Horrific combat

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To achieve the vague goal of horrific combat, it's not enough to simply make things more lethal. Indeed, high lethality prevents people from being captured and sacrificed later, which is a perennial staple of all horror. Instead, the focus on these changes lies on simplification and streamlining.


Armor is handled differently from the standard d20 Modern way. All armor provides a Damage Resistance against physical damage. Unless explicitly specified, this DR is the same for blunt/slashing/piercing/ballistic. Armor DR is negated by a critical hit unless the wearer also has a proper helmet.

To compensate for the DR, the AC modifier from armor is much smaller than before. Non-proficient wearers get no defense modifier at all, but they get the DR.

Aiming At the Un-Armored Spot: Any armor described as a shirt or vest, and the breastplate, lack protection on the arms and/or legs. By taking –4 on your attack roll, you ignore the armor DR from these armors. Unfortunately, since you are aiming at non-vital areas, you cannot score a critical hit when doing so.


Each round, you have:

  • One standard (a.k.a. attack) action. You can exchange your standard action for an additional move or swift action.
  • One move action. You can exchange your move action for an additional swift action.
  • One swift action. Also known as a 'minor' action.
  • Any reasonable number of free actions. Your GM decides what is reasonable.


If you spend two swift actions in the same round to more carefully line up a range attack, you ignore all cover bonuses to your target's AC on your next attack. You must still have line of sight to your target, however.

You lose the benefits of aiming if you lose line of sight to your target or if you take any other action before making your attack.

Second Wind

Once per day, and if you are below half hit points, you may spend a swift action to get your second wind. This immediately heals 1/4 of your total hit points. Certain feats or abilities may allow you to use second wind more than once each day, but you can never do it more than once per encounter.


All attacks have an intrinsic damage bonus equal to 1/3 character level.

This is intended to compensate for the loss of magic items.

Non-Lethal Damage

Some attacks, such as Brawl, do non-lethal damage. The full rolled damage is compared to the target's Major Wound Threshold, but only half the damage is applied to the target's hit points.


Instead of the normal rules for iterative attacks, we have:

  • If you have at least +6 BAB, you may attack twice with –2 to both attacks. This requires a full-round action.
  • If you have at least +11 BAB, you may attack twice with –1 to both attacks. This requires a full-round action.
  • If you have at least +16 BAB, you may attack twice without penalty. This requires a full-round action.
This probably requires Autofire feats to be rebalanced.


No creature type has a blanket immunity to critical hits. Some specific creatures might still be immune. No object with an internal structure is immune to critical hits.


Some combatants are numerous but inherently less capable than straight level would imply, like minion cultists. They follow these minion rules in combat:

  • A minion cannot make a critical hit against a non-minion.
  • A minion always drops dead or unconscious (as appropriate to the attack) on a critical hit, as well as on a major wound.
  • Minions are always ordinaries, but not all ordinaries are minions.

Modern Horror

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