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Grim-N-Gritty (3.5e Sourcebook)/Combat Statistics

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This material is published under the OGL

Combat Statistics

The Grim-n-Gritty Hit Point and Combat Rules have a few significant differences from the core system. This section describes the combat statistics and details their use.

Attack Roll

An attack roll represents your attempt to strike your opponent on your turn in a round. When you make an attack roll, you roll a d20 and add your attack bonus. (Other modifiers may also apply to this roll.) Your opponent rolls a d20 and adds his defense bonus. If your result equals or beats the target’s Defense, you hit and deal damage. The Relative Degree of your success affects the amount of damage you inflict on the attack. (See Relative Degree, below.)

Automatic Misses and Hits: In this combat system, there are no automatic hits and misses.

Critical Hits: In The Grim-n-Gritty Hit Point and Combat System, there are no critical hits. Instead, the better you roll on your attack, the more damage you inflict upon your target. (Damage correlates with skill rather than weapon choice.)

However, we want to maintain diversity amongst weapons. Thus, add an amount equal to one less than the critical multiplier whenever you roll naturally within the critical range. So if you were using a scimitar, you would add one damage if you rolled from 18-20, while a scythe would add three damage whenever you rolled a natural 20.

Uploader's Note: For effects that proc off of critical hits, one should still roll to confirm rather than assuming that it goes off on every successful hit. If confirmed, only the effect procs, rather than gaining extra damage or the like.

Attack Bonus

Your attack bonus with a melee weapon is:

Base attack bonus + Strength modifier + size modifier

With a ranged weapon, your attack bonus is:

Base attack bonus + Dexterity modifier + size modifier + range penalty

Use the normal size rules to assign bonuses or penalties to attack based on size.

Damage

When your attack succeeds, you deal damage. The type of weapon used determines the base amount of damage you deal. Add the Relative Degree of your attack roll’s success to the damage you inflict. Your opponent’s Protection score reduces the damage you inflict. As a formula, the damage roll looks like this:

Weapon Damage + 1/2 Relative Degree – Opponent’s Protection

Apply the effects of Damage Reduction and Energy Resistance after you apply the results of this formula.

Minimum Damage: If penalties reduce the damage result to less than one, a hit inflicts no damage.

Ability Damage: Certain creatures and magical effects can cause temporary ability damage (a reduction to an ability score). Protection does not reduce ability damage.

Special Effects: Certain attacks may stun or daze an opponent, inflict poison, or perform some other sort of special effect. In order for the special effect to take place, the target must suffer at least one point of HP loss. Otherwise, the damage does not penetrate the target’s Protection, and the special effect cannot penetrate as well.

Bows: A Strength penalty, but not a bonus, applies on attacks made with a bow that is not a composite bow. With composite bows, you may add your Strength bonus.

Off-Hand Weapons: When you deal damage with a weapon in your off hand, you subtract 1/2 your Strength bonus from the damage roll (minimum 1 damage).

Wielding a Weapon Two-Handed: When you deal damage with a weapon that you are wielding two- handed, you add 1/2 times your Strength bonus.

You do not get this higher Strength bonus when using a light weapon with two hands.

Precision-Based Damage Dice: Rather than rolling extra damage when using Sneak Attack and similar precision-based sources of damage, characters instead gain a +2 bonus to their attack roll. While performing a sneak attack, you may make a Called Shot without provoking an attack of opportunity. For every die of damage beyond the first, add +1 to the attack roll.

If the base die of damage isn't a d6, subtract one (minimum +1) for every size smaller and add one for every size larger. Thus if a character had 2d8+2d6 precision damage, they would get +3 (d8 base) + 3 (3 other dice beyond the first) for a total of +6 to attack. On the other hand, simply +4d6 of precision damage would allow one to add +5 to attack.

Immunity to critical hits (such as that possessed by creatures without discernible anatomy or undead) no longer protects against sneak attacks. The GnG sneak attack represents taking advantage of an opening in your opponent’s defenses, rather than striking a vulnerable location.

Other Sources of Damage: This applies as well to all other sources of damage, though they add to damage. For example, the Searing Blade boost (Tome of Battle) would add +3 damage were it the only extra source of damage. As for sneak attack and similar effects, increase the damage by one for every die size larger; thus, d8 deals +3 damage, d10 deals +4 damage, d12 deals +5 damage, and d20 deals +6 damage, and +1 damage for every additional die above the first.

Thus, if something added +2d6+2d4 damage, it would instead become +5 (+2 from biggest die of d6, and +3 for extra dice).

Defense

Unlike the core rules, the GnG System does not use Armor Class to represent your ability avoid solid, damaging blows. Instead, the GnG system uses Defense.

Defense represents your ability to avoid attacks. It uses the following formula:

Dexterity modifier + class bonus + equipment penalty + size modifier + shield bonus

Using Defense: When an enemy attacks you, your enemy rolls d20 and adds his attack bonus. You roll d20 and add your defense bonus. If your opponent rolls equal to or higher than your result, he hits you, and you may suffer damage. If you roll higher, the attack misses you.

The Relative Degree of your opponent’s success affects the amount of damage you suffer. If you make a very poor roll and your opponent makes a high roll, you might suffer a fatal injury. However, if the difference between your rolls is small, you will suffer less damage from your enemy’s attack.

Immobilized or Unconscious: If you are immobilized or unconscious, you automatically roll a 1 on the d20 for Defense. You ignore any modifiers (positive or negative) for Dexterity, class, equipment, or shield.

Dexterity Modifier

If you cannot react to a blow, such as when you are flat-footed, you cannot apply your Dexterity bonus to Defense. (If you do not have a Dexterity bonus, nothing happens.)

Class Bonus

Your class and level grant you a bonus to your Defense. This represents your training in the active avoidance of attacks.

Classes that focus on combat and evasion provide the highest Defense bonuses. Classes that focus on intellectual and metaphysical pursuits afford the lowest bonuses.

Any situation that denies your Dexterity bonus also denies your class bonus.

Figuring your Class Bonus

Find the Defense bonus progression for any classes or monster hit dice that you possess. For example, a barbarian has a good Defense bonus progression.

Next, consult the Defense Bonus Progression table to determine your bonus for your levels in each of your classes.

Defense Bonus by Class
Type Class
Good Arcane Archer, Barbarian, Duelist, Dwarven Defender, Elocater, Fighter, Horizon Walker, Monk, Psionic Fist, Ranger, Rogue, Shadow Dancer, Slayer, Soulknife, War Mind.
Average Arcane Trickster, Assassin, Bard, Blackguard, Cleric, Dragon Disciple, Druid, Eldritch Knight, Paladin, Pyrokineticist, Psychic Warrior, Wilder.
Poor Archmage, Cerebremancer, Heirophant, Loremaster, Metamind, Mystic Theurge, Psion, Psion Uncarnate, Sorcerer, Thaumaturgist, Thrallherd, Wizard.
Defense Bonus by Creature Type
Type Type
Good Dragon, Fey, Magical Beast, Monstrous Humanoid, Outsider.
Average Aberration, Animal, Beast, Elemental, Giant, Humanoid, Shapechanger, Vermin.
Poor Construct, Ooze, Plant, Undead.
Defense Bonus by Modern and Future Class
Type Class
Good Battle Mind, Bodyguard, Daredevil, Fast Hero, Infiltrator, Martial Artist, Shadow Hunter, Swashbuckler, Thrasher.
Average Acolyte, Ambassador, Arcane Weaponsmaster, Dedicated Hero, Dogfighter, Dreadnaught, Explorer, Field Medic, Field Officer, Glamourist, Gunslinger, Helix Warrior, Holy/Unholy Knight, Investigator, Mage, Mystic, Shadowjack, Shadow Slayer, Soldier, Space Monkey, Speed Demon, Street Warrior, Strong Hero, Techie, Techno Savant, Tough Hero, Tracer, Wildlord.
Poor Arcane Arranger, Archmage, Artificer, Charismatic Hero, Ecclesiarch, Engineer, Field Scientist, Negotiator, Occultist, Personality, Smart Hero, Swindler, Techno Mage, Telepath, Xenophile.
  • The good defense progression gains +1 defense at every level.
  • The average defense progression gains +3 defense for every four levels they possess (+1 at levels 2, 3, 4, 6, 7, 8, and so on).
  • The poor defense progression gains +1 defense for every two levels they possess (+1 at levels 2, 4, 6, 8, 10, and so on).

Epic Level Progression: Your class Defense bonus does not increase after your character level reaches 20th. However, you do receive a cumulative +1 epic Defense bonus at every odd-numbered level beyond 20th.

Equipment Penalty

If you wear restrictive armor or carry a great deal of weight, you may suffer an equipment penalty to your Defense.

Encumbrance Penalty: The more weight you carry, the greater your difficulty in avoiding an attack. This penalty depends on your carrying capacity and the current load you bear. This progresses as follows:

  • No load and a light load inflict no penalty.
  • A medium load inflicts a -1 penalty.
  • A heavy load inflicts a -2 penalty.

The encumbrance penalty is cumulative with the Armor Check Penalty.

In combat, dropping non-essential gear is often a good choice!

Note: The weight of your armor and shield count towards your encumbrance penalty.

Shield Bonus

Shields make it harder for an opponent to hit you with an attack, so you add their bonuses to your Defense score. Any enhancement bonuses possessed by the shield also apply to Defense.

In situations where you lose your Dexterity modifier to Defense, you do not lose your shield bonus. You do lose your shield bonus when you become unconscious or immobilized.

Size Modifier

The bigger you are, the easier it is for opponents to strike you in combat. Likewise, the smaller you are, the more difficult it is to hit you. Your size modifier represents the effects of your current size on your ability to avoid attacks. Use the normal size rules to assign bonuses or penalties to defense based on size.

Other Modifiers

Many other factors modify your Defense.

  • Circumstance: Certain circumstances can affect your Defense. These circumstances can afford a +2 or -2 modifier, depending on your GM’s discretion.
  • Deflection: These ward off attacks and increase your Defense. Deflection bonuses function at all times, even if you are unconscious or immobilized.
  • Dodge: Dodge bonuses represent active avoidance of blows. Any situation that denies you your Dexterity bonus also denies your dodge bonus. Dodge bonuses stack with one another.
  • Enhancement: If a shield or other item possesses an enhancement bonus for Defense, this adds to your Defense score. Note: Armor and natural armor do not increase your Defense. They affect your Protection.
  • Haste: Haste bonuses represent an increase in your reaction time. To you, the world appears to move in slow motion. You can dodge attacks with ease. Any situation that causes you to lose your Dexterity bonus also denies your haste bonus.
  • Insight: Insight bonuses derive from supernatural awareness. You can respond to attacks more readily because you know from whence they come. You lose insight bonuses when unconscious or immobilized.
  • Luck: Luck bonuses mean that probability warps in your favor, making it harder for opponents to strike you. Even when flat-footed or unconscious, you keep your luck bonuses.
  • Sacred/Profane: Supernatural forces protect you from attacks. Sacred and profane modifiers remain in effect at all times, even when you are unconscious or immobilized.
Touch Attacks

Touch attacks require only the slightest physical contact to deliver damage. Because of this, you gain a +4 bonus to your attack roll when performing a touch attack. You also ignore shield bonuses to your target’s Defense.

Note by uploader: to allow higher-level spellcasters to target equal-level enemies (since AC scales far faster for full-BAB characters than the half-BAB that casters get), adding the attacker's level to attack when making touch attacks is a better solution than simply adding a straight +4.

Hit Points

For calculating hit points, the GnG system uses a different method from the core rules.

A character does not receive hit points based on dice rolled at each level. Instead, he gains a set amount of HP from his Constitution score, with a slight bonus from class and level (along with feats and special abilities). Multiply this amount by a size modifier.

The formula for HP equals:

(Constitution + Class Bonus + Other Modifiers) x Size Multiplier

Constitution Score

Your base amount of HP equals your total (current) Constitution score. If some effect causes you to lose or gain Constitution points, your HP changes as well.

No Constitution: Creatures and constructs with no Constitution score use 20 as their base amount of HP.

Class Bonus

Depending on your character class and level (as well as monster hit dice and creature type), you may gain additional base HP.

Figuring your Class Bonus

Find the HP bonus progression for any classes or monster hit dice that you possess. For example, a barbarian has a good HP bonus progression.

Next, consult the HP Bonus Progression table to determine your bonus for your levels in each of your classes.

HP Bonus by Class
Type Class
Good Barbarian, Blackguard, Dragon Disciple, Dwarven Defender, Fighter, Paladin, Soulknife.
Average Arcane Archer, Assassin, Bard, Cleric, Druid, Duelist, Eldritch Knight, Heirophant, Horizon Walker, Monk, Psychic Warrior, Pyrokineticist, Psionic Fist, Ranger, Rogue, Shadow Dancer, Slayer.
Poor Arcane Trickster, Archmage, Cerebremancer, Elocater, Loremaster, Metamind, Mystic Theurge, Psion, Psion Uncarnate, Sorcerer, Thaumaturgist, Thrallherd, Wilder, Wizard.
HP Bonus by Creature Type
Type Type
Good Beast, Construct, Dragon, Magical Beast, Ooze, Undead.
Average Aberration, Animal, Elemental, Giant, Humanoid, Monstrous Humanoid, Outsider, Plant, Shapechanger, Vermin.
Poor Fey
HP Bonus by Modern and Future Class
Type Class
Good Arcane Weaponsmaster, Bodyguard, Daredevil, Dreadnaught, Helix Warrior, Holy/Unholy Knight, Soldier, Space Monkey, Street Warrior, Thrasher, Tough Hero.
Average Acolyte, Battle Mind, Dogfighter, Explorer, Fast Hero, Field Medic, Field Officer, Gunslinger, Infiltrator, Martial Artist, Negotiator, Shadow Hunter, Shadow Slayer, Speed Demon, Strong Hero, Swashbuckler, Tracer, Wildlord, Xenophile.
Poor Ambassador, Arcane Arranger, Archmage, Artificer, Charismatic Hero, Dedicated Hero, Ecclesiarch, Engineer, Field Scientist, Glamourist, Investigator, Mage, Mystic, Occultist, Personality, Shadowjack, Smart Hero, Swindler, Techie, Techno Mage, Techno Savant, Telepath.
  • The good HP progression gains +1 HP at every level.
  • The average HP progression gains +3 HP for every four levels they possess (+1 at levels 2, 3, 4, 6, 7, 8, and so on).
  • The poor HP progression gains +1 HP for every two levels they possess (+1 at levels 2, 4, 6, 8, 10, and so on).

For example, a 9th level monk has +6 HP, while a 7th level fighter/10th level sorcerer has +12 HP.

Epic Level Progression: Your class HP bonus does not increase after your character level reaches 20th. However, you do receive a cumulative +1 epic base HP bonus at every even-numbered level beyond 20th.

Other Modifiers

A few other factors modify your Hit Points.

  • Circumstance: Certain circumstances can affect your base Hit Points. These circumstances can afford a +2 or -2 modifier, depending on your GM’s discretion.
  • Enhancement: If some force provides any enhancement bonuses to HP, add them to your base total.
  • Sacred/Profane: Add sacred or profane modifiers to your base HP score.
  • Toughness: Each time you take the Toughness feat, you add +3 HP to your base score.
Size Multiplier

Your size as a creature affects the amount of HP that you possess. You multiply your base amount of HP (derived from Constitution + class bonus + other modifiers) by your size modifier. Smaller creatures end up with fewer HP. Larger creatures can possess a tremendous amount of hit points.

The HP multiplier is equal to the bonus to attack on the normal size rules multiplied by -2 (or multiply the number by two and divide the original by it for sizes smaller than medium). Thus, a large creature would double their HP, while a Gargantuan creature would multiple their HP by 8, a small creature would have half the HP of a similar creature of medium size, and a Diminutive creature would divide their total HP by 8.

CR and Size: Since size has major impact on a creature’s HP in the GnG system, standard CR’s need a slight adjustment. Add one to a creature's CR for every size modifier it's larger than medium by (+1 for Large creatures, +2 for Huge creatures) and subtract one from the creature's CR for every size modifier it's smaller than medium by (-1 for Small creatures, -2 for Tiny creatures, and so on).

Protection

Protection is your ability to resist damage from attacks.

You subtract your Protection score from all damage inflicted upon you. The higher your Protection score, the less damage you suffer from attacks.

You figure Protection using the following formula:

Armor bonus + Natural Armor bonus

Using Protection: When an enemy hits you with a ranged or melee attack, he rolls his damage, applies modifiers, and adds the Relative Degree of his attack roll’s success. This is the total damage from his attack. You subtract your Protection score from this amount. The remainder is the amount of damage you suffer from the attack.

When you suffer damage from saving throw based attacks, you subtract your Protection score from the damage. You lose HP based on the remaining amount.

You subtract your Protection score from all damage, regardless of the source. (This includes area-effect attacks.)

Your Protection score cannot reduce damage to less than zero.

If your Protection reduces the damage to zero, you suffer no damage from the attack.

Note: Total all damage modifiers to an attack before applying Protection. For example, if your attack gets bonus damage dice from high-explosive ammunition, you add the extra dice to the total. Then, your target applies Protection.

Damage Reduction: Apply the effects of Damage Reduction after Protection.

Energy Resistance: Energy resistance applies to damage after Protection.

Poison and Disease: Protection has no effect on HP loss caused by poison or disease.

Falling Damage: Protection has no effect on HP loss caused by falling damage.

Environmental Damage: Protection has no effect on HP loss from starvation, suffocation, extreme heat, extreme cold, and similar environmental or intrinsic damage sources.

Armor Bonus

Like armor, natural armor reduces the damage you suffer from a successful attack.

Other Modifiers

A few other factors modify your Protection.

  • Circumstance: Certain circumstances can affect your Protection. These circumstances can afford a +2 or -2 modifier, depending on your GM’s discretion.
  • Enhancement: If the armor or natural armor that you wear possesses any enhancement bonuses to Protection, add them to your Protection total.
  • Sacred/Profane: Supernatural forces may alter your Protection score. Add sacred or profane modifiers to your score.
  • Monk’s AC Bonus: The AC bonus for monk levels applies to Protection.

Note: Deflection, dodge, haste, insight, and luck modifiers affect Defense, not Protection.

Bypassing Protection

Certain types of attacks allow you to ignore part of your target’s Protection score. These attacks include:

  • Armor Piercing: Armor piercing attacks halve your target’s armor and natural armor bonuses to Protection.
  • Armor Ignoring: Armor ignoring attacks ignore your target’s armor and natural armor bonuses to Protection.

Relative Degree (RD)

At the center of the GnG combat system lies the concept of Relative Degree.

Relative Degree is the difference between attacker’s Attack roll and the defender’s Defense roll.

To get Relative Degree, you subtract the Defender’s result from the Attacker’s result. For example, if the attacker rolls a 24 and the defender rolls a 16, the Relative Degree is +8 (24 – 16 = 8). Add one-half this amount to the attacker’s damage roll on a successful hit.

Note: Damage from grenade-like and splash weapons does not increase due to Relative Degree.

Grappling: In grappling, the Relative Degree of the attack comes from the opposed grapple check. Subtract the defender’s grapple check result from the attacker’s grapple check result. Add that amount to the attacker’s grappling damage, should the attacker win the check.

Consider: Relative Degree makes the combat system reward an attacker’s skill, rather than weapon selection, when determining damage. It also makes increases in damage more consistent than the more random critical hit mechanic. Finally, it permits a skilled attacker to overcome heavy armor with a precise hit.

This reflects a more realistic approach to combat. In real life, a skilled attacker can worm a dagger through a less skilled opponent’s heavy armor and dispatch him with a single blow.

After three years of training in a combat (rather than sport) martial art, the author has reached some surprising conclusions about the singular value of skill in battle.



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