Initiative determines who acts first in a given situation.
Initiative is determined by adding a character’s Reflexes Stat (0-4) to his Rank in Combat (Primary = +5; Secondary = +2; Tertiary = +0) giving an initiative range from 0-9 for beginning characters (though initiative can go up as Reflexes stat goes up). Combat training is the only bonus for initiative reaction even for actions that are non combative in nature. That is simply the nature of combat training and it carries over naturally into other fields of action.
When actions between separate parties are about to happen the GM will begin calling for initiative. Note: If only one character is acting (such as picking a lock when nothing else is going on) no initiative is needed. He just acts. But when multiple figures are about to act in concert (whether they are all PCs or a combination of PCs and NPCs) initiative is required to determine who goes first.
Each player makes his first action on his initiative. There is no random die roll added, and weapon/action speeds don’t get figured in with anyone’s initial action.
So the GM will ask if anyone has an initiative higher than 10 (this is possible but rare). Those PCs or NPCs will act first from highest initiative to lowest. Then the GM will count down initiative rounds: 10, 9, 8 … etc. with each PC or NPC acting on his set initiative (Combat Rank + Reflexes).
Additional actions come in based on your weapon or action speeds. Most heavy tactical weapons, such as swords and battleaxes have a speed of 5, granting a single extra attack if your Initiative is high enough. Simple weapons are often faster with daggers and light magic effects having a speed of 3, possibly granting 2 extra actions but also generally doing less damage.
So if a character acts on initiative 9, attacking with a sword that has a speed of 5, he gets to attack on initiative 9 and then again on initiative 4. The same character with a dagger attacks on initiative 9 and then again on initiative 6 and 3.
A character with an initiative of 3 wielding a long sword (speed 5) gets no extra actions and does not get to act again until initiative round 3 of the next turn.
Only characters with a 0 initiative act on initiative 0. No extra actions happen on this round of the turn.
Characters being attacked can declare a defense or counterattack regardless of their initiative but only against one attack per round unless that happens to be their round to act in the initiative in which case they can use active defense against one attack and reactive defense against a second attack but would get no attack of their own.
Characters or NPCs acting on the same initiative are considered to be acting at the exact same time and if they are attacking each other they do not get a defense or the option to counterattack (unless they give up their action in favor of defense).
Automatic First. This condition only applies to ranged attacks and only applies to weapons that are already loaded and aimed when actions begin. These characters and NPCs get off first shot before any initiatives are called.
Weapon speed and firearms. Even bows are considered speed 3, but firearms are generally considered speed 1 when not used in full auto or burst mode with the character firing once per round for as many shots as that gun carries. If they still have bullets at the end of one turn of initiatives they are bumped to Automatic First status in the following round. (Note: guns that require cocking an under lever, side bolt, or pump are considered speed 2 for initiative purposes).
Reloading. Once a gun goes empty, the character has to stop and reload. This takes the rest of whatever turn he is acting in if he is loading a magazine clip or has a speed loader. Individually loaded shells takes the rest of the turn he is acting in and costs him his first action in the following turn.
Full Auto and Burst. Using a weapon on full automatic empties the clip over the course of one round. Focused fire on a single target confers no penalties to hit and does full damage. Sweeping a target area increases the required magnitude by one and drops the damage category from critical to tactical. Using short bursts drops weapon speed to 3 but allows more specific targeting and applies critical damage. Bursts are considered to use 1/4 of your magazine’s rounds.
DISTANCE AND MOVEMENT