The Siege of Akaris
Iron Heroes Combat Challenges
Borrowed from Iron Heroes, and edited to include Pathfinder terms as best I could.
see Stunt and Challenge Cheat Sheet for quick use tables.
A skilled weapon master slashes at a gray ogre’s eyes, drawing blood that temporarily blinds it. If the master’s aim were the slightest bit off, his attack might have missed. An armiger shrugs off his opponent’s blows, allowing his armor to absorb the hits as he prepares to deliver the killing strike. In these situations, a warrior accepts a level of risk in return for a potential reward. Combat challenges work a lot like the skill challenges. In return for a penalty to your attack or defense, you gain a bonus to your actions or inflict a penalty on your foe. Normally, this penalty is –2 to either your attacks or defense, but in some cases it is steeper. In return for this penalty, your attack gains an additional effect, such as a bonus to damage. A defensive challenge might give you the option to move faster or provide a bonus to a skill check. Attack challenges increase the risk that your strike may miss. Defensive challenges lower your defense, making you more vulnerable to your foe’s attacks.
ACCEPTING A CHALLENGE
You can take on one attack challenge and one defensive challenge per round. You must state that you wish to accept an attack challenge at the beginning of your turn, before you take either your move or standard action. You could not move, draw an attack of opportunity, and decide to accept a defensive challenge before striking. Even if you do not gain any of the benefits of the challenges, you still suffer the penalties. These penalties last until the start of your next action, though all of your attacks gain their benefits. An attack challenge’s penalties and benefits apply to any attacks of opportunity you make, in addition to your normal attacks. Note, however, that many of these effects cause named penalties. Be sure that their effects stack depending on their type.
Defensive challenges work a little differently than attack challenges. To gain a defensive challenge’s benefits, you first must expose yourself to the risk associated with it. You can use a defensive challenge only if at least one opponent threatens you. You gain its benefits only to melee attacks. When making a reckless strike, you allow an opponent to take an easy shot at you. In return, you throw your full weight behind a strike and batter aside his defenses. If you want to use a defensive challenge, you must declare your intention during your action. You then suffer the appropriate penalty to your defense until your next action.
On that action, you gain the challenge’s benefits. This stricture ensures that a character suffers exposure to the challenge’s drawbacks. From a realism standpoint, it makes sense that you would have to drop you guard before gaining the benefits offered by a defensive challenge. Each challenge provides a different benefit. The minimum drawback you can suffer is a –2 penalty to defense or attacks, though some grant you greater benefits in return for a stiffer penalty.
Attack challenges break down into three categories based on the penalty they levy. Lesser attack challenges cause a –2 attack penalty, moderate ones inflict a –4 penalty, and major ones carry a –6 modifier. Each category presents successively greater benefits, as befits the penalties they cause. Unless otherwise noted, an attack must hit and inflict damage (in other words, your damage beats the target’s damage reduction) in order to grant you the challenge’s benefit. You only gain an attack challenge’s benefits if you make an attack during your action. If you do not attack, you gain neither the benefits nor the drawbacks levied by the challenge.
Following are examples of attack challenges you can accept.
LESSER ATTACK CHALLENGES
Bonus Damage: You make a wild swing at your opponent, one that compensates for its inaccuracy with raw power. You gain a +1 bonus to melee damage.
Fight Defensively: You keep back from your opponent, making tentative strikes as you focus on defense. You gain a +1 active bonus to defense.
Hamper Movement: You tangle your opponent’s legs, slash at his thighs, or otherwise make it tough for him to move. He suffers a –1 square injury penalty to movement for 1 round.
MODERATE ATTACK CHALLENGES
Force Movement: You drive your foe back with a mighty blow, forcing him to cede ground in the face of your advance. Your target must move one square to allow you to move into at least one square that he occupied. Your opponent chooses where he wants to move. If all the available spaces present any sort of physical or environmental threat, such as a fire or a pit, he does not have to move. You can force an opponent to move only once per round, and you do not gain this benefit on attacks that are not made as part of your standard or full-round action. For example, you do not gain this benefit on attacks of opportunity.
Improved Bonus Damage: As described above for the bonus damage lesser attack challenge, except you gain a +3 bonus to damage.
Improved Fight Defensively: You make only a few careful swipes at your foe, preferring instead to concentrate on parrying. You gain a +2 active bonus to defense.
Wild Flurry: You gain an additional, highly inaccurate attack. You strike one extra time without the benefits of your base attack bonus and Strength or Dexterity bonus to attacks and damage. Your other bonuses apply as normal, as does the challenge penalty. You may use this option as part of a standard or full-round action.
MAJOR ATTACK CHALLENGES
Improved Force Movement: As described for the force movement moderate attack challenge above, except you choose where your opponent moves. If you attempt to force him into a square that would inflict damage to him, such as a burning fire or a pit, your target may attempt a Reflex save (DC 10 + half your base attack bonus) to cancel the movement. In the event of a successful saving throw, your target does not move and you cannot move him. Additional attacks against him lose the benefits of this challenge until your next action.
Improved Wild Flurry: As above for wild flurry, except you gain the benefit of your Strength or Dexterity bonus to your attack and damage, if applicable.
Superior Bonus Damage: As the bonus damage lesser attack challenge, except you gain a +5 bonus to damage.
Defense challenges, like attack challenges, break down into three categories based on the penalty they levy.
Lesser defense challenges cause a –2 defense penalty, moderate ones inflict a –4 penalty, and major ones carry a –6 modifier. Each category presents successively greater benefits, as befits the penalties they cause. Remember, you only gain the benefits of a defensive challenge after you have accepted its penalties for 1 round.
LESSER DEFENSE CHALLENGES (–2)
Defensive Roll: You roll with each hit you suffer, making yourself easier to strike but harder to injure. You gain a +1 bonus to your damage reduction (or DR1/- if none). This option works best against highly skilled opponents who have an excellent chance to hit you.
Reckless Strike: You drop your guard to focus solely on hitting and injuring your opponent. You gain either a +2 bonus to damage or a +1 bonus to attacks for 1 round after accepting this challenge.
Steely Focus: You set aside the chaos and din around you to focus on an action. You gain a +2 bonus to a single skill or ability check of your choice as you lower your defenses to complete the task before you. You must complete this check on your next action after taking on this challenge.
MODERATE DEFENSE CHALLENGES (–4)
Heedless Strike: You pay little mind to your defenses as you leap forward to attack. You gain either a +4 bonus to damage or a +2 bonus to attacks for 1 round after accepting this challenge.
Hustle: You press ahead, reducing your defenses in favor of covering ground. You gain a +1 square (5-foot) bonus to speed. This bonus applies to your base walking speed. Determine other movement modes, such as climbing, based on your improved speed.
Improved Defensive Roll: As for the defensive roll lesser defense challenge, except you gain a +2 bonus to damage reduction (or DR2/- if none).
Improved Steely Focus: As for the steely focus lesser defense challenge, except you gain a +4 bonus to your skill or ability check.
Lashing Strike: You gain the ability to make an additional attack of opportunity on the round after you accept this challenge. This extra attack works just like any other attack of opportunity—you gain no special ability to make multiple attacks of opportunity against a single target, for instance.
MAJOR DEFENSE CHALLENGES (–6)
Focused Determination: You reduce your defenses to buy yourself time for a skill or ability check. After you suffer this challenge’s defense penalty for 1 round, you may attempt askill or ability check without provoking attacks of opportunity.
Improved Hustle: As for the hustle moderate defense challenge, except you gain a +2 square (10-foot) bonus to speed.
Suicidal Strike: Your opponent’s blows slam into you with vicious accuracy, but you shrug them off in your relentless drive to conquer your foe. You gain either a +6 bonus to damage or a +3 bonus to attacks for 1 round after accepting this challenge.
Superior Defensive Roll: As for the defensive roll lesser defense challenge, except you gain a +3 bonus to damage reduction (or DR3/- if none).
Skill Checks: You make a skill check to take advantage of the options available within a skill’s description or if the DM judges that a situation calls for one. If you need to scale a wall, you make a Climb check, since that skill gives you the ability to clamber up walls.
Skill Challenges: You, and only you, can choose to take a skill challenge. You never take one against your will. A skill challenge adds an additional benefit to a skill check, one that you gain in addition to the normal benefits from a successful check.
Ability Checks: Ability checks work just like skill checks. They usually cover situations where none of the skills apply.
Combat Challenge: A combat challenge is just like a skill challenge, except that it is designed for use as part of an attack. It gives you added benefits to a successful strike in addition to inflicting damage.
Stunt: A stunt is a free-form skill check. You make it by attempting a stunt check, and you determine the end result of a stunt by picking from various stunt benefits.