I don't know what the new D&D is like, but if it's anything like AD&D the game wants players to use particular tactics. HM uses nearly the opposite tactics. With multiple bogies placement to minimize outnumbering penalty is key, add multiple players to the mix and placement to maximize party-outnumber penalties is key; always take the high ground (on horseback if possible); aim high; and never, ever just trade blows. Remember, the more damage you take the more difficult actions become which only makes further injury more likely. Combat outside of a legitimate battle, ime, rarely results in the complete destruction of one side - the idea is generally to add enough pressure that the other side quits the field.
(note: I couldn't find the two FFF entries so some of this may not directly apply to your situation.)
The only people who should Dodge are those who are really good at it and
really better than their opponent, because unless the dodger can pick up the CS routinely all he's doing is marking time - Dodge only returns DTA when the attacker fails, so you're counting on that. I don't know the armor composition of Sir Taran, but when competently wielding a shield the best option is nearly always Block (which returns the highest number of DTA). Else, for those warriors who are expecting combat and have the opportunity to deck themselves in all their armoured glory (and it looks like Sir Taran in your example was), for Larani's sake Counterstrike and soak the B*1 (predicated, of course, on being better armored than your opponent). You're betting, of course, that your opponent doesn't hit something uncovered.
edit: the tone of my post is not really what I intended; I blame it on public transportation. If I may deign to provide some advice, it's that it pays to always identify the objective and tailor tactics to the situation, exploit your opponent, never overreach, and pressure your opponents' morale. (Oh, and soften the opponent with ranged attacks first). Unless your players like generating new characters every game session, Pamasani (arena) style combats will always be quick and bloody, and the most skilled warrior is always the best bet.
As I mentioned in another thread (viewtopic.php?f=1&t=13456
), I am running combat exercises between to different NPC's to learn the combat system. I just finished my first one. I'll supply a narrative, then I have some questions.
The combatants were chosen from the Friends, Foes, and Followers collection of NPC's. I picked (more or less randomly) Sir Taran Ulris, an Ulthriem Roliri Warden) and Mya of Risalsin, an Agrikian cleric. Sir Taran had 96.2 pounds of equipment. If I've reckoned things correctly, with his Endurance of 15 96.2 / 15 = 6.4, rounded down to 6, gives a physical penalty of 30. Similarly, Rya's equipment weighed in at 53.4 pounds. With an endurance of 12, her physical penalty was 20. Sir Taran used his broadsword and Mya used her mace.
Round 1: Sir Taran gets the initiative. He chooses a high aiming point, hoping to put a quick end to this confrontation. He swings. Mya dodges swooshes above her head. Mya tries to hit Sir Taran with her mace, but she misses. Sir Taran counterstrikes, the tip of his sword connecting with Mya's jaw to give a serious wound. Even though the mass of broken bone and lacerated flesh which was once her jaw is dangling loosely from her head (S2 injury), she does not go into shock. But she does get annoyed that she won't ever be able to bite into a nice juicy apple again.
Round 2: She seizes the initiative, swinging at Sir Taran's midsection. Sir Taran tries to block the blow with his shield. However, both of them execute their moves poorly. Mya ends up fumbling her face, but manages to just keep hold of it. Sir Taran slashes savagely at her midsection with what would have been an excellently placed blow, but Mya manages to dodge the worst of it, but her dodge wasn't good enough. The last thing she sees before she faints is the growing red strain on her quilted vest (S2 injury). Shock sets in. Combat over in 20 seconds of game time.
1) I am confused about initiative (rules are HM3). The NPC's have scores for their initiative. For example Sir Taran has an 84, and Rya has 90. However, the rules (as far as I have read in HM3) simply say that the character with the highest initiative goes first. So, if the order of combat is decided by relative ranking of all initiative roles, what is the use of having a pass/fail score? There is no pass or failure, the role just indexes the player's turn in the sequence.
2) Assuming the character's initiative score means something, what do you do if both characters fail their initiative score?
3) Are initiative roles affected by physical penalty? I assume they are because initiative is a physical skill roll. Can some please supply an example calculation?
4) How does the physical penalty affect a fumble roll? Again, an example calculation would be useful.