Alternative rules for combat?


Homebrew and House Rules


Hi there,

I'm wondering if there are any good alternatives for combat rules. I've read Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay rulebook, and I really liked the combat system there. It allows players to actually hit different parts of the body (i.e. legs, head, torso, etc.) and literally CHOP OFF ARMS and POKE OUT EYES of their enemies.

Does anybody know if there are any similar homebrews in Pathfinder that could make the combat deadlier and more realistic?


my group has tried this:
unchained action system
And our opinion is that it is way better and leads to more options and easier combat.
There was a short periond of getting used to the new way of thinking, but now the players say that it helps them do more and it is very intuitive.

I personaly loves that it removes all the
"full round attack-spring attack-attack action-swift action-move action-whatsmyactionnowagain?!" - nonsense and replaces it with:
"you have three acts, all of them can be use for moves and attacks, in any combination you prefer"

When it comes to called shots, PF isn't really built for that, but my group uses the Critical Hits and Critical Fumbles Card Decks - and they add enough of that to make things interesting.


I am absolutely positive that such a system could be found or invented by you for use at your table. However, I feel compelled to point out to you that such a system is of greater detriment to the PCs than to the monsters they fight. I am assuming of course that few monsters live through a battle with the PCs, and that once they are dead they have little use for arms and eyes. However, a PC who looses an arm or eye and then survives the battle must live with the loss. Maybe the party has access to the regenerate spell, but if not then then the PC has to deal with the penalties that come with not being able to use both arms and not being able to see well. The players will tire of this.


I agree, the Unchained revised action economy is great.

Pathfinder has rules for Called Shots, but the associated penalties make them quite difficult to land successfully, so many players/GMs don't bother making them.

A lot of the extraneous penalties and stipulations (under the Additional Rules section of Called Shots), like doubling cover bonuses, increasing concealment miss chance, or touch attacks have to be made against normal AC, could be done away with and called shots would still be difficult to pull off because of their inherent attack penalties, but wouldn't be as impossible, making them more feasible. Pathfinder has enough math as it is.


My rules are for speeding up combat.

Group Initiative
One person rolls initiative for the group. Who it is varies, we either rotate, or if one person is clearly starting the fight or leading the group they get to roll.

I've found it speeds up combat and helps encourage cooperation. The bard/cleric likes to go first, so they can get their buff spells off for the group, wizards can look up their spell while someone else goes if they aren't quite ready, melee types can time their actions to benefit from flanking, etc.

We also use the rule that if you aren't paying attention, you miss your turn. So people pay attention and don't miss their turn.

Remove Tactical Grid
I don't use tape measures, I just eyeball it. It does mean some specific tactical elements are gone or greatly reduced. If I do this I usually just get rid of flanking (rogues just require an ally in combat with them for sneak attack) and similar type rules. A quick die roll determines how many monsters a wizard can squeeze into a fireball radius. This eliminates many of the tactical considerations. I don't use this a lot, but when I have, I've really liked it. I still use mini's to help me make rulings and determinations, but their positioning is more abstract than with the tactical grid.

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