Attack rolls:

* Attack rolls (both ranged & melee) are modified by the attackers Dex modifier. Weapon Finesse allows for Dex to modify damage for Small / Light / Finesse weapons.

NOTE: This means that a high Dex will allow for more hits to land, but generally do less damage due to an average loss to Str (and damage being absorbed by Armor DR), where as a high Str will land less often (do to an average loss of Dex) but hurt more when it does. This also incentives high Str melee characters to wear heavier armor, as they have less to loose from armor penalties and will likely be hit more do to a lower Dex. This counter balances well against the Class Defense Bonus chart for which classes are wearing heavier armor, vs who has greater HP.

The Critical Hit

* A Natural 20 attack roll is an automatic hit which grants max weapon damage. Should a critical hit be confirmed, the damage is rolled normally with a minimum result equal to the max weapon damage.

Example: a long sword is a 1d8 weapon, and on a natural 20 attack roll the full 8 points are granted automatically. If a critical is confirmed this will result in double damage. Roll the damage normally but should the total result be less than 8 (say if a 3 were rolled on the d8), it is automatically bumped to 8.

* Two Natural 20’s (a 20 attack, with a critical confirmation of a 2nd natural 20) adds a + 1 to the critical damage multiplier. NOTE: if using the shield sacrifice maneuver (below) this type of critical instantly destroys the shield regardless of how many hits it would have had left. This is due to the rarity of a double natural 20 critical hit.

* Three Natural 20 attack rolls are an instant kill. NOTE: this attack can not be absorbed with a shield sacrifice like a normal critical hit.

The Fumble

* Natural 1 = Fumble! Make a REF Save against the AC of the original target of the attack.

* Successful REF Save: dramatic miss with no special effect.

* Failed REF Save: provoke an attack of opportunity from the foe the fumble was scored against.

* Fumbled REF Save: attacker hits self, or an adjacent ally, and provokes an attack of opportunity from all adjacent foes.

Armor as Damage Reduction (Armor / DR – )

Under the LCM Ruleset this conversion is much more simple than in other systems, with the equipment Armor bonus to AC translating directly to Armor DR on a one for one basis. This includes Enhancement bonuses (if any) on the armor. Example: + 2 Chainmail (AC 5) becomes Armor DR 7/-

Armor DR X / – stacks with other forms damage reduction. Armor DR under the LCM is relatively common, as is DR from class features (Barbarian, Fighter, etc) however DR from other sources is much more rare.

Under the LCM Ruleset Shields continue to add to a characters AC.

*A creature’s AC bonus from natural armor is converted to Armor DR at 50%. For example: A mature adult red dragon has a natural armor bonus of +24, this gives it Armor DR 12/-. A frost giant has a +9 natural armor bonus, so it gains Armor DR 4/- from natural armor.

The Effective Worth of Class Defense + Armor DR
Under the LCM combat system attacks tend to hit more often, but do less damage to armored combatants. Lightly armored combatants will be hit less commonly than heavily armored ones. Both of these statements are fortunate due to the lower levels of magic in the world at large. In all cases non armor wearing classes like the mage and sorcerer should REALLY avoid getting hit in combat as they have the worse class AC bonus, no DR to speak of, and the fewest HP. Multiclassing for these characters is a viable option as it allows the character access to armor training.

For example: A 3rd level goblin warrior not be much of a threat to a 3rd level human fighter wearing splint mail (Armor DR 7 / -). The fighters Armor DR is more than enough to entirely negate the damage dealt by an average hit. On the other hand, there are still plenty of things the fighter is vulnerable to such as fire, poisons, drowning, critical hits, called shots, CMD attacks (bullrush, trip, etc) and thus should avoid becoming too confident in the goblin’s inability to be a viable threat.

  • The following effects completely bypass Armor DR: Confirmed Critical Hits, Challenging Called Shots (Ultimate Combat), and a successful Bushwhacking attack. Likewise a Helpless Defender does not benefit from Armor DR nor Class Defense bonus, and a prone defender is reduced to 1/2 their normal Armor DR.

Class Defense Bonus

The LCM Ruleset uses a Defensive Bonus by Armor Type & Level system to determine AC. This system is based on the Armor Type allowed by the character class (adjusted for Archetypes) & character Level. The value of armor being physically worn translates directly to Armor Damage Reduction. Enhancement bonuses to armor add directly to its Armor DR value. Example: a 5th level rogue in + 2 studded leather armor would have AC 17 (plus misc bonuses) and an Armor DR 5 /-.

Armor DR stacks with other forms of DR such as that from a Barbarian or Fighter class ability, wearing Adamantine armor, etc. Under the LCM ruleset there are not as many options for DR enhancements as in a canon D20 game so the stack effect from multiple sources should not create the min/max issues it might in other settings. The Fortification Enhancement for example has been removed for this reason.

Unlike the official version of the Class Defense variant rules, the LCM version rewards classes which are lightly armored because of the way Armor DR works under the LCM. In short, lightly armored foes are much harder to hit, but when hit they tend to be more seriously injured due to their lower hit points and lack of Armor DR. Heavily armored characters on the other hand, are hit much more frequently but suffer less from the injury due to higher HP and greater DR from their armors.

The Defense Bonus by Armor Type & Level is based on the HP per Class, and the Armor type per class / archetype. Armor categories are modified by any archetypes or feats which grant heavier armor proficiencies as it reflects the trade off the character is choosing to make. For classes whose Armor Type changes as they level (such as the Magus) adjust their chart at the appropriate levels.

Category A) Cloth Armor users, have the worse category as they are simply bad at physical combat.

Category B) Heavy Armor users, rely on their Armor DR and higher HP to mitigate injury. These classes are less worried about avoiding the hit, and more capable of simply surviving it.

Category C) Medium Armor users, and those who tend to be “light / fast warrior” types like the barbarian, ranger or brawler.

Category D) Light Armor users, for those who have lower HP and exclusively use light armors. These classes are the opposite of warriors in that they rely on their ability not to get hit at all.

Table: Defense Bonus by Class & Level
1. Use column A for cloth wearers (mage, sorcerer, etc)
2. Use column B for heavy armor types (fighter, paladin, and cavalier).
3. Use column C for medium armor (barbarian, brawler, cleric, ranger, & druid).
4. Use column D for light armor (rogue, bard, etc)

The defense bonus applies to Armor Class, and stacks with all other bonuses to AC, including the character’s shield bonus, dodge bonus, luck bonus, a Brawlers class bonus, the fighting defensively combat maneuver and so forth.

Like bonuses from Dodge, a class defense bonus improves a character’s AC against touch attacks, but not against flat footed AC.

For a multiclass character, use the defense bonus associated with the heaviest armor type the character currently has equipped. For example, a 2nd-level Fighter has a defense bonus of +4. If the character currently has equipped. For example, Bob the 2nd Level Fighter gains a level of rogue (becoming a 2nd-level Fighter/1st-level rogue), and is wearing studded leather. His defense bonus increases to + 7 as if he were a 3rd level rogue. Should the character later don full plate armor his armor class would be + 4.

When calculating a monster’s defense bonus to AC divide their Natural Armor in half and compare that number to typical armors worn. Such as Natural Armor 10 would convert to Armor DR 5 / – or the equivalent of Chainmail (medium armor / Column C). Treat their level as equal to their HD.

If the creature possesses no Class Levels but is listed as wearing specific armor, treat them as having class proficiency with the armor listed and their HD as their level, unless their description indicates a Natural Armor bonus higher. In which case base AC / DR accordingly.

If a creature possess Class Levels, use their armor proficiency per normal to determine their Defensive Bonus.

Bushwhacking Rules

The bushwhack rule applies only when a target is flat-footed, completely unaware of an attack against him, and the attacker has 3 rounds to quietly prepare a single attack. If the attack is successful it is considered to be an automatic critical hit, which bypasses Armor DR as per normal for a Critical Hit. Creatures immune to critical hits or sneak attacks are immune to bushwhack attacks.

NOTE: this attack can be used even at long range for tactical sniping from a rooftop, etc. If the attacker has a class ability for sneak attack or precision damage determine the attack normally and then apply sneak / precision damage. This damage is still applied at long range for sniping. Bushwhacking can be surprisingly deadly with snipers or hidden rogues, especially when combined with the rules for Massive Damage, and adds a tremendous amount of combat realism.

Range penalties for Bushwhacking are the same as for a ranged sneak attack attempt; double range penalty of the weapon, and additional – 2 if outside of the 30ft “point blank range”.

Called Shots

Called Shots may be used as part of a Bushwhacking attempt. If successful the Called Shot Bushwhack attack is preformed as a full round action (instead of requiring 3 rounds of concentration). Such a called shot is always considered “challenging” and is resolved against the targets flat footed AC + any Armor DR + 10 for the attack roll.

When used in combat, a full round Called Shot may be attempted to surpass a targets Armor DR / – as a Challenging shot. This attack roll is resolve against the targets normal AC + Armor DR + 10.

Magic effects like True Strike can be used normally with Called Shots.

Range penalties for Called Shots are the same as for a Bushwhacking attempt (double range penalty, and additional – 2 if outside of the 30ft “point blank range”).

Called shots are always full round actions, as such called shot feats are modified as noted:

Improved Called Shot: Normal, + 2 to attack roll

Greater Called Shot: adds + 4 to the attack roll, and + 2 towards any critical confirmation

NOTE: precision damage such as vital strike and rogue sneak attack damage are allowed with called shots, as these still reflect a well placed shot and thus stays with the concept of the called shot.

Shields – overhauled!

What follows is a rework of the typical D20 pathfinder shield using the current stats as a base line, and historical records for size, weight, etc. The objective is to re-envision shields to allow them to be more useful than the typical + 1 AC (and the loss of the off hand for more powerful swings).

+ 1 Light Shield – mostly wooden – weight about 8 lbs – cost: 3 gold – arcane spell failure: 5%. This is the only shield which may be used with Acrobatics to augment the Total Defense combat maneuver.

+ 2 Medium Shield – typically wood / metal reinforcements – weight about 15 lbs – cost: 12 gold – arcane spell failure: 10%

+ 3 Heavy Shield – layered wood & leather with metal cover – Example Spartan hoplon / aspis 36 – 40" diameter – weight about 25 lbs – cost: 20 gold – arcane spell failure: 15%

+ 4 Tower – These are huge! – mostly used on open battle fields – offers Cover – mostly wood with metal cover – 3′ × 4 1/2’ – weight about 45 lbs – cost: 30 gold – arcane spell failure: 50%

Additional augmentations could be used with these shields such as making them from a lighter wood (Darkwood) or a lighter metal (mithril), alternately adding reinforced metal bands would add both weight and additional durability.

NOTE: shields take an enormous beating and should frequently be repaired or replaced, especially true of wooden shields.

Shields can be sacrificed to counter a critical hit. This option can be used once for each weight category for the shield, once it reaches the maximum crits absorbed wooden shields are destroyed and metals ones are considered broken and too damaged to use as a shield until repaired. A reinforced shield adds + 25% weight, and 50 gold to its cost, and adds one additional crit absorption (adds 2 additional crits for heavy and tower shields).

Note: if a light shield is sacrificed this way it does NOT stop the attack, but simply cancels the fact that was a critical, resolve the attack normally. This tactic is best used against a larger weapon whose critical hits can be deadly.

Total Defense (or Total Defense Expert) Combat Manuever and the benefits from Combat Expertise stack under the LCM Ruleset. When used with the Total Defense combat maneuver the AC bonus for shields doubles.

Multiple Attackers and Flanking

A defending creature gains a cumulative – 2 penalty to AC for each enemy, beyond the first, that currently threatens it in melee combat.

Touch Attacks Melee and Ranged Touch attacks gain a +6 bonus to hit on the attack roll.

Simplified Action Economy

The Types of Actions have been simplified to the following 4 types: Standard Action (includes Iterative attacks from high BAB), Move Action, Double Move, and Free Actions. Typically 1 free action, 1 standard action and 1 move action, are allowed per round w/ a few exceptions such as Combat Reflexes. Double moves are considered to be a standard action + a move action (IE; moving twice). For conversion purposes: Swift Actions, Free Actions, Immediate Actions, etc are all now classified as a "Free Action". NOTE: This rule puts melee combatants on a more even footing when compared to a full BAB archer, or spell-caster for action economy.

Optional: With the Simplified Action Economy some might find the rules for Removing Iterative Attacks also flow nicely. The choice is largely a personal one.

Massive Damage Threshold (MDT) and Results

Massive Damage Threshold (MDT): 1/2 Con Score + (LvL x 2)

Fort Save vs MDT: Fort Save DC 15 + 1 / 3 pts dam taken. Success results in a Serious Injury (see Death, Damage and Healing below) but a Fort Save Failure = unconscious and Bleeding Out at -1 HP, regardless of total HP possessed before failing the save.

Toughness, Endurance and Die Hard feats modify the Massive Damage Threshold (MDT) and Massive Damage Fort Save by +2 for each feat taken (see skills and feats). Barbarian Rage increases the MDT while raging (due to increased Con with Rage). 

Death, Damage and Healing


Lazlo COS Pathfinder - Low Magic lazlo_campaign lazlo_campaign