General Combat

Combat AD&D’s 1 minute combat round is unrealistic for traditional Sword & Sorcery games, but it outrageously so for modern fire arms! To remedy this there are some changes, starting with Time and Initiative rolls. Time in Victorian Dreadful One Hour = 6 Turns or 60 minutes
One Turn = 10 minutes (there are 6 turns in an hour)
One Minute = 6 Segments or 60 seconds
One Segment = 10 Seconds
One Standard Round = 3 Segments or 30 seconds (There are 2 rounds in a minute)
One Combat Round = 10 Seconds  (Initiative is rolled on a D10

ACTION TYPES An action’s type essentially tells you how long the action takes to perform (within the framework of the 10-second Combat Round) and how movement is treated. There are four types of actions: Standard Actions, Move Actions, Full-Round Actions, and Free Actions. In a normal Standard Round, you can perform a standard action AND a move action, OR you can perform a full-round action. You can also perform one or more free actions. You can always take a move action in place of a standard action. See Table: ‘Actions in Combat‘ for other standard actions AND Spell Descriptions to determine casting time for a particular spell. NOTE: Magic is much slower and harder to perform in this world. In some situations (such as in a surprise round), you may be limited to taking only a single move action or standard action.

Standard Action: A standard action allows you to do something, most commonly make an attack.
Move Action: A move action allows you to move your speed or perform an action that takes a similar amount of time. See Table: Actions in Combat. You can take a move action in place of a standard action. If you move no actual distance in a round (commonly because you have swapped your move for one or more equivalent actions), you can take one 5-foot step either before, during, or after the action.
Full-Round Action: A full-round action consumes all your effort during a round. The only movement you can take during a full-round action is a 5-foot step before, during, or after the action. You can also perform free actions (see below). Some full-round actions do not allow you to take a 5-foot step. Some full-round actions can be taken as standard actions, but only in situations when you are limited to performing only a standard action during your round. The descriptions of specific actions, below, detail which actions allow this option.
Free Action: Free actions consume a very small amount of time and effort. You can perform one or more free actions while taking another action normally. However, there are reasonable limits on what you can really do for free.
Not an Action: Some activities are so minor that they are not even considered free actions. They literally don’t take any time at all to do and are considered an inherent part of doing something else.
Restricted Activity: In some situations, you may be unable to take a full round worth of actions. In such cases, you are restricted to taking only a single standard action or a single move action (plus free actions as normal). You can’t take a full-round action though you can start or complete a full-round action by using a standard action.
Spell Casting: Spell casting times as listed in the spell descriptions are interpreted by the times listed above. Instantaneous spells occur instantly. For spells with a casting time measured in segments, one segment is 10 seconds. A spell that takes 3 segments or less can possibly be cast during the current combat round, though this may be impacted by the Adept’s initiative roll. A longer spell may not take effect until a later combat round. If the Adept’s initiative started high then the actual casting may occur in a later segment or even a later round. If the spell’s description lists casting time measured in Rounds, then that is a 1 MINUTE round, not a combat round. Turns are still 10 minutes.
SPEED Your speed tells you how far you can move in a round and still do something, such as attack or cast a spell. Your speed depends mostly on your race, (in this game Human) age and what armor/weight you’re wearing or carrying. Adult humans have a speed of 30 feet (6 squares), or 20 feet (4 squares) in medium or heavy armor or carrying a load. Children (Usually under 12 years of age) have a speed of 20 feet (4 squares), or 15 feet (3 squares) when wearing medium or heavy armor or carrying a load. If you use two move actions in a round (sometimes called a “double move” action), you can move up to double your speed. If you spend the entire round to run all out, you can move up to quadruple your speed (or triple if you are in heavy armor).
Initiative Rolls EVERY character involved in combat will make an Initiative Roll. This is done with a d10. The point on the d10 represents a point in the upcoming Combat Round at which point the character may act. The lower the number rolled the earlier in the round the character may act. Dexterity can modify the Initiative roll. High DX allows the character to react more quickly, while low DX slows responses. Other events, such as Surprise and distractions can also affect Initiative.
Standard Modifiers to Initiative 

Specific Situation



Dexterity Adjustments +1 to +6 OR -1 to -4
Hasted -2
Slowed +2
On Higher Ground -1
Set to Receive a charge -2
Wading or slippery footing +2
Wading in deep water +4
Foreign Environment* +6
Hindered, (Tangled, Climbing, held) +3
Waiting (see p. 112 PHB) +1
Surprise (See Table)  

* Examples: Standing in quicksand, wet cement, briar patch, bonfire…..
Optional Modifiers to Initiative

Specific Situation


Attacking with weapon Weapon speed
Breath weapon +1
Casting a spell Casting time
Creature size (Monsters and characters attacking with natural weapons only)*
Tiny 0
Small 0
Medium 0
Large +1
Huge +3
Gargantuan +5
Innate spell ability +1
Magical Items**
Miscellaneous Magic +2
Potion*** +4
Ring 0
Rods +1
Scroll*** Casting time of spell
Staff +2
Wand (Normal spell casting) 0
Turning/Controling Undead 0

*This applies only to creatures fighting with natural weapons–claws, bites, kicks, punches, head butts, etc. Creatures using weaponry use the speed factor of the weapon, regardless of the creature’s size. **Use the initiative modifier listed unless the item description says otherwise. Note: Some Items are ‘always on’ and require no initiative roll to use. *** Presumes the potion or scroll is open and in hand.  If it needs to retrieved and uncorked or unrolled it is treated as a Move Action.

Surprise Modifiers to Initiative

Other Party is: Group’s Modifier  
Silenced -2
Invisible -4
Distinctive odor (smoke, powerful stench, etc.) +2
Every 10 members +1
Camouflaged -1 to -3
PC Party is:
Fleeing -2  
In poor light -1
In darkness -4
Panicked -2
Anticipating attack* +2
Suspicious* +2
Conditions are:
Rainy -1  
Heavy fog -2
Extremely still +2
* A party anticipates attack when they have good cause to suspect immediate danger and know the likely general direction of an attack. A suspicious party is one that has grounds to believe another group might try to make a hostile move against them.

Cover & Concealment Cover and Concealment DOES impact firearms as it does other missile weapons. Cover and Concealment Modifiers to Hit

Target is: Cover Concealment
25% hidden -2 -1
50% hidden -4 -2
75% hidden -7 -3
90% hidden -10 -4

Cover means hiding behind a solid, protective, object.  For example a brick wall.  Concealment means hiding, but not protected. For example, a shrubbery!

Combat Modifiers


Attack Roll Modifier

Attacker on higher ground


Defender invisible


Defender off-balance


Defender sleeping or held


Defender stunned or prone


Defender surprised


Rear attack


*If the defender is attacked during the course of a normal melee, the attack automatically hits and causes normal damage. If no other fighting is going on (i.e., all others have been slain or driven off), the defender can be slain automatically.

Melee Combat In Hand to Hand or Melee Combat, a trained Fighter may attack with a hand weapon TWICE in a Combat Round. The moment of the first attack is the Initiative roll. The moment for the second attack is calculated thus: If the Fighter has a Dexterity of 16, 17 or 18 the second attack is determined by SUBTRACTING the Reaction Adjustment from 10 Thus a DX16 Fighter will make his second attack in the 9th second. A DX17 in the 8th, a DX18 in the 7th.  If the Fighter does not have a Reaction Adjustment the second attack occurs in the 10th second. NOTE: The second attack can never happen before or at the same time as the first! If the fighter’s initiative roll causes his first attack to occur late in the round and there is no time remaining for the second attack, the fighter LOSES the second attack in that round BUT, AUTOMATICALLY gains his first attack of the NEXT round in the FIRST SECOND! All other Character classes, Adepts, Mystics, Rogues, etc attack with a hand weapon ONCE in a combat round, the segment of the attack determined by their initiative roll. Unless they are Fencers. (See Description.) Examples: A Fighter with a DX of 17 enters melee combat with a saber. The Initiative Roll (d10) is 4 -2= 2 the fighter’s first attack will occur on the 2nd segment of the round. His second attack will occur on the 8th segment of the round. An Adept is cornered and forced to fight with his sword cane. He has a DX of 17. His Initiative roll is 6 – 1 = 4 His ONLY attack will occur on the 5th segment of the round. NOTE: ALL Non Fighter classes (Adepts, Mystics, Mediums and Rogues) can only benefit a MAXIMUM of 1 (If DX is 16 or higher) on Reaction Adjustment, regardless if their DX is actually 17 or 18.

Attacks of Opportunity Attacks of opportunity occur when a threatened character or creature ignores the enemy next to it or turns its back on a foe. The threatening enemy gets to make an immediate melee attack (or sequence of attacks for monsters with multiple attacks) against the threatened creature. Attacks of opportunity cannot be performed with missile weapons. This is a free attack that does not take the place of any actions the threatening creature had already planned. A creature can’t make more than one attack of opportunity against a single opponent in the course of a combat round, but if several enemies leave themselves open, the creature can make one free attack against each one. There is a limit to the number of attacks of opportunity a single creature may make in one round. Fighters and monsters can make three attacks of opportunity plus one per five levels or Hit Dice. All other characters can make one attack of opportunity plus one per five levels. Surprised characters and monsters cannot make attacks of opportunity during the round in which they are surprised.

Employing Two Weapons If you wield a second weapon in your off hand, during Melee combat, you can get one extra attack per round with that weapon. You suffer a –6 penalty with your regular attack or attacks with your primary hand and a –10 penalty to the attack with your off hand when you fight this way. You can reduce these penalties in two ways: If your off-hand weapon is light, the penalties are reduced by 2 each. (An unarmed strike or punch is always considered light.) The Two-Weapon Fighting Skill (if successful) lessens the primary hand penalty by 2, and the off-hand penalty by 6. When you deal damage with a weapon in your off hand, you add only 1/2 your Strength bonus

Table: Two-Weapon Fighting Penalties
Circumstances Primary Hand Off Hand
Normal penalties 6 10
Off-hand weapon is light 4 8
Two-Weapon Fighting Skill 4 4
Off-hand weapon is light and Two-Weapon Fighting Skill 2 2

Damage effect

Normal ST Bonus 1/2 ST Bonus

DISARM As a melee attack, you may attempt to disarm your opponent. If you do so with a weapon, you knock the opponent’s weapon out of his hands and to the ground. If you attempt the disarm while unarmed, you end up with the weapon in your hand. If you’re attempting to disarm a melee weapon, follow the steps outlined here. If the item you are attempting to disarm isn’t a melee weapon the defender may still oppose you with an attack roll, but takes a penalty and can’t attempt to disarm you in return if your attempt fails.
Step 1: Attack of Opportunity. You provoke an attack of opportunity from the target you are trying to disarm. If the defender’s attack of opportunity deals any damage, your disarm attempt fails.
Step 2: Opposed Rolls. You and the defender make opposed attack rolls with your respective weapons. The wielder of a two-handed weapon on a disarm attempt gets a +4 bonus on this roll, and the wielder of a light weapon takes a –4 penalty. (An unarmed strike is considered a light weapon, so you always take a penalty when trying to disarm an opponent by using an unarmed strike.) If the combatants are of different sizes, the larger combatant gets a bonus on the attack roll of +4 per difference in size category. If the targeted item isn’t a melee weapon, the defender takes a –4 penalty on the roll.
Step 3: Consequences. If you beat the defender, the defender is disarmed. If you attempted the disarm action unarmed, you now have the weapon. If you were armed, the defender’s weapon is on the ground in the defender’s square. If you fail on the disarm attempt, the defender may immediately react and attempt to disarm you with the same sort of opposed melee attack roll. His attempt does not provoke an attack of opportunity from you. If he fails his disarm attempt, you do not subsequently get a free disarm attempt against him. Note: A defender wearing spiked gauntlets can’t be disarmed. A defender using a weapon attached to a locked gauntlet gets a +10 bonus to resist being disarmed.
Grabbing Items
You can use a disarm action to snatch an item worn by the target. If you want to have the item in your hand, the disarm must be made as an unarmed attack. If the item is poorly secured or otherwise easy to snatch or cut away the attacker gets a +4 bonus. A pistol in a holster or a knife in a sheath is not easily snatched. A pistol tucked in a belt or waist band is easily snatched. Unlike on a normal disarm attempt, failing the attempt doesn’t allow the defender to attempt to disarm you. This otherwise functions identically to a disarm attempt, as noted above. You can’t snatch an item that is well secured unless you have pinned the wearer (see Grapple). Even then, the defender gains a +4 bonus on his roll to resist the attempt.
All Out Defense In order to make himself harder to hit, a character can parry–forfeit all actions for the round–he can’t attack, move, or cast spells. This frees the character to concentrate solely on defense. At this point, all characters but Fighters gain an AC bonus equal to half their level ROUNDED UP. A 5th or 6th-level Adept would have a +3 bonus to his AC (lowering his AC by 3). A fighter gets a bonus equal to half his level plus one. A 5th or 6th-level fighter would gain a +4 AC bonus. Note: that this is not a perfect all-around defense, and it’s not effective against rear or missile attacks of any kind. It applies only to those characters attacking the defender with frontal melee attacks. Further, this optional defense has no effect against bullets, magical attacks, explosions and such. So it wouldn’t do anything to protect a character from the blast of a cannon, the force of a lightning bolt or fireball, or being shot from a distance.

Critical Hits: Natural 20
When you make an attack roll and get a natural 20 (the d20 shows 20), you hit regardless of your target’s Armor Class, and your level.  This means that the Hit MIGHT be a Critical Hit.
A Critical Hit means that the BONUS DAMAGE, (Those points derived in the x2 of the original roll.) is applied to the Target’s CONSTITUTION and NOT their Hit Points.  If the target’s CN is taken to 0 they are in a Coma.  If it is Negative, they are Dead.
To find out if it’s a Critical Hit, you immediately make another attack roll, Situational Modifiers such as Surprise, DO NOT apply for this second roll.

 If this roll is a miss, then your hit is just a regular Natural 20 hit and all the doubled damage is applied ONLY to the Target’s Hit Points. (Unless the total exceeds the targets Hit Points, in which case excess carries through to Health/Constitution.

If the roll results in ANOTHER hit against the target’s AC, your original hit is now a Critical Hit. (The critical roll just needs to hit to give you a hit. It doesn’t need to come up 20 again.) And all the Bonus Damage is applied to the Target’s Constitution.

IF the second roll is another Natural 20 the damage total is doubled again.

Note: Any damage reductions, due to body armor or such, is factored into the original Damage Roll.

Spells and Critical Hits: A spell attack cannot score a critical hit.

Where did you hit him? Unless the character is attempting a Called Shot, the part of the target that is actually hit is rolled randomly on the following chart.

Dice Roll Body Part Damage Effect
1,2 Groin Impaling x 1.5
3,4 Abdomen Impaling x 1.5
5,6 Chest Impaling x 1.5
7 Upper Left Arm Normal
8 Lower Left Arm Normal
9 Left Hand Normal
10 Upper Right Arm Normal
11 Lower Right Arm Normal
12 Right Hand Normal
13 Upper Left Leg Normal
14 Lower Left Leg Normal
15 Upper Right Leg Normal
16 Lower Right Leg Normal
17 Left Foot Normal
18 Right Foot Normal
19 Face Normal 1 in 3 chance of being blinded
20 Head (Brain) Impaling x 1.5 Critical