Ray Turney's Rune Rule Set

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Daniel Quill







 Brief discussion on how combat is handled.

Melee Combat

Discussion of melee combat.

Situational Difficulty Modifiers-Table

Table on situation difficulty modifiers

Lethality Table

Lethality Table

Fumble Table

Fumble Table

Missile Combat

Brief discussion on how missile combat is handled

Situational Difficulty Modifiers for Missile Weapons

Table on situation difficulty modifiers for missile combat.

Wounds {Major Wounds}

Discussion on major wounds


Discussion on incapacitation

Combat Example {Continued}

Combat Example




Combat is a specialized case of skill use.  Because of the importance of the stakes, life or death for the characters, the rules must be more detailed and precise in this area than in some others.  Combat is conducted in rounds, referred to as combat rounds, considered to last about ten seconds in length.  A character normally gets two actions per combat round, usually an attack and a parry in melee.  Anything else a character can do in ten seconds is also a possible action.  In particular a character may, at a cost of one combat action: shoot an arrow; move up to twenty paces on level ground; up to ten paces on rocky ground or while zigzagging; look around for enemies and get a Spot Hidden; or cast a spell.  There are some special situations where a character can do something which does not count as an action.  In particular, a character may throw a dart or javelin while closing to combat; move a couple of paces in combat; resist a spell; or shout one or two words; without using an action. 


Mounted characters, combined with their mounts, get three actions. One must be a movement action by the mount.  In addition, mounts move four times as fast a human over clear terrain.  Thus, a horse crossing a field can charge up to sixty paces in a round, while the rider can  throw a javelin and fight with sword and shield on arrival.  Unless specifically trained to do so, mounts do not fight in combat.


Combat involves two die rolls, the usual D20 for the skill roll and a quality die, referred to as the "lethality die", to determine the effectiveness of the result.  The lethality die varies from one weapon to another, as described below. 


If skill is 20 or greater, either the attacker or defender can attempt a heroic/cinematic attack or parry. This represents not the sort of thing people try in SCA combat, but the moves that combatants actually pull off in the movies. If a heroic attack or parry is attempted, the other side (attacker if a heroic parry is attempted, or vice versa), must also roll D30. Heroic attacks/parries must be declared in the declaration of intent phase.

If skill is 20 or greater, the character may try to attack or parry twice, one at an effective skill of 19, and once at skill-10. If 30 or higher, twice at effective skill 19, and once at skill-20. Etc. Roll twice take the better result spells only affect the first skill roll. These multiple attacks/parries may be directed at the same or different foes.


Melee Combat

Melee Combat is an opposed skill system, as described above. Parries oppose attacks.  Weapon Attack and Parry skills are limited by the ride skill while mounted. Example: Bloodaxe has a sword attack skill of 15, and a ride skill of 12, would have a 12 skill in sword attack, while mounted.

 In some circumstances, hitting the enemy may require overcoming a difficulty roll.  Slightly difficult situations require overcoming a resistance of 4; difficult situations require overcoming a resistance of 8; and very difficult situations require overcoming a resistance of 12.  If success would be astonishing, a critical is necessary to succeed.  Two causes of slight difficulty amount to a difficult situation, etc.


Situational Difficulty Modifiers





Attacking or parrying mounted or uphill enemy


Attacking or parrying while on rocky ground


Attacking or Parrying in poor light


Fighting at the end of a day's march


Fighting on Moonless night


Fighting on steep hill


Fighting on treacherous or nonexistent footing, or while in water.


Lethality Table

The effect of a hit is the roll on the lethality die, plus modifiers:







One Wound


Four Wounds


Five Wounds


Six Wounds


Seven Wounds


For details regarding the effects of wounds, see below.

An unparried critical attack always incapacitates a normal human enemy; if the enemy is protected against incapacitation by critical it always treat the crit as roll twice for damage, take the better result. This is cumulative w/truesword, a character can get the best of 3 rolls.

  A critical parry counts as +10 versus attacks, in accordance with the usual +10 for crits in opposed skill rolls.


Fumble Table

A fumble, on either attack or parry, results in a D20 roll on the Fumble table:





Drop weapon, no attack until recovered, roll Dex vs Dex of Attacker to recover.  Bowstring breaks if using bow.


Drop shield, or parrying weapon, no parry until recovered, roll Dex vs Dex of attacker to recover.


Hit self with normal weapon attack


Hit nearest friend with normal weapon attack. Re roll if no friend in reach.


Fall Down, -5 to attack and defend until you stand, Dex vs Dex roll of opponent {must beat all opponents} to stand.


Drop weapon, impractical to recover until fight over


Drop Shield, or parrying weapon, impractical to recover until fight over.


Wide open, enemy gets automatic hit


Wide open, enemy gets automatic hit plus free shot


Incapacitate self


Incapacitate nearest friend, count self as nearest friend if no friend in weapon reach.


Roll twice.


Finally, there are some special rules for thrusting and smashing weapons. A thrusting weapon always impales in the target on a maximum roll of the damage die, requiring a STR or less on D20 roll next turn to remove.  Though arrows are technically thrusting weapons, they are light enough to be easily removed, and not subject to this rule.  If a weapon has impaled, instead of removing it the wielder has the option of twisting it and driving it further in.  This automatically hits the target, but makes the weapon impossible to remove until the fight is over.

A smashing weapon treats all targets as medium armored.  It is thus better against heavy armor, but less effective against light armored and unarmored targets.

On the first round of combat, longer weapon strikes first.  On the second and subsequent rounds of combat, higher dex strikes first.  Identical weapon lengths and Dexterities strike simultaneously.

Missile Combat

        Missile combat is similar to melee combat, in that it is an opposed skill roll, and uses the same lethality system, fumble tables, etc. It differs in involving a different weapons table, and different situational difficulty modifiers, given below.


Situational Difficulty Modifiers for Missile Weapons





Shooting War {Composite or Long} Bow at both beginning and end of round


Shooting in high wind


Attacking or Parrying in poor light


Shooting at a laterally moving or zigzagging target


Shooting at an enemy holding up a medium shield


Shooting at an enemy in substantial cover, or behind a large shield


Shooting at long range.


Bows shoot at the beginning and the end of the round, casting a spell on an arrow means shooting occurs only at the end of the round, while javelins are thrown at the beginning of the round unless a spell is cast upon them, in which case they are thrown at the end of the round. Crossbows shoot at the beginning of the round, but take a full round to recock.  If a spell is cast on the bolt, they shoot at the end of the round.

Arbalests, engines, etc are another problem, but they usually cannot be taken with a small adventuring group, and will not be dealt with here.

Injuries {Wounds}


A character can absorb (SIZ+(2*CON))/12 wounds. Rounding is done normally. If a character takes more than this amount, he is incapacitated. Unless otherwise stated in the creature description, this applies to other creatures as well.

Wounds heal naturally at a rate of one per day of complete rest, if a roll of Constitution or less on D20 is made. Light Activity, such as moving no more than half march distance for an entire day, without climbing, combat, or other exertion, adds a difficulty of five to be overcome. Normal activity creates a difficulty of 10.

Wounds may be healed by magic or healing herbs as well. For more detail on these methods of healing, see the appropriate rules.

Example: Crassus the Crass has a SIZ of 12 and a CON of 15. This becomes (12+(2*15))/12 or 42/12 = 4 wounds (42 is exactly halfway between 36 and 48, so round up). Crassus goes into a fight and takes one wound. The party is short of magical healing, so they decide to see if his wound will heal naturally. They also try to travel full speed, giving Crasses a difficulty of 10. The first day, his player rolls a 17, which is greater than his character's Con, do Crassus does not recover. On the second day, his player rolls a 6, which does not overcome the difficulty. Still no healing. Before the end of the third day, Crassus gets into a fight...


Roll D6 at the end of any encounter in which a character is incapacitated. If a one is rolled, the character recovers one wound, if a six is rolled, the character loses one wound. If a character loses a wound, roll D6; if the result is less than the number of wounds the character is negative, the character is dead or maimed. Once death or maiming has happened, roll D20. A roll of 1-5 costs the character a leg, 6-10 an arm, 11-20, death. Roll randomly for which arm or leg is lost, if it matters. Characters who rise to a positive wound total are no longer incapacitated.

Incapacitated characters cannot use skills. If their wound total is negative, they are unconscious and cannot walk.

Continue rolling once per day thereafter, until the character recovers or dies.

After the first day, the GM may rule that the character has been infected. If so, he is affected by Disease and must resist the Disease before his wounds can heal.

Example: We return to Crassus, entering a fight with only three wounds. His player wishes he'd sacrificed for another shot of Heal Wound, but it is a little late now.In the fight, Crassus suffers a blow which does four wounds. He is now at -1 wound and loses consciousness. At the end of the fight, he rolls for condition change, and loses a wound. At -2 wounds, his player must roll D6 - on a two or less he is maimed or dies. His player rolls a four. Another character quickly does Greater Healing, raising him to a positive wound total and Crass rises to be obnoxious again.


Combat Example {Continued}

When we last left Bloodaxe, he was standing at the top of a hill, noticing a crossbow bolt sailing past him.  As he dives for cover, two bandits in light armor emerge from cover, screaming something in Sartarite.


Bloodaxe's bold move has created a quandry for both the bulk of the player characters and the leader of the bandits.  The bandit leader has twelve bandits, two of them on the hill, and himself.  Unfortunately, he is the only good fighter in the crew, and he is far from sure he would win a stand up fight, certainly not at a price he can afford.

The player characters have a different problem.  They are several hundred paces and a steep hill away from Bloodaxe.  The other Orlanthi, Oktar, decides he has a moral obligation to save his fellow cultist and starts up the hill anyway.  Everyone else waits for orders, except Nohodares who hides in cover.

Izates thinks ... unless he misses his guess, the bandit leader would prefer a small profit and no fighting to a messy battle.  Izates would prefer a small profit and no fighting to a messy battle.  Izates would be willing to pay a small toll, to get through Ambush Pass without getting ambushed.  So the question naturally arises, how small is small?

In the meantime, the people on the hill start to fight.  Seeing himself outnumbered two to one, Bloodaxe starts to think this may not have been the smartest move he ever made.  He has an axe, large shield and medium armor, with a dagger for backup.  His attackers are in light armor, with spears and daggers for backup.  His skill is twelve, they are ten each, in both attack and parry.  They know no combat relevant spells.

Bloodaxe does, but John forgets this in the excitement.  Having just dived for cover, Bloodaxe should be prone, but the GM decides to shortcut through several minutes of argument about why Bloodaxe failed to spot the attackers and just fight.  Bloodaxe parries one and attacks the other.  With an 11, Bloodaxe's parry is successful, and with a ten, his attack is successful.  The one he is parrying cannot get through, so this leaves the other.  This bandit rolls a six and hits.  His spear is the longer weapon, and this is the first round, so his blow is first.

But he rolls a two, which is no effect.  The bandit is then incapacitated by Bloodaxe's blow, which is an adjusted twelve on the damage die, minus one for his armor, leaves eleven, much greater than the 8 needed to wound or incapacitate.

Next round, thought continues.  Oktar fails a Climb roll with fourteen.  In the fight, the bandit Bloodaxe is parrying misses, making his parry irrelevant {though if the bandit were good enough that a 17 would hit, Bloodaxe would be in serious trouble}. Bloodaxe rolls a 14, missing as well.

Next round, thought continues.  Oktar fails again {his Climb is only 6 after all}.  Things are looking good for Bloodaxe, down to one weaker enemy.  Still, that enemy rolls a 10, and a 9, resulting in a crit {recall that a roll of skill exactly  gets a reroll for all skills, and a critical result if the second roll is less than or equal to skill}.

This crit incapacitates Bloodeaxe. A roll of 18 misses his parry and a fifteen misses his attack.

Seeing Oktar coming, the bandit who vanquished Bloodaxe is tempted to run.  But he pauses to pick up Bloodaxe's axe and about thirty pieces of silver.

Negotiations start.  The fight having ended, the bandit rolls a four to survive, and Bloodaxe a 1.  Unfortunately the still unconscious bandit is easily killed by Oktar ...