Chapter 8 - Combat

Optional Combat Rules

Pathfinder is based on the d20 OGL system. It is the basis of that game, but even Pathfinder offers optional rules. Below you will find details about Optional Rules you may find of interest. These are still being playtested.

The Pathfinder combat system is a result of years of field testing, and is intended to be robust and all-encompassing. For even longer periods of time, though, gamers have debated the accuracy of concepts inherent in the d20 OGL system that Pathfinder eventually inherited. Some players and Game Masters may be interested in systems that better simulate the actual action of physical combat. Presented in this chapter is a comprehensive rules system (based on the optional rules presented in Pathfinder's Ultimate Combat sourcebook) that may be swapped out with the existing rules.

In many ways, the existing combat system from the Pathfinder roleplaying game hearkens back to a simpler age, when men and women clashed with cruder weapons of bronze or iron, and relied on armor that typically only protected their vital organs - if they had armor at all. Organized fighting schools, such as those that arose in Germany and Italy during the late Middle Ages and the Renaissance period were not needed. A man only had so many defenses, and his attacker knew that any meaningful wound on any body part could decide the course of battle.

Central to the optional rules presented here is the visceral and yet simultaneously clinical turn that personal combat took once our ancestors reached a certain point in technology. In the real world, by the 15th century A.D., knights and men-at-arms clad in increasingly advanced and heavy plate armor armor were not simply able to retain much of their mobility; they were able to resist blows from a variety of weapons. These advances in technology in turn prompted the creation of advanced schools of combat, whose lessons were on how to defeat the protective properties of new armor. Trained warriors learned to use their weapons in new ways, to penetrate and sunder armor; to grapple their opponents in order to deny them use of their weapons, expose a chink in their armor, or hurl them on the ground, helpless.

This time closely reflects the age we currently find the World of Naeja in - and the continents of Verosia and Old Camus, specifically. These optional rules significantly revise how the game works, and such players and GMs should be extremely careful when deciding whether or not to incorporate them into an existing campaign. They should certainly be prepared to allow for everyone at the table to get up to speed. Ideally, though, they should also expect an additional - and rewarding - layer of complexity to their game.

The rules included below are intended to be used as a whole. Gamemasters who would prefer to use some of these concepts separately are encouraged to use the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game: Ultimate Combat sourcebook. These rules supersede the ones found in Chapter 8 of the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Core Rulebook.

How Combat Works
Combat Statistics
Actions in Combat
Combat Modifiers
Special Attacks
Aiming in Melee Combat
Armor as Damage Reduction
Piecemeal Armor

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