View Full Version : Squeezed and fighting [house rule]

2007-07-30, 04:06 PM
I was thinking - I rarely see 5 foot wide corridors, stairways, etc. Rooms aren't divided into 5 foot sections. It's easy to get several people into a room 8 foot by 8. Fights in pubs take place in confined areas. I propose a house rule!

When characters in d20 get into spaces that are too small for their full space size, they're squeezed. The PHB (pg 148) applies a -4 to AC and -4 to hit, and hampers movement.

Would it be reasonable to alter this in the light of the type and size of weapons being deployed..? I understand the lack of movement implied in the penalty to AC, so we'll just leave that as is. But - surely a big weapon would be way harder to use than a dagger? Similarly an unarmed strike would be easier to use than a long sword. (I've heard Wing Chun Kung Fu called the Kung Fu for fighting in phone booths...:smallwink: )

Maybe we could reduce the attack penalty based on weapon size - thus:

Unarmed attacks and grapple touch attacks are at no penalty.
Weapons considered light for your size are used at a -2 penalty.
Weapons considered one handed for your size are used at -4.
Weapons considered two handed for your size are used at -8.

Now - what about being inside someone's reach? In the pub fight, the scuffle on the stairway, or the castle corridor fight, it's predictable for someone to get fight up close during combat without it being a grapple. You try hitting the guy next to you on the tube train with a battle axe, see how much of a penalty that is :smallbiggrin: . (Actually, don't. I'm sure your local police force will take a dim view of such high-jinks.)
Anyway... I think characters should be able to stand on the intersections of the 5 foot squares, threatening the adjacent intersections. It's the easiest way I can see to get a finer grid without breaking too many of the established d20 rules.
Essentially, the intersections become the centres of new, imaginary 5 foot squares. Along with those intersections, they'll also threaten the four squares they are in contact with - and in the same way, a character standing in a square with threaten the adjacent squares and the four intersections at the corners of the square he's standing in. (Have a look at DMG 308 for the templates, they might help visualise this idea.)

What will this mean for combat? It's harder to hit an opponent who is sweating right in your face with a great axe than it is to stab him with a dagger, or knee him in the gut.
So - Can we (should we) apply the same house rule for squeezed fighters if your target is inside your reach?

What do you wonderful rule lawyers think? I'm open to suggestions (other than "Oh, WotC did something like this, it's in Book #327" - as helpful as that is, I don't want to buy a whole new book to solve a teeny issue like this. :smalltongue: )

2007-07-30, 04:13 PM
Have you taken a look at my Melee Reach (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=50830) Thread? Confined space fighting is another kettle of fish, but if you have access to the 1e PHB you can find a list of lengths and space required to use particular weapons. Basically, though, Thrusting Weapons require a lot less room than Chopping and Cutting Weapons. Spears and Short Swords are going to be handy in confined quarters, depending on how straight such an encironment is.

2007-07-30, 04:35 PM
Thanks - I've sort of been working from the 1st ed premise...

Nice to know other people have pondered this. I'll have to think about revising my plan to include your AoO rule... Is it really harder to get a free attack on close-up opponents..?

Anyway - The best way to fight is to get into the 5 foot square next to your opponent - but we don't always have that luxury. And it helps to reflect the real world advantage of holding off your enemies at a door way, or on a bridge, or similar contriction.

2007-07-30, 05:17 PM
Well, the rule isn't really about Attacks of Opportunity so much as it is about modelling the advantages of a shorter weapon (which currently pretty much doesn't have anything going for it in D&D outside of Finesse and Two Weapon Fighting).

My understanding of the advantages is only theoretical, but my understanding of the situation is that if you can get within the reach of an opponent with a longer weapon, you have an advantage over him, in that his ability to attack is inhibited by the short distance between you.

That said, the House Rule itself has to fit withing the turn based RPG paradigm, which means that compromises were made.

Confined spaces are an interesting environmental factor and one worth exploring I think, though hard and fast rules may be somewhat beyond our reach.

2007-07-30, 05:45 PM
I would've figured your close fighting with an opponent is suited well enough by grappling. Grappling doesn't require that you wrestle someone to the ground, it just means that at that range there isn't much else to do besides try to push someone around with your arms, or stab him with light weapons.
I'd just use the rules for grappling, and change them so there's a distinct difference between close-in fighting (to kill) and wrestling (to pin).

Look at it this way: If you're free to move without being grappled by your opponent, then so is he. Thus, if you're capable of moving towards your opponent to fight him at dagger-range, he's capable of dodging and avoiding you so he can fight you at greatsword-range. This is what is represented by a normal combat round... You won't ever stay right up next to someone where he can't defend himself, unless you're grappling or your opponent is a training dummy.

Also... I once saw someone link to a (free) wizards article where there were rules for fighting and moving in exceptionally restricted space, including considerations for creatures of varying size.

2007-07-30, 05:58 PM
Well, that's the way it is currently configured, Reach, Melee, Grapple, but I wanted to mechanically distinguish between the reach of a Short Sword and a Long Sword or Great Sword, as well as distinguish between the Reach of a Dagger and a Short Sword. I have found it to be a fun variant.

2007-07-30, 06:18 PM
Technically it's not so much as you don't have enough room to use a weapon, but you don't have enough room to maneuver regularly in combat. Your movements side to side and stuff are blocked by walls/ceilings.

2007-07-31, 05:41 PM
If the squeezing rules were only about restricted movement, and had nothing to do with your ability to swing / thrust your choice of weapon, we'd only get an AC penalty.

I just thought the attack penalty could do with a little more variation... and it made me think of a house rule sort of like Matthew's 'Melee Reach', too.