Fighting

First, some necessary definitions:

Threat Zone: The hex immediately in front of a character, and the two hexes immediately adjacent to that hex. Also called the character's "front hexes". A character who is unconscious, dead, fallen, prone, surprised, etc., has no Threat Zone.

Disengaged: A character who is not in another character's Threat Zone is Disengaged.

Engaged: A character who is in another character's Threat Zone is Engaged. The character doing the Engaging need not necessarily himself be Engaged, though two characters who are facing one another and are in each other's Threat Zones are both Engaged with each other. It is possible that a character may be unable to Engage another, due to large disparities in size, power level, etc.; a normal human (one hex) is unable to, by himself, Engage a dragon (seven hexes or more).

Characters who are Disengaged have much more freedom of movement than characters who are Engaged; see below under Combat Movement for more information.

Phases:

A combat turn is broken up into the following Phases:

  1. Initiative: Determine who goes first.
  2. Spell Upkeep: If applicable.
  3. Movement: Characters take their movement actions.
  4. Combat Actions: This includes fighting and casting spells.

During each Phase, only the stated actions occur. Actions are not simultaneous; first one character's action happens, then another's.

Initiative: During the Initiative phase, characters don't do anything. Players determine which character goes first. Characters go in order of their Effective Dexterity scores, from high to low. If two characters are tied, each of them makes a Dexterity Check; the character with the higher margin of success goes first.

The initiative order determined during this Phase holds for the rest of the combat turn, even if a character's Effective Dexterity changes during the turn.

Optional Advanced Initiative System: All characters make a Dexterity Check, and go first in order from highest to lowest margin of success.

Spell Upkeep: Some spells require spending additional Strength in order to maintain an ongoing effect; if so, a character does this on his turn, before moving. If he moves, but fails to announce he is performing upkeep, any spell that required upkeep to continue for this turn fails.

Combat Movement

Characters move in Initiative order, with the exception of chases (situations where one character is moving and another character is trying to catch him — this isn't a strict game definition; if it looks like a chase then it is one). In a chase, the character ahead always moves first, though for the other Phases the characters act in Effective Dexterity order.

Important General Rule of Thumb: Regarding combat movement and actions, a character can perform any action which his movement during the Turn and current circumstances allow. For instance, if a character performs a Shift action while Engaged (thus moving one hex) and then somehow stops being Engaged for any reason (the character Engaging him dies, falls over, disappears, or anything else) he is now treated as a Disengaged character who has moved one hex, and can perform any of the actions available to a Disengaged character that has only moved one hex; he could shoot with a missile weapon if he has it ready, or cast a spell, or ready a weapon, or drop, or dodge, or attack with a ready melee weapon or barehanded if he has a target.

Disengaged Characters: During the Movement Phase, only characters who are Disengaged may move freely. A Disengaged character can make the following types of movement actions:

  • Stand up: Standing up, from a fallen, prone, or kneeling position, costs the character's full Movement for the Turn.
  • Step: The character can move one hex.
  • Jog: The character can move up to two hexes.
  • Half Move: The character can move up to half of his Movement (round up).
  • Full Move: The character can move up to his full Movement.
  • Delay: The character can choose to temporarily end his movement, to wait and see what else happens during the turn. A Delay action can be performed after moving any amount up to half of the character's Movement score.

Engaged Characters: During the Movement Phase, characters who are Engaged are much more limited in their choices. An Engaged character can make one of the following types of movement actions:

  • Stand up: This is identical to a Disengaged character's Stand up movement action.
  • Shift: The character may move up to one hex, to another hex in which his Engagement status does not change. (In other words, he must be Engaged with all of the characters he was Engaged with before. If he was Engaged with only one character, he may move to one adjacent hex in his opponent's threat zone; if he was Engaged with more than one character, the adjacent hex he moves to must be in all opponents' threat zones.) It costs the same amount of Movement as a Step (one hex in either case); the main difference between a Step and a Shift is that a Shift is done while Engaged, and must be done from an Engaged position to another Engaged position with the same character.
  • Stand still: And use no movement.

Combat Actions

When it comes to combat, a character is considered to be in one of two states: Engaged or Disengaged. A character who moves into another character's threat zone (which means the hex directly in front of that character and the two hexes on either side of it) becomes Engaged and must stop moving immediately. An Engaged character is Engaged regardless of his own facing; the salient feature is that another character is capable of attacking him.

A character who is anywhere but in another character's threat zone is Disengaged and may move freely.

During the Combat Actions Phase, a character who is Disengaged may perform one of the following actions (note in all instances the Move portion of the action has already occurred during the Movement Phase):

  • Stand up: A character who is prone, kneeling, or fallen may stand up during the turn and do nothing else.
  • Take a breather: (Optional) A character can recover 1d6 nonlethal damage and do nothing else.
  • Move one hex and shoot: A character who has moved no more than one hex may shoot with a missile weapon he has ready.
  • Move one hex and cast: A character who has moved no more than one hex may cast a spell.
  • Move one hex and disbelieve: A character who has moved no more than one hex may attempt to disbelieve an illusion (see below under Disbelieving Illusions).
  • Move two hexes and ready: A character who has moved no more than two hexes may ready a weapon that is not currently ready.
  • Half move and drop: A character who has moved no more than half of his Movement may drop to the ground, to a prone or kneeling position (the player specifies which)
  • Half move and Dodge: A character who has moved no more than half of his Movement may perform a Dodge action.
  • Charge and attack: A character who has moved no more than half of his Movement may attack with any ready weapon except a missile weapon.
  • Full move: A character who has moved more than half, up to his full Movement score may do nothing else during the turn.

A character who is Engaged may perform one of the following actions (note again that all movement related to these actions has already occurred during the Movement Phase):

  • Stand up. A character who has already stood up during the turn may do nothing else.
  • Stand still and shoot a charging enemy. A character who has not moved during the Turn may shoot at a charging enemy with a ready missile weapon. He then drops the weapon. A character can almost always do this; the situations in which he can't will be specified.
  • Stand still, drop and/or pick up weapons. A character who has not moved during the Turn may drop any weapon(s) he has in hand, and/or a shield, and pick up any dropped weapons in his hex. He may do nothing else.
  • Shift one hex and attack: A character who has moved no more than one hex may attack with a non-missile, ready weapon.
  • Shift one hex and defend: A character who has moved no more than one hex may perform a Defend action.
  • Shift one hex and switch: A character who has moved no more than one hex may drop a weapon he has in hand, and ready a new non-missile weapon.
  • Shift one hex and attack hand-to-hand: A character who Shifted during his Movement Phase may attack barehanded or with a small HTH weapon. He drops all weapons he has in hand that are not small HTH weapons.
  • Shift one hex and cast: A character who Shifted during his Movement Phase may cast a spell.
  • Shift one hex and disbelieve: Identical to the "move one hex and disbelieve" action for a Disengaged character.
  • Disengage: A character who has not moved during the Turn may attempt to move out of an opponent's threat zone.

The actions are further explained below:

Stand up: A character who has fallen, been knocked down, dropped prone or to his knees may stand up. This uses up all of his movement for the turn.

Shoot: The character attacks another with a ready missile weapon.

Attack: The character attacks another with a non-ranged attack (ready melee weapon or barehanded).

Defend or Dodge: These both act exactly the same; Defend is used by a character who is Engaged, against hand-to-hand or melee combat (i.e. any non-ranged attack), while Dodge is used by a character who is Disengaged, against ranged attacks (missile attacks or thrown weapons, including ranged Spells). In order to Defend, a character must have a ready weapon in hand with which to parry or block the incoming attack; in order to Dodge, the character must be able to move. If a target is Dodging or Defending, the attacker rolls 4d6 to hit him instead of 3d6.

Disengage: The character attempts to move one hex, to a hex outside of the opponent's threat zone. A Disengage action occurs during the Combat Actions phase rather than Movement. To Disengage, move one hex away from the opponent, outside of his threat zone. If he wishes to attack you he may do so, regardless of your relative Effective Dexterity scores; if your Effective Dexterity is greater than his, his attack roll is at -1 per point of difference.

Special note: A character who performs a Step action into another character's threat zone (thus becoming Engaged) may be treated as if he performed a Shift action, and can perform any of the "Shift and…" actions.

Attacking

The attacker rolls a Dexterity Check, modified by his weapon, armor, wounds, Skill, and other factors. On a successful check, he hits the target and rolls the weapon's damage.

Damage

When a character is damaged in combat, subtract the value of any armor, protective Spells, or other protective abilities from the amount of damage; the result is the amount of damage the character takes. For example, if a target wearing Plate armor (with an armor value of 5) is hit for an attack dealing 8 points of damage, he takes (8-5) 3 points.

Effects of Damage
A character's Effective Strength is equal to his regular Strength minus the amount of damage he has taken. When a character's Effective Strength reaches 1 as a result of damage, he falls unconscious; when it reaches 0, he dies.

A character that takes 5 or more points of damage in a single Turn has his Effective Dexterity reduced by 2 for the next Turn only.

A character that takes 8 or more damage in a single Turn falls down. If the damage is figured after armor, the character falls down automatically; if the total is 8 damage before armor but less than that after, the character can make a Dexterity Check at -2 (no penalty if he has the Acrobatics Skill) to avoid falling down. If this roll is successful, he is instead moved back one hex.

If using the Optional Movement Rules above, a character loses 1 Movement for every 2 damage he takes (this is calculated from Strength loss; don't recalculate Movement for Strength then apply this as additional penalty!).

Optional Nonlethal Damage Rule: Damage is divided into two types: Lethal and Nonlethal. There are four types of attacks:

  • Stunning, which do all of their damage as Nonlethal only
  • Bludgeoning, which do 1/3 of their damage as Lethal and 2/3 as Nonlethal
  • Damaging, which do all of their damage as Lethal
  • Shock, which do all of their damage as Lethal, and the same amount as Nonlethal

All other attacks, and spells that are not specified, do their full damage as Lethal. Strength loss from spellcasting is considered to be Nonlethal damage. As in the Optional Spellcasting Damage Rule, a character falls unconscious when he has taken a total amount damage (Lethal and Nonlethal) equal to his Strength, but only dies when his Lethal damage equals his Strength score.

Armor stops Lethal damage first, and healing spells heal Lethal damage first, unless otherwise specified.

A character can take a breather; he does nothing else and recovers 1d6 worth of nonlethal damage. This means he does nothing else during the turn; no movement, no fighting, no spending STR on maintaining spells (though any spells that aren't up for upkeep this turn, or any spells that cost 0 STR for upkeep, will continue). If he takes any damage at all through armor, lethal or nonlethal, during the Turn, then his breather is spoiled and he does not recover. Other characters are at +3 to hit a character who is taking a breather.

A character who goes unconscious essentially spends every turn taking a breather; he recovers 1d6 nonlethal damage each turn. He becomes conscious once he recovers more STR than the amount of lethal damage he has taken (note that that's greater than, not greater than or equal to; a character who has taken 2 lethal damage has to recover to 3 STR or better before he becomes conscious). Example: A character with 10 STR who has taken 12 damage, 4 lethal and 8 nonlethal, is now at -2 STR. Since he has taken 4 lethal damage he has to recover to greater to 5 or more STR, so he has to recover at least 7 STR worth of nonlethal damage.

A character who has gone unconscious due to taking a total of more than half his STR in lethal damage won't wake up during this combat; it takes 1 minute per additional STR loss to wake up, and he has to be receiving some kind of assistance.

Standard Damage Progression

When converting bonuses to dice, the progression is: 1 point, 2 points/1d6-4, 3 points/1d6-3, 1d6-2, 1d6-1, 1d6. Dice are additive to this; 1d6+2 with an additional +1 becomes 1d6+3 or 2d6-3, an additional +1 makes it 2d6-2, and so on. When a value falls on the cusp between some number of dice +3 and one more die -3, (for example, 1d6+3 and 2d6-3) usually the better choice is fewer dice with the bonus.

See the following table:

Damage Progression Table
Bonus: 0 dice One die Two dice Three dice
+1 1 point 1d6+1 2d6+1 3d6+1
+2 2 points/1d6-4 1d6+2 2d6+2 3d6+2
+3 1d6-3 1d6+3/2d6-3 2d6+3/3d6-3 3d6+3/4d6-3
+4 1d6-2 2d6-2 3d6-2 4d6-2
+5 1d6-1 2d6-1 3d6-1 4d6-1
+6 1d6 2d6 3d6 4d6

When adding bonuses to values that already have bonuses or penalties, a full dice value +1 goes to the top of the next column. For instance, 1d6+3 with an additional +4 in bonuses becomes 1d6+7 which becomes 2d6+1, while 1d6-3 with +4 in bonuses becomes 1d6+1.

This table can also be used to determine base damage done by Strength value; the 0 dice column is simply Strength equal to the listed bonus, while the one die column is equal to 6 plus the bonus, the two dice column 12 plus the bonus, and so on. A punch is considered a bludgeoning attack, while any other attack does damage by weapon type. (For example, a character with 10 Strength (read the One die column at +4) does 2d6-2 bludgeoning damage with a punch, while a character with 14 Strength would do 2d6+2.)

Weapons

The weapons available to characters in W&W are listed in the table below.

Weapons Table
Weapon Name ~Damage ~STR Min. ~Length ~Notes
Knives:
Dagger 1d6-1 - Short Thrown
Main-Gauche 1d6-1 - Short
Swords:
Rapier 1d6 9 Medium
Cutlass 2d6-2 10 Medium
Short Sword 2d6-2 11 Medium
Broadsword 2d6 12 Medium
Bastard sword (1-hand) 2d6+1 13 Medium 2-handed
Bastard sword (2-hands) 3d6-2 13 Medium 2-handed
Axe/Mace/Hammer:
Club 1d6 9 Medium Thrown
Hatchet 1d6 9 Medium Thrown
Hammer 1d6+1 10 Medium Thrown
Mace 2d6-1 11 Medium Thrown
Small Axe 1d6+2 11 Short Thrown
Pick 2d6 12 Medium
Morningstar 2d6+1 13 Medium
Great Hammer 2d6+2 14 Medium 2-handed
Battleaxe 3d6 15 Medium 2-handed
Pole Arms:
Javelin 1d6-1 9 Medium Thrown
Spear 1d6+2 11 Long Thrown, 2-handed
Halberd 2d6-1 13 Long Thrown, 2-handed
Pike Axe 2d6+2 15 Long 2-handed
Trident 1d6 10 Medium
Naginata 1d6+2 10 Long 2-handed
Cavalry Lance 3d6-1 13 Long
Pike 2d6+ or as Spear 12 Long 2-handed; Special
Missile Weapons:
Thrown Rock 1d6-4 - Thrown
Sling 1d6-2 -
Short Bow 1d6-1 9 2-handed
Horseman’s Bow 1d6 10 2-handed
Longbow 1d6+2 11 2-handed
Light Crossbow 2d6 12 2-handed
Heavy Crossbow 3d6 15 2-handed
Other Weapons
Quarterstaff 1d6+2 11 Medium
Net 1d6-3 10 Thrown
Cestus (See Notes) - Short Damage based on STR
Whip 1d6-1 8 Long
Lasso (See Notes) 8 Thrown
Fighting Boomerang 2d6 11 Thrown
Nunchaku 1d6+1 8 Medium
Spear Thrower +2 to thrown spear (See Notes) STR Minimum is for spear thrown
Blowgun Poison -
Dart Poison -
Burning Torch (See Notes) - Medium See below under Fire Damage
Improvised Weapon (See Notes) Short/Medium See below under Improvised Weapon
Wizard’s Staff 1d6 - Medium See below under Wizard’s Staff
Flask of Oil (See Notes) See below under Fire Damage
Poison Gas (See Notes) See below under Poisons
Bola (See Notes) See below under Bola
Shuriken 1d6-2 Thrown. See below under Shuriken
Arquebus 3d6+3 See below under Firearms
Flintlock Pistol 1d6+2 See below under Firearms

Legend
Weapon Name - this refers to the name of the weapon.
Damage - the number of dice rolled to determine the weapon's damage
STR Min. - the minimum STR required to wield the weapon effectively; see below under Strength Minimum.

Strength Minimum: This refers to the minimum Strength necessary in order to use the weapon. A weapon may be used by a character with less STR, but he is at -1 to hit for every 1 STR less, and at -1 to damage for every 2 STR less. A character with more Strength can do more damage, at +1 for every 2 STR higher, with a corresponding -1 to hit, up to a maximum of +3 damage.

Weapon Length: Long weapons can attack an opponent up to two hexes away; Medium weapons can attack into the next hex; Short weapons can only attack in the same hex in hand-to-hand combat or into the next hex at a -1 penalty.

Thrown Weapons: A thrown weapon may be thrown by a character with the Thrown Weapons Skill, or with the weapon-specific Skill. Thrown weapons take a penalty of -1 to hit for every hex between the attacker and the target. A thrown weapon that misses its target might hit someone else; see below under Attacking Into Melee for more information. A thrown spell is treated identically, except that it has no chance of hitting another target if it misses its intended; it dissipates harmlessly in that case.

Missile Weapons: A missile weapon takes a -1 penalty for every two multihexes (or, six hexes) between the attacker and the target. There is no penalty against targets in the same multihex or up to two away, -1 for 3 to 4 multihexes, -2 for 5 to 6, etc.

**Two-Handed Weapons: Two-handed weapons require both hands. A shield must be either slung on the back or dropped in order to use a two-handed weapon.

Pole Arms: If a Charge and Attack action is used with a Pole Arm, and the last three hexes of the attacker's movement are in a straight line (no facing changes), the attack does double damage. If a character with a Pole Arm is attacked by someone Charging, and he sets the Pole Arm to meet the charge, he gets +2 to his Effective Dexterity to hit the Charger, and does double damage.

Attacking Into Melee: If the path taken by a thrown or missile weapon passes through any hexes occupied by other characters, or into a hand-to-hand brawl in a single hex, the attack takes a -1 penalty for each character. If the attack misses its primary target, it could hit any of those other characters. Roll an Effective Dexterity Check for each character in the path, starting with the one closest to the attacker, at standard penalties for ranged combat; a successful check means the attack misses its unintended targets. When attacking into a brawl, choose the order in which characters are targeted randomly.

Fire Damage: Fire damage is based on the size of the fire and the amount of exposure to it. Generally, a weapon that is on fire does +2 damage; a burning torch is treated as if it were a club that is on fire. Realistically, a flaming weapon probably won't set the target on fire; if the target is highly flammable (doused in gasoline or the like) the chance is 50/50 on a successful hit. (Even for things like newspaper, one normally needs to apply the flame for a few seconds to get it to burn; see for yourself the next time you start a fire.)

For a target on fire:

  • One limb only (such as the arm): 1d6-4 per Turn, until it's put out
  • Half the body: 1d6-2 per Turn, until it's put out
  • Whole body: 1d6 per Turn, until it's put out.

Stop, drop, and roll can put out a fire in one Turn; the character takes one full Turn of burning unless someone is helping. Running while on fire fans the flames; one Turn of running turns one burning limb into a half-body burn, and a half-body burn into a full body burn; running while burning increases whole body damage by +2 per Turn. The character must succeed on an Intelligence Check to avoid running (3d6 for one limb, 4d6 for half body, 5d6 for whole body); attempting to stop running while already doing so is at +1 die.

A character moving through a burning hex takes 1d6-4 damage, +2 per additional hex moved through. A character who stops in a burning hex takes 1d6-2 damage. A character who, for some reason, stays put in a burning hex, takes 1d6 damage per turn he stays there. If the fire has burned down to hot coals, add +1d6 to the damage (note that a hex that has just caught on fire, because of a spell or other reason, probably is not at the hot coals stage). A character must succeed on a 3d6 Intelligence Check to move into or stay in a burning hex.

Armor protects against all, some, or none of this damage, depending on the circumstances. Against burning attacks such as a torch, flaming arrow, or fireball, armor provides its full value. If the character is immolated, or is inside a hex of fire (via the spell, being inside a burning building, etc.), any non-fireproofed, medieval-type armor protects with half its value. If the character is wearing armor and is dunked or soaked in gasoline or some other flammable liquid that runs inside the armor and coats the character, armor won't protect against this.

Firearms: This includes guns (both early and modern) and various kinds of bombs (grenades and the like).

Shield Rush, Slams, and Throws: These attacks all work similarly. A slam is just running into someone with a shoulder or body mass, while a shield rush is the same thing only leading with the shield. In a throw, the attacker actually grabs a target and tosses him. In all cases, the attacker must make a successful attack roll. The target then rolls a 3 die Strength Check (based on his unwounded Strength); if he fails this check, he is down on the ground. (A Martial Arts throw may substitute a Dexterity Check for a Strength Check.) If the target is stronger than the attacker, he receives a bonus to his Strength Check equal to the difference; if weaker, he receives a penalty equal to the difference.

Armor:

Each type of armor is rated with a defense value. Any time a character is hit in combat, subtract the armor's defense value from the amount of damage rolled. The result is the amount of damage the character takes. (If using the Optional Nonlethal Damage Rules, damage stopped is Lethal damage first. Cloth/Padded Armor stops 1 Lethal and 2 Nonlethal, and is assumed to be worn under all other armor types; all armor types thus stop 2 Nonlethal damage in addition to their full Lethal value.)

A shield can be used to block attacks. A shield held in the "ready" position protects against attacks from the character's front zone (the three front hexes), while a shield slung on the back protects against attacks from behind only (the hex directly behind the character).

A dagger held in the left hand can be used to parry or block attacks as well.

Besides providing defense, armor is also heavy and binding, and reduces both a character's ability to move and his Effective Dexterity score. (If using the Optional Movement Rules, the Dexterity penalty determines the movement reduction.)

~Armor Type: ~Defense Value ~DEX Penalty ~Weight (kg) ~Movement Penalty ~Notes
Fine Plate 6 -2 25 -4
Plate Armor 5 -3 25 -4
Half Plate 4 -2 20 -4
Chainmail 3 -1 15 -3
Leather 2 -1 8 -2
Padded (Cloth) 1 +0 7 +0
Tower Shield 3 -1 15 -
Large Shield 2 +0 10 -
Small Shield 1 +0 5
Spiked Buckler 1 0 6 1d6-2 damage if used as a weapon
Full Backpack 1 -1 or -2 Contents Stops 1 hit from behind, prevents shield from being slung on back
Main Gauche or Dagger 1 0 See notes for Main Gauche

Encumbrance:

Encumbrance can reduce a character's Effective Dexterity as well as his movement. Penalties to Effective Dexterity are cumulative with the type of armor worn; movement penalties are not. (If using the Optional Advanced Movement Rules, movement loss does accumulate based on Dexterity penalties as well.)

~Amount Carried ~Effects
0-2x STR in kg None. No penalties, full swimming movement allowed.
2-3x STR in kg -2 to Movement
3-4x STR in kg -4 to Movement. -1 to Effective Dexterity
4-5x STR in kg -6 to Movement. -2 to Effective Dexterity
5-7x STR in kg -6 to Movement. -1 STR every 2 minutes (nonlethal/fatigue). Max of 10 minutes.
STR squared in kg Maximum lift. Character can move 1 hex with 4d6 Effective Strength check, otherwise no movement allowed.