D10 Special Combat Rules

Combat is a special type of action. Unlike most stat checks, where you just need to see if you accomplish an action, in combat, you're specifically attempting to inflict harm (or at least damage) against a foe. In keeping with attempting to keep the d10 SPECIAL rules simple, combat in d10 SPECIAL is simplified.

Example Combat

Alice has a STRENGTH score of 4 and a DEXTERITY score of 6. She carries a 1d6 Plain Shotgun (Short Range). She's wearing 1d6 Powered Armor.

Bob has a STRENGTH score of 7 and a DEXTERITY score of 5. He carries a 1d8 Wrench (Touch Range). He's wearing 1d4 Kevlar Armor.

  • Gamemaster: Alice, PERCEPTION check, please.
  • Alice: I rolled a 3.
  • Gamemaster: Alice, you see Bob approach at Medium Range.
  • Alice: I approach him silently.
  • Gamemaster: Bob, PERCEPTION check, please.
  • Bob: Grr. I rolled 9.
  • Gamemaster: Alice moves within Short Range of Bob.
  • Alice: I aim at Bob and fire my shotgun. (She then rolls 1d10). I got a 4. (She then rolls damage dice, 1d6). 5!
  • Gamemaster: Bob is surprised. Roll armor check.
  • Bob: (Rolls 1d4). Sigh, 1.
  • Gamemaster: 5 - 1. Bob takes 4 damage, leaving 20 HP. Roll initiative.
  • Bob: (Rolls d20) 15, sweet!
  • Alice: (Rolls d20) 3.
  • Bob: "Who are you?" I shout, turning around to face Alice. I take a step closer.
  • Gamemaster: Bob is now at touch range.
  • Bob: I swing with my wrench! (Rolls d10) Rock on! 4!
  • Alice: (Rolls d10). Drat. 8.
  • Bob: Now, for damage. (Rolls 1d6). 6! Nice!
  • Alice: Armor check! (Rolls 1d6). 2.
  • Gamemaster: Bob swings his wrench, connection squarely with Alice and dealing 6 - 2 =4 damage, leaving Alice with 22 HP.
  • Alice: My name is Alice! You killed my step-niece! Prepare to die! I blast my shotgun, (Rolls d10), and with a result of 2 I can't miss!
  • Bob: (Rolls d10) Yes you can! 4! I dodge out of the way of the shotgun blast and swing my wrench! (Rolls d10) 6! Huzzah!
  • Alice: (Rolls d10) Perfect 1! I roll out of the way of your attack.
  • Gamemaster: Alice is able to roll back to short range. (bonus for Perfect 1)

Combat continues back and forth until one character's HP is reduced to 0 or they come to a peaceful solution through roleplay.

Stages of Combat

In normal role playing, "turns" are not kept. Characters simply call out what actions they wish to take, and the gamemaster arbitrates their actions. If a character does a Take 10 action that will take a few minutes, he's asked to "stay out" of the flow by the Gamemaster until he completes his task. Or a character may stick to a task until they roll good enough, or until they complete a series of sub tasks until the task is complete.

However, when characters from one party meet characters from another party, they must roll PERCEPTION checks to see if they notice each other. Either both parties notice each other, neither party notices the other, or one party notices the other party, who is caught unawares.

  • Both parties notice each other. Party members may decide to continue roleplaying and parlay. Or they may decide to initiate combat. If they initiate combat, see combat rules below.
  • Neither party notices the other. Roleplay as usual. Check PERCEPTION again in a few minutes.
    • Gamemaster notice: If you only ask for PERCEPTION checks when there's something to find, your players will figure out to search for something unusual after a failed PERCEPTION check. It's good to do a check every few minutes, even if there isn't anything to find. Players will either figure there was nothing to find, or the more paranoid will think there's always danger around every turn. Either way you win.
  • One party notices the other, but not vice versa. The aware party has initiative. They may take a Surprise attack round (if in range), or they may decide to announce themselves and parlay.

Assuming the party decides to attack…

Rolling initiative

Whenever order needs to be decided for taking turns, all members should roll initiative. Every member should roll 1d20, and go in order, larger to smaller. For ties, roll again.


Combat locations in d10 SPECIAL are a simplified "range" system, instead of posting character locations on a grid. Each character picks a target and attempts to move within range of that target. There are five ranges available:

  • Touch
  • Short
  • Medium
  • Long
  • Distant

Each weapon specifies which ranges it's effective in. If you are out of range for any weapon (except Touch, which MUST be in Touch range), subtract 1/2 of the damage roll for each range increment you are out of range.

  • Short range weapon fired at Medium range: 1/2 damage
  • Short range weapon fired at Distant range: 1/8 damage
  • Long range weapon fired at Short range: 1/4 damage

When you move in a round, you may elect to move closer or farther away from your target.

You may also switch targets before you move, which moves you to Long range from your new target, no matter how close you were to your previous target.

The Surprise Round

If one party is unaware, the attacking party gets a "surprise round". Everyone in the attacking party rolls initiative, and they get a free turn, with the enemies unable to dodge. Armor still applies, however.

Regular Combat

In regular combat, all combatants roll for initiative. Members who are not actively fighting, but doing another task (such as operating a crank to lower a drawbridge for escape) also take initiative. They're just doing Full Round Actions to lower the bridge. The Gamemaster decides how many rounds it takes to lower the bridge.

In Regular Combat, one round lasts for 6 seconds, making 10 rounds a minute, 600 rounds an hour.

Combat Actions

Each character, on their turn in Initiative, decides what to do. They may elect to move 2 ranges, move one range and attack, or take a Full Round Action.

  • Move two ranges.: You may move closer or farther away from your intended target one or two ranges in one turn. Or…
  • Move one range and attack.: You may also elect to attack, then move one range.
  • Full Turn Action: The Gamemaster may stipulate that an action, such as loading a RPG into a launcher, is a full round action. You take the action and then stop, having not changed range.


When a character reaches 0 HP, they are Knocked-Out (KO). KOed characters are removed from action. Should the KOed member's party win combat, they may heal the character or take the character with them in KOed state. If the KOed member's party goes completely KO, they must stay where they are until rescued.


Healing acts like regular combat. Switch your target to the party member you want to heal, but instead of joining at Long range, you come in at Medium range.

If you want to heal a KOed character. switch to that character and heal him or her. This is the only time a KOed character may be targeted in combat.


Combat continues until successful roleplaying calls a truce, or until all members of one party are incapacitated.

Once combat has ended, turns are shed, and initiative is no longer tracked until the next combat action.

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