Enchanted Realms Rulebook

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 Combat In Detail 
 Reactions in Combat

Reactions in Combat

“You did respond — your response was the worst kind — you did nothing.” —Emily Franklin

Sometimes reactions become misunderstand by players from the OSR-inspired style of games. A reaction is not an extra action, not a bonus maneuver. These are potential responses to specific occurrences in combat. Moreover, the use of reactions is not unlimited. Like only one action is permitted in a combat round, only one reaction is granted for a like duration. As such, reactions become a strategic aspect of an Enchanted Realms fight. In that vein, this section will address the timing and details of the most common reactions.

• Dodge & Deflect
• Flee Attack
• Impalement Maneuver
• Paired With Action

Dodge & Deflect

One of the most common reactions in combat is dodge or similar skill usage performed to avoid or reduce damage. Whenever a melee strike hits a target, the if the victim has a dodge skill and an available reaction to use, then damage can be potentially reduced or perhaps even totally avoided. The choice to use the reaction can be made even after the inflicted damage amount is learned. If it were a range attack that is not a sneak attack, then deflect missiles would need to be used instead of dodge.

There are also enhancements to the dodge skill, including some with a free counterstrike included. Because of the different reactions that might be used to reduce or avoid damage, it is important to read the description to know when and how it is applied. Sometimes the d6 adjustment roll will be against the lowest successful d20 that hits while other times it will be against the highest. Further, it could be that a character is in under the disadvantage restriction; thus, how the dice are rolled for the reaction is important to understand. A detailed explanation and example of this can be found in the upcoming section Applying Vantage.

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. Such an attack would use the primary hand die pool as a single strike. 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, the "flee attack" is made at disadvantage (loss of 1d20 and -3 to damage) and 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.

Cautious5 to 15 feetNone
Normal20 to 70 feetNormal
Rapid75 feet or greaterDisadvantage

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 may 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.

Paired With Action

In some cases, a reaction is used at the same time as an action. This has already been discussed when making a touch-based attack. Another example is when using a knockout blow with some sort of enhancement in hand, such as tiger claws or a blackjack. Some of these reactions are games where the reaction will be lost regardless of the outcome, while others are contingent upon the success of the action. Thus, these types should also have the descriptions read carefully.