Combat, Movement and Fear

Definition of Terms

  • Action – What a character does when it is their Turn during a combat Round.
  • Initiative – A measure of how quickly a given character reacts compared to other participants in a skirmish.
  • Round – A unit of time, 3 to 10 seconds in length, during which all participants in a skirmish have an opportunity to take Actions.
  • Turn – The opportunity for an individual character to take Actions during a combat Round. Under normal circumstances, every participant in a skirmish has one Turn, which takes place on their Initiative.

Sequence of Events

A combat Round unfolds in the following stages:

  • Stage 1: Initiative – During the first Round of a skirmish, all participants make an Initiative Roll, rolling Reflexes and keeping reflexes. The result of this roll, called the Initiative Score, determines the order in which all characters will act. An Initiative Roll is only made on a character’s first Round of participation in the skirmish, and the resulting Initiative Score is used for the remainder of the skirmish. However, in subsequent Rounds, Initiative Scores may potentially change as a result of different character abilities or situational modifiers. During the first Round of combat, characters also select their Stance immediately before they make their Initiative Roll.
  • Stage 2: Turns – The bulk of a combat Round involves each individual participant taking their Turn. When this stage begins, the character with the highest Initiative Score takes their Turn first, and may take any legal Action. A character may choose to delay taking their Turn, and instead allow the character with the next highest Initiative Score to take their Turn. After that, the character who delayed their Turn has the chance to take it or delay again, and so on. Delaying a Turn has no effect on a character’s Initiative Score the following Round, and Turns cannot be “saved” from one Round to the next. If every participant Delays their Turn, then the participant with the lowest initiative score is reached he must take his Turn, then the Round ends. After the first Round of a skirmish, characters may change their Stances at the beginning of their Turn, before taking any Actions. A character only ever has one Turn per Round, regardless of how many Actions he may take during the Round.
  • Stage 3: Reactions – At the end of a Round, when all characters have taken their Turn, there are certain abilities that take effect as a result of the events of the Round. For example, spell effects that have expired end during the Reaction Stage. All such effects happen simultaneously during Stage 3. Reaction effects, typically generated by Techniques, Spells, or Advantages, are always clearly labelled as such.

Attack & Defence

Any attack a character makes against an opponent requires a roll, typically a Skill Roll that includes a Weapon Skill as one of its components. Attacks may be melee or ranged in nature, depending upon the weapon being used. These rolls are made using the rules included for Skill Rolls above, and the result of an attack roll is compared to the opponent’s Armour TN.

All characters have an Armour TN that is calculated by multiplying their Reflexes Trait by 5 and adding their Defence skill to it. Other bonuses include those granted from Stances or from the character wearing Armour, using shields of some kind and having the Parry Emphasis, found under the Defence Skill. If the result of the attack roll meets or exceeds the target’s Armour TN, then the attack was successful and the opponent was struck with the weapon in question. Damage must now be rolled.

Reflex x 5 + Defence Skill + Armour TN + Shield TN + Parry TN = Armour TN

Penalties or bonuses may be applied to attack rolls for a variety of reasons. The most obvious and frequent penalty is for being injured (see the discussion of Wounds immediately following this section). Any ranged attack made against an opponent who is within melee range also suffers a penalty of -10 to the total of the attack roll, due to the awkwardness of firing at someone who is a direct threat.

Additional bonuses and penalties are discussed under Stances and Status Effects, and the GM can apply bonuses or penalties based on specific circumstances (a character trying to attack while balancing on a railing would probably suffer a penalty, for example).


Individual characters have Wound Ranks that measure the amount of damage that they can sustain before it begins to impair their ability to take actions and eventually incapacitates or kills them. The Wounds inflicted by an attack fill up these Wound Ranks in order, with each Rank containing a maximum number of Wounds determined by the character’s Earth Ring.

As soon as a character suffers damage that begins filling in a particular Wound Rank, the character is then considered to be in the state described by that Rank. Once that Rank has been filled, additional damage goes to the next Rank. The ranks are as follows:

This is the default condition of any character who has not suffered damage. Regardless of what Earth Ring multiplier is chosen for a campaign (see sidebar), this Wound Rank should utilize the character’s Earth x5 in order to create a buffer for normal activity.

(Increase the TN of all rolls made by +3 while on the Nicked Rank)
A character who has been nicked has suffered a mild but distracting injury.

(Increase the TN of all rolls made by +5 while on the Grazed Rank)
A grazed character is injured, but still able to function without tremendous difficulty.

Hurt (Bleeding starts)
(Increase the TN of all rolls made by +10 while on the Hurt Rank)
A character who is hurt has begun to suffer noticeably from the effects of his injuries. The character also suffers one Wound every Reaction Stage from blood lose until healed or that he enters the Out Wound Rank. The bleeding can be stopped with a Medicine (Wound Treatment) / Intelligence Skill Roll against a TN of 15, this takes 5 Complex Actions.

(Increase the TN of all rolls made by +15 while on the Injured Rank)
An injured character has difficulty focusing his attention on the task at hand.

Crippled (Unconsciousness Check)
(increase the TN of all rolls made by +20 while on the Crippled Rank)
A crippled character can barely stand, much less move. Any attempt to make a Move action is increased by one level of difficulty (a Free Action becomes Simple, etc.) Once a Character enters the Crippled Rank he must make a Earth Ring Roll against a TN of 10 or fall unconscious

Down (Unconsciousness Check)
(Increase the TN of all rolls made by +40 while on the Down Rank)
A character who is Down is virtually incapacitated. They may speak only in a whisper. Such a character may only potentially take Free Actions unless a particular wound makes such action impossible (and cannot take Move actions), and must spend a Fate Point in order to be able to do so. Once a Character enters the Down Rank he must make a Earth Ring Roll against a TN of 20 or fall unconscious

A character who has been reduced to this level is immobile, unconscious, and likely dying. Once this Rank is filled, any additional damage inflicted to the character kills him instantly. The character can remain on the Out Rank a number of Turns equal to his Earth Ring times four before dying from blood loss.

Hit Locations

Sometimes it is necessary to expand on the damage a character takes, beyond mere Wounds, such as when the Called Shot Maneuver is used to try to disable an opponent.

Random hit location
Occasionally, the GM or player might wish to know just where a given hit landed. To determine a random hit location, roll two dice and refer to the Hit Location Table below to determine the location affected. Attacks from higher ground, on horseback against opponents on foot, or upon significantly smaller opponents add +4 to this roll. Note that this table is intended for humanoid targets, not for animals and other creatures with differing anatomy.

Hit location table

Roll two D10 Location affected Optional: Roll one die for a more specific location
2-4 2-4 Lower leg 1-3: Foot, 7-10: Shin/Calf
5-6 5-6 Upper leg 1-3: Knee, 7-10: Thigh
7-9 7-9 Lower torso 1-2: Left hip, 3-4: Right hip 5: Groin, 6-10: Belly
10-13 10-13 Upper torso 1-4: Ribs, 5-6: Sternum, 7-10: Chest
14-15 14-15 Lower arm 1-2: Hand, 3: Wrist, 4-10: Forearm
16-17 16-17 Upper arm 1-2: Elbow, 3-7: Bicep, 8-10: Shoulder
18 18 Neck
19-20 19-20 Head

Roll two dice location affected optional: roll one die for a more specific location

Some attacks can disable or destroy a body location. A combatant who does a great deal of damage to an arm can remove it in one blow. Consult the Wound Severity Table to find out how badly a hit to a specific location affects the character. Penalties from Disabled and Destroyed locations are not cumulative, even on the same location. If a Disabled location becomes Destroyed, the penalties from the Destroyed description supersede the previous penalties.

Wound severity table

Location Damage to disable Damage to destroy
Leg Earth x 4 Earth x 6
Arm Earth x 3 Earth x 5
Torso Earth x 10 Earth x 15
Head Earth x 5 Earth x 7

Disabled locations

A disabling injury is one that seriously impairs the abilities of the target. Such injuries include, but are not limited to, serious sprains, broken bones, deep wounds, bruising, and internal bleeding. Any time a location is Disabled, roll a die. If the result if greater than your Earth Ring, you gain the Permanent Wound Disadvantage.
Destroyed locations

Destroyed locations are potentially life threatening. Blunt attacks cause maimed or pulped limbs, crushed joints, and death by internal bleeding. Slashing attacks may sever the affected limb, and piercing attacks cause severe organ and nerve damage, as the victim is impaled on the attacker’s weapon.


  • Leg Disabled: Your movement rate is reduced by half (determine after applying modifiers to Water for movement). During any round in which you move, your Armor TN is reduced by 10 until your next turn. If both legs become Disabled, you suffer the penalties detailed below under “Leg Destroyed.”
  • Leg Destroyed: The limb is severed or maimed beyond repair. You cannot walk, and are considered Prone, with an additional –10 to your Armor TN against melee attacks. You can crawl, moving a number of feet per round equal to your Water Ring. The TN for Full Defense rolls is increased by 25. Slashing or piercing attacks cause bleeding equal to 6 minus your Earth Ring each round (minimum 1), until medical attention is received.


  • Arm Disabled: The limb is useless until healed. Attack TNs with that limb are increased by 30 and your Armor TN is reduced by 5.
  • Arm Destroyed: The limb is severed or maimed beyond repair. Attacks with that limb are impossible. Your Armor TN is reduced by 10, plus an additional 10 (for a total of 20) on the flank of the destroyed arm.


  • Disabled: You cannot walk, and are considered Prone, with an additional –10 to your Armor TN. You can crawl, moving a number of feet per round equal to your Water Ring (so a character with Water 3 can crawl 3 feet per round). Slashing or piercing attacks cause bleeding damage equal to 8 minus your Earth Ring each round (minimum 1), until medical attention is received.
  • Destroyed: You are killed; impaled, cut in half, or your vital organs ruptured.


  • Disabled: You are knocked unconscious for a number of minutes equal to 2d10 minus your Earth Ring. You also suffer a special effect on the Head Disabled Table below (this roll is made instead of rolling to determine if you gain a Permanent Wound).
  • Destroyed: You are killed; your head pulped or severed.
Head disabled table
Roll to see the head wounds effect.
1 Attractive scar Free Raise to Deceit (Seduction) rolls
2-3 Disfiguring scar +10 TN to Social Skill rolls to persuade or seduce
4-5 Concussion -1k1 to all physical Trait rolls for one week
6-7 Broken teeth +5 TN to Social Skill rolls involving speaking
8 Ear destroyed +10 TN to hearing-related rolls
9-10 Eye destroyed Gain the Missing Eye Disadvantage

Crippled, not Dead

If a Player Character is about to die from losing all his wounds or take more than half his wounds in one attack. He may instead declare that he wants a limb to be disabled instead.

The Game Master then rolls on the Hit location table and applies the listed effects for that Disabled Limb to the Character.

A player can do this once every combat. Doing it again requires the Player to spend one Fate Point.

Healing Wounds

When a character is wounded, the magnitude of damage is crucial. For game purposes, three classifications of Injuries are recognized – light, moderate, and heavy Injuries – based on what Wound Rank he left the combat with.

A Character ending combat on the Healthy, Nicked or Grazed Wound Rank counts as Lightly Injured. And recovers a number of wounds equal to four times his Stamina Trait, if he has a full day of rest. Moving around while Lightly Injured reduces the amount of Wounds recovered, from four times the characters Stamina Trait to two times his Stamina Trait.

Being on the Hurt or Injured Wound Rank when combat ends are considered Moderately Injured and recovers a number of wounds equal to twice his Stamina Trait when resting for a full day. If a character is physical active, he recovers only his Stamina Trait in Wounds each day.

Finally, a character that ends combat on the Crippled, Out or Down Wound Rank is considered Heavily Injured and recovers only his Stamina Trait in wounds each day he rests. A Character that moves around while this heavily Injured recovers no wounds at all.

When going from one level of Injury to another when healing, a character dose not change the amount of wounds he recovers. Thus a character that is Heavily Injured that goes up to being Moderately Injured still only recovers his Stamina in Wounds each day rested. The Healthy Wound Rank ignores this rule and a character recovers four times his Stamina Rank.

It is possible to increase this amount, or to recover additional amounts, through treatment via certain Skills or Spells.


A character’s Stance determines what actions they may or may not take during their Turn in a combat Round. Stances reflect the basic postures that you take for combat. During the first Round of a skirmish, characters assume their Stance during Stage 1. On every subsequent round, they can change their Stance or choose to maintain it at the beginning of their Turn in Stage 2. The Stances a character may adopt are as follows:

  • Attack – Attack is the standard Stance adopted by most warriors in a combat situation, and is tied closely to the Ring of Water in that it is fluid and versatile. A character in the Attack Stance has no restrictions on the kind of Actions he may take.
  • Full Attack – Full Attack is the Ring of Fire, raging and consuming all in its path. A character in the Full Attack Stance may take no Simple or Complex Actions other than those used to make attacks, and may only use Move Actions to get closer to his enemies. Characters may not use the Full Attack Stance to deliver ranged attacks. A character in the Full Attack Stance gains a bonus of +2k1 to attack rolls made that round, but his Armour TN is reduced by 10 to reflect the all-or-nothing nature of the attack. A character in the Full Attack Stance who takes a Move Action during his turn may move an additional 2 M beyond the normal amount allowed for the Move Action. This bonus movement is granted only once per Round, and the character still may not exceed the normal maximum distance he may normally move in one Round. Full Attack may not be used while mounted.
  • Defence – Defence is the Ring of Air, adaptable and reactive. Defence allows for the greatest freedom of action. Characters in the Defence Stance add their Air Ring plus their Defence Skill Rank to their Armour TN. There are no restrictions on what kind of Actions a character in the Defence Stance may take, but if the character attacks he can not add his Air Ring to his Armour TN. The Armour TN of his opponent is also increases by 10. The Defence Stance is useful for making oneself less vulnerable while making Skill Rolls or Spell Casting Rolls during skirmishes. A warrior attempting to light a spark for a burning arrow in the middle of a melee would use Defence, as he may still need to drop what he is doing to defend himself from an enemy who attacks.
  • Full Defence – The Full Defence Stance is the Ring of Earth, reserved, unmoving, and unassailable. Upon declaring his Stance, a character in the Full Defence Stance makes a Defence / Reflexes roll and adds half of the total (rounding up) to his Armour TN until his following Turn. This Skill Roll is considered a Complex Action, so a character in this Stance may only take Free Actions.
  • Centre – The Centre Stance is the Ring of magic. Characters in the Centre Stance take no Actions, instead focusing their energy in preparation for action the following round. A character in the Centre Stance forfeits all Actions while in that Stance. On the round following his adoption of the Centre Stance, the character gains a bonus of 1k1 plus his Magic Ring on any one roll made during his Turn. The character also adds 10 to the total of his Initiative Score for that Round only.


During a combat Round, every character may take Actions on their Turn. Although a character’s Stance can limit what kind of Actions they may take, in general a character may take one of the two following options:
Free Actions are minor activities that do not disrupt a character’s ability to perform other tasks during the course of their Turn. Unless otherwise specified, a character may only perform each Free Action a maximum of once per Round.

Simple Actions are more complicated tasks that require more of a character’s attention, but not so much that he is not capable of taking more than one action at a time.

Complex Actions are elaborate or time-consuming efforts that require all of a character’s attention in order to complete.

  • One Complex Action + Free Actions
  • Two Simple Actions + Free Actions

Move actions

  • Free Action: 1 M (can be made only once per turn)
  • Simple Action: Water Ring x 2 Meter
  • Complex Action: Water Ring x 4 Meters and some mechanics can require a character to perform specific tasks as Complex Move Actions.

A character may not move more than twenty times his Water Ring in Meters per round unless he has an ability that increases his maximum possible movement per round. Movement is also modified by the type of terrain where characters are located. It is far easier to run down a city street, for instance, than a rocky beach. It is ultimately up to the Game Master to determine what level of terrain any particular area falls under. Terrain types and the movement penalties they incur include:

  • Basic: City streets, plains, sparse forest, etc. A character has no movement penalties in basic terrain.
  • Moderate: Tall grass, foothills, beaches, etc. A character’s Water Ring is considered one Rank lower (to a minimum of one) for the purposes of determining how far he can move using Move Actions when on moderate terrain.
  • Difficult: Mountains, dense forest, hip-deep water, etc. A character’s Water Ring is considered two Ranks lower (to a minimum of one) for the purposes of determining how far he can move using Move Actions when on difficult terrain. GMs may optionally choose to assign penalties to physical rolls (both Skill and Trait rolls) made in Difficult terrain, typically a –5 or –10 to the roll, if it seems appropriate.
Free actions Simple action Complex actions
Draw one or two Small weapons Activate a Battle stands Make an attack (melee or ranged)
Speak (up to five words) Draw one or two Medium weapons Cast a Spell
Move Action (1 M) Draw a Large Weapon Skill Use (any non- Weapon Skill)
Drop a weapon/ item Move Action (Water x 2 Meter) String a bow for use
Guard someone (see Maneuvers) Move Action (Water x 4 Meter)
Pick up a weapon/ item Do a Manoeuvre
Speak (more than five words)
Stand up (from Prone)


Maneuvers are specialized actions and attacks that are more difficult than the standard melee and ranged attacks that characters can make as part of a combat round. Because these attacks accomplish additional effects above normal attack damage, they require Raises in order to be made. Certain Maneuvers can only be performed in particular Stances. It should be noted that these maneuvers do not constitute an exhaustive list of the things which a character might be able to accomplish with an attack. Rather, they specify the maneuvers that are most likely to come up during a skirmish. The GM and players should feel free to improvise other maneuvers based on the rules presented here.

Called shot (Variable Raises)
A Called Shot is an attack that specifically targets one section of the body. Without the Called Shot Maneuver, it is assumed that an attack will strike the target’s torso, but with an increasing number of Raises, smaller and more specific parts of the body can be targeted. A specific limb can be targeted with 1 Raise, a hand or foot with 2 Raises, the head with 3 Raises, or an eye, ear, finger, or other similarly small part with 4 Raises. There is no specific mechanical effect for striking a particular body part in this manner, although individual GMs may rule that a certain amount of damage may sever or destroy the body part in question, and any items held or worn on that part may be dropped or destroyed.

Disarm (3 Raises)
The Disarm Maneuver specifically targets a weapon held by the target, with the intent of knocking it out of the target’s grasp. A successful Disarm attack inflicts only 2k1 damage from the jarring impact of the strike, regardless of the weapon used, and characters executing this Maneuver do not add their Strength to the number of rolled damage dice. If the Maneuver is successful, the character and his target make a Contested Strength Roll. If the attacking character wins, the target drops the weapon in question. Weapons with wooden components that are the target of a Disarm Maneuver by weapons with a steel blade may be broken, at the GM’s discretion. Recovering a dropped weapon requires a Simple Action on the part of a character who has been Disarmed.

Extra attack (5 Raises)
The ability to make multiple attacks per Turn is normally only possible for well trained warriors. This Maneuver allows anyone to gain an extra attack per Turn, however, as long as they have the skill necessary to pull it off. To gain an additional attack, a character must make 5 successful Raises on the first attack roll. These Raises confer no benefits, but if they succeed, the character may immediately make a second attack roll as soon as the first attack has been resolved (including damage). The Extra Attack Maneuver may only be used once per turn. The initial attack in this Maneuver must be successful, but the second may miss without any negative effects.

Feint (2 Raises)
A Feint is an attack that contains, as its first component, a deceptive movement intended to make a target believe that the attack will come from one direction, and then the actual attack comes from another direction, exploiting a hole in the target’s Defences opened by their attempt to defend against the initial attack. If the Feint Maneuver is successful, half the amount by which the character’s attack roll exceeded the target’s Armour TN (taking the 2 Raises for his Maneuver into account) is added to the damage roll for that attack, to a maximum amount equal to five times the character’s Fire Ring.

Guard (0 Raises)
Guard is a unique combat Action that does not actually require an attack roll. However, it has been placed here with Maneuvers for convenience, since it is used only in combat. During a skirmish, a character can choose to dedicate himself to protecting another character, making it harder for enemies to attack that person. Guarding is a Simple Action, and ou may not take the Guard Action while in the Full Attack stance. When you declare a Guard Action, you must designate one other person within 1 meter of you. Until your next Turn, any time that person is within 1 meter of you, their Armour TN is increased by 10 and your Armour TN is decreased by 5.

Increased Damage (1 or more Raises)
The simplest of all Maneuvers, This Maneuver adds a bonus of 1k0 to the total of the damage roll that corresponds to the attack. Multiple Raises can be made to gain a larger amount of Increased Damage, but all Raises made in one combat Round count as one effect for the purposes of any mechanics that decrease the number of Raises required.

Knockdown (2 or 4 Raises)
The Knockdown Maneuver is a specialized attack intended to damage an opponent and knock them prone. Because this attack generally targets the legs, it is only usable against two- or four-legged opponents (requiring 2 and 4 Raises respectively). If successful, the attack deals normal damage and forces a Contested Strength Roll between the character and the target. If the character is successful, the target is knocked prone.

Push (2 or 4 Raises)
The Push Maneuver is a dominating attack that forces your target away from you. Like Knockdown, this is usable against two- or four-legged opponents (requiring 2 and 4 Raises respectively). If successful, the attack deals normal damage and forces a Contested Strength Roll between the character and the target. If the character is successful, the target must move backward 1 M. At the attacker’s option, he may follow his opponent, pressing the offensive. Movement caused by this Maneuver does not require an action.

Cleave (2 Raises per additional person hit)
When a warrior wants to hit more than one person then he dose what is called a cleave maneuver. The maneuver can only be done in the attack or full attack stands, requires a medium or large melee weapons and a minimum of two foes with in striking distance. For every two raises called, one more attack can be made against a completely new target. All raises called are added to each attack. If any attack misses then the rest of the attacks are wasted.



The duelling duel is the formal means of conflict resolution between people. Most duels are often to first blood, but matters of a truly grievous nature can result in a duel to the death. Mechanically, once a challenge has been issued and accepted, the process takes place over the course of two combat rounds. In an duel, both duellists are considered to be in Centre Stance throughout the duel, and may not take any actions other than the ones outlined below.

Assessment: On the first Round of the duel, both characters enter the Assessment stage on the Initiative Turn of the faster duellist. During the Assessment stage, each participant assumes the Centre Stance and makes an duelling (Assessment) / Awareness or Perception roll against a TN equal to 10 plus half the opponent’s Awareness rounded up x 5. If successful, a duellist’s roll reveals any one of the following pieces of information, plus an additional piece of information per Raise.

  • The opponent’s Awareness
  • The opponent’s Reflexes
  • The opponent’s duelling Skill
  • The opponent’s current Wound Level
  • Any duelling Emphases the opponent may possess

If a character’s Assessment roll exceeds the total of their opponent’s roll by 10 or more, whether or not it gained any information, the winning character gains a bonus of +1k1 on his subsequent Focus roll. At this point, it is possible for either of the duellists to concede defeat, recognizing his opponent as superior.

Focus: During the second Round of the duel, both characters enter the Focus stage on the Initiative Turn of the faster duellist. The opponents study one another carefully, looking for any weakness. The duellists make a Contested duelling (Focus) / Awareness or Perception Roll. If one duellist beats the other’s roll by 5 or more, that duellist earns the right to make the first strike. He gains a Free Raise toward his strike roll for every additional increment of 5 by which he beats his opponent’s roll. If neither duellist beats the other’s roll by at least 5, then a simultaneous strike takes place.

Strike: On the third Round of the duel, both characters enter the Strike stage on the Initiative Turn of the slower duellist. The duellist who won first strike makes an Duelling / Reflexes (Strike) attack roll against his opponent’s normal Armour TN. Any Free Raises gained from the Focus stage apply to this roll. The attack is resolved normally, including Wounds being applied. The second duellist may then make his Duelling / Reflexes (Strike) roll, assuming he still lives. In a duel to first blood, the second duellist has lost the duel if his opponent struck him, and striking after first blood is considered extremely dishonourable. In the event that neither opponent won the Contested Roll during the focus stage, both make their attack rolls simultaneously, an event known as a Simultaneous Strike. If neither duellist is dead at the end of the Strike phase, and if the duel is to the death, the duel becomes a standard skirmish, continuing until one combatant is dead. Regardless of the results of the duel, the act of striking counts as each character’s actions for this Round.

Off-hand Weapons & Multiple Attacks

Many players are interested in having their characters use two weapons simultaneously. This is not particularly common practice. A character’s handedness is determined by the player. A character attempting to make an attack with a weapon in his off-hand suffers a penalty of -5 to the roll if it is a small weapon, -10 if it is medium, and -15 if it is large.

Additionally, attacks made with the character’s dominant hand suffer a penalty of -5 to attacks as long as a secondary weapon is held in the off hand, if the main weapon is of large size the penalty is further increased by -5 to a total of -10. If the character is dual welding two large category weapons he suffers a -15 on all attack rolls while he attempts to dual wield those weapons, It it up to the GM if the character is able to lift those weapons in one hand effectively.

However, a character wielding two weapons is more difficult to hit due to the larger area covered. As a result, characters wielding two weapons add one of the weapons skill rank divided by two rounded up to their Armour TN.

Dominant, Small Dominant, Medium Dominant, Large
Off Hand, Small -5 on both -5 on both -5 on off hand & -10 on dominant
Off Hand, Medium -10 on off hand & -5 on dominant -10 on off hand & -5 on dominant -10 on both
Off Hand, Large -15 on off hand & -5 on dominant -15 on off hand & -5 on dominant -15 on both

Bows & Crossbows

Bows are traditionally carried unstrung to avoid stretching or breaking the bowstring. A skilled archers are often trained to string a bow extremely quickly, however, and is rarely at a disadvantage unless ambushed. A bow adds its strength rating to the first number of the DR of the arrow being fired. For example, a character wielding a short bow (Strength 3) firing a Broad Head arrow (DR 2k2) would roll a total of 5k2 for damage. However, a character whose Strength is less than that of the bow he is wielding uses his Strength instead of the bows Strength.

Crossbows also have a strength requirement but if the user dose not meet it, he suffers a penalty of -1k1 on his attack roll equal to the difference between his strength and the requirement of the crossbow. Crossbows adds the users perception to the damage roll instead of strength.

All bows & crossbows have a range listed. This is the maximum possible range that an arrow or bolt can be fired using a bow or crossbow without inuring Dice penalties. A bow & a crossbow can fire an arrow an additional distance up to six times the listed range, but suffers a -1k0 penalty to the attack roll for every extra 50 M beyond the listed range. Any ranged attacks fired against opponents currently in melee range with the archer also incur a penalty of -10 to the total of the attack roll.


Like duels, grappling is a unique combat situation that is different enough from a standard skirmish that it warrants its own system. Grapples occur within the normal rules for a skirmish, however, and as such use the same rules for Initiative, Actions, Rounds, and Turns. A character may initiate a grapple by making an attack roll using Brawling / Agility. This is always a Complex Action unless the character possesses an ability that specifically renders grapples a Simple or Free Action. To successfully initiate a grapple, the attacking character must hit the target’s Armour TN with his attack roll. This attack roll ignores the benefits of Armour to the Armour TN.

If the attack is successful, both the attacker and the target are considered to be in a grapple. When characters are involved in a grapple, one of them is in control. Initially this is the character who initiates the grapple, but it can change every round. A grappled character must try to control the grapple at the beginning of his Turn. All characters involved in the grapple must make a Contested Brawling / Strength Roll. The character with the highest result on this roll is considered to be in control of the grapple until the next character’s Turn. A character who has control of a grapple may do one of the following things on his Turn:

  • Hit: As a Complex Action, the character may inflict normal unarmed damage on any one other participant in the grapple. This damage cannot benefit from Raises, as there is no attack roll being made. Free Raises can still be applied, however.
  • Throw: As a Complex Action, the character may throw one opponent, causing them to become prone anywhere within 1 Meter of the character performing the throw. This removes the thrown character from the grapple.
  • Break: As a Simple Action, the character may immediately remove himself from the grapple.
  • Pass: As a Free Action, the character may do nothing, choosing to maintain the grapple and retain control.

Certain weapons, primarily chain weapons and certain pole-arms, may be used to grapple opponents. These types of grapples are identical to normal grapples, except that the attack roll and control rolls use the appropriate Weapon Skill in place of Brawling, and a Hit inflicts damage based on the weapon instead of unarmed damage. There is a risk associated with this, however. If a character using a weapon loses control of the grapple, his opponent gains two free Raises on his next Turn to use the Disarm Manoeuvre against him.

Ambush & Other Surprises

Under certain circumstances, it is possible for one group of combatants to surprise another. If the GM rules that one group is unaware of another’s presence, the hidden group may attempt to make a surprise attack. They make a Contested Stealth (Ambush) / Agility roll opposed by the unaware group’s Investigation (Notice) / Perception before the first Stage of the skirmish begins. This roll may either use the Cumulative Skill Rolls rule or, if the GM prefers, be made by the group leader. If the ambushing party wins, all characters in the surprised party suffer a penalty of -10 to their Initiative Score for the duration of the skirmish. If the party being ambushed wins the Contested Roll, then nothing happens and the skirmish immediately proceeds to Stage 1.

Some GMs may find the global Initiative penalty inappropriate for ambush situations. If that is the case, an alternative that some might prefer would be to allow only the ambushing party to act during the first round of the skirmish, or to disallow the surprised party to use certain Stances, particularly Full Defence. The GM might also rule that a surprised character is easier to hit, depending on whether that seems appropriate to the circumstances. Be aware, however, that removing the actions of the surprised party or making them overly vulnerable to attack, even for one round, could quite possibly lead to multiple fatalities. The GM should consider this carefully before applying such penalties.

Falling & Drowning

Other than combat, the most common environmental risks of damage a character faces are from falling and drowning. Falling from a height will inflict Wounds equal to 1k1 for every 3 M of distance fallen. Falls of less than about 3 M will typically not inflict meaningful damage, although the GM can use discretion for unusual circumstances (such as falling onto sharp rocks). A character who falls into deep water must roll Athletics (Swimming) / Strength at TN 15 each minute to stay afloat.

The GM may increase this TN to reflect difficult circumstances such as a storm-tossed sea. If the PC must tread water for a long time, not only will the TN increase but also the Trait for the roll may be changed to Stamina. Once the character fails the roll, he can hold his breath for a number of Rounds equal to his Stamina, during which time he can continue trying to make the Athletics roll to resume swimming. If he is still underwater when his Stamina runs out, he begins drowning, taking 2k2 Wounds per Round. A drowning character is helpless and cannot take any Actions until rescued.


Any time a character is confronted with something which might make his courage falter, the GM can make him roll to resist a Fear effect. Fear effects are given a Rank, ranging from 1 to 10, to represent their severity. To resist a Fear effect, a character must roll Raw Willpower at a TN equal to 5 + (5 x Fear Rank). Thus, resisting a Fear 3 effect requires a roll at TN 20.

A character who fails to resist a Fear effect suffers a penalty to all of his die rolls equal to –Xk0, where X is the Rank of the Fear effect. Thus, for example, a Fear 2 effect would inflict a –2k0 penalty on all die rolls. This penalty lasts until the end of the encounter, unless the source of the Fear is removed prior to that time. Characters who catastrophically fail to resist Fear may actually lose control of themselves and completely succumb to terror. If a character fails a roll to resist Fear by 15 or more, he is overwhelmed by fear and either flees or cowers helplessly, as the GM warrants.

Combat, Movement and Fear

L5R High Fantasy Rule Rewrite Roke