One of the things that everybody in the know, including me until last week, knows about OD&D is that fighting men get 1 attack per level against opponents of 1 Hit Die or less. This is simply a fact that we all accepted without much thought, so let’s give it some.
The rule does not appear as such in the 3lbb’s but it’s inferred from:
“(Attack/Defense) capabilities versus normal men are simply a matter of allowing one roll as a man-type for every hit die attacks, i.e. a Troll would attack six times, once with a +3 added to the die roll.” M&T p5
The rule here seems to specify only attacks against normal human beings. However, we might reasonably stretch that to include all “normal” “man-types”. In this post here http://odd74.proboards.com/index.cgi?board=monterstreasure&action=display&thread=7165&page=2
Waysoftheearth has dug through the 3lbb’s to identify exactly what falls into the ”men”, “man-type” or “human-type” category:
kobolds, ½ HD
goblins, 1-1 HD
dwarves, 1 HD
orcs, 1 HD
gnomes, 1 HD
elves, 1+1 HD
hobgoblins, 1+1 HD
Berserkers 1+1 HD
Cavemen 2 HD
Dervishes 1+1 HD
Mermen 1+1 HD
Necromancer 7 HD
Wizard 8+1 HD
Lord 9+3 HD
Superhero 8+2 HD
Evil High Priest 7 HD
Patriarch 7 HD
Medusae, 4 HD
It’s interesting to note that there are 4 1HD creatures not listed as “man-type”.
Skeletons, Zombies, Halflings, Pixies and Nixies
That could just be an oversight, although it is also possible that all or some of these were considered “supernormal” (aka “fantastic” see below), and so not subject to the rule. I would guess the latter is true for at least pixies and nixies.
It’s also particularly interesting to look at the Bandit entry on M&T:5:
“Although Bandits are normal men, they will have leaders who are supernormal fighters, magical types or clerical types…. For every 30 bandits there will be one 4th level Fighting-Man; for every 50 Bandits there will be in addition one 5th or 6th level…” Supernormal here and elsewhere applies to heroic level for fighting men. The clerics and magic users detailed in the entry are of even higher level – minimum 8th for Cleric, minimum 10th for MU.
So, in a 3lbb only game any “normal” creature, regardless of HD appears to be subject to multiple attacks from supernormal creatures.
Interestingly, that should also include attacks by “supernormal” level Magic-users and Clerics. As far as I can tell, there’s nothing to exclude them. (Presumably, supernormal or fantastic level for clerics would be 5 and 7 for Magic users, based on when they fight as heroes on the Fighting Capability column in Monsters and Treasure).
But then there is this:
A little over a year after publishing the 3lbb’s Gygax offered some clarifications regarding combat in the Strategic Review FAQ.
“When fantastic combat is taking place there is normally only one exchange of attacks per round, and unless the rules state otherwise, a six-sided die is used to determine how many hit points damage is sustained when an attack succeeds. Weapon type is not considered, save where magical weapons are concerned. A super hero, for example, would attack eight times only if he were fighting normal men (or creatures basically that strength, i.e.,kobolds, goblins, gnomes, dwarves, and so on).”
The FAQ rule first specifies creatures engaged in “fantasy combat” are exempt from multiple attacks, and further specifies that larger creatures (bigger than man sized) are also exempt. The rule applies to “normal” (non-fantastic) “man-sized” (non-gigantic) creatures.
So what is “fantasy combat”? Well, in CHANMAIL, it is combat occurring between fantasy creatures. What is a fantasy creature? Broadly speaking it is a magical, enchanted or otherwise “supernormal” being. In CHAINMAIL, fantasy creatures are all the creatures found on the Fantasy Combat Table, including Wizards, Heroes and Superheroes. Elves, orcs, men, dwarves, hobbits and so forth are not “fantasy creatures” unless they also happen to be heroes +. When Fantasy creatures fight each other, combat is handled on the Fantasy Combat Table and each “side” gets one roll per turn. Otherwise, when fantasy creatures fight non-fantastic creatures they attack as a number of men on the usual combat tables. For example, trolls fight and defend as 6 men.
So revisiting the 3lbb rule in light of the Gygax FAQ statement with our CHAIMAIL knowledge, the rule can be restated as:
“When supernormal Fantasy creatures combat each other, they normally only exchange one attack each per round, and unless the rules state otherwise, a six-sided die is used to determine how many hit points damage is sustained when an attack succeeds. Weapon type does not effect the rule excepting the effects of some magical weapons. When Fantasy creatures attack normal, non-fantastic creatures, however, they gain one attack roll per Hit Die or per Level, provided the defenders are roughly human sized or smaller. For example, a Troll attacking an orc would roll on the chance to hit table six times, once with a +3 added to the die roll. Very large or giant sized creatures are exempt from these multiple attacks due to their extreme size. ”
That’s a good rule to flesh out the 3lbb statement. But if one wants to go by the complete rule as given in the FAQ, it is not quite complete, because a few paragraphs further down in the FAQ Gygax attempts to give a more specific rule for what constitutes fantasy combat:
“Note that [the hero] is allowed one attack for each of his combat levels as the ratio of one Orc vs. the Hero is 1:4, so this is treated as normal (non-fantastic) melee, as is any combat where the score of one side is a base 1 hit die or less.” FAQ
Sometimes, I really wish Gygax had gone to college and taken some writing classes. His use of “ratio” and “base” suggest you are supposed to create a fraction and reduce to determine whether fantastic combat is taking place. Upon reflection, I don’t think that’s what he actually meant. I think he’s giving us a version of this rule:
“…creatures with less than one eight sided hit die … entitle a fighter to a fighter to attack once for each of his or her experience levels..”AD&D Players Handbook, 1978:25
The AD&D rule makes no distinction between normal and fantastic combat, and that the FAQ does is potentially important. The FAQ rule tells us that any combat involving creatures of 1HD or less is automatically “non-fantastic”, but it doesn’t strictly exclude creatures of greater than 1 HD in the manner that the AD&D rule does. If one were so inclined, it could be interpreted in the light of the earlier passage this way:
“When Fantasy creatures combat each other, they normally only exchange one attack each per round, and unless the rules state otherwise, a six-sided die is used to determine how many hit points damage is sustained when an attack succeeds. Weapon type does not effect the rule excepting the effects of some magical weapons. However, when Fantasy creatures attack any creature of 1 HD or less or creatures otherwise considered to be normal, and non-fantastic, they gain one attack roll per Hit Die or per Level, provided the defenders are roughly human sized or smaller. For example, a Troll attacking an orc would roll on the chance to hit table six times, once with a +3 added to the die roll. Very large or giant sized creatures are exempt from these multiple attacks due to their extreme size.”
Something else about the FAQ rule is different. The AD&D rule is strictly for fighters. The FAQ rule says ”any combat”, which seems again to include “supernormal” Magic users and Clerics. This does make a certain amount of sense, as Wizards are included on CHAINMAIL’s Fantasy Combat Table.
In the end that may be the real difference between the AD&D rule and the the OD&D rule – that “supernormal” Clerics and Magic-Users get multiple attacks too.