Underground, exploring a series of crypts and catacombs, the mighty heroes were set up on by a string of foes in close combat: bug men, a ghast, and a mummy. Fate was on their side, and they vanquished their foes and lived to fight another day!

That's great. What I didn't think was so great was that the party was engaging all those enemies at point blank with missile weapons. Standing directly adjacent to their foes, they'd fire their bows and launch their sling bullets, rather than switch to daggers or swords.

Apart from the very minor problem of the lack of "realism" in this weapon choice, there is a real problem: missile attacks always precede melee attacks in M&M. That means that by sticking with bows at point blank, the PCs can always get their attacks off before melee-only enemies.

In some versions of D&D, using a missile weapon when adjacent to a foe would invite an immediate free attack by that foe. This acts as a useful penalty to prevent this scenario (although the edition that introduced this rule had already eliminated the notion of missile attacks preceding melee attacks).

I'm looking for a rule in M&M that prevents this behavior.

Although I am interested in good suggestions of "house rules" to address the problem (such as introducing free attacks on in-range archers, or moving archers-in-melee-range into the melee phase), I am much more interested in any rules that already exist in the rules as written. I have looked for them and, so far, found nothing.

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Prior editions of D&D that had the missile-before-melee rule just had a rule saying missile fire isn't legal/possible when engaged in melee, and being engaged was defined as being in range of melee weapons. M&M may have a similar rule. \$\endgroup\$ Sep 2, 2012 at 3:27
  • \$\begingroup\$ @SevenSidedDie That was my memory, too, but when I went to check my 1E and Moldvay books, I couldn't find it. I'm not worried about those, and I believe it's there, but if you have the citation, I'd appreciate it. \$\endgroup\$
    – rjbs
    Sep 2, 2012 at 12:51

1 Answer 1


Revised Mazed & Minotaurs (which I'm assuming you mean since the original doesn't have separate missile and melee phases) doesn't have an explicit rule that prevents it, but it's a reasonable inference from other rules.

In particular, on page 21:

Movement & Melee

A character can use standard movement before entering melee. This is the only case in which a character can move and make a melee attack in the same round. Once locked in melee, a character cannot move away from his opponents unless he manages to disengage first (see Retreat below).

(Emphasis mine.) The implication is that engagement is symmetrical – if your opponents are engaged with you, you are engaged with them. And, if you're in melee, you're taking melee actions only. Having a special rule to disengage shows that the intent is that once you engage an opponent or are engaged by an opponent, you cannot easily break off from the literal mêlée to do something else.

If that isn't sufficient, it's reasonable to make an explicit table rule that says only melee weapons may be used at melee range. After all, M&M was written in the image of the early D&D editions, where hacking the rules to better suit and serve the group was so expected it was odd not to.

  • \$\begingroup\$ I am accepting this answer at least until somebody finds a killer missing passage from the RAW. :-) Specifically, I have ruled that using missile weapons in melee combat moves one's attacks to the melee phase and invites free attacks from flanking enemies. \$\endgroup\$
    – rjbs
    Sep 5, 2012 at 20:58
  • \$\begingroup\$ @rjbs From what I've gathered the RAW is just incomplete, deliberately or accidentally in the image of early D&D editions. It certainly does have a very short section on combat! \$\endgroup\$ Sep 5, 2012 at 21:02

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