Number of Opponents Per Figure
Special Types of Attacks
Flank Attacks
Rear Attacks
Stunned, Prone, or Motionless Opponents
Magically Sleeping or Held Opponents
Special Types of Attacks
Invisible Opponents
Important Note Regarding "To Hit" Adjustments
Who Attacks Whom
Meleeing An Opponent Spell Caster
Attacks With Two Weapons
Breaking Off  From Melee
Monk's Open Hand Melee
Actions During Combat And Similar Time-Important Situations
Example of Melee

The term mêlée includes striking with bodily weapons such as teeth, fangs, tusks, tushes, claws, nails, talons, paws, etc.
It also includes striking with various objects and weapons.
The COMBAT TABLES are used for determination of hits, and the amount of damage scored is given in either the
MM or the PH (for weapons). It also
While combat includes melee, melee does not include such facets of
combat as missile fire, spell casting, etc. In general, the procedure
followed in melee is explained under ENCOUNTERS, COMBAT, AND INITIATIVE or

Special considerations are given here.

Number Of Opponents Per Figure:
Physical size and space will dictate limitation upon the number of opponents
able to engage a single figure in melee.
If Official AD&D minis are used to represent the <a link to a full & compleat list of AD&D minis should be given, here>
creatures involved in a mêlée, then these miniatures will dictate the
number of opponents which can be involved. Beware of using other
fantasy miniature figures, as most of them are not designed to the specific
scale and do not conform to the standards of the MM (or
even necessarily conform to 25mm scale!). In other cases USE the following
rule of thumb:

1. If the single figure is size S, 4 size M or 2 size L figures are all that can
attack it under optimum conditions during any single round.
6 size S figures can attack it, however, space permitting.

2. If the single figure is size M,
it can be attacked by a max. of 8 size S opponents, 6 size M, or 4 size L.

3. If the single figure is size L, a max. of 12 size S, 8 size M, or 6 size L
figures can engage it at one time.

Modifiers are impossible to detail fully, as they include the physical circumstances
prevailing at the time. It is obvious that a figure in a narrow
passage or in a corner can be attacked only from a limited front. Similarly,
the shape of the single figure and the attackers will be a factor, as a giant snake has more body space subiect to attack than does a giant, unless the
attackers are able to fly or otherwise attack the entire vertical surface of
the giant. Any long-bodied creature has more area open to attack, and
wide-bodied creatures, or those which employ some natural body
weaponry which requires contact with the opponent, will be more
restricted with respect to the number of attackers possible, viz. how many
constrictor snakes can effectively attack an opponent? Two basic grid
systems are shown below, one with hexagons, one with squares. These
grids demonstrate how multiple opponents engage a single figure. (See
also Flank And Rear Attacks, hereafter.)

To determine the #number# of opponents which can attack the single
defender, use squares or hexes of one inch per face for 25mm scale, or
you may simply view the illustrations used above and mentally visualize
the situation. For example, in the case of a human being attacked by giant rats,
2 of the attackers would certainly be able to fit into each hexagon (if
normal rats were attacking, 4 per hex) so 6 would attack frontally, 4 from
flank positions, and 2 from the rear. If these same giant rats were attacking
a centaur. for instance, the number of flank attacks would certainly be increased
to allow 2 more hexes (4 more attackers gaining flank attack advantage).

Special Types Of Attacks:

Flank Attacks:

All flank attacks negate any defender AC addition for shield.
Attacks against a rear flank, where the opponent is virtually unable to view the attackers, negate DEX AC bonus.

Rear Attacks:

Opponents attacking from the rear gain a +2 to hit,
negate any consideration for shield,
and also negate any consideration for DEX.

Stunned, Prone or Motionless Opponents:

Treat all such opponents as if being attacked from the rear,
but in this case the ”to hit” bonus is +4 rather than +2.

Magically Sleeping || Held Opponents:

If a general melee is in progress,
and the attacker IS subiect to enemy actions, then these opponents are
automatically struck by any attack to which they would normally be
subject, and the max. damage possible according to the weapon type
is inflicted each time such an opponent is so attacked. The # of
attacks or attack routines possible against such an opponent is #twice# the
number normally allowed in a round. Otherwise, such opponents may be
automatically slain, or bound as appropriate to materials at hand and size,
at a rate of one per round. Note that this does not include normally sleeping

Q: The DMG gives a procedure on
page 70 for attacking magically
sleeping opponents, but what about
normally sleeping opponents?

A: The to-hit bonus vs. normally sleeping
opponents is +4.

Whoa, and I have to think hard about those questions.
Generally, I just DMed on the fly, so to speak, and didn't use the rules books except for random encounters, monster stats, and treasure.
when hand-to-hand fighting occurred I usually did that seat-of-the-pants rules--asking what the character was doing and deciding on the chance for success based on the circumstances.
I did not use psionics, generally ignored weapons vs. armor type and weapon SPEED.
When an opponent was helpless I always allowed an immediate kill if of lower level; otherwise a successful hit killed, a "miss" doing double damage anyway.
That's about all I can think of 


Invisible Opponents +

Important Note Regarding “To Hit” Adjustments:
Certain spells such as curse, prayer, and protection from evil adjust the
chance “to hit” of either the attack or the defender or both.
Such changes MUST be made to the AC of the figure concerned,
not to the dice score rolled in ottocking.
An inspection of the combat tables will show that the dice roll progression will make some opponents hit proof if the dice rolls are adjusted downwards rather than the armor class being moved upwards.
(At some point, the upwards AC adjustment could also make such opponents virtually invulnerable, but this is less
likely and not necessarily undesirable.)
Example: A reverse bless, a curse, is CAST upon opponents.
Therefore, the effective armor class of the side which cast the spell will be raised by one category,
so that a figure normally of armor class 4 will be treated as 3, 3 as 2, etc.
By so doing it is still possible for opponents to roll natural 20s and thus score hits.

Who Attacks Whom:
As with missile fire, it is generally not possible to select a specific opponent in a mass mêlée.
* If this is the case,
        simply USE some random # generation to find out which attacks are upon which opponents, remembering that only a certain number of attacks can usually be made upon one opponent.
* If characters or similar intelligent creatures are able to single out an opponent or opponents,
        then the concerned figures will remain locked in melee until one side is dead or opts to attempt to break off the combat.
* If there are unengaged opponents,
        they will MOVE to melee the unengaged enemy.
* If the now-unengaged figures desire to assist others of their party,
        they will have to proceed to the AREA in which their fellows are engaged, using the movement rates already expressed.

Meleeing An Opponent Spell Caster:
If an opponent spell caster attempting a spell is in melee, and is attacked
by weapon or punched, grappled, or overborne, there is a likelihood of
the opponent not being able to CAST the spell. In the case of hits with
weopons or successful striking with a punch, the spell caster will absolutely
be prevented from completion of the spell (and furthermore the entire
spell is LOST). In the case of grappling or overbearing, the spell caster will
absolutely be prevented from spell completion if the attack form is
successful, and the spell is wasted in this case also. Both cases assume the
attack occurring prior to completion of the spell, of course.


Attacks With Two Weapons:

Characters normally using a single weapon may choose to USE one in each hand (possibly discarding the option of using a shield).
The second weapon must be either a dagger || hand axe.
Employment of a second weapon is always at a penalty.
The use of a second weapon causes the character to attack with his or her primary weapon at -2 and the secondary weapon at -4.
If the user’s DEX is below 6, the Reaction/Attacking Adjustment penalties shown in the PH are added to EACH weapon attack.
If the user’s DEX is above 15, there is a downward adjustment in the weapon penalties as shown,
although this never gives a positive (bonus) rating to such attacks,
so that at 16 DEX the secondary/primary penalty is -3/-1, at 17-2/0, andat 18-1/0. <inverse these for clarity>

The secondary weapon does not act as a shield or parrying device in any event.

Q: I seem to recall some rule about a
penalty when a character makes
more than one attack in a round. Is
there such a rule?

A: We can refer to page 70 of the DMG for
this answer. The reference states that a
character may use a second weapon instead
of a shield, provided that the second
weapon is a dagger or hand axe. Otherwise,
there is no penalty for multiple

Q: What are the rules for Oriental
characters fighting with a weapon
in each hand? What is the limit of
the kensai two-weapon ability? Obviously,
a kensai can't use two
katanas or can he?

A: The rules are the same as those for non-
Oriental characters; see the 1st Edition
DMG (page 70) or the 2nd Edition Player’s
Handbook (page 96). Any Oriental weapon
that is the equivalent of a dagger or hand
axe can be used as a second weapon (see
Oriental Adventures, table 48, page 41). A
kensai's second weapon must be a dagger
or hand axe (or an equivalent).

Q: Can a character with high dexterity
spend extra slots on fighting
with two weapons and avoid the
two-weapon penalty?

A: No. Only kensai of 7th level and above
have the ability to fight with two weapons
at no penalty.

<Lareth (S18, D17) wields a horseman's mace and staff in T1, area 35>
<A jackalwere wields a mace and a staff in T3, area 310>

BTW you may have missed my question on fighters of high level getting 2 attacks in 1E. Sorry if this is in the wrong forum...its 1 or 2 pages back.
Basically the question was, if a fighter of high enough level attacks 2 times in a single round, and that fighter is using a weapon in each hand, could that fighter attack 4 times (or does this only apply to 1 hand).

Thanks in advance!

PS Have a great new year Gary, and I'm looking out for your CZ C&C stuff as well as the LA reprints.

Indeed I did miss it. Sorry:(

I would say that the two-attack ability applied only to the main-hand weapon,
so a fighter able to attack once with each hand would gain a second attack with his primary-hand weapon only,
thus three attacke that round.


Bombay wrote:
Hey Gary,

I was looking through ToEE and see that Lareth is allowed to dual weild Staff and Mace.
I also remember in D3 their being a drow priestest doing much the same.

How did they go about getting this special ability?
Using a wish perhaps to allow them to dual weild?
And what kind of pentalties would they have.


As I have not officially had anything to do with AD&D since 1985, this question is better put to WotC, the owners of the OP.

Otherwise, whatever conclusions you arrive at in this matter are as valid as mine--more so, clearly, as I assume you are DMing an AD&D campaign.

Factors I would consider are ambidexterity, a Str of at least 15, and Dex of 17 or higher.
The character would have to have training as a fighter, of course.
Penalties for use of two weapons are already noted in the rules, no?


Actually, there is very little revealed about Lareth.

Assuredly I would allow two weapons such as longswords to be used by a strong and dexterous character, just as in the Asian martial arts films 
Ever see Seven Blows of the Dragon? Lots of fun.
Martial arts training equals a fighter's in this regard.


Bombay wrote:
Very interesting, I was reading one of the dragon magazines where it mentioned allowing a short sword in the off hand.

Thanks for the insights, and I will have to check out that movie.

In it there is a hefty monk that weilds two great maces, another chap with paired axes,

Two longswords are commonly employed in both Western and Eastern martial arts.


Breaking Off From Melee:
At such time as any creature decides,
it can break off the engagement and flee the melee.
To do so, however, allows the opponent a free attack or attack routine.
This attack is calculated as if it were a rear attack upon a stunned opponent.
When this attack is completed,
the retiring/fleeing party may move away at full movement rate,
and unless the opponent pursues and is able to MOVE at a higher rate of SPEED,
the melee is ended and the situation becomes one of encounter avoidance.

Fighting Retreat: A character may retreat backward
out of combat, maintaining his or her defence, although
the attacker may follower if not otherwise engaged. It is
possible to parry while doing so, but not to attack. This
manoeuvre may be used to "switch places" with another
party member who in in combat, the first party member
joining battle with the enemy to prevent the enemy's
pursuit while the second character makes a fighting
retreat. - OSRIC, page 121
<is this covered in the DMG?>

Q: Is it possible for a character to
leave a melee without exposing his

A: The DM might allow a character to back
out of a melee at half speed so that the
opponent's free attack would be frontal.
Some campaigns allow a friendly character
to cover for a retreating character so
that the extra attack is resolved normally
against the the character who is covering.

Monks’ Open Hand Melee:
Despite their training and capabilities,’ monks are not supermen or superwomen.
The PH states that they are able to stun or kill
opponents with open hand attacks, and this is so; but such opponents are
limited in general to man-size or smaller. This is indicated below:


Maximum Height: 6’6’’
Maximum Weight: 300#

For each level above the 1st, the monk will gain additional stunning/killing
ability at the rate of 2 inches of height and 50 pounds of opponent
weight per level of experience gained. Thus:
Monk's Level Opponent 
Maximum Height
Maximum Weight
2nd 6‘ 8” 350#
3rd 6’ 10” 400#
4th 7’ 450#
5th 7’ 2” 500#
6th 7’ 4” 550#
7th 7’ 6” 600#
8th 7’ 8” 650#
9th 7’ l0” 700#
loth 8’ 750#
11th 8‘ 2” 800#
12th 8’ 4“ 850#
13th 8’ 6” 900#
14th 8’ 8" 950#
15th 8 ’ 10“ 1,000#
16th 9’ 1,050#
17th 9’ 2” 1,100#

At the upper levels (13th and above) you may wish to allow a variation upwards of some considerable height and weight --
perhaps an additional 1” to 2“ and 50# per level so as to allow some chance versus the larger and heavier creatures such as hill giants.

Important: Monks' stunning/killing ability can only apply to living things.
Undead cannot be affected
(and on open hand hit on an undead creature could be very undesirable from the monk's standpoint in any event --
especially if the creature causes damage by touch, for the monk touching the undead creature then is the same as the reverse). Golems and dopplegangers cannot be affected.
Damage from open hand attacks still accrues if the monster can be so hit otherwise.

Actions During Combat And Similar Time-Important Situations:

The activity of PCs and player character-directed creatures must be stated precisely and without delay at'the start of each melee round or before the appropriate divisions of other situations where exact activity must be known.
If you are a stickler, you may require all participants to write their actions on paper.
Conversation regarding such activities is the same as if player characters were talking aloud, of course.

DELAY in deciding what is to be done should be noted,
as such hesitation will basically mean that the individual is not doing anything whatsoever during the period,
but he or she is simply standing by and dithering, trying to arrive at a decision as to what should be done.
Considering the melee round as 1 full minute, actually time a participant,
and you will see what is meant ...
In a similar vein, some players will state that they are going to do several actions,
which, if allowed, would be likely to occupy their time for many rounds.
For example: "I'll hurl oil at the monster,
ignite it, drink my potion of invisibility,
sneak up behind it,
and then stab it in the back!"
How ambitious indeed.
Where is the oil?
In a pouch, of course, so that will take at least 1, possibly 2 segments to locate and hurl.
If the potion is in the charocter's back pack, 3 or 4 segments will be taken up just finding it,
and another 1 segment will be required to consume its contents.
Now comes the tricky part, sneaking up.
Assuming that the potion has taken effect,
and that our dauntless character has managed to transfer his or her weapon back to his or her hand
(for certainly all the other activity required the character to at least put the weapon in the off hand),
he or she is now ready to creep around the fringe of the combat and steal up behind the foe to smite it in the back.
If the space is not too crowded
(remember, his or her friends can't see the invisible character either)
and the monster not too far away, the time should only amount to about a round or so.
Therefore, the character's actions will fill something over two complete rounds.

As DM, simply note these actions, and begin them accordingly.
Then, when the player starts to give instructions about additional activity,
simply remind him or her that he or she is already engaged in the former course,
and that you will tell him or her when that is finished and new instructions are in order.
If the player then changes plans, take the character from its current state and location accordingly.

Q: How long does it take to draw a

A: Any weapon can be drawn in one segment
(this effectively adds one segment to
the weapon?s speed factor). Common
sense, however, dictates that a character
who draws a weapon during a melee will
lose initiative to a character who has already
drawn his weapon, unless the character
with the drawn weapon must use
the segment that is required for the draw
in order to close to melee range. Note that
sheathing a weapon takes a bit longer;
changing weapons carefully takes a full
round (see Oriental Adventures, page 54).

Example of Melee +

Or was it your intention that a magic user (or any individual) within a tight group can only be singled out with hand held weapons? Oh, and does the official rule on this differ from your house rule?

Thanks again Master G!

If there is a rule in the book, than it is official...and alterable by the DM.
Again, all of that is up to the DM as far as I am concerned.
I do allow PCs to single out their opponents, move to fight them--if they can get there.
Other opponents might block their path.

Again, AD&D is not a combat simulator, so such things are really matters for the DM to manage as he finds best for his campaign and group.


Hi Styre,

I meant just what I said in regards to PCs.
Two attacks due to increase in level was meant to apply to the main weapon hand for such characters.

What is said in the DMG doesn't contradict that, as when an additional attack is added the PC would then have four attacks using two hands.
That is, the capacity of attacking twice in one round, once with each hand, is already a bonus.


Hello again Gary,

I noticed that in CHAINMAL/OD&D DAYS you had a rule for "pushbacks" in certain hits. Did you allow for this in AD&D?...


The short answer is no, as the D&D game is not a military miniatures simulation nor does one figure in it represent 20 men