an Attack status in which the pilot is engaged and holds the advantage having a +2 modifier to hit.
Defensive - this is a Defend status in which the pilot is engaged and is vulnerable to attack, with a -2 modifier to defend.
Because all combatants are continuously in motion, they move at up to their flight move rate with every action, and all move actions are made with maneuvers. Whenever a pilot uses a maneuver to make a move, the other pilot(s) in the engagement get an immediate counter-move. If both pilots succeed or fail in the maneuver, the positioning remains the same, but if one fails, the one who succeeds maintains their position or moves a position by one step, i.e. neutral to offensive, etc.
The pilot who goes first in initiative dictates the pace of the combat with attacks and/or moves, while any who follow react. The best pilots are good at managing how actions are spent and using their defensive maneuvers effectively. If a pilot holds actions, their reaction may include attacks, even if they have already attacked in the round. It is possible and likely for all four actions to be spent on movement during a round, as pilots vie for an offensive position.
The movements for flighted combat are universal regardless of scale, consisting of tactical turns, rolls, and other actions to move into an offensive position before an opponent. While speed is a factor, most weapons have a relatively short range to avoid countermeasures, requiring the pilot to use maneuvers to close on opponents to attack. There are five basic maneuvers that are acquired through the Aero Combat specialty.
Advanced strategic moves consisting of physically and mentally demanding turns, rolls, and other actions that rely on the pilots ability to recognize and react to various different aspects of the engagement, these maneuvers focus on attack and positioning. There are five common gambits that are acquired through the Aero Combat Specialty.
Perilous feats of aerial acrobatics performed to gain a positional advantage over an opponent, only the most talented pilots can pull off these maneuvers; they can be used to gain an angular advantage relative to the opponent for making attacks, as counter-moves to hold, maintain, or break a positional advantage, or to disengage and make an escape. There are five common stunts that are acquired through the Aero Combat Specialty.
This occurs when passing an enemy, and immediately changes the positioning from offensive to defensive. While speed is factor in overshooting, it most often occurs as a result of either a failed maneuver or a failed counter-maneuver. The other pilots in the engagement are allowed a counter-move or move after an overshoot.
Resulting from a failed maneuver, the pilot must make an immediate Piloting skill check at a very difficult (-8) modifier to regain control, which does not cost an action. If the skill check fails, an action may be spent to make subsequent Piloting skill check(s) at a difficult (-4) modifier to regain control.
A loss of control may result in a collision or crash, depending on the circumstances and environment.
When flighted combatants hit one another or something else, there is damage, the degree of which is determined by speed and collision scenario. There are three types of collision, accidental, unintentional, and intentional that will result in a degree of vehicle damage.
Accidental collisions do equal damage to all involved, unintentional collisions (crashing) does damage + 1 level to the attacker, and intentional collisions (ramming) does damage +1 level to the defender. Collisions between flighted combatants may result in a loss of control.
Resulting from failed maneuver, it provides an enemy with the ability to take an action or make a maneuver without the ability to take an counter-move. Any existing modifiers in the engagement still apply.
- Assuming there is no surprise, combatants begin in a neutral position.
- Initiative is used to determine who acts first.
- Combatants get four actions, these can be used for attack, defend, or move actions; as those in flight are constantly moving, the move action is direction or maneuver based.
- From a neutral position, the first to act can attack or move, while the opponent can defend or counter-move.
- A counter-move is made during the attackers initiative, a successful counter-move keeps the positions neutral.
- After offensive and defensive positions are determined, maneuvers can be used to alter it, based on the success or failure of maneuvers taken.
- When an attack is made, a defend action is permitted.
- If the attacker holds actions on their turn, they may take move, attack, or defend actions on their opponents turn, based on the success or failure of maneuvers taken.