Combat with Multiple Opponents

Every now and again in the life of an adventurer there will come a time when you end up facing more than one enemy in combat. This is a perilous situation, as numbers may make even the untrained dangerous. For now we are going to look at the basics of Multi-Op Combat, while remembering that there are additional maneuvers to help the odds.

Engaged Opponent: We all know this bloke, he is standing right in front of us trying to poke us with a stick. This is the opponent that we have a Contested Clash roll with and combat is standard.

Peripheral Opponent: This opponent we try to keep in front of us as best we can, hopefully using a shield or off-hand weapon. So long as this opponent is within peripheral view (180 degrees for argument's sake) we defend his attacks with our full weapon/shield skill.

Flanking/Rear Opponents: These are the real buggers in the fight. Assuming we know they are there (and are therefore able to steal glances and sense their positions) they are defended solely by the Multi-Op Skill Bonuses.

Example: Our old friend Hauk is out scouting one day when he is jumped by four bandits. One on one Hauk would make quick work of them, but these thieves are hungry, desperate, and taking advantage of their numbers. Hauk has his sword and shield ready as they come at him with clubs and daggers. With his back to a tree Hauk does his best to improve his situation, sits in Defensive and waits to see who comes. Three rush forward while one hesitates, and Hauk meets the central Bandit who has a club and they Clash. Club Bandit rolls 50+23(skill)= 73 while Hauk rolls 78+50(skill)= 128,  an advantage of 55 for Hauk. Hauk has options here… he could attempt a Counter Maneuver, but that could leave him open to attack and he prefers to stay in Defensive. 50(skill)-23(skill)+55(difference)= 82, so Hauk takes the simple attack result to land a Solid Hit on the Bandit, who is wearing no armor. Hauk rolls a 99 on the Severity Chart, striking the Bandit in the head for 11 Focus, 8 Life, and bleeding of 1 per round.

Bandit two attacks with dagger, rolls a 03+31= 34 versus Hauk's current defense of 50, a -16, no hit. The third bandit also attacks with a dagger on the peripheral with a 93+25=118 - 50 = 68. This is a Light Hit(+8) to Hauk's Right Arm, where Hauk wears mail (7 vs Slice) so the net is a +1 in Severity. Hauk's armor saves him from any real damage, but there is the issue of 5 potential Balance Damage. Hauk shrugs this off with a good roll. In the midst of all this Bandit #4 has done his best to position himself to attack Hauk from behind. Hauk knows he is there, albeit not exactly where, and so the Bandit rolls 62+24= 86 - 18 (Hauk's Multi-Op Skill) = 66, another Light Hit that lands on the mail of Hauk's back. The armor deflects most of the damage, but Hauk still takes 2 Life and this time fails his balance resist and suffers 3 Balance Damage. 

Hauk sticks with the first bandit, and goes offensive now that he sees blood. They Clash, Hauk rolls 45+50-3= 92, while the Bandit rolls a 22+23-11(Focus)= 34. This is a 61 advantage to Hauk, for a single Hit. 92-(23-11)=80, another Solid Hit. Hauk strikes well to the left Shoulder for another 7 Life and 1 bleeding, also knocking the Bandit out of Balance by 7 points. 

About this moment Geir rushes from behind a tree and attacks Bandit #3, who has no idea Geir is coming. The Bandit has no Multi-Op Skill to begin with, but it wouldn't matter if he did as this is a surprise attack. Geir rolls 94+60= 154 + 50 for a surprise attack, = 204. His sword comes down like a cleaver, a Massive Hit (+5) against the bandit's unarmored right shoulder. It is a -50 Acute Wound that leaves the Bandit stunned with 50 Focus, doing 37 Life and bleeding at 15 points round… the poor chaps arm is barely attached!

At this point our Bandits see how this fight is going and the three who can run do, breaking for the woods. Geir dispatches the stunned Bandit with a quick thrust and instead of giving chase in their armor, they take the bandit's head and continue towards home.

Background Art by Jon Gibbons

© 2018 L. James Rice