Below is a short glossary of combat terms used in 3E D&D. Since this is a fairly new game you can use this to familarize yourself with the terms. Remember though that thses are *general* definitions, as always the description of the actions in the PHB and DMG supercede what's here.


Aid: Spends turn granting ally within 5' a +1 bonus to either AC, attack, or bonus, until character's next turn

Attack: Character may make a single attack with each weapon they have readied

Attacks of Opportunity:
1. You threaten the area next to you, even when it's not your action. An enemy that takes certain actions while in a threatened area provokes an attack of opportunity from you. This is a single attack and you can only make one per round.
2. If you move within or out of a threatened area, you provoke an attack of opportunity (unless all you do is move during your turn).
3. If you move into another threatened space, enemies get an attack of opportunity for leaving the first threatened space and for moving into the second threatened space.
4. Attacking with a ranged weapon provokes an attack of opportunity from enemies next to you.
5. Casting a spell provokes an attack of opportunity from enemies next to you.
6. You can take a 5' adjustment at any time during your action. Doing so does not provoke an attack of opportunity.

Bull Rush: Attacker rolls opposed Combat check to opponent's Combat to push opponent back 5'

Cast Spell: Character can move up to 5' and than cast a spell, or cast and than move 5'

Charge: Characters and monsters can make charge attacks on their actions. When making a charge, you move in a straight line for up to double your speed and then make one attack with a +2 bonus on your attack roll. You suffer a -2 charge penalty to your AC until your next action.

Constitution Drain: If you go to Zero Constitution, you die, regardless of whether its a temporary or permanent drain due poison or other effects. Certain poisons or attacks can drain STR, DEX, CHA, etc... but the damage done to Constitution can kill you. If your Constitution is reduced, you lose any bonuses and get any penalties that would apply to HP. So, if you have 7 HD, and have a +2 bonus to HP due to high CON, and you lose so much Constitution that your modifier would be at -3, you would lose (5 * 7 = ) 35 hp immediately. This can't kill you since you can't go below having 1 hp per HD.

Counterspell: An action where one spellcaster attempts to thwart the spell of another by casting the same spell at the same time.

Critical Hits: When you roll a natural 20 on your attack roll, you hit regardless of your opponents AC, and you score a threat. To confirm a critical hit, make a critical roll - another attack roll with all of the same modifiers as the roll you just made. If the critical roll hits, your original roll was a critical hit and you can roll damage twice (add both rolls together to get the damage total). If the critical roll misses, you still get a normal hit. Some weapons have a threat range greater than 20 and allow you to score a threat on a lower number. Some weapons deal better than double damage on a critical hit.

Delay: Character can delay action as long as they wish, declaring at the beginning of the following phase in which they wish to act; new phase becomes character's Initiative phase

Disrupt: A specialized use of the spell Dispel Magic.

Disarm: Attacker makes opposed check with defender using Combat scores; if defender loses, his weapon is removed from him

Double Weapons: A quarterstaff is a double weapon. You can fight with it as if fighting with two weapons, but if you do, you incur all the normal attack penalties associated with fighting with two weapons.

Feint: Character sacrifices previous attack with same or different weapon to gain a +2 to Attack with subsequent attack

Firing in Melee: You suffer a -4 penalty to your ranged attack roll when firing into melee.

Flat Footed: At the start of battle, before you've had a chance to act (before your first regular turn in the initiative order), you are flat-footed. You can't use your DEX bonus to AC while flat-footed, and you can't make attacks of opportunity. Rogues do not lose their DEX bonus to AC when flat-footed.

Full Attack: Sacrificing all other actions, character can make all attacks normally allotted to him

Grapple: Attacker and defender make opposed Strength checks; winner can remove item, force opponent to ground, etc. (goal must have been previously established) character can also put opponent into a lock and hold him there with subsequent grapples for as long as it can be maintained

Higher Ground: If the attacker's waist is higher than his opponent's head, he gains a +1 bonus to his attack. Stairways, tabletops, and steep slopes may create higher-ground opportunities for a character in combat.

Hustle: Character sacrifices all actions to move at 1 1/2x their normal movement

Initiative: Roll a d20 and add Dex bonus to establish turn order. Feats can add to this.

Missile Rate of Fire: When you get multiple attacks at higher levels, that applies to missile weapons as well. So a warrior that has 3 attacks per round (because he's 10th level) could make 3 melee or 3 missile attacks.

Move: Moves full movement rate before or after an Attack action or Simple Action

Mounted Attack: These feats allow these effects when mounted. Ride By Attack: Able to do a 1/2 move, attack once with a melee weapon, and the do another 1/2 move. This attack does not provoke attacks of opportunity. Trample: Able to use the mount to attack medium sized creatures. Spirited Charge: When charging, melee weapons do 2x damage, lances do 3x damage.

Multiple Attacks: A good way to determine if a character gets two or more attacks is to add up your combat bonuses; if you can subtract 5 If you still have a remainder, you get another attack with the remainder as a bonus. So if you've accumulated +6 in bonuses, you get a first attack at +6, and a second at +1. only class-derived attack bonuses; you don't get to factor in your magic sword or your muscular arms into the equation, at least for figuring if you get multiple attacks. [Same principle applies for the Unarmed Monk chart, except it's -3 for each attack instead of -5.]

One handed, Two handed weapons: Characters who wield one handed weapon with two-hands gets 1 times the normal STR damage bonus. However, this only works if the weapon is the same size category as the character, or one size larger. It doesn't help a human (medium) to wield a dagger (tiny) or a short sword (small) two-handed.

Opposed Roll: Sometimes a character must pit his own skills or abilities against those of his opponents. To determine the winner in such situations, the competitors both roll d20, add any relevant modifiers, and the higher total wins.

Over Run: Characters band together, and make opposed check of group member's highest Strength, +1 for every extra person in the group, opposed to the opponent's Strength check

Punching & Pummeling: Punching & Pummeling includes most attacks made with hands, fists, elbows, and the like. Punching & Pummeling requires at least one free hand, although the attacker may wear a metal gauntlet or similar item. Can use small objects to pummel with as well. 1d3 average damage. You can take a second hit with your off-hand for -4 to hit.

Reach: Weapons like the longspear have a reach of 10 feet. In many cases, that means a fighter or other character wielding a longspear can attack an opponent before his opponent can attack him. It can also help a fighter deal with opponents who also have reach--instead of walking through a giant's "threatened area" and incurring an attack of opportunity, the fighter with the longspear can trade blows with the creature evenly.

Rear or Flank Attacks: If a creature is able to position itself for a rear or flank attack, it gains a significant advantage. Flank attacks get a +1 bonus to hit, and rear attacks a +2 bonus. The defender's Dexterity adjustment doesn't count against rear attacks, since the defender can't see the attack coming and attempt to dodge it.

Ready: Character sets action by an opponent to trigger his won action (i.e., readying to fire a bow at a Wizard whenever he casts a spell); acts in same phase as action is triggered; new phase becomes character's Initiative; if action is never triggered, character may choose a new action at his next normal turn

Refocus: Character sacrifices all actions to add 20 to their current Initiative score, moving them up in the combat order

Run: Character moves at 2x their movement rate, but must sacrifice all other actions

Simple Action: Any simple, basic action such as readying another weapon or drinking a potion; can be combined with Move

Sprint: Sacrifices any action to move at 3x normal movement rate

Subduel Damage: All Damage taken with the hands and feet or regular objects, is considered subduel damage, and therefore very temporary. With Unarmed strike ability or feat, the damage non-subduel and thus not permanent.

Trip: Attacker rolls opposed Combat check to opponent's Reflex save to trip opponent and knock them prone

Turning Undead: Can attempt to Turn Undead a number of times per day equal to 3 + Cleric's CHA bonus. To Turn you must present the holy symbol (or divine focus) forcefully. Turning affects all undead within the line of sight and within 60'. Roll Charisma check (d20+CHA bonus)

Check Max HD
up to 0 Level -4
1-3 Level -3
4-6 Level -2
7-9 Level -1
10-12 Level
13-15 Level +1
16-18 Level +2
19-21 Level +3
22+ Level +4
To Determine the "turning damage" sum 2d6 + Cleric's Level + CHA modifier. The result is the total number of HD of undead affected in the area of effect, starting with the weakest.

Undead can be destroyed if your level is 2 times (or more) the level of the undead being turned. (So a level 2 cleric can destroy normal 1 HD skeletons instead of turning them.)

Turned undead will avoid the Cleric for 10 rounds (1 minute). If the Cleric approaches within 10 ft., the turning is broken and the undead can act normally.

Two-Weapon Fighting: If a character attacks with two weapons the "first attack" is really with both the primary and the offhand weapon, each at the bonus for first attack (penalties accounted for too); the second and all subsequent attacks are made "only" with the primary weapon, at the given bonus. Put another way, Two-Weapon Fighting gives the character "only" one extra attack [with his offhand weapon] at his highest bonus, per round. However; if the "Improved Two-Weapon Fighting Feat" is taken the two-weapon wielder gains an extra attack with the off-hand weapon at a -5 to hit.

"Two-Weapon Attack Penalties"
Base penalties for attacking with two weapons are -6 primary weapon and -10 to the off-hand weapon.
Ambidexterity Feat: (+0 primary / +4 off-hand) Full Strength damage for off-hand, normally it is half.
Two Weapon Fighting Feat: (+2 primary / +2 off-hand)
Small Weapon off hand (+2 primary / +2 off-hand)

Now any person can hit with both hands unarmed. The offhand strike incurs a -4 to hit, ambidexterity negates this penalty.

Weapon Sizes: Characters and monsters are rated by size (small = halfling, medium = human, large = ogre, etc.) and that weapons are likewise rated by size (tiny = dagger, small = short sword, medium = long sword, etc.). A character can use a weapon of equivalent size in one hand; a weapon of one size larger must be weilded in two hands. So for example, a halfling (small) can wield a short sword (small) one-handed, but a long sword (medium) must be wielded two-handed. However, the halfling could also choose to wield the short sword two-handed to cause extra damage. A character cannot wield a weapon that is two sizes larger than him.



Page Last Updated Friday, January 19, 2001