PHB Ch9 Punching and Wrestling

The Sandman Will Keep You Awake - The Loop


These are the most basic of combat skills, unknowingly practiced by almost all children as they rough and tumble with each other. Thus, all characters, regardless of class, are assumed to be somewhat proficient in both these forms of fighting.

Punching occurs when a character attacks with his fists. No weapons are used, although the character can wear an iron gauntlet or similar item. Wrestling requires both hands free, unencumbered by shields and the like.

When punching or wrestling, a normal attack roll is made. The normal Armor Class of the target is used. If a character is attempting to wrestle in armor, the modifiers on Table 57 are used (these are penalties to the attacker's attack roll). Normal modifiers to the attack roll are also applied.

Table 57: Armor Modifiers for Wrestling
Armor Modifier
Studded leather -1
Chain, ring, and scale mail -2
Banded, splint, and plate mail -5
Field plate armor -8
Full plate armor -10

Penalties for being held or attacking a held opponent do not apply to wrestlers. Wrestling involves a lot of holding and twisting as it is, and the damage resolution system for punching and wrestling takes this into account. If the attack roll is successful, consult Table 58 to find the result of the attack: Cross-index the character's modified attack roll with the proper attack form. If, for example, a character successfully punched with an 18, the result would be a rabbit punch (if he rolled an 18 on a successful wrestling attempt, the result would be a kick). Punching and wrestling attacks can succeed on attack rolls of 1 or less (exceptions to the general rule).

Table 58: Punching and Wrestling Results
Attack Roll Punch Damage % KO Wrestle
20+ Haymaker 2 10 Bear hug*
19 Wild swing 0 1 Arm twist
18 Rabbit punch 1 3 Kick
17 Kidney punch 1 5 Trip
16 Glancing blow 1 2 Elbow smash
15 Jab 2 6 Arm lock*
14 Uppercut 1 8 Leg twist
13 Hook 2 9 Leg lock
12 Kidney punch 1 5 Throw
11 Hook 2 10 Gouge
10 Glancing blow 1 3 Elbow smash
9 Combination 1 10 Leg lock*
8 Uppercut 1 9 Headlock*
7 Combination 2 10 Throw
6 Jab 2 8 Gouge
5 Glancing blow 1 3 Kick
4 Rabbit punch 2 5 Arm lock*
3 Hook 2 12 Gouge
2 Uppercut 2 15 Headlock*
1 Wild swing 0 2 Leg twist
Less than 1 Haymaker 2 25 Bearhug*

* Hold can be maintained from round to round, until broken.

Punch: This is the type of blow landed. In game terms, the type of blow has little effect, but using the names adds spice to the battle and makes the DM's job of describing the action easier.

Damage: Bare-handed attacks cause only 1 or 2 points of damage. Metal gauntlets, brass knuckles, and the like cause 1d3 points of damage. A character's Strength bonus, if any, does apply to punching attacks.

Punching damage is handled a little differently than normal damage. Only 25% of the damage caused by a bare-handed attack is normal damage. The remaining 75% is temporary. For the sake of convenience, record punching damage separately from other damage and calculate the percentage split at the end of all combat.

If a character reaches 0 hit points due to punching attacks (or any combination of punching and normal attacks), he immediately falls unconscious.

A character can voluntarily pull his punch, not causing any hit point damage, provided he says so before the damage is applied to his enemy. There is still a chance of a knockout.

% K.O.: Although a punch does very little damage, there is a chance of knocking an opponent out. This chance is listed on the table as “% K.O.” If this number or less is rolled on percentile dice, the victim is stunned for 1d10 rounds.

Wrestle: This lists the action or type of grip the character managed to get. Wrestling moves marked with an asterisk (*) are holds maintained from round to round, unless they are broken. A hold is broken by a throw, a gouge, the assistance of another person, or the successful use of a weapon. (Penalties to the attack roll apply to weapon attacks by a character who is in a hold.)

All wrestling moves inflict 1 point of damage plus Strength bonus (if the attacker desires), while continued holds cause cumulatively 1 more point of damage for each round they are held. A head lock held for six rounds would inflict 21 points of damage total (1+2+3+4+5+6). Remember, this is the equivalent of pressing hard on a full-nelson headlock for roughly six minutes!

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