The combat bits below are part of the Open Gaming License.
What to expect if you get in a fight
Characters that have weapon skills less than 100% are at the whim of the dice to determine whether or not they land a blow in combat. Anything you do to increase your character’s chances to hit ,or hit first, will stand in your favour and make the outcome more certain.
Once you are hit in combat, things start getting messy. Your character has a relatively low number of hit points. In a couple of blows, or one lucky blow, these hit points can easily be reduced to zero, which indicates that the character has died. Make sure your character can dodge, parry or is magically protected. If your player group has decided to use the optional Major Wound system, your character is especially at risk of grievous and permanent harm every time they decide to use violence to solve a problem.
Numbers count. If you are facing off against multiple opponents, even weak and unskilled ones, you are quickly going to run out of attacks and reactions. In practical terms this means that your character may, at best, reduce the number of attackers by one per round, while only being able to protect themselves against one of several incoming attacks.
Even Masters who have 100% or more in their weapon skills can be brought low by a lucky critical hit, or by an opponent who has lured them into an ambush and stacked the odds against them through surprise and careful planning.
These harsh realities mean that players tend to avoid combats where they do not have a very good chance to win. Instead of wading into masses of weaker opponents, hoping that lucky dice rolls will see them through, they carefully plan ambushes, where they have the benefit of terrain and supporting soldiers from the local militia that will allow them to wipe out the majority of the enemy before the first proper round of combat. They will use Battle Magic to boost their damage, chances to hit, and armour, and if things are really tough they call on their god using Divine Magic or invoke powerful Sorcery spells to boost their combat skills.
Encounter distance and engaging in combat
Not all combats start with the two sides, the players and their opponents, directly facing each other within swords reach. At the beginning of a combat, or potential combat, the Games Master must determine which of the two distances the encounter starts at.
-Ranged: beyond two metres up to double the range of the missile weapon a character, is holding the distance at which the character can engage in ranged combat. Ranged combat typically happens out in the open countryside where groups of combatants can see each over coming over the horizon or emerging in the distance from old ruined buildings.
-Close: is a range of two metres or less and is the distance at which a character can engage in either Close or Unarmed combat.
Combat ActionsClose Combat Actions
-Charge: If a character can move a minimum of five metres towards his opponent, then he can make a charge. He may move a distance up to twice his Movement Rate. This must be in a straight line and he must end up adjacent to an enemy. When the move is complete, a close combat attack may be made against the enemy. If the attack is successful, the character gains a bonus of +1D6 damage. He loses his defensive reaction for the round that he charges on. Characters may not charge uphill and gain the damage bonus.
-Close Combat Attack: The character can make a single close combat attack. As well as a normal attack, there are the following special attacks.
-All out Attack: The attacker gives up their Reaction for the round but gains a second attack, which happens straight after the first attack. Both attacks are at -25% due to the loss of skill during this frenzied attack. This type of attack cannot be combined with Great attack or
-Disarming Attack: Attacker attacks at -25% to his weapon skill with the aim of disarming their opponent either of their weapon or shield. If the attack is successful and the opponent fails to parry or dodge, the weapon or shield is thrown D6 metres away from the owner.
-Great Attack: This attack is made using swords, axes or maces where the attacker has enough room to wind up the weapon for a really forceful blow. The attacker gains a +25% to attack and does maximum damage bonus but loses his reaction for that combat round.
-Intimidate/Persuade: The character tries to get the other side to surrender or flee. This can either be targeted at a single enemy or a group. Do an Opposed roll using the character’s Influence vs. the enemies’ Persistence, modified as listed below. Groups roll once using the Persistence of the Group leader. If the Group leader’s Influence skill is higher than his Persistence, then they may use that skill instead. Apply the following modifiers to the Enemy’s skill depending on the state of the Enemy:
+50% if the Enemy is still at full strength, but has taken some minor wounds.
+25% if the Enemy out numbers the player’s side, but have had at least 25% losses either in numbers or hit points.
-25% if the Enemy is fewer than the player’s side and has taken some wounds.
-50% if the Enemy has taken more than half hit points in wounds and/or has seen half his group incapacitated by the players.
Note: These modifiers are not cumulative. Apply the one that best describes the situation.
If the Enemy is at full strength and/or out numbers the players then only a critical roll for Influence vs a failed Persistence roll will make them surrender. A fumbled Persistence roll will see the Enemy suddenly rout.
When the player attempting the roll they must declare whether they are targeting the whole group or singling out an individual. For example: Rurik is fighting a group of four goblins, one of whom he has already badly wounded while the other three are still at full hit points.
If he decides to single out the wounded Goblin, then the Goblin’s Persistence roll to resist Rurik’s taunting and the resultant urge to flee will be at -25%. If he decides to target the whole group, which as a whole is undamaged and outnumbers him, then the Goblins will be at +25% to their Persistence.
The character need not speak the same language as the opponent they are trying to Influence, but they must be capable of some sort of sign, gesture or body language that the opponent is capable of understanding.
-Set weapon: A character can spend an Action setting the shaft of a weapon, such as a spear or polearm, in the ground in anticipation of a charge from an opponent. When the charge actually comes the character automatically gets an attack at +25% before the charging character gets their attack. If the character makes any other action or reaction before the charge, the weapon becomes ‘unset’.
Unarmed Combat Actions
-Unarmed Combat Attack: The character can make a single unarmed combat attack. As well as a normal attack, there are the following special attacks.
-Grapple: The attacker attempts to grab an opponent and an opposed Unarmed Combat roll is made. If the attacker wins they may chose to inflict pain , immobilize or throw their opponent.
Ranged Combat Actions
-Ranged Combat Attack: The character can make a single ranged combat attack. As well as a normal attack, there are the following special attacks.
-Aim: Every round spent aiming adds a +25% bonus to the character’s Ranged Combat skill. This bonus only applies to the first attack the character makes with the weapon, which must be fired at the target being aimed at. A character can take no other Reaction while aiming without losing the aim bonus.
Throwing Close Combat Weapons
If a close combat weapon that isn’t designed to be thrown is hurled at an enemy then it has a range of 8m and suffers a penalty to the attack equal to its ENC x 10. Ranged Combat skill is used.
-Change Stance: The character may stand up from prone, or vice versa.
-Fighting Retreat: A character may move up to half his Movement directly away from an enemy he is fighting. He may only attack or defend but not both.
-Move: The character may move a distance up to his Movement score once per Combat Round. This is a free action and the character does not lose either their Action or Reaction.
-Sprint: The character may move a distance up to twice his Movement score, forsaking his attack and only being able to dodge as defensive reaction.
-Cast Spell: Spells take effect when they are cast on an order determined by INT instead of DEX.
-Delay: A character may pause to assess the tactical situation around him. If a delaying character merely wishes to act after a specific character has acted, they wait until that character has finished their Combat Action. If a delaying character wishes to interrupt a specific character’s action as it occurs, the character must make a test appropriate to his interrupting action (a Weapon skill test if the character wishes to attack, for instance). Whoever wins the test acts first.
-Ready Weapon: Drawing a sword from its sheath, unhooking an axe from one’s belt, nocking an arrow to one’s bow – all these actions take one combat round. A single Ready Weapon action can also include dropping a weapon currently held to the floor and then drawing a new one. Sheathing one weapon and drawing another takes two Combat Rounds, as does readying two weapons. Ranged weapons can be reloaded with this action – this takes as many Combat Rounds as noted in the weapon’s description.
-Skill Use: The character performs one action which requires the use of a skill, such as opening a locked door with the Mechanisms skill.
The detail of how Combat Actions are performed is covered in the following sections.
A character can make one Reaction in a combat round. Unlike Combat Actions, Reactions are made in response to the successful hits of enemies.
There are two types of Reaction – Dodge and Parry.
Parries can be made against close combat attacks. Shields can also parry hand thrown missile weapons. Shields with a size of Large or Huge (i.e. Medium and Large Shields) provide a cover modifier to the ranged attack of the attacker -25% and -50% respectively against arrows, sling shot and cross bow bolts.
Dodges can only be made against close combat attacks and hand thrown missile weapons providing the target is aware of the attack. Dodge can also be used as a reaction, if still available, to avoid the damage of spells such Lightning Strike, which are projected at the defender. See the appropriate spell descriptions in the Magic chapters for more detail.
Reactions are declared after a successful attack has occurred but before its effects are applied.
When an attacker successfully hits, the defender may choose to Dodge as his reaction, in order to avoid damage. The defender rolls against his Dodge skill. If the defender succeeds then they have successfully avoided the attack. If dodging against a Critical Hit, then if the defender rolls a critical on their dodge they reduce the attacker’s critical to a normal success. If the defender fails his dodge against a Critical Hit, the attacker does maximum damage and ignores defender’s armour.
When an attacker successfully hits, the defender may choose to Parry with a weapon or shield as his reaction to avoid damage. The defender rolls against their Close Combat skill. If the defender succeeds then, depending on the relative weapons used, they may be able to reduce or remove all from the rolled damage. Weapons are rated in the following size categories: Light, Medium, Heavy and Huge. Weapons need to be of the same category or larger to block all damage. If the defending weapon is one category less they block half damage. If two categories less they cannot block the damage.
A critical parry against a normal success deflects all the damage regardless of size category. If parrying against a critical hit and the defender rolls a critical on their Close Combat skill roll then they reduce the attacker’s critical to a normal success.
What’s the difference between Parry and Dodge? Mainly down to a matter of combat style and Parrying has the advantage that it is based off the same skill that you use to Attack with, so for the purposes of skill advancement it is to advance Close Combat or Unarmed than Dodge with a separate Combat skill.
Close Combat Attacks
1) Making the Attack
A Normal attack is made by simply rolling D100 and comparing it to the character’s skill in the weapon he is using. If a character rolls equal to or lower than his Weapon skill, he has hit his target. If a character rolls greater than his Weapon skill, he has missed his target.
2) Target Reaction
The target may either attempt to dodge or parry the attack, as they choose. However, only one reaction can be made to a successful attack per round.
If the enemy has already reacted this round, or chooses not to React against this attack, then this attack is unopposed. Move straight on to Damage Resolution.
If the attack is opposed, the defender makes a Dodge or Parry (see below).
3) Damage Resolution
If the attack is successful, damage is rolled. Each weapon has its own Damage score, to which is added the attacker’s Damage Modifier in order to determine the total damage being dealt.
If the defender is armoured then the armour will absorb some of this damage. Reduce the attack’s damage by the armour points (AP) of the defender’s armour.
4) Damage Application
Apply any remaining damage to the defender’s hit points.
Every attack skill a character possesses has a critical score. A critical score is the attack skill’s score, divided by ten, and rounded to the nearest whole number. It represents a lucky and effective hit in a unprotected area of an opponent.
If the D100 attack roll is not only lower than the attack skill, but also equal to or lower than the character’s critical score with that skill, then the attack is considered a critical hit. A critical hit automatically causes maximum damage for the weapon and maximum Damage Modifiers. If the character has a negative damage modifier (i.e. -1D4 or –1D6) it is not rolled for a critical hit. Critical hits also ignore armour.
e.g. Rurik with his 55% Close Combat, rolls a 05, which is a critical! He is wielding a Longsword with a damage of 1D8 and has a damage modifier of 1D6. He is fighting a heavily armoured Knight, who has the latest Plate Mail armour (AP 6). However this Armour is completely ignored as Rurik’s sword slides through a gap in the plates doing a devastating 14 points of damage (8 from the sword and 6 from the damage modifier).
A critical hit is made into a normal hit by a critical parry or critical dodge. That is damage is rolled by the attacker as normal and the defender’s armour counts.
Conversely if an attacker or defender fumbles by rolling 00, they have put their self at a servere disadvantage. It is up to the Gamemaster to determine how dependent on the situation. Here are some examples:
-Grievously hurt self or nearby friend with weapon, roll damage and ignore armour
-Trip over and fall prone, missing one combat round.
-Armour or sheild strap breaks, lose armour protection.
All ranged attacks are handled in same manner as close combat attacks, with the following exceptions:
-Ranged attacks may not be used as part of a charge.
-Loading Ranged Weapons. Most ranged weapons only take a single combat round to ready. Others take more than one combat round to reload. See weapon description in the equipment chapter.
-Range: A target within the weapon’s range may be attacked without penalty. A target within double the weapon’s range may be attacked, but the attacker’s Weapon skill is halved before other modifiers are applied. Attacks cannot be made at a distance beyond twice/double the weapon’s range.
-Dodging and Parrying. The target may attempt to parry or dodge a hand thrown ranged attack but may not normally dodge or parry ranged missile weapons (such as Bows and Crossbow fire). Shield carrying characters may attempt to parry hand thrown missile weapons if the target is aware of the attack. and also modify the attackers’ skill for missile ranged attacks as described on P38.
-Disarming. A character may not attempt to disarm targets with ranged attacks, nor may he attempt to strike a target’s weapon or shield.
Cover affects both ranged and close combat attacks. For missile attacks the defender benefits from the best of the shield modifier in the table above and the cover modifier below.
-Partial cover -25%: For example a low wall that leaves only head and torso exposed.
-Very good cover -50%: For example Defender on a castle wall, firing from protected battlements
-Virtually total cover -75%: For example castle wall with arrow slits for defenders to shot through.
Firing into a Crowd
When firing into a crowd, the Games Master will determine how much cover the defender has from the ranged attack. The ranged attack is then resolved as normal for a target behind cover.
If attack fails to hit the defender and succeeds against the unmodified attack skill, the firer has hit one of the individuals adjacent to the target. The accidental target may dodge against this attack as normal.
If an unarmed attack is parried by a crafted or natural weapon, then the attacker will immediately suffer the rolled damage of the parrying natural weapon, with no damage modifier, to the limb he is using. This is in addition to the normal effect of the parry.
Natural weapons such as the teeth and claws of monsters are counted as weapons and not unarmed attacks. The damage they deal is listed in the monster’s description. They may parry other natural weapons or unarmed attacks, but not crafted weapon attacks.
A grapple attack is made in the same way as a normal unarmed or natural weapon attack but must be declared as such before any dice are rolled.
Should the attacker hit with his grapple attack, no damage is initially caused. Instead, the attacker then opposes his Unarmed Skill to the target’s Unarmed Skill, in a roll similar to an opposed skill test.
Grapple Fails: The grapple attempt fails and the attack is considered to have missed.
Grapple Succeeds: Attacker may immediately make Inflict Pain or Immobilise or Throw attempt (attacker’s choice): The two combatants are now grappling and the attacker may immediatelyfollow up on this success by Throwing, Inflicting pain or Immobilise the target..
Grappling combatants will remain locked together until one combatant breaks free or is thrown out of the grapple. Grappling combatants suffer a –25% penalty to any tests that do not target or directly respond to their grapple partner. Grappling combatants may not use Reactions.
A grappling combatant is restricted to the following special Combat actions:
Break Free: To break out of a grapple, the character makes an opposed grapple attempt. The characters may only use the Unarmed Skill in this case. If the character succeeds his roll while his opponent fails then the character has succeeded in breaking free and the combatants are no longer grappling, though they will be adjacent.
Immobilize: While immobilized, enemies are considered helpless. Once per round the defender may attempt to break free.
Inflict Pain: The grappler inflicts damage is 1D4 + damage modifiers. Armour does not help. Once per round the defender may attempt to break free or may attempt to turn the tables on their attacker by counter grappling or attacking with a weapon or other unarmed attack.
Throw: The opponent is thrown 2 metres and suffers 1D4 damage. Armour does not help. The grapple ends in this case.
When a character successfully scores damage against a target it must be deducted from the target’s hit points. Every weapon has a damage rating, which is listed in its statistical entry in the relevant Weapon table in the Equipment chapter. This rating is the amount of dice rolled when the weapon successfully hits a target. The attacker’s Damage Modifier is usually added to this. All damage is taken away from Hit points.
One hit point. When hit points are reduced to the final one the character falls prone and must make an immediate Resilience test divided by ten rounded down to stay conscious.
Hit points equal zero. Character is dead. In the grim and gritty world of OpenQuest combat there is no chance to make farewell speeches. You can spend Hero Points however!
Beyond the pale. Hit points in the negative to a value equal to the original total value. Character is dead and body beyond repair. For example, Finbar the Unsuccessful, gets blasted by a Dragon’s fiery breath for 30 points of damage. Unfortunately Finbar only has ten hit points, so his body is reduced to ash.
Major Wounds (Optional)
If the character takes half of their original HP in one go then they suffer a major wound. This represents badly mangled limbs, shattered bones and severely damaged internal organs. Roll on the Major Wound Table below to see what type of wound the character has suffered. They must immediately make a Resilience roll, with a -50% modifier, or fall unconscious. If the roll is made then the character’s DEX is immediately halved and the character may only fight on for as many combat rounds as their remaining hit points before failing unconscious. This is in addition to any effects described below. The effects of major wounds are permanent, unless healed magically. The halved DEX is regained once the character starts to heal, since it represents the shock and trauma of the wound. We will be using an optional critical chart for these (not listed here).
Special Combat Rules
A mounted warrior has a +25% bonus to his attacks and parries against adjacent opponents on foot; a character on foot defending against a mounted attacker suffers a –25% penalty to his Reaction skill. These modifiers do not apply if the target on foot is as tall as the mounted character is while mounted.
-A mounted character uses his mount’s Movement score when moving rather than his own.
-A mounted adventurer can use no weapon at a Skill level greater than his Riding skill score.
-The rider of a mount unused to combat must make a Riding Skill test at the start of each Combat Round.
-Failing this test will cause the horse to automatically use the Flee Combat Action at every opportunity for the remainder of the Combat Round.
-Succeeding this test allows the horse to be treated as a trained mount for the remainder of the Combat Round.
Two Weapon Use
A character wielding two weapons or a weapon and a shield may use the off-hand item to either:
Parry one additional attack per Combat Round (over and above the normal Reaction allowance)
Gain a single bonus Close Combat Attack action. This bonus attack is at -25% Weapon or Shield Skill. The second attack occurs at half the character’s DEX in order of combat. Also this may only be a normal Close Combat Attack, not an All out Attack, Disarming Attack or a Great Attack.
For example a warrior armed with sword and shield, can attack with the sword normally and then follow this up immediately with a shield bash at -25% to the shield attack.
Close Combat skills greater than 100%
-A character with over 100% can split his skill to perform multiple attacks and parries or dodges.
-For combat attacks at over 100% in the weapon skill the number of attacks and the allocated % of each one must be declared at the start of the combat round. Any allocation of split is allowed. For example Murgan the Mighty with an Axe skill of 120% can split it 90% /30% or make four attacks at four opponents in range at 30% each.
-Divide the character’s DEX by the number of attacks to find when attacks occur in the DEX sequence. First attack is at normal DEX and then subsequent attacks are at intervals of DEX divided by the number of attacks. For example Murgan the Mighty with a DEX 10 splits his attack to make two attacks. Therefore the first attack occurs at DEX 10 and the second at DEX 5.
-Parries and Dodges do not need to be declared at the start of combat round but careful track must be kept of how many have already been used.
-For example Murgan parries one of his attackers and chooses to use 75% of his skill. This means that he has 45% left to parry the next attacker in the same round.