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OD&D/AD&D Flexible Combat

by Scott Ludwig

Just started thinking about this today and wanted to get some feedback--before I possibly go too far down a blind alley

I'm hoping to create a combat system that is relatively simple and retains the flavour of traditional D&D, yet still manages to add a bit of excitement, variety, and derring-do to the whole affair.

Combat Pool: 10 + Combat Bonus from level(ex. Fighter +1/lvl(AD&D), +2/3lvls(OD&D))

Base AC: Armour Points + Dex Mod

Base Attack:

Each round the points in the Combat Pool are secretly assigned to Attack and/or Defence(AC), after targets are declared. This is probably most easily handled by each character having two dice, one for attack and one for defence, with the number showing on each being the relevant bonus for the round.


Open-ended To Hit/Attack Roll: 1d20 plus Attack Bonus gives AC hit. On a roll of a natural 20 roll again and add to total, repeat until something other than a natural 20 is rolled. A natural 1 always misses.

Extra Damage: For every X points by which the To Hit roll exceeds the AC of the target, make an additional damage roll for the weapon used (strength and magic bonuses do not apply to the additional damage). The X can be set to whatever level is suitable given the desired lethality of your campaign--4 to 6 seems about right.

Beginning HPs: Constitution Score + HD (Con Mod is not included at 1st lvl). Monsters receive a flat +10 to their HPs (unless you want to go to the trouble of giving them constitution scores).

Feint: A character may switch his declared target after Combat Pool points are assigned, but before these selections are revealed. The new attack is made at a -4 penalty. Furthermore, the new target is allowed a REFL saving throw, if he succeeds he may reassign the points from his Combat Pool in any manner he desires.

No Multiple Melee Attacks, Regardless of Level


Thorvald (Hum/Ftr5, S+2, D+2, HP39, 6APs, 15CPs, Sword) is set upon by 3 Orcs (2APs, HP17, 11CPs, Swords) at dusk as he is returning home.

Things look desperate as Thorvald is surrounded, and he declares he will attack Orc1.

The secret CP assignments are as follows...

But Thorvald is nobody's fool, he feints at the first Orc and pivots swiftly, the point of his blade seeking the stomach of one of the Orc's charging companions.

The second Orc fails his save, and is startled by Thorvald's sudden manoeuvre--if he loses initiative he'll be in trouble, being left with a pathetic AC of 2!

The luckless Orc loses initiative and Thorvald generates a 13 total on his attack roll (15+2Str-4Feint), allowing him 2 extra damage rolls for his sword (X being set at 5). The last sight the Orc has is of Thorvald's wicked grin, as his blade slides between his ribs--delivering a massive 19 points of damage ((7+8+2)+2Str).

One down, two to go...

The first Orc is left needing a natural 20 plus a roll of 3 or more--needless to say, he fails miserably.

The third Orc needs a roll of 12 or better to hit--he rolls a 13, striking Thorvald for 5 points of damage. Such a trifling scratch does nothing to diminish Thorvald's grin.

The Orcs' eyes shift nervously as they begin to re-think their tactics...

Note: For large combats you can always simply have everyone involved assign 10CPs to AC, and the rest to Attack--which gives you the "normal" D&D combat system.

Also, having both the Dex and Str Mods apply to the Base Attack for thrown we

The Extra Damage range got me thinking...

The X could vary by weapon type,

I'm working on some weapon tables using the following assumptions...

I'm probably forgetting a few

Anyway, when all is said and done, I'm hoping to distil all of this so the weapons will fit into the following format...

Weapon: Base Damage / Extra Damage / Initiative

So, for example, the entry for a standard sword might look something like this...

Broadsword: d8/5/0

I suppose I should note that this, as well as the new combat system, totally replaces the weapon mastery tables found in OD&D.

Here's a tentative working list of melee weapons...




Note: Spiked versions of crushing weapons do +1 step damage, but bonus damage remains at 6.


Note: On any hit scoring bonus damage, roll vs Str or lose weapon.



If you want to generate the stats for a weapon scaled to a certain creature...

Small: -1 step dmg, 1/2 wt.
Large: +1 step dmg, +50% wt.
Giant: +2 steps dmg, double wt.

So, for example, a Halfling Broadsword would be: d6/5/0(cut), d4/4/+1(thrust), and would weigh half as much as a Human Broadsword.

Note: The weapon with the greatest reach always strikes first in the opening round of combat. (Thus explaining the allure of Rapiers and Longspears

Well, here are some rough rules for missile weapons...

Initiative: -1 per point of the base 10 from the Combat Pool applied to the attack.

Range Penalties: S(-5)/M(-10)/L(-15)

Weapon: base damage/bonus damage/range

LT MELEE: Applies to melee weapons that are intended for throwing: daggers, throwing axes, light hammers, etc.

HVY MELEE: Applies to one-handed melee weapons that are not meant for throwing.

2H MELEE: Applies to two-handed melee weapons.

(Still have to give crossbows some more thought