Rules

Enchanted Realms Rulebook

 
   
Combat Detailed

“Good design is like a refrigerator—when it works, no one notices, but when it doesn’t, it sure stinks.” –Irene Au


The general concepts of combat have been given in the Combat Mechanics section; however, there are many details that may need more explanation. Therefore, this section is designed to address the specifics as well as those peculiar, less common scenarios.

Although this explanation was given towards the beginning of the rules, as this section details combat, it bears repeating. To ensure it is always possible for the unskilled to score a hit, despite the math – and conversely, the greatly skilled to occasionally miss, two raw numbers have special characteristics on an attack roll. If the raw die score is 20 (natural 20) or is 1 (fumble), then the math and modifiers do not matter. A “natural 20” always scores a hit, and a “fumble” is always a miss. However, that is the extent of the rule; by purely rolling one of these numbers in no way indicates a “critical” or “special” hit, nor does it imply the dropping of one’s weapon. Those things are possible, but not purely based on the raw die roll itself.

The Action

As discussed in the Combat Mechanics section, every action of one’s turn falls into one category: an attack, a skill, an item, defending, or being at-the-ready. Below are the details of how each of these work.

The Attack

As stated in subsection, the attack is using a weapon to inflict harm on a foe. This is performed by rolling the appropriate number of d20s and comparing the results against the opponent’s Armor Class. Damage is calculated by counting the number of successful d20s that hit. If any hit, then add in the appropriate Strength or Agility modifier and the weight of the weapon, if applicable.

Of course, when splitting the dice from an attack when performing a multiple-attack on separate targets, then calculating the results must be performed by attack. For example, when using spinning moves with 2d20, it can attack two separate targets; however, only 1d20 is used for each. In this case, if the first is hit, then 1 point of damage happens for the die, then Strength modifier and the weapon. A like amount of damage would be infliced against the second target if it were also hit.

There are also cases where the same target is struck by two separate attacks. Shield-Blitz would be one of those cases. Here the first weapon attack would be calculated and damage doled out to the foe; then, the shield attack would be rolled and damage calculated. The same type of calculation would be used for two-handed fighting. Basically, if there are two weapons on a single target -- or more than one target, then those conditions are considered an individual attack.

However, not all attacks are weapon-based. There is a whole method of grappling that can be used. Martial arts can often be used in conjuction with those. With the proper set of skills, a martial artist can strike with his hand as a weapon, then get a separate attack as a grappling maneuver. These types of attacks and what can happen are extensive enough that the entire Grappling section is devoted to it.

Skill-Use

Most often, casting a sorcery axiom or a priestly incantation is what happens for an action that falls into skill-use. However, other skills that apply could be used here; for example, an engineer might use his or her action to create a make-shift sword. Perhaps a field medic performs wound care during the combat.

Item-Use

Activating an item, usually magical, or drinking a potion is an action of item-use. The description of the item should detail the usage; however, when activating an item, this is a complete action other than movement, unless the item description states an exception to the general rule.

Defending

Another option that can be performed during a combat round is standing in defense. This occurs on the characters at the time of the character's action and lasts until the initiative of his or her next turn. It further removes all reactions for both rounds. If a reaction has already been performed by the character's action of defense, then this is not an option for this round.

However, for that sacrifice and actively taken a defensive stance, all attacks (melee, range and even magic) are at disadvantage, provided it is possible for the character can see the incoming attacks. Further, any saves made during a defensive duration are at advantage.

At The Ready

While it was stated above that actions cannot be held until later, there is a very similar concept that can be performed called being at the ready. What this means is using one's action to prepare a self-defined reaction. This trigger must be specific and cannot be a relatively obvious condition. However, what is not valid is using this type of action as way to hold a normal action until a more opportune moment. Thus, "after the monster attacks again, I will fire my bow" is not a valid trigger. Valid triggers would be "if someone steps out of this corridor, then I will attack" or "if the creature approaches within 20 feet of me, I'll run away."

The way to distinguish a valid trigger from an invalid one is likely defined by the word "if" rather than words like "when" or "after." Therefore, "after Bob takes his attack on the monster, I'll fire my bow" is invalid -- but the trigger "if the monster drops Bob, then I'll fire my bow" would be valid. As they are very similar, the invalid one is based on known or highly expected occurrences, while the other is based on a condition that could happen but lacks a high sense of certainty. The GM will be the arbiter of a valid trigger when there is ambiguity.

The trigger remains in play until the start of the character's next initiative turn the following round. If the trigger does occur, then the action declared is taken near-immediately after the trigger - even if it is in the middle of the other entity's action. There is some gray area here the GM may interpret for timing - such as someone stepping out of the corridor; the action might happen at the end of the movement of stepping out rather than in the exact for hex. However, if the trigger never happens until the character's next turn, then that action/reaction is lost.

Physical Damage

Body damage can be inflicted from any of several categories: alchemical, blunt, cold, edged, fire, lightning, necrotic, piercing, poison and smite. This is noted as different effects can provide resistance, immunity or vulnerability against a specific category of damage. If something is resistant, then any damage delivered from a single attack is halved, round down. Therefore, 1-point attacks are ineffective. At the other end, if something is vulnerable, then is suffers twice the damage against that category. If something is resistant and momentarily enchanted to be vulnerable, then these cancel each other, making the damage normal. If something gains resistance or vulnerability from multiple sources, then it is the same as if it were in that state only once.

Critical Hits

As stated above, a “natural 20” does not indicate a critical hit by itself. However, with certain skills, some equipment and under special circumstances, a hit can be considered critical. The specifics of how this occurs is usually explained in the description of the skill or effect, but most often when using bludgeoning, cleaving, pole-arms or slashing, a natural 20 is a crit. However, when attacking at disadvantage, no attack hits will become critical hits. Further, ranged weapons cannot crit.

Regardless of how it comes about, the result of a critical hit is always the same: the wielder gains an immediate d20 attack. This additional roll is not from skills but rather an award; therefore, it can exceed the 5d20 limit. If multiple crits occur from the original attack roll, only one d20 is granted; however, a crit roll can produce another crit roll on its roll of another raw 20. This perpetual explosion of crits is unlimited.

The damage inflicted by a crit is based on a d3 rather than a single point of damage. To clarify, each crit that strikes successfully will add d3 to the total damage of the strike. However, the damage modifiers from a weapon and strength modifiers are added to the total attack not any specific die, which includes not applying to the crit dice.

As a straight rule, this is simple to follow; however, there is a hierarchy that needs to be established for the edge-cases that can come from a critical hit. First, it is important to remember, that a reaction occurs after an attack, unless the reaction description specifies differently. That said, all damage from an attack and all its potential crits are determined before a dodge, rebuff, vengeance axiom, etc.

However, dodge and similar skills reduce damage beg the question: what if that is the “natural 20?” The simple answer is that “Natural 20s” are a statistical exemption that allows mathematically impossible successes. Dodge and similar skills cannot be used against a “natural 20”. Simple and straight forward. That includes all the damage produced beyond if that strike were a crit.

The only way there could be an exception to this is if the description of a hypothetical magic item explicitly declares that a number becomes a “natural 20”. Similarly, although rare, there could be a magical item, such as a girdle of wound-closure, which has the magical property to protect against critical damage. The magic of such an item is specifically designed to negate a critical hit; therefore, the point from the original hit would still occur, but the critical points from the extra roll(s) could be dodged in theory; although it is unlikely to every come up.

Perhaps the most important rule to always remember is that of attacking at disadvantage. Whenever a character is at disadvantage and makes an attack, any “natural 20” scored cannot become a crit unless there is specific rule that overrides this general die-rolling guideline.

Throwing Items

Items like globes of acid splash, molotov cocktails, and vials of holy water are somewhat routinely thrown at enemy targets. How does that work in a system that uses weapon styles? And doesn't it say in Combat Skills that “those without a trained combat skill have no dice to roll for an attack?”, so how does that work?

Let's address these one at a time. The trained combat is discussing thrown items that are themselves weapons and can inflict physical damage on their own merit. Items like acid and holy water do not inflict damage because of the force and skill to strike with the “pointy end” or something. They inflict damage because of special properties they possess which when coming in contact of the recipient creates an effect. As such, these items are permitted a d20 for nearly anyone, so long as the one hurling has the physiology to throw the item. For example khaasta would not. If the raw score of the d20 strikes the opponent's AC, then the throw was successful enough to activate the effect in the description of the item.

However, skilled persons can throw “any item” better than untrained. Therefore, a person with ranged fighting is permitted to add an extra d20 to the roll. This does not adjust the damage of the affect in anyway. In fact, it is akin to rolling a single d20 at advantage in such that should either die score a hit, the effect happens. Further, if a person has hurling as a skill, then 3d20 is rolled, but likewise, it is only for the determination of contact with the opponent's AC.

There are a few thrown items that do not follow the rules above. These are ones that create an area of effect, even if that area is only one hex, effecting only one target. This uses the “close-enough” guideline, which means the thrower gets in into the area desired, then the effect (usually smoke) fills the area and subjected those to some sort of a save.

ItemDamageNote
Acid Splashd4Alchemical Damage
Bonfire Blend1Fire Damage; very ineffective
Explosive Oild4Fire Damage; Combustion
Firebreather's oild4Fire Damage; special attack delivery
Holy Waterd4Smiting Damage; limited victims
Sleep SmokeSleepArea of Effect
Smoke of RestraintGrappledArea of Effect
Thick SmokeObscurementArea of Effect

These combat skills can improve accuracy on even magical effects. For incantations like guiding bolt or axioms like fire dart where a magical energy is hurled towards an opponent on a d20 and tested against its AC, then many spells will describe how modifiers work. However, if there is no explanation, the default rule for “throwing magic” is the spell provides the d20. Then if the caster has ranged fighting, then any Agility bonus can be added to the to-hit value. If the cast further has a hurling skill, then the total Agility score is added in lieu of the bonus. Again, these adjustments do nothing to change the damage or power of an effect.

Touch-based Effects

There are several invocations and axioms which require touch to deliver the magic against an opponent. Unless specified in the description, then touch requires one of two options to be considered a successful touch to deliver the affliction. The caster must either make a successful hit against the victim’s armor class, which does not inflict any damage. The other option is to make a successful grappling attack, see below. However, if using grappling, then the result is merely a successful touch for delivery and the victim is not held in any way. Further, if the touch is unsuccessful, the spell or priestly points are lost with no effect manifesting.

There will be times that touching an ally to produce an effect will be desired. Assuming the ally is willing, which is nearly always the case, then the person touching the other must be standing in an adjacent hex from the recipient or move there before completing the action.

Grappling

There may be times when grabbing and hold a person in place is a strategic plan. There are no skills that grant extra dice for grabbing other persons or monsters. Only die is used unless advantage or disadvantage apply, but even then, the special attack works like a competition save, comparing body die-rolls from both sides using a d12. For a modifier to the competition, one can choose either Strength or Agility to add the modifier from that sub-quality. If the grappler wins the competition, then during his or her action, the victim is held by the Grappled Restriction (see below). Otherwise, the attacker could not maintain the hold. Further, on the victim’s turn, he, she, or it can initiate another competition to escape.

After having held the victim until the grappler’s following turn the next round, the aggressor may choose to drag the victim along with normal movement; however, one’s movement rate is halved when towing another. If the aggressor is two size categories larger, then movement is not altered. Also, if the aggressor is two sizes larger, that grappler may opt to hurl and slam the victim for its Strength bonus in blunt damage (or appropriate damage for the terrain). In the case of slamming, the victim can be placed into any open adjacent space. Obviously, this maneuver frees the victim from the hold.

Lastly, there are a few modifiers when these wrestling maneuvers happen.

ConditionModifier
Grappler has size advantage+2 per Size Category Difference
Victim has faster movement rate+1 per 10-feet Difference
Environment is rainy, icy or slick+3 for the Victim
One or both sides are prone-5 for prone Competitor

To escape from being grappled, a creature uses its action to force another body save competition on a d12 with the same optional modifiers as above. The exception is if the one trying to escape is bigger, then the bonus is applied to him, her or it - instead of the grappler.

Alternately, inflicting damage upon the holding grappler may force a release. Whenever struck by body damage, the one maintaining the hold must make a Strength feat save against a base DC10, which increases by one points for each point of body damage inflicted. Thus, a 3-point strike requires a DC13 save, which failing causes the release of the grabbed.

Uncommon Conditions

When grappling, if the defender has body weapons, such as claws or a bite attack, then incidental damage may occur in an attempt to grapple a being or creature. This does not apply if the attacker has body weapons. However, if such a defender rolls a “raw 8” or higher on competition, then the attacker suffers 1 point of the appropriate damage, claw damage over biting if both apply. If that attack normally has poison or other special weaponry, then it will be delivered (or trigger the save) whenever a “raw 12” is rolled in addition to the point of damage.

To be perfectly clear, if this is the initial grapple, the incidental damage will not require Strength feat save should the attacker win the competition; however, if the defender is attempting to escape, but still loses the competition, then the grappler will require the feat save (DC:11).

Additionally, if the attacker is large enough to perform a slam attack, then there a few caveats. If the grappler is ten feet or taller, then slamming can be thrown into any space up to two hexes away. Moreover, when an attacker is that large, it is possible to slam the victim into another target in range. This will deliver the damage to the victim regardless, but also acts as a hurling attack against the AC of the target, which if it strikes also inflicts the Strength bonus damage, which will always be blunt for the target.

Shoving and Tripping

Another non-damage option that may be used as an action in combat is pushing the opponent. There are two options for this: shoving or tripping. With either option, the target of the pushing must be no more than one size larger, and it must be within reach. This action is very similar to grappling but it is specifically a Strength save competition on d12s. If successful for a shove, then the victim is pushed away 5 feet. If successful for tripping, then the victim has fallen prone in place. There are a few modifiers for the competition.

ConditionModifier
Size advantage+2 for larger Competitor
Environment is rainy, icy or slick-3 for the Victim
One or both sides are prone-5 for prone Competitor
Movement Details

If a character has more than one speed, such as a walking speed and a flying speed, and assuming switching modes does not require an action, then one can switch back and forth between speeds during the move. Whenever switching, subtract the distance already moved from the new speed. The result determines how much farther one can move under the new speed. If the result is 0 or less, the new speed cannot be used during the current move.

Knocked Down

Finding oneself in a prone position happens a lot in an RPG. Creatures are often knocked to the ground or fail to meet the DC required for jumping over some space.

Choosing to drop to prone can be performed at no cost of movement. However, recovering takes more effort and requires half of one’s standard movement per round to accomplish. Thus, if a human is in medium armor, his or her current speed would be 40 feet; therefore, 20 feet of that would be spent to stand up. If less than that amount is available, then standing up is not possible until the start of one’s next turn. Furthermore, if standing is not possible due to lack of movement remaining, then a reaction to do so cannot be used.

If prone and not standing, then movement is only possible by crawling. For every foot crawled, it costs an extra foot in movement. If crawling through rough terrain, then 2 extra feet are lost. Moreover, dash and other effects which increase movement through speed cannot be employed while crawling.

Obstacles in the way of movement must be gone around. Exceptions are when a magical effect dictates otherwise, such as being ethereal or the space is occupied by an ally. However, the hex belonging to another is effectively rough terrain. Thus, understanding the space used by creatures of different size categories, shown later, is important to understand.

If riding a mount and it becomes prone or unconscious, then the rider can use a reaction to dismount and land safely. Otherwise, the rider falls prone in a space within 5 feet (one hex) of the fallen mount.

Sneak Attacks

There are several opportunities for a sneak attack. The general criterion needed to perform a sneak attack is when the victim can be attacked but is not aware of the attacker, such as an ambush or just being awakened. The first strike from an invisible attacker could be an example, depending on many other variables. The victim must have lost track of the one attempting the sneak attack during the previous round or could have never been aware during that time, such as being asleep. The victim is permitted a Perception save, and if failing said save, the attack is considered a sneak attack.

When making a sneak attack, an additional d20 is permitted to be rolled as well as being made at advantage. Effectively, this will add 2d20 to the attack. One d20 is added because of the sneak attack, which is circumstantial. The other d20 is because of gaining advantage of an unaware victim. If advantage has been granted for another reason, it cannot be gained twice. Nonetheless, these extra dice act cumulatively above the normal attack. In other words, if a character has a melee skill, using a dagger, performs a sneak attack, then 3d20 are rolled for the attack. Moreover, if enough skills circumstances exist to reach the 5d20 maximum, a sneak attack could still exceed that and permit six or even seven total dice to be used.

When closing in on the victim to perform a melee attack with a dagger or a garrote, movement rate must be altered. There is a -15 movement penalty for the total movement of the round when implementing this feat. Also, the GM will consider how stealth works for defining the DC for the victim's Perception roll.

Lastly, there are a few restrictions when performing a sneak attack, such as the one performing the sneak attack cannot be at disadvantage either for any reason. Weapons used for such an attack must be made either at range or have the light or reach property or specifically noted as being usable in this way.

Getting The Drop

During a sneak attack, it is possible to “get the drop” on the opponent. This action can only be taken as a sneak attack; however, it offers an option for intimidation and bluffing rather pure bloodshed. Further, for this to be effective, the victim must be intelligent enough to recognize the threat and have the free will to surrender. “Getting the drop” on a wild animal or zombie is pointless. When the victim is not a valid target, the GM will inform the player to inflict the damage for the sneak attack, barring really bizarre circumstances such as attacking a phantasmal illusion.

When attacking the unaware opponent, the player rolls the dice as an attack but announces that damage will not be inflicted. What this means is the bow-shot is pointed at the back of the target's head or the knife is on the throat, but the actually inflicting of damage is being held. Also, the attacker is free to speak at this point as well, since it is his or her turn. From a game mechanics standpoint, until releasing the dominant position, the character who “got the drop” on the target can inflict all the previously rolled damage automatically on the next action or reaction, plus the reaction can be when anyone else moves to assist or the target resists. This move can be used against leaders to discourage the underlings to fight and often will avoid combat or bring combat to a parley, but it does not always. (Do you feel lucky, punk?)

Not all is lost for the victim, as there is a chance to squirm and fight back since the damage has been delayed. As the next action or reaction, the assailant chooses to inflict the damage, the victim is permitted either Strength or Agility to perform a feat save (DC:20) to suffer only half damage. If the victim has foul-play, then that save is rolled at advantage. For each combat round after (or one minute if during non-combat negotiations), the DC drops by one point to a minimum of a DC:14.

Keep in mind that this can become a series of complicated “drops” as a partner might be invisible and then “get the drop” on the original attacker to negotiate the release of the original victim. Also, consider that the player and the GM know how much potential damage the “drop” can inflict, but no other players or NPCs are aware of that meta-gaming detail. Lastly, there will always be special scenarios that are difficult to manage which come from this situation. For example, “getting the drop” on a devil who can teleport at will might be able to do so before the reaction can be made. These circumstances will be adjudicated by the GM.

Shackling

What happens when a character, ally or enemy, is tied up or put in manacles? Are they completely helpless? The short answer is “mostly.” However, the more complex answer is “no.”

When a character is brought to zero body and then revived, when a entity fails a save against the surrender incantation, when a being has been grappled and two successful manacle-touch attacks have been made, or other creative possibilities, then the victim placed in a combat restriction of “bound.” Further, if gagging the victim, then this prevents spells from being cast with the exception of those that can be used under the effects of silence. It is also not uncommon for a shackled prisoner to be blindfolded or have a hood placed over one's head to add the “blinded” restriction as well.

However, the “bound” restriction only reduces the combat ability and prevents certain weapon use. That said, most creatures under a “bound” restriction typically do not have weapons to wield anyway. However, those with martial arts or body weapons do propose special cases. Further, there are options to escape the restriction, which are discussed next.

Shackling an enemy can be done in numerous ways and with different devices. A victim who is restricted as incapacitated, paralyzed, petrified, stunned or unconscious can be “bound” with a single action if having ropes, manacles or the like at the ready. A charmed victim can be “bound” with a single action by the charmer - or with a coordination of efforts, using an action to instruct the victim to allow being tied or shackled, then the following action by who performs the restraints. It is possible to place someone in manacles who is actively fighting, but it is a difficult process. First, the victim must be successfully grappled. While under that restriction, an action per hand to be bound is required. The grappler does not have to be the same one to apply the manacles; however, whoever is applying the manacles must be the same person for all limbs. The exception is shackling a limb, retreating and allowing another to move in to apply subsequent shackling actions. Only after both arms are placed in manacles is the victim considered “bound”; however, the restriction only applies to those limbs. This means a lizardfolk could still attack with its tail without being at disadvantage. Of course, specialized manacles have been created for various races and creatures, but it does require shackling those extra limbs as well. Lastly, binding a fighting victim with rope cannot be performed unless the one doing the tying has the knots skill, in which case, the actions are the same as manacles.

Escaping from the shackling is also possible by brute force or skills. If tied by rope, a victim with knots can attempt to untie the binding every five minutes as described in the skill. If there is something sharp available to cut the ropes, then this can be attempted every five minutes with a Agility feat (DC:18); however, someone with the knots skill in addition gains a bonus of +4 to cut free. Also, one with lock-picking when placed in manacles could attempt to open them with a -4 penalty for being “bound,” but only if having access to picks. The GM might allow substitute objects to act as a pick in certain scenarios and with appropriate penalties.

Using brute force can be determined by the tables in the Adventuring Section. However, standard manacles are iron with ¼-inch chains.

Flee Attack

When a creature moves through the adjacent space around someone with a melee weapon at the ready also with an available reaction, then a special attack, known as a "flee attack," may be taken against the enemy by using the reaction. Examples of this circumstance could be due to the combatant breaking from a stance, running through to get to another location, attacking on the run and continuing, merely running through a guarded area, or even an aerial assault and flying back out of range.

However, there are many circumstances that must be evaluated. Mostly the movement rate of the being entering the unsafe area is the chief determinant of how to handle the event. If the movement used in that round is between 20 feet to 70 feet, then this is considered normal combat speed. Moving 15 feet or less is considered cautious speed, while movement rates at 75 feet or greater are called rapid speed. These speeds are only calculated based on the movement used in the current round, even if previous rounds they have traveled faster on a continuous path closing the distance.

When leaving an area at a cautious speed, the creature is assumed to be in a semi-defensive mode and actively guarding against attacks; therefore, no flee attacks can be made against someone moving through adjacent spaces at such a slower rate. Therefore, so long as there are open spaces to use, a combatant could make its normal attack then warily back up 15 feet (or three hexes) where no one could use a reaction for a "flee attack." However, in the same circumstance, if the combatant ran back 30 or 40 feet, this would be an actual fleeing from the melee allowing those able to gain a free attack as a normal attack against that person. There is one caveat to this normal speed exist maneuver, being if the combatant uses its action to be defensive-only, then movement in that round would allow leaving the fray while also preventing the adjacent opponents from attacking. Finally, when moving at a rapid speed, flee-attacks are fair game; however, because of the immense speed of the one moving, only 1d20 is permitted for the "flee attack" which still costs as a reaction.

Special environment attacks or movement should likely be considered rapid speed regardless of the actual movement; however, if coupled with caution defense, the GM might rule it to be cautious speed instead. Circumstance that might apply are low-to-the-ground fly-by breath weapon attacks, some sort of declared simultaneous closing, such as jousting, attacking from the surface of the water and diving back down, or phasing out of stone or earth for a melee strike then moving back into such special protection.

MovementRateAttack
Cautious5 to 15 feetNone
Normal20 to 70 feetNormal
Rapid75 feet or greater1d20

Another scenario to consider would be a person blocking a hallway where there is only a small space to get by. When a free space, the person moving can avoid a direct struggle by running by; however, if this is by using an adjacent space, then the blocker can still use a "flee attack" reaction. However, if the one moving must run through the same space, then a strength competition will occur, using d12s and body modifiers to resolve the conflict. If the blocker wins, the combatant could not get through, but if not, then movement can continue; however, even so, the blocker is still free to use a flee-attack reaction if available.

Impalement Maneuver

When wielding a polearm and having the polearms skill, a special impalement maneuver can be used as a reaction so long as the weapon delivers piercing damage. The ula is an exception to the piercing-damage rule; details on that weapon should be read specific to this maneuver.

One might think of it as a preemptive flee attack under precise conditions. If an opponent using a melee style, who also closes from 25 feet or farther in the same turn before making the attack and attacks the owner of the polearm, then the recipient is permitted a reaction known as impalement. To be clear, this is a reaction; the wielder of the polearm is still allowed a normal attack in the same round. To be even clearer, this could never be combined with a sneak attack, as it is a reaction.

This reaction interrupts the action prior to the attacker rolling his or her d20s for attack. It also occurs ten feet (two-hexes) away with all its results happening before the originating attack event. If the reaction damage incapacitates the attacker first, then the initiating attack is nullified.

With the base skills required to perform an impalement maneuver, a total of 3d20 are rolled in the reaction; 1d20 for a polearm attack and 2d20 for the impalement. However, if the pikeman has weapon forte in the specific polearm being used, then 4d20 are rolled. Lastly, if this pole is a glaive, then the heavy property will cause disadvantage on a natural 18 to 20.

Because of this maneuver, strategy on approaching defenders with polearms will likely be used. If a pikeman is 45 feet away, the combatant could close that distance and strike in the same round. A daring fighters may still chose to do so; however, other battlers may chose to close only 30 feet, avoiding the range of an impalement reaction, fore go that attack and complete the movement and strike the following round. Likewise, pikemen man choose to backup at a cautious speed, based on the timing of all the initiatives, to reintroduce that space needed to allow for the maneuver.

Cover

Cover is a physical barrier which can play a factor against ranged attacks by directly aiding the target's AC. There are three variations of cover: half cover, three-quarters and full.

A target with half cover gains +2 to his or her AC as well as Agility preservation saves against area of effect attacks; other sub-quality saves gain no bonus. The protection used must cover at least half of one’s body, such as a low wall, a piece of furniture, a narrow tree trunk, or even another creature’s body. In most cases, this does not enact the rule of friendly fire (see below). Of course, the GM could override for abnormal circumstances.

A target with three-quarters cover has +5 added to his or her AC and a like bonus for Agility preservation saves against area of effect attacks; as with the lesser, other sub-quality saves gain no bonus. Examples might be at a building corner, a large tree trunk, or a portcullis. Due to the target being smaller than normal or only occasionally available, by default if there are others in the vicinity, then the rule of friendly fire happens by default when firing at a target with three-quarters cover.

Finally, full cover protects the target from being aimed upon from range attacks, making the target effectively immune from range attacks. This also means magical range spells which rely on line of sight have no viable target. However, spells that attack the area can be used against a target with complete cover; a fireblast would be an example. In such a case, a +5 bonus to Agility preservation saves is granted to the target. Further, a target in full cover may not take an action involving the direction from which the complete cover protects. An example would be a character behind a corner, could drink a potion but not look back around the corner to return fire. Finally, while a target in full cover can't be struck, if firing upon that target anyway, the friendly fire rule would be used.

Obscurement

The difference between obscurement and cover is where the modifier is placed. Cover adds AC to the target, but obscurement places a penalty on the character taking an action. The action is usually an attack, but in some cases it could be a penalty for another feat, such as Perception. Many spells, fog of war for example, have the penalties in the description. However, lighting conditions might be ruled by the GM as a “minus n penalty” for attacks.

Friendly Fire

Firing at range into an area where other targets might be struck instead is the definition of friendly fire. Despite the minor misnomer of the term, the rule of friendly fire permits striking unintended opponents and neutral parties as well as allies. A blind shot, when a target in known to be in an obscured area but exact visual confirmation is not possible, would be one example of when the friendly fire rule would be used. Other circumstances might include cover, a blind effect on an archer, or fighting an invisible creature.

When friendly fire is used, then the normal modifiers for the condition (blind, invisible, cover, etc) are calculated into the shot. If the attack is a miss, then there is a chance other targets (friendly, neutral or hostile) might be struck instead. The GM will determine the hexes that could be potentially hit. This will be all adjacent hexes surrounding the original target, as well as the hex 10-feet in front and behind the target in direct line of sight. The GM will then count all the other potential targets, assigning them numbers 1 through 8, then add two additional “empty” slots. A random roll on a d10 will be made to determine what other might be “hit.” The empty targets (9, 10 and unoccupied hexes) indicate the shot hit nothing. However, if another creature is subject, then the GM compares the same score used against the target, adjusts the raw dice forward by 2 points and checks the new target’s AC. It is important to understand “adjust the dice forward” instead of just using a modifier because this means an 18 or 19 on the dice will become a “natural 20” against the alternate target. Also “natural 1” would become a “raw 3.”

Lastly, it is important to remember what an attack indicates with range. Unless under an effect or using a skill to “split the dice” then multiple d20s are still firing only a single attack. Thus, all attacks would have to miss the target when firing blind to have a chance to hit an alternate target. However, if this occurs, all the d20s are rolled forward for the comparison and are used against only one new alternate target. If the dice are “split” for any reason, then each target uses the same rule with the set number of dice, which means more than one alternate target could be harmed.

Weapon Negating

When performing combat between armed combatants, a desire of both sides is to find a way to neutralize the effectiveness of the other side’s weaponry. In the hand-to-hand perspective, the skills weapon lock and weapon disarm are some of the most effective ways to accomplish that goal. Weapon lock is a skill that uses a weapon in a way to lock the opponent’s weapon from being wielded effectively enough to strike. Weapon disarm is a skill that can be used in combination with the previous skill that physically removes the opponent’s weapon from his or her grip. While these are simple concepts, there are a lot of scenarios that have to be understood and considered.

With both skills, the attacker rolls a single chance to lock or remove the opponent’s weapon. It is important to note no matter how many skills complement these maneuvers, no matter what bonuses are granted for a weapon employed, the success roll is a single d20. Of course, what this means is if there is advantage or disadvantage, then two dice are thrown using the better or worse of the two, depending on the situation.

Once the feat is successful and the attacker has locked the weapon or has disarmed the opponent, there are a few items that must be resolved. First, due to the nature of this special attack, a rebuff cannot be used as a defense to block the attack. However, the victim will be allowed the option to use a reaction to prevent the effect which does not require possessing any skill. Obviously, the victim must have a reaction remaining for the round. For a weapon lock, the victim is allowed to make a Strength save competition against the attacker as a reaction to pull the weapon free by brute force. However, the attacker is at advantage on the d12 comparison. All modifiers for size and environments are otherwise normal.

The victim of a weapon disarm can use a reaction to resist the disarming maneuver. This means the torque applied continues longer, perhaps the attacker strikes part of the forearm instead of gaining an effective fulcrum to pry the weapon free, the victim slips the hilt free but the momentum pulls the attacker’s weapon into his face, or yet some other explanation results due to the resistance. The end result of the choice to resist the weapon being disarmed from a rules perspective is the victim is taken a gamble to maintain the hold on the weapon; however, it costs some minor damage and is not guaranteed to work. The inflicted damage is a base of 2 points, but the attacker’s weapon size (light, medium or heavy) adds to injury; thus, the resulting cost for resisting is 2 points against light weapons, 3 points for medium and 4 points for heavy. Of course, the damage type will be equivalent to what the weapon delivers in melee. After accepting the Body damage, the victim enters an Agility save competition with the attacker. But as with the lesser skill, the attacker is at advantage on the d12 roll. If the victim wins the competition, then the weapon remains held; if not, then the weapon is thrown some distance away.

Assuming the success of these skill, then the weapon has become pinned or has been disarmed. There are now options for all parties to consider. When a weapon is locked, whether immediately reacted to avoid or not, using future reactions to pull it free with brute force in future rounds would automatically fail and the weapon is held useless. Further, any bonuses, skills or maneuvers from the wielding that weapon in combat are lost. For example, parry and the opportunity to rebuff or riposte are not permitted.

The wielder of the pinned weapon can free his or her weapon; however, there is a cost to do so, which is equal to 2 attack dice. This means if the skills of his or her attack with that weapon add up to 2d20 for an attack, then the next action can be sacrificed in whole to free the held weapon. However, if the skills add up to 3d20, then on the next action, 2 dice are sacrificed but a 1d20 attack can still be made. Conversely, if the victim only has melee fighting or is unskilled, then this sacrifice of dice becomes spread over two rounds.

Another option to free the weapon is if a third party comes and applies a successful weapon lock against the original attacker placing the lock. Even if the reaction to prevent the pinning of that weapon is successful, the first locked weapon is freed.

Rather than trying to use brute strength, the victim could choose to use a reaction to release the pinned weapon. If this was not chosen at the moment of attack, the victim could choose to use a reaction on either the attacks turn or own’s own turn to drop the weapon. Obviously, this does not free the weapon, but it would allow switching to a different one on his or her person.

No attempt to free the weapon is required. The victim might be contempt to take other actions that require only one hand, such as drinking a option from a belt pouch or casting a verbal-only spell.

Of course, when the employer of the weapon lock has his or her next turn come around, the decision to release the weapon and make a different attack or action is a choice. However, if the opponent's weapon is still pinned when the turn comes around, any action requiring the hands used to wield the weapon must me sacrificed to maintain the hold, but if not employing a two-handed weapon, then drinking a potion or casting a non-gestured spell would also be an option.

Like the victim, the entire time while maintaining the weapon lock, that combatant also loses the benefits from parry and other skills gained from active use of the primary weapon in combat. However, if the locker has shield-blitz, then a d20 of blunt damage can be inflicted - but only against the victim of the pinned weapon.

When disarming a victim, the attacker has no restriction after performing the maneuver. That said, the weapon is up for grabs. Part of luck and strategy is the timing of one’s action during the round. To pick up a weapon, there is a cost of 10 movement points, but as stated in the Saves subsection, while it doesn’t require an action, one must still have an action remaining for the round to pick up a free item. This means the attacker could not grab the weapon in the same action he or she disarmed the weapon, but if the victim still has an action, then it could be retrieved; however, understand that decision could make one suseptible to a flee attack.

Defense Rolls (Variant)

Some playing groups like to feel more in control of their characters’ own destinies. Members in the group like to roll dice. Sometimes a GM just has too many monsters to handle. In these cases, this variation of the rules offers some benefits.

When a monster attacks a PC, normally a GM would roll the attack for the monster as a character does. However, a mathematical option is to have the player make a defense roll to avoid the attack instead. The monster’s attack has a DC of 21 + all the monsters’ modifiers. Next, the player rolls a d20 for all the used attacks from the monster, adding his or her armor class to each of the scores. For each of the adjusted scores the meet or exceed the DC, then the PC has avoided the attack. Failures on the DC indicates a point of body damage. Raw dice scores are just as meaningful in this variant. A natural 20 indicates the PC avoids the hit regardless of the math, while a raw 1 is an absolute hit.

Restrictions in Combat

When different conditions occur in a combat, it can impact a creature’s abilities and actions. Most circumstances are impairments; however, a few might be helpful – even referred to as a restriction. If multiple restrictions exist, then adjustments are not cumulative but the strongest would be in effect.

RestrictionAdjustments
Asleep   •Can be awakened by an ally as a standard action
•Awakened when wounded
•Suffers -3 penalty on Perception checks to wake
•Cannot attempt Perception checks that rely on sight unless accompanied by a significant change in light
Blind   •Cannot see and automatically fails all saves involving sight
•Attacks by blinded creature are at disadvantage
•Attacks against blinded creature are at advantage
Bound   •Movement normal, unless tied/shackled to an object
•Movement halved if shackled at the feet as well
•Attacks are at disadvantage and suffer a -5 penalty to hit
•All body saves and competitions are made at disadvantage
•Attacks against bound creature are at advantage
•No mechanical or ammo weapons can be operated
Charmed   •Cannot attack the charmer or target with harmful effects
•Charmer has advantage for any saves involving social interactions with charmed being
Deaf   •Cannot hear and automatically fails all preservation and feat saves involving hearing
Drowsy   •Half-awake and inattentive
•Suffers -2 penalty on all body, mind and spirit saves.
•Suffers -3 penalty on Perception checks.
•Must make mind or spirit feat (DC:5) with above penalty or fail spell-casting
•Must make spirit feat (DC:10) every 2d10 minutes or fall asleep
•Otherwise able to act normally
Frightened   •Has disadvantage on all die rolls when source of fear is in sight or known to be present
•Cannot willingly move closer to the source of fear
Grappled   •Movement rate becomes 0
Incapacitated   •Cannot take any actions or reactions
•Movement is reduced to 0
Invisible   •An invisible being cannot be seen by natural sight
•An invisible being can be located by sound and tracks
•Attacks against an invisible creature at disadvantage and suffer -3 penalty on all remaining dice used
Nauseated    •Movement rate becomes equal to crawling
•Cannot attack, cast spells, concentrate on spells, or do anything else requiring attention
•Cannot use reactions
Paralyzed   •Cannot take any actions or reactions
•Cannot move, speak or gesture
•Automatically fails all saves involving body
•Attacks against a paralyzed being are at advantage
•If scoring a hit from an attack, it is a critical hit
Petrified   •A petrified creature and its non-magical items are alchemically transformed to another substance
•A petrified creature weighs ten times its original weight
•Cannot take any actions or reactions
•Cannot move, speak or gesture
•Unaware of surroundings
•Automatically fails all saves involving body
•Attacks against petrified creatures are at advantage
•Only critical hits inflict damage
•A petrified creature is immune to poison, disease, and does not age; however, any poison or disease present are not neutralized
Poisoned   •At disadvantage for all attacks and preservation saves and any feats attempted
Prone   •Movement limited to crawling
•Standing up consumes half of normal movement in feet
•Attacks by prone creature are at disadvantage
•Attacks against prone are at advantage for melee and at disadvantage for range
Restrained   •Movement rate becomes 0
•Attacks by a restrained being are at disadvantage
•Attacks against a restrained being are at advantage
•Body preservation saves are at disadvantage
•Dodge and deflection reactions are not permitted
Shaken   •A less severe status than frightened
•Can willingly move closer to the source of fear
•Suffers -2 penalty on all to hit, saves, checks and feats
Stunned   •Cannot take any actions or reactions
•Automatically fails all saves involving body
•Attacks against a stunned creature are at advantage
Unconscious   •Cannot take any actions or reactions
•Cannot move, speak or gesture
•Unaware of surroundings
•Drops whatever held and falls prone
•Attacks against an unconscious creature are at advantage for melee and at disadvantage for range