Now available: Codex martialis Quick Start Guide

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  • #1163
    Sam
    Keymaster

    If you are curious about Codex Martialis, but have been on the fence, or if you like it but have had trouble convincing your friends to try it out, now the way is clear. Introducing the Codex Martialis Quick Start rules: 25 pages of sharp points, keen edges, and deadly combat options to bring your RPG combat to life.

    Click here to download the Quick Start Guide today!

    This document is the first to feature the new layout. If this layout is well received, we will be updating all the existing Codex books!

    #2746
    Caldreas
    Participant

    I’ve been playtesting this system and I am very impressed. When I question some of the numbers they end up making sense in play. Just a one-on-one battle can be quite exciting. I feel like making groups of fighters and just let them hack away. There are so many tactical decisions to make. It makes normal Pathfinder combat seem rather boring in comparison and I love Pathfinder.

    #2749
    Hans Hellinger
    Moderator

    Hi Caldreas, welcome to the forum! Sorry for the late response, we all live in the New Orleans area and we just got hit by a major hurricane. Power was out at my house for 9 days. So I’m just getting back online.

    Glad you are having fun testing the system out, and would love to hear more about it. If you have any specific questions on the rules, don’t be shy to ask.

    #2751
    Caldreas
    Participant

    Hi Hans,
    Actually I had an interesting thing happen. I had Warrior A with a Great Axe attacking Warrior B armed with a shield and sword. Warrior A made an attack on Warrior B’s shield. I gave Warrior B the option to do an opportunity attack. Warrior B rolled pretty high, Warrior A rolled an active defense and rolled a 20. So that generated a counterattack. It got very confusing and I don’t know if I did it right or not. My questions are below:

    1. Does purposely targeting a shield create an Opportunity Attack option?
    2. Is that opportunity attack against Passive Defense or can the sunderer try to block it?
    3. If sunderer chooses to block opportunity attack does that affect his original sunder attempt? (it seems like it should “spoil” his sunder attempt.)

    The way I played it was that Warrior A spent 1 MP on the sunder, Warrior B spent 1 MP on Opportunity Attack, Warrior A spent 1 MP on Active Defense against the OA, rolled a 20, then spent 1 more MP on a counterattack. Then Warrior B used 1 MP to block counterattack. Whew. And the sunder attempt succeeded and destroyed the shield. It got very confusing. I hope I’m making sense.

    I’ve got to say I really enjoy what you’ve done here. I’ve been doing little battles to test it out. I had an 8th level fighter with no weapons or armor fighting two 2nd level fighters with chainmail, spears, swords, and shields. The 8th level guy went in grapple range and ripped the spear out of the guy’s hand pretty easily but he had to face Slip-thrust attacks with no armor and the lowly 2nd level fighters ended up winning. It was wild.

    #2752
    Hans Hellinger
    Moderator

    Hey Calderas! Sounds like an interesting scenario you had going there!

    To your questions:

    1. Does purposely targeting a shield create an Opportunity Attack option?

    Personally, I would generally say no, it’s kind of like targeting the armor. I let people target shields at basically no risk – but there are different schools of thought on this in the HEMA world, and targeting weapons usually does draw an OA in Codex rules, so I’d leave this up to the GM. Basically for me in real life fencing matches against a sword and buckler fighter I’ll routinely beat on their buckler a few times just as a provocation without seemingly encountering much risk.

    2. Is that opportunity attack against Passive Defense or can the sunderer try to block it?

    So long as you have MP in your pool, you can always use them for Active Defense if you want to. One nuance – Active Defense can mean parrying or dodging / voiding.

    3. If sunderer chooses to block opportunity attack does that affect his original sunder attempt? (it seems like it should “spoil” his sunder attempt.)

    This is another GM judgement call but I’d say yes – IF the original attacker (‘sunderer’) uses Active Defense. If they ‘ignore’ the attack and relies on his passive defense, then I’d say his original attack can proceed as normal. This is actually the purpose of techniques like Mezzo Tempo and Contra Tempo, to interrupt the other guys attack and force them to spend time and attention defending themselves instead of focusing on their attack.

    In a real fencing match, when you cut ‘long’ – targeting your opponents head or body, and they get inside your tempo and target your hand or something, you ‘shorten’ your cut, the Germans call this a sturzhau or kurz-hau. I teach my guys to do this to avoid getting their hands cut. It basically means your original attack is aborted though you’ll have a chance at a bind.

    Overall I’d say you handled it right, usually there is some flexibility on interpretation of the rules and I like to keep things moving. In the case you described above, (if I parsed that right!) I’d probably give the original attacker a ‘Free Dice’ to attack again, since he generated the Critical Success. Another GM call on that one though.

    As for 8th level guy vs. two newbies – yeah interesting scenario! Getting ganged up on with the Codex rules can be very risky. I remember one guy on our old forum described attacking his mid-level party with a large number of Kobolds, something they would normally almost laugh at, but with the Codex rules, as you get ganged up on you use up all your MP, so it gets dicey quick (pun intended) he said the party had a tough time with the Kobolds and had to beat a hasty retreat which they turned into a fighting withdrawal, making brief stands at choke points and then falling back in sections. They apparently had a great time with the encounter which otherwise would have been pretty routine.

    Grappling, as you probably noticed, is also quite powerful. A strong person with some Grappling feats, especially if they are armored, can cause serious problems for less capable opponents by throwing them down, taking weapons etc. In one of our playtest campaigns we had a guy who was an alchemist and a good shot with a crossbow, but didn’t have a lot of other fighting skill and wasn’t very strong. As he leveled up, he kept getting more grappling feats. After about 4 or 5 sessions, he was quite a dangerous opponent, moving in close with a dagger, and a shirt of mail under his clothes that opponents usually didn’t notice until it was too late. He’d rush in and throw them down or toss them on their head. He ended up being one of the best fighters.

    #2756
    Caldreas
    Participant

    Do you allow Power Attack? I’m not sure how well it works with your rules. For instance, an 8th level fighter would take a -3 penalty to attack for +6 damage. That would punch through most armor.

    Many of the traditional feats don’t seem compatible. Cleave, Combat Reflexes, Vital Strike, etc. Actually I’m not sure which feats to allow and which to disallow. Or should I just use yours?

    #2757
    Hans Hellinger
    Moderator

    We originally had a long list of compatible and incompatible Feats for use with Codex, as well as guidelines on how to use them. These are in the Legacy version of Core Rules (version 2.X and 3.X, which was originally made for OGL 3.5). We kind of integrated the 3.5 Feats with the Codex ‘Martial Feats’, with one type serving as prerequisites for the other and so on.

    But last year when we re-released Codex we found that other than Pathfinder players, most OGL gamers we spoke to were not familiar with 3.5 Feats and were kind of put-off by them (frankly we got a lot of grief over it). Meanwhile most of the (small number of) 5E Feats are not even included in the SRD. So to simplify matters we removed the 3.5 Feats and all references to them (and to stuff like BaB), and the current (version 5.2) release of Codex Core Rules is basically “version agnostic” and self-contained… and is essentially meant to be easily adapted to 5E or OSR games. So it is limited to the Codex Martialis Feats.

    The Quick Start has not been updated in a while and still has some of the 3.5 references in it, which may be a bit confusing.

    If you want I could send you the old 2.X version of Core Rules which has a lot more of the 3.5 stuff in it. Meanwhile I will post the old section on 3.5 feats in another thread and link it here for you.

    #2760
    Hans Hellinger
    Moderator
    #2761
    Caldreas
    Participant

    I would appreciate the old versions, thank you. I noticed some inconsistencies between the Quick Start, the Core Rules, and the Weapon/Armor/Missile Guides, and the Player’s Guide. For instance I don’t see armor check penalties anymore… now there are MP penalties. I imagine you guys are working on the editing.

    I use Foundry VTT (it’s similar to roll20). I’ve automated many of the rolls. It’s works pretty well. I just got finished playing a battle with my son. He had an 8th level fighter (I guess that’s as high as you go) with a Greatsword and Chainmail Hauberk. He fought a 3rd level fighter with Greataxe and 5/10/15 armor / a 3rd level fighter with Longsword, Shield, and 5/10/15 armor, and a 2nd level fighter w spear/shield and 8/16/24 chainmail. Tough fight, 3 on 1. But the 8th level fighter prevailed once he killed the first guy. He was low on HP but he was last man standing. I’ve played Pathfinder and DnD for years and the battles were never like this. It always bugged my how AC worked. (I’m AC 20 but if I get woken in the middle of the night I’m AC 12. I can’t defend myself without my armor??) I’m thinking of doing Conan or a Pirate type campaign with this system. In fact I was looking over the old Conan d20 and there are some similarities.

    My son didn’t bother with bypass, he just punched through. With Artful Strike he was piercing through that chainmail pretty well anyway.

    I appreciate the responses. I have to say there is a learning process that is a bit tricky. So many decisions…

    Some observations:
    Daggers are nasty!
    Shields are a pain. Destroy them.
    Get up close to the spearman. Don’t worry about opportunity attack.
    Punch through armor if you have a big weapon and you’re strong. Especially if you have some AP.
    Save 1 MP (or more) for defense.
    If you drop your weapon, pull a dagger out and enter grapple range. Ringen is vital.
    Swords are versatile. Especially Medium ones.

    • This reply was modified 1 month, 1 week ago by Caldreas.
    #2763
    Hans Hellinger
    Moderator

    I think the Quick Start is the only doc still out of sync, though I could be wrong. You are right about armor check penalty, that is one of those 3.5 rules we have replaced. The Core Rules book and Players Guide should be consisdered ‘Canon’ for all this. We think MP penalty is a lot easier to deal with, less arithmetic involved.

    Good observations!

    Yes swords are versatile. That is basically their role. They are kind of the ‘do-everything pretty well’ weapon. They are also harder / more dangerous to grab than a hafted weapon.

    Shields are easy to destroy – so long as they are made of wood, or other (historically very typical) light materials. But if you are dealing with an iron buckler or a steel rotella, it’s much harder to destroy them and you’ll need another strategy.

    This is similar for armor – light mail you can maybe punch through, and any kind of armor incorporating textiles can be degraded or ablated, but heavier metal armor (including better quality mail) is a lot harder to defeat, unless you have special armor piercing weapons (and even then it’s pretty hard).

    OA is more dangerous if your opponent has certain Martial Feats like “Point Control”. You’ll notice in the Core Rules there are some ‘Feat Packages’ which are for different kinds of fighting archetypes (this starts on P 45 in the current version). Try playing around with a few of those at some point you may find it enlightening. The basic strategies you outline above do hold true in general, but depending on equipment and skill, that balance can change a lot.

    Daggers are definitely nasty. “Fight finishers”. One of the things that always used to bug me about RPGs back in the 70s and 80s was that a 12″ knife was treated as if it were a mere nuisance weapon. A knife that big will kill quickly.

    Real glad to see you enjoying the system, and appreciate the continuing feedback.

    #2765
    Hans Hellinger
    Moderator

    One of the fun things about Codex is that you can use the strategies and kit they used in real life to solve the various problems listed above – and they work!

    #2852
    frantz
    Participant

    Great job !
    I was following codex since 2010 and I am very glad to discover the project to taking off !
    Is there a character sheet available ?

    #2855
    Hans Hellinger
    Moderator

    Yes there is a character sheet in the Players Guide (pages 48 and 49) and you can download editable PDF versions of the same sheet here (with pre-generated characters for the Monsterberg adventure)

    https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1dEkBDyAkfTFiUtJKEV5ofEV5GFeIc1u6

    We have a blank one on here too somewhere but I’ll have to find the link.

    Thanks for sticking with us so long!

    #2858
    Sam
    Participant
    #2861
    frantz
    Participant

    Thanks !

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