Earlier, I mentioned that Fencing & Firearms has players roll their own fate. When I introduced this to my face-to-face group, a couple of the players were mildly confused, but even my most hidebound player adapted quickly enough. Here’s a look at how this change to combat works:
Attacking And Defending
PCs make their attacks just like they do in the standard rules. Their opponents, however, do not. Each time an enemy attacks a PC, the character’s player rolls a defense check. If that defense check equals or exceeds the attack score of the enemy, the attack misses.
To determine a creature’s attack score, add 11 to the creature’s standard attack modifier (the number it would use, as either a bonus or penalty to its attack roll, if it were attacking using the standard rules). For instance, an ogre has a standard attack modifier of +8 with its greatclub. That means that it’s attack score is 19.
To make a defense check, roll 1d20 and add any modifiers that normally apply to your Armor Class (armor, size, deflection, and the like). This is effectively the same as rolling d20, adding your total AC, and then subtracting 10.
* Attack Score: 11 + enemy’s attack bonus
* Defense Check: 1d20 + character’s AC modifiers
If a player rolls a natural 1 on a defense check, his character’s opponent has scored a threat (just as if it had rolled a natural 20 on its attack roll). Make another defense check; if it again fails to avoid the attack, the opponent has scored a critical hit.
A foe may have a threat range greater than one. For example, the foe could wield a longsword (normal threat range 19-20). In a case such as this, the foe scores a threat if the defense check falls within the same range as the normal threat range. To continue the example, a longsword has a two digit threat range. Thus, a natural 1 or 2 on a defense check scores a threat with a longsword.
Jeremiah Dawes and his comrades are facing down an ogre. It hurls a javelin at Jeremiah. The ogre’s attack score with its javelin is 12 (11 + 1 attack bonus). Jeremiah has a 12 DEX and is protected by a shield spell, giving him a +5 defense check bonus. Jeremiah’s player rolls 1d20+5 and gets a 13 total. The ogre misses!
When a PC attacks an opponent, he makes an attack roll against the opponent’s AC as normal.
The procedure is only slightly different using using combat maneuvers such as bull rush or grapple. Every PC has a combat maneuver bonus (CMB) and a combat maneuver armor class (CMAC).
Saving Throws And Save Scores
NPCs and other opponents no longer make saving throws to avoid special attacks of player characters. Instead, each creature has a Fortitude, Reflex, and Will score. These scores are equal to 11 + the creature’s Fortitude, Reflex, and Will save modifiers.
Any time you cast a spell or use a special attack that forces an opponent to make a saving throw, instead make a magic check to determine your success. To make a magic check, roll 1d20 and add all the normal modifiers to any DC required by the spell or special attack (including the appropriate ability modifier, the spell’s level if casting a spell, the adjustment for Spell Focus, and so on).
If the result of the magic check equals or exceeds the appropriate save score (Fortitude, Reflex or Will, depending on the special ability), the creature is affected by the spell or special attack as if it had failed its save. If the result is lower than the creature’s Fortitude, Reflex or Will score (as appropriate to the spell or special attack used), the creature is affected as if it had succeeded on its save.
* Magic Check: 1d20 + spell level + ability modifier + other modifiers vs. save score
* Fortitude Score: 11 + enemy’s Fortitude save modifier
* Reflex Score: 11 + enemy’s Reflex save modifier
* Will Score: 11 + enemy’s Will save modifier
Jeremiah counters with cause fear. He has a 16 CHA and this is a 1st-level spell, giving Jeremiah a +4 on his magic check. The ogre’s Will score is 12 (11 + 1 Will save modifier). Jeremiah’s player rolls 1d20+4 and gets a 10 total. Jeremiah fails his magic check, and the ogre is only shaken for one round.
If a player rolls a natural 20 on a magic check, the creature’s equipment may take damage (just as if it had rolled a natural 1 on its save).
If a PC has spell resistance, his player makes a spell resistance check against each incoming spell that allows spell resistance. A spell resistance check is 1d20 plus the PC’s spell resistance, minus 10.
The DC of this check is equal to 11 + the attacker’s caster level, plus any modifiers that normally apply to the attacker’s caster level check to overcome spell resistance (such as from the Spell Penetration feat). That value is known as the attacker’s caster level score. If the spell resistance check equals or exceeds this number, the spell fails to penetrate the PC’s spell resistance.
To beat a creature’s spell resistance, a player makes a caster level check (1d20 + caster level) against its spell resistance, just as in the standard rules.
* Spell Resistance Check: 1d20 + SR – 10
* Caster Level Score: 11 + attacker’s caster level + modifiers
Jeremiah has been affected by spell resistance from a 9th-level caster, granting SR 21. A 5th-level sorcerer casts magic missile at him. Jeremiah’s player rolls 1d20+11 against DC 16 and gets a 23 total. The sorcerer’s attack is stopped by Jeremiah’s SR.
Neat, huh? 🙂
Next post, I’ll show you how easy it is to convert a monster to F&F style.