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If two people are involved in melee, can one leave freely without penalty? Can the interception rules be interpreted to apply to this situation to make it a little more difficult to leave?

  If movement takes a character within one meter of an opponent, and the character atttempts to pass by without attacking the opponent, that opponent can make a free melee attack.  If the opponent has a weapon ready, he uses normal (melee) Combat Skill Rating; otherwise, he uses Unarmed Combat Skill.  The attacker's Target Number is 4.  The only modifiers are those applied for reach, movement, or the attacker's condition.  The defending character is assumed to be in Full Defense (p.123).
  If the character attempting to pass takes damage (see Melee Combat, p.120), he is considered to be intercepted and he cannot continue his movement.
  The Combat Pool may be used to augment these rolls.
Um...maybe I'm not clear on what you're asking.

If you're trying to leave -- moving past the interceptor or backpedalling away?

Either way, yes: the interception rules make it more difficult.

Aack. I re-read my question and its not very clear. I'll try it again (no guarantees on clarity). smile.gif

Based on the Interception rule above, I'm wondering:
Does a melee combatant get a free attack when the other combatant tries to run away from the fight?
I would say yes, exactly as the rules describe. He's in full defense, and if you successfully hit him, he's engaged in combat and must make the breakaway attempt again on his next turn.

An obious caveat to this would be if his opponent was prone (debatable) or otherwise occupied. For instance, suppose our coward has a friend who is also enaging his opponent. I suppose the friends in melee modifier could be applied to the test when he tries to back out, representing his friend running interference. Another situation where the free attack might not apply is if the opponent is in full defense. It's again debatable whether he would have the chance to switch to offense when he sees the coward trying to withdraw or if he's so concentrated on defense that the coward gets to back out of range for free.
I interpret the interception rules to not give a free attack when one moves away from a melee opponent, but does when trying to move past a melee opponent.

If an opponent wants to stay in melee, and can equal or exceed the movement rate of the one trying to get away, our GM gives that opponent the opportunity to move with the one moving away. Actions will still be rolled on the appropriate initiative counts, but we do the movement a little out of order to give a more realistic feel to this situation. This house rule has worked for us.
If you're getting your ass handed to you in melee (likely for anyone not built for it against anyone who is) the best option is to simply shoot your opponent (provided you had a gun in hand). The "attacker in melee combat" modifier doesn't even apply, when you read its description, likely giving you a TN of about 5.

That'd be why you don't bring a knife to a gunfight.
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