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Types of Combat

Though all types of combat use the same basic attack and damage procedure, some types of combat alter that procedure by taking into account the situation, the environment, the weapon itself, the distance between opponents, etc.

Melee Combat
In melee combat, opponents attack each other with swords, daggers, staves, clubs, and so on while in close proximity to each other. In order to use a melee weapon against an opponent, a character must be within 2 yards of the opponent. A maximum of 6 opponents can attack a character in melee combat.

Any time 4 or more attackers set upon 1 target at the same time, that character is considered Harried. Harried characters suffer a penalty of 2 steps for all tests attempted while Harried. A Harried character remains Harried until fewer than 4 attackers surround him. See Situation Modifiers.

Missile Combat
When characters use bows, slings, spears, and other thrown weapons in order to damage an opponent from a distance, they are engaging in missile combat using ranged weapons. In order for the attack to be effective, players must account for several factors when resolving missile combat. These include range, firing into a melee, and cover, as described below.

All missile weapons have range limitations. The three range categories are Short, Medium, and Long. Missile weapons cannot be fired at targets beyond long range (detailed with the weapon's other information). With the exception of blowguns, the minimum range for missiles or thrown weapons is 2 yards. If an opponent and attacker are within two yards of one another, they cannot attack using missile weapons. Minimum for blowguns is 1 yard.

Range Modifiers
When using a ranged weapon, the distance may modify Attack and Damage Test steps. For attacks made at short range, use the character's normal Attack and Damage Test steps. When firing at targets at medium range, subtract 2 steps from the character's Attack and Damage Test steps. When firing at targets at long range, subtract 3 steps from the character's Attack and Damage Test steps.

Firing Into A Melee
Characters may want to use ranged weapons to attack a target engaged in melee combat. This hazardous practice is known as Firing into a Melee, and can result in a character inadvertently hitting a companion instead of his target. To resolve a missile attack fired into a melee, use the following procedure.

Determine how many other characters or creatures stand between the target and the character firing the missile weapon. Add this number to the Physical Defense of the target. Then make an Attack Test against the new PD. If the dice roll beats the modified Physical Defense, the attack is successful. If the result is less than the PD, compare that number to the Physical Defenses of each character between the target and the attacking character, beginning with the one closest to the attacking character. If the Attack Test result is equal to or higher than the Physical Defense of any of those characters, that character takes the weapon hit instead of the target.

Targets can increase the Difficulty Number of missile weapon attacks made against them by using cover. The two types of cover usually available are Full Cover and Partial Cover. Full Cover completely hides a character and prevents missile attacks from being made against him. Partial Cover obscures the target, but attackers can still see enough of their target to fire. When firing at a target behind Partial Cover, a character must subtract 2 steps from his Attack Test.

Throwing Objects
As in life, fighting characters sometimes want to throw objects such as rocks, flasks of oil, or even tree trunks. To throw an object at a target, the character makes a Throwing Weapons (or Agility) Test. The Difficulty for this is either the target's Physical Defense or a 7 (if aiming at a location rather than a creature). If the test succeeds, the character hits the target. If the object misses the target, it (or its component parts) may scatter.

Mounted Combat
Mounted combat is common. This section provides guidelines for resolving mounted combat.

Charging Attack
The most common mounted combat is the charging attack. Most characters use lances to make charging attacks, though other melee weapons also work (see below). Resolve charging attacks using the standard procedure, but note the distinctions outlined below. Mind you, you have to have the Charge sub-skill under Horseman to use this attack.

When making a charging attack, the character makes a Melee Weapons Test against the Physical Defense of the target. If the test succeeds, the character hits his target and then makes a Damage Test. If the test is unsuccessful, the character misses his target. The Damage Test of a charging attack benefits from the attacker's momentum. Add the mount's Body step to the Damage step.

Staying Mounted
While a successful charging attack using a lance or spear offers the character many advantages, the attacker also risks being thrown from his mount with this attack. After making his Damage Test, the charging character makes a Body Test against the target's Endurance step number. If the dice roll is equal to or higher than the Difficulty Number, the character remains mounted. If the dice roll is lower than that number, the character is thrown, and takes Step 5 falling damage. Horseman with the Charge sub-skill use their Charge step instead of their Body step when making this test.

Mounted Melee Attacks
Characters can use melee weapons in mounted combat. Use the charging attack guidelines above for similar attacks with any type of melee weapon.

A character making a mounted attack with a melee weapon rather than a lance or spear is less likely to be knocked off his mount, but may drop his weapon. If the character's Mounted Attack Test is successful, he then makes a Body Test against the Endurance step of the target. If the test fails, the character drops his weapon. Characters with the Charge skill can use their Charge step instead of their Body step for this test.

Characters making mounted attacks may also split their movement and attack during a Round. When attacking on a mount, a character can use part of his Movement to approach and attack a target, then use the rest of his Movement to ride away. Though it allows characters to attack and then flee, this also weakens the character's defenses: splitting movement to attack drops your Physical Defense 2 for that round.

When a mounted character splits his movement and attacks, the only characters who can attack him are those with a higher Initiative who delay their attack to the same Initiative as the mounted character.

Setting Against A Charge
Characters on the ground face a great disadvantage against mounted opponents, but they can prepare themselves. A character who intends to set against a charge must have a weapon at least the length of a spear or a lance (approximately 7 feet), and must win Initiative against the mounted opponent. The character must also be able to close to melee combat range with the mounted opponent.

To set against a charge, the character must act at the same Initiative as the mounted opponent (see Reserved Actions) and make a Melee Weapons Test before the mounted opponent makes his attack. If the test is successful, the character setting against the charge strikes the mounted opponent before the latter can attack, and the charging opponent takes damage. If the test result is a Good success or better, the set character also knocks the mounted opponent off his mount. The Damage Test step for setting against a charge is the step bonus of the weapon, plus the Body step of the mount.

Knockdown and Mounted Combat
Characters who use mounted combat run the risk of being knocked off their mount. When a mounted character makes a Knockdown Test and fails, he falls to the ground, taking Step 5 damage. Opponents facing mounted attackers often employ the Attacking to Knockdown Combat Option, as described above.

If a mount fails its Knockdown Test when attacked by an opponent, the mount is knocked down and takes his rider with him. In this case, both the mount and his rider take Step 5 damage.

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Copyright © 2000 Brian Rogers