The Laws of Combat

Physical combat is probably the most common conflict in Exterminis: Reign of Destruction. It seems like characters are always getting into trouble, and that trouble almost always leads to weapons being drawn. Combat in E:RoD is very fast, and very deadly. Characters can die before they even know what they are doing, and there’s no coming back from the grave.

Combat is meant to be fast, and easy to resolve more than being realistic. More than any other area of the game, it’s possible to get bogged down in too many details. Try not to let that happen. Don’t think about it like a chess match, with slow, meticulous moves. Think of it more like the card game war, but with dice.

The first step is to determine initiative, or when combatants get to take their actions. This is a simple count down from 100, and characters act when their speed score is called. When the count down reaches zero, the round is over and the next round begins.

To make a martial attack, the attacker rolls their strength die code and their agility die code, then adds any modifiers. The defender rolls their agility die code and their health die code, and adds any modifiers. The highest total “wins.” Ties are awarded to the defender, although players may spend a karma point to win the tie instead.


Kara and Jade are facing off after a particularly nasty insult. Kara has a speed of 75, a strength of 60, an agility of 80, and a health score of 55. Jade has a speed of 60, a strength of 95, an agility of 70, and a health of 100.

Kara attacks first, because her speed score is higher. Her martial attack roll is her strength die code plus her agility die code. A strength of 70 is die code 2d8, and her agility of 80 is die code 2d10. Her martial attack roll is 2d8 + 2d10.

Jade rolls her martial defense dice, which are her agility die code (2d8) plus her health die code (2d12). Her martial defense roll is 2d8 + 2d12.

Kara rolls a 24, and Jade rolls a 20, so the attack hits. Kara is using a greatsword, which is a power attack. The damage for power attacks is based on the strength die code plus the weapon modifier. Kara’s strength score is 95, so she rolls 2d10 for damage, and adds +4 for the weapon. She rolls an 8, so Jade subtracts 12 points from her hit point total.

Combat Modifiers

Certain situations can alter the martial attack and martial defense rolls, giving characters bonuses or penalties to their rolls. A few of these are listed below:

Blinded: Attacking a character who cannot see grants a +4 bonus to attack rolls. Additionally, the defender cannot use their agility to defend, meaning they must rely on their health characteristic alone.

Difficult Terrain: Attacking a characters who is on muddy or rocky ground, in snow, on shifting sand or surf, or in extreme weather grants a +2 bonus to all attack and defense rolls. This modifier may increase to +4 or  +6 for incredibly difficult environments. These bonuses are negated if both combatants are equally hindered by the environment.

Invisible or Hidden: Characters who are invisible or hidden get a +2 bonus to all attack rolls the first round, and the defender cannot use agility to defend. The effect ends after one round.

Multiple Attackers: Each additional attacker (up to five) gives all attackers a +1 bonus to attack rolls.

Paralyzed/Sleeping: Attacking a character who is paralyzed or asleep grants an automatic hit and automatic max damage to the attacker. This attack always frees/awakens the defendant.

Restrained: Characters who are restrained cannot attack, and cannot use agility to defend.

Surprised: Characters who are surprised do not use the agility to defend.

Attacking from behind: Attacker gets a +2 to attack, and the defender cannot use agility.

Special Combat Results

In martial attack conflicts, if the attack roll is twice the defense roll, it is considered a critical strike, and the damage total is doubled.

If the attack roll is at least 4x the defense roll, the defender is automatically killed.

If the defense roll is twice the attack roll, the defender gets an instantaneous counter attack.

If the defense roll is at least 4x the attack roll, the attacker is paralyzed for 1d4 rounds.