Combat and Adventuring
— House Rules and Clarifications

Hitting Things

We will be using the "inverted" system for determining what you hit in combat:

(3d6 + OCV ± modifiers) + 10 = DCV hit

In other words, roll your dice, add and/or subtract everything appropriate, and the resulting number minus ten is the DCV you hit with that blow.

(Note that DCV is calculated by DEX ÷ 3 + 10 — the resulting huge number is simply to accommodate the inverted attack system).

In combat, a high roll is always better than a low roll.

Hit Locations

We will be using Hit Locations purely for the purpose of determining whether a blow hits an armoured spot or not, and will not be using any damage modifiers for the locations.We'll be going back to using Hit Locations as normal, since there's plenty of magical healing available and I feel that they make combat more colourful.

Killing Attacks and STUN Damage

Any Killing Attack will always do x3 STUN — we will not be using an additional STUN MUltiplier die. For example, if your HKA does 8 BODY, it does 8 x 3 = 24 STUN. If it does 18 BODY, it does 18 x 3 = 54 STUN.

Martial Arts

To ease the pain of those sensible souls who use Hero Designer for character creation, I've created a Martial Arts prefab which will allow you to place all the most common maneuvers without having to build each from scratch. You can get it here (right-click and "Save as..." Martial Arts.hdp)

Rather than using the antiquated and arbitrarily priced martial arts maneuvers listed in the core rules, all maneuvers will be built using Powers, Advantages and Limitations (just like almost everything else in the system) and be placed inside a Martial Arts Multipower.

This change will make it slightly more expensive for martial arts dilletantes, who just want enough maneuvers to give them an edge in combat but aren't true martial artists in the wire-fu sense, but it will make it cheaper to amass a huge repertoire of fancy stunts for those who want to devote themselves to leaping and whacking. Bear in mind that the Multipower's Active POint value must be at least large enough to match the Active Point value of the largest Power within it.

The cost-effectiveness of martial maneuvres will now more accurately reflect their usefulness, in line with the rest of the system's Powers, Talents etc., rather than being priced arbitrarily to cater to ancient character building practices from Champions I in 1981.

The Armour Piercing Advantage

My rationale for the change is this: armour-piercing attacks in real life are effective only up to a certain point. They don't just halve the defensive value of the armour they're used against, unlike the AP advantage as written. I didn't want to make an attack's AP capabilities absolutely predictable however, hence the use of a semi-random dice mechanic.

In the Hero System rules, Armour Piercing is treated very simply � it ignores half of the target's defences. If Doktor Depravo has a DEF of 23, the attack treats it as a DEF of 12. If his puny minion's DEF were 6, the same attack would treat it as a DEF of 3.

Unfortunately, this is not how armour piercing works in the real world. It's not reasonable that the same attack should penetrate 11 points of Doktor Depravo's Dastardly Defensive Device's force field, while only penetrating 3 points of his minion's bullet-proof vest; the attack should penetrate the same amount of armour in both cases.

The Modification

Instead of automatically halving the target's defences, an attack with the Armour Piercing advantage ignores the same DEF as the amount of Normal BODY rolled for the attack.

Example: Ruggedly handsome soldier of fortune Dirk Storm fires at a knight in full plate (DEF 8) with his trusty crossbow, a 2d6 AP RKA. He hits, doing 7 points (rolling a 5 and a 2 on his 2d6, or 2 Normal BODY). The knight's effective armour DEF drops to 6, and he takes 1 point of BODY from Dirk's crossbow bolt.

Armour Piercing can be taken multiple times, with each additional advantage multiplying the DEF ignored by +1, i.e., if taken twice it ignores (nBODY x 2) of the target's DEF, if thrice, (nBODY x 3), etc.

Hardened defences cancel out Armour Piercing on a level-by-level basis.

Falling damage is always treated as armour piercing.

Armour Piercing is a +½ Advantage.

Critical Hits and Fumbles


In combat, a natural roll of 18 is a Critical Hit and you get the option of

  1. Doing maximum damage for the attack, or
  2. Choosing the Hit Location damaged by the attack.

If an 18 is required just to hit, then no Critical occurs when one is thrown. A natural 18 is not neccessarily an automatic hit.

A natural roll of 3 is a Fumble, and will result in Something Bad happening — precisely what happens will depend on what would be funniest at the time. Examples include:

Other Skills

When it comes to Skills, the rolls are reversed: a 3 is a Critical Success and an 18 is Fumble. Precise results will be entirely dependent on the skill being used and circumstances, but regardless of the specific result a Critical Success will give you the best possible outcome of the skill use, whereas a Fumble will not only fail, but will result in the worst possible outcome of failure (probably not fatal, but I make no promises....)

STUN, END and Recoveries

Because this is a cinematic-style game as far as combat is concerned, I am doing away with Stunning. Characters who take STUN damage still keep track of it, and when your STUN total drops to 0 you are unconscious, but you don't get Stunned by taking more STUN than your CON. I'm reinstating Stunning, mainly because removing it makes creating certain magical effects far more difficult, but also because without it a powerful character can pretty much wade through scores of mooks without having to worry. OK, so they're only mooks, but even so a hundred of them should be slightly worrisome.

END use is only used for magic (unless you're trying to move while carrying something really heavy — see below), and for the most part will therefore be drawn from the character's Mana Pool.

There is no automatic Post-Segment-12 Recovery. If you're getting low on STUN or END, you actually have to use an action to Recover. You can't recover END in the same Phase you're burning it, (or recover STUN in any Phase you take STUN) so that may mean that you will have to get out of combat, stop moving, and/or possibly let an ongoing spell cease, before you can Recover.


Everybody gets Fast Healing by default, because I'm such a generous guy, and because — well, just because. What that means is that you heal naturally (i.e. without magical intervention) at the rate of your REC per week, instead of REC per month as normal.

For example, if you get whacked by Gobbo the Clobberer's Mace of Clobberin' and take 8 BODY (ow!), and you have a REC of 4, it will take you two weeks to heal completely. If you have a REC of 6, it will take a week and a bit.

If you feel really anal, you can work out exactly how many hours you need to heal 1 BODY. Who knows, it might be important.

Combat Luck

Combat Luck is limited to no more than 2 levels (i.e. 6 PD/ED) and does not stack with any physical armour heavier than soft leather (i.e. 1 rPD). That still gives you the equivalent of wearing chainmail while dancing around in your jockstrap, which isn't too bad. Because this is a campaign-wide Limitation on the Talent, it doesn't make Combat Luck any cheaper. Sorry.

Note that Combat Luck doesn't come into effect if you're taken by surprise, attacked in your sleep, or can't dodge around for some reason — if you're being crushed in a giant's fist, for example.

The Deadly Blow Talent

This Talent must be defined in one of three ways:

As a magical ability, either a spell or as an effect of a magic weapon. This is the only version that would be 100% reliable, but probably be limited to X number of uses per day, or only vs. a specific target type, or something like that. This would be the paladin's "Smite Evil" ability, or a Giant-Slaying sword effect.
As an expression of a high level of combat skill. In this case, there would be no limit on the number of times per day it could be employed, but it would be limited relative to the combat roll: you'd only be able to get the benefit of a Deadly Blow if you beat the defender's DCV by at least 5, so that relatively crappy shots that only just sneak past his defences wouldn't get the benefit of the extra damage. This means that it's not so easy to get the benefit of both a called shot and Deadly Blow; both together are just too unbalancing, and if the Bad Guys start doing it too then PC deaths are going to multiply horribly. We don't want that now, do we.
This version is restricted to a maximum of +1d6 damage.
As an expression of an intimate knowledge of anatomy — you know precisely where to stick it in to do the best (or worst, depending on point of view) damage. This would be the assassin's version of the Talent.
Again, there would be no limit on the number of attempts per day, but you'd have to make a successful PS:Anatomy roll. You'd have to have the appropriate Anatomy skill for each species of target of course (e.g. humans, horses, snakes, kittens etc.) and the roll would be modified for sub-groups — e.g. humans, dwarves and mind-flayers are all humanoid. Dwarves are pretty similar anatomically to humans, but not identical; call that a -1 to the roll. Mind-flayers are also roughly similar, but not nearly as much as a dwarf — they might be worth a -5, and so on.
For this version, there are further restrictions, in that the target must be DCV 0 (surprised or immobilized, or in some other way denied defensive maneuver) AND you only get to add the Deadly Blow damage if the weapon's base damage manages to sneak at least 1 BODY past any resistant defences, to avoid the situation where a sneaky assassin manages to bring down a plate-armoured knight with a thumb-tack.

Regardless of which version is used, Deadly Blow must cost END.


You can use your Acting skill in combat as a half-Phase action to feint before landing your real blow. For every two points you make the Acting roll by, you gain +1 OCV for that attack. However, for every two points you fail the roll by, you lose -1 DCV until your next Phase.

Overland Movement

DCV and
Dex Roll
per Turn
Up to 10%-00

The distance a character can travel easily in one day is dependent on three things:

  1. Their own movement rate — inches of Combat Movement x SPD gives the Base Overland Movement Rate (BOMR) in Movement Units (MU). This is the nominal distance a character can travel in 10 hours in good weather — bad weather will modify the MU Distance downwards, depending on its severity.
  2. The terrain being traversed — the ease or difficulty of the terrain will increase or decrease the distance covered, as below.
  3. The weight being carried — Carrying 25% or more of the character's maximum will reduce their Movement, and thus their BOMR. Each point of END from encumbrance costs 1 LTE (Long Term END) per 2 MU travelled (see table).
TerrainMU DistanceExamples
Very Easy2 kmGood roads in mostly flat country
Easy1.5 kmOpen plain, good roads or tracks in close or hilly country
Difficult0.75 kmReasonably open forest, rough tracks in close or broken country such as forested hills or rocky mountains
Very Difficult0.25 kmDense brush or jungle, trackless broken country

Additionally, each two MU travelled beyond the character's BOMR costs the character +1 LTE.

If all that seems a bit complicated, don't worry. What it boils down to is this: if you travel far, you'll get tired. If you carry a lot, you'll get tired. If you travel far carrying a lot, you'll get really tired.

Example: Zosia has a Movement rate of 6" and SPD 4, which means she can move 6 x 4 = 24 MU per day (unencumbered) without suffering any particular fatigue. On good, flat roads, that means she can easily walk 48 km per day. In easy, open country she can make 36 km, along forest tracks 18 km, and in trackless mountains only 6 km. If she exceeds these distances, then she has to burn LTE to do so.

Her STR is 18, with a maximum lift of 303 kg, so as long as she carries no more than 72 kg she'll remain essentially unencumbered as far as her movement is concerned. If she carries 73 kg or more, her base move drops and she will start using LTE as she travels.