Combat

Combat

Attack and Damage rolls:

All attack rolls are modified by DEX. Melee Damage is modified by strength for melee attacks. Ranged attacks use Dex for Dmg for bows and crossbows, composite bows also add str modifiers to dmg. Thrown weapons use STR. Wpn finesse allows for DEX to dmg for light / finesse weapons.

The Maximum Dex Bonus for armor affects two Dexterity modifiers now. Not just your ability to avoid attacks, but also your ability to make them. So while the heavily armored character takes less damage, their ability to successfully hit opponents is consequently impaired. Meanwhile, the lightly armored character is taking more damage but also hitting more often.

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. This rule assumes two medium sized weapons to begin with.
  • Two Weapon Fighting Is now a single feat. No need for Improved TWF / Greater TWF / etc. It simply levels up based on BAB at one additional attack per plus 5.

Specific Weapons of Note

  • Shurikens / Throwing stars – may be used with the same stats as throwing daggers
  • Crossbow light crossbows are simple weapons, Heavy crossbows are martial weapons. With the feats Rapid Shot and Weapon Focus: Crossbow the crossbow may be fired as a free action to allow for a full round attack. When used as such the crossbow counts as a martial weapon. NOTE: this rule does not reflect the historically accurate version of the crossbow, on the other hand, the real-world medieval crossbow was actually an extremely dangerous weapon which the D&D/D20 rules have failed to accurately reflect.
  • 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.

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).

  • 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. This statement over rides even feats and class abilities to the contrary. EXAMPLE: the Barbarian Class ability “Come and Get Me” which allows the Barbarian a free attack of opportunity every time he is hit in melee combat, even if such attacks are by the same attacker. The concept of free attacks which stack in this fashion are completely broken. Combat Reflexes works normally in that you may have multiple attacks, but they are still limited to only one per target.

Bushwhacking Rules

The bushwhack rule applies only when a target is flat-footed and completely unaware of an attack against him.

If the target is both flat-footed AND completely unaware (ie: helpless defender), he must make a Fortitude save if successfully damaged (DC 10 + damage dealt) or die. Most NPCs would be instantly killed by such an attack, however this rule is subject to the same limitations as Hero Points and can not be used to one shot kill a story line “boss” character. Creatures immune to critical hits or sneak attacks are immune to bushwhack attacks.

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 this tactic…or get completely screwed over by it. This is a good reason to level skills such as spot & listen, work as a team, etc.

Death, Dying & Healing

  • 0 HP / Disabled: I don’t use this mechanic. If your at or below 0 HP make your fort save to see if you are stable or dying.
  • Natural 20 = max dmg from wpn
  • Natural 1 = Fumble All Natural 1’s must be declared as they are the property of the DM!
  • Out of Combat Healing – Healing outside of combat is maximized, whether it be from spell, ability or potion.

Massive Damage Threshold and Results

  • Massive damage: at Con Score + (LvL x 2)
  • Fort Save: succeed on a DC 15 Fortitude save or suffer the effects of massive damage
  • Fort Save Failure = unconscious / dying @ -1 hp for pcs, for generics (unnamed) NPCs this results in instant death. Named “boss” NPCs are treated the same way that PCs are in this regard.
  • The massive damage system scales by +2 DC for every 10 points of damage dealt by an attack in excess of a character’s massive damage threshold.
  • Increase MDT by +10 for each size cat larger than medium.
  • Toughness modifies 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.

Finally, scaling the saving throw option makes high-level combat particularly dangerous to characters with poor Fortitude saves. Since these characters also tend to have low hit points, combat becomes doubly deadly, since they must now worry about individual attacks from powerful opponents as well as the normal attrition of hit points.

Miscellaneous

  • If you are behind another creature (friend or foe) you may use them as “soft cover”, thus adding a +4 AC bonus vs ranged attacks (but not AOE effects). This also works in reverse as your enemies also get this same bonus. This can be offset with Precise Shot.

Combat

Lazlo COS Pathfinder lazlo_campaign