WR&M Combat Options

Over the last weeks I got a lot of feedback from gamers all over the world and I had some time to think about how to make WR&M combat better. Here are a few optional/alternative rules you can use to tweak WR&M to fit your style of gaming better.

Alternate armor

In WR&M armor adds to the Defense of a character, making him harder to hit. This is reminiscent of classic fantasy games, speeds up play but is not very realistic. It also can lead to the strange situation that certain characters can’t possibly hit a well-armored opponent. The following options allows GMs to handle armor differently. It is highly recommended to use the precise hit option when using alternate armor.

Option #1: Damage-reducing armor
Instead of increasing Defense the armor now reduces the damage taken. The listed Defense value If the armor worn is the amount of damage that the armor reduces from each attack. Please note that shields still grant their Defense bonus.
Example: a soldier is wearing chain armor which has listed Defense of 5. He is hit by an attack which causes 7 damage. Because of his armor, he only suffers 2 points of damage.

Option #2: Armor with Hitpoints

Instead of increasing Defense armor adds additional hit points that are used before the character is damaged. The listed Defense value of the armor times five is the number of additional HPs granted. When the armor reaches zero hit points it is considered destroyed and must be replaced or repaired. Hitpoints granted by armor do of course not heal naturally.
Example: a soldier wearing chain mail armor (25 hp) gets struck by an axe which causes 3 damage. This damage is subtracted from the armor’s HPs. The armor is now down to 22 hit points.

Precise Hit

In WR&M the precision of an attack does not add to the damage caused. Especially when using one of the armor options, this can lead to absurd situations, where armor can’t be overcome by the characters or their adversaries. This is where the "precise hit" option comes in. When using that option, the damage caused by an attack is increased by the margin of success of the attack roll. This additional damage is capped at the maximum damage the weapon can normally cause. The maximum damage for a weapon with 1d6 damage is 6 for example.
Example: A soldier using a sword attacks an opponent with a Defense of 6. His attack roll is a 9. So the margin of success is 3. He then rolls for damage. With a damage roll of 4 plus the 3 additional damage, he causes 7 damage to his opponent.


Parrying and Dodging

Characters wielding any melee weapon can try to parry attacks. In order to be able to parry they also have to be aware of the attack. Parrying always consumes the defending players’ combat action. If you already acted this turn, you can choose to forfeit your next action instead. This does not apply to characters with Dual-wield. They can use their off-hand weapon to parry freely.

To parry successfully the result on a Warrior check has to be equal or higher than what the attacking player rolled. The GM may add modifiers to that roll when parrying against a much stronger foe. There should also be penalties when you try to parry a swing by a two-handed sword with your dagger. Players can add in their weapon skill bonus when trying to parry. It’s usually not possible to parry ranged attacks.

Dodging works similar to parrying. You have to forfeit one combat action and your check result has to be higher than your opponent’s attack roll result. But in the case of dodging Rogue is used and players can add +2 if they have the Acrobatics skill. When trying to dodge missile attacks you have to use Mage and Awareness instead. Especially in the case of dodging fast-travelling projectiles like crossbow bolts or bullets, GM discretion is advised.

Additional Talents

  • “Look Out, Sir!”
    This talent allows you to protect one of your allies from, by jumping into the way of the attack and taking the damage instead of them. This talent is most effective when used with the alternate armor rules. In order to do so, you make a Dodge check against the attackers attack. When successful you take the damage instead of your ally. Armor applies as normal.
    With GM’s discretion this can also be used by your henchman, if you also have the henchman talent. He then can use this talent to protect his patron.
  • Missile parry
    Your great skill in your weapon of choice allows you to parry even missile attacks. You have to pick one weapon of choice which you must be skilled in. You can then use this weapon to try to parry ranged attacks directed at you. Parrying missile attacks always costs you one combat action, even if you have the Dual-wield talent.
  • Nimble fighter
    This talent allows you to dodge without forfeiting a combat action.

I hope you like the additional options for WR&M. There will be more of those coming in the next weeks. Stay tuned!

About Stargazer

Michael Wolf is a 34-year old IT and video technician working for a German university. He's also a big fan of pen & paper roleplaying games, computer games of all kinds, a passionate blogger and aspiring game designer.
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  1. I may have to incorporate a few of these rules into PH&T… Hmm….

  2. Feel free to do so. Especially the armor rules should work well in a modern enviroment.

  3. Great optional rules Michael. I believe I prefer armor option #1.

    With the Precise Hit option, does it apply to every single combat situation, or does a character have to announce they are using that option for a specific attack?

    Dodge, Parry and the new Talents all look god as well.

    I’m looking forward to future options for WR&M.

  4. If you use the precise hit option it applies to all attacks.

  5. Any chance we might see these in an official capacity, say in a supplement?


  6. What about, based on reading the review/house rules you linked to else where, instead of losing an action you just go with a cumulative -1 for each parry/dodge between your last action and your next action that you take?

    Example: You are engaged with three zombies and just finished your attack. A zombie lunges at your neck to grab you so it can eat your juicy brains. Parry! (resolve). The next zombie tries to knock you prone with its hammer. Parry! (resolve -1 for previous Parry). The third pops off a round from a crossbow. Dodge! (resolve w/ -2 due to previous 2 Parries). You attack, now at a -3 for cumulative actions of; Parry, Parry, Dodge.

    Just trying to help out with some brainstorming, though it (the rules) seem rather good as they are. Probably should hold off until I have actually played a session or three, but I can’t help myself!

    Best and happy gaming,

  7. Very cool. Thanks!

  8. @The Bane: I plan to release an official supplement some time in the future.

    @risusrules: I like your variant. If you don’t mind I could include it in the aforementioned future supplement.

  9. Oh, erm… The Bane is risusrules. Sorry for the confusion. I had logged on elsewhere, I think on the Forum, then came back here… yatta yatta. But ya, use any of my ramblings as you may. Look forward to any future supplements. I will keep my eyes open for them.


  10. Hi! I love the “Warrior, Rogue & Mage” book; it’s wonderfully designed and contains a simple system which seems a lot of fun, invokes nostalgia, and gives just enough to get the imagination going without bogging one in details. I registered here, though, because of my concerns about Defense values too easily getting high enough to be very improbably to defeat without the dice “exploding.”

    It’s nice to see that there are already alternate rules as a result of this problem, and of course one can always leave things to a GM to decide how to handle things, but it strikes me that even the alternate rules don’t do much to resolve the problem. The “Armor with Hitpoints” rule could be interesting, depending on the cost of repair, but the “Damage-reducing armor” rule doesn’t accomplish much on its own or in combination with the “Precise Hit” rule.

    A character with a 6 in Warrior or Rogue can add 2 from a relevant skill to get a range of of 9-14 (excluding explosions) on their attack, and the “Damage-reducing armor” rule reduces the maximum starting Defense value to 12 from 19 (10 combined Warrior and Rogue attributes for 9 base Defense and +3 for a Tower Shield, with either 7 Defense or 7 Damage Reduction for Heavy Plate Armor), so at least a maximized character has a 50% chance to hit, which is reasonable enough against an opponent maximized for defense. The only weapons that could actually deal damage to a defense-maximized character, though, are the Crossbow, Dragon Pistol, Dragon Rifle, Halberd, Longbow, and Two-handed weapons (again excluding “explosions”). This means most weapons in the game would still be virtually incapable of dealing damage to such a character, and even the best of them (the Dragon Pistol) would deal about 1 damage on average after the damage reduction.

    I’d consider implementing a few possible solutions: (a) increasing the expense of armor and/or shield items to ensure that a starting character can’t possibly afford both a Tower Shield and Plate Armor (Heavy or Light) to help prevent nigh-invulnerable starting characters (especially when one considers the Tough As Nails Talent), perhaps putting the top four (Lamellar, Chain, Light and Heavy plate) in line with Magic implement prices; (b) ruling that damage reduction works on a per-round basis, such that a suit of armor can reduce up to its armor value in damage each round, resetting to its base value at the start of the character’s turn (i.e., a first attack with the Dragon Pistol deals exactly 7 damage, reducing all the damage-reduction of Heavy Plate Armor in one shot but not reducing hit points; the next player’s attack with a sword deals 4 damage which can’t be reduced and goes straight to the defender’s hit points; once the defender’s turn starts, the damage reduction resets to 7 and needs another good Pistol shot to be worn away again); or (c) simply ruling that all successful attacks deal at least 1 damage regardless of reduction.

    Just some general thoughts on more optional rules to balance the Attack:Defense discrepancy. On the other hand, attack spells become much more valuable against highly armored characters, since spells ignore a character’s Defense value entirely. Overall it’s a wonderful little game!

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