Although this section deals primarily with combat between armed and armoured opponents the basics of initiative also apply to spell combat and general actions.
For convenience fights are turn based, during each turn each party member gets to perform one action, these combat turns are called rounds and last 10 seconds. Combat with weapons is a series of manoeuvres, feints, thrusts and parries. The spectacle is very different depending upon whether the opponents are evenly matched or not.
Between two equal opponents the outcome will often be decided by who gets tired and makes the first slip allowing an effective strike in. During this period there will have been many strikes to the body which are only partially blocked or with little force due to the location or angle of strike sliding off the armour, these cause minor cuts and bruises which are accepted as part of battle and heal quickly. All these strikes fatigue the defender just a little bit more until eventually the parry is missed and a killing blow is made. Of course there is always the chance that a telling blow may be made before the combatants are fatigued due to a surprise move by the attacker or bad judgement by the defender.
With two unequal opponents the story is very different. It doesn't really matter how skilled each side is, the battle tends to be short and swift. Stamina plays little part in the outcome, instead the superior skill and greater aggressiveness finds, or more likely creates, an opening in the defences which provides the opportunity for a quick kill. This is as true for a 5th level attacking a 1st as it is for a 10th attacking a 5th.
Armour of course plays a part in this. A minor hit to an armoured person will not cause them any damage, in fact a heavily armoured person is likely to use their armour to block a blow in order to draw the opponent forward and open up holes in their defence for a killing blow. Armour absorbs damage from a hit, the better the armour the more it absorbs. A knight in full plate could safely ignore a knife wielding attacker unless he gave them enough time to slip the knife between the plates. This is unlikely to happen in a normal combat situation.
Generally a hit causes stamina loss only, however if a killing blow is made then wounds will be lost as well. Any hit where more than 10 damage is done after all absorbtion will cause wounds one tenth of the damage to be taken as wounds.
Makes it easier to hit by crashing through opponents blocks
Gives more damage when you hit
Makes blocking opponents attacks easier
Makes it easier to hit by avoiding opponents blocks
Makes blocking / avoiding opponents attacks easier
Combat takes place over a number of rounds. each round is 10 seconds long, during which period each combatant gets the opportunity to make a strike, manoeuvre of perform some other action.
At the beginning of each combat round an initiative die is rolled for each party character and one general roll for the opposition to determine the order of events each round. If individuals of the opposition have modifiers to their initiative they will apply those modifiers for themselves only.
The initiative die roll is
This gives the second in which the characters make their strike or wizards/priests start casting, low initiative going first. Anything lower than 1 counts as zero, anything higher than 10. Spells/prayers are always completed by the end of the 10th second (if necessary it is assmed they started casting a little earlier. Characters with the same initiative act simultaneously and a critical event occurs between the opponents..
The round will start after 2 minutes (real time) preparation time regardless of whether declarations have been made or not. The DM may delay this period if he has a number of creatures to dictate actions for, though this should not exceed 2 minutes per creature.
Characters move at 5' per second near combat as they are keeping an eye out for dangers. Add movement time to their initiative, if it goes over 10 the attack opportunity that round is lost.
In a round a character may take a major, a minor and a move action.
A major action would be striking with a weapon or casting a spell/prayer.
A minor action is performing a feat, continuing a CONCENTRATE action, using a drama card, attacks of opportunity...
A move action is 30' with adjustments downwards for encumberance. (light armour = 25', medium = 20', med shield = -5')
Minor actions also occur on your initiative.
You roll to strike an opponent and then if you hit (>= their defence) you roll to see how much damage has been caused. Damage is absorbed by protective armour. any damage that gets through armour causes bruising or cuts depending upon the weapon type.
Your attack skill is the skill in the weapon. Each weapon is associated with either strength or dexterity,
Some melee weapons are easier to manipulate than others and have longer range, this is considered in their bonus to hit. The ranged weapon equivalent is accuracy, Some weapons are simply better than others.
Round down at the end of all calculations.
To hit skill =
Weapon Skill + STR x modifier + DEX x modifier + weapon bonus + size
Arming sword is cut and thrust weapon so has a multiplier of 1 x Strength and 0 x Dexterity
To hit skill =
Weapon Skill + DEX + weapon accuracy+ range.
Damage changes level at different ranges, the further away the lower the damage (the weapon has slowed).
Attacks with spells / prayers
See magic attacks
Roll 1d10 to determine where you hit. These are based on the protection that a melee combatent will give to any particular location and any random locations (just to make ths system easier).
A wound point in any area will give -1 to all skills
Creatures other than standard humanoids may well attack specific areas of the body according to the creature. Thus rats always attack the lower leg ; flying and tall creatures (>8 feet) tend to avoid the legs, small humanoids (<=4 feet) generally go for the upper legs. Any modifiers for attacking other areas will be dependent upon the specific creature. Only intelligent creatures will choose to attack specific areas, others will simply go for what is easiest to hit at the time (random).
Monsters will tend to have better natural armour on their head than other parts of the body, if nothing else they will have a thick skull
Creatures of different sizes will use different location dice. Every 3 size categories change the die by 1 (with a +2 modifier if you are bigger than them)
Huge ogre vs human = d8+2 on a human hitting upper thigh to head, but the human can't reach the Ogres head as they only roll a d8
A giant would use a d6+4 vs human
In general combat between two humanoids fighting with weapons the natural target is the chest area so this is where most protection is generally worn, however some opportunties occur to strike other areas, this is reflected in the location roll on a strike.
It is possile to aim for specific locations and therefore attack weakly protected areas of the opponent. however there is a skill modifier applied.
-7 +1 per extra die pip (minimum -1)
The deductions may seem quite severe but then remember that you are opting to not attack a target which presents itself if it is the wrong location. This could well preclude 90% of the body.
Of course if you choose to attach the head which contains the giant fangs with which it is attempting to bit you, you will make life easier for it. It is assumed in normal melee that you are attempting to stay away from the dangerous bits.
If you hit the head you may get an extra stun effect edpendent upon the damage given.
Only bludgeon weapons can actually cause an actual stun, pointy and slashing weapons cause lesser effects on unarmoured face parts (the face). Monsters may get natural stun effects. Other mechanisms other than damage operate on a stun like effect such as waking up or surprise rounds.
- END (12) to reduce the effect
- Open face is minumum of frozen (blood seeping into eyes...)
- The effect last until the end of the round (next if all actions taken)
- Cut & pierce weapons max out at 'Dazed'.
- Chop weapons max out at 'Stunned'.
|Damage suffered||Bludgeon||Chop||Cut /
|8+||Stunned||Stunned||Minor action only+|
Initiative = 10
1/2 movement speed +
- Errol takes a 10SP hit to the helm with a hammer. Helm reduce the damage (1/3) so he suffers 3SP
so he may:
- Take 3SP and make a save vs 'Dazed'. He rolls a 13 (Just Made It) so it is reduced to 'Frozen'
- Uses a hero point to reduce damage to zero so he doesn't need to make a save
- He then takes a dagger to the open face doing 24 damage (doubled from 12). As it's a dagger (pierce) he cannot be knocked down so even a normal pass will drop it to 'Dazed' this round and 'Frozen' the next.
Priests and wizards often make touch attacks either to flow healing forces into a friend or turn an oppponent to stone. It is not just a quick flick but a deliberate palm long enough to transfer any spell power. This is a combat spell attack
Trying to apply an effect to a friend in combat is not automatic as they are trying to dodge the opponent's blows. Gain +4 to hit and the difficulty is their dodge skill.
Against opponents you still have to avoid their weapons/claws and must strike their body/armour not their shield or weapon (you really don't want to deliberately put your hand n the way of their sword anyway).
Each creature creates a threatened area around it according to its size and weapon reach. They can attack anyone in this area. If closing through a threatened area the side with the larger threatened are will get an free opportunity attack.
If you are in a threatened square and perform a two handed action or otherwise distracting action other than melee attack/defend, you must use dodge defense
- Read a scroll...
You can disengage from an opponent without any consequences. It is assumed that you are not actually standing within reach of their weapon so you can simply move backwards.
Some actions that you do when within melee distance will provoke an opportunity attack by the opponent. This is a minor action attack at combat disadvantage. The target can't use feats like riposte if the attacker misses.
Opportunity attacks occur when
- Opponent has a REACH weapon
- You move into a threatened area without appropriate defence/attack
- Unarmed against an armed opponent
- Move past a creature's threatening area (not past a creature blocking a passage)
- Read a scroll (attacked advantage rather than disadvantage)
- Retrieve a stored inaccessible / dropped item (not a potion/wand on your belt...)
Alternatively the opponent may forgoe the free attack and on their next initiative take combat advantage (for when they find it difficult to hit you normally).
The attack system is designed to provide the best compromise between attack and defence. In some circumstances characters may be finding it difficult to hit in which case they may improve their chances by careful aiming (ranged) or setting up a position to attack (melee) in the next round.
Aiming / setting up position
- Miss an action
- +3 to attack
If multiple creatures attack another one then they make life much simpler as the defender can't watch all of them all the time.
Each character gains +1 attack skill for each attacker (including himself).
If your opponent is flying and capable of staying out of range then your only melee attack opportunity comes when they decide to close the range and attack you. Their parry defence has been adjusted to account for this reduced window of opportunity.
At greater than short range missiles cannot be thrown or fired with a flat trajectory. At long range they need 1/2 the height.
When firing at range the difficulty increases rapidly (by the inverse square law). In addition with hurled weapons applying greater force means that you lose the fine motor control of you muscles reducing your accuracy even further (for simplicity this is not modelled for different ranges but included in the general negative to hit bonus for hurled weapons).
If firing at a packed group rather than an individual it's always counted as short range.
Missile fire into combat
Missile fire into combat is dangerous for both fighting parties . Friendly characters will only fire when the opponent is significantly taller than their friend or they are standing to one side.
The opponent gains a defence bonus of "cover %" according to the percentage covered by the friend.
If firing from the side then the cover bonus is halved; you are still trying to avoid your friend and movement during melee could mean they step into the line of fire.
Any miss has a 20% chance of hitting your ally. A fumble always hits your ally.
With cover only locations above the ally may be aimed at, without aiming though random movement means you might hit any location.
Thrud the barbarian is firing past Errol at an Ogre (normal ranged defence 12).
From the back Errol provides 60% cover (+3) which gives the Ogre a defence of 12 +3= 15
Missiles which miss their mark have to land somewhere. Missiles up to medium range are thrown with force and are travelling in more or less a horizontal direction, at long range however they are lobbed or arced and are travelling at about 45 degrees. Therefore if the missile misses, the final impact point will depend upon the flight arc.
Most missile misses are assumed to have gone sailing harmlessly overhead, stuck in a shield or bounced harmlessly away, however flasks of oil or gas have to land somewhere (though they may not break).
The distance missed by is the amount the skill check failed by multiplied by the miss distance.
The direction missed by is rolled randomly (d12 or arrow die).
Missiles lobbed at a character that miss will land 4' beyond the target + the miss distance (in a random direction)
Defence - Melee
In melee a character may either parry a blow, dodge it or be so aggressive that the other creature is always on the defensive. Parrying uses the weapon or shield to block the attacks as the character advances whereas dodging uses athletic ability to get out of the way and the character generally moves backwards. Creatures make opportunistic attacks or ignore the defenders parying either through lack of intelligence or in the belief that their attack is so devestating that the defender will be more concerned with their own safety than attacking.
Fighters will generally use the parry ability and rogues and mages the dodge ability. It is not possible to use both skills at the same time.
The base armour is the armour covering your torso.
Parry ( Attack is the best defence)
The best form af defence is attack. The stronger your attack the less chance the opponent has to create an opening of their own.
The parry skill is a combination of other skills which are learned as the character advances in weapon training. Parrying requires a weapon (or chair leg or something to put in the way of the swinging lump of steel coming towards your head, not your arm unless you want it cut off).
A charater's defence skill (parry) is
10 + armour + ALERT + size + shield + weapon skill/2
Dodging instead of parrying
If you do not have a weapon (weapon/shield/chair leg) to threaten or block the opponent with but want to stay within range, perhaps to pummel or make a touch attack you dodge instead, avoiding blows by twisting and turning. The weapon bonus of anything you wield can still help your dodge if you have nothing the bonus is counted as -2.
11 + armour + ALERT + size + Dodge skill/2
Sometimes you may not want to attack but just try to defend yourself without retreating (you are at the edge of a lava pool and have nowhere to go.) In this case you get a bonus to your parry roll.
Whichever defence used method you gain +2
Defence - Ranged
Anything at a range is easier to miss with a throw than when striking directly, however you may not use any parrying ability instead the characters only defence is size, movement (perpendicular to attacker) and hiding behind stuff (such as shields). Otherwise the chance to hit depends upon their distance and movement. Most propelled weapons also have a natural bonus due to the speed and ability to hold and aim, this is taken into account in the weapons bonus to hit.
The defence value is given in the missile accuracy table
Note that shields use the ranged shield modifier, not the melee modifier. This is purely dependent upon shield size (i.e. whether you can fit behind it) and not any training.
12 + armour + ALERT + size + spot skill/2
This is assuming a combat situation and hence everyone is dodging as much as possible even if not directly in combat themselves (unless they need to be still, e.g. archers). Out of combat (walking down a corridor, road...), you don't continuously dodge at full speed as it would be very exhausting so your dodge does not count (DEX still does).
If you are trying to get out of the way and stay out of the way (turn tail and scarper) you:
- gain an initiative of 1
- Use the defence +2 for not attacking.
Concealment is where the target is harder to identify but there is little or no hard stuff in the way to stop missiles for example bushes or other undergrowth. Once spotted concealment equates combat disadvantage.
A bonus of +1 is give to the defence for each 20% of cover
When a hit is scored the damage a location roll is made to determine if they are wearing armour where you hit. The armour absorbs some portion of the damage and any excess is subtracted from the targets stamina and wound points.
The potential damage is affected by the weapon, skill, strength and any buffs.
The damage level to roll is given by:
Base weapon damage level for skill 1
+1 level for each additional skill level
+1 level for each point of strength
+1 or 2 levels for quality weapons
+1 level for each size category different to racial norm (e.g. enlarged / shrunk)
- Roll all the dice indicated
- Discard the die with the lowest value
- Total the rest as damage
An viking axe used at skill level 3 does d8/d4 damage
A hero point causes either :
- Double damage
- Maximum damage
- Automatic hit (unless aiming for a specific location).
Some creatures are particularly vulnerable in specific critical locations. Humanoids are potentially stunned on head strikes. Other creatures unless otherwise noted suffer double damage.
Rolling a double 8 is counted as a critical, automatically hits and causes maximum damage. A critical roll on a critical location causes double maximum damage.
On a fumble (dice result of <=2) you roll a critial event occurs that benefits the opponent. Alternatively something specific to the scene may occur. If you have an overall negative modifier on the skill check this is counted before determining the dice result. Thus attempting to use a ranged weapon whilst running (-4) will fumble on a 2-6 on the dice.
Creatures that cause special damage such as spider poison only do so if they penetrate your armour.
Unarmed combat includes the arts of both brawling and martial arts. Some techniques may be used in either and some only when performing the highly trained martial arts.
Brawling is the unsophisticated form of unarmed combat where antagonists use whichever techniques comes to hand, this includes left hook, elbow smash and throwing people against the wall or through the window. Brawling is (generally) only used where both participents are unarmed as if one is armed you are setting youself up to receive serious damage as you close, this is not lost stamina for receiving minor knicks and scratches as you parry and dodge, this is deliberately coming into range of the pointy end of their weapon.
When brawling you are not yet in close combat then any armed defender gets to
- Strike first @ advantage
- Weapons cause x2 damage (plus normal advantage rules)
- Use their normal defence roll
When moving in to close combat against an armed opponent you attack at disadvantage
You select to either pummel, grapple or rugby tackle.
A standard brawl attack is:
DEX + Brawl + 2x size category difference vs dodge
Martial artists are trained in the quick attack so suffers no penalties against armed opponents. It also includes locks and holds groin strike, arm lock, neck twist and strangle holds.
Creatures may continue to use natural weapons whilst being brawled (their teeth do not disappear in a puff of logic). Humans may use daggers, knuckle dusters...
This is diving at someone/something in order to bring them down there is little skill here, you are just running at someone
If you hit then
Stun save vs Dodge =
+2 x size (difference)
+ speed category (above walking pace)
+ brawl skill difference (no stat)
Multiple attackers add to the effect roll as per flanking.
This includes punches, kicks, elbows and other high impact attacks.
- You can't pummel against metal armour.
Grappling includes takedowns, locks, chokes, throws and escapes. It is more about causing pain and disabling somenone than causing damage.
If both parties are grappling then they automatically end up in at least a hold. You choose you attack type
- Throw someone to the ground, against the wall, over the table...
- Thrown 5', Stun save (minimum dazed), No damage, May also run someone into a wall, through a ground floor window (no instakill)...
- Causes damage each round. Roll once and keep the same damage each round.
Will submit when all SP are lost.
- The opponent may only make reasonable skill checks or an escape roll, (attack with small weapons, cast spells...)
- All skills at disadvantage
- Opposed brawling (Use STR or DEX)
- Both parties end up standing apart.
- If any damage is taken more than the grapple damagethe lock is broken
Grappled people may still grapple or pummel back. Unlike sports competitions you may freely elbow an opponent in the face or knee them in the vitals.
Once grappled the opponent can no longer use any weapon larger than a dagger as they are too close.
During combat characters are assumed to be moving as quick as reasonable possible whilst keeping a look out for what is happening on the battlefield, which results in a speed of approximately 5' per second (or segment). When moving into battle the strike will occur on the segment given by the initiative roll + the time taken to move into melee If the total is greater than 10, no attack occurs that round.
e.g. A character moves 20 feet into melee taking 4 segments to do so. They roll a 6 initiative: Their attack will therefore be on the
4 + 6 = 10th segment.
If they had rolled a 7 then they would hit in the 11th segment. This means they do not get an attack this round and roll normal initiative next round.
Two weapon fighting
Fighting with two weapons can only be done with those marked as "off hand use". Any weapon in the off hand takes -2 penalty in addition to the 2nd action penalty for using both hands. (The trait ambidexterity removes this). Two wepoan fighting cannot be done without the "two weapon fighting" feat.
It is possible for creatures to force themselves past others by charging at them. The chance depends upon the mass ratio of the creatures. Generally the creatures with the largest momentum will survive the encounter. In the case of many smaller creatures the mass of half the group is used; imagine a pack of dogs pouring down a corridor. It is highly unlikely that even a hero would still be standing at the end.
To stay standing the defender must make a strength roll against the attackers momentum. The attacker modifies this by their momentum calculated as . Each mph or 1 foot height advantage (50% mass advantage) increases the difficulty by 2. The defender bracing decreases the chance by 3.
If characters are surprised the opponent automatically gain:
- Free attack at combat advantage (to hit & damage)
- Combat advantage for the next whole round. (Init, to hit & damage)
Creatures ambushing generate a suprise modifier to generate a success level. Using a helper gives +1 to the roll
(INT + stealth) vs 9
Monsters may add special modifiers to the result of the roll
Spot vs 12 + suprise modifier
Modifiers depending on the general level of alertness of the party being ambushed..
|State of alert||Bonus||Typical situation|
first three hours then -2 per additional hour
e.g. horses between places
e.g. towns, safe areas
Each defending character rolls spot individually.
Monsters roll once for group whether surprising or being surprised.
See the Mounted Combat skill
If you don't have duck and weave you may still attempt to get past people however evading a foe by moving through his space means they get a free attack at +4 on you, if you are hit then your way is also blocked. This action takes a full round.
Charging gives you a bonus to hit and damage but lowers your defence as you are not as nimble, you need to be at charging speed (x3) and then speed up as you get close to gain the damage bonus. After hurling a weapon on approach you need easy access to your primary weapon as you have to draw and ready it. Charging in you make yourself an easier target as you can't easily dodge.
As you are charging forward the modifier for hurling on the move (-3) is not counted. You may target a creature 5' either side of your charge taking a -1 penalty.
- Minimum charge distance is 20' at triple speed.
- Triple speed <= 30' = 2seconds = lose 1SP
- Defence -2
- If you hurl a weapon you need to draw & prepare your main weapon for combat
- Drawing your weapon and preparing it takes 2s (30')
- 20' for normal damage.
- Drawn and prepared melee weapons gain +3 to hit & x2 damage (1 attack then normal initiative)
- Hurled weapons at x3 speed get x2 damage (this requires +10' run up, over 30' requires an additional SP)
Two feats help in hurling a weapon and charging
Quick draw will halve the time/distances to draw and prepare a melee weapon after hurling a missile.
Hurling charge will let you hurl and charge without incurring a 2nd action penalty.
Pop-up missile shots
If popping up from cover to take a shot this is three actions, manouver, spot and shoot. Spot difficulty is a 9, failure indicates there was no foe close enough to where you were looking for you to react to. The advantage is that only enemies waiting for you to pop up at that location may target you. They can fire irrespective of initiative.
When waking characters from sleep to fight it requires 1/2 round of shaking or a loud noise.
- Round 1 Waking up - Foe auto hits double damage
- Round 2 Rising - Foe gets +1d8 to their attack
- Round 3 Defend - Foe attacks normally
- Round 4+ Normal combat
All NPCs and creatures have morale. Characters determine their own morale, they generally know when to run (that the ones which are still alive). Morale is rolled on 2d10. Each NPC will have their own morale however if their master or leader is present it will be modified by their leadership ability.
Morale will only fail when it looks like the characters side may lose the battle. Morale checks are made in the following circumstances.
- Obviously heavily outgunned after an initial clash
- 50% casualties
- 75% casualties
- Leader killed (-3 on die roll)
Disengage and retreat running
Panic drop weapons in hands and run
Throw down weapons and plead for mercy / berserk attack if no escape
Berserk - will attack anyone in their path of retreat with weapon in hand.
Small creatures although naturally harder to hit have to come into your reach before you come into theirs and thus open theselves up to attack large creatures are conversely harder to hit as their reach is greater so you try to stay out of their way. Of course under a certain size little creatures scurry around nimbly and become harder to hit again.
To avoid overcomplication the defence and attack of all creatures is based on a medium attacker which is calculated into their defence ability. The defending character gains a melee adjustments based upon their size.
Atk / Def