In non-group combat the defender rolls a defend roll against the attacker's attack. So far pretty basic and clear. Now our group was wondering what happens if multiple, say 3, attackers all go for one target:

  • Does the defender get his full defence roll against each and every attack?
  • Is there some limit/penalty/... to defend against multiple assailants?

The penalty when defending against multiple enemies is pretty common in other systems I know, so I was a bit astonished not to find something in the basic rules. I also checked in the extended combat rules in Lords of Men, but couldn't find anything on the topic.(That could just be me though).

The reason that this is a problem: our group created our first bunch of grogs and their combat stats are not in a similar range - thus they can't fight in a group (trained or untrained). Also they are fairly weak, so to overcome any strong foe they would need to gang up on it - making the question how said foe could defend central.

Note for answers: the solution needs to be for simple A-attacks-B combat, and not the more complex A-tries-to-attack-C-while-B-is-defending-C scheme, for which rules exist.


1 Answer 1


Strictly by RAW I'm not aware of a defense penalty for facing multiple opponents, and as you say - if the three allied combatants cannot form an untrained group then they fight as normal. This means they each act on their individual initiative order (Ars p.171).

That said, it seems reasonable that three allies could maneuver a single opponent so that at least one has an advantage. Perhaps keep their weapon stats the same and instead increase the botch dice rolled of the defender by 1 for each additional attacker after the first two? It seems reasonable to allow a defender no penalty against one or two foes, however three or more is significant.

  • \$\begingroup\$ In this case we'll probably house-rule the issue. Btw, I know from (HEMA) experience that fighting 1 vs 2 is already quite difficult and 1 vs 3 bordering on the impossible even for very skilled fighters. :) But we'll probably find a house rule that's more 'pulp' - the combat system is deadly enough as it is... \$\endgroup\$
    – fgysin
    Feb 4, 2019 at 8:35

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