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Dungeons, Wilderness, and Sea

Whether the characters are undertaking a specific quest for a patron, or simply seeking excitement, fame, and wealth, they will not find what they seek in the safety of towns and homesteads. Many adventures will take place in underground complexes such as crypts, tombs, labyrinths, or caverns. These locations, generally called dungeons, vary considerably in type and location, but all are filled with dangerous monsters, traps, riddles, and riches. Other adventures will take place in unsettled lands beyond the borders of civilization. These wildernesses will confront the adventurers with natural hazards, wild beasts, savage tribes, and monstrous predators. Some adventures will even take the characters to the treacherous waters of the high seas, where they may face lacerating weather, sea monsters, and lost isles.

Dungeon Adventures

The following rules apply to adventuring in dungeons. Additional rules are offered later in this chapter for other kinds of environments.

Marching and Mapping

When the party enters the dungeon, the party marching order should be established. This will depend largely on the width of the passages in a dungeon. Generally, characters should march in pairs, side by side, forming a line of pairs. A standard marching order would be tougher characters, like fighters, in the front, while thieves follow second, and elves and mages hold the middle. Relatively strong characters, like dwarves and clerics, should guard the rear. If enough fighters are present, they can take up the rear as well. Marching order should be written down, so that it is always clear as the group progresses through its adventure where everyone is. If a large map is being used, the players might use dice, tokens, or miniature figures to represent their characters and where they are in the marching order.

One player should be designated as the mapper. The mapper will draw the dungeon as the characters explore it, so that the group does not get lost, and also to keep a record of which areas have been explored. Dungeons are typically mapped on graph paper with 1/4″ square grids, with a scale of 10′ per square. The mapper, more than any other player, must be alert to all descriptions of areas the Judge offers, because if there is an error in a map, it could result in hardship, or even injury, to the group. If the character belonging to a mapper dies, the player must hand over mapping duties to a player with a living character. This character, in the game, takes the map from the dead character and continues his dead friend’s work.

Time and Movement

When in the dungeon, characters take actions in time increments called turns. One turn is the equivalent in game time to 10 minutes. Character actions that take one turn can include looking for secret doors or traps in a 10′ x 10′ room, or moving the full movement rate (120′ unless heavily encumbered) while mapping. As characters make their way through dungeons, their movement rates account for the fact that they are exploring, watching their footing, mapping, and taking care to avoid obstacles. This is referred to as exploration movement.

Combat movement occurs when characters meet foes or more immediate challenges, as described in Encounters, later in this chapter. In these cases characters move at 1/3 their exploration movement per round (40′ unless heavily encumbered). Rounds are ten seconds of game time each, so there are 60 rounds in a turn.

Finally, the third kind of speed is charging/running movement. Charging/running movement is the full character speed (120′ unless heavily encumbered), and it is traveled in one round.

If using a large map with tokens or miniatures, all of these distances may be precisely measured on a map grid, and pieces representing characters, monsters, and other dungeon features may be kept track of as well. Commonly, on large play maps one square is equal to 5′, and this scale will be used to measure all distances. In all matters of time and movement, the Judge is the final authority on what may be accomplished in a given period of time.


Exploring dungeons is strenuous work, and all characters must rest. Characters can explore, fight, or otherwise remain active for 5 turns before needing to rest for 1 turn. If the characters press on without resting, they all suffer a penalty of -1 on attack throws and damage rolls until they have rested for 1 turn.

Light and Darkness

Since dungeon adventures occur underground, there may not be a light source, so adventurers should bring torches or lanterns. These light sources emit light in a 30′ radius, with dim, shadowy light extending about 20′ further. Lanterns use flasks of oil as fuel; a lantern can burn continuously on 1 flask of oil for 24 turns. Torches burn continuously for 6 turns before burning out. Characters or monsters that carry a light source are unable to surprise opponents, because the light gives them away ahead of time.

Some creatures have infravision. Creatures that have infravision can see in the dark out to a limited distance, usually 60′. Infravision does not allow creatures to read or see fine details, so normal light will still be needed for many purposes. Infravision only functions in the darkness, so any visible light, whether normal or magical, will disrupt it.

Any creatures who cannot see due to darkness or blindness suffer a -4 penalty when attacking. This penalty applies when attacking invisible opponents as well.


The standard door in a dungeon is made of heavy wood, reinforced with iron banding. These sturdy doors are usually closed, and often locked or stuck. A locked door can be opened by finding the key, picking the lock, or battering the door down. A thief can pick a lock in 1 turn with a successful proficiency throw to open locks value (refer to the Thief Skills table for the target value). Any character can batter a wooden door in 3 turns if equipped with an axe. Simple wooden doors take only 1 turn to batter down, while sturdier (solid metal or stone doors) cannot generally be battered down without heavy equipment.

A stuck door can be forced open with brute strength. Forcing open a door requires a proficiency throw of 18+. Doors of unusual material or size may impose a penalty on this proficiency throw. In addition, for each point of Strength adjustment, modify the result of the die roll by +/- 4. (A character with Strength 18 thus opens doors with a proficiency throw of 6+). If two characters cooperate to force open a door, use the stronger character’s Strength adjustment +4. A roll of 1 always fails to open a door. It takes only one combat round to force open a door, and characters may try again if they fail.

Some dungeons are so drenched in evil that the doors themselves are antagonistic. Such evil doors automatically swing shut when released unless spiked or wedged open. Evil doors always open easily for monsters, unless the door is spiked shut, held firm, or magically closed.

Some doors are somehow concealed or hidden – these are secret doors. Common secret doors are sliding panels in a wall, trap-doors under rugs, and so on. Secret doors can only be spotted if characters are specifically looking for them. When a player declares that his character is looking for secret door, the Judge should make a proficiency throw on behalf of the character. All characters except elves will spot a secret door if one is present on a throw of 18+ on 1d20. Elves have keen eyes that allow them to detect hidden and secret doors with a proficiency throw of 8+ on 1d20 when actively searching, or 14+ on casual inspection. It takes 1 turn for a character to search a 10′ x 10′ area. Since the Judge rolls the dice, the player never know if the roll failed or if there simply is no door in the area searched. Each character has only one chance to find each secret door.

Players will sometimes want their character to listen at a door or intersection to hear any noises beyond. Again, the Judge should make a proficiency throw on behalf of the character. A throw of 18+ on 1d20 succeeds. Dwarves and elves only need to throw 14+ due to their keen hearing. A thief has specially trained for this task, and has a different chance of success (refer to the Thief Skills table). This attempt may only be made one time at any door or intersection by a character. Note that some creatures, such as undead, do not make noise.

Traps and Trap Detection

While thieves have a special skill to detect traps, characters of all classes can search for non-magical traps with time and caution. All characters except dwarves succeed in spotting a trap with a proficiency throw of 18+ on 1d20. Dwarves succeed with a proficiency throw of 14+. Players must declare that their characters are actively looking for traps, and they must be looking in the right place. This roll may only be made once per character in a particular location, and it takes 1 turn per 10′ x 10′ area searched. The Judge secretly rolls the dice for these checks, because the players will never know if they failed to find the trap or if there is not one present.

Traps have specific triggers, whether it is opening a door or walking over a particular area. Every time an adventurer takes an action that could trigger a trap, the Judge should roll 1d6. A result of 1-2 indicates that the trap springs. Once triggered, a trap has a specific effect depending on its type. The most common trap is a pit. Characters falling into a pit suffer 1d6 points of damage per 10′ fallen. Some traps may offer a saving throw to reduce or avoid their effects, or may only damage the characters on a successful attack throw.

Wilderness Adventures

Wilderness adventures have certain similarities to dungeon adventures, but the range of challenges they pose is far wider. Players must decide where they are going, what equipment they need, and how to get there. Some things to consider are what the conditions of travel will be. Do the characters need warm clothes? Do they need horses for travel or carrying gear? What kinds of special equipment are needed?

Marching and Mapping in the Wilderness

Marching and mapping in wilderness adventures are carried out like other adventures. The characters journey in an established marching order, but the action takes place in a wilderness, such as a forest or glen, rather than underground. The mapper should record the party’s progress if the area is unexplored, or the party may already have acquired a map of the area. The Judge will have a map prepared beforehand, so that he knows the layout of the land. Unlike dungeon maps, wildness maps are usually recorded on graph paper with hex grids, at a scale of 6 miles for each hex. Larger area maps will typically have a scale of 1 hex = 24 miles.

Time and Wilderness Movement

The wilderness is not cramped like in a dungeon, and characters can usually see further ahead and not be as wary of obstacles. For this reason, all distances are measured in yards rather than feet in the wilderness. A character that could move 120′ per turn in a dungeon can move 120 yards (360′) per turn in the wilderness. Weapon and spell ranges are measured in yards in the wilderness also, but note that areas of effect remain the same for spells and other effects.

Long-distance movement rates when traveling in the wilderness are related directly to exploration movement rates, as shown on the table below:

Exploration Movement (Feet per Turn)Wilderness Movement (Miles per Day)

Naturally, any party traveling together moves at the rate of the slowest member. The movement rates shown on the table above are figured based on an 8 hour day of travel through open, clear terrain. The terrain type will alter the rate somewhat, as shown on this table:

TerrainMovement Multiplier
Desert, hills, wooded areasx2/3
Thick jungle, swamps, mountainsx1/2
Road travel, clear wide trailsx3/2

For example, if characters can travel 24 miles normally, but are following roads, they can travel 36 miles a day (24 x 3/2). If they are traveling through swampy land, they travel 12 miles (24 x 1/2) per day. Furthermore, certain kinds of terrain can slow travel at the Judge’s discretion, such as if the characters have to cross canyons, large rivers, or other formations.

When necessary, characters may engage in a forced march, traveling 12 hours per day. A forced march is a day of hard, tiring travel, but increases miles traveled per day by 50%. However, the characters must rest for 24 hours after a forced march. Otherwise, during wilderness travel the characters have to rest one day per six days of travel. Characters who do not get the appropriate rest suffer a cumulative penalty of -1 on attack throws and damage rolls per day until they do rest.

Unless there is an encounter, the Judge will direct players through time in increments of days while traveling in the wilderness. When an encounter occurs, time is measured in rounds. Unlike dungeon adventures, wilderness adventures do not often measure time in turns.

Getting Lost

Characters can confidently follow trails, roads, and other well-known landmarks without fear of becoming lost. However, when traveling across the wilderness it is easy to lose direction. At the start of each day of travel, the Judge will make a proficiency throw against the appropriate value from the table below to determine if the adventuring party gets lost. If any member of the party has the Navigation proficiency (as described in the Proficiencies chapter), the party should receive a +4 bonus on the proficiency throw.

Mountains or Hills7+
Forest or Coast7+
Open Sea11+
Jungle or Swamp11+

If the roll indicates that the group is lost, they likely will not realize it immediately. They will set out for their travels, and may not understand they are off course for days. The Judge determines which direction the group is traveling. One option is to pick a direction only slightly off of course. For example, if the adventurers intended to go south, they could actually be heading southwest or west. If using a hex map, the Judge can randomly determine the direction that the adventures travel by assigning each hex face a value from 1 to 6, and then rolling 1d6 to determine which hex face the adventurers head towards.

Rations and Foraging

Each day, characters must consume food and drink weighing a total of one stone. This assumes 2lb of food and 1 gallon (about 8lb) of water. Failure to consume enough food does not significantly affect a character for the first two days, after which he loses 1 hit point per day. Furthermore, at that point the character loses the ability to heal wounds normally, though magic will still work. Eating enough food for a day (over the course of about a day, not all at once) restores the ability to heal, and the character will recover lost hit points at the normal rate.

Inadequate water affects characters more swiftly; after a single day without water, the character loses 1d4 hit points, and will lose an additional 1d4 hit points per day thereafter; healing ability is lost when the first die of damage is rolled.

When in the wilderness, characters can hunt or forage for food. Foraging for food is an activity that can be accomplished without hindering travel by gathering fruit, nuts, and vegetables. For each day of travel while foraging, a character should attempt a proficiency throw of 18+ on 1d20. A successful result indicates that sufficient food for 1d6 man-sized creatures has been acquired.

Hunting succeeds on a proficiency throw of 14+ and indicates that sufficient food for 2d6 man-sized creatures has been acquired. However, hunting must be engaged as the sole activity for a day with no traveling possible. In addition, there will be one wandering monster check, from the table appropriate for the terrain, while the group is hunting.

Characters with the Survival proficiency (see Proficiencies) gain a +4 bonus on their proficiency throws to hunt and forage.

Air Travel

A character’s long distance movement rate when traveling by air is equal to the total number of miles a character can normally travel on land per day multiplied by 2. For example, a character flying with a movement of 120′ can travel 48 miles per day. This time might be slowed if there are adverse conditions, such as very high mountains, storms, or thick fog. There are many magical items that grant characters the ability to fly, as well as spells and winged mounts.

In general, winged beasts may carry riders or other burdens in increasing size based on HD multiples of 3. For example, a creature with 3 HD could carry a dwarf or human child. A creature with 6 HD could carry an adult human or elf, or two dwarves. A creature with 12 HD can carry large animals like horses, or four adult humans. Finally, a creature with 24 HD could carry a very a large animal, or four horses, or 8 humans.

Sea Adventures

Bold adventurers will often set sail upon the high seas, following moldy treasure maps, seeking out lost civilizations, exploring what lies beyond the horizon, or simply pirating and swashbuckling. The rules in this chapter also cover travel on rivers, as characters might have to travel by river deep into impenetrable forest or jungle to reach a set of ruins.

Sea Vessels

Characters do not map or march when adventuring at sea; they sail or row on sea vessels. Some vessels are small, and they can be steered by an adventuring party. Others require a great number of sailors or rowers to crew them. The Sea Vessels table details different kinds of water vessels, as well as their speeds when rowed or sailed, their structural hit points and Armor Class, and maximum cargo load.

Structural hit points operate in the same manner as hit points do for monsters and characters. If a vessel is damaged to 0 or fewer hit points, it will no longer move and ship weapons no longer function. A ship will sink 1d10 rounds after it is reduced to 0 shp.

Sea VesselSailorsRowersMarinesFt/Rd SailingFt/Rd RowingMi/Day SailingMi/Day RowingCargo (stone)Armor ClassStructural Hit Points
Boat, river1160′36600120 – 45
Boat, sailing145′72400120 – 45
Canoe160′186005 – 10
Galley, large201805060′120′90504000295 – 120
Galley, small10602060′150′90602000175 – 100
Galley, war303007545′120′725060002125 – 150
Lifeboat130′18150012 – 18
Longship75(60)(75)60′150′90602000165 – 80
Raft130′122.5 per sq.ft.05 per sq. foot
Sailing Ship, large2045′72300002125 – 180
Sailing Ship, small1260′9010000165 – 90
Troop Transport, large205045′72300002150 – 200
Troop Transport, small122560′9010000190 – 110

*Ft/Rd = feet per round

*Mi/Day = miles per day

Sea Movement

Long-distance movement rates when traveling at sea are based on the type of vessel employed, modified by the weather conditions. The miles per day listed on the Sea Vessels table are based on a 12 hour day of travel, rather than the usual 8 hours per day given for wilderness travel. Note that ships under sail may travel 24 hours per day if a qualified navigator is aboard, so they may be able to cover twice the normal distance per day of travel. This is in addition to the multiplier given below for wind conditions. If the ship stops each night, as is done by vessels under oar, vessels traveling along a coastline, or vessels having less than the minimum number of regular crewmen on board, the two-times multiplier does not apply.

Movement of sailed ships varies depending on weather conditions, as shown on the following table. Sailing movement modifiers shown apply when sailing with the wind; sailing against the wind involves tacking (called “zigzagging” by landlubbers) which reduces movement rates two rows on the table (from Average Winds to Light Breeze, for instance).

d12Wind Direction
9-12Prevailing wind direction for this locale
d20Wind ConditionsSailing
2-4Light Breezex1/3
5-8Moderate Breezex2/3
9-12Average Windsx1
13-16Strong Windsx1 1/3
17-19Very Strong Windsx1 2/3

Becalmed: Sailing ships cannot move. Oared ships may move at the given rowing movement rate.

Very Strong Winds: Sailing against the wind (tacking) is not possible.

Gale: Sailing against the wind is not possible, and ships exposed to a gale may be damaged or sunk; apply 2d8 points of damage to any such ship, per hour sailed. Galleys and other rowed vessels must make a saving throw of 16+ each hour or be sunk; even if the throw succeeds, the ship takes double damage from the gale. Galleys in sight of a coastline when the gale hits can beach to avoid the gale. If the coastline is clear terrain, they can automatically beach, but otherwise they must succeed on a navigation throw of 14+ to find a safe beach or cove.

Getting Lost

Getting lost is easy to do in the trackless expanse of endless ocean. At the start of each day of travel, the Judge will make a proficiency throw against the appropriate value from the table below to determine if the party’s ships get lost. If any member of the party has the Navigation proficiency (as described in the Proficiencies chapter), the party should receive a +4 bonus on the proficiency throw.

River or lake4+
Open Sea11+

If the adventuring party becomes lost, the Judge will decide which direction the group is traveling, and how far off it is from their intended direction. He should adjust his description of the wind direction to reflect the direction the group believes it is traveling until they figure out their mistake.

Rations and Fishing

While on sea adventures, characters must consume food and water as described under Wilderness Adventures, above. Rowers must consume 3 gallons of water per day rather than the standard 1 gallon, so their supplies have an encumbrance of 3 stone per day. Standard rations are perishable and inedible after one week, so on long sea voyages most characters will eat iron rations. After one month at sea eating iron rations (that is, without eating fresh fruit, onions, or potatoes), characters begin to suffer from scurvy. Characters with scurvy lose 1 point of STR and CON each week. If either ability score reaches zero, the character dies. A scurvy-stricken character regains 3 points of STR and CON each week he eats fresh food.

Characters can fish if the ship is becalmed or otherwise anchored. For each day of fishing, each character may attempt a proficiency throw of 14+ on 1d20 (gaining a +4 bonus if they have the Survival proficiency) A successful result indicates that food enough for 2d6 man-sized creatures has been caught.


In the course of adventures, as the player characters explore dungeons, wildernesses, and vast oceans filled with wondrous treasures, ancient secrets, and other amazing situations, it is inevitable that at some point, they will come face to face with monsters. When the party of adventurers comes in contact with potential enemies, such a meeting is called an encounter.

Dungeon Encounters

When the adventurers stumble onto a monster in a dungeon – either because the Judge has planned an encounter in that area of the dungeon or because a random die roll indicates an encounter – then time shifts to encounter time.

In encounters and during combat, time is divided into units of rounds, which are 10 seconds each. There are 6 rounds per minute and 60 rounds per turn (10 minutes). While few encounters last as long as 60 rounds, for purposes of calculating the passage of time in an adventure, any encounter of 60 rounds or less is considered to last one full turn. The additional time represents recovering one’s breath, binding wounds, cleaning blades, looting bodies, and so on.

When an encounter begins, the Judge will roll 2d6 x 10 to determine the encounter distance in feet separating the characters and monster(s). If the monster encounter is preplanned, the Judge may already know how far the monster is from the characters. Encounter distance will be limited by the layout of the dungeon and the available light sources as well.

Next, the Judge rolls to see if the characters or the monster are surprised (see the Surprise table). Then the Judge will check the monster’s reaction on the Monster Reaction table (again, see below). Using this information, the Judge will decide what action the monster takes. At this stage the characters will also decide what actions to take, such as whether to fight, flee, or try to talk to the monster.

If either party decides to fight, combat begins and time progresses in rounds. Unsurprised characters then roll for initiative, and act in order of the rolls (as described under Initiative). Initiative is rolled again at the start of each round. Usually an encounter is over when one side either dies or flees.

Wilderness Encounters

The sequence of play in wilderness encounters is very much like the sequence described above. However, wilderness encounters can take place in a variety of terrain types with greatly varying line of sight. Consult the Wilderness Encounter Distance table to determine how many yards away the characters are from the monster at the start of the encounter. (Remember that in the wilderness characters measure their movement rates in yards, rather than in feet as they do in the dungeon.)

Encounter Distance

TerrainEncounter Distance (yards)
Fields, Fallow4d6x10
Fields, Ripe5d10
Fields, Wild3d6x5
Forest, Heavy or Jungle5d4
Forest, Light5d8

Man-sized targets are visible from a maximum of 1,000 yards over flat plains. Larger creatures can spot and be spotted at greater distances. Likewise creatures can spot and be spotted at greater distances if they are on towers, high hills, and so on. Increase the spotting distance in proportion to the increase in height or elevation relative to a man (6′). Example: Adventurers encounter a 12′ tall ettin in a light forest. The base encounter distance is 5d8 yards, and the Judge rolls a 21, yielding 21 yards. However, the ettin is double the height of a man, so the encounter distance is doubled to 42 yards. If the adventurers were standing on a 24′ hill (four times the height of a man), the encounter distance would multiply by (4+1) five times, to 105 yards.

Sea Encounters

The sequence of play in sea encounters is similar to that used in wilderness encounters. Monsters can surprise a ship, but because monsters native to the water cannot generally be seen, or “sneaked up on,” a ship may never surprise a monster.

When the Judge rolls for a random encounter, the distance the monster is from the adventuring party will be the same as for a plains encounter (5d20x10 yards), modified by the monster’s size. Assuming weather conditions are normal, other ships can be seen when up to 6 miles away and land can be seen from up to 24 miles.

These visibility distances could be reduced by 90% their normal distance when in harsh weather or dense fog, or some other penalty might be used depending on conditions.

Monsters Encountered

The monster descriptions in Chapter 8 list Hit Dice and Number Encountered. Number Encountered is the recommended ranges for the number of the monster type that will be encountered at one time. The number of monsters encountered will vary depending on whether they are encountered wandering or in their lair, and whether they are in the wilderness or in the dungeon. When encountered in dungeons, the number encountered will vary depending on the dungeon level. The Dungeon Wandering Monster Level table, in Chapter 10, Secrets, provides detailed guidance on how many monsters of a particular type are likely to appear on each dungeon level.


When monsters and characters encounter each other unexpectedly, there is the possibility one or both sides might be surprised. For instance, if the characters are making a lot of noise, the monster may not have a chance to be surprised but the characters might be if the monster was waiting quietly.

In such circumstances, the Judge makes a surprise roll for the monsters and/or the adventurers as a group. The Judge rolls 1d6, adds any relevant adjustments, and consults the Surprise table below:


Adjusted Die RollResult

Surprised monsters or characters are caught off guard for one round. Surprised opponents can be attacked with a +2 bonus to the attack throw, and gain no benefit from their shields (if any). Thieves can backstab surprised opponents. If all characters and monsters in an encounter are surprised, no one acts for the entire first round, but the second round initiative is rolled normally. Ready characters or monsters are on their guard and may act in the first round.

When one side is well hidden, or naturally stealthy, the other side may suffer a penalty on its surprise roll. Conversely, some characters and monsters, such as explorers and ettins, are less likely to be surprised; they gain a bonus on their surprise roll.

Example: Marcus the Human Fighter and Creven the Explorer open a door and come face-to-face with a party of goblins. The Judge makes a surprise roll for the goblins; on a 3+ on 1d6 they are ready to act, but on a 1-2 they are surprised. Then the Judge makes a surprise roll for Marcus and Creven. If the roll is a 3+, neither of them is surprised. If the roll is a 2, only Marcus is surprised, because Creven gains a +1 bonus on surprise rolls. If the roll is 1, both of them are surprised.

Surprise and Sneaking

Sometimes an encounter occurs when characters are attempting to sneak up on, or get past, monsters without being detected. The Judge can resolve these situations through the interplay of surprise rolls and hearing noises throws with varying risk depending on how alert the monsters are.

If the monsters are actively watching an area, any characters attempting to sneak through the area will be detected automatically. Most monsters cannot sustain this level of alertness for more than a turn and will lapse into passive watching (see below). However, constructs and undead are always considered actively alert.

If the monsters are passively watching an area, but aren’t in a state of high alertness, the Judge should make a surprise roll when the characters attempt to sneak past or up on them. If the monsters are surprised (normally on a roll of 1-2 on 1d6), the characters can move for one round without being detected. If the opponents are ready, then the sneaking characters are detected.

If the monsters are distracted (e.g. by conversation with friends or a loud noise elsewhere) or otherwise not looking, the Judge should make proficiency throw to see if any of the monsters hear any noises (normally an 18+ on 1d20). If all of the monsters fail this throw, then the sneaking characters can move for one round without being detected. If at least one monster succeeds on this throw, it hears something which gets its attention. But that doesn’t mean the sneaking characters automatically got caught. The Judge should now make a surprise roll, as described above.

Under normal circumstances a passive monster can be snuck up on 33% of the time (2 in 6), while a distracted monster can be snuck up on 90% of the time (because it has a 15% chance of hearing something and a 66% chance of detecting the characters if it hears something). If the monster has the Alertness proficiency, it will be surprised only on a 1 in 6, and will gain a +4 to proficiency throws to hear nose. The Alertness proficiency therefore reduces the chance of sneaking up on a passively watching monster down to 16% (1 in 6), and of sneaking up on a distracted monster to 75% (because it has a 30% chance of hearing something and an 84% chance of detecting the characters if it hears something).

If the monsters are watching an area that is dimly lit or otherwise offers some concealment, a thief (or similar class) may attempt to hide in shadows. If the thief is successful, the monsters don’t see the thief – they are effectively distracted, as above. The thief will be detected only if the monsters hear him make noise. If the thief successfully moves silently, he cannot be heard. Thus a thief sneaking through a dimly lit area can get past past virtually any monster if he successfully moves silently and hides in shadows.

Monsters can also sneak up on, or past, characters using similar mechanics. Characters would need to make surprise rolls and/or hear noise throws to detect the monsters.


When a party of adventurers meet one or more monsters, it’s important to know how the monsters will react to the party. In many cases, the reaction of the monster or monsters is obvious. Zombies guarding a tomb will virtually always attack intruders, for example.

In cases where the reaction of the monsters to the party is not obvious, a reaction roll may be made. The Judge rolls 2d6, adding the Charisma bonus of the “lead” character (or applying his Charisma penalty) along with any other adjustments he feels are reasonable, and consults the Monster Reaction table below:

Monster Reaction

Adjusted Die RollResult
2-Hostile, attacks
3-5Unfriendly, may attack
6-8Neutral, uncertain
9-11Indifferent, uninterested
12+Friendly, helpful

A result of Hostile means that the adventurers have so offended the monsters that they attack immediately. An Unfriendly result means that the monsters do not like the adventurers, and will attack if they may reasonably do so. A Neutral result simply means that the monsters will consider letting the adventurers live if they choose to parley; it does not necessarily mean that the monsters like the adventurers. An Indifferent result means that monsters will ignore the adventurers if possible and negotiate if not. A Friendly result means that the monsters (or perhaps only the monster leader) do, in fact, like the adventurers; this does not mean that the monsters will just hand over their treasure, but it does indicate that they may choose to cooperate with the adventurers in mutually beneficial ways. Friendly monsters can be recruited as hirelings (see Hirelings, Henchmen, Mercenaries, and Specialists) with a successful roll on the Reaction to Hiring Offer table.

As always, the Judge must interpret the results of this roll in context. For instance, if the monsters have surprised the characters, a Hostile result might mean they attempt to ambush the party, while an Indifferent result might mean the monsters avoid the party entirely. The Judge may choose to alter the Monster Reaction result if he believes a different result would be more plausible given the circumstances.

Evasion and Pursuit

The adventurers may decide they are outmatched and flee an encounter, or a monster might flee if it breaks morale. The adventurers can choose when to flee, and whether or not to pursue fleeing monsters. The Judge will decide if the monsters chase fleeing characters by rolling on the Monster Reaction table. A roll of 2-8 indicates the monster will pursue. When one side is fleeing and the other side is pursuing, it is called a chase.

Chases in the Dungeon

One side of an encounter can always successfully flee if combat has not commenced and their movement is higher than the other side’s movement. Otherwise, a chase begins when the adventurers or monsters wanting to flee begin doing so on their Initiative numbers (see below). The Judge may easily play out the pursuit, following along on his map (note that the players can’t draw maps while they run headlong through the dungeon or wilderness area). Any time a character must pass through a doorway, make a hard turn, etc., the Judge may require a saving throw versus Paralysis (with Dexterity bonus added). If the save is failed, the character has fallen at that point and moves no further that round; he may stand up and make a full move on his initiative number in the next round.

If at any point the pursuers are within 5′ (melee range) at the start of a round, they may begin melee combat. If the fleeing characters or monsters wish to continue to flee after the pursuers close to melee range, they will be subject to the rules described under Defensive Movement.

It is up to the adventurers to decide when they stop pursuing fleeing monsters. A monster will stop chasing the adventurers if they manage to get out of the monster’s range of vision. If the monsters enjoy treasure, they have a 50% probability that they will stop pursuing characters to collect any treasure the characters drop (roll 4-6 on 1d6). Hungry or less intelligent monsters may do the same if the characters drop food.

Chases in the Wilderness

Encounters will generally occur at much longer ranges in the wilderness, and adventurers and monsters will have far more directions available to flee. When one side is surprised in a wilderness encounter, the other side can automatically flee successfully. Otherwise, in order for one party to escape from another, it must make a successful throw on the Wilderness Evasion table. The more pursuing group members there are relative to the fleeing party, the greater chances the fleeing party may escape. This is because larger groups cannot move as fast, or as quietly. Note that the fleeing side will have a minimum of a 5% probability of escaping.

Wilderness Evasion by Pursuing Group Size Modifier

Evading Party SizeEvasion ThrowUp to 25%26-75%76%+
Up to 411+0+4+8
5 to 1214+0+3+5
13 to 2416+0+3+5

Example: If a party of four is fleeing 1 pursuer, they must throw an 11+ to escape because the number of pursuers equals 25% of the fleeing party’s number, which applies no modifier to the base chance of escape. If they are fleeing two pursuers, they escape on a 7+ because the number of pursuers equals 50% of the fleeing group, which applies a +4 bonus to the chance of escape.

The Judge may modify the probabilities based on the conditions and environment. For example, if one side has time to flee within a densely wooded area, the Judge may give a bonus of +5 to flee. If the party giving chase has double the movement of the fleeing side, they might receive a bonus of +5 to catch the fleeing party.

If the fleeing party does not successfully escape, then the other group has managed to keep them within sight. They have a 50% (11+ on d20) chance of catching them up close if they have a greater movement than the group they are pursuing. If this roll fails, then the fleeing side may again attempt to escape. This cycle is repeated daily until either one side escapes or the other manages to catch up.

Chases at Sea

When two sea vessels, or a sea vessel and a monster, encounter one another, one party may choose to flee. The distance between each of the groups is determined as a normal encounter. Success depends primarily on the difference between the two groups’ speeds. For one sea vessel or monster to escape from another, it must make a successful throw on the Sea Evasion table.

Sea Evasion

Evading vessel isEvasion Throw
Faster than pursuer5+
0′-30’/round slower11+
31′-60’/round slower13+
61′-91’/round slower15+
91′-120”/round slower17+
121’+/round slower19+

If the evading party is successful, the pursuers cannot try to catch up with the evading party for 24 hours, and then only if a random encounter roll indicates an encounter. If the evading party fails their roll to evade, the pursuer starts at the distance it was spotted and begins to gain on the evading party. If the pursuer is slower than the other party or if the pursuer’s speed is no greater than 30′ more than the fleeing party, it will gain on the evading party at a rate of 30′ (10 yards) per round. If the pursuer’s speed is more than 30′ faster than the fleeing party, the pursuer will gain on the fleeing party at a rate equal to the difference in speed each round.


Each round, 1d6 is rolled for initiative for each adventurer, monster, and group of identical monsters, each called a combatant. This roll is adjusted by the combatant’s Dexterity bonus, if any. High numbers act first. Any combatants with equal numbers act simultaneously. Combatants wishing to move defensively or cast spells in the upcoming round must inform the Judge before the initiative dice are rolled.

As the Judge counts down the initiative numbers, each combatant may act on his number. If desired, a combatant can choose to wait until a later number to act. If a player states that he is waiting for another combatant to act, then the player character’s action takes place on the same initiative number as the combatant he is waiting for. In this case, the player character’s action is simultaneous with the combatant waited for, just as if they had rolled the same number.

A combatant using a weapon with a long reach (spears, for instance) may choose to attack a closing opponent on the closing opponent’s number and thus attack simultaneously with the opponent, even if the combatant rolled lower for initiative. Likewise, if a combatant has a missile weapon readied at the beginning of round and is not engaged in melee, he can fire at a closing opponent on the closing opponent’s number even if the combatant rolled lower for initiative.


When its initiative number comes up, each combatant may move up to its combat movement distance, and then attack any opponent in range. After attacking, a combatant may not move again until the next round. Opponents more than 5′ apart may move freely, but once two opposing combatants are within 5′ of each other, they are engaged and must abide by the rules under Defensive Movement, below.

Player characters or monsters wishing to cast spells may not move on their Initiative (see Casting Spells).


Combatants may choose to run; a running combatant is not normally allowed to attack (but see Charging, below). Running combatants can move at their running movement rate (triple their normal combat movement rate). Combatants are allowed to run a number of rounds equal to 2 times their Constitution, after which they are exhausted and may only walk (at the normal combat rate). For monsters not having a given Constitution, allow the monster to run for 24 rounds. Exhausted combatants must rest for at least a turn before running again.


Under some circumstances, combatants may be allowed to attack after a running move. This is called a charge, and some specific limitations apply. First, the charging combatant must move at least 20′, and may move up to triple his combat movement rate, as given above. The movement must be in a more or less straight line toward the intended target, and the path to the target must be reasonably clear. If the charging combatant does not have line of sight to the opponent at the start of the charge, that opponent can’t be charged.

The attack made after the charge is made with a +2 bonus on the attack throw. The charging combatant takes a -2 penalty to Armor Class until the next time his initiative number comes up. Certain weapons, including spears, lances, and pole arms, are especially suitable for use while charging, as are the natural attacks of certain monsters, especially including those with horns. These attacks deal double damage on a successful charge.

Set Weapon against Charge

Spears, pole arms, and certain other piercing weapons deal double damage when “set” (braced against the ground or floor) and used against a charging combatant. To set against charge, the combatant being charged must have equal or better initiative; this counts as holding an action. Both charging and charged combatant act on the charging combatant’s initiative number and are therefore simultaneous.

Defensive Movement

Once two opposing combatants are within 5′ of each other, they are engaged in melee. Engaged combatants may not move except to perform defensive movement. These types of defensive movement may be used by both characters and monsters. Combatants who want to use one of these forms of movement must declare their intention to do so before they roll initiative for the round, and may not change their mind during the round.

A fighting withdrawal allows a combatant to move backwards at 1/2 combat movement. However, there must be a clear path for this movement. If an opponent follows the withdrawing combatant, the withdrawing combatant may attack the opponent on the opponent’s initiative, when he enters reach.

A full retreat occurs when a combatant moves backwards at a faster rate than 1/2 of combat movement. The combatant making the movement forfeits his attack this round, and all his opponent attacks with a +2 bonus that round. In addition, if the retreating combatant is carrying a shield, it does not apply to their Armor Class during the retreat. Thieves may backstab retreating opponents.

Other Movement

Instead of moving (or running, charging, setting, withdrawing, or retreating), combatants may perform a simple action that could be accomplished while fighting, such as standing up from being knocked down, sheathing one weapon and drawing another, readying or loosing a shield, picking an item off the ground, or retrieving an item from a pack or sack. Simply dropping a weapon and drawing a new one does not count as movement during a round.

How to Attack

If they are not already engaged, combatants may move and make a missile weapon attack (bows, crossbows, etc.), or move and make a melee attack (swords, axes, etc.), in one round. They may not move after attacking. Except where otherwise noted, characters may only make 1 attack per round; monsters may have multiple attacks.

Whether or not an attack hits its target is determined with an attack throw. The player or Judge rolls 1d20 and applies any modifiers to the roll from high Strength or Dexterity, magic, or special circumstances. The result is compared to the Attack Throws table for either characters or monsters, as appropriate. A result that is greater than or equal to the attack throw value listed for the attacking character’s level or monster’s HD indicates a hit. An unmodified roll of 20 is always a hit, and an unmodified roll of 1 is always a miss. If a hit is scored, damage is rolled by weapon type or monster attack, taking into account any bonuses or penalties.

Armor Class: Well-armored or highly dexterous targets are harder to hit than lightly-armored or sluggish ones. The target’s Armor Class is added to the attack throw value necessary to hit it.

Helpless Targets: Regardless of attack throw and AC, all attacks on sleeping, paralyzed, or otherwise helpless targets automatically hit. If the attacker is not engaged by any other opponents, the helpless target can be automatically slain. Otherwise, a standard damage roll is made.

Monster Attack Throws

Attacking Monster HDAttack Throw Value
1 or less10+
1+ and 29+
2+ and 38+
3+ and 47+
4+ and 56+
5+ and 65+
6+ and 74+
7+ to 93+
9+ to 112+
11+ to 131+
13+ to 150+
15+ to 17-1+
17+ to 19-2+
19+ to 21-3+
21+ or more-4+

Example: Marcus, a 10th level fighter (attack throw 4+) attacks a plate-armored target (AC7). He needs a modified roll of 11 (4+7) or more to hit. He rolls a 12, and lands a blow!

Example: A 20 HD bronze golem (attack throw -3) attacks on an ogre (AC3). It will need a modified roll of 0 (-3+3) or more to hit. However, an modified roll of 1 is always a miss, so the golem will need to roll at least a 2 or more.

Melee Combat

Hand-to-hand, or melee, combat occurs when opponents are within 5′ of one another. As the name implies, melee attacks are made by hand-held weapons like swords or axes. Attack throws and damage rolls are affected by Strength adjustments, as well as by bonuses for magical weapons.

Characters normally only have 1 attack in a round, but some monsters have an attack routine, the most common of which is a claw/claw/bite series, which amounts to 3 attacks in 1 round. If characters or monsters kill or incapacitate an opponent with an attack, they may be able to cleave to gain additional attacks (as described below).

Character Attack Throws by Attacking Character Level

FightersClerics/ThievesMagesAttack Throw Value

*Includes all 0th level humans.

Some characters and monsters can fight with a weapon in each hand (dual wielding). Characters fighting with two weapons still make 1 attack, using the primary weapon, but they gain a +1 bonus to the melee attack throw from having the second weapon. If the second weapon is magical, its magical bonus may be added to the attack throw (stacking with another weapon the way a shield stacks with armor), but not to the damage roll. Dual wielding does not give additional attacks.

Vision and light can also affect melee combat. Combatants suffer -4 to their attack throw if blind, in darkness, or attacking an invisible foe.

Instead of making a standard melee attack, combatants may attempt to disarm, knock down, wrestle, or otherwise disrupt their opponent in some way. See Special Maneuvers, below.

During large melees, the Judge should use discretion in determining how many attackers can strike at one opponent. Two man-sized combatants armed with two-handed weapons, or three man-sized combatants armed with spears or one-handed weapons, can fight side by side in a 10′ wide corridor. Combatants with spears and pole arms may attack in melee from the second rank. If more detail is necessary, dice, tokens, or figurines can be used to represent character positions and movement during combat and movements in the dungeon.

Missile Attacks

In order to attack with a missile weapon, opponents must be more than 5′ apart. Combatants may not make a missile attack at opponents engaged in melee, unless they have the Precise Shooting proficiency. Missile attacks can be from bows, slings, crossbows, and even thrown items like bottles of holy water or oil flasks. Regardless of the weapon used, combatants normally only have 1 attack in a round with missile weapons (although they may sometimes get to attack again if they kill their target; see Cleaving, below).

The attack throw with missile weapons is affected by Dexterity adjustments, which will provide a bonus to strike if Dexterity is high or a penalty if Dexterity is low. In addition, magical weapons will provide bonuses to attack throws and damage rolls. For instance, an arrow +1 gives a bonus of +1 to damage. A bow +1 gives a bonus of +1 to attack.

All missile weapons have ranges, which must be taken into account when trying to strike an opponent at a distance. There are no bonuses or penalties for striking an opponent at short range. There is a penalty of -2 on the attack throw against an opponent that is at medium range, and a -5 penalty on the attack throw against an opponent at long range. If an opponent is further away than the long range listed, the missile weapon cannot hit that opponent at all. The Missile Weapon Ranges table shows the short, medium, and long range of various missile weapons.

Missile Weapon Ranges

WeaponShort RangeMedium RangeLong Range
ArbalestUp to 90′…to 180′…to 360′
Axe (thrown)Up to 10′…to 20′…to 30′
Bow, CompositeUp to 70′…to 140′…to 210′
Bow, LongUp to 70′…to 140′…to 210′
Bow, ShortUp to 50′…to 100′…to 150′
CrossbowUp to 80′…to 160′…to 240′
Dagger (thrown)Up to 10′…to 20′…to 30′
DartUp to 15′…to 30′…to 45′
Holy waterUp to 10′…to 30′…to 50′
JavelinUp to 20′…to 40′…to 60′
OilUp to 10′…to 30′…to 50′
SlingUp to 45′…to 90′…to 180′
SpearUp to 20′…to 40′…to 60′

All missile attacks are subject to the ordinary combat rules of initiative and surprise. In addition, cover is a factor that can influence missile attacks. An attacker cannot hit any opponent that is entirely behind a barrier. However, the Judge may allow an attack throw with a -1 to -4 penalty if the target is only partly under cover. For example, if a character were attempting to strike an opponent through a small window, the Judge might call for a penalty of -4. If the opponent were only partly covered, such as by small furniture, the penalty might only be -2.

Characters suffer -4 to their attack throw if firing blind, in darkness, or at an invisible foe.

Oil flasks can be lit and then thrown as missile attacks. When resolving the results of a thrown flask of oil:

  • A direct hit occurs if the attacker’s modified attack throw is sufficient to hit the target. A direct hit with oil deals 1d8 points of damage to the target for two rounds, after which the oil has burned out and trickled off the target. A direct hit also deals splash damage (see below).
  • A splash occurs if the attacker’s modified attack throw is sufficient to hit the target, ignoring the target’s Armor Class. A splash with oil deals 1d3 points of damage to the target and all creatures with 5′. Combatants may make a saving throw versus Blast to avoid being splashed.
  • A fumble occurs if the character’s attack throw is an unmodified 1. A fumble with oil results in the attacker setting himself on fire. He suffers damage as if directly hit.
  • A miss occurs on any other result. Roll 1d12 to determine the misdirection of the throw, applied as a clock direction from the target. If thrown at short range, the oil flask lands 1d10′ away in the indicated direction. If thrown at medium range, it lands 2d10′ away. If thrown at long range, it lands 5d10′ away. Combatants within 5′ of the oil flask when it lands must save versus Blast or be splashed, as above.

Characters can also throw oil flasks unlit to avoid the risk of setting themselves on fire. Unlit oil does no damage, but can be lit with a torch later (either through melee or missile attacks). A character splashed with unlit oil takes 1d3 points of damage if the oil is later lit. A character directly hit by unlit oil takes 1d8 points of damage for two rounds if the oil is later lit.

An oil flask can also be poured on the ground and lit. Oil that is poured on the ground can cover a diameter of 5′ and burns for a full turn. It inflicts 1d8 points of damage to any creature that moves through the burning patch.

Fire from oil does not cause damage to monsters that have a natural flame attack. However, burning oil does full damage to most undead monsters.

Vials of holy water can also be thrown as missile attacks. Holy water deals damage to undead as burning oil, but is harmless to other creatures. Holy water cannot retain its holy power if it is stored in any other container than the special vials it is placed in when blessed.

Casting Spells

In order to cast a spell, a spellcaster must inform the Judge that a spell is being cast, and which spell will be cast, before the initiative dice are rolled. If the caster takes damage or fails a saving throw before he acts, the spell is interrupted and lost. (The spell still counts against the character’s spells per day as if it had been cast.) A caster may not move or perform any other action on the round he attempts to cast a spell.

A spellcaster must have a line of sight on the targets or area the spell is cast on. Unlike melee and missile attacks, spell attacks will automatically hit their chosen targets if they are within the spells’ range and area of effect. However, many spells allow a saving throw that can negate or partially negate effects of spells. See the discussion on Spells in Chapter 5 and saving throws later in this chapter.

Some spells require that a caster concentrate to maintain them. Unless otherwise noted, a concentrating caster may move or ride at half speed, but may not engage in combat, use items, or cast other spells. A caster who takes damage or fails a saving throw loses his concentration. Note that certain spells, such as dispel evil, specify that the caster must both remain stationary and concentrate.

Other Actions

Instead of performing an attack or attack routine, combatants may take another action that could be accomplished in a few seconds, such as sheathing one weapon and drawing another, readying or loosing a shield, lighting a torch, drinking a magic potion, using a wand or ring, turning undead, picking an item off the ground, or retrieving an item from a pack or sack. Simply dropping a weapon and drawing a new one do not count as an action during a round, however. For example, a combatant can drop a bow, draw a sword, and attack in the same round.


When combatants successfully attack, they deal damage. Damage dealt is based on the type of weapon and how the combatant is wielding it:

  • Whips deal 1d2 damage.
  • Unarmed strikes deal 1d3 nonlethal damage.
  • Tiny melee weapons, such as daggers, hatchets, clubs, and bludgeons all deal 1d4 points of damage. A staff deals 1d4 points of damage when wielded one-handed, and 1d6 points of damage when wielded two-handed.
  • Small melee weapons designed exclusively for one-handed use, such as hand axes, javelins, and short swords, always deal 1d6 points of damage.
  • Medium melee weapons designed for both one- or two-handed use, such as flails, battle axes, maces, picks, spears, swords, and warhammers, deal 1d6 points of damage when wielded one-handed, or 1d8 points of damage when wielded two-handed.
  • Large melee weapons designed exclusively for two-handed use, such as morning stars, polearms, and two-handed swords, deal 1d10 points of damage. Such weapons penalize the wielder’s Initiative roll by 1, however.
  • Thrown daggers, darts, and sling stones deal 1d4 points of damage. All arrows and crossbow bolts deal 1d6 points of damage.
  • Combatants dual wielding two weapons do 1d6 points of damage if the weapon in their main hand is medium or small, and 1d4 points of damage if the weapon is tiny. The size of the weapon in their off-hand does not affect damage.

The weapon’s damage will be modified by Strength, magical bonuses, and the character’s class bonus (if any).

In addition to weapons, monsters have much more varied damage and means of attack available to them. The attacks listing in the monsters’ descriptions represent the number of times a monster may attack in one round. Damage is listed and separated by a slash, and claw attacks are listed before bite attacks when a typical “claw/claw/bite” series of attacks are listed.

Double Damage

Whenever damage is doubled (from backstabbing or charging, for instance), multiply the standard damage roll by two. Bonuses to the damage roll, such as from magic or strength adjustments, are not doubled.

“Invulnerable” Monsters

Some monsters can be damaged by magical or silver weapons only. Monsters that can only be affected by these kinds of weapons can always harm each other, and monsters with 5 HD or more are able to affect these monsters through natural ferocity. Weaker monsters, and characters without silver or magical weapons, cannot harm such foes.

Effects of Damage

All damage dealt is subtracted from a creature’s hit points. When a creature’s hit points drop to 0 or fewer, the creature is unconscious and possibly dead. The creature’s condition will not be determined until an ally treats its wounds. When this occurs, the unconscious creature must roll 1d20+1d6 on the Mortal Wounds table and apply any appropriate modifiers listed. The modified 1d20 roll determines the unconscious creature’s condition while the modified 1d6 roll determines whether any permanent wounds are suffered. Characters not treated within 24 hours of being unconscious must roll, with no bonus for treatment and at the full -10 penalty for being treated 1 day later.

Example: Marcus, a fighter with 36 hit points and 18 CON, is reduced to -12 hit points by dragon breath. His ally Balbus arrives the next round and casts cure serious wounds on him. Marcus now rolls on the Mortal Wounds table. His d20 roll is modified by -2 (because his hp are at a negative value greater than 1/4 his maximum hit points) +4 (from cure serious wounds) +2 (treated within one round of injury) and +3 (modifier for 18 CON) for a total adjustment of +7. He rolls a 13, modified to 20, indicating that he in shock. He is at 1hp and needs magical healing and a night’s bed rest to recover. His d6 roll is a 3, indicating that he has suffered notable scarring. He and the Judge agree that this represents severe burns from the dragon’s fire.

If a character suffers permanent damage, a restore life and limb spell, regeneration spell, ring of regeneration, or similar magic can eliminate any penalties caused. If a character is killed, he can be revived with restore life and limb, reincarnation, or other magical effect that restores the dead to life. Characters treated with restore life and limb often need extensive periods of time to recover, and may suffer strange side effects. The character must roll 1d20+1d6 on the Tampering with Mortality table and apply any appropriate modifiers listed. The resulting side effects are permanent and can only be removed with a wish spell.


All beings recover hit points through rest. For each full day of complete rest in reasonably sanitary conditions, a character or monster will recover 1d3 hp. If the rest is interrupted, the character or monster will not heal that day. Healing also occurs through magic, such as potions or spells. This kind of healing is instantaneous. Magical healing and natural healing can be combined. Characters with the Healing proficiency can improve a creature’s natural healing, as described in Chapter 4.

Some results on the Mortal Wounds or Tampering with Mortality tables will indicate that a character needs a period of bed rest to recover. During this time, the character does not regain hit points from natural or magical healing, and cannot take any action other than speaking and moving at half speed. If the character is killed again before he has had sufficient rest, he cannot be treated or restored to life by anything less than ritual magic. If the table indicates that the period of bed rest can be shortened with magical healing, then any form of healing magic, including cure spells, potions, Laying On Hands, or other means, will suffice. Otherwise, the period of bed rest cannot be shortened.

Nonlethal Damage

Some attacks may inflict nonlethal damage. Nonlethal damage is subtracted from a creature’s hit points like normal damage. A creature reduced to 0 hit points or fewer by nonlethal damage, or any combination of normal or nonlethal damage, is still unconscious and possibly dead. However, the likelihood of death and the rate of healing are different for nonlethal damage, so a running total of the amount of nonlethal damage should still be recorded.

Example: Marcus is fighting an ogre with 26 hit points. In the first round of combat, Marcus stabs the ogre for 8 points of damage, reducing it to 18 current hit points. In the second round of combat, Marcus starts attacking with the flat of his blade (a special maneuver, described later, that incurs a -4 penalty to his attack throw) to attempt to knock out the ogre. He inflicts 6 points of nonlethal damage in the second round and 9 points of nonlethal damage in the third round. At this point the ogre has 3 current hit points and has taken 15 nonlethal damage. In the fourth round, Marcus makes a normal attack that deals 7 points of damage. This reduces the ogre to -4 hit points. Because it has now taken a combination of normal and nonlethal damage reducing its hit points to 0 or fewer, the ogre is knocked out and possibly dead.

Creatures reduced to 0hp or less by nonlethal damage are far less likely to have sustained mortal wounds. When the creature rolls on the Mortal Wounds table, modify the die roll by +1 per point of nonlethal damage dealt before the creature was knocked unconscious. (Pummeling your allies after they are incapacitated does not help them recover).

Example: Immediately after the fight, Marcus rouses the ogre to interrogate it. The Judge rolls 1d20+1d6 for the ogre and gets a 9 and a 3. Marcus did not use any healing magic or have Healing proficiency, so the 1d20 roll is modified by +15 (because ogre took 15 nonlethal damage) and -2 (because it was treated after the fight), for a +13 modifier, yielding a total of 22. Cross-referencing 22 and 3 on the Mortal Wounds table, the Judge determines that the ogre awakens concussed, with 1hp, having lost 1d6 teeth. It will require 1 day of bed rest or magical healing.

Once a creature has resolved its condition on the Mortal Wounds table, all nonlethal damage is removed. Otherwise, nonlethal damage recovers at a rate of 1 hit point per hour. Spells or magical powers that cure hit point damage remove an equal amount of nonlethal damage.

Mortal Wounds

Permanent Wounds Suffered (1d6)

1d20+ ModifiersCondition & Recovery654321
-6 or moreYou were instantly killed.A ghastly wound reveals your harsh demise.Mangled bones and broken flesh betray your grisly end.That’s a bad way to go. What’s left of you isn’t pretty.The bloody mess that was once your body is dimly recognizable.A red stain and shards of bone are all that remain.Not even the vultures could feed on you.
-5-0You were instantly killed.Your corpse is largely intact and ready for a noble funeral.A ghastly wound reveals your harsh demise.Mangled bones and broken flesh betray your grisly end.That’s a bad way to go. What’s left of you isn’t pretty.The bloody mess that was once your body is dimly recognizable.A red stain and shards of bone are all that remain.
1-5You are mortally wounded. You die unless healed to 1hp within 1 round. If you are healed, you need 1 month’s bed rest.Your lips and tongue are severed or mangled (cannot speak, cast spells or use magic items involving speech, -4 to reaction rolls).You are blinded (-4 to all attack throws, no line of sight for spells, movement reduced to normal, -2 to surprise rolls).Both your legs are severed or crushed (DEX reduced to 3 for AC purposes, two crutches required, movement reduced by 60′, cannot force march).Both your arms are severed or crushed (cannot climb, use weapons or items, open locks, remove traps, or any other similar actions).You spine is broken at the waist (as per legs severed, cannot reproduce, and must save v. Death each year or die from complications).Your spine is broken at the neck (DEX reduced to 3, cannot move, fight, use items, or cast spells, save v. Death each month or die from complications).
6-10You are grievously wounded. You die unless healed to 1hp within 1 turn. If you are healed, you need 2 week’s bed rest.One of your ears is crushed/mangled (-1 to hear noise throws, -1 to surprise rolls).One of your eyes is destroyed (-2 to missile attack throws).One of your legs is severed or crushed (crutch or peg required, movement reduced by 30′, DEX reduced by 1/3 for AC purposes).One of your arms is severed or crushed (cannot climb, use shields, dual wield, or use two-handed weapons).Both your legs are lamed (crutch required, movement rate reduced by 60′, DEX reduced by 2/3 for AC purposes)You are permanently addled from brain trauma (-2 on magical research and proficiency throws, -10% penalty on earned XP).
11-15You are critically wounded. You die unless healed to 1hp within 1 day. If you are healed, you need 1 week’s bed rest.1d6 of your teeth are knocked out (-2 to reaction rolls with opposite sex and upper class NPCs).One of your eyes is damaged (-2 to missile attack throws at medium and long range).One of your knees is damaged (carrying capacity reduced by 6 stone, cannot force march).One of your hands is severed or crushed (cannot dual wield or use two-handed weapons).One of your legs is lamed (movement reduced by 30′, DEX reduced by 1/3 for AC purposes).Your heart and lungs are damaged (must rest for 2 turns every 6, wilderness movement reduced by 1/3, cannot force march, CON reduced by 1/3).
16-20You are in shock. You recover with 1hp. You need magical healing and one night’s bed rest; or 1 week’s bed rest.Ghostly visions of lost companions flicker before your eyes as you awaken.You suffer minor scarring (no effect, but three minor scars become notable).You suffer damage to your hips and lower back (cannot force march).You suffer notable scarring (-2 to throws to impersonate another; 3 notable scars become gruesome).Your genitals are damaged (cannot reproduce, -3 to reaction rolls if loss of manhood / womanhood is known).You suffer gruesome scarring (impossible to impersonate another; +2 to intimidate others, -4 to all other reaction rolls).
21-25You were knocked out. You recover with 1hp. You will need magical healing or 1 night’s bed rest afterward.A vision of afterlife haunts you, then fades as you awaken.Ghostly visions of lost companions flicker before your eyes as you awaken.You suffer minor scarring (no effect, but three minor scars equals one notable scar).You lose 1d3 fingers on one hand (3 lost fingers on one hand makes hand useless).You suffer notable scarring (-2 to throws to impersonate another; 3 notable scars become gruesome).Your wounds heal stiff and scarred (-1 to all initiative rolls).
26 +You were just dazed. You recover immediately with 1hp. You do not need any bed rest.The Choosers of the Slain pass you by, and you awaken.A vision of afterlife haunts you, then fades as you awaken.Ghostly visions of lost companions flicker before your eyes as you awaken.You suffer minor scarring (no effect, but three minor scars equals one notable scar).You lose 1d3 toes on one foot (3 lost toes on one foot makes leg lame).You suffer lasting wounds that ache in bad weather (-1 to initiative rolls on cold or rainy days).

Modifiers (1d20):

  • Hit Points: +5 if hp are exactly 0; -2 if hp are at negative value equal from 1/4 to 1/2 max hp; -5 if hp are at negative value of 1/2 max hp or more
  • Treatment: +1 per level of healing magic used in treatment; +2 if treated by character with Healing specialization
  • Timing: +2 if treated within 1 round of injury; -3 if treated immediately after fight; -5 if treated up to 1 hour later; -8 if up to 1 day later; -10 if more than 1 day later
  • Constitution: +/- CON modifier of unconscious character

Tampering with Mortality

Side Effects Suffered (1d6)

1d20+ ModifiersCondition & Recovery654321
-6 or moreThe spell fails to restore your life.Your deity may allow your return on a second attempt, but you must perform a Quest immediately upon revival.The embrace of your deity is all you feel, and it holds you tightly. Any additional attempts are permitted at -1.You hear the calls of your friends but you can do nothing to respond. Any additional attempts are at -3.All you feel is the sensation of falling, falling, falling into nothingness. Any additional attempts are at -5.You are surrounded by ghostly figures who torment and taunt you. No additional attempts are permitted.Your soul is extinguished in the oblivion of nothingness. No additional attempts are permitted.
-5-0The spell fails to restore your life.A stirring wind and a light comes from somewhere, and you slowly move towards it. A second attempt is permitted.Your deity may allow your return with a second attempt, but you must perform a Quest immediately upon revival.The embrace of your deity is all you feel, and it holds you tightly. Any additional attempts are permitted at -1.You hear the calls of your friends but you can do nothing to respond. Any additional attempts are at -3.All you feel is the sensation of falling, falling, falling into nothingness. Any additional attempts are at -5.Your spirit wanders in eternal darkness. No additional attempts are permitted.
1-5The powers of the spell restore you but at great cost. You need a month of bed rest.You have the pallor of death about you, and no tincture or perfume can conceal it. CHA reduced by 4, but you gain +2 to reaction rolls with non- intelligent Undead.Everything seems brighter and louder than before. If a very loud noise or bright light occurs in battle, make a Saving Throw against Paralyzation or be stunned for one round.Dark power leaked in while you were being restored. Holy Water and Turning now affects you as if you were a wight. “Destroy” results charm you.Your connection to the Divine is lessened. You can cast 1 less Divine spell per level per day and your WIS is reduced by 1d3.All you see is darkness. You are now blind (-4 to all attack throws, no line of sight for spells, movement reduced to 1/4 normal, -2 to surprise rolls) in full daylight, but you can See Invisible as the spell once per day.Heart beats and blood flows, but life doesn’t feel the same. Your CON and WIS are reduced by 1d4 each.
6-10Your life and limb are restored, but with weird, lingering effects. You need 14 + 1d20 days of bed rest.Something wicked has taken an interest in you. A small demon or imp (GM’s discretion) becomes your familiar, as the proficiency, but it does not always obey your commands.Your hair is restored… over and over. You must shave twice a day or witness an inch of growth by sunset. Untrimmed hair growth hinders performance in combat, giving you a -1 to attacks.Your restored body has bottomless hungers. If you casually smoke or consume alcohol, you are fully addicted. You suffer a cumulative -1 penalty to all Saving Throws after each hour you don’t consume something.You did not return altogether human. You gain a body part from a creature on the Reincarnation table for your Alignment. -4 to reaction rolls with normal humans.You have been permanently connected to the spiritual plane and glow like a candle to the unliving. All undead can sense your presence within 60′.Your soul is marked and all extraplanar beings wish you dead, targeting you over your allies. Every week, there is a 1 in 6 chance an invisible stalker will be sent to destroy you.
11-15The restoration of life and limb was intense, and you remember little of the ordeal. You need 2 weeks of bed rest.No side effects.Your brush with death has shattered your former confidence. Take a -10% penalty to XP until your next level.Horses are frightened by the magic that courses through you. You can only ride magical or polymorphed beasts or exotic mounts such as large cats or elephants.Whispers from beyond plague you. It is difficult for you to ignore them and you suffer -2 to hear noise throws and -2 to surprise rolls.You are disturbed by what you experienced and cannot stop muttering nonsense to yourself, making it impossible to move silently. Spellcasting initiative rolls are at -1.It feels like another being sometimes controls your right arm. When you roll a natural 1 on an attack throw, you hit an adjacent ally instead of an enemy.
16-20You open your eyes to a body made whole. You need 2 weeks of bed rest.You feel blessed by your god. You recover 1d6 days quicker than you normally would. All negative side effects are removed.No side effects.Your brush with death has shattered your former confidence. Take a -10% penalty to XP until your next level.You have taken on a slightly strange and inhuman cast (e.g. cat-like eyes, clawed nails). -2 to reaction rolls with normal humans.Sleep? Time enough to sleep in the grave. Each time you attempt to rest, roll 1d6. On a 1, you toss and turn all night, can’t recover spells, and regain no hit points.Your body is healthy, but… different. You are now a member of the opposite sex. -2 reaction rolls with characters who knew your prior gender, unless your CHA is 13+.
21-25The touch of your friends restores your health. You need 1 week of bed rest.Your brush with death has gifted you with the ability to Speak with Dead once per week. All negative side effects are removed.You feel blessed by your god. You recover 1d6 days quicker than you normally would. All negative side effects are removed.No side effects.Your brush with death has shattered your former confidence. Take a -10% penalty to XP until your next level.Your renewed body needs energy that plants and mushrooms cannot provide. All rations must contain meat.Your life has come at the cost of the life of your future offspring. You are sterile and cannot have children naturally.
26+The gods bless their favor upon you. You are instantly recovered without need of rest.You gain permanent power. Gain +2 in your class’s prime requisite statistic. All negative side effects are removed.The sublime power grants you a vision which you believe is of terrible import. The GM will give you a (true?) prophecy.You are filled with divine energy. For one day, you gain the benefits of a Heroism potion. All negative side effects are removed.No side effects.Your brush with death has shattered your former confidence. Take a -10% penalty to XP until your next level.Meat is too much like murder. You may only eat plants, mushrooms and herbs. The taste of flesh makes you vomit.


  • State of soul: add WIS modifier of character, -1 for each day since character’s death, -1 for each side effect already suffered
  • State of body: -10 if character was instantly killed, -5 if spine severed, -2 per limb destroyed, -1 per hand/foot/ear/eye/tongue destroyed Spellcaster: Add one-half the level of the spellcaster casting restore life and limb, -2 if not in temple of spellcaster’s god


In the legends and sagas, heroes can chop through weak foes quickly, often slaying two with one blow. Skilled archers might fire as quickly as one arrow every few seconds, fire two arrows at once, or pierce multiple foes with one arrow. The Cleaving rules simulate these feats of glorious mayhem.

Whenever a combatant kills or incapacitates an opponent with a melee or missile attack, he may immediately make another attack throw against another opponent within 5′ of the target he has just dropped. The additional attack throw must be with the same weapon as the attack that killed the previous opponent. If engaged in melee, the attacker may move 5′ between each attack, subject to his maximum combat movement per round. Attackers may not perform special maneuvers or actions other than attacking when cleaving.

Monsters, fighters, and other characters that use the fighter attack throw progression may make a maximum number of cleave attacks per round equal to their Hit Dice. Clerics, thieves, and other characters that use the cleric/thief attack throw progression may make a maximum number of cleave attacks per round equal to half their Hit Dice (rounded down). Mages and characters that use the mage attack throw progression may not make cleave attacks.

When making cleave attacks with missile weapons, combatants are limited to a maximum of 2 with arbalest or crossbow, 3 with longbow, and 4 with composite bow, shortbow, sling, or thrown darts, daggers, or javelins.

Saving Throws

All combatants can make saving throws to avoid the full effects of spells or certain attacks. Characters and monsters will have a number for each saving throw category, and when affected by a type of spell or attack which requires a saving throw, the player or Judge will roll 1d20. A result that is greater than or equal to the value listed for the saving throw category is a success. However, the roll is failed if the result is less than the listed number. Some successful saving throw rolls will completely negate any effect, while others will result in only half damage rather than full damage. There are times when an attack, like a poisonous bite, can do damage from both the bite itself and from poison separately.

Saving Throw Categories

There are five categories of saving throws. The appropriate saving throw to use and the effects of a success or failure will be indicated in the description of the spell, monster attack, or dungeon scenario. When there is a doubt as to which category to use, start at the left column and move to the right, and use the first which matches the particular effect.

Petrification & Paralysis covers those effects in which the victim will be rendered immobile, such as being turned to stone, paralyzed by a ghoul, or being subjected to a Hold Person spell.

Poison & Death includes those effects where hit points are rendered irrelevant and the result is instant death or total incapacitation, including unconsciousness, total blindness, or panicked fear.

Blast & Breath is used for damaging effects targeting an area, such as a ball of fire, a lightning bolt, a dragon’s breath weapon, a collapsing ceiling, an avalanche, and so on, excluding effects covered by one of the earlier categories.

Staffs & Wands is used for any magical effects from items such as rings, rods, staffs, and wands not covered by one of the earlier categories.

Spells covers any magical effect from a cast spell not covered by one of the earlier categories.

Fighter Saving Throws

LevelPetrification & ParalysisPoison & DeathBlast & BreathStaffs & WandsSpells

*Includes all 0th level humans.

Cleric Saving Throws

LevelPetrification & ParalysisPoison & DeathBlast & BreathStaffs & WandsSpells

Mage Saving Throws

LevelPetrification & ParalysisPoison & DeathBlast & BreathStaffs & WandsSpells

Thief Saving Throws

LevelPetrification & ParalysisPoison & DeathBlast & BreathStaffs & WandsSpells

Special Maneuvers

Not every action in combat will be a sword swing, arrow shot, or fireball. The rules below explain how to handle everything from a punch with a platemail gauntlet to a giant tossing a dwarf. Except where otherwise noted, monsters with an attack routine (such as claw/claw/bite or multiple tentacles) can use any or all attacks from their attack routine to perform special maneuvers. Example: A giant octopus with eight tentacles might force back an opponent with one tentacle, wrestle an opponent with another tentacle, and attack normally with the remaining 6 tentacles.


Sometimes a combatant will attack without a weapon, striking with a fist or foot. This is called brawling. Normal characters do 1d3 points of nonlethal damage with a punch, 1d4 with a kick; kicks are rolled at a -2 penalty on the attack throw. Standard Strength adjustments apply. (See the Nonlethal Damage section, above, for details on nonlethal damage.) All character classes may engage in brawling; there is no “weapon” restriction in this case.

However, a character in light or no armor cannot successfully punch or kick a character in metal armor – if this is attempted, the damage is applied to the attacker instead of the defender. The Judge must decide which monsters can be successfully brawled with based on their AC and physical make-up. Monsters do not themselves brawl, as they have natural attacks that are as good as weapons.


A combatant may try to disarm his opponent in lieu of making a melee attack. To disarm an opponent, the combatant must succeed on a melee attack throw with a -4 penalty. The opponent must then make a successful saving throw versus Paralysis to hold onto his weapon. If he fails, the weapon is knocked 5′ away.

Force Back

Sometimes a combatant will want to force an opponent back into an obstacle, through a doorway, or off a cliff, instead of making a melee attack. To force back an opponent, the combatant must succeed on a melee attack throw with a -4 penalty. The opponent must then make a saving throw versus Paralysis.

If the combatant is significantly larger than the opponent (an ogre or horse forcing back a man, for instance) the opponent suffers a -4 penalty on his saving throw. If the opponent succeeds, he stands his ground. If the opponent fails, he is forced back a number of feet equal to a normal damage roll by the combatant. If this would push the opponent into a wall or obstacle, the opponent is knocked down, taking 1d6 points of damage per 10′ he has traveled.

If the opponent is pushed into another character or monster, he is knocked down if the character or monster he is pushed into is as large or larger than him. If the character or monster he is pushed into is smaller, the character/monster is instead knocked down, and the opponent continues to be forced back.


Combatants can attempt to knock out rather than kill their opponents by attacking with the “flat of the blade”, pulling their blows, and so on. To make an incapacitating attack with a weapon, the combatant must succeed on a melee attack throw with a -4 penalty. If successful, the attack deals nonlethal damage. Brawling attacks (see above) are always nonlethal damage.

Knock Down

A combatant may try to trip, sweep, or otherwise knock his opponent down in lieu of making a melee attack. To knock down an opponent, the combatant must succeed on a melee attack throw with a -4 penalty. The opponent must then make a successful saving throw versus Paralysis to stay on his feet. If the opponent fails, he immediately falls prone. Attack throws against prone combatants gain a +2 bonus, and thieves may backstab prone opponents. A prone combatant may get up on his round instead of moving, or crawl at a speed of 5′ per round. If he attacks while prone, he suffers a -4 penalty on his attack throw.


If a combatant wants to move through an opponent without stopping to fight him, this is an overrun. To overrun an opponent, the combatant must succeed on a melee attack throw with a -4 penalty. The opponent must then make a saving throw versus Paralysis. If the combatant is significantly larger than the opponent (an ogre or horse overrunning a man, for instance) the opponent suffers a -4 penalty on his saving throw. If successful, the opponent can choose to block the combatant, but the combatant may deal damage against the opponent as if he had struck him in melee. If the opponent fails on his saving throw, or chooses not to block the combatant, the combatant may move through the opponent and continue up to his combat movement. A successful overrun does not count as a combatant’s attack for the round, and a combatant may make multiple overruns. For instance, a combatant could overrun 2 goblins and then attack the witch-doctor they were guarding.


In lieu of a melee attack, a combatant may try to break his opponent’s weapon or shield with a forceful blow. To sunder a weapon or shield, a combatant must succeed on a melee attack throw. There is a -4 penalty on the attack throw to sunder staffs, spears, and polearms, and a -6 penalty on the attack throw to sunder any other weapons or shields. If the attack throw succeeds, the opponent must then make a successful saving throw versus Paralysis. Subtract any magic bonus from the sundering weapon from the save, and add any magic bonus from the targeted weapon or shield. Daggers, swords, and shields gain a +4 bonus on the save, while staffs, spears and pole arms suffer a -4 penalty. If the saving throw is successful, the opponent’s weapon or shield is unharmed. If the saving throw is unsuccessful, the opponent’s weapon or shield is broken. Regardless of the attack and saving throw result, magic weapons and shields can only be sundered by weapons with a magic bonus equal to or greater than their own.


Instead of making a melee attack, a combatant may attempt to wrestle with his opponent. To wrestle an opponent, a combatant must succeed on a melee attack throw with a -4 penalty. The opponent must then make a saving throw versus Paralysis. If the combatant is significantly larger than the opponent (an ogre wrestling a man, for instance) the opponent suffers a -4 penalty on his saving throw. If the opponent succeeds on his saving throw, he has shrugged off the combatant. If he fails, he has been grabbed in a wrestling hold. A combatant who has grabbed an opponent may perform a brawl, force back, disarm, or knock down action each round without having to make an attack throw so long as the hold continues (the opponent still receives a saving throw). A knock down or force back will end the hold, unless the wrestling combatant chooses to move with his held opponent. Other combatants are at +4 on attack throws against the held opponent, and thieves may backstab him. The held opponent may make another saving throw versus Paralysis each round to attempt to escape the hold.

Special Maneuvers Between Opponents of Vastly Different Size or Unusual Shape

Sometimes, combatants may attempt to perform Special Maneuvers against opponents that are much larger than them (such as wrestling a hill giant), or that benefit from an unusual shape (such as knocking down a giant snake or a centaur). In these cases, the Judge can give the opponent a +4 or more bonus on its saving throw, or simply rule that the attempt automatically fails. Conversely, when exceptionally large combatants perform Special Maneuvers against opponents much smaller than them, the Judge may rule that the saving throw penalty is -6, -8, or greater.

Morale Rolls

Player characters always have a choice whether they will fight, surrender, or run away in an encounter. The Judge decides whether monsters surrender or run away. Monsters have a listing for morale, which represents how likely they are to fight or flee when in an encounter. Morale is rated from -6 to +4. A score of -6 indicates that the monster never fights (unless absolutely cornered), while a score of +4 indicates the monster will fight until killed, with no morale roll necessary in either case.

The Judge usually makes morale rolls under two conditions: when one side of an encounter has lost a member due to death, or when half the group on one side is either killed or otherwise incapacitated. If both results occur in the same round, one morale roll is made at a -2 penalty. Solo monsters roll morale when they lose half their hit points. To make a morale roll, the Judge rolls 2d6, adding the morale rating of the monsters, along with any other adjustments he feels are reasonable, and consults the Monster Morale table.

Monster Morale

Adjusted Die RollResult
3-5Fighting Withdrawal
6-8Fight On
9-11Advance and Pursue
12+Victory or Death

Retreat means that the monsters will make a full retreat (as explained under Defensive Movement) on their next action. Fighting Withdrawal means the monsters will make a fighting withdrawal (as per Defensive Movement) on their next action. The monsters will continue to retreat/withdraw until they are no longer pursued by any enemies, or until a minimum of 1d10 rounds have elapsed. If there is no possibility of escape, the monsters will attempt to surrender, fighting only as a last resort. A result of Fight On means that the monsters will continue the battle without retreating, but they will not pursue if their opponents flee. Advance and Pursue means the monsters will continue the battle without retreating, going on the offensive where possible, and pursuing should the characters retreat. On a Victory or Death result, the monsters will fight on without retreating or needing to roll morale for the remainder of the battle. They will pursue any retreating opponents, and fight with ferocity and grim determination.

The Judge may decide to apply bonuses or penalties to morale, with a range of -2 to +2, depending on the circumstances. These adjustments are never applied to monsters with morale of -6 or +4, because they are at the extremes.

When a character makes an attempt to surrender to monster, it is up to the Judge to decide whether the opponent even listens, and under what terms the monster will accept surrender. Characters decide how to react if their opponent makes an attempt to surrender. Usually, monsters will only try to surrender if they have no way to escape the encounter.

Mounted Combat

While combatants will rarely be mounted in dungeons, they will often be mounted during wilderness encounters. The following rules apply during mounted combat.

Mounted Initiative and Movement

The rider and his mount move on the rider’s initiative number. When the initiative number comes up, they may move up to the mount’s combat movement distance. After combat movement, either the mount or the rider (but not both) may attack an opponent in range. Alternatively, the mount may move at its running movement rate (e.g. triple its normal combat movement rate), but neither the rider nor mount may then attack (except in a charge, described below).

After any attacks are resolved, the rider and mount may not move again until the next round. If they are engaged they must abide by the rules under Defensive Movement. Riders wishing to cast spells must keep their mount stationary. In lieu of moving or attacking, the rider may dismount.

Mounted Attacks

If the rider and mount remain stationary, both may attack. Otherwise either the mount or the rider may attack when their movement is completed. In order to attack while mounted, a rider must have the appropriate Riding proficiency for his mount.

Under some circumstances, a warhorse (or similar creature, e.g. dire wolf) and its rider may both make a charge attack after a running move. To qualify for a charge, the rider and mount must be unengaged and have a reasonably clear, straight path to an opponent at least 20′ away. The charge gives both the rider and the mount a +2 bonus on their attack throws, but both take a -2 penalty to Armor Class until the next time their initiative number comes up. Charges with spears, lances, pole arms, and the natural attacks of certain monsters deal double damage on a successful charge.

Example: Marcus is armed with a lance and mounted on a medium warhorse (60′ combat movement). His opponent, an ogre, is 90′ away across flat, even ground. Marcus and his warhorse make a running move to engage the ogre. This qualifies as a charge (because the ogre was more than 20′ away and they had a clear, straight path) so both Marcus and his mount get to attack. Marcus will attack with his lance and inflict double damage if he hits. His warhorse will strike with its two hooves. Both Marcus and his warhorse get +2 to their attack throws, but suffer a -2 penalty to AC this round.

When a rider conducts a force back or overrun special maneuver, the Judge should use the mount’s size to evaluate whether the opponent receives a saving throw penalty because of size difference.

Mounts and Damage

A character in combat without a military saddle must save versus Paralysis every time he or his mount is dealt damage or be knocked off the mount. If a mount is reduced to half its hit points, it must make a morale roll or flee the battle. A character with Riding proficiency may attempt to calm his fleeing mount. This allows the mount to make a new morale roll each round.

If either the character or mount is reduced to 0 hit points, the character falls off the mount and takes 1d6 points of damage. Characters falling off of aerial mounts take 1d6 per 10′ fallen.

Sea Combat

A few special provisions apply during combat at sea.

Ship Initiative

Ships move on their captain’s initiative roll. Ship-mounted weapons, and crew on board the ship, act on their own initiative.

Structural Hit Points

During sea combat, attack throws and damage may be directed at sea vessels in addition to characters and monsters. A sea vessel’s ability to remain afloat despite damage is determined by its structural hit points (shp), which are similar to hit points (hp) belonging to characters and monsters. When a ship reaches 0 or less shp, it will sink in 1d10 rounds.

Damage to a vessel also reduces its movement rate. A vessel’s movement rate is reduced by a percentage equal to the percentage of its shp lost, rounded to the nearest 10%. For example, if a ship loses 20% of its shp, its movement rate will also be reduced by 20%. Movement is also affected in a similar manner when the number of rowers is reduced, such as when rowers are used to repair damage. For example, if 10% of a ship’s rowers are being used to repair vessel damage, the ship’s movement rate will also be reduced by 10%. If a ship is reduced to 0 or less shp, it may no longer move under its own power or attack with any ship-mounted weaponry, although its crew may still attack with personal weapons.

Structural hit points cannot be “healed,” but they can be repaired. It takes 5 crewmembers 1 turn to repair 1 shp. This task requires full attention, so any crew involved in repair cannot take any other action during a turn spent repairing a vessel. Only half of all damage sustained to a ship can be repaired at sea by the crew. The remaining damage can only be repaired by facilities at dock.

Unless otherwise noted, giant sea monsters and magical attacks will do 1 structural hit point of damage for every 5 points of damage their attack normally does. This is important to note, because some monster or spell descriptions list shp damage when directed at vessels.

Ship-to-Ship Combat

Combat between ships (or ships and sea monsters) is fought in combat rounds following the standard rules. However, ship-to-ship combat often involves ballista, catapults, rams, and boarding actions, all of which are detailed below.


Rate of fire:1/5 rounds with 4 crew; 1/8 rounds with 3 crew; 1/10 rounds with 2 crew
Range:0-200 yards
Attacks as:As the lowest level member of the crew
Damage:3d6 shp or 3d6 hp

Ballistae can be operated by a variable number of crew, which will affect rate of fire and attack throws as indicated above. Ballistae fire solid missiles that deal 3d6 shp of damage. If ballistae are used against characters or monsters, they do 3d6 hp of damage to all creatures in a 5′ line.


Rate of fire:1/5 rounds with 4 crew; 1/8 rounds with 3 crew; 1/10 rounds with 2 crew
Range:150-300 yards (light) /200-400 yards (heavy)
Attacks as:As the lowest level member of the crew
Damage:boulder 3d6/4d6 shp or 3d6/4d6 hp; combustible pitch 1d6/2d6 shp fire per turn or 1d6/2d6 hp fire per round

Catapults can be operated by a variable number of crew, which will affect rate of fire and attack throws as indicated above. When firing boulders, light catapults deal 3d6 shp of damage while heavy catapults deal 4d6 shp of damage. When firing combustible pitch, light catapults deal 1d6 shp of fire damage per turn while heavy catapults deal 2d6 shp of fire damage per turn. It takes a minimum of 5 crewmembers 3 turns to extinguish flames caused by a shot of pitch. For every five additional crewmembers, this time can be reduced by 1 turn to a minimum of 1 turn.

When catapults firing boulders are used against characters or monsters, light catapults deal 3d6 hp of damage in a 5′ radius area while heavy catapults deal 4d6 hp of damage in a 10′ radius. Catapults firing combustible pitch deal 1d6 (light) or 2d6 (heavy) hp of fire damage to creatures each round they remain in a 5′ area (light) or 10′ area (heavy). A catapult cannot be used to attack a ship, or characters on a ship, that is closer than the minimum range indicated.


Attacks as:Monster of under 1 HD
Damage:small vessel (1d4+4) x10 shp or 3d8 hp; large vessel (1d6+5) x10 shp or 6d6 hp

In order to ram a monster or enemy vessel, the ramming vessel must reduce the range to 0′ and then make a successful attack throw against the target’s AC. The different damages listed for a ram apply as follows. The first shp value listed applies to small vessels ramming another vessel, while the first hp value listed applies to small ships ramming large aquatic monsters. Similarly, the second damage values apply to rams on larger ships to other ships or large aquatic monsters, respectively.

Boarding Actions

Attacks as:See below

In order to board an enemy vessel, the boarding vessel must reduce the range to 0′. If the occupants of both side-by-side vessels wish to board one another, their mutual intent makes the action succeed with no chance of failure. If only one side wishes to board the other, then the side that wishes to board must throw 13+ on 1d20 to successfully maneuver the two ships to a boarding position and clamp them together with grappling hooks. Grappling may be attempted each round the ships are adjacent. The Judge can apply a bonus or penalty to the die roll based on the experience and skill of the opposing ship’s captains. Once crewmembers come into contact with one another, combat ensues following the standard combat rules. On the round that characters are in the act of boarding another ship, they suffer a penalty of -2 to attack throws and Armor Class. Boarding actions continue until the crew of one ship or the other is killed or surrenders.

Swimming and Drowning

Any combatant without a swimming movement rate (described in Chapter 8 under Monster Characteristics) must make a swimming throw each round he is in water too deep for him to stand. The target value for the swimming throw is equal to the combatant’s encumbrance in stone. If the water is cold, rough, or fast-moving, the Judge may impose a penalty on the swimming throw of -2, -4, or more.

A successful swimming throw allows the combatant to move and act during the round. Swimming movement may be based on either the combatant’s combat or running movement rate, in either case being 1/4 the normal rate. A swimming combatant using combat movement may attack after his movement. A swimming combatant using running movement may not attack, and is subject to exhaustion as per the running rules.

A failed swimming throw means the combatant begins drowning. A spellcaster that begins drowning loses any spell he was attempting to cast that round. Drowning combatants cannot take any actions and no longer make swimming throws. They sink 10′ per round per stone of encumbrance, and will die after 10 rounds unless rescued.

Earning Experience from Adventures

Adventures are dangerous, but the rewards are great. All characters that make it through an adventure alive receive experience points (XP). Experience points are gained from two sources while on adventures: treasure and monsters.

Experience from Treasure

Characters gain XP from treasure they recover from the dungeon or wilderness and bring back to civilization. For purposes of earning XP, “civilization” is the nearest friendly town or stronghold. Sometimes figuring out how to get a dragon’s hoard back to town can be an adventure in itself.

The characters receive 1 XP per 1 gold piece (gp) value of coin, gems, jewelry, and special treasure (e.g., art, furs, silks) recovered on adventures. If the characters recover equipment on adventures, they must immediately sell the equipment for coin to get XP. If they keep the equipment for later use, they receive no XP from it. If the party recovers magic items on an adventure, and sells them without using them, they receive 1 XP per 1gp earned in the sale. If the characters use the magic items, they do not get any XP, even if they later sell them. (This is to prevent characters from using magic items to help them adventure, then selling the magic items for XP later, essentially benefiting twice from the same item.)

Characters do not earn treasure XP from wages earned or business transactions – this is not treasure recovered from an adventure. Characters also do not earn treasure XP from recovering monster parts on adventures – this is experience from monsters.

Experience from Monsters

All defeated monsters (either outsmarted, captured, or killed), grant XP based on how powerful they are. Monsters begin with a base XP determined by Hit Dice (HD), and receive a bonus for each special ability they have (fire breath, spell-like abilities, etc.). Refer to the Monster Experience Points table below. To determine the number of special abilities a monster has, count the number of asterisks next to its Hit Dice in its Monster Listing in Chapter 8.

To calculate a monster’s XP, begin with the base XP value for its Hit Dice. Add the value for the XP bonus per ability, multiplied by the number of special abilities the monster has. A lamia is a HD 9 with 3 special abilities, so her bonus XP is (3 x 700 = 2,100). A group of adventurers receives 3,100 XP (1,000 + 2,100) for each lamia they defeat.

Monster Experience Points

Monster HDBase XPBonus XP/Ability
Less than 151

*For monsters of HD 22 and higher, add a cumulative 250 XP for the Base and Bonus categories.

Allocating XP

The totals for each monster defeated are calculated and added to the value of all XP from treasure, and the sum for all XP is divided among all surviving party members and henchmen evenly, with henchmen receiving a 1/2 share each. For example, if the group kills a 5 HD monster worth 200 XP, and finds a gold statue worth 500gp and a gem worth 250gp, these are added up to 950 XP, and divided evenly between the characters.

XP is divided only among characters alive when the party returns to civilization, even if other characters were alive when the monsters were slain or the treasure was first found. Characters that are slain on an adventure, but are raised from the dead while still in the dungeon or wilderness, and are alive to return to civilization, do get XP.

Adjustments to XP

Characters receive XP bonuses or penalties based on their score in their class prime requisites, as detailed in Chapter 2, Characters. All bonuses or penalties are applied to the grand total XP a particular character receives at the end of an adventure. For example, if Balbus the Blessed receives 1,200 XP at the end of an adventure, and he has a prime requisite that grants him +10% to experience, then the total XP after this bonus that Balbus receives is 1,320 XP ((1,200 x .10) + 1,200 = 1,320).

Character Advancement

When a character has accumulated enough XP to go up in level, the player should do the following:

  1. Note down the character’s new level and title and the number of XP needed to advance to the next level.
  2. Roll for additional hit points using the appropriate Hit Die, adding his character’s Constitution bonus or penalty. Hit points always increase by at least one point, regardless of the character’s Constitution.
  3. Check to see if the character has improved or gained any class abilities and write them down on the character sheet.
  4. Choose any new proficiencies from the Proficiencies chapter and any new spells from the Spells chapter that the character may be eligible for.
  5. Update the character’s attack throws and saving throws.

Characters can never earn enough experience to advance 2 levels or more in one adventure. For example, if Arial is a 1st level elven spellsword with 0 XP, she should receive no more than 7,999 XP in one adventure (a huge sum!), which is 1 XP short of reaching 3rd level.

Character Death

Not every character who becomes an adventurer will advance to maximum level. The fate of many characters is to die along the way. Dead characters can sometimes be brought back to life for another adventure, but even with powerful magic available, some characters will be permanently slain.

When this occurs, the player may begin to play a henchman of his deceased character, bring a back-up character into play (if any are available), or roll up a new character. With the Judge’s permission, the new character can be the heir of the prior character. The Judge might allow players to create a will for their characters, to leave treasure behind for an heir. If this is done, the treasure must be stored with a reputable bank, which will charge a total of 10% of the treasure for their services. A player might try to leave money to an heir through less safe means, such as burying it and leaving a map behind, but this is more risky.

Unless the player begins playing an existing henchman, a character’s heir is assumed to be a new 1st level character, and a player is only allowed to leave a character inheritance one time. A player can allow his heir to begin at a higher level by establishing a reserve fund of experience points that will be available to the player should his original character be permanently killed and he needs to roll up an heir. The number of experience points in the reserve is equal to 90% of the gold piece value of money allocated to the reserve.

Money is allocated to the reserve by spending it to no other tangible game benefit whatsoever. This could include anonymous tithes to churches; reckless spending on wine, women, and song; elaborate funeral pyres for deceased henchmen; and so on.

Example: Amargein, a 5th level fighter, returns from a successful adventure laden with gold. In a reckless orgy, he spends 3,400gp carousing through a large port city. As this is money spent to no real in-game benefit, Amargein’s player notes that he has set aside a reserve XP fund of 3,060xp (90% of the amount spent carousing). On his next adventure, Amargein is tragically slain. When Amargein’s player rolls up a new character, he will begin with 3,060xp, which is used to advance his character before play begins.

0th Level Characters and Experience from Adventuring

A 0th level character who participates in an adventure will earn experience points. When a 0th level character earns 100 XP from adventuring, he advances to become a 1st level fighter. The character gains the fighter class proficiency, powers, attack throws, and saving throws. The character re-rolls his hit points using his new class’s Hit Die (1d8), keeping either his new hp total or his prior hp total if it was higher. The new 1st level character retains any general proficiencies he already knew. When he advances to 2nd, 3rd, and 4th level, he must remove one of these pre-existing general proficiencies, representing the erosion of his old professional skills over time. When he reaches 4th level, he acquires the Adventuring proficiency. Under normal circumstances, 0th level characters do not advance into classes other than fighters from adventuring XP.