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Combat Mechanic

Entering Combat

Combat begins when two or more creatures try to physically or magically confront one another. An Initiative skill check is made to see the order creatures and characters will go in. If a nat20 is rolled, that creature will be able to go twice before others can take their actions. Re-roll any ties.  


If surprised, you lose your turn for the first round of combat. This includes losing use of any reaction for one round, measured from the beginning of combat until the start of your turn on round two.   Once order is decided, positions are finalized. This can be through a drawing or miniatures. Then combat begins!  


The damage that a spell, attack, or trap does is based on two things; the inherent damage of the spell or item and your proficiency. So, damage is calculated by the die roll for the item or spell and then adding to it your Attribute modifier that you used for the attack and any modifiers from Feats. For example: I swing a longsword with +3 STR, +3 Bladeweilder. Damage = d8+3+3 = 14 damage potential. Spells work the same way. Damage from Fire Strike with +2 WIS, +3 Spell Caster, and +5 Spell Master = d6+2+3+5 = 16 damage potential.  


You are allowed a reaction when you are targeted by an attack. You are also allowed one reaction a round to an event within your speed. A reaction is an action that is triggered by an external event. The only Reaction that allows spell use is a Special Ability, where you have set up a trigger before hand.  
  • Block: reaction to an attack where you try to stop the attack from hitting you. Must roll a d20 for Block and beat the roll of the attack. Some attacks, like spells or grenades, are impossible to block. Good role playing and DM's discretion can subvert this.
  • Dodge: a reaction to an attack where you try to avoid the attack. Must roll a d20 for dodge and beat the roll of the attack.
  • Counterattack: a reaction to an attack where you let the attack hit you but you can attack in return. Must roll a d20 for Counter Attack and beat their roll. If you beat their attack by >5, take half damage. If you beat the attack roll by >10, you can redirect the incoming attack anywhere you wish and deal damage of your own. If you roll a nat 20, then you avoid all damage, redirect the attack, and it is now your turn.
  • Special Ability: A special ability, or other feature of the game may allow you to react to a specific triggering event. This can also include using spells to react.
  • Opportunity Attack: If an opponent attempts to move past you or attacks you and then attempts to move away, you get a free swing at them. This is called an opportunity attack, and it is the most common reaction. Speed does not affect this mechanic.
  • Interrupt: If a character is attempting to draw a glyph and are within 5 feet of you, you can try to interrupt them. This is a successful attack check before the character is able to finish drawing the glyph. This causes the spell to rebound on the caster. This action can be part of a ready/wait or Special Ability action. Interrupt success is between the interupter's and interuptee's speed rolls, the higher value wins.
  Your reaction does not have to occur during your turn, but can occur at any time during the round. If it occurs during another’s turn, their turn is suspended until your reaction is resolved.

Your Turn

Each round, during your turn, you can move, take one action, and a bonus action.   During any part of your turn, you can do things that take little or no time and don’t interfere with your movement. These activities take very little time, though there may be limits to the number you can perform in a turn. Examples include:  
  • Palming ammunition from your Quick Use list (such as arrows, bolts, sling bullets, grenades, or shuriken).
  • Dropping an item to your feet or within 5 feet of your current location.
  • Dropping to a prone position. (Standing up from prone, however, takes half of your movement for the turn.)
  • Speaking (you can always speak, even when it isn’t your turn – within reason.)


You don’t have to move, but if you choose to, you can move a distance up to your speed. You can move before or after you take an action, or you can move first, take an action, and then move again, as long as the total distance moved doesn’t exceed your speed. Your move can include jumping onto or off of things, jumping over things, climbing walls or ropes, swinging on ropes or chandeliers, or moving in any way that your character is capable of such as swimming or flying for example. You can move between action and bonus action as long as you haven't used all of your move distance based on your speed.  

Bonus Actions

A Bonus Action is your character’s chance to interact with the environment or ready themselves for an action. It is your character’s chance to immediately affect the situation at hand. You can interact with one object as your bonus action. You can manipulate the object in an uncomplicated way. Some examples of Bonus Actions include:
  • Draw or sheath a weapon
  • Draw Two One-Handed Weapons [You can normally draw only 1 weapon for free on your turn. Dual Wielder lets you draw 2.]
  • Transfer an item from one hand to the other
  • Load a bow
  • Retrieve or put away a stored item*
  • Pick up an item
  • Move an object
  • Open a chest
  • Open a door
  • Perception check
  * You may only retrieve an item if it was stowed for easy access in your Quick Use list. Ammo does not require a bonus action. If you must dig through your backpack to find something inside, it may require use of an action to retrieve it.   Bonus actions can be converted into full actions through the feat Double Up. See Character Feats for more information.   Doing more than one of these things requires the use of an action.  


During your turn in a combat round, you have one action that can be used in the following ways. You don’t have to take an action during your turn, but if you choose to, you can attempt to do anything that could be accomplished in 6 seconds or less. The most common action taken in combat is the attack action. See below for a list of actions that can be performed in combat.  


You can make one melee, magic, or ranged attack. The Double Up feat will allow you use your Bonus Action as an Attack. If you want to attack with a weapon in each hand, you need the Dual Wielding feat. Expert level glyphs require three actions and thus will take two turns. Master level glyphs require four actions and also will require two turns. See Magic Mechanic for more information.  


Rather than performing any other action, you spend the entire round moving. This allows you to move twice as far this round. It is effectively a double move action. [You use your dash action to move your speed then use your move to go that distance again.]  


If you start the round within 5 feet of an opponent that can see you, you can use this action to move away from them without provoking an opportunity attack. [The disengage action does not include a move. You use the disengage action to avoid an opportunity attack while you use your move to travel up to your speed.]  


This is a total defense action. You spend the round trying to avoid being hit. Until the start of your next turn, any attack roll made against you has disadvantage if you can see the attacker, and you make Dexterity saving throws with advantage.  


You can use your action to help an ally attack an opponent within 5 feet of you. You don’t make an attack yourself, but when your friend attacks, their first attack roll is made with advantage. Or you can help them with any other task. If you are in position to do so, and your assistance could reasonably be seen to be of help, they will gain advantage on their ability check to accomplish the task.  


The act of hiding requires an action to attempt. You must make a Dexterity (Stealth) check to see if you successfully hide from your opponents. Advantage can be gained if there is cover or a large object between you and the thing you are trying to hide from.  


Rather than taking and action during your turn, you wait for some specific event and then take your action as a reaction. You can still move up to the distance indicated by your move rate, but you can take no other action this round. You must specify two things –   1) What the triggering event will be.   This can be anything you think might happen that you can observe. If the event occurs before the start of your turn on the next round you can perform your readied action at that time. Some examples could be: If the sniper sticks his head up, If more Orcs come around the corner, If the rope brakes, If the water level rises, If the evil magic user starts to cast a spell, If the guard spots the thief, If the prisoner attempts to escape.   2) What action you will take.   This can be any of the combat actions. Note that this action will be a reaction and you can only have one reaction per round. This means that if you take another reaction, you lose your readied action. Conversely, if you use your readied action you can have no other reactions this round.  
  • If the triggering event occurs, you can choose to not take your readied action.
  • If you choose Dash as a readied action, you can move up to your move rate.


You can use your action to attempt to find something. The DM might require you to make a Perception check or an Investigation check.  

Use an Object

An object may require an action for you to use it, or you may need to use this action to interact with more than one object in a round. This can also apply to the use of Runes.  

Improvised Action

There are many more things that a combatant could do during a round than can be accounted for in the above actions. When you want to attempt something that is not covered by any of the above actions, you can use an improvised action.   Examples of an improvised action:   “I want to pull the rug out from under that guy.” “I want to talk them into surrendering.” “I want to break that glass the bad guy is holding.” “I want to slide down the stairs on my ass while I throw daggers at the enemy.” “I want to intimidate them into running away.” “I want to grab that piece of folded paper that is sticking out of his vest pocket.” “I want to slide under the table and stab that guy in his ankle with my knife.” “I want to holster my bow and walk up to that guy and smoke his nose.” “I want to disarm my opponent.” (This could be a called shot to the hand, shattering an opponent’s weapon, or using the flat of a blade to smack a weapon from an enemy’s hand.) “I want to trip that guy.” (This could be any attempt to knock an enemy off its feet. Whether it’s hooking an enemy’s leg, stabbing a kneecap, knocking an opponent off-balance, hurling an enemy away, sweeping an enemy’s legs, or some other maneuver, this improvised action would allow the warrior to knock an enemy prone.)   The following rules apply to improvised actions:   1. You must explain the improvised action to the DM. The DM may rule that what you want to do will require more than one round, or that it is simply impossible (you can’t fire an arrow into the sky and hit the moon). He may ask you to be more specific regarding the action you want to take and how the action will achieve the results you want.   2. The improvised action can also include all or part of your move. Successfully jumping on – or diving into a creature will give you advantage on the attack roll. A failed attempt results in your move stopping at the point there the attack takes place and may grant your opponent an advantage on his next attack against you.   3. To perform the improvised action the DM will normally have you make an ability check. The DM will assign an appropriate difficulty class and will explain possible consequences if the attempted action fails. For example, if you attempt to jump off of the balcony onto the monster in the center of the room and miss you may end up prone.   Most improvised actions can be resolved as simple contests. Player: “I want to try to [describes some form of physical contest other than an attack roll].” DM: “Okay, make a Strength (Athletics) check.” DM compares result to opponent’s Strength (Athletics) or Dexterity (Acrobatics) check, perhaps giving someone advantage or disadvantage.

Quick Table for Combat Modifiers

Combat Feats Quick Table


Negates -5 to Base Attack

Adds +3 to Attack

Mastery Add +5

SpellKnowledge of MagicSpell CasterSpell Master
Bare HandKnowledge of Martial ArtsMartial ArtistMundane Master
BladeWeapon ProficiencyBlade WielderMundane Master
BluntWeapon ProficiencyBone CrusherMundane Master
RangeWeapon ProficiencyDead EyeMundane Master
SpecialWeapon ProficiencySpecialistMundane Master
Pole ArmsWeapon ProficiencyLong ReachMundane Master
  Other Combat Feats
  • Dual Wield: allows to dual wield light weapons and draw them at the same time
  • Spell Master: allows for the use of Expert and Master Level spells
  • Assassin: allows for increased damage from sneak attacks
  • Double Up: allows for the Bonus Action to be used as an Action

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