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Friday, March 16, 2018

Multiple Attacks for Fighters

I really need to get back into the flow of posting here again. So here's a topic to start with: how many attacks per round should a fighter get in OD&D? Not talking about attacks against enemies of 1 hit die or less, but house-rules similar to AD&D's "3 attacks every 2 rounds" for 7th level fighters.

Attacks per round is an abstraction, of course, when using one-minute rounds. There are actually many attacks in one minute -- but we only roll once. If high-level fighters get multiple rolls, it's not because they make more attacks per round, but because they have a chance for more significant attacks per round.

I don't like the AD&D system, but I'm thinking of two other options:

  1. Keep it as just one roll, but increase the damage: 1+1 dice of damage at level 4, 2 dice at level 8, plus another die of damage every 4 levels.
  2. Fighters facing opponents of 2 dice or more get an extra attack roll if their level is twice that of their opponent, or two extra attack rolls if it's three times the opponent's level or hit dice.


  1. 1. Welcome back!

    2. If you want to give extra attacks, consider awarding them at levels 4 and 8. These are the break points for Heroic and Superheroic.

    I think it’s OK to allow fighting-men to roll 2 and then 3 attacks at these break points, although I don’t use that rule.

    This is the version of cleave I use:

    Cleave: When in melee with people or creatures with fewer Hit Dice than himself, the Fighting-Man may make one attack against each adjacent figure. However, this attack is resolved on the Fighting-Man 1-3 line of the attack matrix rather than his normal line, if different. Opponents of 4 Hit Dice or more are immune to this special attack.
    Heroic Smiting: If a Fighting-Man attacks a foe with an attack which is able to damage the target, and rolls a natural 20 (before any adjustments), the target is brought immediately to 0 Hit Points. He may damage creatures with magical immunities with normal weapons when he reaches Level 4.

    1. The second option I listed is based slightly on the idea of the lvl 4/lvl 8 breakpoints... a 4th level Hero is twice the level of a 2nd level warrior, so the hero gets two attacks.

      However, I made that relative to the opponent's level to limit the ability. A 4th level Hero doesn't always get an extra attack, just vs. 1st and 2nd level fighters. An 8th level Superhero gets an extra attack vs. 3rd and 4th level opponents, or two extra attacks against 2nd level opponents... but only one attack vs. a dragon, for example.

    2. That’s a good take on it too. Part of it is how high a level you normally play to. In my experience, level 8-9-10 is rare in 0e. And in the case of the common kinds of Demi-men, they can’t normally reach FM8.

      I do keep rules for high-level play but in my DMing OSR, high-level means 7+ and even Men cap our at 14.

      So that means level 4-5 is a good place to grant special bonuses.

  2. I prefer something simpler, certainly want to avoid the 3 attacks every two rounds type tracking.

    In line with 1 attack per level for less than 1 HD creatures. Allow to attack 1 HD per fighter level with less than 1 HD counted as 1/2 HD and ignoring any + to a HD. It makes the ability a bit more powerful at low level, against things like giant rats, and goblins, and somewhat less powerful at higher level. It also allows multiple attacks against mixed HD opponents without much fuss.

    Lastly, if you are thinking you want concentrated blows at higher level, would allow a fighter to covert x levels of attack into an extra damage die. What you choose for x makes a big difference.

    An example, you have a 7th level fighter facing 1 hobgoblin (assume 2HD) and 6 goblins (assume less than 1 HD); and set x=4. The fighter decides to take 1 extra damage dice this consumes 4 of his 7 levels he can apply to attack leaving him 3 levels. He uses 2 of those levels to attack the hobgoblin and 1 level to attack 2 goblins. He applies the extra damage dice to the hobgoblin attack.