AD&D combat – especially initiative – is infamous for being open to numerous interpretations, and is often subject to many houserules. Demon Idol provides a defined combat procedure, and this page provides additional rules info.
We do not use the alternate system on DMG 82. Plusses to attack rolls each bump the result up by one row as normal.
For example, if the opponent's armor class is so high that the final repeating 20 is indicated as the target number (the one just before the target number becomes 21), a +3 strength bonus and a +3 magic sword (total bonus +6) would bring the target number 6 steps down, landing exactly on 19.
Note that a target is effectively unhittable by to-hit roll if the target number is 21 or higher, since the highest number that can be rolled on a d20 is 20.
Being unseen by an enemy party due to an ability (invisibility, psionic invis, hide in shadows) grants +1-in-6 to surprise. Being unhearable due to an ability (silence spell, move silently, psionic invis) gives a separate +1-in-6 to surprise which stacks with any bonus for being unseen. Multiple bonuses for the same sense do not stack (e.g. invis does not stack with hide in shadows).
To get past an area or portal being blocked off by enemy combatants, combat options are (1) overbear attack as per DMG 73, (2) defeat them in combat, (3) make them fail morale.
Combatants who are closing to striking range as their action are not possible melee targets for combatants in the melee they are closing in on, just as the closer themselves cannot attack this round. Furthermore, they are not possible targets when firing into the melee the combatant is closing in on; they become possible targets at the start of the next round.
A combatant in melee can reposition themselves up to 1“ without breaking off from melee. The shifting combatant can still can make their their regular attacks. Any other movement will require avoiding or magic.
Ranged weapons can be fired at ½ RoF (rounded down) during a turn where ½ MV or less is used.1) Only elves can move, shoot, and move again in one round using this rule, as per the MM (and their total MV for the round is still halved). For non-elves, shooting ends all movement for the round. In the case of weapons which can be fired from a mount, the MV in question will be the mount’s MV.
If you don't use precise miniatures, exact positioning will not be part of your combat. Therefore, to calculate who is in splash range, some DM fiat needs to be applied. The DM should always be clear with the player about their chances to splash enemies or an ally.
If you're a DM, one great method is to provide the player with two options: (A) splash a lot of people, but that includes some allies, or (B) splash few creatures, but a small or zero chance to splash an ally. Select dice rolls that generate odds that make sense for the melee, always taking creature size into account in the same way you do when determining missile targeting.
When the situation is unclear, the DM should always favor the defenders, whether that's the PCs or their enemies.
Flank and rear attacks will be determined by “filling up” squares/hexes as per the system on DMG 69-70 in order of “most favorable to defender” to “least favorable to defender.”2) 3) Exceptions will be made when positioning is obvious, such as in a 3’ tunnel.TODO: Expand on how to do this
All war mounts and monster mounts get their attack routines beginning on the round following the round they are considered to be in melee.4) Mounts not meant for combat will only fight as a last resort, and will always choose to flee instead if possible.
Remember that non-war horses have a 90% chance to flee at the start of any combat, and warhorses have a 10% chance to flee. Dogs do not have a special chance to flee, but have other downsides mentioned on that page.
See Unarmed Combat.
This is a rules extension and not mentioned anywhere in the books.Ex
If a combatant is targeted by multiple attack routines in a round, even though attacks may be rolled simultaneously for gameplay speed, damage is rolled one attack at a time. If a character is dropped to 0 HP or lower after a damage roll, the rest of the attacks will likely be re-rolled against different targets if another target is available. The DM may rule that the monster simply continues to maul the unconscious corpse, drag it away, etc. But this would only happen with certain monster types who would reasonably choose to drag a single defeated enemy away and leave the combat (exposing themselves to attacks from avoiding), or with intelligent enemies who have a good reason for making sure the dropped enemy is totally dead instead of attacking another enemy. If the DM is unsure which option the monster would choose, a 50-50 chance is diced, similar to the dragon breath rule.
We call this the “Tunnel Snakes” rule.
These rules on DMG 82 can be tricky to parse. What they're saying is that a creature can be brought from positive HP to 0, -1, -2, or -3 HP in a single hit and not die. Instead, the creature falls unconscious and begins losing 1 HP per round. However, if the creature reaches -4 or lower HP by any means other than the 1 HP loss per round, the creature instantly dies.
As for binding wounds, we simply consider this a full-round combat action (action type E in the combat procedure). There is no need to manage bandages and the like; any character can stop the HP loss by spending a round tending the downed creature.
It is not recommended to cause any mechanical disability on a character for reaching -6 or lower HP.5) The player may describe a permanent scar of some kind though, and record it on their character sheet as a trophy.