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5.27 Heroic Fumbles in Combat (Optional)

If the Heroic Fumble option is being used (see
section 4.6), Table 39 can be used to determine exactly what goes wrong with an attack or Parry by rolling 1d20. If a result is obtained which is unreasonable, use the effect listed on the row above (keep moving up the table until a reasonable result is attained). In all cases, the attack or parry fails unless otherwise stated.

Table 39: Combat Fumbles
Roll Fumble Result
1 Character falls over. Opponent is at +10 Skill versus them until they can stand up (Agility Task 20). If caused by character's own attack, that attack fails. If caused by a Parry, this counts as successfully Dodging the attack. 1
2-3 Stumble, and twist ankle. All Agility rolls at -5 for the rest of combat. 2
4-5 Strained muscles. All Damage rolls at -2 for the rest of combat.
6-7 Bad coordination. Character forfeits next attack. 3
8-9 Weapon dropped. Weapon may be picked up with a successful Dexterity Task of 20. 4
10-11 Weapon flies out of hand. Weapon lands 1d3 metres away, and may be picked up with a successful Dexterity Task of 20, if the character can reach it. 4
12-13 Weapon flies out of hand and becomes embedded in something. Weapon lands 1d3 metres away, and may be picked up with a successful Dexterity Task of 20, and a Strength Task of 20, if the character can reach it.
14-15 Weapon flies out of hand, strikes a nearby hard surface and breaks (if applicable).
16 Weapon flies out of hand and strikes opponent, doing Damage as whatever attack was being used, or lowest Damage modifier, if a Parry. It may be picked up with a successful Dexterity Task of 20, if the character can reach it.
17 Injure member of own party with Attack, with Damage at -2. If a Parry, use the lowest Damage modifier for that weapon.
18 Injure member of own party with Attack, with full Damage. If a Parry, use the lowest Damage modifier for that weapon.
19 Injure self with Attack, with Damage at -2. If a Parry, use the lowest Damage modifier for that weapon.
20 Injure self with Attack, with full Damage. If a Parry, use the lowest Damage modifier for that weapon.

Alterations for Duellist combat:

1 Attempts to stand up cost 2 Actions.
2 All movement costs doubled.
3 All Actions lost for this round and all declared attacks cancelled. Character can only Combat dodge.
4 Costs 2 Actions to attempt to pick up.

If a Heroic Fumble occurs when a character is Dodging, or Brawling, roll 1d6 instead of 1d20. Even if Heroic Fumbles are not used elsewhere, Gamesmasters are encouraged to use this Table in combat, to add to the fun and carnage.

5.28 Mass Battles

Although Avatar is not specifically designed to deal with large scale conflicts, the following rules are provided to deal with such battles, should they occur.

Each unit involved in the conflict is expressed in terms of five basic attributes:

1. Average Skill:
This is simply the mean value of everyone in the unit. If the unit is made up of people using a Group fighting style, they will gain an additional bonus of +5 to this total for fighting in ranks (see section 5.25). All armies gain a leadership bonus equal to one fifth of the unit's designated leader's combat Skill (if the leader is using a Group fighting style) or one tenth of the leader's Skill (if the leader is using a non-Group fighting Skill). When working out the average skill, do not count champions (see below).
2. Troop Code:
This is the equivalent of the normal Wound Code of an individual combatant. See below for details.
3. Armour Index:
This is the average Armour index (see section 5.11) of the troops.
4. Morale Code:
This can be expressed numerically, or in words. There are two possible starting values, good order (+3) and shaken (+2). See below for details.
5. Morale Index:
This is an index (that is, a certain number of d6's which are counted as a +1 for each 5 and a +2 for each 6) equal to one tenth of the leader's combat Skill, plus one for each champion in the unit (see below)
The troop code functions in much the same way as a character's Wound Code (see section 5.9) and is determined by the number of people in the unit, as shown in Table 40, below.

Table 40: Troop Code
Unit Size 1st Check 2nd Check Destroyed
50 - - L
100 - - S
150 - S L
200 S L L
250 S S L
300 S S S
350 M S L
400 M S S
450 M M L
500 M M S
600 M M M
Unit Size: Number of people in the unit.
1st Check: Losses until unit must make it's first morale roll (see below).
2nd Check: Losses until unit must make it's second morale roll (see below).
Destroyed: Losses until unit is destroyed.

Units of larger than 600 people are usually too large to be coordinated, and must be broken into smaller regiments. Table 40 assumes the scale of the conflict is quite large, but can be used with smaller battles by scaling the Unit size column by one tenth, hence a unit with 20 people would have a troop code of S L L and so forth.

The combat sequence for mass battles is as follows:

1. All troop movement resolved:
The GM decides which order the units move in (although it is suggested that the lowest Skills move first, and the highest Skills move last).
2. All unit attacks are determined:
Each unit adds 1d20 to it's average Skill, and compares it's total with the unit it is attacking. For each whole block of 5 difference, the higher side gets a +1 Damage modifier, and the lower side gets a -1 Damage modifier.
3. All champion attacks are resolved:
Anyone in a unit who's Skill exceeds the average Skill in that unit by more than 5, or has special significance to the unit, is considered a champion. Each champion should roll on their combat Skill, against the total that the other unit rolled. If their total is less than the opposing unit, they suffer one wound for every 5 they are less than the opposing army's total (their Armour index will apply). If their total exceeds the enemy unit, each block of 10 will raise their army's Damage modifier by +1.
4. Include +1/-1 Damage modifier for Flank attacks:
If a unit is attacking another unit's flank (the side), the attacking unit gets a +1 Damage modifier, and the defending unit gets a -1 Damage modifier.
5. Include +2/-2 Damage modifier for Rear attacks:
If a unit attacks another unit from the rear, the attacking unit gets a +2 Damage modifier, and the defending unit suffers a -2 Damage modifier.
6. Roll for Damage:
Each unit rolls on Table 26, using the Damage modifiers calculated above. An F represents few losses (about 12 people killed in the normal scale of 200 people to one M), an L represents light losses (about 50 people), an S represents serious losses (about 100 people) and an M represents major losses (about 200 people killed). The Troop Code itself is not altered by losses.
7. Roll for Armour:
Each unit rolls for armour protection, using the average Armour index. This is analogous to the normal process for armour (see section 5.11).
8. Determine new Morale:
For units which may have suffered a fall in morale, morale checks are made. This is explained below.
9. Repeat from step 1 until resolution:
Combat continues until all the units are routed, destroyed or have surrendered.
Under various circumstances, a unit must make a morale check. Typical circumstances are:

In these cases, the unit's Morale index dice are rolled, and a certain number subtracted. The Morale index dice are treated exactly as if they were Armour index dice, treating 5's as +1 and 6's as +2 (see section 1.8 for more on Index Resolution). In most cases, the modifier involved is -1, however in certain cases the roll should be made at -2. In general, this will only occur when the unit is reduced to it's 2nd Check state in one single attack, but it may also happen in other circumstances if the GM dictates that it is appropriate. The result of this is added to the unit's current Morale Code, with any final result above 3 being treated at a 3, and any result below 0 being treated as 0.

The Morale code should be interpreted as follows:

+3 Good order:
The troops are confident and suffer no adverse penalties.
+2 Shaken:
The troops are unnerved. Their Average Skill is treated as half until they are back in good order. They may not charge.
+1 Routed:
The troops break ranks and flee from their opponents by the fastest route possible.
+0 Dispersed:
The troops have routed, and are too dispersed to regroup.
After each round of combat in which a shaken or worse unit has not been forced to make a morale check, the unit may make a rally attempt. This is performed in the same way as a morale check but with the following modifiers:
If the unit is shaken:
the roll is made at +0, and hence any 5's or 6's rolled will restore the unit to good.
If the unit is routed:
the roll is made at -1, hence at least one 6 or two 5's most be rolled for the unit to reach shaken.
If the unit is dispersed:
it may not make a rally attempt.
In general, most of the rules for combat can be applied to mass battles without much difficulty. For example, a unit can charge to gain +1 Damage modifier (or +2 if the majority of the unit is armed with spears or similar weapons), but suffers a -5 to Average Skill (see section 5.22), and a mounted unit always gains a +1 Damage bonus, whilst it's opponents suffer -5 to their Average Skill (see section 5.23).

5.29 Weapon Descriptions

Statistics for weaponry can be found in
Tables 18 to 25.
Awl Pike:
A long spear, ending with a tapering spear point. As a long polearm, it would usually be employed by one rank of pikemen, who would drop their pikes and draw closer range melee weapons if their ranks were broken. This type of weapon is assumed to include the Lucerne Hammer, Partisan, Ranseur, Runka and Spetum.
Bastard Sword:
A common, one or two-handed sword, often termed the hand-and-a-half sword. Similar to a Broadsword (see below), but with a longer hilt.
Battle Axe:
A heavy, double-bladed, two-handed axe.
Blackjack:
A tarred leather container, filled with water or sand, usually used for knocking people unconscious.
Blowgun:
Short, hollow tube used for propelling small barbs or darts.
Broadsword:
Generic term used to describe a one-handed sword, intended more for slashing than thrusting.
Cat-o-Nine Tails:
A short whip with nine thongs, usually with barbs or weights attached to inflict more pain. More an instrument of torture than a weapon of war. Also known as a Scourge.
Chain:
Short length of chain, spun to lend momentum to the blow.
Claws:
Any set of very short blades, often consisting of little more than a leather thong with claws attached, held like a knuckle duster, such that the claws emerge between the fingers when the weapon is used. These also assist in climbing, giving a +10 bonus to Climb, at the GM's discretion. Includes Bagh nakh and nekode.
Claymore:
A long, heavy, two-handed sword. Includes the Flamberge.
Cleaver:
Small axe used for chopping meat.
Composite Bow:
A bow with recurved ends, having not quite the range of a Long bow (see below). The composite bow is easier than a Long bow to use whilst mounted.
Cudgel:
Generic category for almost any makeshift club, including sticks, pipes and Mauls.
Dart:
A hand launched barb.
Falchion:
A broad, curved sword with a convex edge. Includes the Sabre.
Flail:
Device which consists of two rods of wood, one long, which is held in both hands, and one short and weighted (and possibly spiked) which is whirled around before striking opponents.
Gauntlet:
A metallic glove.
Glaive:
Type of polearm with little more than a single blade mounted on the end of a long haft. Includes the Beaked axe, Bec de Corbin and Glaive-guisarme.
Great Axe:
Term to describe very large axes which will usually feature a large counterweight. It is swung two-handed, as if felling trees, or chopping firewood.
Great Hammer:
Any very large, heavy Hammer (see below) used in combat two-handed. These often have a blade on the head, for use when thrusting.
Great Mace:
Any very large, heavy mace used in combat two-handed. Includes the Hercules club.
Great Sword:
Term to describe any very large, wide-bladed, two handed sword. Historically these were used by mercenary units and were considered a `commoners' weapon by Knights, despite the fact few peasants could realistically afford one.
Halberd:
These feature a heavy axe blade, tapered to a point. Historically it was used to attack the flanks of pikemen, who were unable to bring their weapons to bear, because of their restrictive size. Here the term is used to cover the Berdiche, Bill-guisarme, Guisarme-voulge, Hippe, Sable-halberd and Voulge.
Hammer:
Any light crushing weapon which has a specific striking area, perpendicular to the haft. Often features a blade on the head, to allow for a thrusting attack.
Hand Axe:
Any short, one-handed, singe-headed axe.
Heavy Crossbow:
A mechanical bow which must be hand cranked to tighten and fires metallic bolts or quarrels. Also knows as an Arbalest.
Iron Staff:
A quarterstaff with a weighted iron tip at one or both ends.
Javelin:
A short, thin spear, specifically designed to be thrown a long distance. In terms of melee combat, a javelin is treated as a spear.
Knife:
Any of a large number of very short stabbing or slashing blades, including Stilettoes and Kris knives.
Lance:
A long heavy pole, with a metal tipped end, and a hand guard at the other end. It is intended to be used by someone mounted on a horse, and can do considerable damage in this role.
Light Crossbow:
A mechanical bow which is cranked by pulling the string, usually firing metallic bolts or quarrels. Also known as a Latch.
Light Mace:
Category to cover smashing weapons which use the entire head for impact, and are 70 cm or shorter.
Light Trident:
A three pronged spear, light enough to be used in one hand.
Long Bow:
Term to describe the most powerful bows.
Long Knife:
As Knife (see above), but with a longer blade. Includes what is traditionally considered a dagger.
Long Spear:
Any sufficiently long spear that is too short to be considered a polearm, but long enough to require two hands to use.
Long Sword:
A blade with roughly the same length as a Broadsword (see above) but tapering to a point, and used primarily for thrusting rather than slashing.
Mace:
Category to cover smashing weapons which use the entire head for impact, and are longer than 70 cm.
Mattock:
A tool, used for digging, which is essentially a large, two-handed pick. This include Pick-axes and other similar tools.
Military Fork:
Possibly the simplest of the polearms, this consists of a pitchfork mounted on an extended haft.
Morning Star:
A form of Mace (see above), a morning star is a mace head, connected by a length of chain to a handle. The weapon is used by gyrating the head, and then striking, to increase the force of impact.
Nunchaka:
Two short wooden handles, connected by a small length of chain, these are used by holding one handle and circling the other end at high speed, to increase the impact.
Pike:
An exceptionally long haft, with a blade at its head, used in the same fashion as an Awl pike (see above) but with much greater length. It is literally impossible to use a pike in close quarters.
Punch Knife:
A short, triangular blade connected to a leather thong or metal strip, which is held in a person's fist like a knuckle-duster. Punch knives are used to break chainmail, by breaking individual links in the chain, and thus weakening the armour as a whole. When used against Chainmail, every armour Index die which comes up as a 1 is lost from the Rank, so if after the first attack with a punch knife a 1 and 5 are rolled, the armour knocks the resulting wound down one level (for the 5), but is also reduced one Rank to Rank 1.
Quarterstaff:
Any relatively long pole used to strike opponents. Includes Bo staffs and other long staves.
Rapier:
A thin, metal sword, which is fast and precise, but not particularly damaging. It is almost exclusively a thrusting weapon, and is too flimsy to effectively Parry heavier weapons. This is a relatively recent weapon, historically.
Scimitar:
A curved sword, which broadens at the tip. The end is weighted, to improve its performance, which is chiefly confined to drawing and slicing actions. This term is applied to other, similar swords, such as the Cutlass.
Short Bow:
The term short bow is used here to describe any bow with a comparatively short range.
Short Sword:
Any broad bladed weapon which is too wide (or long) to consider a knife, but not long enough to consider sword.
Shuriken:
A small, metal throwing star, thrown by a flicking motion with the hand.
Sickle:
Any short, curved knife. This is usually a tool, and not a weapon, although it can be used as such.
Sling:
A simple leather strap which can be whirled around the head to provide momentum to a projectile (either a stone or a bullet).
Sling Staff:
A Sling (see above) mounted on a quarterstaff for added power, and used as a melee weapon, if necessary.
Spear:
Generic term used to describe any one handed weapon featuring a relatively long haft with a tapered blade at the head.
Spiked Gauntlet:
A Gauntlet (see above) with metal spikes added, to increase its potential for causing injury.
Stave:
Any short, wooden pole used in one hand as a striking weapon.
Stone Axe:
A crude rendering of an axe, using sharpened stones, such as flint, as a head.
Threshing Flail:
A weapon consisting of a handle, with a number of short segmented metal chains extending from it, used in a whipping motion.
Throwing Axe:
Any short axe, weighted for throwing. In melee, a throwing axe is treated as a Hand axe (see above).
Tool Hammer:
A tool, used for driving nails into wood.
Trident:
Three pronged spear, used two-handed.
War Axe:
Similar to a Hand axe (see above) but with a double bladed head. Also known as a Bipennis axe.
War Club:
A term applied to a particularly large cudgel. In most cases, a war club is merely a suitably shaped and weighted wooden club.
War Flail:
Essentially a Morning star (see above) with three mace heads on three chains, instead of just one. Also known as a Goupillon flail.
War Pick:
A two-handed pick, designed to be used as a melee weapon. Also known as an Oncin Pick.
War Scythe:
Any polearm with a curved blade at its head, usually a simple farmer's scythe mounted on an extended haft. This term is also used to describe the Fauchard, Fauchard-fork, Guisarme and Hook-fauchard.
Warhammer:
A type of one handed crushing weapon which has a specific striking area, perpendicular to the haft and one or more blades also mounted on the head, with one at the top of the haft to allow for the thrusting attack.
Whip:
A long leather thong, used in a rippling motion to inflict pain and injury, or to disarm an opponent (see section 5.15).

5.30 Armour Descriptions

The following descriptions generally refer to complete suits of armour. Statistics for armour can be found in
Table 29.
Banded mail:
This armour consists of strips of metal, sewn to a backing of leather and chain mail. The overlapping strips cover vulnerable areas, whilst the joints are left to the protection of the leather and chain, to allow freedom of movement. When properly fitted, with straps and buckles, the weight is evenly distributed.
Brigandine:
Constructed from a number of metal plates sewn (or riveted) on to canvas or leather, and covered by an outer layer of cloth. Brigandine is somewhat stiff, and inadequately protects the joints.
Bronze Field Plate:
Field plate (see below) made of lighter, softer and cheaper Bronze, instead of steel.
Bronze Full Plate:
Full plate (see below) made of lighter, softer and cheaper Bronze, instead of steel.
Bronze Plate mail:
Plate mail (see below) made of lighter, softer and cheaper Bronze, instead of steel.
Buckler:
A very small, round, wooden shield, reinforced with an iron rim or cross bands. It is usually fastened to the forearm and can be carried by archers or crossbowmen without hindrance.
Chain mail:
An armour constructed out of interlocking metal rings, with an undercoat of cloth to help absorb impacts. Much of this armour's weight is carried on the shoulders, making it uncomfortable to wear for extended periods of time.
Cloth:
Any set of cloths made from tough, or heavy fabrics.
Coif:
A chainmail balaclava.
Field Plate:
Historically the most common form of full plate armour, field plate consists of shaped metal plates which are riveted to interlock and cover the whole body. Field plate usually includes gauntlets, boots, and a visored helmet. Weight is well distributed, and the main disadvantages are a lack of ventilation and the time required to put on the take off the armour. Also known as Half plate armour.
Full Plate:
Similar to field plate (see above) but perfectly fitting so that the entire body is covered. All plates are carefully angled to help deflect blows and the weight is well distributed. Each suit must be custom built to the wearer, as it fits with great precision. As with field plate, full plate is very hot to wear, and is also extremely expensive. Historically, full plate was used more for parades than for combat.
Furs:
Clothing made from animal furs.
Great Helm:
A helmet which encloses the entire head, usually balanced on the shoulders.
Hard Leather:
A suit made from leather which has been hardened in boiling oil and then shaped into breast plates and shoulder protectors. The rest of the suit is formed from soft leather (see below).
Heater:
A kite shaped shield, square at the top, but narrowing to a point at the bottom. A heater is large enough to cover the body and the hip, and is held in place by two leather straps, one of which wraps around the elbow whilst the other is held in the hand. A heater is considered a Small shield, in game terms.
Helm:
Metal head protection, which does not cover the face or neck.
Hide armour:
Type of leather made from extremely thick animal hide, or from multiple layers of leather. Hide armour tends to be stiff and hard to move in.
Leather Hood:
A cowl of leather, to protect the head.
Padded:
Cloth armour, made from quilted layers of cloth. It tends to be hot to wear, and gets grimy and sweaty after a while. Also known as quilted armour.
Plate mail:
A combination of either chain mail or brigandine with metal plates covering any vital areas. Plate mail is held together by straps and buckles which also distribute weight more or less evenly across the body. Historically, this was the most common of the heavier armours.
Quilted:
See Padded, above.
Ring mail:
The forerunner of chain mail, here the rings are sewn onto a leather backing instead of being linked to each other. Historically, the existence of this armour is a matter of debate.
Scale mail:
Leather armour with a covering of metallic scales sewn over the top, giving the armour a reptilian appearance. Also known as Jazeraint armour.
Soft Leather:
A suit of soft leather, covering most of the body.
Splint mail:
Armour constructed out of thin, laminated metal strips, riveted to a leather backing board, with a cloth interior. The joints are protected with chain or leather, since the boards are not flexible. Historically the existence of this armour is debatable.
Studded Leather:
A form of soft leather armour (see above), but studded with metal rivets. Studded leather is similar to Brigandine (see above), but less densely packed. Also known as Bezainted armour.
Target shield:
A circular shield, large enough to cover the torso and held in place by two straps, for the elbow and hand. It is generally made of wood covered with leather, often with cross bands and a metallic boss in the centre. Target shields were sometimes cast in Bronze, but rarely in iron or steel. In game terms, a target shield is considered to be a Small shield.
Tower shield:
A large, heavy shield, with sufficient height and width to hide behind. The tower shield can be used to build a wall of shields with (from behind which, the wielder can attack with thrusting weapons, such as short swords), and usually has an angled base so that it can be driven into the ground, if necessary, to support its own weight. This is considered a Large shield, in game terms.
Wooden armour:
An entirely fictional armour, this consists of carved wooden sections, lacquered some one hundred times. Wooden armour has to be prepared for an individual, and may warp after excessive exposure to water or damp. Such armour would be popular in dry climates, in societies which did not extensively use metal. Also known as Barbarian armour.


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Last Updated: April 16th, 1999