Thursday, August 20, 2009

Dark Sun, Part III: Combat

Weapons and other equipment are made from a variety of materials. The pre-Collapse civilizations of Athas used up the vast majority of natural resources, including metal ores. Thus the most common materials used to fashion weapons are natural materials such as bone, flint, obsidian, and the like. Common weapons function at -1 to hit and damage. Anytime a natural weapon misses with a "snake-eyes", it breaks.

Bronze and iron are prized metals. Given the state of Athasian forging, they function identically as normal equipment.

Steel items are so rare as to be magical treasures. Steel weapons function at +1 to hit and damage.

As discussed above, most armour in Athas is made from a natural materials., with leather or cotton the most common, but wooden armour and plates made from giant arthropods is not unknown. The near-constant temperature of the Burning World further limits armour use: anyone wearing metal armour must make a CON Save every hour, with a penalty equal to the armour class, or collapse from heat-stroke.

Wearing natural armour does not prompt such a need, provided proper hydration is provided. However, anytime a natural piece of armour (including shields) takes a hit from "box-cars", it is ruined.

Shields grant a -2 penalty to incoming attacks (except against a weapon such a a flail, which is designed to circumvent shields). A combatant may use a parrying weapon in the off-hand instead of a shield. This grants only a -1 to incoming melee attacks and no penalty to missile attacks. However, anytime such a character scores a critical hit, he automatically gets a second hit in with the other weapon (in other words, doing 2d6 damage instead of 1d6).

The following is the list of known Athasian armours and their corresponding armour classes. The types are generalized: "studded" refers to any light armour that has been reinforced with metal or something similar, "mail" refers to any armour composed of interlinked segments, and "plate" refers to any armour that is primarily composed of hardened plates, whether of metal, bone, or chitin.

[This is the point wherein the Attack Matrix should go. Once I'm done fiddling with it.]

Combat damage occurs as in standard S&S with the two changes to reflect the abstract nature of Hit Points. These changes grant characters a bit more survivability in a harsh world lacking readily-available healing magics, while upping the blood and guts of combat.

Regaining Hit Points - Hit Points are an abstract measure of vitality, ability to withstand pain, defensive skill, and luck. They do not simply measure “wounds taken.” At the conclusion of combat, all characters who still have at least one hit point regain half of the damage sustained in the bout (rounding down). Thus if a character takes a total of 5 points of damage, even if from different opponents, he regains 2 points once the fight ends and he can catch his breath.

Characters fall unconscious when they drop to zero hit points or less and normal healing rules apply. Such characters have taken serious damage and will need downtime or magic to heal. They do not regain damage as above, but use the standard rules.

Major Wounds - If a player wishes to avoid the entire damage resultant from one attack, he may roll on the Major Wounds Table instead. No Hit Points are lost; in exchange, the character suffers a serious wound with permanent effects upon one or more attributes. In other words, the character stays alive, but at the price of losing some parts.

Next up: the long awaited Major Wounds Table aka the Wheel of Dismemberment!

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