Combat

How Combat Works

Combat is cyclical; everybody acts in turn in a regular cycle of rounds. Combat follows this sequence:

  1. Each combatant starts out flat-footed. Once a combatant acts, they are no longer flat-footed.
  2. Determine, which characters are aware of their opponents, at the start of the battle. If some but not all of the combatants are aware of their opponents, a surprise round happens before regular rounds of combat begin. The combatants who are aware of the opponents can act in the surprise round, so they roll for initiative. In initiative order (highest to lowest), combatants who started the battle aware of their opponents each takes one action (either a standard action or a move action) during the surprise round. Combatants who were unaware do not get to act in the surprise round. If no one or everyone starts the battle aware, there is no surprise round.
  3. Combatants who have not yet rolled initiative do so. All combatants are now ready to begin their first regular round of combat.
  4. Combatants act in initiative order (highest to lowest).
  5. When everyone has had a turn, the combatant with the highest initiative acts again, and steps 4 and 5 repeats until combat ends.

Combat Statistics

This section summarizes the statistics that determine success in combat and then details how to use

Attack Roll

An attack roll represents your attempt to strike your opponent on your turn in a round. When you make an attack roll, you roll a d20 and add your attack bonus. (Other modifiers may also apply to this roll.) If your result equals or beats the target’s Armor Class, you hit and deal damage.

Automatic Misses and Hits: A natural 1 (the d20 comes up 1) on an attack roll is always a miss. A natural 20 (the d20 comes up 20) is always a hit. A natural 20 is also a threat—a possible critical hit.

Attack Bonus

Your attack bonus with a melee weapon is:

Base attack bonus + Strength modifier + size modifier

With a ranged weapon, your attack bonus is:

Base attack bonus + Dexterity modifier + size modifier + range penalty

 

Table: Size Modifiers
Size Size Modifier Size Size Modifier
Colossal –8 Small +1
Gargantuan –4 Tiny +2
Huge –2 Diminutive +4
Large –1 Fine +8
Medium +0

 

Damage

When your attack succeeds, you deal damage. The type of weapon used determines the amount of damage you deal. Effects that modify weapon damage apply to unarmed strikes and the natural physical attack forms of creatures.

Damage reduces a target’s current hit points.

Minimum Damage: If penalties reduce the damage result to less than 1, a hit still deals 1 point of damage.

Strength Bonus: When you hit with a melee or thrown weapon, including a sling, add your Strength modifier to the damage result. A Strength penalty, but not a bonus, applies on attacks made with a bow that is not a composite bow.

Off-Hand Weapon: When you deal damage with a weapon in your off hand, you add only 1/2 your Strength bonus.

Wielding a Weapon Two-Handed: When you deal damage with a weapon that you are wielding two-handed, you add 1-1/2 times your Strength bonus. However, you don’t get this higher Strength bonus when using a light weapon with two hands.

Multiplying Damage: Sometimes you multiply damage by some factor, such as on a critical hit. Roll the damage (with all modifiers) multiple times and total the results. Note: When you multiply damage more than once, each multiplier works off the original, un-multiplied damage.

Exception: Extra damage dice over and above a weapon’s normal damage are never multiplied.

Ability Damage: Certain creatures and magical effects can cause temporary ability damage (a reduction to an ability score).

Massive Damage (Cailore)

Characters who suffer more damage in a single attack than they have Constitution points are required to make a Fortitude saving throw (DC 15) to avoid being reduced to -1 hit point and gaining the ‘dying’ status. The character can still become stable or be helped by their friends, just like any other character reduced to -1 hp.

Armor Class

Your Armor Class (AC) represents how hard it is for opponents to land a solid, damaging blow on you. It’s the attack roll result that an opponent needs to achieve to hit you. Your AC is equal to the following: 10 + armor bonus + shield bonus + Dexterity modifier + size modifier

Note that armor limits your Dexterity bonus, so if you’re wearing armor, you might not be able to apply your whole Dexterity bonus to your AC.

Sometimes you can’t use your Dexterity bonus (if you have one). If you can’t react to a blow, you can’t use your Dexterity bonus to AC. (If you don’t have a Dexterity bonus, nothing happens.)

Other Modifiers: Many other factors modify your AC.

Enhancement Bonuses: Enhancement effects make your armor better.

Deflection Bonus: Magical deflection effects ward off attacks and improve your AC.

Natural Armor: Natural armor improves your AC.

Dodge Bonuses: Some other AC bonuses represent actively avoiding blows. These bonuses are called dodge bonuses. Any situation that denies you your Dexterity bonus also denies you dodge bonuses. (Wearing armor, however, does not limit these bonuses the way it limits a Dexterity bonus to AC.) Unlike most sorts of bonuses, dodge bonuses stack with each other.

Touch Attacks: Some attacks disregard armor, including shields and natural armor. In these cases, the attacker makes a touch attack roll (either ranged or melee). When you are the target of a touch attack, your AC doesn’t include any armor bonus, shield bonus, or natural armor bonus. All other modifiers, such as your size modifier, Dexterity modifier, and deflection bonus (if any) apply normally.

Hit Points

When your hit point total reaches 0, you’re disabled. When it reaches –1, you’re dying. When it gets to –10, you’re dead.

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 and what armor you’re wearing.

Dwarves, gnomes, and miloi have a speed of 20 feet (4 squares), or 15 feet (3 squares) when wearing medium or heavy armor (except for dwarves, who move 20 feet in any armor).

Humans, elves, half-elves, and half-orcs have a speed of 30 feet (6 squares), or 20 feet (4 squares) in medium or heavy armor.

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).

Saving Throws

Generally, when you are subject to an unusual or magical attack, you get a saving throw to avoid or reduce the effect. Like an attack roll, a saving throw is a d20 roll plus a bonus based on your class, level, and an ability score. Your saving throw modifier is: Base save bonus + ability modifier

Saving Throw Types: The three different kinds of saving throws are Fortitude, Reflex, and Will:

Fortitude: These saves measure your ability to stand up to physical punishment or attacks against your vitality and health. Apply your Constitution modifier to your Fortitude saving throws.

Reflex: These saves test your ability to dodge area attacks. Apply your Dexterity modifier to your Reflex saving throws.

Will: These saves reflect your resistance to mental influence as well as many magical effects. Apply your Wisdom modifier to your Will saving throws.

Saving Throw Difficulty Class: The DC for a save is determined by the attack itself.

Automatic Failures and Successes: A natural 1 (the d20 comes up 1) on a saving throw is always a failure (and may cause damage to exposed items; see Items Surviving after a Saving Throw). A natural 20 (the d20 comes up 20) is always a success.

Initiative

Initiative Checks: At the start of a battle, each combatant makes an initiative check. An initiative check is a Dexterity check. Each character applies his or her Dexterity modifier to the roll. Characters act in order, counting down from highest result to lowest. In every round that follows, the characters act in the same order (unless a character takes an action that results in his or her initiative changing; see Special Initiative Actions).

If two or more combatants have the same initiative check result, the combatants who are tied act in order of total initiative modifier (highest first). If there is still a tie, the tied characters should roll again to determine which one of them goes before the other.

Flat-Footed: At the start of a battle, before you have had a chance to act (specifically, before your first regular turn in the initiative order), you are flat-footed. You can’t use your Dexterity bonus to AC (if any) while flat-footed. Barbarians and rogues have the uncanny dodge extraordinary ability, which allows them to avoid losing their Dexterity bonus to AC due to being flat-footed.

A flat-footed character can’t make attacks of opportunity.

Inaction: Even if you can’t take actions, you retain your initiative score for the duration of the encounter.

Surprise

When combat starts, if you are not aware of your opponents and they are aware of you, you’re surprised.

Determining Awareness

Sometimes all the combatants on a side are aware of their opponents, sometimes none are, and sometimes only some of them are. Sometimes a few combatants on each side are aware and the other combatants on each side are unaware.

Determining awareness may call for Listen checks, Spot checks, or other checks.

The Surprise Round: If some but not all of the combatants are aware of their opponents, a surprise round happens before regular rounds begin. Any combatants aware of the opponents can act in the surprise round, so they roll for initiative. In initiative order (highest to lowest), combatants who started the battle aware of their opponents each takes a standard action during the surprise round. You can also take free actions during the surprise round. If no one or everyone is surprised, no surprise round occurs.

Unaware Combatants: Combatants who are unaware at the start of battle don’t get to act in the surprise round. Unaware combatants are flat-footed because they have not acted yet, so they lose any Dexterity bonus to AC.

Attacks of Opportunity

Sometimes a combatant in a melee lets her guard down. In this case, combatants near her can take advantage of her lapse in defense to attack her for free. These free attacks are called attacks of opportunity.

Threatened Squares: You threaten all squares into which you can make a melee attack, even when it is not your action. Generally, that means everything in all squares adjacent to your space (including diagonally). An enemy that takes certain actions while in a threatened square provokes an attack of opportunity from you. If you’re unarmed, you don’t normally threaten any squares and thus, can’t make attacks of opportunity.

Reach Weapons: Most creatures of Medium or smaller size have a reach of only 5 feet. This means that they can make melee attacks only against creatures up to 5 feet (1 square) away. However, Small and Medium creatures wielding reach weapons threaten more squares than a typical creature. In addition, most creatures larger than Medium have a natural reach of 10 feet or more.

Provoking an Attack of Opportunity: Two kinds of actions can provoke attacks of opportunity: moving out of a threatened square and performing an action within a threatened square.

Moving: Moving out of a threatened square usually provokes an attack of opportunity from the threatening opponent. There are two common methods of avoiding such an attack—the 5-foot-step and the withdraw action (see below).

Performing a Distracting Act: Some actions, when performed in a threatened square, provoke attacks of opportunity as you divert your attention from the battle. Table: Actions in Combat notes many of the actions that provoke attacks of opportunity.

Remember that even actions that normally provoke attacks of opportunity may have exceptions to this rule.

Making an Attack of Opportunity: An attack of opportunity is a single melee attack, and you can only make one per round. You don’t have to make an attack of opportunity if you don’t want to.

An experienced character gets additional regular melee attacks (by using the full attack action), but at a lower attack bonus. You make your attack of opportunity, however, at your normal attack bonus—even if you’ve already attacked in the round.

An attack of opportunity “interrupts” the normal flow of actions in the round. If an attack of opportunity is provoked, immediately resolve the attack of opportunity, then continue with the next character’s turn (or complete the current turn, if the attack of opportunity was provoked in the midst of a character’s turn).

Combat Reflexes and Additional Attacks of Opportunity: If you have the Combat Reflexes feat you can add your Dexterity modifier to the number of attacks of opportunity you can make in a round. This feat does not let you make more than one attack for a given opportunity, but if the same opponent provokes two attacks of opportunity from you, you could make two separate attacks of opportunity (since each one represents a different opportunity). Moving out of more than one square threatened by the same opponent in the same round doesn’t count as more than one opportunity for that opponent. All these attacks are at your full normal attack bonus.