A handful of combat based house rules.

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A handful of combat based house rules.

Postby Agrippa » Wed Sep 21, 2016 9:25 am

I have a few ideas on spicing up combat for LL, Basic Fantasy RPG and certain other OSR games. Some of these are new, others are ones I posted before, just slightly polished up first.

#1: Rapid shot archery. Sometimes an archer might want to sacrifice range for speed. When this happens the fighter selects a number of arrows to fire in one attack, up to two extra arrows, against a single target in his short or long bow's short range. Make an attack roll as normal. Then subtract four from the original roll for the second shot and eight for the third shot. Each shot at or above the archer's THAC0 or Attack Value results in an arrow hitting its target. This is a fighter combat option.

#2: "A good old one-two knock-out punch!" When making an attack in melee a character or monster may follow through with another attack at a -3 off-hand penalty. However this off-hand attack comes into play only if the first strike hits.

#3.a: "Two halves of a single weapon. Don't think of them as separate, because they're not. They're just two different parts of the same whole." Any character with at least a 13 to Dexterity can attack with two weapons in one attack. When doing this the attacker makes a disadvantaged attack roll, inflicting damage equal to both weapons if he hits. He loses the disadvantage at Dexterity 16+. This is the default weapon style for the hook sword.
#3.b: Dual-weapon defense. When wielding two weapons a character with at least 13 to Dexterity can forfeit an attack to better defend against an enemy's attack. Doing so imposes a one-die disadvantage on the enemy's attack. At Dexterity 16+ the penalty becomes a two-die disadvantage. A character can attempt to do this as many times as he has attacks to forfeit. Shields are treated as weapons for the purposes of this rule.

#4: Scale the giant. If you want to kill a giant you either need to be a giant, climb it or shoot it down. Right now we're talking about climbing the damn thing and stabbing it to death. To deal actual outright lethal damage to most creatures you have to be able to target it's abdomen to head. Depending on degree of success each climbing check made (whether with Climb Sheer Surfaces or a climbing general skill) lets you move a quarter of your land speed to your full land speed per round. All vertical movement when scaling giant monsters requires a once per round skill check. Attacks to the abdomen and above deal at least twice damage to giant creatures and allow you to damage it beyond half its full hit points.

#5: Shield bashing. Shields are counted as weapons for the purpose of weapon mastery. Shields carry no off-hand penalty to attack, but lose the defensive bonuses when used as a weapon. An especially skilled shield bearer can strike with his shield first to disorient a foe before striking with his main weapon for a +2 bonus to hit costs the defender his Dexterity bonus to Armor Class for that attack.

#6: "With the longsword, your sword is your shield." The length of a longsword, greatsword or similarly long weapon protects the wielder as much as it threatens it's wielders foes. Often times by threatening foes. When wielding a two-handed weapon you gain one free attack against enemies wielding one-handed melee weapons, light melee weapons and unarmed foes that attempt to close into melee with you. A successful free attack under these circumstances lets you perform a render prone or reposition maneuver.

Render Prone
Whether as a melee attack, for fighters and members of related classes, or in lieu of one, everyone else, you may attempt to trip, unhorse or otherwise bring your foe to the ground. Make a melee attack roll* against your target. If you hit either** roll a Strength check (1d20+Str.-10) against the average of your foe's Dexterity and Strength scores***, or your target makes a Save vs. Stun. On a successful Strength check, or a failed Save, the subject of the render prone maneuver is well, rendered prone. If the enemy falls from a significant height as a result they take falling damage as normal. Fighter-type classes still inflict normal damage when employing the render prone maneuver.

Prone
The character is lying on the ground. A prone attacker has a –4 penalty on melee attack rolls and cannot use a missile weapon (except for a crossbow). A prone defender gains a -4 bonus to Armor Class against missile range attacks, but takes a +4 penalty to AC against melee range attacks.

Reposition
Much like render prone, the reposition maneuver requires an attack roll, followed by either a Strength check or Save vs Stun. If the Strength check succeeds or the Save fails, the victim is moved up to 5 feet any one direction relative to the attacker****. For every point the attacker's Strength check exceeds the defender's Dexterity and Strength average add one foot of forced movement. For every two points under the Save vs Stun threshold adds three feet of forced movement. Like with the render prone a fighter-type character can inflict normal attack damage while repositioning a foe.

*I know that to-hit roll is the preferred Old School nomenclature, but it just comes out a little too clunky for me.
**DMs out there, please decide on this at the start of the campaign and stick with it. It would just be really too awkward to change it later.
***If you didn't figure it out beforehand, which is probably the case for at least 90% of the enemies/creatures in your game, I'd say just spitball it. There's no shame in that.
****In the case of substantially larger enemies reposition allows you to only move them in whatever direction they're facing or moving or to one side or the other by redirecting the enemy and letting sheer momentum take over.
Last edited by Agrippa on Sat Oct 14, 2017 10:53 am, edited 7 times in total.
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Re: A handful of combat based house rules.

Postby rredmond » Wed Sep 28, 2016 11:14 pm

#1 reminds me of Crow, from Hawk the Slayer.

Thanks for sharing!
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Re: A handful of combat based house rules.

Postby Spanningtree » Thu Sep 29, 2016 12:32 am

Gotta love Hawk the Slayer, that really brings back memories. I think I was playing with the red cover basic set back then (memories are a bit cloudy).

Great rules additions BTW, I may grab some/all of them for some of my future campaigns. I like that they don't introduce or rely on skill slots of some kind.
Anall nathrack uthos bethos doss yell yenva. -Merlin
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Re: A handful of combat based house rules.

Postby Agrippa » Sat Oct 01, 2016 8:27 am

Okay then, maybe I should run a play test of some of these rules. Thinking out a coherent scenario for them all would be tricky though.
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Re: A handful of combat based house rules.

Postby Agrippa » Sat Oct 14, 2017 4:11 am

I've fleshed out one rule and added an addendum to another. How do they look?
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