When blades and missiles are flying about and spells flung around, Combat Rounds will be used to mark time. Ten in a minute, try to imagine what your character or others are trying to accomplish in a mere 6 seconds and it will be clear that this is where excitement reigns.
In the beginning of a tactical combat situation, each character and ally/enemy rolls their Initiative. Their resulting Initiative Score is the total of their Reaction + Intuition plus the number of successes when those two Attributes are rolled. Some Spells, magic items or features like Adept Powers or Edges can also modify the result. The Combat Round proceeds from the highest Initiative Score to the lowest. When it’s your turn to act, you’ll have one Major Action (MA) and one Minor Action (mA) +1 for each success on the Initiative Test (max 5 mA per round).
improving your Initiative Score
Before a new round has started, you can announce that you’re spending a point of Current Luck for a +3 to your Initiative Score and an additional mA for the rest of the encounter. Obviously, advancing your Reaction and Intuition Attributes will benefit your Initiative. Spells like Alacrity and the same-named Adept Power also enhance one's Initiative and/or number of Minor Actions.
Bartley (a male dwergachtig townsperson) went down to his cellar to fetch a shovel and at the base of the stairs was lucky enough to notice the giant spider clinging to the far wall with a Perception: Visual + Intuition Test — at first, he's hoping to give it a good smack and then get the heck outta there, but the GM asks the player to roll a Threats + Logic Knowledge Test and Bartley correctly identifies that this might be out of his league. At this point, however, Combat Rounds have started and he rolls for Initiative... Reaction 3 + Intuition 4 for 2 successes. This means his Initiative Score is 9 (3 + 4 + 2) and each Combat Round he’ll have 1 Major and 3 Minor Actions (1 base +2 from the roll).
The giant spider is very fast with Reaction 5 + Intuition 5, getting 3 successes for an Initiative Score of 13 with 1 Major and 4 Minor Actions per Combat Round. Luckily, despite being able to go first, the spider remains still, instinctively waiting until potential prey has gotten closer. Bartley’s turn rolls around and he thinks better of approaching the dangerous creature and flies up the stairs…
Major and Minor Actions
Generally speaking, Major Actions (MA) push the limits of what you can do during a 6-second Combat Round whereas Minor Actions (mA) are things one can do without paying much attention or effort to.
As a base, everyone has one Minor and one Major Action per Round. If you have 4 Minor Actions, you can turn them into an additional Major Action, some Major Actions cannot be performed multiple times in a Round. In addition, attempting to perform multiple Major Actions which require Skill Tests during a single Combat Round lends a -2 dice penalty to each such Test (actions must be declared in advance, as well). Your Major Action can also be used in place of a single Minor Action (though this is usually a waste of the more tactically-important action).
To easily track how many actions a player’s character has, tokens can be used — they are flipped over when used and refreshed (flipped back face-up) at the start of that character’s turn when they refresh.
It's a good idea to take note of some of the actions your character may regularly use — you'll of course get used to them quickly enough. Also, the GM will have quick-reference cards to refer to.