GOAL: Things that need to matter in combat: weapon choice, range, initiative, morale & maneuvers/environment. Basically trying to increase choice and speed of combat.

Holmes Basic: All weapons do 1d6 damage (this is also found in B/X, but lets take the focus off variable damage- the optional rule in B/X). 

Bastionland: Supercharge 5e D&D Combat but scaled to Basic D&D with 10-foot Polemic's notch system thrown in. Notches in weapons decrease dmg by 1, notches in armor decrease AC by 1.
Nat 1: Miss; 1 weapon notch; no dmg (0 dmg)
< AC: Glance; min. dmg, but can't bring below 1 hp (1 dmg)
> AC: Hit; avg. dmg, but can bring below 1 hp (3 dmg)
Nat 20: Crit; 1 armor notch; max dmg (6 dmg)

No-damage options: (to trip, disarm, shove, pull) : Glance is a struggle with a chance of a reversal (contested roll) while Hit is a non-damage effect (trip, disarm, shove, pull).

Basic Initiative: Roll 1d6, highest goes first; ties favor the PCs

Pathfinder 2e: Weapons have traits and "Crit Abilities". Let's stick to stripped down Holmes Basic weapons. Don't have a good idea about what to list as Crit abilities.
Sword- s- parry
Bow- p- ranged; forgo movement to get 2nd attack
Mace- b- +1 to-hit vs. AC > 15
Axe- s- +1 dmg vs AC < 15
Spear- p- reach

B/X Basic: What is in your off-hand?
Two-weapon fighting: +1 to-hit (if two different weapons, odd roll is one, even roll is the other)
Two-handed weapon: +1 to dmg
Shield: +1 to AC
Torch: Light, Crit sets the target on fire on a 5-in-6

Holmes Basic Armor:
Nothing AC 10 (40' 8 sq)
Leather AC 12 (30' 6 sq)
Chain AC 14 (20' 4 sq)
Plate AC 16 (10' 2 sq)

What about magic in combat?
  • Use list of magic spells from Knave or any other level-less books of magic (these are often more about manipulation of things than just straight up damage- more interesting).
  • Wizard can safely cast spells from slots equal to their level (Level 3 = 3 spell slots)
  • To cast a spell with 0 spell slots, a Wizard must make a save throw: Pass spell successfully, Fail roll on mishaps table (as this invites uncontrolled, unchanneled arcane energies into the world & invites risk/reward)
  • Wizards can release a bolt (range) of magical energy at their target for every one slot (we'll still give wizards a little juice).
  • Roll to hit: Miss bolt dissipates; Glance is 1d6 damage; Hit is 2d4 damage; Crit is 10 damage
  • An additional spell slot can be spent to give the energy an elemental property: fire, cold, electricity, force
Morale Check: One of the more interesting optional rules in B/X which helps prevent all combat being to the death. Role 2d6 versus morale when:
  • The first enemy dies
  • 50% of forces are defeated or 50% of HP is depleted (if single enemy or pair).
  • Enemy leader dies, is captured, or incapacitated


  1. I really like letting spell slots just get spent on damage bolts. That's really slick. This is all very stripped down and fast! Blogroll'd

    1. Thank you. I can't really claim it, I just happened to pick it up from somewhere, but it is a nice solution. Once you attach damage to things, its difficult for the players to ignore it. Then they avoid other more interesting effects for bigger damage numbers.

      This is why I think I kinda like sticking to all weapons are mostly 1d6 dmg.

  2. This comment has been removed by the author.


STAVE OFF DOMESTIC CANNIBALISM: Here is a quick campaign

You really don't need much except a map, creatures, a rule system, and a goal. And since this little idea has infected my brain I m...