LCM – Combat

Combat under the LCM Ruleset can be less forgiving in some ways than a typical D20 combat round with rules such as massive damage in place, bushwhacking, extended range for sneak attacks, etc; at the same time it can also be more forgiving with rules such as armor as DR, improved shields, and better survivability vs massive damage.

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. Weapon Finesse allows for Dex to modify damage for 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

Both have been added to the system for the level of realism they add without a major over haul to the game mechanics. Armor as DR was added as a Straight AC 5 armor (ie chainmail) would give a flat 5 DR. Shields are adjusted as noted below. The Class Defense Bonus is one of the primary sources for AC, the other being dodge AC from a high Dex bonus and Blocking & Parrying.

The rules for the Class Defense Bonus have been implemented.


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. See shields above for more on this.


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 the Aid Other action 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 benefit.

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 because the poor orc has gained the “Flanked” condition, and because the Orc is “flanked” 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.

Two Weapon Fighting

TWF with two of the same weapon is treated as having a light weapon in your offhand as if you were using a double weapon.

Specific Weapons of Note

Crossbows are remarkably accurate (although slow) weapons get a + 4 bonus to hit, and + 4 bonus to bypass DR, Light Crossbows get + 2 bonuses. In medieval combat they were used to punch through heavy plate armor of the mounted cavalry by troops who frequently didn’t have the advanced training it took to master the English Long Bow.

Rapier is not a “light weapon”, yet is treated as such for determining the size of the weapon vs. its user. IE Halflings may use a standard Rapier at no penalty. Further the Rapier can be used with Weapon Finesse & Two Weapon Fighting as if it were light.

Arrows Impale! arrow / bolt – Critical hit = Impaled. If the character opts to simply leave the arrow embedded in the wound they suffer a – 3 to hit, damage and saves rolls. Should they take more than a standard action in 1 round they are automatic hit by the arrow again (no chance of crit).

If they remove the arrow they automatically take half of the original (non-crit) damage. If the arrow has a barbed head, they take full damage to remove. If crit does enough damage to trigger massive damage, and the target is near a wall or solid surface they are likely to become nailed to the wall/surface and become pinned. Heal skill DC 15 + 1/5pt of crit can remove and impaled arrow without further injury.

Arrow, barbed: These arrows have tiny barbs along the edges of the arrowhead. If the arrow impales a creature, removing it causes full damage instead of half.

Types of actions and maneuvers

For my campaign I’ve opted to simplify the Types of Actions available to the following 4 types: Standard, Move, Full Round 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” and are understood to be things which are effectively instantaneous choices such as dropping an item you are holding in order to draw a weapon, etc.

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.

Only one haste effect may be in effect at any given time, and does not stack with mundane effects that duplicate the same such as Rapid Shot, Flurry of Blows, etc. A Haste spell however could be used with Rapid Shot, Flurry to grant the additional benefits of the spell such as movement bonus, AC bonus, etc. Haste and Expeditious Retreat however would not stack to grant additional movement.

Attack of Opportunity: There are tons of situations, feats, and special “one offs” which can in theory trigger an Attack of Opportunity, however for game balance purposes only one such attack (per character) may be applied to any single target per round.

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) Damage Carry-Over

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. 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. While this is unlikely to have a direct impact on PC’s, it does explain why permanent injuries exist in a world with magic.

Magic Healing

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 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.

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 catagory larger than medium.
  • Toughness and Die Hard feats modify the Massive Damage Threshold by +3 per each level 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.


Lazlo COS Pathfinder lazlo_campaign