The Shattered World  Combat   

Combat Rounds    

Combat is fought in Rounds of 6 seconds each. In this time, a character may

  • Take a Step, Attack once and Parry once
  • Make a Normal Move, Attack once or Parry once

A Step is 5' (usually one map square on battle maps). A Normal Move is the character's normal per-round movement rate. A Dodge may be substituted for any Attack or Parry action. The movement and Attack take place on the character's Initiative (see below) but the Parry, if any, takes place when the opponent Attacks.


At the beginning of combat, it is necessary to determine if any characters or creatures are Surprised. This can happen by accident or ambush.

The first situation happens, for instance, when one character opens a door and is face-to-face with another. In this case, both characters (and any unsuspecting onlookers) must roll Ability Checks against Dexterity; those who fail are Surprised.

Review the Scan, Listen, Hide, and Conceal Skill rules to resolve ambush situations. Basically, characters who are successfully hidden may automatically Surprise those they are hidden from.

Surprised characters may not act for one Round. They stand around looking, well, Surprised. No Attacks, Parries, Dodges, Spells, etc. are allowed.

Initiative and Attacking    

Each player rolls 1d10 for Initiative. A natural 1 is always 1; otherwise add the Dexterity Ability Bonus to the roll. High numbers move first. All characters and/or monsters make at most one Attack, in descending order. Any characters or monsters eligible for a second Attack then act in descending Initiative order, and so on for third Attacks. The exception is certain Attack forms which are "routines," and all happen at once; these exceptions will be noted where appropriate.

Generally, Attacks are just Skill rolls against the appropriate weapon skill. Non-Proficiency rolls against the Combat Skill are allowed.

Ranged Weapons    

Ranged weapons (Bows, Slings, etc.) have an assigned range value in feet. Attacks using ranged weapons up to that distance are at normal difficulty; for each increment of that distance, add 1d20 difficulty.

For example, a weapon with a range of 50' has normal difficulty up to that distance, then +1d20 at 51-100', +2d20 at 101-150', etc.

Each ranged weapon also has a maximum range; this is the ballistic maximum to which the weapon can shoot. Attacks beyond this range will fail.

Off-Handed and Two-Weapon Combat    

Using a weapon in the off-hand is a Stunt, except for Shields, which are designed for that purpose. Only weapons which are Light for you may be used in the off-hand, again excepting Shields.

Characters using two weapons may Attack twice or Parry twice (once with each) in a given Round. Note that this includes Shields, so a character armed with Longsword and Shield may Parry twice at normal odds, once with each weapon.

Unarmed Combat    

Damage from Fist and Kick attacks depends on Strength bonus, as follows:

Strength Bonus Damage
-1 or less1

Damage given is for Fist attacks. Advance one row for Kicks or if the Fist attack is mailed or otherwise metal armored. Each +1 over +8 is +1d6.

Damage from unarmed combat is healed at 1 point per hour of rest, and so must be counted separately.

Characters using the Kick attack may not Dodge in the same Round. Kick may not be used to Parry.

Mounted Combat    

When attacking from horseback (or other steed), the attacker must use the lower of the weapon Skill Rank or the Ride (Animal) Skill Rank for all attack rolls. Normal steeds may not Attack at the same time as the rider using hoof or claw attacks, but may bite normally.

Mounted characters may only use Target or Kite Shields on the shield-side of the mount, but Bucklers are small enough to switch back and forth.

Longbows and two-handed hacking Attacks may not be used by mounted characters.

Darkness and Vision Impairment    

Darkness applies penalties to most characters. There are four levels of lighting possible:

  • Daylight
  • Lamplight
  • Night
  • Dark

Most characters suffer a Skill roll penalty (+1d20) in Night or Dark conditions. Night implies a starry or moonlit sky, Dark is as in a cave, etc. where no light enters. The penalty is the same for both Night and Dark (if you can't see your opponent, duh, you can't see your opponent).

Creatures with enhanced night vision and/or light sensitivity will have different penalties; for instance, Saurans have no penalty in Night but still have a one die penalty in Dark conditions.

Doing Damage    

If a hit is scored, the attacker rolls the appropriate dice for the weapon, adding his or her Strength bonus (if allowed by the weapon). The given damage is subtracted from the target's Hit Points (see below for details of the effects).

Successful Critical rolls result in double damage, and double Criticals (1 on 1d20 three times) result in triple damage, and so on as long as the player keeps rolling 1's; simply multiply the damage by the multiplier before assigning it.

Weapon Fumbles    

Attacking Fumbles:

Roll Result
1-5 Hit Self
(Roll base weapon damage only)
6-9 Hit Friend
(Roll base weapon damage only)
10-11 Throw Weapon Behind Self
GameMaster determines distance;
hits friendly character in target
space on 6 or less on 1d20
(player must roll)
12-13 Throw Weapon Past Enemies
(as above)
14-15 Throw Weapon Left
(as above)
16-17 Throw Weapon Right
(as above)
18-20 Damage Weapon
Player must save for weapon using 1d20;
less than or equal to the weapon's armor rating is a success, otherwise the weapon is broken.

Parrying Fumbles:

Roll Result
1-5 Hit Friend
(Roll base weapon damage only)
6-8 Throw Weapon Behind Self
GameMaster determines distance;
hits friendly character in target
space on 6 or less on 1d20
(player must roll)
9-10 Throw Weapon Past Enemies
(as above)
11-12 Throw Weapon Left
(as above)
13-14 Throw Weapon Right
(as above)
15-20 Weapons Entangled
Each entangled character may attempt a Strength or Dexterity Check on his or her Initiative to separate the weapons. If one character chooses to release his or her weapon, the opponent is stuck with it and unable to use his or her entangled weapon until he or she makes a Check as above to separate them.


Characters and creatures may be protected by Armor. Generally, Armor has a rating in terms of points of damage absorbed. Armor usually does not protect against non-physical Attacks such as fire, energy, etc.

Regardless of relative damage vs. Armor rating, any successful Attack will do at least one point of damage, unless Parried or Dodged (see below).


The character must have a weapon or shield in hand which can be used to Parry. Initiative is not required, but the character may not try to Parry if he or she is Surprised.

If the Parry roll succeeds, the character has interposed his or her weapon in the way of the incoming Attack. If the damage absorbed is higher than the Armor value of the weapon, the player must make a saving roll for the weapon (1d20 less than or equal to the armor value of the weapon), or it is broken and useless. Shields are an exception; if the save is failed, they simply lose armor points equal to the excess damage, and are only destroyed if all armor points are lost. See the weapon list for Armor values and more information.

The character is subject to a one-die penalty (a Stunt) if the same weapon is used for both Parrying and Attacking (in either order). The later roll suffers the penalty, so if the character has already Attacked, the Parry is a Stunt, but if the character has already Parried then it is the Attack which is a Stunt.

It is possible to Parry with the Fist. In this case, all excess damage over the usual 2 point Fist armor is taken as regular damage. Note that normal armor deductions may be applied also, but in this case the minimum 1 point damage rule applies.


Unlike a Parry, a Dodge attempts to avoid all Attacks from a single opponent. Also unlike a Parry, Dodging may be used against missile Attacks. After any Dodge roll is attempted in a combat Round, any Attacks or Parries by the same character are Stunts; further, any Dodge roll following an Attack or Parry roll is a Stunt.

If the roll succeeds, the Attack misses outright. Note that a successful Critical hit which is Dodged with normal success is a normal hit, and if the Dodge is a successful Critical roll then all damage is avoided. A Dodge Fumble makes the opposing Attack succeed automatically (with no roll) and the opponent may attempt to roll a Critical hit just as if he or she had rolled a 1.

Note that the Dodge roll is rolled before the opposing Attack roll, where a Parry is rolled after the opposing Attack has hit. If a character exchanges a Dodge for an Attack he or she may still Parry; the same opponent or different opponents may be declared.

Being Disabled (see below) or Encumbered (see Characters) adds 1d20 difficulty to all Dodge rolls.

Damage, Disability, and Death    

Any character or monster who has 1/5th or less (round down, but not less than 1) of his or her Hit Points left is Disabled. Movement is 1/2 normal, and all actions have an additional die of difficulty.

Any character reduced to zero Hit Points (negatives will not be recorded) is dying. The player must roll a Will roll to remain conscious; however he or she is still dying and may not move around, fight, etc.; a healing potion can be consumed if one is handy, or short messages delivered, but not much else may be done.

Each subsequent Round (conscious or not), the player must make an Endurance roll; success results in the character becoming stable (no longer in danger of death). The player has 1 chance, plus the Endurance bonus if it's positive, to avoid death this way; so a character with 13 Endurance can afford to fail the first roll, but not the second. If all chances fail, the character is dead.

A dying character may be tended to by a comrade; if healing magic is applied, only 1/2 (round down, minimum 1 point) of the healing points are applied but the character will become conscious automatically (if not already) and is no longer in danger of death.

If available, Healing skills may be used (see the Skills section for details).

In the absence of healing magic or skills, the victim's wounds may be bound, giving an immediate extra Endurance roll by the victim to stabilize (one such per Round).

Stable characters do not become conscious immediately; each Round after the character stabilizes, the player must make an Endurance check again, with success resulting in the character becoming conscious with 1 Hit Point; he or she may not act in that same Round.


Normal characters heal one point for each night's rest. A night's rest is 8 hours minus the Endurance bonus, which if negative means more rest is needed!

Resting all day and all night doubles healing to 2 points. This means, at most, moving slowly around, sitting or reclining most of the time, etc.


Normal Human characters can move 50 feet per Round, if not fighting. Dodge or Parry rolls may still be made. On a normal combat map, squares of 5' are used, so this is 10 squares movement.

Movement rates will be reduced by encumbrance. In particular, any character wearing heavy armor (chainmail or heavier) or restrictive clothing will be reduced to 1/2 normal movement rate. Characters carrying heavy loads will likewise be slowed.

Non-Human creatures have their own base movement rates; see the descriptions for details.

Size of Creatures    

There are basically five sizes of creatures: Tiny, Small, Medium, Large, and Huge. Typical stats are as follows:

Size Hit Points
Tiny 1/3
Small 2/3
Medium normal
Large 2 times
Huge 3+ times

Attacks against creatures two or more size-categories smaller are Stunts, adding 1d20 of difficulty; this means Medium creatures (Humans for instance) have a penalty Attacking Tiny creatures (insects or small birds). Large creatures (Ogres for instance) are penalized Attacking Tiny or Small

The typical Hit Points given above for each size of creature are not graven in stone; a very tough Small creature might have 3 or 4 d6's of Hit Points, while a weak Large creature might only have 3d6 HP.

Size of Weapons    

Tiny, Small, Medium, and Large Weapons: The size of a weapon compared to your size determines whether for you the weapon is light, one-handed, two-handed, or too large to use.

Light: If the weapon's size category is smaller than yours (such as a Human using a Small weapon), then the weapon is light for you. You can use a light weapon in one hand.

One-Handed: If the weapon's size category is the same as yours (such as a human using a Longsword), then the weapon is one-handed for you. If you use a one-handed melee weapon two-handed, you can apply double your Strength bonus to damage. (Negative Strength Bonuses are not doubled). Thrown weapons can only be thrown one-handed, and you receive your Strength bonus to damage.

Two-Handed: If the weapon's size category is one step larger than your own (such as a human using a Greatsword), then the weapon is two-handed for you. You can use a two-handed melee weapon effectively in two hands. You get no special bonus when using it in two hands. Thrown weapons can only be thrown one-handed. You can still throw a thrown weapon with one hand even if it would be two-handed for you due to your size (such as a Dwarf throwing a Spear). You receive your Strength bonus to damage.

You can use a two-handed projectile weapon (such as a bow or a crossbow) effectively in two hands. If you have a penalty for low Strength, apply it to damage rolls when you use a bow or a sling. You get no Strength bonus to damage with a projectile weapon unless it's a composite shortbow or longbow made for higher Strength users.

Too Large to Use: If the weapon's size category is two or more steps larger than your own (such as a Dwarf trying to use a Greatsword), the weapon is too large for you to use.

Common Weapons    

Unarmed Combat
Weapon Cost Weight Size Damage Armor
Fist 0 0 T special 2
Kick 0 0 T special N/A

Miscellaneous Weapons
Weapon Cost Weight Size Damage Armor
Dagger 2 1 T 1d8 6
Staff 1 4 L 1d8 8
Sling 1 0.1 T   N/A
   Bullet 0.1 0.1   1d8 N/A
   Stone   0.1   1d6 N/A

Axes and Hammers
Weapon Cost Weight Size Damage Armor
Hand Axe 1 5 S 1d8 6
Battle Axe 5 7 M 1d12 8
Great Axe 12 17 L 2d8 10
War Hammer 8 10 M 1d10 8
Great Hammer 12 16 L 2d8 10

Weapon Cost Weight Size Damage Armor
Shortbow 30 2 M   N/A
Longbow 75 3 L   N/A
Composite Shortbow 75 2 M   N/A
Composite Longbow 100 3 L   N/A
Flight Arrow 0.2 0.1 T 1d8 N/A
Sheaf Arrow 0.4 0.1 T 1d10 N/A

Weapon Cost Weight Size Damage Armor
Light Crossbow 35 7 M   N/A
Light Quarrel 1 0.1 T 1d8 N/A
Heavy Crossbow 50 14 M   N/A
Heavy Quarrel 2 0.1 T 1d10 N/A

Weapon Cost Weight Size Damage Armor
Spear 2 5 M 1d10 8
Pike or Longspear 5 12 L 1d12 10
Halberd 10 15 L 1d12 10

Weapon Cost Weight Size Damage Armor
Shortsword 10 3 S 1d8 8
Longsword 15 4 M 1d12 10
Scimitar 15 4 M 1d10 10
Greatsword 50 15 L 2d8 12

Weapon Cost Weight Size Damage Armor
Buckler 1 3 S 1d4 8
Target 6 9 M 1d6 12
Kite 10 15 M 1d6 16

Missile Weapon Ranges    

Weapon Short Range Maximum Range
Composite Longbow, Flight Arrow 60 210
Composite Longbow, Sheaf Arrow 40 170
Composite Shortbow 50 180
Longbow, Flight Arrow 70 210
Longbow, Sheaf Arrow 50 170
Shortbow 50 150
Heavy Crossbow 80 240
Light Crossbow 60 180
Dagger 10 50
Hammer 10 30
Hand Axe 10 30
Sling Bullet 30 90
Sling Stone 30 90
Spear 10 40

The Shattered World  Combat   
Last Updated 01/12/2002