I've been looking into a system called Aces and Eights and I am interested if anybody can explain a few points of the combat system to me. For example, a gunfight breaks out in a bar and the barkeep is going to use a shotgun against a ruffian who has cover from the waist down from an overturned table. What steps are taken to resolve this attack and how is the shot-clock used?
The shotclock determines where the shot hits based (roughly) on where the aggressor aims.
For purposes of your example, you would use a standing or kneeling silhouette and physically cover the portions of it that were behind sufficient cover. In the demo I played with the creators, they used pencils dropped on the target to illustrate the cover provided by branches in a tree he was hiding in.
You would then resolve the placement of the shot (a normal center-of-mass shot is probably not the best choice here) and where the shot actually lands as per normal. If it hits the cover, it hits the cover and does little to no damage, depending on the cover. If you like, the cover could also be degraded by the shot.
How to do an attack. Core book, page 9.
1) All attacks are aimed precicely. This is a very simulation heavy game.
2) All actions take varying amount of time. You must use a combat timer.
Steps for a basic scrape. Advanced scrapes should be used later:
Set up the action track with markers for everyone involved in the fight.
Everyone rolls a d20: In order from lowest to highest roll, declare an action if it isn't already dictated by the scene.
For all involved: Roll d10+speed and set your marker on the action track at that time. Negative numbers are OK. Be advised that actions will take multiple ticks to resolve. Try not to get shot in the middle of your OODA loop.
Referencing table 2.2-2, add the "counts required for their action". Move your token to that time on the action track. Every count on the track is a tenth of a second in game time.
Someone begins the "Count Up" a slow count that proceeds until a character has an action resolve.
As drawing and aiming and firing of weapons are all different, winning the initiative may not mean you get the first accurate shot off. This is why people obey drawn weapons aimed at them.
- For purposes of the example above, we will dispense with the prep work and assume that everyone has their weapons out
The barkeep would have his shotgun unholstered (5 or 10 count) and pointed (4 count), and chooses to fire. This cost is baked into aiming or drawing, depending if the player chooses to pull the trigger.
When the player gets the opportunity to pull the trigger, the silhouette comes out. It is probably worthwhile to roughly indicate where cover is through hand gestures, place the transparent shot clock, then place the physical cover on top. Allow the player to jiggle the shot clock to compensate for the physical cover. Shooting follows these rules.
Declare general target (p10). Choose your target, this should be done when aiming at the gent.
Place the center of the shot clock over the intended portion of the target. Apply cover as above.
Add all accuracy modifiers.
Take the shot. Roll d20. On a 20, add a d6-1 6's also explode. 14 or less is a complete miss. On a 25+ you hit exactly where you aimed. on 15-24, draw a card. The face and # of that card determines where the shot actually landed. Take the circle with the number you rolled and find where it intersects the line of the card you drew. That's where you hit. Hopefully it's on the body. Near misses are still misses. For a shotgun, this determines the center of the blast. Place the shotgun shot clock where the center of the blast was. Draw another card. Rotate the shotgun shot clock such that the line of the card drawn is pointing straight up. Make sure the center doesn't move from where the actual shot landed. Find the range, and follow the color codes associated with the range to see where each shot actually lands for individual pellets.
Roll damage. Assuming your barkeep has a cheap L.C. Smith shotgun, it will do d4 (reroll and add 4s) damage per pellet that hits.
There are additional layers of complexity to determine damage, but this is a rough guide.
I think the best way to explain is to let David S. Kenzer (of Kenzer & Co, the developers) show you... It's much easier seen than read.
Fortunately, Jolly Blackburn posted vids of him doing just that: