|Art by Dave Billman
The combat section of the 64-page Lords of Creation Rule Book occupies approximately nine pages. This includes about a page of weapon charts.
The first event to transpire in a Lords of Creation combat turn is determination of initiative. All participants determine individual initiative if “each side has only a few combatants.” In situations where “there are many combatants, the individual with the best initiative bonus should roll for his entire side.” Initiative is determined by rolling 1d10 and adding the character's initiative bonus. Ties are re-rolled until the tie is broken. With optional rules in effect (not to be confused with the additional combat rules), many weapons provide an additional initiative bonus. For instance, polearms and whips give +4; slings and shotguns grant +1.
As mentioned in the last post, Lords of Creation characters have a 'Physical Score' which is the average of the Muscle, Speed, and Stamina ability scores. An attack (either close combat or ranged combat) is successful if the attacker rolls his or her Physical Score or less on 1d20. A character's skill level for the weapon used is added to the Score while the target's Armor Rating is subtracted from it (assuming the armor protects against the weapon used). Leather armor or a bronze cuirass acts as Armor Rating 2; plastic plate armor or an energy shield acts as Armor Rating 7. 'Regular' armor protects against close combat weapons, 'ballistic' armor protects against close combat weapons as well as damage caused by firearms, and 'energy' armor acts as 'ballistic' armor as well as protects against energy weapons. However, there are some weapons (such as x-ray lasers and neutron beamers) against which no normal armor protects. Only magic armor protects against magical weapons. Some weapons, such as tanglers and photon scramblers, allow a target to attempt a Luck roll.
According to the Close Combat Weapon Chart, an unarmed attack has no damage value. This means that damage inflicted by an unarmed attack equals the attacker's Damage Bonus added to the attacker's Unarmed Combat skill. (Skill level is always added to damage inflicted.) The maximum number of skill levels a character can have with a given weapon is listed on the applicable weapon chart. The number ranges from one to four. The only exceptions are Rapier (5 levels maximum) and Unarmed Combat (6 levels maximum).
All attacks are declared before any are resolved. This means when initiative is determined per side rather than per individual, “it's possible to waste attacks on a target that someone else has already defeated.”
“The Attack Concept” is defined by Moldvay:
A single attack isn't one shot or one strike. Instead, a single attack is the number of shots or strikes that could reasonably be made with the weapon in 6 seconds. If the GM or players think of an attack as one shot or strike instead of an abstract attack, they may become confused when calculating reloading, ammunition expenditure, etc.This concept of combat as an abstraction is reasonable; however, it fails to take into account that multiple attacks are possible in a six second game turn. When a character's Physical Score exceeds twenty, the character gains additional attacks per turn. With a Physical Score of 21-23, a character has two attacks with a base chance to hit of 11; with 39-41, two attacks at 17; etc. A character can have, at most, thirteen attacks per turn (at a base chance of 20). To achieve this, a character must have a Physical Score in excess of 900. (For the purpose of illustration, Zeus has nine attacks with a base roll of 27. Sinbad has two attacks at a base roll of 17.) Whereas single-attack combatants can “waste attacks” as described above, combatants with multiple attacks “can switch extra attacks to other enemies within 10 feet of the original target.”
All attacks have been precalculated to take into account the number of attacks that could reasonably be made with the weapon in 6 seconds, how serious the wounds from that weapon would be, play balance, and other similar factors. Therefore, a pistol does more damage than a revolver, because a combatant can fire more shots in 6 seconds with a semi-automatic pistol than with a double-action revolver. Even though the weapon might be firing several shots or hitting more than once, it is easier to regard the entire process as a single attack.
A character reduced to zero Life Points “will pass out.” Characters reduced below zero Life Points will bleed to death without medical attention. Characters can survive a number of negative Life Points equal to five of the character's Personal Force score.
In a single attack, an attacker may opt to divide damage “equally among additional targets within 10 feet of the main target.” This decision must be made before attempting a single attack roll. Depending upon varying armor ratings among the targets, some may be hit and some not. If some targets are missed, damage that would have been applied to those targets is forfeit. For example, if an attack is attempted against three targets and two are missed, the remaining target still only takes one-third damage.
An attack roll of 20 is an automatic miss. An attack roll of 1 is an automatic hit. Furthermore, the target is disarmed (“knocks the weapon out of the opponent's hands”). “If the opponent is not of a type that could be disarmed,“ we are told, “the opponent takes double damage instead.” In order to recover his or her weapon, a disarmed character must win initiative and “must spend an entire turn to pick up the weapon.” Seemingly, when recovering his or her weapon, the disarmed character is subject to at least one attack of opportunity.
If optional rules are used, armor can adversely affect initiative and movement rate. Also, a character can receive a bonus to his or her attack score by sacrificing a like amount of inflicted damage (up to five points). Similarly, a character can increase his or her defense by reducing the amount of damage he or she can inflict that turn (again, up to five points). A successful attack inflicts a minimum of one point of damage.