Combat Maneuvers

The following is a list of possible combat maneuvers besides the typical “attack.”

Charging: A charging character gains a +2 bonus to their attack roll, mainly from momentum. Movement rate is doubled and the attack is made at the end of the charge. Additionally, certain weapons (such as a spear) may inflict double damage in a charge.

However, charging gives the defender some advantages. First, if their weapon is longer, they will be able to attack first. If the charging character is hit before the charge takes place, the charge is halted and their action for the round is lost. Second, charging characters gain no Dexterity bonuses to their Defense Score and they suffer an Defense penalty of +1.

First Strike: Combatants that are closing in on each other can automatically win initiative during the first round if they have a quarterstaff, spear, or missile weapon. This rule does not apply in the occasional case where both sides are in close quarters before combat begins (i.e., a brawl in a tavern, or surprised in the dark of night).

If the attacker is at least 20’ away from the defender and there is an unobstructed path to the opponent, then no initiative roll is necessary. If multiple combatants are nearby, and the intended defender is beyond 20’, then the attacker is required to roll initiative as he or she cannot ignore the other assailants. If both sides have weapons capable of First Strike, then two sets of initiative are rolled – one for first strike, and then a normal roll for the rest of the non-first-striking attackers.

Disarm: This maneuver imposes a penalty -4 to the attack roll if the weapon or item is single handed and a -6 to the attack roll if it is two-handed. Also, a successful hit does not automatically disarm the defender’s weapon, shield, or other item. After being hit, the defender must win a Strength Contest lose the item in question. A disarmed object flies 2d10 feet in a random radial direction (1d12). Note that only Shields and Dexterity bonuses to the Defense Score apply against a disarm – armor does not help.

Parry: In lieu of attacking, a character may instead choose to spend their 10 seconds focusing on blocking or disrupting an attack. The Parry Roll takes place immediately before the opponent’s assault. Both combatants roll their own individual attack rolls and whoever rolls highest succeeds. If the defender wins then the attacker’s imminent thrust or jabs is blocked.

Pin: A pin typically involves a thrown weapon. The attacker hurls their dagger or fires an arrow and attempts to staple the enemy to the ground or nearby wall. This attack is unique in that any character can audible to a pin in the middle of a combat round. All other combat maneuvers must be announced prior to initiative. The pin is an attack roll with a -4 to hit. Success results in the defender being stuck to a wall, stapled the ground, whatever the intent was. A pinned opponent free themselves with a Strength Check and still attack in the same round, or they can simply spend an entire round to remove the weapon (no check required).

Stun: A stun attack is used to knock an opponent unconscious. This can be done even with a slashing or piercing weapon (normally the defender is hit with the side of the blade). A normal attack roll is made, but instead of damage the defender rolls a Constitution Check. Failure results in an unconscious opponent. Even if the defender succeeds their Constitution Check, they still receive a -4 to attack for the rest of the round.

Helms provide a +3 bonus to the stun check, and if the defender is aware of the attacker, another +3 is applied. Creatures that are huge size and greater cannot be knocked unconscious in this way by man-sized opponents.

The stun maneuver is particularly effective for thieves or other hidden (or invisible) attackers.

Trip: If the attacker has a size L weapon, he or she can perform a trip attack. A successful attack roll results in a Strength Contest. The attacker rolls a Strength Check against the opponent’s Strength or Dexterity (whichever is higher). A tripped defender loses all attacks for the current round and must forgo attacks during the following round if they wish to stand up safely. Foolhardy or desperate victims may throw caution into the wind and stand up immediately, in this case they attack last in the round and all those attacking them receive a +4 to hit.

Holding an Attack: Holding an attack isn’t really an action so much as a lack of one. Any character can state they wish to hold their attack. The result is they attack at the end of the combat round. The advantages are situation specific – perhaps a mage does not wish to waste a spell if the companions are successful with brute force. Maybe an archer wants to save an arrow if possible, or a warrior does not want to attack until a friend’s fireball explodes.

Note that all “held” attacks occur after all other attacks. Combat is too unpredictable to be able to specifically time “holding my attack until immediately after my ally fires an arrow” or some such.

Grapple/Tackle/Overbear: Sometimes the most effective attack is simply to pull an opponent down. No attempt is made to gain a particular hold or even to harm the victim. The only concern is pinning and restraint. This attack move is somewhat dangerous, as the defender receives a free attack as the attacker rushes in to tackle. The tackler rolls a normal attack against the defender’s Armor Class modified for Dexterity and shields only (the actual armor does not count).

If this initial attack hits, then there is a Strength Contest. If the defender wins, he or she remains standing, if the defender loses, then he or she is dragged to the ground for that combat round (canceling any actions that have not yet occurred). Another Strength Contest can occur at the beginning of each round thereafter, resulting in either a freed opponent or a restrained one. Note that no attacks can be made during the Contested rounds, or the round in which someone breaks free. However, an individual with a dagger can stab his or her assailant (and vice versa) with a +6 to attack and double damage during a grapple in lieu of participating in the Strength Contest (which means the other combatant automatically wins the contest).

Retreating: Retreating refers to two similar actions, withdrawal and fleeing. To make a withdrawal , a character carefully backs away from his or her opponent at 1/2 their normal movement rate. Note that the opponent can choose to follow.

If two characters are fighting a single opponent and one of them decides to withdraw, the remaining character can block the advance of the opponent. This is a useful method for getting a seriously injured individual out of a combat.

To flee from combat, a character simply turns and runs at their full movement rate. The fleeing character drops their defenses and turns their back to the action. This gives the enemy a free attack at the rear of the fleeing character. This additional assault is made the instant the defender runs: It doesn’t count against the number of attacks that opponent is allowed during the round, and initiative is irrelevant.

The fleeing character can be pursued, unless a companion blocks the advance of the enemy. The main difference between withdrawing and fleeing is the distance covered in that retreating round.


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Combat Maneuvers

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