|Turning Undead||Magical Control||Spell Combat||Breath Weapon Attacks||Magical Device Attacks|
|Missile Discharge||Melee Combat||Example of Combat||Combat Procedures||PH|
This broad heading covers
all forms of attack and fighting.
It includes clerical turning undead, magical control, spell attacks, breath and gaze weapon attacks,
magical device attacks, missile discharge, and melee (hand-to-hand combat).
Combat occurs when communication && negotiation are undesired or unfuccessful.
The clever character does not attack first and ask questions (of self or monster) later,
but every adventure will be likely to have combat for him or her at some point.
Clerics are empowered with
the ability to TURN away undead creatures,
as well as certain lesser demons, devils, godlings and paladins through the power of their profession and holy/unholy symbols.
The cleric's level of experience dictates the level of success he or she can expect to achieve in this action.
As level of experience increases, the cleric is actually able to destroy undead by the power of his or her religion;
or in the case of evil clerics, destroy or command to service such undead if they are of the same alignment as the cleric,
or neutral such as skeletons || zombies.
Success also depends on opportunity, of course. The cleric must be in a position to step before the undead,
and he or she must have time to speak and hold forth the religious symbol in order to turn (or command) undead,
and this of course precludes other spell activity.
Question: Can a Cleric
attack while turning undead?
What happens if he/she is hit while trying to turn undead?
are empowered with the ability to turn away un-
dead, the success of which is dependent upon the Cleric’s level and
opportunity, since the Cleric must be in a position to place him/herself
before the undead, have time to speak and display a religious symbol.
This is his/her action for any such segment or round, and therefore
prohibits also attacking at the same time. If the Cleric is hit while at-
tempting to turn the undead, damage will be taken, but if he/she is not
killed, the turning attempt will continue — unlike the spoiling of a spell
that would occur if the Cleric were struck while casting. — WN
Question: What happens
when a cornered (as in a deep pit)
undead creature is turned?
Answer: The act of
turning undead (by a good Cleric)
compels the victim to TURN directly away from the Cleric and
MOVE as FAST and as far away as possible for 3-12 rounds. When
it is physically impossible for the creature to keep moving away,
it will retreat to the most remote (from the Cleric) location in the
area and continually face away from the Cleric and his/her holy symbol.— J. Ward, W. Niebling
* * *
Magical control is given
over certain creatures by means of potions,
scrolls, rings and similar magical means.
A potion ingested will allow a character a chance to control the actions of a dragon,
a scroll read will prevent elementals from attacking, a ring will allow its wearer to command mammals.
All such actions affect monsters encountered ond are part of combat.
Opportunity to employ the magical means of control must be available, so surprise, initiative, and melee situations must be considered. A potion cannot be found, opened and swallowed while a giant is beating upon the character with a club. A scroll cannot be read in the whirlwind of an air elemental's attack. And it is too late to command a hungry weasel not to attack when it is already feasting on prey!
Unless combat is spell versus spell, many such attacks will happen near the end of a melee round. This is because the spell requires a relatively lengthy time to CAST, generally longer as spell level increases, so high level spells may take over a full melee round to cast. Furthermore, if the spell caster is struck, grabbed, or mogically attacked (and fails to make the requisite save -- explained later), the spell will be spoiled and fail. Spell combat includes cleric and magic-user, as well as monster oriented spells. Curative spells are handled likewise.
Breath Weapon Attacks:
Some creatures have breath weapons - notably dragons, gorgons, winter wolves, etc. - and some have gaze weapons - notably umber hulks, basilisks, medusae, catoblepas, etc. These attack forms will affect those in the area of breath effect or those upon whom the gaze falls. Precautions can be taken to ovoid or minimize breath and gaze weopons' effects. Most allow the victim a saving throw which will reduce or negate the weapon effect if successful. These attack forms are speedy, and they will usually be unpreventable if the creature which generates them is alive when its action during a melee round occurs.
Magical Device Attacks:
Magical device attacks include
staves, wands, some rings, and a few other miscellaneous items.
These devices are similar to breath and gaze attacks in that their AREA of effect is usually large and affects multiple creatures, saving throws apply, and the attack is quickly accomplished by pointing the device and discharging it.
This aspect of combat includes
catapult missiles, giant-hurled rocks,
the discharge of spikes from a manticore's tail, throwing such things as flasks of oil,
torches, vials of holy water, bottles of poison, magic weapons (javelins of lightning, fireball missiles from a necklace, etc.),
poison spitting, the hurling of axes, hammers, javelins, spears, etc., and shooting sling missiles, arrows,
bolts and so forth from slings and bows.
Question: Can you shoot arrows at someone attacking you in hand-to-hand combat?
This form of fighting includes
the use of hand-held weapons, natural weaponry (claws, horns, teeth, etc.),
grappling, and special or magical touch attacks, i.e. poison, petrification, paralysis, energy level loss, etc.
As with most other combat forms, the first "blow" will be struck by the side gaining initiative during the round.
Surviving opponents will then be allowed their attacks. Note that haste and slow spells will have the effects heretofore mentioned. Fighters able to strike more than once during a round will attack once before opponents not able to do so,
regardless of initiative, but if fighter and fighter melee, initiative tells.
Position and weapon length will sometimesoffect the order of attack in melee combat.
Participants in a melee can opt to attack, parry, fall back, or flee.
Attack can be by weapon, bare hands, or grappling.
Parrying disallows any return attack that round,
but the strength "to hit" bonus is then subtracted from the opponent's "to hit" dice roll(s),
so the character is less likely to be hit.
Falling back is a retrograde move facing the opponent(s) and can be used in conjunction with a parry,
and opponent creatures are able to follow if not otherwise engaged.
Fleeing meads as rapid a withdrawal from combat as possible;
while it exposes the character to rear attack at the time, subsequent attacks can only be made if the opponent is able to follow the
fleeing character at equal or greater speed.
Example of Combat:
A party of 5 characters -
a magic-user, a cleric, a thief, a human fighter, and a dwarf fighter surprise
an illusionist with 20 orcs.
The opponents are 30' distant, and the magic-user immediately begins casting a sleep spell.
The cleric also prepares to cast a spell, silence, 15' radius. Meanwhile, the thief darts to the rear of the party to attempt to hide in the shadows and attack from behind when opportunity presents itself; the human fighter nocks an arrow and shoots it at the illusionist; and the dwarf hurls an axe. The surprise segment is over, and initiative is determined. The illusionist/orcs win initiative, and while the former begins a spell of his own, the latter rush to attack, hurling speors as they come. A spear hits the magic-user, so the sleep spell is spoiled. The orcs are attacked by the fighters, the cleric casts his spell upon the illusionist, and the magical
silence both spoils his prismatic spray spell and enhances the chances for the thief's attack, for he is successfully slinking and sliding around in the shadows. Thus, after surprise and 1 melee round, the party has inflicted 2 hits upon the illusionist, spoiled his spell attack, and felled one orc and wounded another. They have taken 3 spear hits and had one of their spell attacks ruined.
Initiative is now checked
for the second round. The illusionist/orcs again
win initiative and attack first, 5 orcs going after each fighter to grapple, 6
rushing the magic-user, and 3 heading for the cleric. The fighters are
pulled down, as is the magic-user, but the cleric avoids their grasp. The
illusionist begins casting another spell, one which requires no verbal
component; he does not hear the thief behind him. It is now the party's
turn in the round. The cleric smites 1 of the onrushing orcs and kills it, and
the thief stabs the illusionist from behind with his sword, killing him; the
fighters and magic-user are held fast by orcs, so they can do nothing.
Round 2 is over.
The initiative roll in the
third round goes to the party. The cleric kills
another orc, while the thief rushes at the orcs holding the nearest fighter. It
is now the orcs' turn, and as their leader is dead and they still face 2
powerful opponents, they will check morale. It is probable that they will
kill the pinned characters with dagger thrusts if their morale does not
break, or that they will release the pinned characters and run away if their
morale is bad.
|Saving Throw||Armor Class||First Strike||Weapon Factors||Monster Attack Damage|
|Attack and Saving Throw Matrices||-||Combat||-||PH|
Most magical combat and breath
weapons do not require the attacker to
determine if the weapon hits, but the target creatures are allowed saving
throws to see if they avoided the attack or at least partially negated it.
Other attacks require a "to hit" dice roll by the attackers, ond damage is
always scored if the hit is made. A further saving throw might be required
if the hit scored has other possible effects such as death due to poison,
parolyzation, etc. Whether or not a hit is scored depends on the power of
the attacker and the AC of the defender. Each of these topics is
The chance to avoid or partially
negate magical and breath attack forms is
known as the save. (Note that magic items and even normal items and
weapons must be saved for due to such attacks, falls or blows.
Consider the fate of a cloak when exposed to dragon fire,
a suit of magic armor struck by a lightning bolt,
or a magic hammer flying through a cone of cold prior to striking its target.)
Your DM has tables which show the saving throw scores for these attack forms,
by class of character, by level of experience in class.
These base numbers are modified by the power of the attack,
and by magical protections and character class and race.
Question: Does one
saving throw, apply to multiple attacks
(e.g. If three ghouls hit one character simultaneously are
three saves necessary to negate paralyzation?)?
Answer: The act of
rolling a saving throw is the end result of the
concept that there is a chance for an occurrence to not adversely influ-
ence a character for one reason or another. In the case of three ghouls
making paralyzation attacks, there are three separate chances to be in-
fluenced by the magic of the ghouls and thus a need for three separ-
ate saving throws. Just because a character is lucky enough to resist
the influence of two ghouls does not mean that the luck he has will or
will not run out with that third attack. —J. Ward, W. Niebling
The type of armor worn, the
inclusion of a shield, magical factors, and dexterity are inclusions in
The size ratio is also important at times, i.e. a dwarf adds 4 factors to his armor class if his opponent is a giant.
For example, splint mail is armor class 4, and if a shield is added the armor class becomes 3,
but suppose it is a magical + 1 shield; then armor class becomes 2.
Now assume that the character has a displacer cloak, so the armor class becomes 0, and furthermore,
because the character has a 16 dexterity, a final bonus of +2 is given,
and the armor class of this character is -2. If the character is a dwarf, a giant attempting to hit him or her would have to hit AC -6, because of the size differential penalty.
Now let us take this character through a few attacks. First the dwarf is engaged in melee against a band of 7 hobgoblins.
His shield bonus is good only against a maximum of 3 opponents, so 4 hobgoblins would attack at armor class 0.
Furthermore, as the dwarf can only see and react to opponents before him,
these same 4 hobgoblins would also attack the dwarf without the latter getting dexterity bonuses,
so their attacks would be against armor class 2.
Similarly, if giants hurled boulders at the dwarf,
rather than struck at him with their weapons,
his dexterity and size bonuses would not accrue to him, so instead of AC -6, the boulders would attack a target with AC 0.
Question: I have a
who has bracers of defense
armor class 2,
a +2 protection ring and a dexterity of 16 giving
him the armor class of -2. This is wonderful, but the fighters
want to hide behind me and use me as a shield because of my
great armor class. I don’t think this is fair. They say they can
shoot arrows around me and we will all be safe. They also say
that since I have the best armor class I should be out in front.
The DM is no help, they just bully him. What can I do?
Answer: The first
thing you can do is stand up for your rights. Your
armor class is not due to the armor you wear, but your ability to dodge
blows and missiles. They can be hit by what you have just dodged. Also
tell them they are cowards and have no right to call themselves fighters!
I would not go adventuring with a group of people who used a
magic-user for a shield. That is disgusting. They should be thankful you
have such a good armor class. It means that you, being the weakest in
hit points, won’t be getting hit as often and the party won’t greatly risk
losing their most powerful character, their spell-caster. Tell your fighters
to wise up. If they lose their magic-user, they have lost their most potent
Tell your DM not to let them bully him around. His word is final,
The 1 minute melee round
assumes much activity -- rushes, retreats, feints, parries, checks, and
Once during this period each combatant
has the opportunity to get a real blow in. Usually this is indicated by
initiative, but sometimes other circumstances will prevail. High level fighters get multiple blows per round,
so they will usually strike first and last in a round. Slowed creatures always strike last.
Hasted/speeded creatures strike first.
A solid formation of creatures with long weapons will strike opponents with shorter weapons first,
a rushing opponent will be struck first by a pole arm/spear set in its path.
Your DM will adjudicate such matters with common sense.
When important single combats occur,
then dexterities and weapons factors will be used to determine the order and number of strikes in a round. <note the reference to DEX>
You have already seen information
regarding the damage each type of weapon does,
how heavy each is, how long and how much space each needs, and each weapon's relative speed factor.
The some charts also give relative efficiency against armor types.
Your referee will use these factors in determination of melee combats by relating them to his Attack Matrices.
Monster Attack Damage:
with weapons will generally attack much as characters do.
Those with natural weaponry such as claws, talons, teeth, fangs, tusks, horns, etc.
will use the matrix for monster attacks.
There are exceptions to both cases.
Attack and Saving Throw Matrices:
Your DM has matrices for
each class of character by level groups,
showing the scores required to hit the various sorts of armor and armor classifications. <x>
Normal men such as men-at-arms are always considered at level 0.
Monsters are classed by their HD.
All creatures use the same
saving throw matrices; the modifier is relative class, i.e. fighter,
Items save on a special matrix.
3) Why weren't any combat rules, saves, to-hit, etc.. included in the player's handbook?
3) Players should be concentrating on enacting the role of their in-game persona.
not looking at charts and tables to study probabilities.
The game form is about that, not combat simulation
<nice image, but Hackmaster combat (with it's detailed crit charts) might not be really like abstract AD&D combat. perhaps save the image (Otus), and, use it elsewhere.>
<Gary's comment is VERY
IMPORTANT, and, it is the basis for one of my biggest criticisms of the
site. Heavy sage fees, indeed! - Pres>