Sunday, October 20, 2013

Combat in 1e/OSRIC

This post is a reference for how I currently run combat. AD&D/OSRIC leaves a decent amount of room for interpretation when it comes to intricacies, and that's by design. I try to stick to "by the book" rulings as much as possible, but I know my personal style for running combat changes and evolves over time. I started putting this together after the last time we played, but I'm posting it now to help prepare for this week's game.

It's important to note that a lot of this tends to go out the window mid-session, especially when trying to keep everything exciting and fluid. That said, it's never bad to have a quick reference to defer to when needed.

(Much of the below is sourced from OSRIC. Anything that's not is generally my own.)


Combat Basics

  • A combat round is one minute. A "segment" is six seconds. There are ten segments in a round.

  • At the start of combat, each side with a chance to be surprised (i.e., unaware of the opposing party) rolls a d6.
    • 1 = surprised for 1 segment
    • 2 = surprised for 2 segments
    • 3-6 = not surprised
    • A character with high Dexterity (16+) gets a "Surprise Bonus" which negates that many surprise segments for that character only.

  • If there are any segments where one side is surprised but the other is not, the unsurprised party may act during those segments. This includes:
    • Movement (limited to the character's movement rate / the number of surprise segments)
    • Making a melee attack
    • Making a charge attack (limited to the character's movement rate / the number of surprise segments * 2)
    • Making a single missile attack (i.e., a single arrow, etc.) if in range
    • Attempting to turn undead
    • Casting a spell (only if the spell's casting time is equal to or less than the number of surprise segments)

  • Once surprise segments are handled, each PC declares actions for the first round, then each side rolls d6 for initiative. The result is the segment on which the opposing side may act (therefore higher is better).

  • Each character's action occurs on his or her party's initiative segment (i.e. the opposing party's die result).
    • Melee attacks occur on the initiative segment.
    • Missile attacks normally occur on the initiative segment, however characters with a "Missile Bonus to Hit" (Dex 16+) apply this bonus to their initiative count in addition to their attack rolls.
    • A charge begins on the initiative segment, but consumes enough segments to cover the full charge distance (at 2x normal speed) before the actual attack occurs.
    • Spellcasting begins on a character's initiative segment and consumes a number of segments equal to the spell's casting time (during which time the spell can be disrupted and foiled).
    • Movement is otherwise considered to be ongoing and fluid throughout the round. Determining a character's exact location on a specific segment is left to the DM's discretion.

  • After all sides have acted, if the combat is still ongoing, a new round is started with new initiative rolls by each side.

Combat Actions

Attacking into Melee: If an attacker has multiple adjacent opponents, the target is determined randomly. The same applies when attacking at range against "engaged" opponents (in these cases, the attacker can elect to take a -4 penalty to hit in order to try to hit a specific target).

Charge: A charging character gains +2 to hit, but if the defender's weapon is longer than the attacker's, the defender can attack first. A character can only "charge" once/10 rounds.

Fleeing: Fleeing characters immediately draw an additional attack from adjacent opponents at +4 to hit.

Parrying: A character who parries cannot attack, but may subtract his or her "to hit" bonus from his or her opponent's attack roll.

Invisible Opponent: An invisible opponent can only be attacked if the general location is known, and the attack is at –4 to hit.

Prone Opponent: Attacks against a prone opponent negate the benefit of a shield, negate dexterity bonuses, and are made at +4 to hit.

Concealment: Concealment is anything that obscures an opponent’s vision, such as tree limbs or smoke, but does not physically block incoming attacks. The GM must decide whether the defender is about a quarter (-1 to AC), half (-2 to AC), three-quarters (-3 to AC), or nine-tenths (-4 to AC) concealed.

Cover: Cover is protection behind something that can actually block incoming attacks, such as a wall or arrow slit. Cover bonuses are as follows:
  • 25% cover: -2 AC
  • 50% cover: -4 AC
  • 75% cover: -7 AC
  • 90% cover -10 AC

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