Simple Actions are the basis of this game's turn structure. A character receives a number of Simple Actions equal to twice their Speed rating. Each turn they may use or hold these Simple Actions to do things (ie, act). Different actions take a number of Simple Actions each - you'll find a list of examples at the bottom of this page. In general, "action" refers to something a character does, while "Simple Actions" or "SA" reflect how many Simple Actions are required for a given action.
Simple Actions can be spent in two ways - using them on the character's turn, or holding them for a Round.
Using Simple Actions is pretty straight forward - you pay a number of Simple Actions to do something. Most actions are relatively straight forward, though some, like holding a heavy object up, may be extended actions (2 Simple Actions to lift it, and 1 each round to keep holding it, for example), or variable (moving across an obstacle course, for example, may have different SAs for different sections, even if they are all "moving on foot").
If, for whatever reason, a character does not have enough Simple Actions to preform an action, a player may choose to take only a single action, and expend 1 additional Stamina [see Stamina], instead. A player may always make one action each turn, if they are not incapacitated. The above scenario is the only time a player may use more Simple Actions than they have.
Casting a spell requires a number of Simple Actions equal to it's Tier, normally (See Magic - Variations in casting).
Holding a Simple Action is a little more complicated. Simple Actions are held for 2 reasons - triggers and surprises. During a character's turn, the player may note they are Holding some number of SAs in order to respond to a single trigger - "I'm waiting until the enemy(/ies) comes out from behind that piece of cover to shoot" - for example. It is understood that if a player has insufficient SAs to cover the action at the time it is triggered, they may not preform it (so the above example would require at least 3 SAs to be held at the end of the turn to function). A player may have no more than 3 held actions, and no action may require more than 5 Simple Actions to use. In essence, Held actions trade flexibility and the risk of wasting SAs for an improved opportunity during someone else's turn.
These held actions tend to be somewhat specific - a player can't hold an action to respond to "all offensive actions," or something similar - it has to be a specific circumstance. A player is not required to keep enough SA to cover all the actions they've held, though this will limit which held actions can actually occur. In this respect, order matters. If a trigger occurs multiple times - for example, if multiple enemies break cover on their turns under the above trigger, AND there is enough SA to cover firing multiple times, a character may do so. It should also be noted that, when using a Held action as a counter attack, a contested Finesse check is needed (see Counter-Attack in the Combat Maneuvers page for full information).
The second way that Held simple actions work is in response to surprises - things that would illicit an immediate response. For example, if a wall caves in during combat, everyone with an SA available may choose to dodge being flattened by it. These sorts of actions are instinctual, not reasoned. At the GM's discretion, a Player may pay SAs out of their next turn, and 1 Stamina point, instead. For this reason, holding onto 1 or 2 SAs at the end of a turn is often wise - this gives a character the capacity to respond by dodging or moving out of the way of an unexpected incident.
A List of ExamplesEdit
While there are many options and maneuvers that have a predefined cost, there are innumerable actions that a player will want to take, so, we are going to lay out a few guidelines for the sort of stamina costs a GM/player is likely to run into. To be clear, these are unaided by any relevant skills. Most of these actions are presumed to take no more than 1 beat.
0 - saying a few words.
1 - holding a dialogue, moving a very short distance (under a meter), pulling something out of a pouch or container if you don't need to search for it, reloading from a clip or speed loader, loading 2 free bullets/shells, seeking nearby cover, removing or putting on a piece of clothing, sweeping an area with a Sense. Floating, exerting weight-force telekinesis for a Vidian, having a thought (or a Bright Idea).
2 - moving a character's speed in meters, putting on a piece of modern armor, debating at length, preforming a small/simple feat of strength or agility (trying to keep a door closed, jumping across small gaps - you need to make a check to succeed; this use is just to try), carefully examining an area with one sense, preforming a difficult mental task under pressure. Fully exerting telekinesis for a Vidian. (please note, if a player pays to move, they do not need to pay 1 to exactly position themselves at the end. The 1 movement/cover is purely to deal with movements too small to be addressed here)
3 - using a single weapon once, shielding another while in combat, fighting defensively, a limited but complex maneuver for a performance (remembering the lines for a certain section of a play and delivering them properly, demonstration of a kata or steps to a dance).
4+ moderate/extensive maneuvers, such as wielding multiple weapons, using alternate modes of fire, complex performances of extended length or rigor.
Now, of course, you can stack these pretty thoroughly - so a Vidian both exerting all of it's telekinesis and using a simple act of strength would be a 4, not a 2. Also, certain actions may enhance these costs - moving stealth-fully is more exhausting than walking, and doubles the action costs of foot movement (or halves the distance). Conversely, certain complex manuvers may be cheaper than expected (moving from hiding to a nearby person, disarming/moving a weapon, and placing yourself between said person and a hostage, individually, cost 6 or 7 SA, but done as a complex manuvere, count as only 4 or 5, because all of the actions flow together. GM discretion is required). Lastly, laser weapons, as opposed to chemical, magnetic, or plasma weapons, have no moving parts, and need no adjustment to remain on target, reducing the number of simple actions needed to fire them by 1.