Saturday, December 22, 2018

More Combat House Rules

This is a light follow up to my Battles in Wilderland post, but it doesn't have anything specifically about to do with The Hobbit. It's just house rules about fighting I'd use if I was running a game like this. 

Angus McBride

Alternate Rule: Don't Roll for Damage
When the attacker succeeds the Attack roll and the defender fails the Defense roll, instead of rolling damage dice, the attacker deals damage equal to the attacker's [Attack] - [number rolled] + 1. Assuming this calculation is easy for you to do, this saves time by reducing the number of die rolls. 

Alternate Rule: Bigger Moves First
Don't roll for Initiative. Instead, the largest creatures in the combat move first. When matched against foes of the same size, whoever has the most people on their team moves first. 

Alternate Rule: Positioning 
A combatant can only face against four attackers at once. An attacker being defended against head-on is resolved as normal. An attacker to the left or the right is "flanking": flanking attackers gain +2 to their Attack rating. If the defender already is fighting 3 other foes, the last foe is in backbiter position: backbiters gain +4 to their Attack rating. The defender decides which assailant is in which position.  

Alternate Rule: Resolve Duels Simultaneously 
Anybody engaged in combat resolves their turns at the same time. Instead of rolling Attack vs Defense twice, both combatants roll Attack and resolve using the vs. rules from Battles. Whoever gets the upper hand deals damage, or they just bash each other around a bit. If multiple people are engaged with each other, only the combatant with the highest Attack actually rolls. The other combatants just add bonuses (per Positioning). 


  1. The link to "Battles" isn't working. Why would larger enemies move before smaller ones? Very curious about that one

    1. Thanks for pointing out the broken link. Fixed!

      Re: Size = initiative -- My thinking behind this optional rule was to simulate a) the huge advantage that size has in combat. A troll can reach out and club you with his 9 foot ripped up tree really easily because his threat radius is so wide. If you close on him, he can hit you first. If you survive or dodge, you might get to counter attack. And, b) Narratively, players will probably be intruding on larger creatures space. If you crawl into Smaug's hole, he gets to say his piece and breathe fire on you before you get to roll out your plan. Same if you intrude on a horde of tiny gremlins.