"Black Dougal gasps 'Poison!' and falls to the floor. He looks dead."

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

A Holmes Alternative to High Level Combat

A while ago I made a post here regarding Geoffery's post at Dragonsfoot regarding the potential of a "Holmes-only" campaign.

While browsing some old posts at Dragonsfoot I came across this one: Holmes: Looking better with each reading

The thing that struck me is that, as pointed out by Thorkhammer, under the Class descriptions, pages 6-7, Holmes clearly states that Fighting Men,
"after they reach the fourth level of experience, they also increase their ability to get hits on an opponent..."
Fighting Men includes Human, Dwarf, Hobbit and Elf. There is no such reference for Cleric, Magic-user and Thief. I know that Holmes says to go the AD&D for higher levels and that the intent is that everyone improves at combat. I, however, like the idea that Fighting Men (and their derivatives) are the only ones to improve at combat. Why should a magic-user get better at attacking with his dagger?

If someone wanted to run just the Holmes book and expand it to higher levels (there are a number of excellent examples on the net) there could be another way to handle improvement at combat.

The thought that came to me is that you could reflect the improvement of Fighting Men to "increase their ability to get hits" by giving them extra attacks per round instead of expanding the attack tables. Allow an extra attack per round. Fighting-Men get 1 attack / round for levels 1-3, 2 attacks / round for levels 4-6, 3 attacks / round for levels 7-9, etc...


  1. Hi,

    Are there increased number of attack guidelines in OD&D? I seem to remember them, and I do think your three-block scale is roughly the same progression. Hmm...

  2. "Are there increased number of attack guidelines in OD&D?"
    Not that I can think of. At least not the the first 3 books.

    The Attack Matrix for the Alternative Combat System has the Fighting Man's probability to hit improve in 3-level increments.

  3. Thanks for the fast reply.

    Hmm. I'll ask around.

  4. A vert interesting idea! It sort of mirrors how Chainmail handled advancement in combat. I like it!

    If I still had the non-pdf (lost it 1.5 years ago) file to my Holmes Companion, I'd totally throw that into the houserules section, canon be damned! :)

  5. The math works out pretty close to the same as well.