CHAPTER 6: COMBAT
You can spend your action to attack. Since you only have 1 action each turn, that typically means that you will only get 1 attack each turn.
To attack, roll 3d20 and add the appropriate stat bonus or penalty. If the roll is successful, you hit and deal damage to your target. When you roll damage, you add whatever stat modifier you used to make the attack. For example, a creature with brawn +3 makes a brawn attack and rolls 3d20 +3 to see if it hits. If it does, it deals +3 extra damage. Weapons can also affect attacks (see the Adventuring Gear section).
You can attack with any stat.
Melee attacks involve attacks such as punching, biting, or swinging a sword. You can make a melee attack against any creature that is in your space or an adjacent space. The base damage for melee attacks is 1d8.
Ranged attacks involve shooting bows, throwing daggers, and hurling rocks. You can make a ranged attack against any creature within a midrangedistance. It’s possible to make ranged attacks against creatures farther away than that, but you must decrease the attack roll. The maximum range of all weapons is determined by the GM (usually whatever is logical). The base damage for ranged attacks is 1d6.
Life and Damage
All creatures have life, which represents how much damage they can take before they die. To calculate a creature’s maximum life, multiply its toughness by 4.
A creature can never have more life than its maximum. It loses life when it takes damage, and it gains life when it heals. For example, suppose there is a creature that has 30 life. If it takes 10 damage, its life total falls to 20. If it then receives 15 healing, its life total rises to 30.
A creature that is reduced to 0 hit points is defeated. It falls unconscious and is considered dying. A dying creature rolls 1d20 at the start of each of its turns until it gets a 1 or a 20. It dies if it rolls a 1, or it stabilizes if it rolls a 20. A stabilized creature is still unconscious but is no longer considered dying. When the GM sees fit, a stabilized creature regains consciousness with 1 life.
A dying creature that receives any healing whatsoever instantly stabilizes and its life total becomes 1. It remains unconscious until the GM sees fit.
Special events might cause a creature to skip the dying process and immediately die, such as falling from the top of an enormous mountain or swimming in a pool of lava. Additionally, creatures can spend an action to kill a dying creature (slit its throat, bash its skull in, etc).
Some effects in Tavern Tales specifically reference defeated creatures. Creatures are considered defeated if they lose a fight. It’s up to the GM to decide when a creature is defeated and how long it remains defeated. In general, a creature is considered defeated if it:
Loses its remaining life.
Cannot possibly fight back (it’s tied up, for example).
Rolling +1 damage die / Rolling -1 damage die
Some effects cause you to roll more or fewer damage die. Changes to damage die appear in one of the following two ways:
Roll +X damage die.
Roll -X damage die.
The “X” in the above examples can be any number. For example, an effect that reads “Roll +3 damage die” means that you would roll 3 extra damage die (in addition to all of the damage die you normally roll) on the attack.
These effects cancel out if you have multiple +X bonuses and -X penalties. For example, if one effect causes you to roll +3 damage die, and another effect causes you to roll -1 damage die, then you would roll +2 damage die (in addition to all of the damage die you normally roll).
Wesley is playing a savage barbarian. By default, he rolls 1 damage die on all of his attacks. This means that he rolls 1d8 on melee attacks and 1d6 on ranged attacks. He decides that his barbarian doesn’t deal nearly enough damage, so he selects a trait that reads “You roll +1 damage die.” Now, he rolls 2d8 on melee attacks and 2d6 on ranged attacks.
Unfortunately, a wizard casts a powerful hex on Wesley’s barbarian, causing him to roll -2 damage die. For as long as the hex remains, Wesley doesn’t roll any damage die when he attacks. He still gets to add his stat bonus to damage. So, if he attacks with a +3 brawn bonus and deals damage, he would roll 0d8+3, or 3 damage.
Block represents armor or physical toughness. When you would take damage, subtract your block value from the damage. If you would take 10 damage and you have 2 block, you only take 8 damage. Block can reduce damage to 0. The GM may decide that block does not apply to special types of damage (standing in fire, falling from great heights, etc).
Resting and Healing
Healing restores lost life to your character. You can’t heal more than your maximum life; any excess healing is wasted. In general, your healing is tied to your toughness—the higher your toughness, the more you will benefit from healing effects.
You heal an amount of life equal to your toughness when you get a full night’s rest. The term “full night’s rest” appears occasionally in Tavern Tales and should not be taken literally. You can rest during the day, at dusk, or whenever you please. You’re considered to get a full night’s rest as long as you sleep and/or rest for an extended period of time (8 hours or so) with accommodations such as food, a bed, and warmth.
All players can perform the recuperate action for free. Despite the fact that this is a generic ability that everyone has, players are encouraged to reflavor it. For example, a cleric might describe recuperate as calling down holy light, whereas an alchemist might flavor it as applying a healing salve to an open wound.
Recuperate • Slow Action
Describe how you tend to the wound of yourself or a creature you are touching → The target heals life equal to its toughness. Resisting. Rolling badly could complicate matters (you don’t heal at all, you deal damage by mistake, you render one of the target’s appendages temporarily unusable, etc).
Bolstering and Advantage
There are many things that you can do in combat besides attacking. You might shout encouragement to an ally, tip over a table to provide cover, or raise your shield to protect an ally. In Tavern Tales, these special attacks are considered Bolstering. Bolstering costs an action, just like attacking.
To bolster, you simply roll 3d20 and add a fitting stat bonus. If you succeed, you give yourself or an ally 1 advantage (see the Advantage section inChapter 4).
You can bolster with any stat as long as it is logical to do so, but how you bolster might affect the range.
The paladin wants to bolster, so he shouts battle orders to his nearest ally. The GM decides that this is a spirit roll, and that the paladin can bolster anyone in earshot.
The fighter wants to bolster, so he raises his shield to protect a nearby ally. The GM decides that this is a brawn roll, and the close nature of the action means that the fighter can only bolster adjacent creatures.
The rogue wants to bolster, so he flips up onto a nearby table for better positioning. The GM decides that this is a finesse roll, and the rogue can only bolster himself.
Having advantage means that you have an edge. Combat advantage is a bit different from exploration and interaction advantage. Combat advantage still increases your roll, but it has a few other uses as well.
Spend advantage when you attack: Increase the attack roll, and roll +1 damage die.
Spend advantage to defend against an attack: The attacker decreases his attack roll, and rolls -1 damage die.
Increase any 3d20 roll you make that’s related to combat.
If you use the second option, the decreased attack and damage roll only applies to the portion of the attack that affects you. For example, if a dragon breathes fire on your whole group and you spend advantage to decrease its attack and damage, then that only applies to the dragon breath that affects you. The dragon would use his lowest d20 against you and his middle d20 against your friends.