d20 Modern System Reference Document



COMBAT


SPECIAL ATTACKS


This section covers firearms, grappling, explosives, attacking objects, and an assortment of other special attacks.

Aid Another

In combat, a character can help a friend attack or defend by distracting or interfering with an opponent. If the character is in position to attack an opponent with which a friend of the character is engaged in melee combat, the character can attempt to aid the friend as an attack action. The character makes an attack roll against Defense 10. If the character succeeds, he or she doesnít actually damage the opponentóbut the characterís friend gains either a +2 circumstance bonus against that opponent or a +2 circumstance bonus to Defense against that opponent (aiding characterís choice) on the friendís next turn.

Firearms

The most basic form of attack with a firearm is a single shot. One attack is one pull of the trigger and fires one bullet at one target.

The Personal Firearms Proficiency feat allows a character to make this sort of attack without penalty. If a character isnít proficient in personal firearms, he or she takes a Ė4 penalty on attacks with that type of weapon.

A number of other feats allow a character to deal extra damage when he or she fires more than one bullet as part of a single attack at a single target. (If a character doesnít have those feats, he or she can still fire more than one bulletóbut the extra bullets donít have any effect, and are just wasted ammunition.)

As with all forms of ranged weapons, attacking with a firearm while within a threatened square provokes an attack of opportunity.

Because of the weaponís unwieldy shape and size, an attacker using a longarm takes a Ė4 penalty on attacks against adjacent opponents.

Autofire: If a ranged weapon has an automatic rate of fire, a character may set it on autofire. Autofire affects an area and everyone in it, not a specific creature. The character targets a 10-foot-by-10-foot area and makes an attack roll; the targeted area has an effective Defense of 10. (If the character does not have the Advanced Firearms Proficiency feat, he or she takes a Ė4 penalty on the attack roll.) If the attack succeeds, every creature within the affected area must make a Reflex save (DC 15) or take the weaponís damage. Autofire shoots 10 bullets, and can only be used if the weapon has 10 bullets in it.

Autofire is not the same thing as burst fire, which involves firing a short burst at a specific target. Firing a burst requires the Burst Fire feat. If a character fires a blast of automatic fire at a specific target without the Burst Fire feat, itís treated as a standard attack. The attack, if successful, only deals normal damageóall the extra ammunition the character fired is wasted.

Some firearmsóparticularly machine gunsóonly have autofire settings and canít normally fire single shots.

Grenades and Explosives

An explosive is a weapon that, when detonated, affects all creatures and objects within its burst radius by means of shrapnel, heat, or massive concussion. Its effect is broad enough that it can hurt characters just by going off close to them.

Some explosives, such as grenades, can be thrown, and they explode when they land. Others are planted, with fuses or timers, and go off after a preset amount of time elapses.

Thrown Explosives: An attack with a thrown explosive is a ranged attack made against a specific 5-foot square. (A character can target a square occupied by a creature.) Throwing the explosive is an attack action. If the square is within one range increment, you do not need to make an attack roll. Roll 1d4 and consult the table to see which corner of the square the explosive bounces to.


Table: Thrown Explosives (hit)

Roll on d4 Corner of targeted square
1 Upper left
2 Upper Right
3 Lower Right
4 Lower Left

If the target square is more than one range increment away, make an attack roll. The square has an effective Defense of 10. Thrown weapons require no weapon proficiency, so a character doesnít take the Ė4 nonproficient penalty. If the attack succeeds, the grenade or explosive lands in the targeted square. Roll 1d4 and consult the table above to see which corner of the square the explosive bounces to.

If the target square is more than one range increment away, make an attack roll. The square has an effective Defense of 10. Thrown weapons require no weapon proficiency, so a character doesnít take the Ė4 nonproficient penalty. If the attack succeeds, the grenade or explosive lands in the targeted square. Roll 1d4 and consult the table above to see which corner of the square the explosive bounces to.


Table: Thrown Explosives (Miss 2 to 3 Range Increments)

Roll on d8 Location Struck
1 upper right corner, one square beyond target
2 upper right corner, one square right of target
3 lower right corner, one square right of target
4 lower right corner, one square short of target
5 lower left corner, one square short of target
6 lower left corner, one square left of target
7 upper left corner, one square left of target
8 upper left corner, one square beyond target

For ranges of up to five range increments (31 to 50 feet), roll 1d12.


Table: Thrown Explosives (Miss 4 to 5 Range Increments)

Roll on d8 Location Struck
1 upper right corner, two squares beyond target
2 upper right corner, one square beyond and right of target
3 upper right corner, two squares right of target
4 lower right corner, two squares right of target
5 lower right corner, one square short and right of target
6 lower right corner, two squares short of target
7 lower left corner, two squares short of target
8 lower left corner, one square short and left of target
9 lower left corner, two squares left of target
10 upper left corner, two squares left of target
11 upper left corner, one square beyond and left of target
12 upper left corner, two squares beyond target

After determining where the explosive landed, it deals its damage to all targets within the burst radius of the weapon. The targets may make Reflex saves (DC varies according to the explosive type) for half damage.

Planted Explosives: A planted explosive is set in place, with a timer or fuse determining when it goes off. No attack roll is necessary to plant an explosive; the explosive sits where it is placed until it is moved or goes off.

When a planted explosive detonates, it deals its damage to all targets within the burst radius of the weapon. The targets may make Reflex saves (DC varies according to the explosive type) for half damage.

Splash Weapons

A splash weapon is a ranged weapon that breaks apart on impact, splashing or scattering its contents over its target and nearby creatures or objects. Most splash weapons consist of liquids in breakable containers.

To attack with a splash weapon, make a ranged touch attack against the target. Thrown weapons require no weapon proficiency, so characters donít take the Ė4 nonproficient penalty. A hit deals direct hit damage to the target and splash damage to all other creatures within 5 feet of the target.

A character can instead target a specific 5-foot square, including a square occupied by a creature. Use the rules for thrown explosives. However, if a character targets a square, creatures within 5 feet are dealt the splash damage, and the direct hit damage is not dealt to any creature.

If the character misses the target (whether aiming at a creature or a square), check to see where the weapon lands, using the rules for thrown explosives. After determining where the object landed, it deals splash damage to all creatures within 5 feet.

Attack an Object

Sometimes a character needs to attack or break an object

Strike an Object: Objects are easier to hit than characters because they usually donít move, but many are tough enough to shrug off some damage from each blow.

Object Defense and Bonuses to Attack: Objects are harder or easier to hit depending on their size and whether they are immobile or being held, carried, or worn by opponents. The base Defense of objects is shown on Table: Size and Defense of Objects.


Table: Size and Defense of Objects

Size Defense
Colossal (jetliner) -3
Gargantuan (army tank) 1
Huge (typical car) 3
Large (big door) 4
Medium-size (dirt bike) 5
Small (chair) 6
Tiny (laptop computer) 7
Diminutive (paperback book) 9
Fine (pencil) 13

If a character uses a full-round action to make an attack against an inanimate, immobile object, the character gets an automatic hit with a melee weapon, or a +5 bonus on his or her attack roll with a ranged weapon.

An object being held, carried, or worn has a Defense equal to the above figure + 5 + the opponentís Dexterity modifier + the opponentís class bonus to Defense. Striking a held, carried, or worn object provokes an attack of opportunity from the character who holds it. (If a character has the Sunder feat, he or she doesnít incur an attack of opportunity for making the attempt.)

Hardness: Each object has hardnessóa number that represents how well it resists damage. Whenever an object takes damage, subtract its hardness from the damage. Only damage in excess of its hardness is deducted from the objectís hit points (see Table: Substance Hardness and Hit Points and Table: Object Hardness and Hit Points).

Hit Points: An objectís hit point total depends on what it is made of or how big it is (see Table: Substance Hardness and Hit Points and Table: Object Hardness and Hit Points).


Table: Substance Hardness and Hit Points

Substance Hardness Hit Points
Paper 0 2/inch of thickness
Rope 0 2/inch of thickness
Plastic, soft 0 3/inch of thickness
Glass 1 1/inch of thickness
Ceramic 1 2/inch of thickness
Ice 0 3/inch of thickness
Plastic, hard 2 5/inch of thickness
Wood 5 10/inch of thickness
Aluminium 6 10/inch of thickness
Concrete 8 15/inch of thickness
Steel 10 10/inch of thickness

Table: Object Hardness and Hit Points

Object Hardness Hit Points Break DC
Lock
Cheap 0 1 10
Average 3 5 15
High Quality 5 10 20
High Security 10 120 35
Ultrahigh Security 20 150 40
Manufactured objects1
Fine 0 1 10
Diminutive 0 1 10
Tiny 1 2 10
Small 3 3 12
Medium-size 5 5 15
Large 5 10 15
Huge 8 10 20
Gargantuan 8 20 30
Colossal 10 30 50
Gargantuan 8 20 30
Colossal 10 30 50
Gargantuan 8 20 30
Colossal 10 30 50
Firearm, Medium-size 5 7 17
Rope 0 2 23
Simple Wooden Door 5 10 13
Strong Wooden Door 5 20 23
Steel Door 10 120 35
Cinderblock Wall 8 90 35
Chain 10 5 26
Handcuffs 10 10 30
Metal Bars 10 15 30
1 Figures for manufactured objects are minimum values. The GM may adjust these upward to account for objects with more strength and durability.

Energy Attacks: Acid and sonic/concussive attacks deal normal damage to most objects. Electricity and fire attacks deal half damage to most objects; divide the damage by 2 before applying the hardness. Cold attacks deal one-quarter damage to most objects; divide the damage by 4 before applying the hardness.

Ineffective Weapons: The GM may determine that certain weapons just canít deal damage effectively to certain objects.

Immunities: Objects are immune to nonlethal damage and to critical hits.

Saving Throws: Unattended objects never make saving throws. They are considered to have failed their saving throws. An object attended by a character (being grasped, touched, or worn) receives a saving throw just as if the character herself were making the saving throw.

Breaking Objects: When a character tries to break something with sudden force rather than by dealing damage, use a Strength check to see whether he or she succeeds. The DC depends more on the construction of the object than on the material.

If an object has lost half or more of its hit points, the DC to break it decreases by 2.

Repairing Objects: Repairing damage to an object takes a full hour of work and appropriate tools. (Without the tools, a character takes a Ė4 penalty on his or her Repair check.) At the end of the hour, make a Repair check (DC 20). Success restores 2d6 hit points. If damage remains, the character may continue to make repairs for as many hours as it takes to restore all the objectís hit points.

Bull Rush

A character can attempt a bull rush as an attack action made during his or her move action, or as part of a charge. (In general, a character canít make an attack action during a move action; this is an exception.) In either case, the character doesnít get a 5-foot step before, during, or after the bull rush attempt. When the character bull rushes, he or she attempts to push an opponent straight back instead of attacking the opponent. A character can only bull rush an opponent who is one size category larger than the character, the same size, or smaller.

Initiating a Bull Rush: First, the character moves into the targetís square. Moving in this way provokes an attack of opportunity from each foe that threatens the character, probably including the target.

Second, the character and the target make opposed Strength checks. If the character and the target are different sizes, the larger combatant gets a bonus on the Strength check of +4 per difference in size category. The character gets a +2 bonus if he or she was charging. The target gets a +4 stability bonus if he or she has more than two legs or is otherwise exceptionally stable.

Bull Rush Results: If the character beats the targetís Strength check, the character pushes the opponent back 5 feet. The character can push the target back an additional 5 feet for every 5 points by which the character exceeded the targetís check result, provided the character moves with the target. A character canít, however, exceed his or her normal movement for that action. (The target provokes attacks of opportunity if moved. So does the character, if he or she moves with the target. The target and the character do not provoke attacks of opportunity from each other as a result of this movement.)

If the character fails to beat the targetís Strength check, the character moves 5 feet straight back to where the character was before the character moved into the opponents square. If that square is occupied, the character falls prone in the square.

Overrun

A character can attempt an overrun as an attack action made during his or her move action, or as part of a charge. (In general, a character cannot make an attack action during a move action; this is an exception.) In either case, the character doesnít get a 5-foot step before, during, or after the overrun attempt. With an overrun, the character attempts to move through an opponents area, going past or over the opponent. A character can only overrun an opponent who is one size category larger than the character, the same size, or smaller. A character can make only one overrun attempt per action.

First, the character must move at least 10 feet in a straight line into the targetís square (provoking attacks of opportunity normally).

Then the target chooses either to avoid the character or to block the character. If the opponent avoids the character, the character keeps moving. (A character can always move through a square occupied by someone who lets the character by.) If the opponent blocks the character, make a trip attack against the opponent (see Trip). If the character succeeds in tripping his or her opponent, the character can continue his or her movement as normal.

If the character fails and are tripped in turn, the character falls prone in the targetís square. If the character fails but are not tripped, the character has to move 5 feet back the way he or she came, ending his or her movement there. If that square is occupied, the character falls prone in the square.

Trip

A character can try to trip an opponent, or otherwise knock him or her down, as an unarmed melee attack. A character can only trip an opponent who is one size category larger than the character, the same size, or smaller.

Making a Trip Attack: Make an unarmed melee touch attack against the target. Doing this provokes an attack of opportunity from the target as normal for unarmed attacks.

If the attack succeeds, make a Strength check opposed by the targetís Dexterity check or Strength check (using whichever ability score has the higher modifier). If the character and the target are different sizes, the larger combatant gets a bonus on the Strength check of +4 per difference in size category. The target gets a +4 stability bonus on his or her check if he or she has more than two legs or is otherwise exceptionally stable. If the character wins, he or she trips the target. If the character loses, the target may immediately react and make a Strength check opposed by the characterís Dexterity check or Strength check to try to trip the character.

Being Tripped (Prone): A tripped character is prone (see Table: Defense Modifiers). Standing up from a prone position is a move action.

Tripping with a Weapon: Some weapons, such as the chain and the whip, can be used to make trip attacks. A character doesnít incur an attack of opportunity when doing so. If the character is tripped during his or her own trip attempt, the character can drop the weapon to avoid being tripped.

Disarm

As a melee attack, a character may attempt to disarm his or her opponent. If the character does so with a weapon, he or she knocks the opponentís weapon out of his or her hands and to the ground. If the character attempt the disarm while unarmed, the character ends up with the weapon in his or her hand.

If a character is attempting to disarm the wielder of a melee weapon, follow the steps outlined here. Disarming the wielder of a ranged weapon is slightly different; see below.


Step One: The character provokes an attack of opportunity from the target he or she is trying to disarm.


Step Two: The character and the target make opposed attack rolls with their respective weapons. If the weapons are different sizes, the combatant with the larger weapon gets a bonus on the attack roll of +4 per difference in size category. If the target is using a weapon in two hands, he or she gets an additional +4 bonus. Also, if the combatants are different sizes, the larger combatant gets a bonus on the attack roll of +4 per difference in size category.


Step Three: If the character beats the targetís attack roll, the target is disarmed. If the character attempted the disarm action unarmed, he or she now has the weapon. If the character was armed, the targetís weapon is on the ground at the targetís feet.

If the character fails the disarm attempt, the target may immediately react and attempt to disarm the character with the same sort of opposed melee attack roll. The opponentís attempt does not provoke an attack of opportunity from the character. If the opponent fails to disarm, the character does not get a free disarm attempt against the opponent.


Ranged Weapons: To disarm an opponent wielding a ranged weapon, the character makes a melee attack or unarmed attack to strike the weapon in the opponentís hand (see Attack an Object). If the weapon is held in two hands, it gets a +2 bonus to its Defense. If the characterís attack succeeds, the ranged weapon falls to the ground or winds up in the characterís hands (if the character made the attack unarmed). This kind of disarm attempt provokes an attack of opportunity, but if the character fails, the target does not get to make a disarm attempt against him or her.

Grabbing Objects

A character can also use disarm to snatch away an object worn by a target. Doing this works the same as a disarm attempt (see above), except for the following.

Attack of Opportunity: If the targetís attack of opportunity inflicts any damage, the attempt to grab the object automatically fails.

Modifiers: If the object is well secured or otherwise difficult to grab from the target, the target gets a +4 bonus. On the other hand, if the object is poorly secured or otherwise easy to snatch or cut away, the attacker gets a +4 bonus.

Failed Attempts: Failing an attempt to grab an object doesnít allow the target to attempt to disarm the character.

Grapple

Grappling means wrestling and struggling hand-to-hand.

There are three stages to grappling: grabbing, holding, and pinning.

Grabbing: Normally, a grab is just the first step to starting a grapple. If the character grabs an opponent, but fails to go on to hold him or her, the character doesnít actually start a grapple. However, sometimes all a character wants to do is grab the target.

Holding: Once a character has established a hold, he or she is involved in a grapple. From a hold, a character can attempt a number of actions, including damaging the opponent or pinning the opponent. A character canít get a hold on any creature more than two size categories larger than the character. (However, such a creature can get a hold on the characteróso while a character canít initiate a grapple with a creature more than two size categories larger than, a character can still end up in one.)

Pinning: Getting the opponent in a pin is often the goal of a grapple. A pinned character is held immobile.

Grapple Checks: When a character is involved in a grapple, he or she will need to make opposed grapple checks against an opponentóoften repeatedly. A grapple check is something like a melee attack roll. A characterís attack bonus on a grapple check is:


Base attack bonus + Strength modifier + grapple modifier


Grapple Modifier: A creatureís size works in its favor when grappling, if that creature is Large or larger in size. Conversely, a creature of Small or smaller size is at a disadvantage because of its size when grappling. Instead of using a creatureís size modifier on a grapple check (as would be done for a melee or ranged attack roll), use the appropriate grapple modifier from Table: Grapple Modifiers.


Table: Grapple Modifiers

Size (Example) Grapple Modifier
Colossal (blue whale [90 ft. long]) +16
Gargantuan (gray whale [40 ft. long]) +12
Huge (elephant) +8
Large (lion) +4
Medium-size (human) +0
Small (German shepherd) -4
Tiny (housecat) -8
Diminutive (rat) -12
Fine (horsefly) -16

Starting a Grapple: To start a grapple, a character first needs to grab and hold his or her target. Attempting to start a grapple is the equivalent of making a melee attack. If the character gets multiple attacks in a round, he or she can attempt to start a grapple multiple times (at successively lower base attack bonuses). Follow these steps.

  1. Attack of Opportunity: A character provokes an attack of opportunity from the target he or she is trying to grapple. If the attack of opportunity deals the character damage, the character fails to start the grapple. If the attack of opportunity misses or otherwise fails to deal damage, proceed to step 2.

  2. Grab: The character makes a melee touch attack to grab the target. If the character fails to hit the target, the character fails to start the grapple. If the character succeeds, proceed to step 3.

  3. Hold: Make an opposed grapple check. (This is a free action.) If the character succeeds, the character has started the grapple, and deals damage to the target as if with an unarmed strike.

    If the character loses, he or she fails to start the grapple. The character automatically loses an attempt to hold if the target is two or more size categories larger than the character is (but the character can still make an attempt to grab such a target, if thatís all he or she wants to do).

  4. Maintain the Grapple: To maintain the grapple for later rounds, the character must move into the targetís square. (This movement is free and doesnít count as part of the characterís movement for the round movement.) Moving, as normal, provokes attacks of opportunity from threatening enemies, but not from the target. The character and the target are now grappling.

    If the character canít move into the targetís square, the character canít maintain the grapple and must immediately let go of the target. To grapple again, the character must begin at step 1.

Grappling Consequences: While a character is grappling, his or her ability to attack others and defend him or herself is limited.

No Threatened Squares: A character doesnít threaten any squares while grappling.

No Dexterity Bonus: A character loses his or her Dexterity bonus to Defense (if the character has one) against opponents the character isnít grappling. (The character can still use it against opponents he or she is grappling.)

No Movement: A character cannot move while held in a grapple.


If the Character is Grappling: When a character is grappling (regardless of who started the grapple), he or she can attempt any of several actions on his or her turn. Unless otherwise noted, each of these options is equivalent to an attack. (If the character normally gets more than one attack per attack action, he or she can attempt as many of these options as he or she has attacks available, using his or her successively lower attack bonus for each roll.) The character is limited to these options only; he or she cannot take any other actions.

  • Damage the Opponent: Make an opposed grapple check; if the character succeeds, he or she deals damage as with an unarmed strike.

  • Pin: Make an opposed grapple check; if the character succeeds, he or she holds the opponent immobile for 1 round. The opponent takes a Ė4 penalty to Defense against all attacks from other people (but not from the character); however, the opponent is not considered helpless.

    A character canít use a weapon on a pinned character or attempt to damage or pin a second opponent while holding a pin on the first.

    A pinned character canít take any action except to attempt to escape from the pin.

  • Escape from Grapple: Make an opposed grapple check. If the character succeeds, he or she can escape the grapple. If more than one opponent is grappling the character, the grapple check result has to beat all their check results to escape. (Opponents donít have to try to hold a character if they donít want to.)

    Alternatively, the character can make an Escape Artist check opposed by the opponentís grapple check to escape from the grapple. This is an attack action that the character may only attempt once per round, even if the character gets multiple attacks.

    If the character has not used his or her move action for the round, the character may do so after escaping the grapple.

  • Escape from Pin: Make an opposed grapple check. If the character succeeds, he or she can escape from being pinned. (Opponents donít have to try to keep the character pinned if they donít want to.) The character is still being grappled, however.

    Alternatively, a character can make an Escape Artist check opposed by the opponentís grapple check to escape from the pin.

  • This is an attack action that the character may only attempt once per round, even if the character gets multiple attacks.

  • Break Anotherís Pin: Make an opposed grapple check; if the character succeeds, he or she can break the hold that an opponent has over an ally.

  • Draw a Light Weapon: A character can draw a light weapon as a move action.

  • Attack with a Light Weapon: A character can attack with a light weapon while grappling (but not while pinned or pinning). A character canít attack with two weapons while grappling.

If the Character is Pinned: When an opponent has pinned the character, he or she is held immobile (but not helpless) for 1 round. (the character canít attempt any other action.) On the characterís turn, he or she can attempt to escape from the pin. If the character succeeds, he or she is still grappling.

Joining a Grapple: If the target is already grappling someone else, a character can use an attack to start a grapple, as above, except that the target doesnít get an attack of opportunity against the character, and the characterís grab automatically succeeds. The character still has to make a successful opposed grapple check and move in to be part of the grapple.

If multiple enemies are already involved in the grapple, the character picks one against whom to make the opposed grapple check.

Multiple Grapplers: Several combatants can be in a single grapple. Up to four combatants can grapple a single opponent in a given round. Creatures that are one size category smaller than the character count as one-half creature each; creatures that are one size category larger than the character count as two creatures; and creatures two or more size categories larger than the character count as four creatures.

When involved in a grapple with multiple opponents, the character chooses one opponent to make an opposed check against. The exception is an attempt to escape from the grapple; to escape, a characterís grapple check must beat the check results of all opponents.