Saturday, 18 April 2015

An example of Combat

To clarify my new combat system, let's take our sample PC, Morwulf:

Sword+Shield: P15/A5/K4;
7/10/13/16 (19);
Mail & Steel Cap:5

And pit him against a Kobold:

Sword: P14/A3/K0;
4/7/9/12 (14);
Leather: 2

(There's actually six kobolds, and they're going to come round the corner and fight him one at a time, but I'm not telling Morwulf that).

I'll play this by the book, with no fudging*, so I've no idea whether Morwulf will survive or not. I'm rooting for him (I hope you are).

For clarity I've put a prefix before any numbers so you see where they came from, R=Roll, A=Attack bonus, K=Kill bonus, W=Wound bonus.


Round 1
Initiative: Morwulf 6, Kobold 1.
Morwulf attacks: Rolls 1+3 = 4. Attack = R4+A5 = 9. Miss (vs 14).
Kobold attacks: Rolls 3+3 = 6. Attack = R6+A3 = 9. Miss (vs 15).

Round 2
Initiative: Morwulf 4, Kobold 1.
Morwulf attacks: Rolls 7+2 = 9. Attack = R9+A5 = 14. Hit vs 14! Rolls 5+6 = 11. Kill = R11+K4 = 15. Incapacitated.

One Kobold down. Now home with the loot. Hang on, what's that?


A second Kobold walks round the corner...

Round 1
Initiative: Morwulf 3, Kobold 6.
Kobold attacks: Rolls 7+5 = 12. Attack = R12+A3 = 15. Hit vs 15! Rolls 7+5=12. Kill = R12+K0 = 12. Wound 2.
Morwulf attacks: Rolls 6+7 = 13. Attack = R13+A5 = 18. Hit vs 14! Rolls 9+7=16. Kill = R16+K4 = 20. Incapacitated.

Morwulf is licking his wounds, but he's also looting a second body. Oops - perhaps he should have scarpered...


A third Kobold walks round the corner... Morwulf is still wounded.

Round 1
Initiative: Morwulf 3, Kobold 5.
Kobold attacks: Rolls 3+1 = 4. Attack = R4+A3+W2 = 9. Miss vs 15!
Morwulf attacks: Rolls 5+5 = 10. Attack = R10+A5 = 15. Hit vs 14! Rolls 0+5 => (2+4)+5 = 11. Kill = R11+K4 = 15. Incapacitated.

Another Kobold felled with a one shot. Morwulf knows he should leave, but there's a pouch hanging round that Kobold's neck just inviting him to...


A fourth Kobold walks round the corner... Morwulf is still wounded.

Round 1
Initiative: Morwulf 4, Kobold 6.
Kobold attacks: Rolls 4+5 = 9. Attack = R9+A3+W2 = 14. Miss vs 15!
Morwulf attacks: Rolls 3+7 = 10. Attack = R10+A5 = 15. Hit vs 14! Rolls 0+9 => (0+4)+9 => (9+8)+4+9 = 30. Kill = 30+4 = 34. Decapitated! (Kill the monster by 10 and I'll let you narrate a gory demise).

Despite his fantastic blow, Morwulf scarpers. He runs into the next room and finds...


A fifth kobold standing in the room (it's a Quantum Kobold). Morwulf is still wounded.

Round 1
Initiative: Morwulf 3, Kobold 3.
Simulltaneous resolution...
Kobold attacks: Rolls 5+6 = 11. Attack = R11+A3+W2 = 16. Hit vs 15! Rolls 2+9 = 11. Kill = R11+K0+W2 = 13. Wound 3 for total of W5. Poor Morwullf.
Morwulf attacks: Rolls 8+8 = 16. Attack = R16+A5 = 21. Hit vs 14! Rolls 5+2 = 7. Kill = R7+K4 = 11. Wound 3. Yay Morwulf!

Round 2
Initiative: Morwulf 2, Kobold 2.
Simulltaneous resolution...
Kobold attacks: Rolls 5+4 = 9. Attack = R9+A3+W5 = 17. Hit vs 15! Rolls 8+3 = 11. Kill = R11+K0+W5 = 16. Wound 4, for a total of W9. Morwulf is not looking too happy.
Morwulf attacks: Rolls 2+1 = 3. Attack = R3+A5+W3 = 11. Miss vs 14!

Round 3
Initiative: Morwulf 5, Kobold 6.
Kobold attacks: Rolls 2+2 = 4. Attack = R4+A3+W9 = 16. Hit vs 15! Rolls 2+2 = 4. Kill = R4+K0+W9 = 13. Wound 3, for a total of W12. Morwulf is looking at the DM in an accusatory fashion.
Morwulf attacks: Rolls 0+5 => (5+0)+5 => 5+(6+0)+5 => 5+6+(6+1)+5=23. Attack = R23+A5+W3 = 31. Hit vs 14! Hits by more than 10 so he gets an extra kill dice (No, I haven't mentioned that rule before). Rolls 6+9+2 = 17. Kill = R17+K5+W3 = 25. Another dead Kobold.

Morwulf limps for the exit, rounding the last corner what should he find standing between him and the exit?


A sixth Kobold guards the exit. Morwulf will not play with this duplicitous DM again. It's the last one, but Morwulf had better win initiative and one-shot it or it's curtains for Morwulf - he's wounded 12 and can barely stand.

Round 1
Initiative: Morwulf 1, Kobold 3.
Kobold attacks: Rolls 3+6 = 9. Attack = R9+A3+W12 = 24. Hit vs 15!. Not enough for an extra kill dice though. Rolls 1+4 = 5. Kill = R5+K0+W12 = 17. Morwulf can't believe his luck. Wound 4 for total of W16!!!
Morwulf attacks: Rolls 0+5 => (7+3)+5=15. Attack = R15+K5 = 20. Hit vs 14! Rolls 5+9 = 14. Kill = R14+K4 = 18. Dead kobold #6.

Against all the odds Morwulf limps out of the dungeon alive! It would have gone better if he'd healed himself between battles, but sadly for him I haven't posted those rules yet.

Counting his loot he's got 15sp. He's also killed 6 Kobolds at 8xp a shot, so 8*6+15 = 63xp, which he'll find out later gives him 6 skill points to spend, but only when I post those rules next month ;-)

*if I fudge Raven Crowking will have my guts for garters.


  1. Surely you've considered streamlining this so that you only roll once-per-attack, adding A to-hit and K to-hurt to the same roll, right? Care to speak as to why you (might've) rejected that? It seems to me in a larger fight having to roll 4d10 for every swing would get old fast...

    1. You're right Mujadaddy, that's an alternative I tried and rejected. You have to tweak the numbers a bit, but effectively you combine attack & kill, and add parry onto your wound categories, and have a lower "hit but not wounded" category.
      The main reason I dismissed this is for tension. If it's a single roll then it's a single roll which can result in death, which isn't very dramatic. With two rolls, when you hit something everyone pays attention to that second roll. There's a moment of tension, as that roll is life or death. When a monster hits someone and then rolls snake eyes for the Kill roll there's laughter. If you roll the kill but miss by 1 then there's a sense of relief that your armour saved you. When you hit by more than 10 and get a third die on the kill roll every eye's on the kill roll.
      On the question of speed, when you roll 2d10 it's a snap to add them as they're both one digit numbers. Adding double digit numbers is slow, e.g. if they were 2d20, and subtracting numbers is slower. (Rolemaster manages to combine double digit arithmetic with subtractions which is a double whammy!).
      The other day the five PCs took on about twenty Orcs, so it was a big battle, and it went quite smoothly.

    2. I suppose I can't argue with dramatic tension :)

  2. Rolemaster combat was my favorite, but too slow.

    1. I have a large selection of Rolemaster (and almost everything ever released for MERP), and you can certainly see some influences on this combat system. For example, Rolemaster uses an open dice system, you can potentially kill anyone in a single blow, it’s offensive bonus versus defensive bonus, armour acts as a form of damage reduction, you often roll to hit and then a second roll on a critical table to see what the wound is, and wounds are often “foe is at -20%”. As you say it is unfortunately very slow – as I said above, adding 2 digit numbers is slow and subtraction is slow, so adding OB and taking off DB was slow, then you had to find the table, then you did the look up of the result, then this was repeated for the critical table, and tracking the wounds was tricky. I’ve been considering how this flavour could be added to my system, thinking along the lines of a roll for what an incapacitated wound is, and then through the comments sections of this site I’ve found Lloyd Neill’s blog devoted to the subject.