Combat is a fact of life in the Forest of Doors, as it is in most of the eight Gateworlds. It is easy enough to pick up a weapon and start wading into battle; it is difficult, however, to do it such that you survive the attempt.
Damage and Wounds
Forest of Doors uses a wound location system along with a simple point system derived from natural vitality, armor, and/or protective spells. Essentially, a character totals their level of Resilience (vitality + protection + armor) to arrive at a number of “hits” they can normally take. Any attack that hits a legal location takes off points of Resilience equal to its damage. If a character is struck by an attack that does more damage than their remaining Resilience, they take a wound to the location that is hit. A wounded arm is unusable, a wounded leg means you can only move by crawling, and a wounded torso means you are Critical (dying).
A wounded limb that is wounded again causes the character to take a Torso wound directly, as do three limb wounds in any combination.
Weapon Use and Types
Except in certain special cases, characters can freely use every basic weapon. All weapons do the same amount of damage for normal attacks (1 point). A good rule of thumb is that if no “tagline” is called, the damage is 1.
We allow both striking and thrusting with almost all weapons in FoD, with the following exceptions: Spears are thrusting only; Axes, Maces, Clubs, and Hammers are striking only. A Staff can be used to strike or thrust, and can also be used one handed, though only for defense. No shield besides a strap-on buckler can be wielded while using a staff, nor can any offhand weapon be used with one. When attacking, “hafted” weapons (Maces, Hammers, Axes, Spears, and Halberds) must strike their targets with the head of their weapon: haft hits do not count.
Although Thrown weapons can be freely blocked with both weapons and shields, Bow and Crossbow shots may only be blocked by shields. Any accidental arrow or bolt hit on a weapon counts as hitting the arm. Archers should never purposefully aim for weapons, however; doing so is a safety violation.
Combat skills grant characters the ability to do extra damage, defend against incoming attacks, and many other special techniques. For each level a character has in their highest combat skill, they have that much Prowess available. Prowess is automatically refreshed after 10 minutes of rest (i.e. no combat, no running, and no spellcasting). Though Prowess is based upon a character’s highest combat skill, the abilities available to them are dependent upon the weapon(s) they are currently using, with some exceptions. All abilities cost from 1 to 3 Prowess.
A universal rule, which applies to magical attack taglines AND combat abilities, is that only one tagline can be called with any attack. In essence, we avoid “stacking” effects in FoD wherever possible.
Weapon strikes are almost always defended against as “mundane” attacks, regardless of how magical/fantastic the sources of those strikes are. A “Poison Strike X,” “Blindness Strike X” Lightning Strike 2,” etc. are all defended against as a normal power strike. See Game Concepts for individual details on these and other tagline effects.
Weapons that have the Heavy attribute require Strong 1 (Capable) in order to be wielded at all, and usually only with two hands. Heavy weapons add 1 to all Power Strikes called with them and they may not be disarmed or broken through combat maneuvers. At Strong 2, a character may wield heavy weapons with only one hand, though they lose the +1 to Power Strike Damage. At Strong 3, the previous penalty is removed.
Giant weapons represent the upper end of practical melee weapons, over and above Heavy Weapons, and as such are rather difficult to use. Before going to the trouble to get strong enough (in game) to use one, make sure you are strong and fit enough to use one in out of game terms. The phys reps for giant weapons must be carefully constructed from durable “ultralight” materials, and their construction should only be attempted by players who know how to make large ultralight weapons safely. If you are going to bring in a Giant phys rep, you MUST contact staff about its construction details beforehand. We will be quite strict in passing these weapons, so be well aware of this.
All giant weapons receive +2 PS damage INSTEAD of the +1 for Heavy weapons. In addition, they require Strong 3 in order to wield them and are two-handed weapons. With strong 4, they may be wielded 1 handed, though they lose their +2 to PS damage. With strong 5, they retain their full Giant Weapon damage bonus when used 1h. Giant Weapons are treated as Heavy weapons for the purposes of disarm/break effects. Giant weapons, if made as Superior Quality, may have different costs for specific attributes, and there may be additional SQ attributes available only to Giant Weapons.
Here are the guidelines and dimensions for acceptable boffer weapons. Note that we reserve the right to accept or reject weapons for safety and/or aesthetic reasons. If you have an alternate construction technique beyond the standard (see Resources), you must allow us to examine and discuss it with you, before we will sign off on it.
Note : Max Hilt length on most weapons is 2/5 total length.
|Skill||Weapon||Total Length (inches)||Notes|
|Close||Dagger||12 - 20||—|
|Hatchet||14 - 22||Head: 4 - 8” length|
|Sap||12 - 18||Subdue with regular strike|
|Sword||Short Sword||21 - 33||—|
|Long Sword||34 - 46||—|
|Great Sword||48 - 62||Heavy.|
|Giant Sword||72 - 84||Giant. Blade width no narrower than 2.5”, save at thrusting tip.|
|Axe||Short Axe||21 - 35||Head: 6 - 12” length|
|Battle Axe||36 - 48||Head: 9 - 18” length|
|Great Axe||50 - 64||Heavy. Head: 12 - 18” length|
|Monster Axe||74 - 86||Giant. Striking surfaces MUST be composed of open cell foam. No exceptions.|
|Polearm||Staff||60 - 72||Center grip no more than 2/5 total length.|
|Spear||48 - 62||Head: 8 - 12” length|
|Halberd||60 - 72||Heavy. Head: 18 - 24” length|
|Greatstaff||84 - 96||Giant. May be fully used one handed, if Strong 4. Center grip no more than 2/5 total length.|
|Mace||Short Club/ Hammer/ Mace||21 - 33||—|
|War C/H/M||36 - 46||—|
|Great C/H/M||48 - 62||Heavy.|
|Giant Cudgel||72 - 84||Giant. Must have spikes/striking surfaces every 4” down most of its length.|
|Titan Hammer||72 - 84||Giant. Striking surfaces MUST be composed at least partly of open cell foam. No exceptions.|
|Dire Mace||72 - 84||Giant. Striking surfaces MUST be composed at least partly of open cell foam. No exceptions.|
|Missile||Bow||30lb max pull||Arrow Length: 34” max|
|Crossbow||25lb max pull||Bolt Length: 34” max|
|Thrown Weapon||6 - 12||Must be 100% foam|
|Sling Shot||—||Medical tubing/bands, 100% foam ammo which must be 1.5-4” across.|
|Railcaster||Up to 18” length||Model magic foam or closed cell ammo. Spring loaded, single shot.|
- Axe Weapon Notes (Including Hatchet)
- Blades must be made of foam that is 1 - 3 inches thick.
- Mace Weapon Notes
- Clubs must have open cell foam knobs/spikes every 4 inches down most of their shaft length, or taper to a double-width end. Mace heads must be a minimum of 6/8/10” length (down shaft), with multiple flanges, spikes, or a ball end. Hammer heads must be at least as wide (perpendicular to shaft) as they are long, and must be at least 2/3/4” thick, respectively, with the same length heads as maces of the same type.
- Giant Weapon Notes
- Giant Cudgels must have open cell foam knobs/spikes every 4 inches down most of their shaft length, or taper to a double-width end. Dire Mace heads must have a 18-24” length (down shaft), with multiple flanges, spikes, or a ball end.Titan Hammer heads must be at least as wide (perpendicular to shaft) as they are long, and must be at least 5” thick, respectively, with 12-18” length heads. Monster axe heads must measure 18 - 24” length and must be constructed of foam that is from 1 1/2-4” thick, though they may be beveled to 1/2.” Monster Axe heads must be at least as wide relative to their shaft as they are long.
Armor tends to be the largest component in a character’s Resilience, ranging in value from 1 to 5 points, and it can be readily maintained. Armor is lost first when a character takes a damage effect, followed by magical Protection and then Vitality (resilience is lost in alphabetical order, essentially: A-P-V). Note, however, that there are no effects in game which bypass one protection form or another that do not simply ignore resilience altogether, so keeping track is only important when figuring out when to recast spells, get some rest, or maintain armor.
Armor Maintenance requires at least Basic Repair (Craft 1), which allows a character to refit any suit of armor back up to its maximum value, even if it is at 0. This process takes 10, 5, or 1 minute of roleplaying the repair, depending on the ability used, but the character need not remove the armor in order to do so. See General Skills, for further details.
There are three basic styles of armor: leather, chain, and plate. Each style provides varying amounts of protection dependant on the amount of coverage it gives to vital locations. Please note that the armor ratings are an abstraction created for game balance and not for historical or physical accuracy. Aesthetics are a very important factor in allowing armor in game, and we reserve the right to reject a suit if we believe it is inappropriate.
Leather Armor provides one point of armor if it covers the torso, and it provides another point if it protects at least four of your five limbs (head, arms, and legs). If more than 50% of the leather on the torso is studded then you receive an additional point of armor.
Chain Armor provides two points of armor if it covers the torso; it provides another point if it protects at least three of your five limbs (head, arms, and legs).
Plate Armor provides three points of armor if it covers the torso; it provides another point if it protects at least two of your five limbs, and two points if it covers four of your five limbs.
Any combination of armor which totals 4 or 5 points is considered to be “Heavy” armor and requires the Capable ability (Strong 1) in order to wear.
There are myriad different types of armor throughout history and in fantasy beyond basic leather, chain and plate, but we filter these styles into these three groups whenever possible. Below is a sampling of these types and which class they fall into our groupings. Note that this list is by no means exhaustive:
- Padded Cloth, Chain “Bikini” Leather w/ studs
- Thick Hide, Bamboo, Ring Mail Chain
- Brigandine, Scale Mail, Plate Mail “Bikini” Plate
- Lamellar, Banded, Splinted
For armor to give its full benefit, it must cover more than half of the torso or limb that it is to be protecting. If the armor covers less than half the area that it is protecting and more than one third then it is treated as if it was armor of a class one level lower than it. For example a Plate bracer that reaches from the wrist to the elbow would count as fully protecting that arm as plate armor. If it only reached from the wrist to just over halfway up the forearm, then it would count as chain. Steel bracelets that cover only the wrists would not count as armor at all.
A helmet must fit on the head and not fall off when the player bends over ninety degrees at the waist, for obvious safety reasons. Helmets must be made of reasonably rigid material and hats do not qualify.
When determining the value of piecemeal armor (armor composed of various types) you count the piece that gives the highest value only. So if you are wearing full leather sleeves and plate bracers that reach from the wrist to the elbow, you would count them as plate armor; they provide the greatest protection even though the leather is providing the greater coverage.
Armor is given in-game tags as full suits, not as separate pieces. This means that if a suit of armor’s total value is between 1 and 3 it counts as light armor for the purposes of crafting and trait requirements. If a suit’s full armor value equals 4 or 5 then it counts as heavy armor for the purpose of crafting and trait requirements.
characters can use synthetic leather, but it must be appropriately thick.
chain mail may be made of metal of any type.
plate armor may be made of metal, or of rigid plastic made to look like metal.
Shield Types and guides
Maximum area of 216 square inches (equal to a circle 16 inches in diameter) with no dimension greater than 21 inches. Minimum area of 50 square inches (equal to a circle 8 inches in diameter) with no dimension greater than 11 inches. Bucklers may be attached to the arm with straps, leaving the shield hand free, or used with a handle.
- Small Shield
Maximum area of 454 square inches (equal to a circular shield 24 inches in diameter) with no dimension greater than 30 inches. Small shields must have a handle, and arm straps are optional.
- Large Shield
Maximum area of 531 square inches (equal to a circular Shield 26 inches in diameter) with no dimension greater than 36 inches. Large shields must have a handle, and arm straps are optional.
Note : All shields must be constructed from a solid base of wood, metal, or other robust material; foam shields are not allowed. All shields must also have at least 5/8” closed cell foam edging, and they may have no bolts, screws, or nails sticking out from their face.