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Summary of AD&D 'Player's option: Combat & Tactics', TSR 2149

All figures have front, flank, and rear spaces and a facing

Weapons - Many polearms are assigned a range, much like missile weapons. A polearm with a range of 2 can strike enemies standing in the character's front square or any adjacent square beyond the row of front squares. Some weapons are defined as range only weapons. Pikes and lances fall into this category. These weapons can be used to make normal attacks in the squares they can reach but cannot be used against targets in between the wielder and the weapon's point. Creatures wielding range 2 or larger weapons or natural attack forms cannot make melee attacks through an occupied square to another square unless as part of a spear or pike hedge.

Missile Scale - Some battles may open in missile scale,

Most characters and monsters can only make one effective attack per round; the rest of the swings are feints, parries, or just for show. Higher-level characters with multiple attacks are able to make more of these swings count. Parries are followed up with ripostes. Feints suddenly become attacks when an opening presents itself. With time and practice, a skillful swordsman can make every swing of his sword a potentially lethal attack.

Combat Status - Any figure involved in combat falls into one of three categories: clear, threatened, or grappled. This represents the immediacy of an enemy threat and influences what actions the character can choose for that combat round. A character's options are extremely limited when he is caught in an owlbear's hug. In addition to governing the character's choice of combat actions for the round, threatening is also important because it determines who is subject to what are known as attacks of opportunity.

Grappled creatures must get free before they can move. The only combat actions a grappled creature can take are:

A creature can't make more than one attack of opportunity against a single opponent in the course of a combat round, (make the whole thing depend on stance?) Surprised characters and monsters cannot make attacks of opportunity during the round in which they are surprised.

Characters determine their combat system movement in three steps:

Surprise There are situations in which one side may have to make a surprise check but their opponents don't, for example, an ambush or a nighttime encounter with enemies carrying bright lights. The surprisers get a free round of attacks, movement, or spells against the surprised members of the other group.

The Five Basic of Every Combat Round With the exception of two skilled fighters using similar weapons or styles, combat is utter chaos. It's ludicrous to believe that any set of game rules could begin to approach an accurate simulation of fights that range from barroom brawls to fantastic duels between archmages and dragons. However, there has to be some way to resolve combat. In the Player's Option combat system, battles are divided into combat rounds, and each round is divided into five basic steps.

These steps are:

  1. Monster Action Determination
  2. PC Action Declaration
  3. Initiative
  4. Resolution of Actions
  5. End-of-Round Resolution

Step Five: End-of-Round Resolution Fatigue is a measure of the character's endurance over a prolonged combat. At the end of each round, the character checks to see if the combat has lasted long enough for him to become fatigued or exhausted.
Retreats occur when a figure is forced to fall back by the press of the fight. This can have the effect of breaking up an enemy line or forcing the retreating character over a cliff, into quicksand, and so on.
The DM makes morale checks for the monsters, if appropriate. Most creatures don't care to carry a losing battle to their own deaths and will try to break off the fight if things aren't going their way.
Last but not least, characters who are suffering from spell effects, poison, or special critical hits suffer damage or fight off the effect. The exact procedure is determined by the type of condition the character is suffering from.


Combat Actions
Combat actions are basic strategies that a character can follow in a round of combat. Does Argath the Brave stand his ground and wait for the orcs to come to him, or does he charge rashly into the center of their line? Does Rowan the Mage cast a spell or spend her round moving to a better vantage point? You decide when you select your character's combat action for that round. There are several factors involved in choosing a combat action. It is dangerous to do anything but attack or parry when your character is threatened by an adjacent opponent. It's downright useless to declare a charge when your character is grappled by a giant constrictor snake.

The following choices are available as combat actions in the Player's Option combat system:
No-move actions: Attack, Cast a Spell, Cover, Fire/Throw Missiles (normal ROF), Guard, Parry, Unarmed Combat, Use a Magical Item
Half-move actions: Attack, Charge, Fire/Throw Missiles (half the normal ROF), Guard, Unarmed Combat, Withdraw
Full-move action: Run, Sprint, Charge, Move,

Overruns - When a larger creature attempts to move into a smaller, standing enemy's square, it is called an overrun. When a defender is knocked down by an overrunning creature, he may suffer a trampling attack.

Morale - Some good guidelines of when monsters or NPCs might make morale checks:

Failing a Morale Check - When a character or group of monsters fails a morale check, their first consideration is to get away from the fight. If they fail by a small margin (say, 1 or 2 on the die roll), they try to withdraw in good order. If they fail by a large margin, they break off the fight and flee for their lives. Intelligent creatures may try to surrender if there is no place for them to run, or if they think they won't be able to get away.

Rear or Flank Attacks - If a creature is able to position itself for a rear or flank attack, it gains a significant advantage. Flank attacks get a +1 bonus to hit, and rear attacks a +2 bonus. A thief attacking from the rear can declare a backstab and gain a +4 bonus to his attack roll. In addition to the attacker advantages, the defender's shield doesn't help against flank attacks on his unshielded side nor on any rear attacks. The defender's can't see the rear attack coming and attempt to dodge it.

Sitting, Kneeling, and Lying Prone - Harder to hit with ranged, easier with melee. Sitting only crossbow without minus. Prone only crossbows or small weapons.

Knockdowns - Some creatures can smash their opponents to the ground with raw strength or heavy weaponry. An ochre jelly, black pudding, or fire elemental can't really be knocked down, nor could a crocodile or shark

Shield Wall - If the creatures stay along an even line in close order, they can form a shield wall by overlapping their shields. The shields must be medium or kite shields.

Spear Hedges - Spear or pike hedges are extremely effective against creatures trying to close in for melee.

Attack Options - The following attack options are available to any character proficient with the weapon he is using: Block Pull/trip, Called shot, Sap, Disarm, Shield-punch, Grab, Shield-rush, Overbear, Unarmed attack, Pin, Unhorse, Special weapon maneuver

Chapter Four: Weapon Specialization & Mastery

Weapon Proficiencies - Anybody can pick up a sword and swing it in a menacing manner, but without proper training and technique it's impossible to use a weapon correctly. A character's weapon proficiencies represent weapons in which he has some degree of training. Usually, he can wield them without embarrassing himself.

Many weapons are very similar in construction and techniques of use; for example, using a bastard sword with one hand is not too much different from using a long sword. Both weapons are heavy, two-edged blades that rely on slashing or chopping strokes to cut through armor. All weapons are categorized in tight groups, which are further organized into broad groups. A character who is proficient in one weapon is automatically familiar with the other weapons of that group and has a reduced penalty when using them.

Shield Proficiency - Modern re-enactments of medieval tournaments have demonstrated that the shield is a very important part of a warrior's protection. Armor Proficiency - How to use armor more efficiently. It can help offset the encumbrance penalties.

The level of skill with which a character fights is divided into six general categories: nonproficiency, familiarity, proficiency, expertise, specialization, and mastery.

Fighting Style Specialization

weapon (if primary is not small). Ambidextrous characters suffer no penalty with either attack. If this is mastered, can use two one-hand weapons without penalty.

Chapter Five: Unarmed Combat

Skipping this for now

Chapter Six: Critical Hits

The effects are determined by four factors: the attacker's weapon size compared to the defender's size, the type of weapon compared to the type of target, the location of the hit, and a roll for the injury's severity.

Wounds are divided into five degrees of severity: grazed, struck, injured, broken, and finally shattered, severed, or crushed. Wounds should be recorded. Penalties remain until the injury has healed. A specific injury isn't damage per se; consider it a temporary penalty that has to be put up with until it is restored. Severe injuries can temporarily reduce a character's maximum allowable hit points.

Critical Hit Effects - There are several possible effects of injuries caused by critical hits: bleeding, attack penalties, movement penalties, knockdowns, dropped weapons or shields.

Bleeding: A character with bleeding loses hp until the wound is magically healed or bound. Minor bleeding might stop on its own. Left untreated, major bleeding can easily cause a character's death.


-- PumaN - 11 Jan 2003

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Combat.ADnDCombatRuleBook moved from Combat.RuleBook on 11 Jan 2003 - 02:45 by PumaN - put it back