Combat in Children of Fire is treated much the same way as any other aspect of the game. Many systems break combat down into dozens of steps governed by rigid criteria. Such a system is impractical for this game and, in the authors opinion, only serves to disrupt scenes and hinder role-playing.
The outcome of a combat scene is guided by only one die roll. Players do not roll every time they swing at a demon or grapple with a Grigori. Rather, a roll represents the general flow of the combat scene, entailing many actions.
A few prefatory notes are needed before a discussion of the die roll is addressed. Players and Storytellers alike should be conscious of the fact that celestials can only physically contend with creatures if they are in the same state as their opponent. In other words, an angel who is material can not engage in combat with one who is ethereal. They can, of course, use forces against each other, but blows can not be exchanged. In addition, transformation from one form (or state) to another takes five to ten seconds to complete. Lastly, angels who are in ethereal form always have the option of teleporting away if they are losing. Teleportation under such stress is difficult and erratic. Celestials attempting to flee combat using this method have no idea where they might end up. They might end up a few hundred yards away or half way around the world. The location is entirely within the purview of the Storyteller.
When two combatants face off, the Storyteller may ask for a combat roll. Both participants roll using their Power aspect. The results of these rolls are then compared. The character that rolled higher will be assumed to have the edge in the combat scene. The greater the difference between the two rolls, the more decisive the victory. A difference equal to the losing players Vigor will mean a decisive thrashing by the winner, and the player will have been injured enough to be forced to return to the Heavens for recuperation. A difference of twice the losers vigor (an extraordinarily rare occurrence} will result in the destruction of the losing angel.
As with other rolls, the Storyteller may decide that under the circumstances one side has an inherent advantage over the other. This can be represented by an additional bonus to one combatants roll.
The roll, however, is only the beginning of a combat scene. Once a general idea of what will happen is determined it is up to the storyteller and players to fill in the details of the scene through role-playing. The outcome may be changed by extraordinarily innovative or foolhardy actions.
The initial combat roll is optional. There are certain circumstances when a roll is a waste of time. There should be no roll used when supporting cast members are battling other supporting cast members. These conflicts should be resolved according to what works best for the story. Also, players should not be forced to roll if the outcome of the combat is irrelevant.