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Combat on stairs

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I happened to be visiting Dundrum Castle in Co. Down yesterday, and it occurred to me that one thing that there isn’t in the GPC, or — at least as far as I can remember — any of the other published adventures, is a fight on one of those very narrow medieval spiral staircases that, being clockwise, are designed to make it hard for a right-handed attacker going up the stairs to fight a defender above them.

It seems to me that you’d give the defender the standard +5/-5 reflexive modifier for height, but that you’d want to jazz it up a little beyond that to make it a special experience.  Maybe give the attacker also a -1d6 to damage?


Edited by Voord 99
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20 hours ago, Morien said:

Not so sure they need an extra penalty but -1d6 sounds ok. 

Perhaps instead of a -1d6 give them "disadvantage" (system from DnD/CoC whereby you roll two sets of numbers and take the lower one) on the damage roll. Thus, if the normal damage would be 6d6 - you would roll 6d6 twice and take the lower of the two sets of numbers.

Bit more work - but I rather like the idea that you are "disadvantaged" when trying to do damage when on the stairs.

Also - if the attacking up the stairs knight is using a spear or another piercing weapon - I would not give them a penalty for damage as the benefit of the winding stairs really only comes into play when swinging a sword.

I spent a few years in europe, and have wandered my share of castle towers - so YES - those winding stairs were definitely designed to make it hard to swing a sword.

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