Ripper DMing: Temple of Elemental Evil VIII

We didn't get very far, but then again we haven't seen each other for almost a month, so the mouths were flapping! It was also that stupid daylights savings-time, so we had to quit early, however the main part of the game was to test out miniature play, so we did accomplish this goal.

We didn't get very far at all, only 2 rooms, and nobody moved more then a couple of yards. They had decided to set up a base camp within the dungeon itself, but before they could rest and reclaim spells, they first had to take over that section of the dungeon.

They had a skeletal gnoll which one of the clerics had stolen, they had him guard the main door; which kept all of the badies the heck away from that door, but it did stir up some curiosity on the part of the Ogre chief across the hall. He was too much of a coward to investigate it himself, or even send his own people over to see what was going on, so he sent a hobgoblin thief to sneak around back, and pop out of the secret door in the room the PCs were camped out in.

The hobgoblin wasn't a good thief, he got caught and got everybody in the secret chamber killed. Kim's character had heard the door opening, and Shannon ran both of his fighters over to defend the door. That poor thief didn't know what hit him! A huge battle ensued and we spent all of our gametime trying to figure out mini rules and deciding if we liked playing with them or not.

Here is the board that we used. I put a large piece of vinyl over the grid that I had made. Now it isn't perfect, but it worked better then if I had laminated the board. I marked out the rooms with colored dry erase markers, and instead of erasing and redrawing the rooms again, when the Players were ready to move. We just had to slide the vinyl over to the center of the map, or higher if we knew that we wanted to head in a specific direction.

Now, I don't have any monsters, but my wife picked me up a bunch of little cowboys and indians. They represent the monsters, but I'm going to have to glue pennies on the bottoms of all of them because they don't weigh enough, and the vinyl doesn't sit perfectly flat so they tend to fall over.

Prep took a lot longer, and we all were struggling with the rules; I myself have never played with miniatures. I also screwed up with my handout count, I forgot to print off a quick cheat list form myself and only had the bulky mini-handbook which I had posted to this blog to work off of. I assume that the more we use them, then the faster that we'll become at taking our turns.

Everybody was pleased with them! They had an easier time seeing what was around them, and for me, it just seemed more fair because I didn't have to pick who what getting attacked at random, which one has to do when playing with just one's imagination. It also aided in strategy.

While the game was very short, and we didn't get much done, I think that we all had a good time (which is most important to me), and everybody seems to be pleased with the new way of playing.

A Weapon PCs Can Love To Hate

I love weird weapons, the stuff that NPCs use but players would find worthless. I find that it gives the game a good appeal to add stuff off of the cuff. One of my favorite odd weapons is the bola. Now these things have made a comeback in recent years, but more as an outdoor toy called Ladderball. The toy ones are made of plastic, and the players compete against one another to see how many points they can make by wrapping the bolas around rungs of a short ladder. IT’S FUN! And very challenging, and the great thing about it is that it is a level playing field; kids have a good chance at beating an adult, it doesn’t rely on strength or intelligence but finesse and dexterity.

Bolas were ancient weapons, two or more hard balls tied to a rope, but instead of dishing out damage like a regular weapon, these things provide other nasty functions, namely hampering an enemies movement.

To use the bola, one simply twirls it over their head until they are ready to let go. The balls do the rest! These things are dangerous, the balls are much heavier then the toy ones that we use today. Typically the weapon used against man-sized targets are made of leather, the strap is about 56 inches, on the ends are 4 inch pockets for rocks or metal balls.

A simple weapon, but effective when working together as a team with spearmen. On a regular attack, a hit holds the victim fast, and they must spend a round trying to get out by making a successful STR check, else stay immobile.

Of course in the hands of an expert, these things have many other uses. Called shots against a targets legs not only prevents movement, but the target must make a DEX check (if they are moving at the time of the hit, there is a -3 penalty to the check) else fall prone.

Called shots against the arms causes the bolas to entangle either the enemies weapon hand or shield hand (attackers option), this stops either all attacks or removes the AC bonus for the shield until a successful STR check is made with a -2 penalty for the lack of leverage.

A successful Called Shot to the victim’s head can cause a knock-out, the victim must make a Saving Throw vs. Paralysis or be knocked unconscious for 1d4 rounds, plus additional rounds due to DEX bonuses of the attacker.


Bola cost 5sp to make, weigh 2lbs. Are M size weapons of the B type. They have a speed factor of 8. If you are a stickler, and the proper save is made by the victim, you can still have it inflict damage (though I never do) it can do 1d3 to Small or Medium targets, and 1d2 to large foes.

Bola has a rate of fire of 1/1. Short range is 6, Medium range of 12, and a long range of 18.


Weapon grade bolas require room to get the thing going, almost 5 feet of room (an entire square), thus this is primarily an outdoor weapon. Individually, the weapon is practically worthless, but working with a team the bola can give spearmen an opportunity to attack targets without fear of being counterattacked, or at least giving them an edge. A good mixture of 20% proficient bola fighters, 5% bola specialists, and 60% spearmen could easily be a formidable lot!

Because this is such a simple weapon to construct, humanoids would have access to it. The bola can also be thrown while running, a typical bola fighter would have at least 3 bolas on his person, throw them and then leave the field while the spearmen or melee fighters do their jobs. Bolas must be retrieved before they can be used a second time, if this is possible, the bola fighters may stop and pick them up to continue fighting.

Alternatively, the bolas can be used by the fighters themselves as they rush an enemy and close for melee combat. In cases like this, they would typically all have 1 or 2 bolas, throw them, and then draw their primary weapons.

These weapons are non-lethal, a successful hit on a lone target would be in a heap of trouble as a full company of spearmen could have him surrounded in moments. Monsters could use this to slow down the retreats of pesky humans who are faster then they are. These are just some ideas on how to utilize these simple weapons, and while wizards may take a fancy to using them, the other classes would probably consider them worthless, relying on more traditional weapons.

DUNGEON! & Logic: Friends or Foes?

Dungeons are definitely the fun part of the game for everyone. The DM usually enjoys it because it makes prep work a cinch! Players love it because the action is more fluid and they make for lots of opportunities for decisions to be made.

With mapping software available for free all over the web, constructing maps is much easier today then it was back when I first started. We did have some tricks to doing it, besides the good ol’ fashioned graph paper. Namely this was stealing maps from published modules and re-keying the things. You could make them new or old, wealthy or deserted for eons, the possibilities are near infinite!

Today, people kind of tend to go crazy. You can, literally drive yourself cross-eyed considering all of the dungeon logic. Many Dungeon Masters keep a set pull-list of monsters for different areas, while others ponder the very deep workings of the dungeon world itself. Me personally could give a rats tail about it. The most important thing that I consider is always what works fast and easy. I do have my own tricks though.


The first question that I ask myself when starting is what lives here? If I have an idea, or I already told the players what they are supposed to be looking for, then I don’t have a problem, but if I’m in a saucy mood and want to keep things random, then I’ll roll a monster at random from my notes. This is easier for me since I play in the World of Greyhawk, and the random encounter lists are complete. If this isn’t the case for you, the Monstrous Compendium Volume 2 has a complete listing of Random Encounters for a veriety of settings.

The monster that I roll is the dominate monster in this dungeon. It has conquered this place and lives in it, at least for the time being. Its laws are the way, naturally with wild animals also living in the place, some areas will be too dangerous for the humanoids to live (if it is a humanoid), these areas will probably be avoided, and may incorporate a trap of some kind as it is considered a natural hazard. A simple lure to trick others who aren’t so savvy as them, to wander into the hazard and get themselves killed.


We also have to figure out how big we want the thing to be. Many random dungeon generators, such as the one which I sometimes use from the first edition DMG, will go on for days with no end in sight. We have to figure out how deep we want to go with this, and how big of an area that we want to take up. This is best figured out before we even put the digital pencil to paper. A large dungeon will support more life then a small one, and there may be more dominate creatures down there fighting it out about who is in control. If you want to make a rivalry, then simply roll another random encounter check and find out what the second most dangerous thing down there is.


Now we start moving into some headache area here. This is where some DMs like to give themselves trouble, but they are on the right track! Food is a basic need that our monsters can’t live without! Depending on the monster, and their ability to adapt their environments around them, offers us different questions and problems. The simplest answer is looking at the definition in the Monster Manual, the MM will tell you their basic life strategies. Most monsters steal for a living, they find weaker beings who are good at raising their own food, and they take it.

It is rare to find monsters who keep their own stock of underground meat, they just don’t know how to feed and maintain animals like that. Hell, they don’t wash themselves and rely on inhuman constitution to survive. The dungeon world is one filled with disease and rotten icky things because of our next consideration.


What does the monster do with its waste? The answer is usually that this is somebody else’s problem. A monster will move in and use up every available resource that it can, and then it will move on to a new hovel. Of course, this sets the scene for a new monster to take over the dungeon, and brand new dangers. A fun dungeon can be one that has been abandoned. Not only will they leave their mess behind, which will cause the place to be a haven for new nastiness that lives off of stuff like that, but they will also leave their sick, injured, and weak behind as well. These things will be extremely dangerous, as they are starving and terrified, perhaps even mad from loneliness and confinement.


Part of my Quick & Easy mentality dictates that, for the most part, monsters are like pirates. They are typically as drunk and as lazy as possible, of course I mix it up so that nobody can tell what I’m doing. I’ll give some monsters a need or an industry of some kind, this way it is harder to tell what I’m doing behind the screen.

Water is a basic necessity for us, and for lots of creatures, however for the most part, a bunch of stinky monsters would turn their nose up at it. They would rather have booze and only bathe by happenstance. If there is a water supply, some monsters would love to just sit there and throw stuff in it for entertainment, same thing with really deep holes. If a monster is really destructive, such as the Troll, then after the creature leaves the water will be no good, and this could effect the upper world if we want it to.

A monster who depends on water would treat a water-source like gold, and defend it to the death unless another source was known. Water is a good place for natural hazards, the monsters who depend upon it will keep the ones who don’t out of that area, and use them to keep intruders out. Most humanoids will leave aquatic nightmares completely alone! This logic keeps our water supplies untainted unless it serves us to do otherwise.


Another thing to consider, before putting the pen to paper and drawing out your map, is to figure out what this hole is for. Who built it? Is it natural or was it constructed by someone or something?

The word Dungeon, as we use it, is a very confusing thing if you think about it. Rarely do we ever create dungeons that are really dungeons! For the most part, we could care less who made it, but sometimes it can be fun to figure it out. Was it an ancient culture? Even this question can bring some different answers, what with all of the demi-humans running around. Why did they move out, or abandon it? It could be a mystery as we all have similar problems here on this planet. This also can be used to figure out what the holes original purpose was. Was it a mine? A basement to some long forgotten and quite absent castle? Was it a secret church? A tomb? Perhaps remnants of ancient astronauts; with fantasy, anything is possible. A look into our own history gives us many of factual reasons why a large underground superstructure would be made.

While we must know who is the current holders of the dungeon, it can also be beneficial to know who, or what held it before they did; and how long ago had it been sitting. Has it been looted? If it’s got monsters, then the answer is probably yes. The questions are endless, but there is just something about building our own dungeon that lends to these creative decisions.

We can create mystery with open-ended scenarios and rooms which don’t belong, so just because something doesn’t make sense on the outside, we can hint at things which may or may not be. We must try to do our best NOT to over think the fun out of these things. We don’t want to know everything, but we should know just enough to make it look like we do.

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.


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.


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.


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.



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.


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.


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


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.


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 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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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).


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.


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.


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.



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


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.


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.


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.

Why I Hate Lamination and learned to love the bomb

I have been one busy beaver since we last talked! I got one full mat made, and am working on the second. I was going to laminate the things, but I have a low tolerance for frustrating tasks, they are very dangerous to my health, and to those around me, so I did what any flustered geek would do in my situation, cuss at it and try to force it into submission all the while ignoring the physics of the act as well as how pointless my work was becoming. That sticky crap goes everywhere but where you want it to go! I'm just glad that it didn't rip up the poster paper that I had already marked into grids. Eventually I gave up and my loving wife must have anticipated my refusal for assistance of any kind, and had purchased a sheet of clear vinyl to just lay over the table. THIS WORKS!!!! It sure as heck beats looking like one of those stupid idiots on those dumb commercials. That stuff is terrible!

Anyway, I also got finished writing up cheatsheets for miniature rules. I looked over that Battletech Rules, or whatever, that TSR was always pushing, but all of that seemed to be just aimed at mass combat, and I don't need that. I finally found what I wanted from a book that I already owned, the Players Options: Combat & Tactics manual. IT WAS PERFECT! And it even goes with 2E rules.

We play again in a couple of weeks, can't wait to run a quick scenario to see how it goes.

I didn't forget about you guys either, here are just some random links that I discovered and thought that they might prove useful. Enjoy!

Imperial History of the Middle East in 90 seconds. Created by Maps of War, now who could refuse a name like that??
The top 10 most Puzzling Ancient Artifacts. An inspiring article on AncientX.Com.

Running a Greek Theme, or just interested? Check out Theoi Greek Mythology, a very cool webpage that can suck your day dry!

And finally, is this the real lost plateau of the Isle of Dread?


Contact me at

Search This Blog

Blog Archive