Combat, The Rules And Procedures

Combat is conducted slightly different than in some other games. The system used has evolved over the years that I have spent as a player and Dungeon Master. The purpose of these rules is to streamline the combat and avoid confusion and other time wasters (combat is the single most time consuming aspect of the entire game).

Combat Steps

1)    Roll 1D20 and modify the result by the Dexterity Modifier to a minimum of 0 and up to maximum as determined by your initiative modifier.  The initiative chart will count down segments from highest to zero.  You may delay your action until the segment that you want to act and preempt another character’s or creature’s action on their segment, but usually you want to go in your segment and go as fast as possible.  Immediate actions can be taken out of turn preempting any attacks made that segment.  Talking is a free action which can be done at any time.  All other actions happen only on your initiative count.

2)    Display your initiative card (from the deck of cards numbered 0-26), and wait until it is your initiative.  Please be patient, if you miss your initiative then you have not missed your combat action that round, you have only delayed it.  Any player may elect to delay their initiative up until segment 0.  The GM will count off the initiative on the initiative track posted on top of the DM Screen.
3)    When it is your initiative you roll your attack dice or your spell goes off, or you can do whatever action you desire.  It is permissible to roll your attacks prior to your initiative and wait until your initiative to announce the results.  If you have more than one attack then each attack happens on that segment. If you have the same initiative as another creature then the one with the higher Dexterity score goes first.  You can always delay your action or take a ready action this might be useful if a mage wants to cast a spell and waits to the end of the round to cast or after the monsters have acted so that another creature won’t attack them and force them to make a concentration check to get the spell off.  The problem with delaying is that your initiative count is reduced to the segment that you delayed for.
4)    If a natural 20 is rolled in combat then the attack may be a critical attack.  Some weapons have a critical threat range of 20,19-20,18-20 or even 16-20 some weapons have a high critical threat range and the Improved Critical Feat can increase your chance for a critical hit or a Keen Weapon, but those effects don't stack. AFTER rolling your critical hit announce that you have a critical hit and then roll the to hit dice again to confirm your hit, if you fail to hit a second time then it is a normal hit.  Even if you need a 20 to hit you can still get a critical, but it would take 2 natural 20s.
5)    If a natural 1 is rolled then the result may be a fumble. Roll again to confirm; if the roll would hit normally then you simply missed and may continue with your attacks. If the roll misses then it is a true fumble. Once a true fumble is made then all other attacks that round are lost, and the creature may even lose their weapon. Therefore it is important to keep track of the attack sequence in order to apply the criticals, and fumbles properly and in order. If the second roll is a true fumble then a third roll must made to check the type of fumble. If a natural one is rolled a third time then you have attacked yourself and apply normal damage. If the third roll is a natural twenty then you have scored a critical hit against an ally and must apply full damage multiplied by your critical modifier. You also lose control of your weapon. Natural weapons can be fumbled, but not lost. A natural one is always a miss unless you are mythic and take that path ability or a deity.
To Sum Up
1    Roll initiative (1D20), modify it, and then display the initiative card.
2    The DM will start the initiative count down, when it’s your segment perform your action.
3   If a critical is rolled then roll again to see if you hit confirming the critical hit.

4   If a fumble is rolled then make a second roll to confirm if it is a true fumble (you miss the target). True fumbles require a third roll on a natural 20 you hit an ally with a critical hit on a third roll of a natural 1 you hit
     yourself for normal damage.

The players need to follow the sequence outlined above and be patient with the DM, if this is done then combat will be handled properly and quickly allowing each player to get their turn at their action. It is regretful when a player cannot join in a combat. If this does happen then please wait and be patient. The DM will try and get the combat resolved with as fast as possible; if you are disruptive though it will take longer. Talking with other players about subjects not related to the game, or trying to talk with the DM about something beyond the combat will only slow things down and insure that the time before you can rejoin the action will only be that much longer.

I realize that sometimes there will be a difference of opinion, or even an argument about the rules. The best way to handle this is to tell the DM you have a problem and identify it. IF I can I will stop the action to handle the disagreement. This is not always possible though so please have patience. The disagreement will be handled WHEN I get a chance. At the end of the current combat simply remind me about the problem and we can handle it. I do not like to take a break during climatic actions, like combat, to do anything else or I will loose the story line and some of the fun.

When trying to get my attention please remember that I must divide it among all the players. Some players will require more attention at different points in the game, this is natural and expected. A simple raised hand or a note passed (NOT thrown) to me will suffice to garner my attention. Once again patience is the key.

Table of Contents
Pathfinder Table of Content