Miniature Rules for Small Scale Combat

It took awhile for me to find these rules, and I just want you to know that this is just the cheatsheet that I'm supplying to my players. The "Player's Option: Combat & Tactics" handbook is still required for its charts and junk, as is the PHB and the DMG. These rules are written with 2e in mind; I have no idea if they can be used for other systems. Additionally, these rules are aimed at dungeon/small scale melee, not mass combat nor long range combat.

5 Combat rounds = 1 standard round
50 Rounds = 1 turn

Movement Rates

1 square per MR listed in PHB, typically 12 squares per round at a walking speed.

  • Exceptional characters gain a little more MR
  • STR = add hit prob. To MR
  • DEX = add Reaction Adj. to MR
  • Note that if there are neg. from low ability scores, these are also subtracted to the base movement rate.
  • Subtract encumbrance from MR as well.

Obstacles

If an obstacle just limits movement instead of blocking it completely, it can usually be crossed or climbed at the cost of a half-move for the character.

SET UP

Surprised creatures must place their figures first, though they must still have to observe the distance provided by the DM.

If neither side is surprised, the party begins the scenario in their established marching order, with some exceptions made by the DM to reflect specific actions (like a thief opening a door)

If the DM knows something the players don’t, he is not required to place the mini on the table (a spider above the party and nobody looks up.

5 Basics of Every Combat Round

  • Monster Action Determination
  • PC Action Declaration
  • Initiative
  • Resolution of Actions (Note: PC action can be changed, but will take place at the end of the round)
  • End-of-Round Resolution

Initiative Rolls

Roll 1d10 individuals add their base initiatives to the roll.
Winner of initiative attacks and moves first.
Missile weapons and Spells are determined first.
A faster character or monster can attack before slower creatures, regardless of initiative lost or won.

Some initiative rolls provide unusual results:
A roll of 1 accelerates the action phase of that side by one, so a slow character gets to go in the average phase;
A roll of 10 slows the action phase of that side by one step;
A tie results in a critical event. Reroll the initiative dice until one side or the other wins, and the DM consults the Crit Event Table.

Base Initiative

Monster Size - Base Initiative*
Tiny or Small Very Fast
Man-sized Fast
Large Average
Huge Slow

*Improve BI 1 grade for MR of 18 or better, reduce 1 grade for MR of 6 or less. Moderately encumbered creatures suffer a one-phase initiative penalty, heavily encumbered 2 phases, and sever suffer 3 phase penalties.


Weapon Speed

Weapon speed effects the base initiative, all weapons are assigned one of 4 speeds: Fast, average, slow, or very slow. When attacking with a weapon, you use the slowest score, thus a fast human attacking with a large weapon will attack after the fast human with a smaller and quicker weapon.

Magical bonuses change the Weapons Speed.
+1 offers no benefits to the base initiative. +2 or +3 improves the weapon speed by 1 phase, and a +4 or more improves it by two phases.

Combat Actions

Attack Fire Missiles Run
Charge Move Use a Magical Item
Cover Parry

Combat Actions & Movement

No-Move Actions

May move 1 square in either direction and change face with no penalty

  • Attack
  • Cast a Spell
  • Cover
  • Fire/Throw Missiles (normal ROF)
  • Guard
  • Parry
  • Unarmed Combat
  • Use a Magical Item

Half-Move Actions

Move up to half their normal MR and still perform some other action; there are limits to what can be done or how far a character can move and still accomplish these actions.

  • Attack
  • Charge
  • Fire/Throw Missiles (half the normal ROF)
  • Guard
  • Unarmed Combat
  • Withdraw

Full-Move Actions

Moving at full normal MR or even more before attempting other actions.

  • Charge
  • Move
  • Run
  • Sprint

NOTE ON FACING DURING MOVEMENT: During a players turn, he can face as many times as desired with no cost, however during the enemies stage, can only face once. Example: Kim moves close to two goblins, and hacks at one, then before her turn is over, she faces the other anticipating Shannon to finish the hit goblin off. After her turn, a troll gets way too close for her comfort, she can either face the troll to meet him, or keep facing the goblin, if she faces the troll, she’ll open up a free attack to the goblin, but this encounter could be fatal if she loses imitative to the troll.

Moving Through Other Figures in Combat

A character can move through a square occupied by a friendly figure as long as that figure isn’t threatened or attacking in the current round. Enemies can only occupy the same square if they are grappled or if one is prone. Otherwise, larger creatures can attempt to make an overrun.

Overruns

When a large creature attempts to move into a smaller, standing enemy’s square, it is called an overrun. Mounted figures use their mounts size for the purpose, so a human on a size L horse can overrun a human on foot.

Overruns create an attack of opportunity for the figure being stepped on. After the defender’s attack, the defender must roll a save vs. paralyzation or be knocked down. Even if he does successfully save, he is forced one square away from his current location. This save is modified by a -4 penalty for a creature two sizes larger then the defender, a -8 penalty for a creature 3 sizes larger, etc.

When a defender is knocked down, he may suffer a trampling attack. The trampler gets an attack of opportunity that inflicts 1d4 points of dmg per difference in size. Even though the defender is prone, no modifiers apply, DM can adjust dmg as he sees fit.

A prone creature with an enemy in its square may get up by using a full-move action. Since two standing enemy figures cannot occupy the same space, size always wins; the larger of the two creatures displaces the smaller one. In addition, the standing figure always gets to choose which square the displaced figure enters. If the creatures are of the same size, an opposed Strength roll is made to determine who stays and who is displaced.

The standing figure may wish to keep the other figure from rising, or the prone figure might want to fight it out rather then try to rise. If one figure wishes to keep another figure prone, an overbearing attack is necessary, but treat the situation as if the attack roll to hit AC 10 is automatically successful.


Choosing an Action

One doesn’t need to specify movement when declaring intentions. Simply stating that they intend to attack are enough until it is the characters turn to act.

If a characters action is blocked by the enemy, the attack or action is lost. However, a character is allowed to change his action as long as it hasn’t been blocked. The options for changing the action are restricted to hold, or abort the action. Holding an action involves delaying the intended action for one or more action phases. While abort allows the character to change its mind, however the new action will take place during the slow phase of the round.

ACTIONS

ATTACKS

Characters with multiple attacks make their first attack according to their weapon speed, and get their additional attacks during the slower phases of combat, one each until they have all been completed.

Characters can make a half-move and attack, or can stand their ground and attack as a no-move action.

Normally a character can combine a move and an attack only by moving fast and resolving attacks later, but a character can also attack first and make a half-move at the end of the round. Note that a creature can adjust their position each time they attack, so a hero with multiple attacks could attack several creatures standing apart from each other.

AoO don’t count as a character’s attack for the round.

One can choose a number of attack options, such as grab, block, trap, or disarm.

ATTACKING REAR & FLANKS

Flank attacks are figured with a +1 bonus to attack.
Rear attacks are figured with a +2 to attack.
A thief backstabs with a +4 bonus to his attack roll.

Shields defend only the front, and the shield flank.
Defenders DEX bonus does not apply to rear attacks.

MOUNTS

Mounted riders attack with a +1 to attack, while their opponents suffer a -1 attacking against them, but not their mounts.

HIGHER GROUND

If the attacker’s waist is higher than his opponent’s head, he gains a +1 to attack rolls. This doesn’t apply to larger creatures on level ground against shorter enemies, nor does it effect mounted attackers.

CASTING A SPELL

All spells are assigned an action phase just as weapons are. The character is considered to begin casting in the very first phase, and finish in the spells action phase. If the spell caster is injured by an attack during the casting, the spell is lost.

Spells, and spell-like abilities are assigned action phases based on their casting times:

Casting time - Phase
1-3 Fast
4-6 Average
7-9 Slow
1 round or more Very Slow

When a character casts a spell, they lose any DEX benefit to AC. Once the spell has been cast, the caster may again apply their DEX bonus to their AC. If the caster doesn’t cast a very slow spell, they may take a half-move at the end of the round.
Psionic powers take effect during a randomly determined phase, regardless of the psionic creatures regular Base Phase.

Random D10 roll* - Psionic Initiative Base Phase

1-2 Very Fast
3-4 Fast
5-6 Average
7-8 Slow
9-10 Very Slow
*add the power’s Preparation time to this roll.

CHARGE

Charge is a rapid close for combat and make an attack.
Charging is a full-motion action, but 1½ times his base movement when he charges. Example: A dwarf with a MV 6 can charge an enemy up to 9 spaces away.

Characters begin their charge on their base initiative, moving up to ½ their distance of the charge. In the following phase, they move the remainder of the distance. Unlike most attack forms, the charge attack is resolved the moment that the attacker arrives.

Charging grants the charger a +2 bonus on their attacks, and some weapons designed for charging (such as a lance) inflict double damage. BUT, they gain no AC bonuses due to DEX, and receive a penalty of +1 to their AC. If a character is guarding with weapons longer then the charger’s, they automatically strike first. In addition, characters can set spears against charges.

COVER

A character with a cocked and loaded crossbow, or an arrow noched and drawn can announce that he is covering an opponent in the weapons short range. One can only cover 1 square during that round, and only characters proficient in the bow or crossbow can perform this action.

The covering character automatically wins initiative for the square being covered. They can also hold their fire and choose to fire last in the round if they wish.

The shot itself is made with a +2 to attack.

Covering can be done with a melee weapon if the victim is stunned, dazed, pinned, unconscious, or surprised. Initiative is automatically won, the attack is made with +2 to hit.

FIRE/THROWN MISSILES

Can stand still and attack at full ROF, or half-move at ½ the normal ROF. One exception to the half-move attack are weapons with the ROF of 1/round. In this case, the character wielding such a weapon can move half his normal rate and still fire the weapon only on the initial discharge of the weapon, The weapon is assumed to be loaded and cocked, after this shot the character can only fire the weapon as a no-move action.

Firing or throwing missiles when a character is threatened by another creature creates an AoO. The only exception to this is during the same combat round that the threatening creature actually moves up to threaten the character. The character can get this shot in while his enemy closes, but after that he had better switch to a melee weapon.

Characters with multiple missile attacks in the same combat round perform their first attack on the normal action phase, and then follow with one missile per phase until they’ve completed their full rate of fire.
Monsters who have multiple missiles that are fired at once resolve their attacks in the same phase.

RANGE

Missile weapon ranges are listed in yards, there are 3 feet to a yard.
Melee weapon ranges are listed in feet, so no converting needs to take place.

LINES OF FIRE

A battlefield’s line of fire are described as clear, impaired, or severely impaired. Clear lines of fire are easy: The battlefield has no effects on missile fire.

Impaired lines of fire have no effect on missile fire within the range of 4d6 squares, so the first 4 squares of any missile fire are unaffected. After this minimum distance, targets are treated as if they had one step of hard cover more than they actually do; a target in the open actually has 25% cover, 25% covered targets are bumped up to 50%, and so on. This is because low branches or trees are obscuring the line of fire.

GUARD

Guarding is either a half-move action or a no-move action if the character wants to simply stand their ground. A guarding creature attacks the moment an enemy moves into their threatened squares, regardless of the actual initiative and action phase. The only way an enemy can attack a guarding character first is if they have a longer-ranged weapon. The larger ranged weapon always strikes first. Guarding characters are considered to be set for a charge, and spears or spear-like weapons inflict double damage.

If no one attacks a guarding character, they can abort to an attack at the end of the round and take a half-move to reach someone.

MOVE

Moving allows a character to cover a lot of ground without dropping his defenses. Moving normally a full-move action, but if a character only moves half his max move or less, he can consider it a half-move action instead..

Movement normally begins on a character’s base initiative, without modifiers for weapon speed. Each half-move a character makes requires one phase, so a fast character does half his move in the fast phase and finishes his move in the average phase.

PARRY

Parrying is a no-move action that is in effect for the entire combat round. If a character parries, he cannot move, attack, or cast spells.

Parrying reduces a no warrior characters AC by one-half his level. A 6th level Wiz with an AC 5 who parries reduces his AC to 2. Warriors who choose to parry reduces their AC by one-half their level, plus one. A 6th lvl fighter gets an AC bonus of 4 by parrying.

RUN

A character can double his base MV by running. Running is considered a full-move action; no other action can be completed in the same combat round that they run.

Running causes the creature to lose all DEX bonuses to AC and suffers a +1 to AC. He is considered to be charging if he runs into a square threatened by an opponent with a set spear.



SPRINT

A character can triple his base MV by sprinting. It is a full move action that drops the character’s defenses for that round (see running).

UNARMED COMBAT

There are four basic unarmed attacks: punching, wrestling, overbearing, and martial arts.

Anyone can perform an unarmed attack on his base initiative if he doesn’t have to move to reach his target, or he can take a half-move action to close for combat. Attacking armed opponents (including monsters with natural weapons) allows the armed enemy an AoO. The armed defender gains a +4 bonus on his attack roll and his dmg roll against an unarmed attacker.

USE A MAGICAL ITEM

Generally, a character can use a magical item as a fast action or make a half-move and use an item as an average action. Some magical items take more or less time, as noted. Below:

Item Phase
Potion Average
Scroll Very Slow
Rod, Staff, Wand Fast
Miscellaneous Average

For most magical items with functions that do not emulate combat or spell casting actions, the magic of the item is activated, the DM is the final arbiter. If an item combines weapon-like characteristics and miscellaneous magic, such as a rod of lordly might, it should be treated as a weapon when being used to attack and as a magical item when its other functions are being used.

WITHDRAW

Withdrawing is the only safe way to leave a square that is threatened by an opponent. Withdrawing is a half-move that takes place on the characters base initiative. A withdrawing character cannot attack or cast spells, else they open themselves up for an AoO.

ENDING THE COMBAT ROUND

COMBAT STATUS

Clear: Can make 1 free face (turn to meet enemy)
Threatened: if ignored, enemy gains a free attack of opportunity

ATTACKS OF OPPORTUNITY

Happen when one:
Attempts missile combat, unless it is aimed at threatening opponent
Moving away from the threatening creature, unless one is withdrawing
Turning away from the threatening creature.
Attempting an unarmed attack against any armed creature.
Attempting to move through a square threatened by a creature.

Attacks of Opportunity (AoO) are not possible with missile weapons, they are a free attack that does not take the place of a creatures planned attack. A creature can’t make more then 1 AoO per creature, however if the attacker has multiple attacks, he can use them against different targets if they are also open for such free attacks.

Warriors and monsters are allowed to make 3 AoOs + 1 per 5 lvls per combat round.
All others can make 1 attack per round + 1 per 5 lvls of experience.

Surprised creatures cannot make attacks of opportunity.

RETREATS

When one character inflicts melee dmg without being hit in return, they may force a foe to retreat. A defender may ignore the force to retreat if it is 4 lvls or higher then the attacker, or if it is 2 sizes larger. Also, a retreat isn’t possible if the defender has been knocked down.

A defender forced to retreat must move one square back, if this isn’t possible, then the attacker chooses a square in the defenders flank to press him. If the defender is unable to move into a flank, they must roll a save vs. para or be knocked down in the space he is in. In some cases a retreating character has a chance to avoid being forced back, if it will cause instant death or more damage (like falling off of a cliff).

An attacker who successfully forces a retreat can either follow that character, or stand still and hold their ground.

Retreats do not cause AoO.

KNOCKDOWNS

Some creatures can smash their opponents to the ground with raw strength or heavy weaponry. Knockdowns are based on the size of the atttacker’s weapon compared to the size of the defender.

Every weapon (including monster attacks) are assigned a knockdown die that is rolled with a hit is scored. Light weapons have a small die, while heavy weapons use a d10 or d12 for knockdowns. The size of the target determines what roll is required for a knockdown.

Target Size Knockdown Roll
T 3
S 5
M 7
L 9
H 11

Don’t confuse the knockdown die with the actual dmg caused by the hit, they are two different things. Some creatures are immune to knockdowns for logical reasons.

Knockdown Effects: Creatures who suffer a knockdown must roll a save vs. death or be knocked prone. If he has already completed his actions for the round, he must wait until next round to stand up.
Any character with a loaded and cocked x-bow must make a save vs. para or accidentally fire the weapon.

Monsters & knockdown: Monsters who wield weapons can use the knockdown die size that is listed for that weapon and then modify the die for their own size. Increase the die one step for each Size category larger than Man-sized or decrease it for each one under.

For monsters with natural attacks, choose a weapon that seems close to the attack type and then modify it for the monster’s size.


SITTING, KNEELING, & LYING PRONE

Getting up from sitting or kneeling is considered a half-move action, and attacks are still possible; however, getting up from a prone position is a full action.

Sitting or kneeling characters gain a bonus of -1 to AC from ranged attacks.
Attacking a sitting or kneeling character with a melee weapon grants a +2 to hit.

Prone creatures gain a -2 AC bonus against ranged weapons, but attackers with melee weapons get a +4 bonus to hit them.

Kneeling creatures can attack with no penalty.
Sitting creatures can attack with crossbows w/o penalty, but any other weapon will suffer a -2 penalty to attack (Riders are not considered to be sitting).

Prone characters can only use crossbows, or size S weapons while on the ground. A prone attacker fires a crossbow at one-half the normal RoF, and suffers a -4 to hit.

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