Sunday, September 25, 2016

Friday Map (10): ...And My Ending is Despair [Megadungeon - 1 of ??]

Hey folks, sorry I'm a couple days late with this map!

Today we have a special one. This is the first level of my new megadungeon with the working title ...And My Ending is Despair. That's vague and threatening and mysterious enough, isn't it? I'm using a sketchy name at this point since I expect my players will come up with a more evocative name for the dungeon as we play through it. You can thank The Bard for the working title. :-)

I am doing something a little different (for me) with this megadungeon: There is no overarching theme or history or mythology behind it, Or even any "purpose" to the dungeon at all. I am quite simply making it all up as I go, one level at a time. That may seem like a boring old hat for some folks, but for me it's a great departure from my standard operating procedure, which is to detail the heck out of everything about the dungeon all in advance so it's easy for me to run at the table.

Now, no doubt I will wind up developing some of that history-er themey-ery (thanks Captain Obvious!) stuff as I create each dungeon level, but how much? I don't know yet. I'm fairly certain that much of the megadungeon's contents and many of its occupants won't make sense when scrutinized under any "realistic" ecological microscope. The only plan I do have is that this megadungeon will have a kitchen-sink-strange-days-in-the-mythic-underworld kind of vibe.

For instance, on this first level, there is an astronaut-temple-section populated by centipedes, giant rats, giant crab spiders and a colony of savage baboons. Then there is the green slime. And a black pudding. Additionally, we find a small fire-themed section with flaming snakes and fire beetles, a larger chaos/death-themed section with fountains of insta-death, a gelatinous cube, fountains of chaos tentacles, skeletons, a gargoyle and a ghoul. I've also included a large section overrun by a goblin gang that worships a crocodile-demon-god. Yes, this level is for 1st level characters. The PCs kinda died and my players kinda crapped their pants playing it. :-) I have no idea if I will continue any of these themes on successive levels. We'll see.

Unfortunately, the subsequent levels of the megadungeon will not appear in quick succession on the blog. I have to work on them first. I'm aiming for one new level every couple of months, with the levels being sprinkled among the regular weekly maps I post here. As an extra special bonus (and the real reason the levels will take time) -- each level will be fully-keyed for use with OD&D-type games. I'm not going to spend a huge amount of time editing the heck out of each level key, so expect some minor typos, stat errors and other goofball silliness and references that don't get weeded out. Consider them starting points for use at your table. :-)

If you made it this far, thanks for paying attention to my long-winded post!

Download Links:
Megadungeon Map, level 1 - .png, hi-res
Megadungeon Map, level 1 - .png, low-res
...And My Ending is Despair, level 1, referee map - .png, low-res
...And My Ending is Despair, level 1, referee key - .pdf (3-column landscape)

Friday, September 16, 2016

Friday Map (9): Iltharn Keep & the Village of Longplank

Within the idyllic rustic countryside of the West Riding of Aldershire, resting along the banks of the lazy Lower Gulstoke River, and nestled in the verdant shadow of Old Iltharn Hill is the quaint village of Longplank. A dark secret festers in the heart of this sleepy village...

Named for the first bridge that was placed down over the Lower Gulstoke three centuries past, Longplank is famous for its robust cherry orchards and the spicy-sour black cherry liqueur known throughout the realms as Longplank Blacktooth. Local legend states that Blacktooth liqueur is aged in wooden barrels fashioned from the original oak planks set down across the Lower Gulstoke.

Longplank is ruled by Baron Aethelfrost Klinghorn, second-cousin once-removed to Count Viskel Rundelwine of the East Riding of Aldershire. From his keep atop Old Iltharn Hill, Aethelfrost plots and schemes to marry his rotund daughter Igwen to the lazy-eyed son of his liege Count Wideaxe Hinkelbeck of West Aldershire, thereby entwining his broodline with the two politically-favored families of East and West Aldershire, the Rundelwines and Hinkelbecks.

Adventurers may find the dozing village interesting for not only does Longplank boast the Perfectly Sighted Cyclops, one of the best taverns this side of the Gulstoke, but also Aethelfrost secretly worships the demon-prince Orcus. Not that anyone knows this other than the village drunk, Blacktoothed Worty, of course. Aethelfrost was converted to demon-worship by Ridinal Trasmus, the spiritual leader of Longplank and pretend-pastor of of the Church of Saint Cuthbert of the Cudgel. These two evil cohorts carry on secret sacrifices, rituals and corpse army-raising ceremonies at a hidden cave-temple within Blackhaunt Wood several miles north of the village.

Blacktoothed Worty just happened to drunkenly stumble upon a scene in the dark forest the day before the adventurers turn up...

Image Download Links:
Iltharn Map - .png, hi-res
Iltharn Map - .png, low-res

Oh ... and here's a link to the last tune from the classic 1985 Celtic Frost album To Mega Therion to set the mood. Necromantical Screams. Because metal. Enjoy! :-)

Friday, September 9, 2016

Friday Map (8): Fane of Hisrathi, map 3 of 3

Today's map is the final of a three-map set for the three-level Dungeon of the Fire Lord. This map shows the lowest level, the Fane of Hisrathi.

Herein we find a flaming magma-pit cavern-temple where Hisrathi the evil elemental resides (bottom right on map). Throughout the temple are spiked red-hot iron pillars to which sacrificial victims are chained as offerings to Hisrathi. Also on this level, we find a mine where azers cut crimson kyleth crystals (magicky do-special-stuff crystals) and precious metals to bring to the forges of the flame salamander warrior-smiths that occupy the long angular-shaped chamber near the top left of the map.

Rounding out the level, we have various small quarters and two big chambers for the azers (top left of map) and their boss Utemnaron, nephew of Amaimon, king of azers on the plane of fire. Additionally, there are metal, mineral and crystal storage areas (north of the chasm on the map), and the residences of the highest-ranking members of the Cult of Cleansing Flames (bottom middle-ish of the map), Bayabaset the Burnt Priest, Ignia the Flame Bitch and Vasroth the Impaler.

Of particular giddy referee note is the octagonal-shaped "pinch point" chamber with the four doors: the infamous (in my 3e era Greyhawk game anyway) Brass Gas Room of Doom. Once inside the solid brass chamber, the doors shut fast and a slow-working "knockout" gas-trap activates. Four bronze statues inside the chamber need to be positioned correctly to open any of the doors. A fifth bronze statue in the center of the chamber animates and subdue-attacks the party if the other statues aren't positioned correctly the first time around. It was a great trap encounter since most players hate being captured more than dying. Mwah-ha-ha-ha!

Image download links:
Map 3, Fane of Hisrathi - .png, hi-res
Map 3, Fane of Hisrathi - .png, low-res

Saturday, September 3, 2016

Friday Map (7): Sanctum of Cleansing Flames, map 2 of 3

Today's map  (sorry I'm a day late!) is the second of a three-map set for the three-level Dungeon of the Fire Lord. This map shows the middle level, the Sanctum of Cleansing Flames. This part of the dungeon contains the main temple of the Cult of Cleansing Flames, as well as the cult's reliquary, dormitories, library, private quarters, and numerous other chambers and caverns.

If you're a truly daring explorer, the great chasm through the middle of the dungeon connects all three levels, but gaining this level from the upper level (Caverns of the Mad Morlock) is usually done using the rough-hewn stairs near the top of the map. The primary inhabitants of this level have constructed a tunnel leading to the surface, which they access via the secret chamber in the bottom right corner of the map. The lower dungeon level (Fane of Hisrathi) is accessed via the staircase in the temple antechamber. The temple is the long capsule-shaped chamber in the top right corner of the map.

The Sanctum dungeon level is primarily populated by cultists, guards, and followers of the Cult of Cleansing Flames. However, Lishixa, the medusa-sorceress, and Reginald, her undead half-ogre lover (she's got creepy taste in men), inhabit the cavern areas along with a savage and drug-addicted pack of Lishixa's morlock slaves. The cultists have an uneasy truce with Lishixa.

Image download links:
Map 2, Sanctum - .png, hi-res
Map 2, Sanctum - .png, low-res

A Wee Bit of History: I used the Cult of Cleansing Flames back in the early days of 3rd edition D&D during a brief campaign set in Greyhawk. The cult is an offshoot of the elemental fire worshippers from the Temple of Elemental Evil. Led by Bayabaset the Burnt Priest (and his "lieutenants" Vasroth the Impaler and Ignia the Flame Bitch), the cultists escaped the destruction of the temple and established their own lair and temple, hidden in the northern reaches of the Lortmil Mountains. For the past few years, the cult has grown steadily, recruiting new followers and bulking its store of magic and arms. Recently, Bayabaset performed a summoning ritual that called forth the evil lord Hisrathi from the elemental plane of fire. Hisrathi is an elemental, but an evil demonic one. The cultists worship him as their true god—one who will oversee a new age once the infidels of the Flanaess are cleansed by his purifying fire!

Thursday, September 1, 2016

S&W WhiteBox House Rules (7): Spellcasting & Sanity

This is the seventh and final post detailing the house rules I use for Swords & Wizardy: WhiteBox. Today we deal with spellcasting and sanity. Cheers!

REFEREE'S NOTES
As a referee, I have been known to get fussy about spellbooks and scrolls. Sometimes players treat the spellbooks and scrolls they find in the hoards of slain evil wizards kind of like how kids collect baseball (or Yu-Gi-Oh!) cards: got it, got it, need it, got it, need it ... toss aside. This bugs me a little bit. So I like using costs for adding spells to spellbooks and rules that make casting spells off of scrolls risky.

I also added sanity rules to handle situations like encountering hideous and otherworldly monsters, reading forbidden books, speaking the names of Old Ones, suffering from fear (whether a spell or magic item), doing blasphemous things, and generally freaking out and going crazy like Pink from The Wall or GG Allin, or going completely bat shit insane like Jim Jones or Elizabeth Báthory.

The end results of which are, of course, taken straight out of the good old AD&D Dungeon Masters Guide. :-)

SPELLCASTING

PREPARING SPELLS
A spellcaster prepares and casts a certain number of spells each day, determined by her experience level. A spellcaster can prepare new spells after 8 hours of rest. It takes 1 hour to prepare all the spells a character can cast each day.

A spell remains prepared in a caster’s mind until it is cast. However, if a spell is not cast by the end of the day, the caster does not get to “double up” on that spell the next day—that spell level “slot” is still occupied by the previous day’s prepared spell. Thus, a spellcaster may stretch her prepared spells over multiple days, weeks or even months, if necessary. For example, if a wizard lost her spellbook and could not prepare new spells, this capability could be a life saver.

CASTING SPELLS OFF SCROLLS
A spellcaster may attempt to cast a spell directly off a scroll so long as the spell is identified with Read Magic and the spell is of her proper type—a wizard can only cast arcane spells and a cleric can only cast divine spells. The process of casting a scroll spell is the same as casting a prepared spell, except the caster doesn’t use up one of her spells and she must hold the scroll in-hand while casting the spell. Once a spell is cast off a scroll, the magical writing disappears from the scroll and the spell can never be cast again. Despite the similarities, casting a scroll spell is significantly riskier than casting a prepared spell—the magical writing and incantations are not the caster’s own, and therefore the chance of making a mistake increases dramatically.

Whenever a spellcaster tries to cast a spell off of a scroll, a test is required to see if the character properly translates and channels the spell. To make a Scroll Casting test, roll 2d6 + Intelligence modifier (for wizards) or Wisdom modifier (for clerics) and consult Table 42: Scroll Casting below. If the spell level is a higher level than the character can cast, apply a -1 penalty for each spell level difference. For example, if the spell on the scroll is level 5 and the character can only cast level 2 spells, the test roll suffers a -3 penalty.

Table 42: Scroll Casting
2d6 + Int Mod
Result
2 or less
Eldritch Backfire. The casting attempt backfires and the scroll is consumed in an explosion of searing eldritch fire. The caster suffers 1d6 damage per level of the spell on the scroll (no saving throw allowed).
3-5
Failure. The casting attempt fails and the spell is lost from the scroll.
6-8
No Effect. The spell does not go off, but remains intact on the scroll. Something during the casting was missed or done incorrectly. The caster may try again next round.
9-11
Success. The casting attempt succeeds and the spell is used from the scroll.
12 or more
Eldritch Triumph. The casting attempt succeeds beyond expectation. All spell variables are maximized and saving throws to resist the spell (if allowed) suffer a -1 penalty.

STARTING WIZARD SPELLS
Wizards begin play at 1st level with one or two more spells in their spellbooks than they are able to cast. Players may choose one 1st level spell for their wizard characters (two if the wizard has an Intelligence score of 13 or higher), and randomly determine one other 1st level spell. Additional spells can only be added to a spellbook through game play.

SPELLBOOKS (Warning - Fluff text present!)
A graduate of the Iron Tower of the Manalishi embarks upon her adventuring life with an impressive-looking spellbook; a thick, weighty tome of a hundred or so creamy-yellow vellum pages with a cover of immaculately-stitched and dyed leather, bound with sturdy but delicately-etched polished black iron, and decorated with brilliant silver and gold filigree or other lustrous finery.

However, not all wizards use spellbooks of such traditional “book” form. A village hedge wizard might keep a ramshackle collection of coded sketches, notes and diagrams upon a bundle of fraying parchment sheets as a spellbook. An elven hermit might record his spells on papyri sewn together to form a great, long scroll. A dwarf runecaster’s spellbook may consist of a collection of polished obsidian rune stones meticulously categorized in a crystal and black iron case lined with padded silk.

The physical form of a spellbook isn’t significant to the game rules, a player is free to detail her character’s spellbook as she likes.

SPELLBOOK COSTS
The costs associated with a spellbook are stricter in the rules than the form it takes. There are three basic rules regarding spellbooks and their costs:
  1. Starting Cost: A spellbook costs 25 gp and has all of a wizard’s starting spells.
  2. Adding Spells: When a character learns a new spell, she “copies” it into her spellbook. This costs 200 gp per spell x spell level. The time required is 1 hour per spell x spell level. The gold is spent on special materials.
  3. Replacing Spellbooks: Replacing a lost or destroyed spellbook is a time-consuming and costly process. It is far cheaper to create back-up copies of spellbooks than to replace them. However, if necessary, creating a new spellbook costs 1,000 gp per spell x spell level. The time required is 1 week per spell x spell level. The character cannot do anything else during this time.

LEARNING NEW SPELLS
Whenever a wizard discovers a new spell—most likely on a scroll or spellbook found in a treasure hoard—she may attempt to learn it and copy it into her spellbook. There are three things a character must do to learn and copy a new spell:
  1. Read Magic: The character reads the scroll or spellbook pages with Read Magic to identify the spell. Each spell requires one casting of Read Magic.
  2. Learn Spell Test: The character must succeed on a Learn Spell roll (see Table 27: Learn Spells below). Roll 2d6 modified by Intelligence.
  3. Time and Gold: The character must spend the appropriate time and gold as noted in “Adding Spells” under Spellbook Costs above.

Table 27: Learn Spells
2d6 + Int Mod
Result
2 or less
Eldritch Backfire. The spell is not learned and the scroll is ruined (or the spellbook pages for that spell are ruined).
3-5
Failure. The spell is not learned and the spell is lost from the scroll (but not a spellbook).
6-8
Learned. The spell is learned and may be copied normally. The spell is considered “harmlessly cast” from the original scroll (but not a spellbook).
9-11
Eldritch Success. The spell is learned and the cost to copy it once into a spellbook is halved. The spell is considered “harmlessly cast” from the original scroll (but not a spellbook).
12 or more
Eldritch Triumph. As Eldritch Success, plus the spell remains “uncast” on the original scroll.

SANITY

Sanity Points (SP) represent a character’s mental resolve and capability to withstand terror, eldritch horrors and insanity. Sanity points most often come into play when a character makes a saving throw to resist the horror of an otherworldly creature, after reading a forbidden tome of unspeakable lore, or to resist a spell that causes fear.

All characters have SP based upon their initial Wisdom scores at 1st level. A character with a Wisdom score of 12 starts the game with 12 SP. Think of sanity points a bit like mental hit points—a character can take only a certain amount of sanity damage until he goes insane and is removed from the game.

Table 38: Sanity
Wis Score/San Pts
ST
Threshold
Threshold Effect
3/0-3
-2
Insane
PC insane and removed from play
4-5
-1
Fragile
PC gains major mental illness
6-8
-1
Weak-willed
PC gains minor mental illness
9-12
0
Stable
Nothing
13-17
+1
Strong-willed
Nothing
18/18+
+2
Unshakeable
PC gains mental immunity
Wis Score/San Pts: The character’s Wisdom score and Sanity Points at 1st level.
ST: Modifier (Wisdom) applies to saving throws against sanity-draining effects.
Threshold: Describes a character’s general mental state based upon his current SP total.
Threshold Effect: This is what happens when a character’s Sanity Threshold drops or rises.

SANITY & MADNESS
Saving Throws: When a character’s sanity is attacked—whether by a monster's presence or gaze, a spell, a curse, a trap, a magic item, or whatever—the character must make a saving throw modified by Wisdom. Success means the character is fine and suffers no ill effects, unless the attack type specifies otherwise.
Sanity Point Loss: If a character fails the saving throw, he suffers the full effects of the specific attack, and a temporary or permanent loss to his SP total. A temporary loss is typically 1d6 points, restored at a rate of 1 point per day of complete rest (no combat or adventuring activities allowed). A permanent loss is typically 1 or 2 points. Only the most horrific creatures and events cause permanent SP loss.
Sanity Threshold & Mental Illness: When a character has lost SP, his Sanity Threshold may drop—see the table above. If a character’s Sanity Threshold drops to Weak-Willed or less, he goes slightly mad and gains a minor mental illness. If his SP loss is temporary, so is the illness—it goes away when his Sanity Threshold rises to Stable. If the Sanity Threshold becomes Weak-Willed permanently, so is the mental illness. Thereafter, if the character’s Sanity Threshold drops another level—Weak-Willed to Fragile or Fragile to Insane—he gains an additional mental illness, either temporary or permanent.
Determining Mental Illnesses: When a character gains a temporary mental illness, the Referee (or player) rolls 1d10 and consults Table 48: Insanity & Mental Illnesses. The character suffers this type of insanity until his Sanity Threshold rises to stable. If the character suffers a permanent mental illness, roll 1d20 and consult the same table. The referee arbiters any details of the mental illness.
Restoring Lost Sanity Points: In addition to regaining 1 lost SP per day of complete rest, a character’s SP may be restored with any Cure-type spell: instead of restoring hit points, the spell restores sanity points.

Table 48: Insanity & Mental Illnesses
Roll d10 or d20
Type of Insanity
Roll d20
Type of Insanity
1
Dipsomania
11
Mania
2
Kleptomania
12
Lunacy
3
Schizoid
13
Paranoia
4
Pathological liar
14
Manic-depressive
5
Monomania
15
Hallucinatory insanity
6
Dementia praecox
16
Sado-masochism
7
Melancholia
17
Homicidal mania
8
Megalomania
18
Hebephrenia
9
Delusional insanity
19
Suicidal mania
10
Schizophrenia
20
Catatonia
Note: These disorders are detailed on pages 83-84 of the AD&D Dungeon Master's Guide.

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

S&W WhiteBox House Rules (6): Combat

This is the sixth in a series of posts detailing the house rules I use for Swords & Wizardy: WhiteBox. Today we deal with combat. Cheers!

REFEREE'S NOTES
The way I sequence combat in Swords & Wizardry WhiteBox bears only minor resemblance to the rules as written, or even OD&D for that matter. Other than sticking to "1 minute rounds," my approach to the combat sequence is a fairly "rules light" mix of 3e (initiative and actions), S&W (use attack matrices or BAB, but not both) and B/X (combat movement).

A special shout out goes to Jason Cone (Philotomy Jurament) for his pioneering work (see Philotomy's Musings, layout and editing by Jason Vey) and discussions about OD&D. I don't think I use any of these specific house rules, but they were certainly an inspiration to me.

SEQUENCE OF PLAY IN A COMBAT ROUND

1. DETERMINE SURPRISE
Combatants who are NOT surprised may perform 1 round of combat actions immediately, in order of highest Dexterity score to lowest. Those who ARE surprised cannot act during this “surprise round,” and in fact have a 1-in-6 chance to drop any items held in-hand. Once the unsurprised participants have taken their surprise round actions, or if no one is surprised, proceed to 2.

2. ROLL INITIATIVE
Each combatant rolls 2d6 + Dexterity modifier to determine their initiative result. The Referee might make one roll for groups of similar monsters. Combatants get to act in order of highest initiative result to lowest. If two or more combatants have the same initiative result, the one with the highest Dexterity score goes first; the second highest Dexterity goes next, and so on.

3. PERFORM ACTIONS
Each combatant acts in order of initiative result, from highest to lowest, as noted above. On their respective turns in the combat round, each combatant may Move and perform one of the following six Basic Actions:

Attack (Melee or Missile)
Banish Undead
Cast a Spell
Delay/Interrupt
Interact
Use Magic Item

Monsters sometimes have special actions different from basic actions. The Referee has information about special monster actions and describes what happens in play when they occur.

4. CONTINUE PERFORMING ACTIONS
Once all combatants have performed their actions, the first combat round is complete. The initiative order then “recycles” for the second combat round. Basically, this means that Step 3 repeats itself—initiative is rolled once only, at the start of combat, and combatants continue acting in subsequent rounds in the same initiative order as the first until the combat encounter is resolved.

BASIC COMBAT ACTIONS

Move: A character can move up to his combat movement rate on his turn in the combat round, provided he is not engaged in melee with an enemy. This is typically 120, 90, 60 or 30 feet per round. Movement may be split up before, during, or after his other action, unless the other action says this is impossible. A character may also use his other action to move farther—instead of attacking, casting a spell, and so forth. If he does this, the character moves a second time on his turn at his combat movement rate. This is called a “double move.”

Attack (Melee): The character attacks once with a melee weapon at an enemy within 5 feet. If an enemy is more than 5 feet away, the character must use a weapon with reach (see below). When a character attacks an enemy with a melee weapon, he is considered engaged in melee combat with that enemy, whether the attack hits or not. See below for special movement rules while engaged in melee combat.

Attack (Missile): The character attacks once with a missile weapon at an enemy. The character must have line of sight to a target to fire a missile at it. If a character does not move at all during his turn, he may fire two missiles (except if using a heavy crossbow, see crossbows below).

NOTE: Class-based attack matrices are provided below at the end of this section.

Banish Undead: (Repeated from the cleric class description.) The character tries to banish undead creatures. The character must present his holy symbol and be clearly visible to the undead creatures in order to banish them. A character can move before or after a banishing attempt.

When a banishing attempt is made, 2d6 + the cleric's level in HD worth of undead creatures must make a saving throw adjusted by the cleric's Wisdom modifier. Undead creatures are affected in order of lowest hit dice to highest, and any surplus HD are lost. Failure indicates the undead creatures are banished and flee (or cower) for 1d6 turns; success means nothing happens to them. A cleric who fails to banish undead creatures may not attempt to banish those particular creatures again for 24 hours. Starting at level 4, a cleric destroys undead creatures of 3 HD or less than his level (ignore HD "pluses") if the creatures fail their saving throws.

For chaotic-aligned clerics, the same total HD undead are forced to obey the cleric for 1d6 turns. If the undead are 3 HD or less than the cleric, they are commanded for 24 hours. Neutral clerics must choose at first level whether they act as lawful or chaotic clerics for the purposes of banishing or commanding undead creatures.

Cast a Spell: A spellcaster can cast any one spell he has prepared for the day. A spellcaster cannot move the same round he casts a spell. To cast a spell, a spellcaster must have one (at least) hand free and be able to speak clearly. Wearing any kind of armor or wielding a shield completely negates a wizard’s ability to cast spells. However, a cleric can wear any type of armor and wield a weapon or a shield (but not both), and cast spells.

Not all spells allow saving throws to resist them. Each spell description notes if a saving throw is allowed. If the target(s) of a spell is allowed a saving throw, it’s made immediately, unless noted otherwise in the spell description. Generally speaking, a successful saving throw reduces the damage caused by spells by one-half, or if the spell does not cause damage, its effects are negated.

Delay/Disrupt: A character delays his action, or “holds” it until later in the combat round. Alternatively, a character tries to ruin an enemy’s spell by disrupting it.

To delay an action, the player must specify the conditions which trigger his character’s action, or to what lower initiative number the action moves to. The action must occur by the end of the round. For the remainder of the combat encounter, the character acts each round at the new spot in the initiative order.

To disrupt an enemy spellcaster’s spell, the character delays and attacks the spellcaster at the very instant he is casting the spell. Resolve the disrupting attack first. If the attack deals damage—or harms the spellcaster in some way—the spell may be ruined. The enemy spellcaster must succeed on a system shock saving throw (modified by Constitution) or his spell is lost.

Interact: This is a catch-all action. Use it if a character searches through a backpack for a specific item, tries to parley with an enemy, or physically interacts in some fashion with the environment—such as climbing a rope, swinging on a chandelier, jumping from one airship to another, plucking a jewel from a statue’s eye socket, and so forth. The Referee determines how long such actions take to complete.

Use Magic Item: The character makes an attack with or uses a special power of a magic item. This action includes many things which are technically other actions—like making a melee attack with a magic staff, shooting a magic arrow from a bow, or casting a spell off of a magic scroll. All of the normal rules for those things apply. This action also covers unusual things like drinking a potion, blowing a magical horn, activating the power of a magic robe or ring, and other similar actions. Sometimes these actions take a full round to do, which means a character cannot move while performing them. A magic item’s description provides any pertinent details about how it is used in combat.

DAMAGE, DEATH & HEALING

Damage & Death: When a character's hit point total reaches 0, he suffers a grievous wound and falls unconscious. The unconscious character remains alive, but continues to lose 1 hit point per round, and must succeed at a "death" saving throw each round (modified by Constitution) or die. If a character receives magical healing while unconscious, the hit points are immediately restored, and the character regains consciousness if his hit point total rises to 1 or more.

Healing: Other than instant healing by magical means, a character recovers naturally at the rate of 1 hit point per day of uninterrupted rest. One month of uninterrupted rest will return a character to full hit points.

Binding Wounds: At the end of a combat encounter, a character can try to bind another conscious character’s wounds. Binding wounds takes 1 turn (10 minutes) per character and restores 1d6-1 hit points. Only hit points lost during the recent combat can be restored, and only one attempt per wounded character can be made.

GENERAL COMBAT NOTES

Attacking from Behind: All attacks made from the rear gain a +2 bonus to hit. You can only attack someone from behind if you surprise them or if you and an ally "team up" and attack them from the front and rear.

Burning Oil: Flasks of oil can be lit “Molotov cocktail” style and thrown at targets. Hitting a target with flaming oil requires a missile attack roll. On a miss, the flask of oil scatters (see Scatter below) and possibly explodes in a random 5-foot area. There is a 1-in-6 chance the stray flask doesn’t ignite upon contact. Flaming oil causes 1d6 damage per round on a direct hit to a creature, and burns for 2 rounds. A flask of oil poured and lit covers a 10-foot square area, and burns for 1 turn.

Critical Hits & Misses: A natural attack roll of '20" is always a hit and maximum damage is automatically inflicted. A natural attack roll of '1' is always a miss, but nothing exceptionally bad happens.

Crossbows: A light crossbow may be fired and reloaded as part of the same attack action. A heavy crossbow requires separate actions to fire and reload. A character may use his "Move" action during the same round to reload a heavy crossbow, but he cannot fire twice for "not moving."

Engaged in Melee: A character is “engaged” in melee combat if he attacks an enemy with a hand-held weapon or his fist. Once engaged in melee combat, a character’s movement options are limited to:

  1. Fighting Shift. The character moves 5 feet in any direction, except into an enemy’s space. Switching places with an adjacent ally is allowed. The character may move before or after his attack. A fighter may use his defensive stance ability while shifting (but loses his attack).
  2. Fighting Retreat. The character makes a melee attack and then moves up to one-half his combat move rate backwards. The enemy decides to pursue or not on his turn in the combat round. A fighter may use his defensive stance ability while retreating (but loses his attack before retreating).
  3. Flee! The character runs (moves up to double his combat move rate) directly backwards but loses his attack for the round. The character also loses any shield benefit to AC and the enemy gains a free attack against him with a +2 bonus to hit from behind. A fighter cannot use his defensive stance ability while fleeing.

Holy Water: Like oil, holy water can be thrown at foes as a missile. Throwing holy water requires a missile attack roll. On a miss the holy water scatters (see Scatter below) and splashes a random 5-foot area. Holy water deals 1d6 damage on a direct hit to undead, demons and devils.

Holy water is normally only available from specially blessed and sanctified fonts in sacred temples. In a pinch, though, a cleric may create holy water by casting Bless upon a vial of clean, drinkable water. The water remains “holy” until dawn the next day.

Invisible Opponents: An attacker must be able to sense where an invisible target is located to be able to attack him. Regardless, an attack against an invisible opponent suffers a -4 penalty, and an invisible opponent cannot be specifically targeted with spells (although he may fall within a spell’s area of effect).

At the Referee's discretion, powerful monsters (6+ HD) can automatically detect invisible creatures. Monsters with special senses may detect invisible creatures on a range of 1-5 on a d6 according to their HD (1 HD = 1 on a d6, 2 HD = 1-2 on a d6, and so on).

Missile Fire into Melee Combat: If an attacker fires a missile weapon at a foe engaged in melee with an ally (or multiple allies), the attack roll suffers a -4 penalty. The to-hit penalty is only -2 if the ally is engaged with a foe one size category larger than him. If the foe is two size categories larger than the ally, the penalty is negated.

A missed attack may accidentally hit an ally. If the attacker misses, roll 1d6; if the roll turns up a 1 or 2, the ally takes a shot in the back. Roll randomly to see who is accidentally hit if there are multiple allies engaged with the target. If the 1d6 roll turns up a 3 to 6, the shot misfires harmlessly.

Monster Initiative: The referee adjusts monster initiative rolls for combat based on their size. The following table is a rough guide.

Table 36: MONSTER INITIATIVE
Monster Size
Example Monster
Initiative Modifier
Tiny
Bat, imp, pixie
+2
Small
Giant rat, kobold
+1
Medium
Dwarf, human, orc
None
Large/Giant
Demon, giant, ogre, owl bear
-1
Huge
Dragon, purple worm
-2


Morale Tests: The Referee might call for a monster or NPC morale test if:

*Monster is surprised
*After first devastating attack
*Leader is slain
*Surrounded or outnumbered
*Half the group is slain
*Offered chance to surrender

When a monster or NPC’s morale is threatened, roll 2d6 to determine what happens. Exceptionally cowardly or aggressive individuals might have a modifier ranging between -2 to +2. If the NPC is a PC's hireling, or if a group of monsters has a particularly charismatic (or not so) leader, modify the result by the PC or leader's Charisma Loyalty/Morale Modifier.

Table 34: COMBAT MORALE TESTS
Roll 2d6
Affect on Morale
2
Flees. Free attack to each adjacent foe at referee's discretion.
3-5
Surrenders. Warily lays down arms or demonstrates submission.
6-8
Fighting withdrawal. Seeks best means of retreat but continues to fight.
9-11
Hold the line. Fighting spirit endures.
12
Never surrender! Next morale check gains a +1 bonus.

Reach Weapons: Some melee weapons can reach targets more than 5 feet away. For example, spears and polearms wielded by combatants in the second rank of a battle formation can attack targets up to 10 feet away by reaching through the first rank. 

Scatter: A grenade-like missile scatters if it misses its intended target. Roll 1d8 (or a “scatter” die) to determine the scatter direction, and 1d6 to determine the distance (1-2 = 5 feet, 3-4 = 10 feet, 5-6 = 15 feet) away from the target. On the scatter diagram, 'X' represents the intended target.


Spacing & Size: A medium-size, or human-size, combatant “occupies” an area about 5 feet square for combat purposes. Large-size creatures occupy 10 square feet, and huge creatures occupy 15, 20, or more square feet, at the Referee’s discretion. Combatants cannot move through a space occupied by an enemy.

Terrain Features, Tactics & Cover: The Referee assigns situational bonuses or penalties for utilizing terrain features, cover or concealment, or any other creative combat tactics. Most modifiers fall within a +/- 1 or 2 range, depending on the circumstances. Trying to hit an invisible creature imposes a -4 penalty, so +/- 4 is a good "maximum" range for any combat modifiers.

Two-Weapon Fighting: Fighting with a weapon in each hand provides a +1 bonus to hit only—it does not provide two separate attacks. Fighting with two weapons merely increases the likelihood of landing a successful blow.  The secondary weapon must be the same size or smaller than the primary weapon, and damage rolled on a successful hit is based on the primary weapon.

CLASS ATTACK MATRICES

Table 22: CLERIC ATTACK MATRIX
Target’s Armor Class or [Target’s Ascending Armor Class]
AC
9
8
7
6
5
4
3
2
1
0
-1
-2
[AAC]
[10]
[11]
[12]
[13]
[14]
[15]
[16]
[17]
[18]
[19]
[20]
[21]
Level
Attack Roll (d20) Needed to hit Target’s Armor Class
1
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
20
21
2-3
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
20
4-5
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
6-7
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
8-9
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
10
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16

Table 23: FIGHTER ATTACK MATRIX
Target’s Armor Class or [Target’s Ascending Armor Class]
AC
9
8
7
6
5
4
3
2
1
0
-1
-2
[AAC]
[10]
[11]
[12]
[13]
[14]
[15]
[16]
[17]
[18]
[19]
[20]
[21]
Level
Attack Roll (d20) Needed to hit Target’s Armor Class
0*
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
20
21
1
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
20
2
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
3
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
4
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
5
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
6
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
7
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
8
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
9
2
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
10
2
2
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
* 0 level used for basic hirelings, common NPCs, and otherwise “normal” people.

Table 24: WIZARD ATTACK MATRIX
Target’s Armor Class or [Target’s Ascending Armor Class]
AC
9
8
7
6
5
4
3
2
1
0
-1
-2
[AAC]
[10]
[11]
[12]
[13]
[14]
[15]
[16]
[17]
[18]
[19]
[20]
[21]
Level
Attack Roll (d20) Needed to hit Target’s Armor Class
1-3
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
20
21
4-6
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
20
7-9
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
10
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18