Combat in The World of Cartyrion | World Anvil


Many of the Encounters that a group of adventurers will experience will involve battling with opponents using weapons, magic, and various abilities and skills. From a rules standpoint, Combat is, understandably, the most structured part of the game.

Combat takes place in a series of Rounds; in each Round, every participant in the combat will have an opportunity to do things - they will take their Combat Turn. Determining the order in which players and gamemasters take their turns, and the types of actions they may perform during these turns, is described below.


A single d6 is rolled to determine initiative at the beginning of each Combat Turn. On a 1-3, the enemies, controlled by the Gamemaster, go first. On a 4-6, the Player Characters go first. Each "side" can determine what order their members wish to act in, and this can change each turn. This hopefully encourages team tactical planning.

The Combat Turn

A Combat Turn consists of two parts: Movement, and Action.

Movement allows a character to move a distance up to their Speed value away from their starting location. Movement can be broken up, with some or all occuring before an Action, and the remainder taking place after the Action.

Actions might be retrieving an item from a backpack (such as a spellbook), making an attack, reloading a crossbow, or casting a spell. Weapons or items that are already in hand, or that are worn in a scabbard, sheath, bandolier or other "quick grab" contrivance do not require a separate action to be readied; you can draw a sword and strike with it in as a single action. Re-sheathing a weapon, however, does require an action. (Alternatively, you can simply drop one weapon on the ground and draw another.)

During a combat turn, a character can also communicate with allies or foes, whispering or shouting no more than a sentence or so while performing their Movement and/or Action. Relaying complex instructions, however, would constitute an Action on its own.

Melee, Reach, and Ranged Combat

Combatants standing more or less toe-to-toe and swinging weapons at each other are said to be in Melee combat. Typically, melee combat requires that the opponents be adjacent to one another (though the use of a weapon with exceptionally long reach may modify this somewhat.) Weapons used in meleee combat are hand-held, or are a natural part of the combatant. Melee combat typically relies on brute strength; this is reflected by the use of the STR bonus to enhance damage. Sometimes, though, it can rely on agility, finesse, and precision use of a weapon; in these cases a DEX bonus may be used instead.

Reach combat is similar to melee, except that there may be some small space between combatants. The length of the weapon will determine the maximum distance; the weapon descriptions will specify this.

In Ranged combat, on the other hand, the opponents are generally some distance apart, and the weapons are projectiles launched in some manner at the foe. This could involve throwing things as well as using bows, slings, or other devices to propel the weapon. Accuracy with ranged weapons requires an innate ability to account for windage, gravity, and the movement of the target. The ability of a combatant to make the mental calculations needed to accurately make a ranged attack is represented by the use of the WIS bonus on such attacks.

Resolving Combat

There are no "to hit" rolls. You roll for damage only. Initially, damage dealt to a creature or character draws down that creature's or character's stamina points. Think of this as "wearing down your opponent" in the early stages of a fight.

For melee combat...
Damage = die roll + your STR (or DEX) bonus + magical item bonuses - opponent Defense Points

For ranged combat...
Damage = die roll + your WIS bonus + magical item bonuses - opponent Defense Points

Defense points typically are the sum of the target's Armor Points and Dexterity bonus, but there are situations where the Dexterity Bonus is not considered.
Critical Hits
Each time the die roll results in a maximum value for that die type, you roll an additional die of that type and add it to the total. This is often referred to as "exploding dice", and it serves to offer the thrill of the "critical hit" that other rules systems offer.

Level 1 damage with Shortsword
Level 3 damage with Shortsword
Level 9 damage with Shortsword

Damage Dice

Each combat attack form, including spellcasting, will specify the type of dice (d4, d6, d8, or d10) that it uses to calculate damage, but does not specify a quantity of dice to be thrown. This quantity is known as the Damage Level Multiplier, and is a function of the attacker's character level. At Level 1, you roll one die of the specified type to determine the damage done in a combat round (subject to the exploding dice provision described above). At Level 3, you roll 2 dice, and at every odd level beyond, you add another.

Magical Weapons will specify a bonus that is added to each damage die rolled. Thus, for example, a Longsword+1 wielded by Level 2 character will do d6+1 damage, but when that character reaches Level 3, it will do 2d6+2 damage. The magical bonus is not applied, however, to any additional dice generated by the "exploding dice" feature.

Tombril, a 9th level character with 55 Stamina Points is using his +2 short sword to attack a club-wielding Hill Giant. Tombril's STR bonus is +8. His DEX bonus is +5, and his armor gives him 3 Armor points, for a total of 8 Defense Points. The Hill Giant, a Level 12 creature, has an STR bonus of +9 and a DEX bonus of +3. It's tough skin acts a bit like armor, adding another 1 Armor point for a total of 4 Defense Points.

A 5 on the Initiative Die in the first round indicates that Tombril goes first. He rolls 5d6 for damage, and gets 5, 3, 4, 3, and 2, for a total of 17. Adding the sword's magical bonus and his STR gives 35. Subtracting the Giant's Defense Points from this total gives a damage result of 31. As this is all slashing damage from the sword, 31SP are taken from the Hill Giant's starting amount of 68, leaving it with 37 SP.

The giant now attacks back with its nonmagical club. The Giant rolls 6d6 and gets 6, 5, 3, 6, 2, and 6. The three 6's "explode" for three more rolls, giving a 5, 1, and another 6. That last six is rerolled once more and a 2 results. All these are added up for a total of 42. Adding in the giant's STR bonus gives 51. Tombril's 8 Defense Points are subtracted from this; he takes 43SP in damage - clearly a severe, and lucky, blow! Tombril is left with just 12 SP.

It's time for Round 2, and the process repeats, starting with Initiative being rerolled. Tombril is lucky and gets to go first again. He realizes that he may not survive another swing of the giant's club, so he decides that a judicious retreat is in order. Since the giant does not pursue, the combat encounter is over.

Power Attacks

A player or a creature controlled by the Gamemaster has the option to declare a Power Attack before rolling for combat damage. In a Power Attack, the number of damage dice is doubled - but the weapon is assumed to be broken and unusable after the attack. (Declaring a Power Attack, then rolling really poor damage is this system's equivalent to a "Critical Fail".)


Characters may choose to devote their combat turn to actively deflecting or avoiding damage instead of inflicting some. They must be equipped with either a weapon or a shield, or both to do so. If a character decides to parry, it cannot make an attack on its turn, but incoming damage from all sources is mitigated until their next combat turn. Futher detatils and restrictions depend on what equipment is being used to parry.
Parrying with a Weapon
The character will suffer no damage from incoming attacks as long their weapon remains intact. If any attacker rolls a damage die that explodes, the attack blow is assumed to shatter the character's weapon. The damage that causes this will be fully mitigated, but no further damage reduction is possible, and the weapon is useless. If the weapon used for parrying has a magical bonus, an additional exploding die roll is required for each magical plus before the weapon is shattered.
Parrying with a Shield
The character will suffer no damage from incoming attacks until they begin their next combat turn, assuming their shield can sustain the damage. The shield takes double damage from absorbed blows. If the shield takes enough damage to be destroyed, additional damage will affect the character - including any excess damage from the blow that destroyed the shield.

Surprise Attacks

When two opponents or groups encounter each other, it is possible that one or both are not expecting it, and consequently take a moment to realize what's happening. If neither or both sides are surprised, there is no effect, and combat will begin with an Initiative roll. If one side of an encounter surprises another, that side gains the opportunity to take combat turns without their opponents doing so. (In other words, the surprising side takes their turns before the first initiative die is rolled.) It is left to the Gamemaster to determine what situations or conditions will require a determination of surprise. Alternatively, a random roll could be used (good for random encounters). Roll a d6. On a 1, the opponents gain a surprise round. On a 6, the adventuring party gains a surprise round. On a 2-5, neither side is surprised (or both are).

Sneak Attacks

Sneak Attack is a combat tactic designed to employ stealth, planning, and accuracy to deal potentially devastating damage to an opponent. Successful sneak attacks rely on the DEX of the attacking character, but also on their ability to get into position to launch their attack.

The first element in launching a sneak attack is positioning. The attacker cannot already be engaged in combat with the target - a sneak attack cannot be performed if the attacker made an attack on the target in the prior combat round. Furthermore, either the attacker must either be concealed from the target at the beginning of the attacker's turn, or the target must be sufficiently distracted. Concealment might mean the attacker is hiding behind something, or approaching from an unexpected direction, or is magically invisible.

Being engaged in melee combat with another creature, or having just been successfully range attacked by another creature is sufficient distraction, but a character deeply focused on a conversation with someone else - or intently searching for or studying someone or something might also be sufficient. The Gamemaster should determine if these conditions are met when the attacker announces that a Sneak Attack is desired.

The second element in a successful sneak attack is delivering precision damage to the target, taking into consideration the armor they may be wearing. The weapon being used must be a Finesse weapon, as the attack will rely on precision rather than power to achieve its devastating effect. A DEX skill check is required, with the DC equal to 10 plus the Armor Points of the target.

If this check is passed, the attack has successfully hit home at a weak point where armor is not effective, but a failed check implies that the attacker has missed that weak spot, and the carefully placed attack simply glances off the target's armor. A failed DEX check means the attack was unsuccessful and does no damage.
When the fight breaks out in the warehouse, Cedryk the Sneaky, a Level 3 character, leaps behind some crates to conceal himself. As his companions square off against opponents, Cedryk readies his dagger and quietly moves around behind the crates to get position on the half-orc attacking his friend Janine the Pious.

He leaps from behind the crates, his dagger point aimed for the narrow gap between the half-orc's curiass and pauldron. The required DEX skill check has a DC of 13 based on the half-orc's armor; Cedryk rolls a 9, but his DEX bonus of +4 means this is just enough to succeed.

At Level 3, Cedryk's gets 2 damage dice, and with rerolls of exploding dice, rolls 4, 2, and 2. Cedryk's DEX bonus is added to this for a total of 12 points of damage. All 12 points are applied as Direct Damage -- a significant portion of the half-orc's 15 injury slots. While not dead, the target will be seriously considering withdrawal after such a devastating blow.
To calculate damage done by a successful sneak attack, roll number of damage dice rolled indicated by the attacker's Damage Dice Multiplier. Explode all maximum rolls as usual. The attacker's DEX bonus is added to this. Nothing is subtracted. (The target's DEX is not considered due to the stealth nature of the attack, and its Armor Points are not considered because the attack has successfully found a weak spot in the armor.) This damage is applied as Direct Damage - it does not affect the target's Stamina Points, but instead registers as Injuries immediately.

Sneak Attacks cannot also be declared to be Power Attacks. After the attack, if the attacker has movement remaining, they may use it, but cannot use it to return to concealment.


The Laurels and Loot Rule System is published by Bob O'Brien
It is available to all in accordance with the Creative Commons (Attribution) license
(Creative Commons 4.0 International License)

Laurels and Loot Rules are derived in part from the following sources:
Knave 2.0 TTRPG System Rules published by Ben Milton
in compliance with
(Creative Commons 4.0 International License)

The banners on these pages was composed with art attributed to:
b0red from Pixabay (treasure chest image)
Gordon Johnson from Pixabay (laurels image)

The side panels are composed with art attributed to:
Evelyn Chai from Pixabay (dungeon passage)


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