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12/30/2017 2:21 pm  #1

Running past foes

Whether or not one uses miniatures with ASSH, how does one handle characters wanting to run through a gap in the line to a foe, perhaps a sorcerer, in the rear ranks? Do you give defenders an opportunity to strike them as they pass by? Do you treat it as some sort of "Fighting Withdrawal" or the same as running away/fleeing (p254)? Or in some other manner?


12/30/2017 4:31 pm  #2

Re: Running past foes

If the enemies are engaged doing other things, then I would probably let someone run through, or perhaps make a Dex test to run through if a lot was going on. I'd only have them attacked if there was an unengaged enemy ready for them.

"But not all men seek rest and peace; some are born with the spirit of the storm in their blood" -REH
Rambling Conan Blog


12/30/2017 6:06 pm  #3

Re: Running past foes

An extraordinary test of Dex is a good way to handle it. Simulates the Tumble rule in 3.x. Otherwise I'd give the bad guys a free attack if they tried it and failed. It isn't covered by the rules but it makes sense to rule that way -- "rulings not rules."

"Role-playing isn't storytelling. If the dungeon master is directing it, it's not a game."  ~ Gary Gygax

12/31/2017 11:12 pm  #4

Re: Running past foes

Hmmm, two very different approaches.

We can look to so many different versions of d20 games to see Opportunity Attacks as either the default, impossible/difficult without "held actions" or non-existent because it's also not possible to run past a foe without it being identical to a flee action.

I think I want Opportunity Attacks to be assumed because this group is most familiar with the last three editions of D&D, but also with a reasonably decent chance of pulling off a run-by with a good Dexterity.

So... maybe something like PCs and monsters get OAs by default but one has only to make a Test of Dexterity to avoid any such attack. And one gets a +1 (better chance) of pulling it off for the circumstance of the sideswiper already being engaged. So if the Fighter has already engaged the swine demon, an 18 DEX Thief can run by the demon 6:6 times, but any less agile character is taking a risk.

I think I'll save the Extraordinary Feat of Dexterity for a tumble through ​an opponent to appear on the other side (either to continue running forward or to remain for a backstab).

I think I might also consider a PC or monster who elects to take that Opportunity Attack as hindered (-2AC penalty; p294), since they've perhaps moved their gaze from other potential attackers to get in that extra sideswipe. Not if they've explicitly held for such an opportunity of course. Then the swine demon has an interesting choice about whether to take their eyes off the Fighter or simply let the Thief barrel on towards the orc chieftain behind them.

     Thread Starter

1/01/2018 7:01 am  #5

Re: Running past foes

I definitely use OA's, but I also default to realism over rules, so if the opponent is already busy fighting someone they don't get one on things like a run by.

"But not all men seek rest and peace; some are born with the spirit of the storm in their blood" -REH
Rambling Conan Blog


1/01/2018 5:22 pm  #6

Re: Running past foes

I'd probably do similar, now that I reread your post -- yeah, a regular DEX test to just run past, and extraordinary test to go through.
I'd be wary of stacking and tracking too many modifiers--I know, that's how I'm used to doing things too as someone who loved 3.x/Pathfinder for 20 years. That's a d20 system misstep though. A good house rule is to just consider all the elements in play--spells, terrain, position, etc--and if after all that the advantage is clearly in favor of one side, just give a single +2 bonus and call it done.

"Role-playing isn't storytelling. If the dungeon master is directing it, it's not a game."  ~ Gary Gygax

1/02/2018 2:07 am  #7

Re: Running past foes

No test. The character wishing to get past a line of opponents to some behind-enemy-lines objective has to fight their way there. That is, presumably, why the line is there to begin with.

"I, Satampra Zeiros of Uzuldaroum, shall write with my left hand, since I have no longer any other, the tale of everything that befell Tirouv Ompallios and myself in the shrine of the god Tsathoggua..."

1/02/2018 7:39 am  #8

Re: Running past foes

You can't.  You want to get to the M-U in the back of the enemy party, you fight through.  Specifically, if you enter an area where a melee is under way, you stop dead at the edge of the melee, and are now eligible to be attacked.   To me, a melee in AS&SH (and other old-school D&D versions) is a swirling cloud of flesh and steel, not a group of fixed points to navigate through, with or without miniatures. 

Now, if you want to skirt around the edge of the melee, or try a an Extraordinary Test of DX to cartwheel through it (as described in the book), you may have a case with me, but I'll need to be convinced.  My answer will be situation dependent, and that's all you'll do that round. 

I'd also rule that you cannot charge through a melee to get to that sorcerer in the back, as having to to dodge through the combatants it doesn't meet the "reasonably straight path" needed.

I'd have to consider how a mounted rider or a big creature might change my situational rulings.


1/02/2018 4:43 pm  #9

Re: Running past foes

Put me in the "some other manner" camp of "situation dependent": depends on how big the gap is, how the action is described by the player, what the other combatants are doing, etc. When all that is known I'm on the side of Extraordinary Feat of Dex (or Str, if someone described their action as bull-rushing their way through): it uses the RAW, and I like to encourage my players to be imaginative and creative when describing their heroic actions.

"My virtue is of the quintessential sort, being distilled from the erudition of the ages. How can I be other than virtuous? I am dispassionate to the ordinary motives of mankind."
Jack Vance, The Eyes of the Overworld

1/03/2018 4:46 pm  #10

Re: Running past foes

Going through is an Overbear, no? Which is covered and easy to reference and takes a full round. Francisca seems to be in the right of this to me.


1/03/2018 6:19 pm  #11

Re: Running past foes

I agree with all the fighting, overbear, extraordinary Dex roll, Opportunity Attacks etc., if the PC is running through a line of prepared adversaries.

The original post however said "run through a gap" which makes me think more of taking advantage of busy foes or running through a hole in the defense, not running right over or through the enemy. If this is the case, I stand by a normal Dex test at most.

Last edited by Grimmshade (1/03/2018 6:20 pm)

"But not all men seek rest and peace; some are born with the spirit of the storm in their blood" -REH
Rambling Conan Blog


1/12/2018 10:43 pm  #12

Re: Running past foes

Thanks for the feedback everyone.

When I'm playing Moldvay Basic or similar, I'll be more likely to keep to strict ranks. With its pulp inspirations and all its combat modifiers and options, I feel like this ruleset is looking more to heroic fiction and that warrants for me more of a free-flowing approach to skirmishes than with some of the older games that seem to be traced more directly from the hobby's wargaming roots.

Still not sure what I'll do exactly. Probably just make some situational ruling in the moment and see what people think.

     Thread Starter

1/13/2018 9:27 am  #13

Re: Running past foes

I'll offer this out of left field, brainstormed right now:

The Rules As Written (RAW) include "perception" in the list of what's covered with Wisdom (WS).  I would house-rule "Test of Wisdom" and  "Extraordinary Test of Wisdom" columns on the WS table on page 9 (identical to those in the Dexterity (DX), Strength (ST), and Consitution (CN) tables)*, then use them to see if the entities next to the gap detect the attempt. 

  If the enemy entities on either side of the gap are engaged, have them make an an Extraordinary test of Dex to notice the attempt.  If they are unengaged, but are within the "cloud" of a melee, they make a normal test of Wisdom to notice the attempt.  If they can be judged far enough from being engaged (.i.e., it can be argued that they have nothing to distract them from noticing the attempt), they automatically notice the attempt, which means the attempting entity must automatically suffer “attacks of opportunity” as it makes the attempt.

If the defenders notice the attempt, the attempting entity must make an Extraordinary test of DX to get through.  If not, a simple test of DX.  

Failure of the attempting entity’s DX roll means the attempting entity stops at the line and is now engaged in melee with the defender(s) who succeeded in the notice attempt.  Success means the attempting entity made it through the gap.

Disclaimer:  I claim no deep expertise with the RAW and am coming at this from the perspective of another rules system (Mythras) that uses opposed roles for such things.  I expect those of you who are more familiar with the details of the AS&SH rules can find flaws in this approach that do not occur to me.  For instance, is “engaged’ even a thing in AS&SH?  I did a cursory look through the combat rules and did not see it.  (I wish AS&SH had a comprehensive index.)  I use the term because I read it being used in some of the other responses in this thread.  Same with Attacks of Opportunity.

*In fact, I think the Intelligence (IN), WS, and Charisma (CH) tables could all do with added Test and Extraordinary Test columns.


Last edited by ThornPlutonius (1/13/2018 9:36 am)


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