WARNING: Outdated Rules
The rules in this section have become obsolete following the recent rules overhaul. The most current version of the rules are those included in the Core Rules section of this website.
The simplest form of combat involves two people, standing bare-chested and face to face, trying to punch one another with their fists. This form of unarmed combat is called Brawling, and since it’s simple, it’s a good place to begin explaining the rules of combat.
Declaring an Attack
When one character tries to hit another, he declares an Attack, which is resolved as a special kind of Opposed Attempt. The Instigator of the Attack is the called the Attacker; the Target of the Attempt is the Defender. Each character will make a Check roll in the Opposed Attempt and apply any Adjustments; then the totals will be compared. The Attacker’s Check roll is commonly called the Attack roll, while the Defender’s Check is usually called his Defense roll. In unarmed combat, the Attack roll is a Brawn Check, while the Defense roll is a Finesse Check. If the Attack roll is equal to or higher than the Defense roll, the Attack hits; if the Defense roll is higher, the Attack is misses.
When an Attack hits, the Attacker then rolls an Effect die to determine how much damage he does to the Defender. When striking without a weapon, the Attacker does damage equal to one half of the amount rolled on his Brawn Effect die, rounded up. That amount is then subtracted from the Defender’s current Hit Point total.
For example, Lunk finds himself squared off against an even bigger, hairier barbarian, Norg, at the annual Barbarian Grog-Swill and Noggin-Thump, filled with a barley-fueled urge to rearrange Norg’s facial features. Lunk attempts to punch Norg in the snoot; whether he manages to do so will be determined as an Opposed Attempt to hit. As the Attacker, Lunk rolls his Brawn Check Dice (2d10-1, for his Brawn of 9), for a net total of 14. As the Defender, Norg rolls his Finesse Check Dice; Norg has Finesse 7, so he’s rolling 2d8-1. Norg throws a total of 8, far less than Lunk’s 14, so the attack hits. Lunk rolls his Brawn Effect die (1d8+1) to determine how much damage Norg takes. Lunk rolls a 6+1, or 7, but since Lunk hit Norg with a fist instead of a weapon, the damage is halved before it is deducted from Norg’s Hit Points. Half of 7 is 3.5, which rounds up to 4, so Norg must subtract 4 from his Hit Point total. Since this was just the first punch, and Norg started with 13 HP, we can see that this fight is far from over.
Adjusting attack rolls
Any of the rolls involved in an attack—either character’s Check roll, as well as the Effect roll for damage—may be Adjusted. The Attack roll may be Adjusted by the kind and quality of the weapon the Attacker is using, the attack action chosen, magical spells cast on or against the Attacker, or a million other things. The Defense roll may be adjusted by how many opponents are attacking the Defender at once, the encumbrance of his equipment and loot, spells cast upon him, or—once again—a million other factors. The amount of damage determined by the Effect roll may also be adjusted by the quality of the weapon used in the attack, any armor the defender is wearing, magical properties of the weapon, armor, or other items employed by either combatant, or even a special resistance or vulnerability the Defender possesses to the particular type of attack used against him…just to name a few possibilities.
As an example, let’s consider Norg’s response to Lunk’s punch. Norg intends to give as good as he got, so he’s punching Lunk back. Norg’s unarmed Attack roll calls for Brawn Check Dice, while Lunk’s Defense roll uses his Finesse Check Dice. Norg (Brawn 10—he’s really big) throws a 13 on his 2d10 Brawn Check dice, and Lunk (Finesse 6) rolls a 9. Ordinarily, this would be a definite hit for Norg on Lunk, but there are Adjustments to be considered.
First off, both combatants are a bit innebri—inheb—inebhre—inebbree—err, drunk, so they’re taking a -2 on their Check rolls. That knocks Norg’s Check roll down to an 11, and Lunk’s to 7, so Norg still hits. Norg doesn’t know it, but Lunk is secretly wearing a Ring of Protection, which adds one to his Defense roll, bringing it back up to an 8—slightly less embarrassing, but still not good enough to keep Lunk’s face intact. Norg’s attack Attempt succeeds, 11 to 8, so he pulls out his Brawn Effect die, a single d10, to do damage. Norg rolls an 8, which is halved to 4 because this is unarmed combat. Normally, Lunk would have to subtract 4 from his 12 Hit Points, but that Ring of Protection also reduces incoming damage by 1; Lunk subtracts 1 for the ring, and then lowers his Hit Points by a net of 3.