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Combat is the way many adventures earn their reputations. Combat can happen anywhere at any given time. Aurora is a world with many different kinds of dangerous monsters and animals. Each one has their own reasons for battling. Not every confrontation has a battle, but many do.  Here is a summary and quick reference to what you will find in Chapter 8 of the Dungeons and Dragons 3rd Edition Player's Handbook. 
How it all works
The Basics

How it all Works

John, an elven fighter; Lily, a human wizard; and Fero, a human cleric, are walking through a thick wooded area with John ahead. A small band of goblins spot them and slowly stalk them. The QM would roll to determine how many goblins there actually are. The QM would then ask the players to roll a Listen check (DC 9) to determine if they hear the goblins. Fero and Lily succeed while John fails.

Surprise Round
In the surprise round, only those who are aware of the enemy are allowed to act and take partial actions. That means, the goblins, Fero, and Lily are able to act in this round.

Initiative is rolled by all those taking actions. Lily and Fero have a -1 because of the surprise. All modifiers are also added. Each player rolls for his or her own character while the QM rolls for the goblins.  Lily's MUN rolls a 16, Fero's MUN rolls a 4, and the QM rolls a 13. Lily goes first, followed by the goblins, then Fero.

The QM directs Lily's MUN to make her actions first. She decides to hit one of the goblins with her quarter staff as they come close. Her roll scores a hit, so she has to roll for damage. She rolls a 1d6 and scores a 3 which drops the goblin down to 1 hit point. 

Now, each of the three goblin go. One attacks Lily with its morningstar, but misses. The wounded goblin also strikes with its morningstar and hits with a +1. The QM rolls 1d8-1 for damage scoring a 2. Lily is dropped down to 5 hit points. The third decides to attack Fero with its morningstar and scores a hit. The QM rolls damage and makes a 3. Fero is dropped down to 9 hps.

Fero's time has now come. He decided to attack the one who attacked him. He makes a strike and hits with his heavy mace. His MUN now rolls 1d8 for damage. Unfortunately, he only makes a 1.

Now, the surprise round is over. We move on to the first regular round.

First Regular Round
Now, John is able to start combating. The QM directs John's mun to roll initiative. He rolls a 15. The order is now Lily, John, goblins, and Fero.

Lily quickly shoots the goblin she injured with a magic missile. The missile deals 1d4+1 damage. She scores a 3. The goblin runs out of hit points, so it falls.

Now, John takes his turn. He moves around Fero and strikes the goblin Fero hit. He rolls damage and the goblin falls.

The last goblin sees his two companions fall and flees. Fero starts chasing after him. He takes a swing at the goblin, but misses.

Second Regular Round
Lily starts chasing the goblin, but can't attack it because she is out of reach. John rushes past her taking a swipe at the goblin. He strikes a hit and slays it. Now the battle is over.

The Basics

Rounds- This are the increments combat is broken into. It represents 6 seconds in the game time.

Initiative- Before the first round actually happens, each MUN and QM will roll 1d20 and add dexterity modifier. You go in order from highest to lowest. This lasts during the entire combat.

Attacks- These are done to deal damage against the enemy.

Attack Roll- A successful attack roll requires that you roll the target's Armor Class (AC) or better.
Melee Attack Roll:
1d20 + base attack bonus + Strength Modifier + size modifier = AC hit
Ranged Attack Roll: 1d20 + base attack bonus + dexterity modifier + size modifier + range penalty = AC hit

Damage- Only after scoring a hit are you allowed to roll an damage. The damage dealt is subtracted from the target's hps. Add strength bonuses and enchantment bonuses for damage. If you are using a weapon in your weak hand, your strength modifier is halved. If wielding with two hands, add one and a half times your strength modifier to the damage (if it is a bonus).

Armor Class (AC)- 10(Base) + armor bonus + shield bonus + Dexterity bonus + size modifier

Hit Points- This represents the amount of damage a character can take before they fall unconscious or die.

Attack Options- These are options you may take while attacking:
Attack: You can move and make a single attack or vice versa.
Charge: You run in a straight line up to double your speed and make one attack with a +2 charge bonus on the attack bonus, but you suffer a -2 penalty to your AC until your next action.
Full Attack: Some characters are able to make more than one attack in a single round only when making a full attack. You may only move 5 foot steps and no more when making a full attack.

Spells- You may make a move and cast a a single 1-action spell. This may provoke attacks of opportunity from a threatening enemy.

Saving Throws- Some attacks and spells allow you to negate or reduce the effects. To succeed, you must roll a result equal to or higher than its Difficulty Class (DC). There are three types:
Fortitude: 1d20 + base save throws + Constitution modifier
Reflex: 1d20 + base save bonus + Dexterity modifier
Will: 1d20 + base save bonus + Wisdom modifier

Movement- Each character has a speed measured in feet. You are allowed to move that distance as well as attack or cast 1-action spells, and you are allowed to move before or after attacking or casting.

You may double your move, which doubles your speed, or run, which allows you to quadruple your speed.

When you move in or away from an area that an enemy threatens, you provoke an attack of opportunities from that enemy. Exceptions to these conditions for attacks of opportunity due to a moving in or away from a threatened area include the following:

  • Moving from a threatened space means the enemy can't attack, but moving into another threatening space gives them another opportunity.
  • If you only move 5 feet, the enemies do not get attacks of opportunity for you moving.

Attacks of Opportunity- All areas around you are threatened by you even if it's not your action. An enemy that takes certain actions while in a threatened area provokes an attack of opportunity from you. An attack of opportunity is a single attack, and you can only make one per round. Actions that provoke attacks of opportunity include moving, casting a spell, and attacking with ranged weapons.

Death, Dying, and Healing- When you run out of hit points, certain things will happen.
0 Hit Points: If you drop to 0, you are disabled. You may only make partial actions and take 1 point of damage after you complete the action.
-1 to -9 Hit Points: Dropping from -1 to -9 means you're unconscious and dying. You will lose 1 additional hit point each round. Each round you have a 10% change of stabalizing (roll a 1d100 and get 90 or more). Although you may be stabalized, you will still be unconscious. Each hour, you have a 10% chance of regaining consciousness unless you lose 1 hit point.
-10 Hit Points: When falling to -10 or below, you are dead.
Healing: You can stop a dying character's hit point loss with a successful Heal check (DC 15) or with even 1 point of magical healing. If healing raises a character's hit points to 1 or more, he can resume acting as normal.

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Aurora is a copyright of Aurora Matrix Inc., Copyright  2000. Dungeons and Dragons is a trademark of Wizards of the Coast Inc.