Welcome to my first of two treatises. The second, detailing the types of magic I have been teaching you students that alter the laws of nature, will be published in the future, perhaps under the title Brownian Motion.
As you know, combat in The One Ring 2e is quick and exciting. But it is also high-variance (more than one-sixth of attack rolls are Piercing Blows), does not model armor well, and lacks opportunities for tactical choices such as grappling and disarming. And, of course, it never mentions how apprentice mages such as yourselves dedicate a little time and focus each round to building up a spell. You can read an example here.
These combat rules work whether as part of a Company or traveling alone in Strider Mode.
These rules only slow down combat slightly, yet provide the feel of a well-designed Miniatures Skirmish Game.
Here is a review of the game's normal terminology, so this essay is intelligible to people who do not own The One Ring 2e.
Endurance measures what other RPGs call hit points or stamina. Load measures what other RPGs call encumberance. Once a character's Endurance decreases to match its Load, that character becomes Weary and suffers a penalty on all die rolls. Fatigue is a temporary increase to Load caused by exertion.
Similarly Hope is a spendable pool of points to give die rolls an extra die, similar to what other RPGs call stress or grit or hero points. (Two extra dice during solo play, or if the character is inspired.) Shadow measures immoral actions performed by the PC as well as what other RPGs call sanity loss from encountering truly dreadful creatures or situations. Once a character's Hope decreases to match its Shadow, that character becomes Miserable and suffers a second type of penalty on all die rolls.
Die rolls involve adding up dice and comparing the total to a target number (TN). Most TNs are on the character sheet. The main exception is Parry, which measures what other RPGs call armor class. Monsters have a Parry modifier that shows how much harder to hit they are than the PC's default TN for attacks. PCs simply have a Parry number written on their character sheet for when enemies attack them.
A Piercing Blow is what other RPGs call a critical hit. It might cause a fatal wound. The defender makes a Protection test to check if armor prevents the wound. This TN for die roll is the Injury rating of the attacker's weapon.
A short rest restores as much Endurance as your Strength rating, unless you are wounded. A prolonged rest has two benefits. It restores all your Endurance, unless you are wounded, in which case it as much Endurance as your Strength rating. If you are at zero Hope, you also regain 1 Hope.
For each session, the Company has a full supply of Fellowship Points to spend. These can replenish Hope, or have a special benefit dependent on the Company's patron. You also recover as much Hope as your Heart rating between adventures.
The game uses both Fate Dice and Success Dice. Understanding the difference is important but not needed for reading this essay.
Most characters get 10 action points (AP) each round. A Weary character only gets 8 AP each round.
Here are examples of action point costs:
? AP - aim carefully if not engaged
1 AP - drawing a weapon, picking a weapon up off the floor, moving 1 meter to the next map square
2 AP - opening a door, using an item, making a skill check, grappling, etc.
3 AP - a light attack that deals half normal damage (round up)
3 AP - defensive maneuver (once per turn per ally?, provides +2 Parry until my next turn)
6 AP - a normal attack that deals normal damage
9 AP - a fierce attack that deals ×1.5 damage (round up, this requires a two-handed weapon, bows ok)
9 AP - an attack with a half-hand grip that does normal damage but better penetrates armor (this requires a two-handed sword)
As will be described in a future treatise, a character can also devote APs towards spellcasting. This will require APs from multiple rounds.
A character wielding two weapons can only attack with each weapon once on their turn.
You may make an attack of opportunity on a foe you are engaged with who disengages.
You may make an attack of opportunity when a foe first enters your weapon's reach, unless their weapon has equal or greater reach.
Swords allow an attack of opportunity of a foe who approaches closer to you while within your sword's reach.
Attacks of opportunity deal normal damage. They do not cost AP.
Wits is initiative for PCs.
Weapons have a reach of 1, 2, or 3 map squares. Both movement and reach can use diagonals.
Your Parry rating changes to be equal to Strength + Wits + 2. A typical Parry rating is now 9 to 14.
The list of combat proficiencies has four new entries: Grapple, Shields, and Magic.
The hollow diamonds used to mark combat proficiency ratings now have a line to their left side. Left of that line is another set of hollow diamonds used to mark your Strength rating (from right to left, so all marked diamonds are adjacent and easiest to read). For each combat proficiency, your effective proficiency is the sum of your Strength rating and that combat proficiency's rating. Effective proficiencies range from about 5 to 13.
To the left of the large hollow diamond tracking your current endurance write a third smaller hollow diamond. Besides the existing Load and Fatigue, this third statistic named Strain counts how much sprains, bruises, and similar afflictions slow you down. Strain is more serious than Fatigue, but less serious than a Wound. How does Strain recover? How do we increase how Fatigue recovers?
Combat no longer uses stances. The ability to protect allies and aim ranged weapons has shifted to AP use.
• A successful Awe skill check (costing 2 AP) still makes all engaged foes Weary for their next turn, with degrees of success providing the chance to intimidate foes with Might greater than 1.
• A successful Enhearten skill check (costing 2 AP) gives all engaged allies +2 AP on their next turn.
To-hit rolls are now very different from the die rolls used for skills.
The attacker rolls a d12 + their effective proficiency.
A typical to-hit roll ranges from 6 to 25.
This to-hit roll includes the usual modifications for favored or ill-favored, and advantages or complications.
Hope may be spent on a to-hit roll for the usual d6 benefit.
The Sauron rune on the d12 counts as zero. The Gandalf rune counts as 12.
The Whiff - If the to-hit roll is less than your foe's Parry you miss. Your attack is so ineffective it does not even threaten the foe. The foe need not exert itself to avoid the attack. No damage. Any hope spent is refunded.
The most proficient warriors will never Whiff against much less proficient foes. Combatants of about equal effective proficiency Whiff ⅙ to ⅓ of the time. (Their die rolls and equal Strength ratings cancel out. The defender's Wits + 2 will exceed the attacker's weapon proficiency by 2 to 4 points.)
The Threat - If the to-hit roll is equal or greater to your foe's Parry then your foe must exert itself to avoid the attack. The foe also rolls a d12. If your to-hit roll is less than the sum of your foe's Parry and this new die roll, you deal your weapon's damage to the foe's Fatigue, reduced by the foe's armor reduction. (Do not check for a Piercing Blow.)
Whether any single to-hit roll is a Threat or Hit is largely a matter of luck. But most proficient warriors do have a significant advantage.
The Hit - If the to-hit roll is equal or greater than the sum of your foe's Parry and defensive die roll, you deal your weapon's damage to the foe's Strain, reduced by the foe's armor reduction. Also check for a Piercing Blow (no matter the attacker's die result) with the defender's Protection from armor rolling normal dice against the Injury TN from the attacker's weapon.
You may also attacks your foe's a weapon. A light attack for 3 AP suffices. Both a Whiff and a Threat do nothing. If you get a Hit, you may choose one of the following:
Close Safely - The attacker can engage with a foe without suffering an attack of opportunity from the foe's long reach. (Close Safely cannot be made as an attack of opportunity.)
Grab - The attacker has parried the foe's weapon, stepped close, and grabbed the foe. The foe cannot make a fierce attack until the attacker is defeated, that foe disengages, or that foe succeeds with Athletics. The attacker cannot make a fierce attack while grabbing. (If the Grab was made as an attack of opportunity against a foe trying to disengage, the foe fails to disengage.)
Sunder - The attacker deals damage to the defender's weapon, perhaps breaking it. (A table of weapon Endurance needs to be created.) Spears and similar thrusting weapons cannot sunder. (Sunder can be made as an attack of opportunity.)
Disarm - The defender drops the attacked weapon. (Disarm can be made as an attack of opportunity.)
Grappling uses opposed Athletics skill rolls (not to-hit rolls). Only the attacker spends the 2 AP for the skill use die roll. If the attacker rolls a higher total, then the attacker may choose one of the following:
Throw - If the attacker has already grabbed the foe, they can resposition that foe 1 or more map squares. The foe falls prone. Perhaps the foe takes damage from falling, etc.
Knockdown - The foe falls prone.
Hold - A prone foe is held nearly immobile. While held the foe is grabbed, cannot move, and cannot make defensive rolls. (The last effect is huge! Once an ally is holding a foe, everyone else has a much easier time harming that foe.)
For a Hold imagine a dominant wrestling position. The defender's hands are free. But the attacker is restraining the defender in a position like what Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu calls mount, side mount, side control, etc.
Be sensible about size differences making certain grappling situations impossible, and determining throwing distances.
(Will grappling make the Athletics skill too important? Perhaps we need a new combat proficiency named Grappling? Only one PC in a Company would need to have developed that proficiency.)
|Armor Type||Load||Damage Reduction|
(not vs. Piercing Blows)
(defense vs. Piercing Blows)
|Leather Shirt (soft)||3||−1||1d|
|Leather Corslet (boiled)||6||−2||2d|
|Coat of Mail (Hauberk)||12||−4||4d|
|Shield Type||Load||Parry Bonus|
|Weapon Type||Load||Damage||Injury TN|
(causing Piercing Blows)
|Brawling: Use one less than your highest effective proficiency|
|Long-hafted Axe (2H)||3||6||20||?||3|
|Great Spear (2H)||4||5||16||?||3|
|Long Sword (1H)||3||5||16||?||2|
|Long Sword (2H)||3||6||18||?||2|
|a troll's tree trunk||low||high|
|Opponent||Might||To-Hit||Fatigue||Stamina||Parry||Damage Reduction||Protection||Hate or Resolve||Attribute Level
|Weapons and Abilities|
|Southern Raider||1||+7||11||11||9||−2||2d||4||4||axe 5/18, short spear 3/14
|Southern Champion||1||+8||13||13||11||−3||3d||5||5||long-hafted axe 6/20, spear 4/14 or 4/16
Fierce, Break Shield
|Footpad||1||+4||5||5||6||−1||1d||2||2||cudgel 3/12, bow 3/14
|Ruffian Chief||1||+6||8||8||8||−2||2d||3||3||short sword 3/16, bow 3/14
Yell of Triumph
|Highway Robber||1||+7||11||11||8||−2||2d||4||4||spear 4/14 or 4/16, bow 3/14
|Goblin Archer||1||+5||5||5||6||−1||1d||2||2||dagger 2/14, bow 3/14
|Orc Soldier||1||+6||8||8||8||−2||2d||3||3||short sword 3/16, short spear 3/14
|Orc Guard||1||+7||11||11||10||−3||3d||4||4||short sword 3/16, short spear 3/14
|Orc Chieftan||1||+8||13||13||12||−3||3d||5||5||short sword 3/16, short spear 3/14
Great Leap, Snake-like Speed, Yell of Triumph
|Great Orc Bodyguard||2||+8||16||16||12||−3||3d||6||6||axe 5/18, great spear (2H) 5/16
Break Shield, Hideous Toughness
|Great Orc Chief||2||+10||32||32||14||−4||4d||7||7||long sword 5/16 or 6/18, great spear (2H) 5/16
Break Shield, Horrible Strength,
Snake-like Speed, Yell of Triumph