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Saturday, December 7, 2013

Weapon(-Less) Damage Tables

Of course, the weapon damage tables do not need to be exclusive to weapons. Any attack that does damage could have a table linked to the damage roll… and even those that don’t do damage may use a damage roll anyways, just to use a table look-up to define an additional effect. What I’m specifically thinking of is various grappling, weaponless, or nonlethal combat maneuvers. I already use standard attack roll + 1d6 roll to see if a special effect occurs for grapple and other special attacks, so it’s really not much trouble for me to look back at my old post, maybe refactor/simplify it a bit, and redo the effects on a table.

Damage Tackle/Takedown/Trip
1 No damage, repelled by defender. May lose footing.
2-4 No damage, may lose footing if tackling, but not if tripping.
5-6 Knock defender prone, plus attacker is prone if tackling.
7+ Knock prone, attacker remains standing. 1 point tackle damage.

A Tackle or Takedown is, basically, throwing your entire body at someone to bring you both to the ground, possibly for a pin; it relies on Strength. A Trip tries to make just the other person fall prone; it relies on Dexterity. If your relevant ability score is higher than the opponent’s ability score, you get a +1 on the “damage” roll. If your score is lower, then a result of 1 means loss of footing, even when tripping; the opponent basically outmaneuvers you. Even if the tackle or trip doesn’t knock the defender prone, it interrupts many kinds of actions, like spells.

Damage Bearhug/Pin/Immobilize/Breakfree
1 No damage, no restraint, opponent may counterattack at +2
2-4 No damage, no restraint.
5-6 Restrain opponent/Break free from restraint.
7+ Crush ribs/Break free.

A successful attack roll on a pin means you've grabbed an opponent; the “damage” roll determines if you maintain more than a fleeting grip. A pin restrains or immobilizes one limb, to prevent using it; a bearhug partially restrains two limbs, giving a -2 to any rolls with those limbs, either to attack or to break free; it can also do 1 point of real damage if the attacker’s Strength is higher than the opponent’s, or crush ribs, which is treated as a generic crippling injury (Move 3 and -1 to actions until healed.)

An opponent trying to break free from either a pin or a bearhug doesn't make an attack roll, just the same 1d6 roll, which fails on 1-4. Until an opponent breaks free or is released, the attacker doesn't have to make an attack roll for further nonlethal attacks, just a d6 roll.

Damage Choke
1 Opponent breaks free, may counterattack at +2
2-4 1 point of damage if Strength > Con.
5-6 Opponent passes out, coup de grace next round.
7+ Crush neck, unable to breathe.

Basically, choking is like a bearhug or pin aimed at the opponent’s neck. Potential damage is thus more likely; attacker does 1 point of damage if attacker’s Strength is higher than opponent’s Con. The real goal, though, is to make the opponent pass out from lack of air (only possible if the opponent needs to breathe.) An unconscious opponent can be killed automatically, if the attacker desires. An opponent with a crushed windpipe, assuming the need to breathe, will take 1 point of damage every round even if the attacker releases the chokehold, and will die at the end of the turn if not aided in some way.

Damage Disarm Effect
1 Normal effect, may drop or break own weapon.
2-4 Normal effect.
5-6 Knock weapon/object out of opponent’s grip.
7+ Break cheap or weaker weapon/object, otherwise disarm.

This disarm effect assumes you are either grappling the opponent’s weapon hand or attacking the opponent’s weapon with a weapon of your own. You do not do normal damage, most of the time. More on this in a future post.


  1. I feel like this level of detail in unarmed combat is antithetical to the one-minute round you espouse. At that level of abstraction, there will probably be several attempts at unarmed combat by both parties to the fight over the one minute - unarmed fighting is an integral part of armed fighting.

    And trying to "force" an unarmed attack on an armed opponent (i.e. as opposed to doing one that arises naturally through the ebb and flow of armed combat) is pretty much a sure way to get a limb chopped off or get run through.

    To my mind, that's the only case where an attack of opportunity is warranted - when someone attempts to (say) tackle someone else who's armed and aware of the attack. There's no way the victim of the tackle isn't going to get a really solid hit in on the tackler. Same with all other unarmed techniques - they don't really work unless you set them up first with a weapon.

    1. It might be worth it to rule that a tackle or pin attempted on an armed opponent means a free attack or even an automatic attack by that opponent. This isn't meant for that situation. It's more for barroom brawls or for special weapons that have the same effects, such as the flail in today's post.

      And yes, I'm assuming that there are multiple maneuvers going on in the one-minute round; these tables are for your general goal that round, not for a single action.