Wednesday, 17 April 2013

S&W appreciation day: Tactical combat options

Today is Swords&Wizardry appreciation day!

In addition to playing some we are happy to provide you a few additional options for combat.
While one of the beautiful things about S&W and OD&D is that combat is very vague and open to interpretation, sometimes players will want to do something pretty specific.

Any of these options could be used to spice up a combat situation. DM's may elect to use them routinely, sparingly for unique situations or for certain characters as they feel most appropriate. They are intended to be flavourful rather than concerned with exact positioning. The primary intention is to provide more choices in a battle.
For this reason, they are not restricted by character class or level, as these decisions are best left to the DM.

Shield wall
While a full blown shield wall is rarely possible in a dungeon, two characters standing shoulder to shoulder can still benefit each other. Both characters must be using at least a medium sized shield. Only one of the pair may perform an attack, the other character foregoes his action. However, each of the pair receives the protective non-magical bonus of both shields (typically a +2 bonus to armour class).
Magical bonuses only apply to the wielder of the magical shield.

Take the blow
A character may elect to shield a friend with his body. The player should announce this before initiative is rolled. The enemy must attack the shielding character instead of the shielded, however, they receive a +2 bonus to their attack rolls.

Seize initiative
If a natural 20 is rolled, and the blow kills, incapacitates or defeats the target, the character has “seized the initiative”. This earns a +1 bonus to the groups initiative roll next round. This is cumulative, which can come up in larger battles.

Shocking blow
On a natural roll of 20, in addition to dealing normal combat damage, the opponent is shocked, forcing him on the defensive in the following turn. A shocked combatant loses one attack in the following round, though they may elect which attack is lost.

Survey battlefield
Any character may take a turn to survey the battlefield. On the following turn, on any situation that would require attacks to be targeted randomly, the character may select his target.
Note that surveying can also give information about reinforcements arriving and similar

The character must be in arms reach of a combatant that has failed a morale test. By spending their turn, the character may allow the morale test to be retaken. 

These options should be taken as suggestions of what can be done, rather than a definitive check list. As players attempt different maneuvers and tricks, more can be added to the list. Be creative!