Fighting with Style - Combat Modifiers

Copyright Steven Carpenter © 2013

Edited by Terence Wynne for The Guild Companion

"Jaq is now attacking his arch-enemy while riding his trusty war-steed."

There are a number of aspects of combat that are either not handled well or not handled at all in RMC/RMSS. The following options are proposed to meet these shortfalls and to provide a compatible basis for the combat companion style modifications in Fighting With Style.


When there is a size difference between two combatants the larger does an additional unbalancing crit of one less severity than the actual crit. If the larger combatant is two size categories larger, the unbalancing crit is of equal severity, and if the difference is three or more size categories the unbalancing crit is of one greater.


Relative height makes a difference in combat. It is much harder to fight above your head and much easier to attack someone below you. When two melee combatants are at different levels between ½ and 1 times the reach of the weapons, they receive a positional modifier to their OB. The higher combatant gets a +10 positional bonus as long as they have a weapon that can reach down to the opponent. The lower combatant gets a -10OB unless they have a long enough weapon to make up the difference(ie a pole-arm). For differences in height less than half the reach normal combat modifiers apply, for greater than one times combat is usually not possible. For example, Jaq is fighting his way up the stairs, sword in hand. He gets a -10OB since he is fighting up, his opponent gets a +10OB. If he had a pole-arm he would have no modifier due to the height but might have one due to the narrow confines of the staircase. If his opponent had only a dagger, he would not get the +10OB for being higher up the stairs than Jaq.

Make the following modifications to table T4.3

Flank Attack +15 +0 +0 +0 +0 Cumulative with other position mods.
Rear Attack +20 +0 +0 +0 +0 Cumulative with other position mods.
Surprise Attack +20 +0 +0 +0 +0 Cumulative with other position mods.
Above Foe +10 +0 +0 +0 +0 Cumulative with other position mods.
Weapon must be able to reach.
Below Foe -10 +0 +0 +0 +0 Cumulative with other position mods.
Weapon must be able to reach.

Mounted Combat

When attempting to use a weapon skill while mounted, increase the fumble range based on pace and ridden creature. For most horses use: Mounted +1, Walking +2, Trot +5, Cantor +4, Gallop +3. Fumble range due to being mounted can be reduced by 1 for every 3 ranks in mounted combat and riding to a minimum of +1. A lack of stirrups adds an additional +2 to the fumble range for melee attacks. This addition cannot be reduced by mounted combat skill. The GM should determine if a different set of paces should use different modifiers for other ridden animals. For example, some ponies and horses have an amble pace that replaces the trot and should use the +3 fumble modifier instead of the +5. If two mounted combatants are attacking each other they should use at least the walking modifier due to the maneuvering of the mounts.

Riding a horse in combat requires a minimum of 10% activity to control the horse and requires a riding roll. Difficulty of the riding maneuver is based on pace per SoHK.

When attacking foes on the ground, the mounted combatant gets the position bonus previously described for being above his opponent. Similarly, those afoot attacking a mounted foe receive the position penalty unless they are using a pole-arm. Additionally a mounted combatant receives half soft cover verses non pole-arm melee attacks from the ground due to the mount putting most of the rider out of reach of a medium opponent on the ground.

Jaq is now attacking his arch-enemy while riding his trusty war-steed. He needs to cover some ground to close his foe so he has his horse at the trot giving a +5 to the fumble range. His mounted combat skill of 10 ranks reduces that by 3 for a fumble range of 01-05 with his broadsword. He uses 20% to control the horse giving him a medium riding maneuver at -20 and 80% for his deliberate attack. His Mounted combat skill with stat bonuses gives him 60OB, +10 for deliberate action, +10 for full melee attack, -20 for 80% activity, +10 for position since his foe is afoot, 35 dedicated to parry, +20 for a trot at 200'/round, gives him a total OB of 55. His DB is 0 from quickness, 35 from parry, and 20 from the cover provided from being mounted verses an unmounted melee opponent without a pole-arm, for a total of 55DB. His enemy, Dan, is at a bit of a disadvantage on foot. His 9 ranks in falchion and stats give him 58OB, he elects to use 30 to parry against Jaq trusting to his DB to save him from the horse trampling him. He chooses a deliberate(+10) full melee(+10) attack with no other activity, -10 for his position, +20 for Jaq's charge for a total OB of 58. His DB is 9 from quickness, 30 from parry for a total of 39DB vs Jaq and 9DB vs the horse. If he had been smart enough to bring a pole-arm, his OB would have been 78 due to the double charge bonus and no position penalty for pole-arms, he would have done double concussion hits if it was planted and Jaq's DB would only be 35 since he wouldn't get the cover.

New Skill: Athletic-Gymnastics, Seamanship

This skill provides a bonus for maneuvering on a boat or ship at sea. It included moving on rigging, decks, and other surfaces commonly found on boats and ships. It also includes common activities required of sailors including catching and tying off lines, avoiding moving spars and lines, and daily activity all on a rolling ship. Difficulty of the maneuver roll is determined by wave height, wind and size of boat. Use the following modifiers:

Wind (No wind to hurricane force) +00/-70
Wave height -2 per foot
Surface (Sticky to icy slick surface) +20/-70
Footgear (Specialized softsole slippers to hobnailed boots) +10/-50

Shipboard Combat

When attempting to use a weapon skill while on an unstable platform like a ship, raft, or moving wagon, increase the fumble range based on ship size, speed, and weather. Fumble range can be reduced by 1 for every rank in shipboard combat and seamanship to a minimum of +1.

  • Increase fumble range by 1 Per 2' width of the boat less than 50'.
  • Decrease fumble range by 1 for calm/river/lake.
  • Increase fumble range by 1 per 2' wave height.
  • Increase fumble range by 1 per 5 kts speed.
  • Decrease fumble range by 1 for keeled boats.
  • Decrease fumble range by 1 for centerboard(only if in place for removable boards).
  • Decrease fumble range by 2 for outriggers.
  • Fumble range modification is halved for martial arts grapple attacks.

Modified fumble ranges do not change the results of the attack tables. If a modified attack roll results in hits/crit and also lies within the modified fumble range, the attack has struck the opponent but the attacker still rolls the fumble and applies the result as he has lost his balance. If applicable, the GM may apply the results to the next round if it is determined that that makes more sense.