Chapter 8 - Combat

WHETHER IT’S a skirmish against a handful of orcs or an all-out battle with Orcus, Demon Prince of the Undead, combat is a staple of a Steller Winds adventure. Combat encounters usually begin when you enter an area containing monsters. Sometimes the monsters enter your area instead—when werewolves attack your camp at night, for example—or you and the monsters stumble upon each other. You might meet on a road, or you might be exploring a dungeon when you run into a hostile patrol.This chapter details the rules for combat.

The Combat Sequence: The sequence of rounds and turns that make up a battle. Includes rules for rolling initiative.

Action Types: The different types of actions that you can take on your turn and on other combatants’ turns.

Taking Your Turn: What to do at the start of your turn, during your turn, and at the end of your turn.

Attacks and Defenses: How to choose a target,make an attack roll, deal damage, inflict various effects on your enemies, and make saving throws.

Attack Modifiers: Various factors that affect attack rolls, including combat advantage, cover, and concealment.

Movement and Position: Rules for speed,creature size, difficult terrain, obstacles, flanking,teleportation, and forced movement.

Actions in Combat: The most common actions in a battle, from spending an action point to walking.

Healing: Rules on hit points, healing surges,temporary hit points, and regeneration.

Wounds, Death and Dying: What happens when you drop to 0 hit points or fewer and how to escape death.

The Combat Sequence

A typical combat encounter is a clash between two sides, a flurry of weapon swings, feints, parries, footwork,and spell casting. The DUNGEONS & DRAGONS game organizes the chaos of combat into a cycle of rounds and turns.

Action Types

A combat round is made up of actions. Firing a shot, casting a spell, running across a room, opening a door—each of these activities, along with many others,is considered an action. You use different action types to do different things. For example, most attack powers are standard actions, and moving from one spot on the battlefield to another is normally a move action. (A few powers don’t require an action to use.)

Taking Your Turn

When your turn comes up in the initiative order, it’s time for you to act. Your turn has three parts: the start of your turn, the actions on your turn, and the end of your turn.

Attacks & Defenses

Battles in the Stellar Winds game are won through cleverly chosen attacks, able defenses, and luck. On a typical turn, you’ll use your standard action to make an attack, whether you’re a stalwart fighter, a wily rogue, or a devout cleric. And your defenses will be frequently tested by your foes’ attacks. When you attack, you make an attack roll to determine whether your attack hits your target. You roll a d20, add a bonus for whatever attack you’re using, and compare the result to one of the target’s four defenses:
Armor Class, Fortitude, Reflex, or Will. Each character has a number of attacks to choose from, including a basic attack. The exact attacks you have available depend on which powers you select for your character (see Chapter 4).

Attack Results

You resolve an attack by comparing the total of your attack roll (1d20 + base attack bonus + attack modifiers) to the appropriate defense score. If your roll is higher than or equal to the defense score, you hit. Otherwise, you miss. When you hit, you usually deal damage and sometimes produce some other effect. When you’re using a power, the power description tells you what happens when you hit. Some descriptions also say what happens when you miss or when you score a critical hit.

Attack Modifiers

Combat rarely consists of foes standing toe to toe and bashing each other. Movement and position are key; if one archer can fire from behind a tree at an enemy archer out in the open, the one using the tree for cover enjoys an advantage. Similarly, the use of magic or special abilities often creates opportunities you can exploit. If your wizard ally turns you invisible, you can easily evade your enemies, but if an enemy wizard stuns you with a spell, you drop your guard, and your enemies can easily gang up on you.

Temporary advantages and disadvantages in combat are reflected in a set of common attack modifiers. An attack modifier is a bonus or a penalty that applies to your attack roll. Add the modifier to your base attack bonus when you make an attack.

Movement and Position

During a pitched battle, heroes and monsters are in constant motion. The rogue skirts the melee, looking for a chance to set up a deadly flanking attack. The wizard keeps a distance from the enemy and tries to find a position to make the best use of area attacks, while goblin archers move to get clear shots with their bows. You can increase your effectiveness in battle by learning how to use movement and position to your advantage.

Actions in Combat

During your turn, you can choose from a wide variety of actions. Usually, the most important decision you make in combat is what to do with your standard action each turn. Do you use one of your powers? If so, which one? Or does the situation demand a different approach, such as using your standard action to drink a healing potion, try to call a parley and talk to your foes, or instead get a second move action this turn? This section describes how to perform the most common actions that are available to you on your turn.

The list isn’t exhaustive—you can try to do anything you can imagine your character doing in the game world. The rules in this section cover the most common actions, and they can serve as a guide for figuring out what happens when you try something not in the rules.


Over the course of a battle, you take damage from attacks. Hit points (hp) measure your ability to stand up to punishment, turn deadly strikes into glancing
blows, and stay on your feet throughout a battle. Hit points represent more than physical endurance. They represent your character’s skill, luck, and resolve—all
the factors that combine to help you stay alive in a combat situation.

When you create your character, you determine your maximum hit points. From this number, you derive your bloodied and healing surge values. When you take damage, subtract that number from your current hit points. As long as your current hit point total is higher than 0, you can keep on fighting. When your current total drops to 0 or lower, however,
you no longer have the strength to deflect shots and turn them into glancing blows.

Powers, abilities, and actions that restore hit points are known as healing. You might regain hit points through rest, heroic resolve, or magic. When you heal, add the number to your current hit points. You can heal up to your maximum hit point total, but you can’t exceed it.

Death & Dying

In the unending exploration of the unknown and the fight against monsters, death looms as a constant danger.

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