Doubts about combat situations

On the last game night, a doubt arose, as the players fought a group of undead while the squad freed the prisoners.

We still have a mentality of other RPG’s

How does combat situations work? Does each one do their thing? One player wants to fight with swords, another wants to shoot, another wants to dance, each one rolls his action and we go on describing the fiction?

Or does it always become a group action or a setup action?

Another doubt, the player of the sniper, wanted to prevent the damage that would kill a Rookie by shooting the enemy that was going to kill him. How would this case work? It doesn’t seem to be a protect action, since the player didn’t defend the other character by taking the damage instead.

Yes, each Specialist can do their own thing. It only becomes a group or teamwork action if the players decide they want to do a teamwork action. Keep in mind, though, when they are acting as individuals, their opponents will most likely have Scale on them, and their Effect and Position should probably be Limited and (at least) Risky (depending on what’s going on).

Another important bit to remember is all these different actions each character is taking have to work together in the narrative: there should be some kind of fictional action taken by a character taken before any dice are rolled.

Unlike a lot of traditional RPGs where the extent of narrative input is “The group of zombies are rushing towards you. What do you do?” “I’m going attack them {roll to hit}”, there needs to be a “Here’s the situation…what exactly are you doing to affect it?” discussion so Position and Effect can be set, and the player can decide if that’s really the direction they want to take things before they roll.

As to the question about the Sniper protecting a Rookie by shooting the enemy. A Protect Action needs the Sniper to somehow take the damage for the Rookie instead, and as I understand it, since the Harm has already happened, the Sniper can’t make it un-happen, they can only change the target.

Normally, the time for the Sniper to take shots at the attacking undead to protect the Rookies would be before the Rookie squad rolls for their action, using an Assist/Setup/whatever to help out on the roll.

Best guess: it’s a Protect action and the narration is something like the Sniper hurting themselves shooting the undead attacker – twists their ankle, wrenches their shoulder, is attacked from behind, etc. The Sniper can then Resist that Harm as usual.

But I could be completely wrong here. I’ve just started learning the system myself.

Yep, I’d say it wouldn’t normally trigger Protect.

Also, a resist roll shouldn’t negate an action roll.

If a PC is fighting a gaunt and the player fails their skirmish roll, then their PC is probably losing the fight against the gaunt. A resistance roll that shoots the gaunt dead is dealing with the same situation and negating the action roll. It’s essentially freezing the fiction after the action roll and trying to change it with a different roll. Don’t do that.

If the player rolled, then their character suffers the consequence in some way. This is not about mechanical effects as much as fictional ones. After an action roll, the story has to change. It comes back to the player’s goal. If they were trying to kill the gaunt, then a failed action roll decided they didn’t and the gaunt is all over them.

The GM should give players an option to resist most things, but their resistance has to work in the fiction and how it’s changed. They’re losing the fight, so resist the consequences of losing the fight; not resist that they’re losing the fight.

Of course, a player can make a follow-up action roll to shoot the gaunt dead, but the fiction must be different from the last action roll. Someone’s hurt, stressed, has damaged armour, or just deeper in trouble.

Now, if it’s resisting an NPC that’s acting first, then its a bit different because you’re not negating a roll. So you can allow more leeway for players to interrupt the fiction. But if its a powerful NPC acting first, then shooting them dead is probably not on the cards.