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The fantasy combat rules focus around melee combat with swords, axes, staves, etc.

These rules are written using Core Mechanic Version 2.5

You attack with a weapon skill, and the defender defends with either a weapon skill, dodging, shielding, or possibly covering or footwork. The attacker spends effort required for their attack, and as long as they beat the fumble roll, the ball is now in the defender's court. The defender will always spend some effort warding the attack, how much and what consequences they suffer will be determined by the roll according to Core Mechanic Version 2.5#Resolving Checks

Attacks have a recovery (delay) time measured in ticks. After attacking, you enter an unready state for that number of ticks representing your sword out of position, you off balance for another attack, etc). While unready, you may not attack unless some tactical maneuver says you can. While ready, you gain a small bonus on your defenses (probably +1 or +2).

Most anything interesting in combat is handled as a tactical maneuver. These will have some set of requirements (in terms of tactical situation and skills) and will give some set of advantages or disadvantages.

Fast: 2 tick delay after attacking (punching, dagger strike)

Fast attacks generally take 2-4 effort to execute and nominal effort to defend against them is 2

Medium: 4 tick delay after attacking (arming sword, quarterstaff, kick)

Medium attacks generally take 3-5 effort to execute, and nominal effort to defend against them is 5

Slow: 6 tick delay after attacking (warhammer, polearm)

Slow attacks generally take 4-8 effort to execute, and nominal effort to defend against them is 5-8



Weapons have an amount of sharpness damage, a base momentum damage, a required strength, and a max usable strength.

For all weapons, each point of strength increases momentum damage by 0/1/3 for light 1/3/5 for medium and 2/5/8 for heavy.

Here are some example weapons. The number before the slash is sharpness damage, the number after is momentum damage, remember strength will add momentum. The numbers may need revision. We may also want to introduce some randomness into weapon damage somehow.

Weapon Speed First Second Third Min Str Max Str
Broadsword Med 8/4 30/10 80/20 0 5
Quarterstaff Med 0/5 0/20 0/50 -3 3
Rapier Fast 3/8/0 5/25/0 10/60/0 -1 1
Greataxe Slow 15/5 60/20 100/50 1 7
Great Hammer Slow 5/10 20/50 40/80 2 8

Armor piercing weapons have 3 numbers, the first is the armor piercing value which reduces the sharpness blocking of armor, potentially allowing sharpness damage to get through, but never deals damage itself.


Armor blocks some fraction of momentum damage, and some cutoff threshold of sharpness damage. All soft armor (leather, chain, ...) blocks 1/3 of momentum damage, all hard armor (plate) blocks 2/3 of momentum damage.

Leather: block 10 sharpness damage

Chain: block 40 sharpness damage

Plate: block 80 sharpness damage

We need to figure out rules for how to handle armor that does not cover all of your body, or mixed armor (plate over chest, chain over arms), because they will be qualitatively different. This may need rules for handling differences of hits to different body locations.

Desired Improvements

Hit variation by location (arm, leg, torso, head), probably affects damage, kind of wound.

Reach/distance - it would be nice to be able to model how close combatants are to each other: polearm distance, sword distance, axe/mace/shortsword distance, hand to hand, wrestling/grappling. Footwork and/or weapon/unarmed skill rolls would be used to change distance. Weapons would be varying effectiveness at different distances. Nominally have an optimum distance, can probably go one step in or out at a penalty, but if too close or too far you can't attack at all.

Not sure how to handle distance with multiple combatants. Maybe just give the single combatant penalties on their footwork roll to represent flanking type things, one person covering while the other advances/retreats.

Archived Combat Rules


Not sure if we want to break things down like this by default, or just treat special defenses as a maneuver - tgd 2011-07-15

Parry: Directly meet force for force. Moderate effort, bonus on speed check.

Ward: Deflecting attacks. Low effort, might also require a little mental effort. Higher skill defense. Penalty (or not bonus) on the speed check

Dodge: Just get your body out of the way of the attack Armor: Blocks sharpness damage (generally fairly well), and momentum damage somewhat. For example chainmail (with padding underneath) might block 20 points of sharpness damage and reduce momentum damage by a third. Platemail might block 40 points of sharpness damage and reduce momentum damage by 2/3.


Damage is determined an attack's by momentum and the weapon's sharpness

Critical Hits

If you lose a speed check or momentum check by at least 10 points, you must roll 1D6 for each full set of 10 points that you have lost by. E.g., if the target was 47 and you scored an 11, you would be 36 points short, which rounds down to 3d6. Implement the effects of all dice cumulatively. For example, if your 3d6 critical speed hits come up [2, 5, 5] you would lose 2 Wind and take two total damage to piece(s) of armor of your attacker's choice.

For a failed speed check, on a roll of...

For a failed momentum check, on a roll of...

This mechanic should allow moderately skilled characters facing richer opponents to occasionally get lucky and tarnish their foes' equipment, and it should allow ridiculously skilled characters to showboat and/or take on multiple opponents without just outright disabling a new enemy on each tick. It obviously needs lots of refining.

Wear and Tear

As you are fighting, take note of every time the momentum of an attack is higher than the strength of your median piece of armor, arms, or equipment.

After you disengage with a duel from an enemy or small, immediately adjacent group of enemies, for any reason (death, fleeing, disability, victory, boredom, etc.), count up that tally, and subtract any special durability bonuses on your equipment (e.g. masterwork, enchanted, epic, +3 durability, etc.). The result is your target for a durability check. Roll 2d20. For each die that comes up lower than the target, you choose an appropriate item and damage it one level. If the dice *match* and *both* dice are below the target, you must first *destroy* one of your equipment items, and then take two total levels of additional equipment damage.


Each category decreases the protectiveness of the armor and increases its encumbrance. See the tables with your armor.

Status of the system

We have a working core combat mechanic

Still need:

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