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Reach and guard


Im try to understand how reach works in combat.

For example, if a PC attacks an NPC in a action scene and both are unarmed. The reach of a unarmed attack is 1, so both the PC and the NPC has reach 1. The NPC has guard so that means its a D2 for the PC.
And if the NPC has lost its guard the Difficulty level is reduced to D1 right?

I understand that if the defender loses its guard the Difficulty level is reduced white 1 and the attacker gains a D20 for every reach the defenders weapon is higher than the attackers reach, but what happens if the attackers reach is higher than the defenders reach and what happens if the defender has lost its guard?

For example, a PC attacks a NPC, the NPC is unarmed and has a reach of 1 and no guard. The PC attacks whit a spear whit reach 3. Is the difficulty just (do) or can an attack difficultie just be reduced to max 1?

The default difficulty for combat checks is 1, and I think reach only ever increases difficulty.

As I understand it, breaking guard against someone with lower reach offers no impact, perhaps apart from shields’ cover bonus, which requires guard.

I think in example 1, the pc and npc both attack with difficulty 1. Their reach is the same so it makes no difference.

If both sides have the same Reach, nothing happens. Reach only matters if each side has different Reach values. So, two NPCs fighting unarmed both hit each other at Difficulty 1, regardless of whether or not the defender has Guard.

Reach and Guard do the following:

  • If the defender has Guard, then the difficulty of the attack increases by +1 for each point of Reach the defender has over the attacker.
  • If the defender does not have Guard, then the attacker gains +1d20 on their attack for each point the attacker’s reach is lower than the defender.

There’s also the detail that a character with a shield does not benefit from the cover that shield provides if they have lost Guard, but that’s a minor matter here.

The circumstance you list (attacker’s reach is higher) grants no bonus, whether or not the defender has Guard.

Attacker with Reach 3, vs defender with Reach 1 and no Guard, make a normal attack at D1 - the defender has no guard, and the attacker’s reach grants no extra bonus if it’s longer.

Think of it this way: if you’re attacking someone with Guard, they’re actively defending themselves, so if their weapon is longer, they can keep you at a distance where it’s harder to attack them. If you’re attacking someone without Guard, their defences are down (or you’ve gotten past their defences), so having a shorter weapon lets you get in close where their weapon is too big to help.


Aah it’s making more sense now, thansk for the help!

This is clarifying reach and guard issues for me too. So hope I don’t sound daft, but how do you move in and out of reach? If a PC is in combat with an NPC do they spend a move action to adjust if within short to get closer to the NPC thus improving their own chances whilst breaking the NPCs guard?? Thanks

Moving into Reach is free action, you go and start bashing people. Moving out… now this is the tricky part. Unless you do Withdraw as standard action, you provoke attack of opportunity (I am using the D&D’s term, sorry for that) from the people you are in reach with.

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Ah OK I see what you mean. Am I right in thinking there is a standard action you can take which allows you to move away without a retaliation response?

That is correct. Going into melee (reach) with someone is free action when you are in the zone. Moving out of reach without spending standard action to perform Withdraw leads to Retaliate from the opponent (i.e. the attack of opportunity).

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Do you mean that the first defens reaction cost one doom if you guard is down and you have a shield?

No. The Shield quality provides an amount of cover against physical attacks (extra Soak), but only if the wielder has Guard.

Ok I think I missed that part. Dos the shild give soke all over just if you carry it? I mean armour provides soak fore specific body parts.

Page 153 of the rulebook - the Shield X quality. I’ve emphasised the relevant section.

Shields are extremely effective at affording protection from a range of different attacks. A shield counts as having the Parrying Quality (page 153). A shield also allows the wielder to use the Parry skill to make Defend Reactions against ranged attacks in addition to Melee attacks. Further if the Wielder has Guard, a shield grants the wielder X [combat dice] Cover Soak against Melee and Ranged attacks. Finally, shields may be sacrificed in order to avoid suffering a Wound, as noted on pages 121–122.

Cover protects the whole body, not just specific locations.

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Ok, so if the shield has quality (shield 2) you get to roll 2 D6 when you get hit to determine the soke from shield? If you hawe guard that is.

And those D6 are counted the same wau damge D6 I suppose? I mean 1 is 1, 2 is 2, 3 is 0 and so on?

Yes to both questions.

Thanks for your help!

Does Reach from a weapon and Reach from a shield stack, or do you take only the weapon Reach in comparing between two combatants?

Those do not stack. You compare the weapons that are actively used by the combatants.

I am very sorry for necro-ing this thread, but it comes closest to a “Reach and Guard” question I have. And most likely I am misunderstanding something!

The thing is, if a PC has “Guard” automatically at the beginning of a fight scene, wields a “reach 2 / or 3” weapon (e.g. spear) and minions have a reach 1 weapon only - are they unable to hit him, as they only use 1d20 for their tests and the difficulty to surpass the PC’s reach is now a D2 skill test? :thinking:

So, the only chance to overcome a PC with a reach2 or reach3 weapon for minions with a lower reach would be to act as a mob OR shoot this particular PC with a ranged weapon?

Thank you very much for your help and clarification in advance! (and sorry again for bothering ye all!)

You could also spend Doom for extra d20, but usually the only way for minions being able to threaten a PC is for them to act as a mob or squad anyway… using Doom for minion attacks is a waste of Doom in my opinion.
Apart from that, there is also the (usually very minor) possibility of a critical hit.
You could also spend Doom to use the Break Guard Momentum spend on the first attack the minions make - and then have all the rest of the minions attack from inside the guard, thus gaining the additional d20 for the reach difference.

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