Rules to Skill Challenges and Combat

In this homebrew version of D&D, there are 6 ability scores and their respective Skill Categories, 5 types of attack scores and 4 types of defense scores. Ability scores, skills and attack scores are always added on to a 1d20 roll, whereas defense scores remain static with a +10 bonus to each score.

Ability Scores and Skills

Ability scores are always rolled against other ability scores, and skills against other skills. Both ability scores and skills are never matched against attack or defense scores. For example, a Strength vs. Charisma roll is alright, and so is a Listen vs. Sneak, but never would you roll Strength vs. Listen (ability vs. skill) or Charisma vs. Reflex (ability vs. defense score).

Just to note, ability score rolls are not very common and are usually seen in secondary effects of spells or combat abilities, or when there is no adequate skill to describe the action (e.g. there is no rock-lifting skill).

Attack and Defense Scores

The 5 types of attack scores are:
  • Melee – Close combat martial attacks
  • Ranged – Distant martial attacks
  • Arcane Power – Spells of Arcane nature
  • Divine Power – Spells of Divine nature
  • Primal Power – Spells of Primal nature
The 4 defense scores are:
  • Armor Class (AC) – Typically used to defend against attacks of physical nature
  • Fortitude – Used to protect against powerful environmental effects, poisons or diseases
  • Reflex – Used to escape any sudden dangers or projectile attacks (that can’t be deflected by armor)
  • Will Power – Used to resist any effects that threaten the mind of the individual

Each attack score affects the chance for an attack to land. Attack scores are rolled against a non-rolled, static defense score or against another rolled attack score (although this is less common). The higher total score wins of course.


Combat takes place in a turn-based fashion, but instead of each player or monster taking their turn alone, turns are taken in groups. A time limit will be imposed on both the players and the DM on taking action in order to keep the pace of combat up and to add to the effect of making combat seem fast, reflexive and intuitive.

The time limit, in minutes, is equal to the number of players taking their turn + 1. Since their really isn’t much time, and there is no strict turn order within a group, it is encouraged that as soon as you know what you want to do, you inform the DM and take action immediately. Additional time will be given to the party if anything done affects several targets or requires a number of rolls.

Steps to Taking Your Turn

The first step in combat is always to roll initiative. Any players that roll a higher initiative than the monsters will get a free turn to act. Combat continues normally in groups afterward.

Each player receives 2 “action points” to spend on his/her turn. Each point may be used to either, make a complex or time-consuming move, make an attack, or cast a spell. By default, only one attack or spell can be performed on a turn (although there are exceptions to this). Some actions are so small or trivial that they can be done freely without consuming an action point.

Here are some examples of what would constitute moves requiring action points and free moves:

Action Point Moves:
  • Moving your speed in spaces
  • Attacking with a sword or sling
  • Casting a spell
  • Using a skill
  • Withdrawing (move 1 space without drawing an Attack of Oppurtunity)
Free Actions:
  • Yelling to someone
  • Dropping something
  • Kicking an object nearby (as not to do damage)

To make an attack or cast a spell, declare a target and roll the appropriate attack score (if any). Compare the roll with the defense score and determine if damage or any effects come in to play.

Rules to Skill Challenges and Combat

Dead Soil DunavinDeepwood