I’ve been asked to include an optional “Cleave” rule in Microlite81, preferably based on the one in ACKS. I don’t have a problem with cleaving in melee combat. If a fighter (or dwarf or other “fighter” class) kills or incapacitates his opponent, he can attack another opponent (moving up to 5 feet to do so) with the same weapon. He can continue to attack so long as he kills or incapacitates his current opponent until he has attacked a number of times equal to his level (or he runs out of movement or opponents). It represents a powerful fighter’s ability to mow through weak opponents.
However, cleaving in ACKS also applies to ranged combat. If a fighter kills or incapacitates his target with his bow, he can take another shot. The number of extra “cleave shots” he can take depends on the type of ranged weapon he is using (generally limited to 2 to 4 cleave shots). This makes no “real world sense” to me.
In melee combat, if you don’t drop your opponent, you are engaged with that opponent and obviously can’t easily step around him and go after another target — so it makes sense to limit cleave to after you kill or incapacitate your opponent. In ranged combat, however, one normally are not in melee range of any targets, so why do you only get the extra cleave attacks if you kill or incapacitate your target? I’m having trouble imagining many situations where failing to kill or incapacitate an opponent at a distance with an arrow would have an effect on the archer’s ability to fire off more arrows.
However, I’ve tentatively come up with the following optional Cleaving rule for Microlite81:
Cleaving (optional): If a character with a non-zero Fighter Bonus (or a monster) kills or incapacitates an opponent with a melee or missile attack, the character may immediately make another attack (with the same weapon) against another opponent within 5 feet of the target he has just dropped. The maximum number of melee attacks the character can make in one round is equal to his level (hit dice for monsters). If using a missile weapons, a character is limited to a maximum of 2 additional cleave with arbalest or crossbow, 3 with longbow, and 4 with composite bow, shortbow, sling, or thrown darts, daggers, or javelins.
I’m really not happy with this rule. I’ve always limited cleaving to melee combat and am not sure I want to allow cleaving with ranged attacks just because ACKS does. I’m interested in your opinion of “cleaving with ranged attacks”. If you like the the idea, I’m definitely interested in some reality-based reasons to explain why an archer would only get extra shots if he dropped his target.