Any character able to act may select a combat stance. Any character who has not announced their combat stance before initiative is rolled automatically selects “Standard.” Combat Stances (and their effects) are:
Full Defense (Attack: no attack possible; AC: +2 bonus, +4 bonus with shield, +6 bonus with large shield; Strike: -5)
Active Defense (Attack: -2 penalty; AC: +1 bonus, +2 with shield; Strike: -2)
Standard (Attack: Normal; AC: Normal: Strike: normal)
Active Attack (Attack: +1 bonus; AC: -1 penalty; Strike: +1)
Full Attack (Attack: +2 bonus; AC: -2 penalty; Strike: +2).
Spell casters casting a spell cannot select the Full Defense or Active Defense Stance. The Stance Strike modifier is optional (and can only be used if the optional Strike Speed Order of Battle rules are used).
A natural 20 that would otherwise hit is automatically a critical hit doing maximum damage.
If the option Body Points rules are used, a critical hit also does a number of body points damage equal to the number of damage dice rolled (normally 1). As monsters generally do not have body points, a critical hit will do maximum damage plus a normal damage roll to them and cause them to lose their next attack.
Option: Fighters (but not optional classes based on the Fighter unless the referee rules otherwise for a particular optional class) do a critical hit on a natural roll of 19 or 20 that would otherwise hit.
Critical Hit Special Effects (optional): When an Fighting Class character (or a monster, at the referee’s option) has selected the Active Attack or Full Attack combat stance for a round and scores a critical hit in melee combat during that round, one of the following special effects may be imposed at the attacker’s option:
- Trip: Target is knocked prone.
- Disarm: Target’s weapon or shield is knocked away in a random direction a number of feet equal to half the damage you dealt.
- Reposition: Force your target to move to a new location of your choice, up to a number of feet equal to half the damage you dealt (plus attacker’s STR bonus). Attacker may move with target if attacker desires.
- Shield Slam: If wielding a shield, bludgeon your target with it, dealing damage as a shield bash. Target is then forced back from you a number of feet equal to half the damage dealt by the original attack (plus the attacker’s STR bonus).
- Disorient: Blow leaves your opponent off-guard. Until the end of his next turn, target is confused.
- Hinder: Target is briefly slowed, reducing his speed to five feet until the end of his next turn.
If the movement effect of Reposition or Shield Slam would force the target over a cliff, into a pool of dangerous liquid, or the like, the target gets a DEX save to stop safely at the edge.
A natural roll of 1 is a critical miss. Unless the optional rule below is used, the only effect of a critical miss is that the attack always fails, regardless of modifiers.
Critical Miss Special Effects (optional): When a Fighter (or a monster, at the referee’s option) has selected the Active Defense or Full Defense combat stance for a round and an enemy attacking him during that round rolls a natural 1 on their attack roll, one of the following special effects may be imposed at the defender’s option:
- Counterattack: You make a melee attack against your attacker. This is in addition to any other attacks you might make during the round.
- Disengage: You dart away from your attacker, moving up to your movement, but you cannot engage another by doing so.
- Blind: You spit, throw sand, or otherwise attack your enemy’s eyes. Until the end of the next round, he is blinded.
- Redirect Attack: Your opponent’s attack automatically strikes another creature of your choice within reach of your enemy’s weapon.
- Feint: You quickly feign an attack against your foe. Until the end of his next turn, your enemy is has a negative modifier equal to your level to all actions.
- Steal: You pluck a small unprotected item–usually no more cumbersome than a weighty coin purse–from your foe.
Fighters may adjust their armor bonuses, attack bonus, damage done, etc. for an attack to create a combat maneuver. For each -1 a character takes, he may take a +1 in another area. A Fighter may take up to 2 plus Level/3 (round up) in penalties on a single attack roll.
For example, a 5th level fighter (maximum combat maneuver penalty of -4) might want to do a great blow causing 4 points extra damage in exchange for reducing his AC until his next action and reducing his chance to hit with the attack. For example, +4 to damage, -2 to AC and -2 to hit would balance the bonuses and penalties.
The referee should require the player using a combat maneuver to describe what his character is doing and deny any combat maneuvers that do not make sense in the situation (no tripping a gelatinous cube, for example) or whose bonuses and penalties do not match up well to the player’s description of the stunt. The referee may allow some intelligent opponents (including some monsters) to use combat maneuvers.
Strike Speed Based Order of Battle (Optional)
Initiative: Determine Initiative as described in the standard rules. The side with the higher roll gets a +5 to strike speed for the round. Spell casters casting a spell must declare the spell being cast and its target before initiative is rolled.
Strike Speed: Characters and monsters act in order of their strike speed from high to low. Base Strike Speed is determined by their action type in the table below. Characters/Monsters add +5 to the Base Strike Speed if their side has initiative. Fighters add their Fighter Strike Bonus (plus their Level/4, rounded up). Monsters add one-half their hit dice, rounded down if the referee classes them as fighters. (Ties in Strike Speed are resolved by Character Level/Monster Hit Dice, with the higher acting first.) The Strike modifier from a character’s combat stance is added if the referee uses this option.
|Strike Speed||Weapon/Attack Action|
|3||Short Length Weapon|
|4||Medium Length Weapon|
|6||Very Long Weapon|
|8||Missile Fire/Arcane Blast|