In this phase of play, time is slowed and measured much more finely to ensure that all who are involved get to act in accordance with their capabilities and resources, that their actions are integrated and implemented so as to influence the outcome fairly. It is handled cyclically. Every character involved in the situation, both player and NPC, humanoids and beasts alike, gets to act in turn in a regular cycle of repeating segments of time until the situation has been resolved one way or another.
This is referred to as Tactical Time.
Tactical time is counted by use of a continuous series of 10-second segments referred to as Combat Segments(CS’s), six CS’s making up a minute of time in the game world. This is based on a standard of the amount of time an average man needs to complete an action, derived from the fact that a skilled archer can nock and fire a bowwith accuracy roughly 6 times per minute. Each character gets to make one action over the course of each CS. Some characters are allowed extra actions periodically due to exceptional speed, based on high AGL.
Optional rules are provided for dividing the CS’s up still further for the purposes of integrating more closely the movements of those involved across the Tactical Display (site of the battle). This is called Pulse Move, and is conducted in ten steps, one per second, before any other actions declared for the PC’s are resolved.
Tactical time-keeping is engaged as soon as two or more parties (characters, foes and/or beasts, etc.) identify goals which are somehow opposed and which involve contests of ability and perhaps skill that must be carefully measured and judged against one another with an eye to representing each side fairly using the same standards for all in determining the outcome.
If only one party is aware of the other’s presence, whether or not a move was made in response towards or away from them, a check must be made to determine if the opponents become aware of the situation. It is up to the PC’s efforts to conceal their own presence and the acuity of the opponents’ Perception skills and/or AWA (GM’s discretion). This may, of course, be influenced by the use of Stealth skills, and result in an ambush with one party suffering the effects of “Surprise” (details to follow) or a complete avoidance of conflict, depending on the PCs’ intent.
Tactical contests and battle seem to unfold in slow motion, as hashing-out the particulars according to the rules may take an hour or more of time in the Real World, while the actual time elapsed in the gameworld may only amount to a few minutes.