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Jo'Mase's AD&D Combat/Fatigue Rules


Critical Hits and Misses: A critical hit is scored if the attacker hits his opponent by 5 or more over the minimum roll he needed to hit the AC rating and also rolled within his base critical number. Each class has a base critical number:

CLASS:                  Critical Base:
Warrior/Monster             18-20
Cleric/Adventurer           19-20
Mage/Normal Man              20

Critical severity does not increase above 2d8, but if a creature is more than 2 sizes over the victim(the category which rolls 2d8), then the victim saves vs. the critical with a -1 per extra size category the creature is over 2 sizes above the victim. So, a gargantuan dragon would be 3 sizes over a man-sized human, inflicting a 2d8 critical severity result and imposing an extra -1 on the human’s save vs. the critical. The same dragon would impose a -2 on the save of a small creature in the same situation. The reverse of this also applies, so that a d6 is the lowest severity you can roll, but each size the attack is lower than 1 size below the target, the target gains a +1 to save.

A critical hit only occurs if damage got through the target's armor. If no damage got through, even though a critical hit was scored, the target suffers no critical result. Only damage that got through the armor is doubled(tripled), and only up to double(triple) base weapon damage roll.

A critical miss occurs when the attacker rolls in his fumble, even if the attack was a hit. A natural 1 always misses. To determine the fumble range of an attacker, just compare his base THAC0(only modified by weapon mastery, nothing else) with that of his foe. If his THAC0 is within 4 points of his foe’s, either higher or lower, he fumbles on a 1 only. If his THAC0 is 5 or more better than his foe’s, he cannot fumble, and a 1 simply means a miss. If his foe’s THAC0 is 5-9 points higher, he fumbles on a 1-2, even if a roll of 2 hits, he still fumbles on it. He still does damage, as he hit, but he also suffers the result of a fumble. If the foe’s THAC0 is 10-14 points greater, he fumbles on a 1-3. For every extra 5 points of superior THAC0 his foe has over him, his fumble range increases 1 point. If the attacker fumbles, the intended target of the attack gets an attack of opportunity, this is the only result of a fumble.

-Special Critical Hits: to score a regular critical hit, the attacker must hit the target by 5 or more points over the minimum number required to hit, and roll in the critical range for his class and skill. Those attackers who roll in their critical range and hit by 10 or more, score a special result. They get to choose either to penalize the target’s save to avoid the critical by -1, or add +1 to their severity roll(up to the maximum roll for the given severity level). Rolling within the critical range and hitting by 15 or more entitles the attacker to the same benefit as it was just described, but the attacker gets to modify either the target’s save or his own severity roll by 2 points. He could even choose to apply 1 point to each choice. This continues on, so hitting by 20 or more and scoring in the critical range allows a 3 point modification, etc.

Speed Factors/Initiative Phases

-Weapon Speed/Casting Time/Initiative: a creature's base speed is determined according to size. Tiny creatures have a base of very fast. Small and medium creatures have a base of fast. Large and huge creatures have a base of average. Gargantuan creatures have a base of slow. The weapon or attack form used modifies this. If the speed factor of the weapon/attack is in the 1-4 range, the weapon/attack goes on the creature's base phase. If the weapon/attack has a speed factor of 5-8, then it goes 1 phase slower than the creature's base phase. If the speed factor is 9-12 then it goes 2 phases slower than the creature's base phase and if the speed factor is 13 or more, the attack goes 3 phases slower than the creature's base phase. If the weapon/attack has a speed factor of 0 or less the attack goes 1 phase faster than the creature's base phase. As for magic/spells, casting times actually determine the phase the spell goes in, regardless of the creature's base phase. Casting time 0: very fast phase, CT 1-3: fast phase, CT 4-6: average phase, CT 7-9: slow phase, CT 10 equals 1 round.

-DEX and Initiative: DEX reaction bonus/penalty modifies the initiative rolls of the creature.

-INT and Initiative: INT represents the ability to think quickly and react faster to situations. Thus, high INT scores give bonuses to initiative. Low INT also give penalties, for slow thinkers. Treat the INT score as if it were DEX and find the reaction adjustment. This is applied as a modifier to initiative rolls(not speed factors).

-Speed Factors: all weapon speed factors are scaled to medium sized creatures. If a creature of size other than medium uses a weapon not scaled for it's size(ie. made larger or smaller to fit the creature) then the speed factor should be modified to reflect this. Generally, double speed factors of weapons used by creatures 1 size smaller than normal, or halve them if used by creatures 1 size larger than normal. This assumes the weapon is twice as big or half as big as the creature is accustomed to using. If the weapon is only slightly larger/smaller, then adjust the speed factor by the same ratio. So a 3 foot tall halfling using a longsword(made for a medium creature) would not only need both hands, but the speed factor would not be 5, but about double(assuming the normal medium sized creature is 6 feet tall), or 10. Thus, this weapon acts as a two-handed sword would to a medium creature, in his hands.

Other Combat Rules

-Attacks of Opportunity: although an attacker may be entitled to a free attack of opportunity due to his foe’s actions, there are limits as to the number of attacks which can be made in any given combat phase. First, an attacker can make a maximum number of attacks in a single phase. This number depends on his weapon/attack speed. Very fast and fast attacks allow up to 2 attacks per phase. Average and slow attacks allow up to 3/2 attacks per phase. Finally, very slow attacks allow but 1 attack per phase. Unless the attacker is hasted, these are the limits.

-Spell Use And Multiple Attacks: those who can use spells, innate powers or magic items count such actions as 1 attack, allowing them to make the rest of their attacks, if they get multiple attack sequences. Multiple attacks per sequence do not allow this, only those with multiple attack sequences like high level warriors. A troll may get 3 attacks, but it has only 1 attack sequence, so all 3 attacks occur in that sequence. A 13th level warrior gets 2 attack sequences per round due to skill, thus, if he had a ring of the ram, he could use it as 1 attack sequence, and still have 1 attack sequence remaining. If a spell power or ability requires the whole round to use, like turning undead or certain spells, then any remaining attacks are lost.

-Moving in Combat: all attackers are allowed a half move for free in addition to their normal melee attacks. Missile weapon users are not allowed this free half move, and a half move will cut their ROF by 1 step. Every additional half move a melee attacker makes over the free half move he gets costs 1 attack. Every half move a missile weapon user makes costs 1 step in his ROF. It is possible for some attackers with many attacks to move more than a full move in a round and still get attacks in, this indicates the person is actually running around during the fight, and his fatigue costs should be increased appropriately.

-Unarmed Defenders: if a defender has no shield or weapon with which to defend themselves, they are unable to effect a full melee defense. All attackers, not likewise unarmed, gain a +2 to hit. Defenders skilled in unarmed combat do not suffer these penalties.

-Weapon Reach: for weapons with the same reach, see PO:C&T, the one of larger size strikes first when two opponents are closing to melee. Once in melee, initiative determines who strikes first. Thus, a twohanded sword(L) strikes before a longsword(M) which strikes before a dagger(S) during that first exchange upon closing to melee. Also, at first, the smaller weapon has a disadvantage of less reach, so until the wielder scores a hit and gets inside the longer weapon’s reach, he suffers a -1 to hit if 1 size smaller, -2 to hit if 2 or more sizes smaller. When the smaller weapon hits, it places the longer at a disadvantage, getting in under his guard, and the longer weapon now suffers the same penalty as the smaller did at first, until it scores a hit, pushing the smaller weapon back, and gaining the advantage again, giving the smaller weapon the penalty. This cycle continues, with 1 of the 2 attackers having the advantage at any given moment. If any attacker uses a weapon 1 size smaller than himself, no foe can get under his reach and penalize him in that way, even if the attacker is using a smaller weapon yet, so a troll using daggers, which act as large weapons in his hands, since his natural claws act as such, suffers no penalty against a man using a dagger who gets a hit on him. But the man would still suffer the -2 hit penalty against the troll, as long as he is at a disadvantage(ie. the troll had the last hit in).

For natural weaponry, like claws and tail slaps, the attacker still imposes the to hit penalty if fighting a creature with shorter reach, but suffers no disadvantage when the attacker finally gets in close. The shorter reach attacker can ignore the hit penalty when he finally gets inside the larger foe’s reach, with a successful hit, but the larger attacker suffers no hit penalty if using natural weaponry. However, if the larger attacker scores a hit, he places the smaller on at the same disadvantage as before, until the smaller attacker can hit again, and get inside his foe’s reach.

Those attacks that have an actual reach advantage over an opponent allow the attacker with the greater reach to get off 1 of his attacks for each 1 point of reach he has over his foe, before his foe is allowed to attack back. In addition, if the attacker is using a thrusting weapon of reach 1 or more greater than his foe’s weapon, and he hits the foe before he can close to melee, the foe may be held at bay. The foe must roll an opposed attack roll against the attacker with the thrusting weapon, and his target AC is 4. If he hits AC 4 and rolls under the attacker’s hit roll, he can close, otherwise, he must use up 1 attack to negate being held at bay, and then he can close as normal.

-Knockdowns: regardless of the roll, creatures cannot knockdown anyone over twice their size, except in extreme circumstances. Also, every point the attacker rolls over the minimum needed to score a knockdown chance against his foe imposes a -1 penalty to the targets save to avoid the knockdown.

-Assault: I allow a special all out attack option. The attacker gets an extra 1 attack and does +1 damage per attack, but all attacks are at -4 to hit and AC is penalized by +2. Also, all fatigue losses for attacking are doubled, this can really wear you out fast! This is for melee attackers only.

-Dexterity and THAC0: those with DEX bonuses can opt to go more on the offensive rather than use their DEX bonus solely for defense. They can gain a bonus to all attack rolls up to their reaction adjustment bonus, but for each +1 bonus they also suffer a -1 penalty to their Defense Pool(AC for those who do not use my rules).

-Charging: thrusting/piercing weapons are most effective in a charge, though slashing/cleaving and crushing weapons do gain some benefit.

Foot charges are of less effect than mounted charges. You can increase your MV rate by 50% in this charge. Weapons do gain +1 to damage, a +1 AR and a +1 step to their knockdown die, but suffer a -2 to hit. Charging attackers lose their shield bonuses from proficiency and style, but still get the basic shield bonus, and DEX bonuses during the phase they charge, and further incur an extra +1 AC penalty on top of it all.

Mounted charges are much superior to foot charges. The momentum is much greater with a mount, allowing all lances to get a +2 AR bonus and count as AP weapons. They also double the damage that gets through armor, and have their knockdown die raised 1 step. In addition, other weapons get the +1 damage and +1 AR bonus without the -2 to hit penalty, and gain the 1 step increase in knockdown die.


Passive Parry/Dodge Defenses

All warriors have some passive defense capability, which is manifest in their Defense Pool and Defensive Combat Bonus. These defenses must be divided up among all attackers a warrior might face, which makes fighting multiple attackers increasingly difficult. Because of this, a warrior who faces such overwhelming force, might choose to increase is attention to defense, at the cost of his ability to attack. This option is only useful when a warrior is outnumbered or faces a foe with many attacks. If a warrior is already at his peak defense(see Defense Limit below) against a foe, and desires more, he must employ the Active Parry/Dodge defenses detailed further on.

Passive Defense

If a warrior desires to shore up the holes in his defenses when faced by many attacks, he may use this option. For each attack a warrior gives up in this fashion(including free parry/dodge the warrior might receive), he can add his current defense pool total(including combat defense) again to his defense pool, effectively doubling, tripling or even multiplying it further. This allows the warrior to have more Defense Pool points to distribute among the attackers he faces, shoring up any weak points. He cannot apply more points in this way against any single attacker than his Defense Limit allows. Thus, if the warrior has reached this limit, and still desires more defense against an attack, he must then use the Active Parry/Dodge rules detailed further on.

Defense Limit

This limit basically defines the warrior’s peak skill at dodging and parrying. It is nothing more than his Defense Pool base with his Defensive Combat Bonus added in. This defines the maximum amount the warrior can reduce his Base AC against any single attack.

Active Parries and Dodges

These maneuvers are for use when a warrior desires an extra measure of defense against an attacker above and beyond his usual passive defenses. Because there is a limit to how much of his passive defense a warrior can employ against a foe, when this limit is reached, and the warrior still desires an added measure of defense, he utilizes one of the following active defense maneuvers:


A dodge is a defensive maneuver that seeks to avoid the attacking weapon entirely and can be attempted against any attack the defender can see coming. A parry or block is a maneuver that seeks to block/deflect an attacking weapon and can only be used against attacks that are no more than 1 size larger than the defender.

A defender can only dodge as many times per round as he has basic attacks. So all non-warrior classes and monsters get but 1 dodge per round, and this would use up all their actions that round, except they could make up to a half move. Warriors get multiple attacks per round as they advance in levels. Weapon mastery or extra weapon attacks from special magical weapons do not count as basic attacks, only the basic warrior multiple attacks from level count for dodging. So a 1-6 level warrior can dodge but 1 time per round, even though he might get 2 attacks per round from mastery. His other attacks are still open to him for use, as the dodge only uses 1 attack, but he cannot use that other weapon attack for another dodge. A 7-12 level warrior gets 3/2 dodge per round. A 13+ level warrior gets 2 dodges per round.

Some fighting styles allow extra dodges, like Single Weapon Style, Style D martial arts, etc. These are the only way a defender might get 1 extra dodge per round. A dodge THAC0 is based on the defender’s base THAC0, modified only by DEX reaction adjustment.


This maneuver seeks to block an attack with either the warrior’s weapon, body(for martial artists) or shield. It is limited in that the size of the attack to be blocked cannot exceed the warrior’s own size by 2 or more categories.

A defender can block/parry as many times as he has attacks. Even offhand attacks can parry. Some weapons/shields give bonuses to parry as well. A defender uses his fully modified THAC0, as if attacking with the weapon/shield he is parrying with, to roll the parry/block. Unarmed parries are at -4 to hit, and -8 to hit if the attack is 1 size above the defender. All other parry/blocks are at -2 to hit if the attack is 1 size above the defender. A defender cannot parry/block any attack 2 or more sizes larger than himself.

It can be seen that a block/parry is far superior to a dodge, in that the THAC0 will likely be much better, and the defender can get many more such blocks than dodges. A troll, for example, with 3 attacks per round, can get but 1 dodge, which costs all his attacks, but can get up to 2(3 if the DM allows the bite to block) blocks per round, and if he uses only 2 blocks, can still get his bite attack in. Yet, the only way to defend against a very large attack(2 or more sizes above you) is to dodge out of the way, as it is not possible to stop such a massive and powerful attack with your puny block.


Fatigue Points

Each PC has a number of fatigue points equal to his maximum 1st level hit points, adjusted for CON, plus his Endurance proficiency rating(if he has it). Monsters have a number of fatigue points equal to their max. hit point roll for 1 of their HD, plus their HD, plus any bonus hit points to their HD. Thus, an orc has 9 fatigue points, and a war dog(2+2 HD) has 12 points.

Fatigue Costs

Each round of combat drains 1 fatigue point. Combat is defined here as actively engaging in melee or missile fighting. If a PC is in a combat, but not actively fighting nor moving during a round, he loses no fatigue points that round. Moving at combat speed(the normal movement rate of AD&D) drains 1 fatigue point from the PC, even if actual fighting is not encountered. Double speed running drains double the usual fatigue points each round, while triple speed sprinting drains 3 times the normal fatigue points. Triple speed is the fastest a PC can move when armored and/or encumbered. If not armored and not encumbered, the PC can run at up to 5 times normal speed, with a cost of 5 times the usual fatigue points each round.

Fatigue Cost Modifiers

Heat can increase fatigue costs. Wearing armor increases the personal heat of a PC, even in cold weather. Armor adds to the fatigue cost of each round. A full suit of armor adds 1 to the cost of each round’s fatigue loss. If only half or less of a suit is worn, and the wearer is also proficient in that armor, no penalty for the armor is imposed. Neither magic nor the armor proficiency help to reduce the fatigue penalty of wearing a full suit. Also, hot, muggy weather, as determined by the DM but usually 90 degrees with average humidity would be a good boundary line, will add 1 point to all round by round fatigue costs.

Fatigue Recovery

At any time a creature/PC forfeits all actions(just defend normally) and movement to try to recover lost points, but is still forced to defend himself, he may recover 1 fatigue point per round. He must pass a save vs. death to get this recovery, or no points are gained(yet none are lost either). Each consecutive round the save is tried and fails, gives a cumulative +1 bonus to the next save. If he is able to fully rest(no combat), he can recover 1 point per round without need of a save.

Fatigue Levels

The 3 levels of fatigue detailed below indicate the current state of stamina a PC is in. Fatigue points simply detail his degree of fatigue within each of the 3 levels. Each level has its own special requirement when a PC wants to recover and enter the next higher level of fatigue. (Special note: if the PCs modified encumbrance ever falls past the seriously encumbered level, he collapses and must rest, treat him as stunned and prone!)

Fresh: PCs are at normal ability at this level. When 0 fatigue points are reached, the PCs fatigue points are reset to their full value(with any points that would have reduced the fatigue point total below 0 removed from this reset value) and the PC now becomes Fatigued.

Fatigued: PCs have their encumbrance level increased 1 step. All fatigue point losses are now increased by 1 point per round, and when 0 is reached reset the points to their full value(with any points that would have reduced the fatigue point total below 0 removed from this reset value) and now the PC is Exhausted.

Exhausted: PCs have their encumbrance level increased 2 steps. All fatigue losses are now increased by 2 points per round, and when 0 is reached, the PC must rest, and while at 0 or less fatigue points in this exhausted state, treat the PC as stunned, he is unable to fight, is at +4 to be hit, and can move at but 1/3 his current rate, until his fatigue points reach positive levels.

Fatigue Level Recovery

When a PC wants to recover from the Fatigued or Exhausted level, he must first recover all fatigue points within that level. Once this is done, he can attempt to improve his level 1 step(exhausted to fatigued, or fatigued to fresh) by passing a save vs. death. After recovering all the fatigue points as above, each round the PC does not use up fatigue points allows 1 save vs. death attempt to recover to the next level of fatigue. Each fatigue point recovered during this time acts as a +1 bonus to the save(these recovered points do not increase the fatigue point total above its maximum level, but convert into the saving throw bonus as indicated). If the save is made, the fatigue level is improved 1 step, and the PCs fatigue point total is then reduced to 1 in this new level.