WOD: Glorantha – Combat System

First draft of the WOD:Glorantha combat system, it based on the WOD firearm combat system, and it aims to hit the following goals.

  • I want it to reflect classic warfare of antiquity where that suits game play
  • I don’t want it to be laborious
  • I want to encourage tactical thinking
  • I want it to encourage player co operation
  • I want magic to be a game changer
  • I don’t want player knowledge of a rule system to be the deciding factor
  • I don’t want spend the evening in books looking up rules
  • I want skills and character to be a greater influence than weapons and armour
  • I don’t want to slaughter players out of hand on unlucky dice rolls
  • I want to have an element or risk and scare players
  • I want it to be fun

Ok here is the base system  which will need abit of playtesting

Basic Rules Mechanic

For most skill roles a player will choose the appropriate stat and skill and total the number to generate the dice pool used in the test.

For example Bob has a Dex of 3 and a athletics of 7 his dice pool climbing a wall would 7 dice.

The standard difficulty for any test would be 6, so Bob would roll 7 d10 dice and will count the number which roll over 6 as a success. Bob rolls  3,4,5,7,7,9,6 which gives for 4 successes.

More difficult tasks would see the difficulty numbers increase, easier tasks would see the difficulty numbers drop. Using skills not exactly attuned to the task would usually give a higher difficulty level.

One success shows a positive results by the slightest of margins, three is solid success and five is outstanding success.

Base Combat Mechanic

Combat work on a systematic application of basic rules mechanism in a structured number of tests  for each combat round.

A combat round is a variable period of time determined by the storyteller to allow for an viable action and response then a viable counter action and response(if appropriate). This will be very short in the first few seconds of an ambush, will be quick in close brawling, and full on melee, a good few seconds in a duel, and maybe a minute or so in the push and shove of a shield wall.

The determination is this

  1. Determine Initiative
  • roll
  • order
  • declaration of actions
  1. Make actions
  • attack
  • response
  • damage
  1. Resolution

Determine Initiative

All involved characters roll initiative by selecting a dice pool of wits + alertness; Difficulty is usually 6, but storyteller may alter that to reflect a tactical advantage or disadvantage such as higher ground, defensive positions, flank attack or ambush.

Create a list of characters to make actions in reverse order. Characters who wish to split their dice pool(see later) for either their action or counter action need to decide to do so at this point.

Unless characters split dice pools all characters receive one action and one counter action in any combat round.

Movement in combat  is dependent on the type of combat and at the storytellers discretion.

Proceed down the list where players must declare their action but may keep their counter action in hand to parry an attack yet to be declared.

If an attack is declared on a player, the player must decide there and then whether to counter it with their counter action. If close enough a players can counter an attack on an ally, but at a higher difficulty (7’s). Once a counter action has been declared it can’t be changed.

Characters with high initiative may be able to gain free hits on characters who have already declared counter actions.

Then role through the actions and responses based upon the list in order of highest initiative role to lowest

2) Make actions

Dice pools for initial action depend on the intended actions

  • Brawl: Strength + Brawl + Buffs
  • Melee: Strength + Melee + Buffs
  • Missile: Dexterity + Archery + Buffs

Base difficulties will usually be 6, but skills and magical effects may change the difficulty.

The response is usually made by one the following three actions, if there is no response for an action to response role can be made.

  • Brawl: Strength + Brawl + Buffs
  • Parry: Strength + Melee + Buffs
  • Dodge: Dexterity + Dodge + Buffs

Base difficulties will usually be 6, but skills and magical effects may change the difficulty.

A hit will be scored if the  attackers total number of successes is greater than the defenders, keep a note of the difference as this will be used with the damage

To calculate damage the attacker roles his damage dice pool calculated below, the defender roles her soak. If the damage is over the soak role, that is the number of  health levels of damage done.

  • damage Strength + Weapon + number of hit successes + buffs
  • soak Stamina + Armour + shield +buffs

Any blow which does 5 or more health levels of damage is considered aggravated damage.

If a character is not active and standing by the time there action comes round it does not happen, all wound penalties from the round apply to your action.

Weapons Damage Modifier

  • o Knife, Club
  • oo Gladius, hatchet, kopis, short spear
  • ooo Scimitar, Sword, Mace, Long Spear
  • oooo Pike, bastard sword, battle axe  -1 to dex based roles
  • ooooo Great sword, great axe, pole axe, Great Maul   -2 on dex based rolls

Armour Soak Modifier

  • o Leather, Linen padding, Light Furs
  • oo Heavy Leather, Studded leather, Heavy furs
  • ooo Light scale, Cuibolli, Patchwork, Ring Mail
  • oooo Heavy Scale, Chainmail, Partial Plate -1 to dex based roles
  • ooooo Hoplite Plate, Reinforced Chain, Heavy Splint Mail -2 on dex based rolls

Shields Soak Modifier

  • o Buckler, Moon shield
  • oo Heater, Target shields -1 to dex based roles
  • ooo Hoplite, Tower shields -2 on dex based rolls


After all attacks have been made make sure all incapacitated characters check for death.

And have both sides check for moral or a difficulty relevant to tactical position they are in, the dice rolled is either the group’s leaders willpower.

Additional Rules

Split Dice Pool

Characters with a skill level or 4 or more can split there dice pool into two different attacks  or parrys if they wish, characters with a skill level of 8 or more can split the dice pool into 3 different attacks or parrys if they wish.

Only the skill and the stats are split buffs are added to each separate attack.

Aggravated Damage

Wounds caused by fire, acid, some magic and major trauma ( 5 wound levels or more ) are considered aggravated and are much harder to heal.

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