Wednesday, April 29, 2020

A Walk through Harnmaster - Combat Part 2

Combat Part 2

Melee Attack Sequence

So now you are engaged and ready to attack. This section use the Harnmaster Combat Tables which you can download.

The attacker declares what aspect of their weapon they are using (B/E/P) and whether they are aiming High (-10), Mid (0), or Low (10)

Athelstan with a 55 sword skill attacks with the edge of his broadsword (impact bonus of 5) aiming for the mid section (+0)

The defender either ignores the attack due to various circumstances, or if is active whether they Counterstrike, Block, or Dodge.

Bjorn with a 46 shield skill elects to block the swing with his round shield.

Both sides rolls, the attack uses his Attacker Mastery Level, and the Defender uses his Defender Mastery Level

  • Athelstan will have to roll equal to or less than a 70 (55 ML + 15 A)
  • Bjorn will have to roll equal to or less than at 66 (46 ML + 20 D)

The success levels are compared and the result apply

  • Athelstan rolls a 55 a Critical Success
  • Bjorn rolls a 68 a Marginal Failure

If the result is an injury, strike impact is rolled, strike location is rolled, and the armor protection is subtracted. If the result is 1+ then an injury has occured.

Cross indexing the two success levels results a A*2 results. Which means you roll 2d6 + 5 (the impact bonus of the edge of the broadsword).

Able rolls a 6 giving an 11 impact. Able rolls a 58 for Strike Location hitting the Thorax

Bjorn is wearing a Leather Vest over a Cloth Shirt giving a protection value of 5 versus Edge impacts. So Bjorn suffers a 6 impact.

Other results

AF, DF, and BF are fumbles, you have to make a fumble roll or lose your weapon (or shield).

Block means the defending weapon (a shield in this case) intercepts the attacking weapon (the Broadsword). If you use weapon damage then the lower quality weapon has to make a save first or be functionally destroyed. If the save is made then it is the higher WQ that has to save. I recommend using this optional roll. It is a 3d6 roll low versus the weapon's WQ. There even a more brutal variant where even you make a weapon save its WQ is reduced by 1 although it still works. This seems a bit unrealistically harsh. If you want to do this drop the WQ if you make the save exactly or by 1 anything lower the weapon is fine.

A DTA is a Defender Tactical Advantage, once each turn a character may gain a Tactical Advantage. They are allowed to take another action that turn. The most extreme result is that Athelstan attacks rolls badly, Bjorn gets a Tactical Advantage and attack back also rolling badly, Athelstan gain a Tactical Advantage and attack again hopefully not rolling badly again. Any further DTA are ignored.

Injury Determination

So now Bjorn got slashed across the thorax (upper chest) with 6 impact. Now it time to figure out his injury. We cross index the hit location with the impact to get a injury level. In this case an S2 results or a Serious Thorax Slash 2. It is recorded on the character sheet as Thorax S2.

The 2 is now added to the character Universal Penalty and for this injury the character has to make a shock roll. Remember the Universal Penalty is Injury + Fatigue but not Encumbrance. For every point of UP you roll 1d6. In this case Bjorn roll 2d6. If Bjorn rolls over his Endurance (average of STR, STA, and WIL) he collapses in shock. Now Bjorn has 14 STR, 12 STA, and a 10 WILL giving a END 12. He not going into shock for this injury.

If you look at the arm location above the Thorax there is a diamond. This is a symbol for a fumble roll as it is the arm. For the legs it is a stumble roll. Some Grievous wounds to the Legs and Arms also have a upside down triangle this is a amputation roll. K results are potential instant kills. If the character doesn't die then it is converted to a Grievous wounds now the character has to make a shock roll.

The end result is that after combat the character will have a list of injury they suffered. The total of which is applied to their Universal Penalty.

Rob's Comments
I generally don't like to use tables when refereeing. But these tables are excellent to use and don't slow down play. The bright layout makes it easy to figure the result of any strike. If one wants details for combat this is an excellent way to go.

More than any other system, I find the injury system of Harnmaster gets the players invested in their character. It tersely but graphically illustrates every injury and blow the character suffers. And it just adds something to experience that other system don't have.

The sidebar to injuries give several options rules. I recommend using Bloodloss. If a grievous injury is not bound up within 1 minute (6 rounds) then the character will suffer 1 Bloodloss that adds to the UP. If the total BP exceeds Endurance the character dies. Each grievous wound counts separately for bloodloss.

Beastly Blows

This section give special combat rules for Wings, Tails, and Tentacles

Missile Combat

Works similarly to Melee Combat. Defenders can Block or Dodge (or has to Ignore). The AML of the attack is modified for range. And potential impact is modified for range as well. Missile use their own combat matrix which generates hit or miss results.

Initiative Testing & Morale

For NPCs initiative is used for Morale Checks. This page covers the details and the results.

Mounted Combat

This section covers mounted combat in six pages.
The different Horse breeds are covered and their statistics along with the use of Riding Skill, Horse movement, how to command the horse in combat, and how actions work when mounted. Being mounted is an advantage especially in the impact rating generated for hitting and gives some damage opportunities not available on foot like steed trampling.


The final two pages of Combat covers Jousting. There are some specific rules and notes covering the non-lethal aspect of the joust. Along with a unique combat matrix for resolving Joust strikes.

Next up is Physician cover what you do about all those injuries and why the battle isn't done when combat ends

Previous post was Combat Part 1, Next Post is Physican

1 comment:

dferg said...

Thank you for the clear explanation of character generation and combat. Is there a YouTube video anywhere showing Harm combat or character creation?