Although Proficiencies were not introduced in the AD&D second edition player's handbook, a lot of people saw them for the first time there, and found the system partially, if not fully, mystifying. If I start with weapon proficiencies, what mystified a lot of new players was that any weapon in the book could be used as a proficiency, and while that seemed obvious to most of us, since non-weapon proficiencies were in a list, a lot of players "couldn't find" the weapon proficiencies, because they were not in a list. In making the system work better for people who are more familiar with a menu-system, that's one of the first things we did- made a list.
When you play a lot of video games (think the Final Fantasy series, for example) you simply lack the ability to equip certain weapons on certain characters. In AD&D, your mage or your cleric can pick up the fallen warrior's sword, but he might not know how to use it...and he probably doesn't have any kind of advanced training.
Weapon Proficiencies do not represent the ability to pick up a weapon like in a video game-the ability to pick up a weapon is something anyone can do. Using it with any skill at all requires a proficiency.
How badly you do when you pick up a weapon you have no skill with depends, in part, on how trained you are with weapons. This was the non-proficiency 'penalty' that a lot of people failed to understand. You're not penalized for not having proficiency, because if you're a 0th-level fighter who has never picked up a sword, you have a THAC0 of 20 and a -2 to your rolls. That's why 0th level fighters are so damn easy to beat- they can't hit anything. If your 0th level fighter is lucky, he's trained a little with a weapon and lost the -2, but if his sword is broken he can't switch to a dagger, as he's never trained with it...he just sticks people with the pointy end. You're not penalized for not being able to fight with a weapon, you're given a bonus for having learned how to use a weapon.
Leveled fighters train with lots of weapons in the salle before they pick the one that's right for them. They might swing around a bastard sword for a week before settling on a broadsword, so they have the least penalty. Thieves, Mentalists and clerics might swing around a couple extra weapons, but they aren't spending days in the salle learning how to be a fighter, so their penalty is higher if they don't know a weapon...mages have a lot to learn, so their swinging around a weapon penalty is the worst. People who train in multiple classes use the chart with the most beneficial number for them.
You get less of a penalty for using a weapon you're kind of familiar with. These are your "related weapons" penalties. Some weapons don't even take a related weapons penalty. A chair leg, a large club, a small club and a war club all count as a 'club,' but a blackjack or mace, which are used for clubbing, are used slightly differently than a true club, and don't fit in the hand the same way, so you'd take the reduced penalty to use them, If all you'd ever used was clubs, a sword would be very hard to use, so you'd take the worst penalty-the full penalty.
The penalty table looks like this:
One of the problems we had with a larger table of weapon proficiencies was that with a lot more to pick from, people wanted more to start with. After a lot of arguing, we gave *everyone* an additional starting weapon proficiency, to represent the training you might've gotten as a kid. In addition to growing the proficiencies at the normal rate, a player could also gain extra proficiencies by banking experience points or in game play by doing extra training. In general, it's easier to gain a weapon proficiency in a related weapon.
Our expanded proficiency slot chart looks like this. These are the automatically gained slots, not the ones gained from extra play, the DM's grace or practice:
Group Initial #Levels Initial #Levels
Clergy/Priest 3 4 6 3
Mentalist 3 5 5 3
Rogue 3 4 5 4
Men-at-Arms 5 3 5 3
Wizard 2 6 6 3
One point of confusion for a lot of people: If # levels is 5, slots are gained at 5, 10, 15, 20. If # levels is 3, slots are gained at 3,6,9, 12, etc. If a character is multiclassed, he takes the best rate for each type of proficiency.
Like mages and clerics get spells, fighters get specialization, and it's their one thing. We always let multiclass fighters specialize, because we don't strip multiclass wizards of spells, do we?
Knowing how to use a weapon without embarrassing yourself is very different from being a master of that weapon. There are warriors, and then there are martial artists. An Olympic fencer is more than just an athlete; he can do things with his weapon that astound most fencers.
In the AD&D game, part of your character's skill is reflected in the bonuses he earns as he reaches higher levels. As your character advances, he becomes a wiser, more dangerous fighter. Experience has taught him to anticipate his opponents and to pounce on any advantage that presents itself. But this is a general, overall improvement, brought about by the warrior's sharpening senses and timing. It applies equally to all types of fighting.
Weapon specialization is an optional rule that enables a fighter (only) to choose a single weapon and specialize in its use. Any weapon may be chosen. Specialization is normally announced (and paid for with weapon proficiency slots) when the character is created. But even after a player character earns experience, he can still choose to specialize in a weapon, provided he has the weapon proficiency slots available.
In one way, a weapon specialist is like a wizard specialist. The specialization requires a single-minded dedication and training. While the original PHB did not allow specialization for all man-at-arms classes, even multiclassed, we do. It’s the Fighter’s one thing. All man-at-arms may specialize without penalty, except for rangers, who can only specialize (or advance higher) in one weapon. [See Ranger description in appendices.]
Cost of Specialization
Weapon specialization is obtained by devoting extra weapon proficiency slots to the chosen weapon. To specialize in any sort of melee weapon or crossbow, the character must devote two slots--one slot to become proficient with it, and then a second slot to specialize in it. Any bow (other than a crossbow) requires a total of three proficiency slots: one for proficiency and two to specialize. Assume, for the moment, that Rath the dwarf decided to specialize with the warhammer. Two of his four proficiency slots are thus devoted to the warhammer. With the two remaining, he can become proficient with the short sword and short bow (for example).
Effects of Specialization:
When a character specializes with a melee weapon, he gains a +1 bonus to all his attack rolls with that weapon and a +2 bonus to all damage rolls (in addition to bonuses for Strength and magic). The attack bonuses are not magical and do not enable the character to affect a creature that can be injured only by magical weapons.
Bow and crossbow specialists gain an additional range category: point blank. Point-blank range for bows is from six feet to 30 feet. Point-blank range for crossbows is from six feet to 60 feet. At point-blank range, the character gains a +2 modifier on attack rolls. No additional damage is caused, but Strength (for bows) and magical bonuses apply. Furthermore, if the character has an arrow nocked and drawn, or a bolt loaded and cocked, and has his target in sight, he can fire at the beginning of the round before any initiative rolls are made.
Note that the missile weapon number of attacks per round replaces the “rate of fire” for that missile weapon. A rate of fire of 2/1 and a number of attacks of 3/1 gives the character 3 shots per round, not six.
Men-at-arms who specialize also gain extra attacks earlier than those who don't specialize. Bonus attacks for specialists are listed on the table above. Bow specialists do not gain any additional attacks per round until level 7.
Other forms of Specialization
By using a single proficiency slot, a man-at-arms may also specialize in a Weapon group, this indicates that he has made an intensive study of a type of weapon, and can pick up similar weapons that are used in similar ways and fight with them without penalty. Thus a fighter who is proficient in Small blades can use a dagger, stiletto, dirk and knife with equal level of skill, but not a throwing dagger, which uses a different attack style. The character must be proficient in at least one weapon of the group, thus, if the fighter above was also proficient in the dagger, a piercing weapon, he would use all of the weapons in the group as if they were daggers, he would not be able to use a knife as a slashing weapon, even though the knife can be used to slash or pierce. Likewise, he would not be able to hilt-punch with a basket hilted Main-gauche, although he could still stab with it.
Weapon Mastery (3 slots in one weapon [Proficiency+2 slots]):
In lieu of taking proficiencies in additional weapons, players may choose to add a proficiency slot in weapons they are specialized in. This will raise specialists in melee weapons from +1 to hit, +2 to damage to +3 to hit and +3 to damage. Archers and Crossbowmen go to +3/+3 at point blank, and gain an additional +1 to hit at all other ranges. [This is only available at 5th or higher level.]
High Mastery: (4 slots in one weapon [Proficiency+3 slots]):
Critical hit on 19 & 20 (this is not cumulative, if character already has this ability, i.e.: Swordmage, it does not improve.) Increased speed on weapon (subtracting 2 from initiative rolls in d10 or 4 in d20.) Missile or thrown gain a range category: Extreme range (or ~33% further, -7 to hit.) [This is only available at 9th or higher level.]
Grand Mastery (5 slots in one weapon [Proficiency+4 slots]): One additional attack or missile per round (in addition to those from specialist), increase damage die to next standard die. A 1d6+2 weapon does 1d8+2, A 2d4 does 2d6, a 1d12 does 1d20. Missile/Thrown: All ranges count as one less. [This is only available at 12th or higher level.]
And Finally, the weapon proficiency master list from the core rules.
Please Note that Weapon Proficiencies in italics may be taken only by a Man-at-Arms. Weapon proficiencies may be further limited due to class, race, size or DM’s whim. This is not a comprehensive list. Other Weapon Proficiencies do exist.
These proficiencies are too complex to fit in the table above, and are described below:
Martial Arts [X] (Where X is A, B, C, or D)
Martial arts is a specialized form of pummeling that uses the body as a weapon. A creature must be able to make pummeling attacks to employ a martial art. Martial arts are difficult to learn and not commonly known. Generally, only creatures with at least average intelligence and from meditative, nonmaterialistic cultures can learn martial arts. Martial arts require at least one free hand. Unlike a character making normal pummeling attacks, a martial artist must be bare-handed or wearing only normal gloves and shoes. A martial art is a discipline of the mind and body and most implements are avoided. Improvised weapons cannot be used in martial arts attacks.
Martial arts attacks inflict mostly temporary damage, just as normal pummeling attacks do. Martial arts attacks are ineffective against creatures normally immune to pummeling attacks. Except where noted below, martial arts attacks are resolved as pummeling attacks. A martial artist enjoys some advantages while pummeling, depending on the style of martial arts he is using:
Style A: The style emphasizes striking with the hands or fists. The character's bare or gloved hands are treated as small, hard objects (1d3 points of damage), and the character can strike and damage creatures of any size. If the character is unarmed and unarmored, he can make an extra attack each round with his other hand (provided that it is free) without the usual penalties for attacking with two weapons.
Style B: The style emphasizes striking with the feet. The character's bare or shod feet are treated as large, hard objects (1d6 points of damage), and the character can kick opponents even when they are not prone, sitting, or kneeling. If unarmed and unarmored, the character can make an extra attack each round with one of his free hands. Note that the ability to pummel creatures of any size is not part of this style.
Style C: The style emphasizes throws and escapes. The character can choose the pull/trip combat option when making pummeling attacks. If the attack hits, the martial artist can use either his Strength or Dexterity score for the opposed roll. The martial artist also can make an opposed attack roll to escape any hold, grapple, lock, or pin. The escape roll counts as an attack, but if it succeeds the martial artist is considered clear and can finish the round normally.
Style D: The style emphasizes dodges and blocks. The character can make one free block each round in addition to any attacks he makes. If unarmed and unarmored, the character receives a -2 Armor Class bonus.
A worksheet in Appendix Six is designed for Martial Arts users. It clarifies how these proficiencies work together and is required for those playing characters with this proficiency.
Additional Skills: For each additional slot (over the initial one) spent on a particular style, the following skills may be added:
Plus One to hit and damage: With Style A or B, gain a +1 to hit and +1 to damage for each additional slot spent over the first.
Improve AC by one: With Style D, improve AC by one for each additional slot spent over the first.
Flying Kick: The character can leap high into the air, leading with a powerful kick that can strike opponents up to three squares away. The character can land in any square adjacent to the target, as long as it is within two squares of the attacker's starting position. If the character is not proficient in style B, this maneuver is the only attack she can make in the round, and the kick inflicts 2d4 points of damage. Strength bonuses to the attack and damage rolls apply.
For example, a character that has spent two slots on this skill could leap 10 feet into the air and land up to three squares away from a standing start. If the character's Dexterity check fails, the character falls down in his landing square; he can get up during his next action phase, but can take no other actions until the following round. If the ability check succeeds, the character can finish the round normally after landing.
If the character has at least one square of running room and declares a half move action, no ability check is required. If the character has no running room or declares a no move action, a Strength/Power check is required. If the ability check fails, the attack automatically misses as the character falls down in her landing square.
Backward Kick: The character can attack an opponent standing in one of her rear squares either by lashing backward or kicking over her own head. This maneuver does not provoke attacks of opportunity (but deliberately turning ones back on an opponent does). This maneuver works best for characters proficient in style B, similar to the flying kick described above.
Spring: The character can make astonishing jumps and with blinding speed. At the cost of a half move or an attack, the character can spring into the air, attaining a height of five feet and landing up to two squares away in any direction. The character can flip and twist while airborne to achieve any facing when he lands. If the character has a 2-square running start, he can double his springing distance, landing up to four squares away and leaping 10 feet in the air, but the running start is a half-move action. For every additional slot spent on this skill, the character can add five feet and one square to the distance achieved.
For example, a character who has spent two slots on this skill could leap 10 feet into the air and land up to three squares away from a standing start. If the character's Dexterity roll fails, the character falls down in his landing square; he can get up during his next action phase, but can take no other actions until the following round. If the ability check succeeds, the character can finish the round normally after landing.
Crushing Blow: The character can break hard objects with her hands maneuver (or feet if she uses style B). Under ideal conditions, the character can break a wooden board ½" thick per level or ¼" slab of stone or brick per level. Objects that are exceptionally strong, reinforced, supported by other objects (such as bricks in a wall), or not shaped like boards receive a saving throw roll vs. crushing blow to avoid breakage. When used against a creature, the crushing blow does normal damage plus 1 point per level. A crushing blow requires intense concentration. It is a no-move action, and the character can take no other actions during the round when she uses the crushing blow.
Instant Stand: The character can instantly regain his feet after falling down. If the ability check succeeds, the character can ignore the effects of knockdowns or failed spring attempts. If the ability check fails, the character can get up during his next action phase, but cannot take any further actions until the next round. Characters cannot use this skill while pinned, locked, held, or grappled.
Missile Deflection: The character can perform block against normal missiles fired at her from the front. The character can use one free change of direction to turn toward an attacker firing missiles from her flank or rear, but this counts as her change of facing for the round. Normal missiles include arrows, axes, bolts, javelins, small stones, and spears. Large or magical missiles, such as ballista bolts, hurled boulders, and magic missile spells, cannot be deflected.
The use of hands, fists, etc, to put a smack down on an opponent with little more than a series of blows. Humanoid and partially humanoid creatures with racial intelligence of at least low can make pummeling attacks. Nonhumanoid creatures with racial intelligence of at least average and with manipulative appendages at least as large and strong as human hands and arms also can pummel. Humans, demihumans, orcs, ogres, giants, centaurs, and similar creatures can make pummeling attacks. Great cats, octopi, oozes, horses, and other creatures who lack intelligence or prehensile appendages cannot. Common sense must apply. For example, the DM might allow androsphinxes to make pummeling attacks if they retract their claws. Generally, however, creatures with natural attacks use them in preference to pummeling attacks. Pummeling requires at least one free hand, although the attacker may wear a metal gauntlet or similar item. A character may also use a weapon pommel or an improvised weapon, such as a mug or bottle, in a pummeling attack. Attacks with improvised weapons provoke attacks of opportunity just as other brawling attacks do.
The target of a pummeling attack must be alive, non-vegetable, organic, and non-fluid. Undead, shambling mounds, golems, and jellies are among the many creatures that cannot be pummeled. Pummeling is ineffective against creatures who can be harmed only by special or magical weapons unless the attacker functions as a magical weapon powerful enough to hurt the creature (see DMG, Table 46; note that character levels never apply to the table). Elementals, fiends, and most extraplanar creatures are immune to pummeling unless attacked by similar creatures or by characters using magical weapons. Creatures immune to blunt (type B) weapons are immune to pummeling attacks. No creature can pummel an opponent more than one size larger than itself unless the target is not standing up (prone, kneeling, or sitting) or the attacker has a height advantage or can fly. For example, a halfling usually cannot pummel a hill giant. Most characters can make a single pummeling attack each round. Any character can gain an extra pummeling attack each round by punching with both hands (provided both hands are free). However, the character suffers the penalties for attacking with two weapons. To make a pummeling attack, the character makes an attack roll vs. the defender's Armor Class. Pummeling damage and speed varies with the type of implement used to pummel: Small, soft objects (bare hands) inflict 1d2 points of damage; base speed is fast. Small, hard objects (mailed fists, mugs, weapon pommels) inflict 1d3 points of damage; base speed is fast. Large, soft objects (saddles, unconscious characters) inflict 1d4 points of damage; base speed is slow. Large, hard objects (chairs, small tables, sacks of coins) inflict ld6 points of damage; base speed is slow. To be used as an improvised weapon, an object must weigh no more than one third of the attacker's maximum press score (from PHB, Table 1) and its greatest dimension can be no larger than half the attacker's height. For example, a Man-sized creature could wield a tall stool in a pummeling attack, but not a stepladder or banquet table; common sense must apply. A cestus is a special case. A character employing a cestus uses the pummeling procedure but inflicts normal damage. Strength bonuses to attack and damage rolls apply to all pummeling attacks. There is no knockdown die for pummeling attacks. Defender is knocked down. Modify the opposing Strength scores as follows:
2-point bonus or penalty per size difference of the attacker versus the defender;
+1 for attacking with a large object;
+ 1, +2, or +3 for a specialized, master (2 slot), or grand master (3 slot or more) attacker.
The defender is knocked down if the attacker wins the opposed Strength roll: If both Strength rolls succeed, the character who succeeds with the highest roll is the winner. If the attacker fails her Strength roll, there is no knockdown no matter what the defender rolls. If the defender fails her Strength roll, there is no knockdown unless the attacker's roll succeeds. If a pummeling attack scores a critical hit, do not use the procedures in Chapter Six. Instead, the defender must save vs. death or be knocked unconscious for 3d10 combat rounds. The attacker's hit probability adjustment (from Table 1 in the PHB) for Strength applies as a bonus or penalty to the saving throw. If the attacker does not have a Strength score, determine the attacker's effective Strength using the formula found in Chapter Two and apply the appropriate modifier from the PHB.
The following are special attacks that can be attempted as a pummeling attack. They are typically attempted to cause a special situation, such as a knockout.
Sapping: A character may attempt to make a ranged sap attempt with a thrown abject, subject to range, Strength, and Dexterity modifiers. Damage is determined by the object's size and hardness, as given above. There is a one-phase delay when making a ranged pummeling attack; small objects become average, have a maximum range of 15 yards, short range is 5 or less, medium is 5-10 and long is 10-15. Large objects cannot usually be thrown, if they can, they can go a maximum of 5 yards and are considered to be in medium range. Size Large and larger creatures might be able hurl some large objects, such as sacks of coins, as though they were small objects.
Kicking: Characters attacking with a height advantage (or attacking a prone, kneeling or sitting opponent) can pummel by kicking instead of punching. Humanoid characters tend to have stronger legs than arms, and inflict extra damage:
Bare feet: 1d3 points of damage;
Shoes, boots: 1d4 points of damage;
Heavy boots: 1d6 points of damage;
Iron-shod or hobnailed boots: 1d8 points of damage.
Shield Weapon Proficiency
Bestows the following: Shield-Bash, Shield-Punch [as below, except without penalty except to AC], Shield-Rush [as below, without penalty to AC] plus bonuses to AC:
Shield Type: Normal Bonus: With Proficiency: Max#times/round*:
Buckler +1 +1 1
Small +1 +2 2
Medium +1 +3 3
Body +1/+2 vs. missiles +3/+4 vs. missiles 4
*refers to number of times in a round a proficient user can use the shield bonus (rotate shield position relative to body) on areas not covered by the shield for the non-proficient, such as flanking opposite the shield’s side and from behind but not surprised.
Special Attack descriptions:
Shield-Bash: Wield shield two-handed as a blunt weapon for 2d6 damage (+any bonuses for strength.) without limiting AC. (Only allowed with Shield or Weapon+ Shield profs.)
Shield Punch: The shield-punch is treated as a normal, secondary weapon attack; the primary weapon suffers a -2 penalty to attack rolls that round and the shield-punch attack is rolled with a -4 penalty. A character may use his reaction adjustment due to a high Dexterity score to offset these penalties. Alternatively, the character can substitute his normal attack for shield punch, with no penalties. The exact characteristics (i.e., damage and speed of each type of shield are noted in Equipment descriptions. If the character is trying a shield-punch, he must announce his intention while declaring his combat action and forfeits the defensive benefit of the shield for the round. The character moves into the square of his opponent on his base initiative, then executes the shield punch and backs out into his own square again on the following initiative phase. (Allowed without proficiency, but proficiency removes negatives.)
Shield Rush: The shield-rush is an attempt to knock someone down by running into them with your shield. The character must have 10 feet (2 spaces) of running room to make an effective shield-rush. Making a shield-rush is treated as a charge attack for purposes of guarding character with set spears.
When the character makes a shield-rush, he makes normal attack against his enemy's AC. Some shields may provide modifiers or bonuses to the rush; refer to equipment descriptions. After a shield has been used for a rush it provides no AC bonus for the rest of the round for its bearer. Making a shield-rush also costs the character normal attack, but it isn't considered an off-hand weapon like a shield-punch. If the shield-bearer hits with his attack, he makes an opposed Strength roll against his opponent to see if he knocks him down. The loser of the opposed roll falls down; if both characters fail their Strength rolls, they both fall down. The following modifiers apply to the attacker's Strength score:
4 point bonus or penalty for each size difference of the attacker versus the defender;
+3 if the defender was unaware of the shield-rush;
-2 if the defender has four legs or more.
Monsters can be assumed to have a Strength of 3% per size category plus their Hit Dice. Instead of an opposed roll, the DM can substitute a saving throw vs. paralyzation for the defender to save time. If the shield-rusher misses with his attack roll, he I must roll a successful Dexterity check to stay on his feet as he rushes past his target. If he fails, he falls down.
A character is skilled in hitting multiple small targets with one attack. The one attack will be their only attack in the round, regardless of how many attacks they would normally have. This only works with two-handed slashing weapons or hand-and-a-half weapons (like a bastard sword) wielded two handedly. The targets must be one or two full steps down on the size chart compared to person doing the sweep, and must be gathered in a crowd. How many creatures can be swept is a factor of both SIZE and HIT DICE. (The size chart is T, S, M, L, H,G, or Tiny, Small, Mansized (or Medium,) Large, Huge, and Gargantuan (or Gigantic)) Thus a man-sized character can sweep tiny creatures or small creatures. Creatures to be swept must also be less than half a person’s hit dice, or less than one-quarter of a person’s hit dice. This is described further in the table below. The position of the enemy is important to the sweep action. Normally, a player character (PC) has a maximum of six directions from which they can be attacked, or attack, as shown (Trying to show this without the picture, because this blog post is long enough!):
Left FRONT Right
L. Flank Rear R. Flank
In order to sweep, at least three of those spaces need to be filled with enemies in a continuous manner. One can sweep in an area as large as a circle or as small as a half-circle. You cannot sweep if the enemies are not continuously filling at least three spaces. If enemies are in the left flank, left and front, you can sweep, but if enemies are in the left flank, front and right (leaving a gap in the left) you cannot sweep. All spaces do not need to be filled to do a complete 360 degree sweep, but at least three need to be continuously filled. A player must specify whether he is doing a full circle or a 180 (half circle) he can only hit the REAR during a full circle sweep. Note that sweep is based on a relationship between PC size and enemy size, so even if you are using a grid system for combat (which gives eight positions, instead of six) the maximum number of enemies hit does not change, although for terms of position the DM may rule that four spaces must be filled to do a sweep.
Number of Enemies Struck during sweep:
Max # hit (180)
Max # hit (360)
¼ or less than PC
Two or more below PC
¼ or less than PC
One below PC
½ of PC
Two or more below PC
½ of PC
One below PC
Note that when doing a sweep, a player rolls an attack roll, in succession, for each hit, and that even one miss causes the sweep to stop, with no further enemies hit. It is typical to roll one damage die for the sweep and do the same amount of damage to each enemy. Based on the chart above, a large sized 12th level PC could sweep 18 3rd level tiny monsters with a 360 sweep, or 9 6th level tiny monsters, or 6 3rd level small monsters, or 6 3rd level small monsters. If our PC missed on the first attack, however, he’d miss all of them. Note that a fumble during a sweep will always leave the character’s back exposed. Note that Sweep is not an appropriate proficiency for characters who are Tiny sized or size Small, as they cannot wield weapons appropriate to use the proficiency, and they cannot be two sizes above the enemy, ever.
Weapon and Shield
Normally, a character employing a shield in his off hand can shield-rush, shield-punch, block, or trap as if it were a secondary weapon, with the normal penalties for attacking with two weapons. The disadvantage is that the shield's AC bonus is forfeited for any round in which it is used this way. However, characters who specialize in weapon and shield style can choose to make one of these secondary attacks every round without losing the AC benefit for carrying a shield.
Wrestling includes all attacks aimed at grasping and holding an opponent. Any creature with racial intelligence of at least semi- can make wrestling attacks if it also has grasping appendages that it could use to restrain an opponent. Incorporeal and amorphous creatures cannot make wrestling attacks and cannot be wrestled, nor can the limbless, although constrictor snakes can be assumed to have a form of wrestling.
Wormlike and snakelike creatures are resistant to wrestling damage but can be held or locked so they cannot attack until they win free of the hold. Creatures immune to normal weapons have a natural resistance to wrestling attacks, so they can be grappled or pinned but take no damage from a hold unless the attacker functions as a magical weapon. Immunity to normal weapons, however, does not protect a creature from the effects of a lock, including damage.
Wrestling requires both hands free. Shields, which are normally worn strapped to the forearm, interfere with the character’s grip and prevent wrestling. Wrestling combat always takes place between two opponents; multiple attacks cannot make a wrestling attack as a group. Damage from wrestling holds and locks is mostly temporary, just like other types of brawling damage.
Most characters can make one wrestling attack each round. Wrestling attacks take place on the attacker's base initiative phase. A wrestler makes an attack roll vs. Armor Class 10, regardless of the defender's actual Armor Class. Bonuses for the defender's Dexterity and magical protections apply. Effects that provide a flat Armor Class, such as magical bracers or shield spells, count as a +1 bonus regardless of how strong their enchantments are. If the attacker misses, his action phase ends. If the attacker scores a critical hit, the defender is automatically held. The attacker enters the defender's square and inflicts ld2 points of damage. The attacker can immediately try for a lock (see Previously Established Holds, below). If there is no critical hit, the attacker enters the defender's square and immediately checks for a hold.
Holds: To check for a hold, the combatants make an opposed attack roll vs. AC 10 (Dexterity and magical bonuses apply). Strength bonuses apply, along with the following modifiers:
4-point bonus or penalty per size difference of the attacker versus the defender;
-1 for a defender normally immune to the attack; -2 for defenders with unusually supple bodies
(snakes, eels, worms, etc.).
The attacker must win the opposed roll to achieve a hold. If the defender wins, if there is a tie, or if both rolls fail, the attacker is driven back to his original square and the grapple is broken. Both characters retain their original facings.
If the attacker wins the opposed roll, the attacker achieves a hold. The defender suffers 1 d2 points of damage unless immune to the attack, and the attacker can try for a lock during his next attack. A hold lasts until the attacker frees the defender, or the defender breaks free. Grappled characters cannot move until they free themselves, and they cannot make attacks of opportunity. Checking for a hold ends the attacker's action phase; the character cannot attack again until he would normally be eligible for a melee attack (usually the next combat round); however, the character can counter the defender's attempts to get free (by making opposed rolls).
Strength bonuses to attack and damage rolls apply to all wrestling attacks, holds, and locks.
Previously Established Holds and Locks: When a character is eligible to make an attack and begins the action phase with a character in his grasp, the attacker can release the opponent, try to improve his grip, or just hold on. If the attacker releases his opponent he can immediately attempt another unarmed attack, draw a weapon and attack (this counts as a half-move action), or attempt some other action normally available to the character, such as movement. If the attacker tries to improve his grip, make another opposed attack roll as described above. If both attack rolls fail, there is no change in the combatants' status-they remain grappled and no damage is inflicted. If the defender wins, the attacker suffers 1d2 points of damage (plus Strength bonus) and the defender's position improves one place. Locked defenders become held, held defenders break free. If the defender wins with a roll good enough to score a critical hit, the defender immediately scores a lock on the attacker, and can choose a lock result from the table below. The defender now controls the wrestling sequence and is treated as the attacker in subsequent action phases. If the attacker wins the opposed roll, the defender suffers 1d2 points of damage and the attacker's position improves one place; held characters become locked. If the attacker just tries to hold on, conduct another opposed roll. Unless the defender wins, his status does not change; held characters remain held and suffer 1d2 points of damage, and locked characters remain locked and suffer a lock result of the attacker's choice. If the defender wins, his status improves one place, as noted above. There is no chance for the defender to roll a critical hit and achieve a lock on the attacker. If both attacks fail, or if there is a tie, the defender's status remains unchanged, but the defender takes no damage and cannot suffer a lock result (though an established lock is not broken). The advantage of holding on is that there is also no chance for a critical hit to reverse the attacker's fortunes. A character who decides to hold on after he has achieved a lock can only repeat the previous lock effect. If the character wishes to change effects, he must win another opposed roll.
Breaking Free: A defender who begins an action phase in another character's grasp cannot move. The only combat actions he can take is an attack with a size S or natural weapon, pummeling, or wrestling. These attacks must be directed at the opponent grappling the character. Attacks with size S weapons and pummeling attacks suffer a -2 attack penalty. Natural and armed attacks are not possible if the character's original facing would not allow them. For example, a fighter who makes a wrestling attack from one of a lion's rear squares could not be subjected to the lion's claw attacks, though the lion could turn its head to bite. If the defender scores a critical hit with a weapon or natural attack, he can opt to inflict double damage (and perhaps roll for a special effect according to the rules presented in Player’s Option: Combat and Tactics, Chapter 6) or force the attacker to release him. If the defender scores a knockdown with a pummeling or weapon attack, he breaks free. If the defender makes a wrestling attack, conduct an opposed attack roll as described above. If both attacks fail, there is no change in the combatants' status-they remain grappled or locked and no damage is inflicted. If the defender wins, the attacker suffers 1 d2 points of damage (plus Strength bonus) and the defender's position improves one place. Locked defenders become grappled, and grappled characters break free. If the defender wins with a roll good enough to score a critical hit, the defender immediately scores a lock on the attacker and can choose a lock result from the table below. The defender now controls the wrestling sequence and is treated as the attacker in subsequent action phases. If the attacker wins the opposed roll, there is no change in the defender's status. If the attacker wins with a roll good enough to score a critical hit, the attacker automatically achieves a lock.
Assistance: Wrestling involves seizing and controlling the defender's body; multiple attackers tend to hinder each other more than the defender. Even Very Large creatures that occupy more than one space on the map cannot be wrestled en masse because it is impossible to coordinate their actions as the defender thrashes about. The attacker's companions, however, can make melee, pummeling, and overbearing attacks against the defender. (A character involved in wrestling combat does not count as part of the pile if his companions try to overbear the defender). It is equally difficult to involve multiple defenders in wrestling combat. A single character can try to grapple the attacking wrestler and pry him loose from the defender. If the rescuer achieves a hold (or a lock) on the attacker, the original defender breaks free and the original attacker is pulled into the rescuer’s square.
A hold or a lock can be broken by scoring a knock down or critical hit with a weapon or pummeling attack as described above, or by overbearing the attacker. Additional defenders who threaten the attacker can make attacks of opportunity every time the attacker initiates an opposed roll.
Missile attacks directed at wrestlers have a chance to hit either characters.
Locks: Characters who become locked suffer one of the following effects, chosen by the character who achieved the lock:
-Throw: The attacker literally throws the defender through the air. The defender lands, prone, 1 or 2 squares away in any direction the attacker chooses. The defender suffers 1 d4 points of damage unless he lands on a soft, yielding surface, but is freed from the attacker’s grasp. Defenders thrown onto particularly hard and unyielding surfaces, such as solid stone floors and walls, take 1d4 points of damage. If the defender is thrown into another creature, immediately conduct an overbearing attack against the creature struck using the attacker’s Strength score and the thrown creature’s size. If the defender is thrown into a hazardous area, such as a pool or burning oil or a set of sharp spikes, he takes additional damage from the hazard, just as though he has stepped or fallen into it. Hazards usually inflict normal (not temporary) damage. Defenders at least two size classes larger than their attackers cannot be thrown. Treat the throw as a takedown. If the defender is the same size or smaller than the attacker, the attacker can make a half move before throwing his opponent.
-Takedown: The attacker makes the defender fall to the ground in the combat square. The defender suffers 1d3 points of damage and remains in the attacker's grasp.
-Slam: The attacker hurls the defender violently to the ground in the combat square. The lock automatically becomes a hold and the victim breaks free if he rolls a successful saving throw vs. breath weapon. The defender suffers 1d8 points of damage in any case. The defender suffers 1d8+ 1 points of damage if slammed into solid ground, and the appropriate amount of damage is inflicted if the defender is slammed into hazardous ground. Defenders at least two size classes larger than their attackers cannot be slammed. Treat the slam as a takedown.
-Press: The attacker squeezes or twists some part of the victim's body, inflicting damage. The victim remains in the attacker's grasp and suffers 1 d6+1 points of damage. If the attacker repeats the press on his next action phase, the damage bonus increases to +2 and continues to increase if the attacker can repeat the press without interruption. A press repeated through five consecutive attacks would inflict 1 d6+5 points of damage during the fifth attack.
-Hammer: The attacker pummels the defender or pounds his body against something. The defender suffers ld2 points of damage and must roll a successful saving throw vs. death or be knocked unconscious for 3d10 combat rounds. There is no adjustment to the roll as there is in a pummeling attack and no damage adjustment for items the attacker holds or wears on his hands.
-Manipulate: The attacker takes control over the defender's body. The attacker can pry items out of the defender's grasp, remove exposed equipment from the defender's body, bind the defender's limbs, negate one of the defender's natural attacks, or inhibit the defender's actions in other ways at the DM'S discretion. The defender suffers 1d2 points of damage from the attacker's manhandling. The attacker can remove one item or bind one limb with a manacle in one attack phase. It takes two attack phases to tie a limb with rope. If in doubt about the attacker's ability to remove an item, allow the attacker to make an open doors or bend bars roll to perform the action. For example, removing a helmet from a struggling hobgoblin would require an open doors roll. Removing a helmet from a struggling storm giant would require a bend bars roll. It is often possible to maintain a manipulation while performing a press or takedown. If the defender wins an opposed roll while multiple locks are established, all of them are broken.-Carry: The attacker lifts the defender into the air and makes a normal move. The defender's weight (and the weight of the defender's equipment) is added to the attacker's encumbrance rating. The attacker cannot choose this lock if the defender's total weight (with equipment) equals or exceeds the attacker's maximum press values