Notion – One vs. Many

Here’s an idea I had today while walking the dog. It’s about combat with multiple attackers in RPG fights of the B&T variety.

When a character is facing more than one opponent, they can make a choice on how many of their foes they want to “actively engage” each round. For each foe they actively engage beyond the first, they suffer a cumulative -1 penalty to their attack. Any foe they do not actively engage gets a cumulative +1 bonus to attack the character.

For example: A fighter is facing three goblins. If he decides to actively engage one goblin, he gets to attack that goblin with his normal chances. The other two goblins, because they are not actively engaged, attack with a +2 bonus (+2 because there are two goblins not actively engaged).

If the fighter actively engaged two of the goblins, then he suffers a -1 penalty to his attack that round (-1 because there is one “extra” goblin he is engaging). The one goblin who is not engaged gets a +1 bonus to hit the fighter (+1 because there is one goblin not actively engaged).

If the fighter actively engages all three, the goblins get no bonus to attack, but the fighter suffers a -2 penalty to his attack.

If you use a rule wherein the fighter class can attack multiple opponents, you can still use these penalties, but apply them to each of the fighter’s attacks during a round.

Note – I planned to use an image from Cyrano de Bergerac (1950) where he was fighting several men, but couldn’t find it. I stuck with Cyrano anyways, because he’s my hero.

4 thoughts on “Notion – One vs. Many

  1. That’s an interesting idea that slightly buffs “ganging up” on one target – indirectly strengthening a lot of low level enemies.

    I assume the same would apply to monsters as well (?)


    • It can apply, if the DM thinks it best. I was just trying to figure out a rule that was easy to remember, and which provided a pro/con situation.


  2. This was interesting and Cyrano is a great character to have as your hero! Oddly, when I opened this on my Nook, the image popped up before the text. I recognized the picture immediately and before the text appeared I was like, “Is he going to do a post on composing a poem while rolling during a battle?”


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