Combat in Adventures Dark and Deep

For your weekend reading pleasure, I present a draft extract from my Adventures Dark and Deep Players Guide. This is the chapter on combat, in some ways the easiest, but in others one of the hardest, chapters to write. I made a deliberate attempt to streamline the old 1E combat system; things that used to be described in paragraphs of hard-to-do math (like firing missile weapons into melee) are now handled through (hopefully) easy-to-read tables.

Pummeling, grappling, and overbearing take up but a single page, and according to my test combats, they seem to work pretty well (and they use regular “to hit” dice; no more annoying percentiles just because you’re punching someone). You won’t find the “to hit” tables here, but they’ll be along the same lines as those found in the old 1E DMG (although I’m toying with some ideas to make them easier to work with, too).

The whole thing runs to 8 pages, and at least to me it’s a lot easier to follow than the 1E explanation, and also includes optional rules for critical hits and fumbles. There are ten basic actions you can take in combat, some of which must begin or end either in melee or not. It’s all spelled out, hopefully in a way that makes sense to someone other than the author. I’ve run a bunch of test combats using the rules, and they seem to flow pretty well, but they would, considering I wrote them. I’d welcome any constructive input you might have. Do the rules seem clear? That’s my primary stylistic goal. Do they work? That’s my primary design goal (obviously). Enjoy!

Download the chapter —> HERE <—

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Wargamer and RPG'er since the 1970's, author of Adventures Dark and Deep, Castle of the Mad Archmage, and other things, and proprietor of the Greyhawk Grognard blog.

10 thoughts on “Combat in Adventures Dark and Deep

  1. "Example: Four orcs and an ogre are in melee with 2 halflings and 2
    humans. An orcish archer is attempting to fire into the melee. There
    are 4 M-sized orcs (=8) plus 1 L-sized ogre (=2), for a total of 10.
    There are 2 S-sized halflings (=2) plus 2 M-sized humans (=4), for a
    total of 6. Cross-checking 10 friendlies (to the orcish archer, anyway)"

    I think the L sized ogre should be (=3}

  2. 1) Because there are 10 segments in a round.
    2) Why would you expect it to change?
    3) Because I see no reason why missile weapons should be treated differently than melee weapons in that regard.

  3. "I see no reason why they should be treated differently"

    well, in 1e missile weapons were assumed to go first, so they didn't require NOR have a weapon speed. I also can't think of a single trope in fantasy/literature/movies/history where melee combat took place between an archer and a guy with a sword. Apparantly you think duels of that nature are ok.

    lastly, why is a high number good for a surprise round good, but a low number is good for normal initiative? When a high number was good for both in 1E

  4. (Original post edited to remove a type-o)

    I agree with Joseph; if melee fighters have to deal with weapon speed, so do ranged fighters. That's the way I've always run it myself. Ranged fighters are already staying away from the worst part of the battle, there's no reason to reward them by letting them act first as well (and maybe steal the melee fighters' kills). Spell casters are fighting from ranged as well and have to deal with casting times so it's only fair that ranged-fighters do the same.

    Overall, I think things are looking good so far. There were only one or two things that stood out to me as potentially confusing; first, in the table 12 on page 71 it says that the wielder of the longer weapon gets the +1 penalty to his initiative while the paragraph below says the wielder of the shorter weapon gets the +1 penalty. This is, of course, seems contradictory.

    Also, shortly after that, when it refers to characters without weapons engaging characters with weapons, it says the character with the weapons receive "the bonus." Suddenly referring to the +1 as a bonus instead of a penalty (as you've been doing up until this point) is somewhat confusing.

    All in in, though, I think things are shaping up well. I'm certainly looking forward to see what the final product is like.

  5. Page 71:

    "Weapon Length
    If two characters are in melee with weapons, the character with the shorter weapon length gets an initiative penalty of +1. If one character or creature is fighting without a weapon, the character with the weapon gets this bonus automatically."

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