LCM – Combat

Attack rolls:

All attack rolls are modified by Dex. Melee Damage is modified by Strength for melee attacks. Ranged attacks use Dex for damage for bows and crossbows, composite bows also add Str modifiers to damage. Thrown weapons use Str (light thrown weapon such as a shuriken may use Dex instead). Weapon Finesse allows for Dex to modify damage for Small / Light / Finesse weapons.

  • A Natural 20 attack roll automatically grants max damage from weapon (note: if a crit is confirmed roll damage normally not automatically max damage). This rule allows the player to get something from a Natural 20 strike even if the crit is not confirmed.
  • Two Natural 20’s are as one would expect, max’d crit damage but with an additional +1 added to the crit multiplier.
  • Three Natural 20’s are an instant kill. (NOTE: This effect does not work on “Boss” level characters.)
  • Natural 1 = Fumble All Natural 1’s must be declared as they are the property of the DM!

Class Defense Bonus and Armor as DR

  • Armor as DR was added as a Straight AC 5 armor (ie chainmail) would give a flat 5 DR.
  • The Class Defense Bonus is one of the primary sources for AC, the other being Blocking & Parrying.
  • Class Defense Bonus


Let’s face it; shields have always sucked under the D20 system (both old and new), so under the LCM ruleset this has finally been addressed. Shields add + 1 AC, & + 1 to Ref Saves for Small shields, + 3/ + 3 for a medium shield, + 5/ + 5 for heavy shields. Shield bonuses (a + 2 shield for example) applies its bonus to both categories (+ 3 / + 3 becomes + 5 / + 5).

Blocking / Parrying

You can sacrifice – 1 BAB and convert it to a + 2 “dodge” bonus for AC. When your base attack bonus reaches +4, and every 4 points thereafter, the penalty increases by –1 and the bonus to defense increases by +2. This ability scales the same as power attack. This stacks with bonuses gained from shields. This ability replaces Combat Expertise


Being Flanked is a Condition under the LCM Ruleset. Thus if a target is flanked by any two opponents, the target is now treated as being flanked by anyone. For each additional person flanking the target add an additional + 2 to the flanking bonus. This is similar to Aid Other and Threatening a target due to position (ie: within melee striking distance). Up to eight opponents can flank a medium creature for a total bonus of + 14 to hit. Only melee combatants are considered when determining Flanking bonuses, however ranged attackers still gain this bonus and the target is denied it’s dex bonus to the ranged attack as well (it is still considered flanked).

Example: 2 elves flank an orc gaining the + 2 flanking bonus. The two more elves join them, each adding an additional + 2 (+ 6 total). Next the elven archer joins the fight, and while he does not add additional bonuses for flanking considerations, he does however still benefit from the +6 bonus to attack his friends flanking maneuver has already generated. The orc has the “Flanked Condition", and because he is “flanked” and thus denied his Dex bonus the archer may apply Sneak Attack damage as a standard action. Like normal, when firing into melee it will still be advisable for the archer to have precise shot before attempting such a shot.

Specific Weapons of Note

Heavy Crossbows are remarkably accurate (although slow) weapons get a + 2 bonus to hit, and + 2 bonus to bypass DR, Light Crossbows get + 1 bonuses.

Types of actions and maneuvers

For my campaign I’ve opted to simplify the Types of Actions available to the following 4 types: Standard Action, Move Action, Full Round Attack w/ 5ft Step, and Free Actions. Typically 1 free action allowed per round w/ a few exceptions such as Combat Reflexes. For conversion purposes: Swift Actions, Free Actions, Immediate Actions, etc are all now classified as a “Free Action”. “Attack actions” not otherwise specified are standard actions.

Combat Maneuvers Only provoke an Attack of Opportunity on a failed Combat Maneuver. Frankly this is to encourage them to be used more in order to create more dynamic battlefields.

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. Due to the Massive Damage rules used in the campaign most low level NPCs would be instantly killed. Even mid-level characters could be seriously injured by such an attack. 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. Games with a bushwhack rule can be surprisingly deadly especially with snipers or well hidden rogues & assassins, but any PC in the right circumstances can greatly benefit from these tactics as well. This is a good reason to level skills such as Perception, work as a team, have an Animal Companion or Familiar who can help you look for such things, etc.

(Optional) Pass Through Damage

Pass Through Damage is the concept of an exceptionally hard hit that converts some of its attack result into direct damage similar to how power attack works. In effect any time that your attack roll exceeds the AC of the target by more than 10 you apply the excess amount towards HP damage. IE: The targets AC is 20, I hit with a 33. 33 – 10 = 3 points over the 20 AC and that excess amount translates to + 3 damage. This damage is treated like damage from a power attack and is subject to critical hit multipliers.

Death, Dying & Healing

Bleeding out at zero HP = At zero HP the character is Bleeding Out (dying). Make a Fort save to Stabilize (DC 15 + HP below zero). Stabilized = unconscious. For the character that fails their Fort save, they are unconscious and continue to Bleed Out until they reach their negative Con score. (NOTE: “unconscious” can also be interpreted as “too messed up to do anything” but still give a cool death speech, “Luke…I am your father…”

Once you are past the negative Con score (your Death Threshold) you are dead. At which point you still continue to lose 1 hp per minute. During this phase healing magic can still bring you back (but only magic can at this point) by healing enough damage to raise you to at least your negative Con score with a single spell. A Heal check is enough for the healer in question to get a good feel for your condition and begin the triage process of determining whom they can help, and who is simply beyond their abilities.

NOTE: Because Raise Dead and similar magics are not allowed under the LCM Ruleset this final stage was added to the dying process to allow healers time to react to a fallen team member.

Bleeding Out

Assisted Characters: A character who is Bleeding Out can be helped with a Heal check equal to the Fort Save stabilize check. On a success, the character stabilizes and stops loosing HP, but does not regain any HP and is still unconscious. On the up side, they are no longer in danger of dying (baring any additional injury of course) and natural healing can begin as soon as they are out of harm’s way.

Un-Assisted Characters: A character who is Bleeding Out without assistance is unconscious and has a 10% chance of stabilizing naturally plus an additional 5% for each point of Con Bonus they have (IE: 18 con = +4 bonus = +20% stabilize chance). If they succeed they gain 1 HP per day until they have risen to at least 1 HP above zero. During this time period they may make a Fort save vs their original stabilization check, with a + 1 per day bonus, to take a single standard action (of non-strenuous activity) to do something very minor like use a healing salve. Once their HP has risen to a positive number they start to heal naturally. Feats like Die Hard, Endurance and Toughness modify the stabilization roll with a + 10% chance to stabilize for each such feat.

Natural Healing: under the D20 RAW natural healing is simply too good and allows characters with severed limbs to bounce back to full health after 2 or 3 days of rest. This is not the case under the LCM Ruleset.

Characters recover their Con Bonus, or 1/3 their level (whichever is greater) to a minimum of 1 HP per day. This means that a “master” level character at 9th level would recover 3 HP/day unless he has a really high Con bonus such as a + 4 or + 5. Further this will not heal damage from Critical Hits or Massive Damage and without magic healing such a character can expect massive injuries to remain and a permanent reduction in HP, possible stat damage, permanent limb damage, etc.

Healing Magic and Raising the Dead

It is generally assumed that healing magic is being used at the time of the injury to avoid long term effects. When used after the fact a person’s life may be spared, but permanent maiming and ability damage which resulted from a severed limb or a blinded eye would still remain. Additional limitations may also be appropriate such as reduced movement rates, ranged attack penalties (in the case of a lost eye), etc. For such permanent injuries stat damage and reduced max HP would be expected. Ability score damage (such as a ghost attack) is healable through normal rest.

Raise Dead, Regeneration, Restoration and Resurrection (and similar effects) are all BANNED.

Massive Damage Threshold and Results

  • Massive damage: at Con Score + (LvL x 2)
  • Fort Save: succeed on Fort Save with a DC 15 +1 / 5pts dam over threshold or suffer the effects of massive damage
  • Fort Save Failure = unconscious and Bleeding Out at -1 HP for pcs. For generic (unnamed) NPCs however this results in instant death. Named “boss” NPCs are treated the same way that PCs are in this regard.
  • Increase MDT by +10 for each size category larger than medium.
  • Toughness, Endurance and Die Hard feats modify the Massive Damage Threshold by +3 for each feat taken (see skills and feats)

The dying save result variant tends to create less deadly combat since a single save doesn’t spell automatic death. Still a failed save can be just as critical to the tide of battle as in the standard system—a dying character is every bit as useless as a dead one, and is likely to bleed off resources from one or more other characters who attempt to save him from death.


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