Weapons in Non-Lethal Combat

As you might expect, weapons have their place in non-lethal combat, whether a character is defending or pressing the attack.

Weapons in Defense: A character attempting to punch, wrestle, or overbear an armed opponent can do so only by placing himself at great risk. Making matters worse, an armed defender is automatically allowed to strike with his weapon before the unarmed attack is made, regardless of the initiative roll. Since his opponent must get very close, the defender gains a +4 bonus to his attack and damage rolls. If the attacker survives, he can then attempt his attack.

Those involved in a wrestling bout are limited to weapons of small size after the first round of combat. It's very difficult to use a sword against someone who is twisting your sword arm or clinging to your back, trying to break your neck. For this reason, nearly all characters will want to carry a dagger or a knife.

Non-Lethal Weapon Attacks: It is possible to make an armed attack without causing serious damage--striking with the flat of the blade, for example. This is not as easy as it sounds, however.

First, the character must be using a weapon that enables him to control the damage he inflicts. This is impossible with an arrow or sling. It isn't even feasible with a war hammer or mace. It can be done with swords and axes, as long as the blade can be turned so it doesn't cut.

Second, the character has a -4 penalty to his attack roll, since handling a weapon in this way is clumsier than usual. The damage from such an attack is 50% normal; one-half of this damage is temporary, lasting one turn after the fight is over and causing unconsciousness (never death) if the character drops below zero hit points.

Table of Contents