This is a sample combat I wrote up for TheRPGSite forums, to illustrate how the Initiative rules work. This is a duel between two equally matched swordsmen, Alain and Bayard, who are fighting to the death over an insult Bayard (a provincial) unwittingly offered the cosmopolitan (and easily offended) Alain.
Strength 9 (bonus: +2)
Dexterity 11 (bonus: +3)
melee weapons (fast): +7, Skill Rating 10.
Endurance 10 (bonus: +2)
Spirit 5 (bonus: +1)
intimidate: +4, Skill Rating 5.
Rapier (Str +2): damage 11.
Padded dueling suits (End +1): Tou 11.
Attack (for both): 21.
Defense (for both): 21.
(The italicized text below is what a GM might say to describe the results of the die rolling, “in character”.)
Round 1: Both fighters start out without the Initiative. They act at the same time.
• Alain strikes at Bayard. Rolls a -3, misses. Your blade whips past his head.
• Bayard announces a Seize Initiative and attacks. Rolls a +1, Attack of 22. 1 Result, doing 1 Wound to Alain. Bayard fails to Seize. Your rapier slashes through his sleeve, and blood seeps from the shallow cut.
Round 2: Neither has Initiative.
• Alain (1W) strikes at Bayard, and announces a Seize attempt. He rolls a +6, meaning 6 Result (6 Wounds and a Moderate Injury). He Seizes. You stab him in the left shoulder, and he gasps in pain.
• Bayard (6W, -2) misses. The pain is excruciating, and your arm is shaking uncontrollably. Your thrust is wide of the mark.
Round 3: Alain (1W) has Initiative, Advantage +0.
• Alain decides to play with his bloodied opponent, and intimidates him. “I will kill you tonight.” He rolls a +1, for a total of 6. This gives him 3 Result or 1 Success Rating (meaning Bayard suffers a -2 on his next action) and he Presses. Your opponent appears unnerved.
• Bayard (6W, -2) attacks, rolling a +9. Even with the cumulative -4 penalty, he hits for 5 Wounds (scoring a Moderate Injury to Alain, who is now at 6 Wounds). This Counters the Press. In desperation, you strike out wildly and manage to cut into your opponent’s thigh.
Round 4: Alain (6W, -2) has Initiative, Advantage +0.
• Alain decides to finish Bayard off. He attacks, but rolls a +0, missing (and failing to Press). You thrust at his heart, but Bayard flips his blade up and deflects the attack.
• Bayard (8W, -2) attempts to Seize. He rolls a +5, scoring 5 Wounds. His Seize fails, meaning Alain automatically Presses. Alain, however, is at 11 Wounds, -4 penalty, and takes a Serious Wound. His is also faltering, meaning each Action he takes costs him a Wound. You slice into his gut, and he yells, in rage and agony.
Round 5: Alain (11W, -4) has Initiative, Advantage +1.
• Alain attacks, taking a Wound (12W). He rolls a +6 and (thanks to his Advantage bonus) does 5 Wounds to Bayard instead of 4. He also Presses. Bayard is at 13W, -4 penalty, and is now faltering. (He also takes a Serious Injury.) You step inside his defenses, and clout him across the head. Blood seeps from his ear.
• Bayard (13W, -4) steps back and attacks (taking a Wound), but rolls a 0. 0W, a glancing blow. You push him away and swing, but cut no deeper than his padding.
Round 5: Alain (12W, -4) has Initiative, Advantage +2.
• Alain attacks (taking a Wound, now 13W). He misses. (And fails to Press.)
• Bayard (13W, -4) attacks (and takes a Wound, now 14W). He also misses. The two of you trade blows in a flurry of steel, but neither can penetrate his opponent’s defenses.
Round 6: Alain (13W, -4) has Initiative, Advantage +1.
• Alain attacks (now 14W). He misses and fails to Press. You swing, and Bayard parries neatly.
• Bayard (14W, -4) attacks. He rolls a +3, doing 2 Wounds to Alain. (Alain is now at 16 Wounds, and is dying, meaning he takes 1 Wound every round. He also takes a Critical Injury.) You thrust at him, your blade slipping through his ribs.
Round 7: Alain (16W, -6) has Initiative, Advantage +0.
• Alain takes a Wound (dying) and attacks (taking another Wound). He’s now at 18W, -6. He rolls a -3, missing. You swing at your enemy and miss, and blood pours from your wounds. You are starting to black out.
• Bayard (14W, -4) tries to reason with his opponent, while circling him and keeping his guard up (taking a Wound). “There’s no need for you to die.” He fails his persuasion total. Your bloodied opponent refuses to yield, even at death’s door. “One of us will die tonight,” he says, then attacks.
Round 8: Alain (18W, -6) has Initiative, Advantage +0.
• Alain takes a Wound (dying) and attacks (taking another Wound). He’s now at 20W, -6. (1 more Wound, and he’s dead.) He rolls a -1, missing. Weak from blood loss, you strike at your enemy but fail to connect.
• Bayard (15W, -4) Holds his Action. (Preferring to let his — obviously nearly dead – opponent’s folly do him in.)
Round 9: Alain (20W, -6) has Initiative, Advantage +0.
• Alain takes a Wound, and drops to the ground.
• Bayard kicks away his opponent’s sword, and calls for a chirurgeon.
That’s a sample combat. It demonstrates how the Initiative rules fit together (and how other rules enter into combat, like Combat Interaction skills).
(And, like always, just putting this together has caused me to rethink a couple of rules. Nothing to do with Initiative, so I’ve left all the examples as-is. But some of those numbers will be different in 0.2a.)