The Complete Fighter's Handbook

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2nd Edition Player's Handbook Rules Supplement

The Complete Fighter's Handbook


Written by Aaron Allston

Edited by Steve Winter

Black and White Art by Valerie Valusek

Color Art by John and Laura Lakey, Doug Chaffee, and Jeff Easley

Typography by Angelika Lokotz
ADVANCED DUNGEONS & DRAGONS, AD&D, MONSTROUS COMPENDIUM and DUNGEON MASTER are registered trademarks owned by TSR, Inc. The TSR logo, MONSTROUS MANUAL, and DM are trademarks owned by TSR Inc.

©1989 TSR Inc. All rights reserved.

Printed in the U.S.A. 9th printing, October 1994.
Distributed to the book and hobby trade in the United Kingdom by TSR Ltd. Distributed to the toy and hobby trade by regional distributors.

This product is protected under the copyright laws of the United States of America. Any reproduction or other unauthorized use of the material or artwork contained herein is prohibited without the express written permission of TSR, Inc.

TSR, Inc. TSR Ltd.

201 Sheridan Springs Road 120 Church End, Cherry Hinton

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WI 53147 U.S.A. United Kingdom

ISBN 0-88038-779–3 2110XXX1501


The ADVANCED DUNGEONS & DRAGONS® 2nd Edition Player's Handbook and Dungeon Master's Guide told you all you needed to know about playing warriors in the game. But it could be that you want to know more than the bare minimum it takes to play the warrior classes.

That's where The Complete Fighter's Handbook comes in. In these pages, we're going to show you lots of interesting things you can do with the warrior classes . . . things that the Player's Handbook and DMG didn't have room to show you.

Do you want to play fighter characters other than Fighter, Paladin, and Ranger? Here we'll give you rules for characters like barbarians, samurai, gladiators, amazons--they're all subsets of the three main warrior classes, but they're here.

Do you want new combat rules? We have them. You'll find rules for different weapon styles, combat tactics, combat maneuvers, jousting, combat results, and many other fighter-oriented abilities within these pages.

Is it new equipment you're after? That, too, is present in copious quantities, from new armor and weapons to new magic items.

Or perhaps you want some role-playing and campaigning tips for your fighter characters—or your campaign in general. In these pages you'll find role-playing advice for fighter characters, and discussion of the role of the fighter in regular campaigns and in all-fighter campaigns.

Whether you're a player or DM, an intent rules lawyer or just someone wishing to add a little depth to your campaign or character, you'll find something here for you. Have fun.

* * *

Incidentally, The Complete Fighter's Handbook presumes that you're using the AD&D® 2nd Edition game rules for Weapon Proficiencies and Nonweapon Proficiencies. Many of the rules presented in this book depend on use of the proficiencies. So if you haven't been using them so far in your campaign, we highly recommend that you familiarize yourself with them and introduce them into your playing.

Here's a special note for those of you who are using this Complete Fighter's Handbook with your first edition AD&D® game instead of the new second edition: This supplement mentions a lot of page numbers from the Player's Handbook and the Dungeon Master's Guide. The page numbers cited are for the second edition, not the first; you'll have to ignore the page numbers given.
Table of Contents
Character Creation

Ability Scores




Warrior Kits



The Workshop

Apprentices and Overseers

Time to Craft Armor

Cost to Craft Armor

Chance of Failure

Added Expenses

Player-Character Workshops

Repairing Armor

Repairing Magical Armor



Weaponsmithing Failure

Weapon Quality

Weapons Not Shown

Money and Equipment


Warrior Kits

Kits and Warriors

Kits and the Warrior Classes

Kits and Character Creation

The Warrior Kits








Noble Warrior

Peasant Hero





Wilderness Warrior

Recording Kits on the Character Sheet

Warrior Kits and Multi-Class Characters

Warrior Kits and Dual-Class Characters

Abandoning a Kit

Modifying the Kits

Creating New Kits

Warrior Personalities

The Brash Youth

The Crude Crusher

The Dangerous Antagonist

The Doomed Champion

The Fated Philosopher

The Merry Showoff

The Natural Leader

The Sneaky Thinker

Changing Personality Types

The Warrior Campaign

Magical World vs. Nonmagical World

Magical World

Mostly Nonmagical World

Strictly Nonmagical World

The Mixed-Warrior-Type Campaign

The One-Warrior-Type Campaign


Barbarians and Berserkers

Beast Riders




Noble Warriors

Peasant Heroes

Pirates and Outlaws

Good-Guy Outlaws and Pirates

Bad-Guy Outlaws and Pirates




Wilderness Warriors

The Military Campaign

Campaign vs. Mini-series
Combat Rules

New Combat Rules

Off-Hand Weapons Use

Kneeling and Sitting

Range and Initiative

Weapon Proficiency Slots

Intelligence and Proficiencies

Single-Weapon Proficiency Weapon


Weapon-Group Proficiency

Tight Groups

Broad Groups


Weapon Specialization and Weapon



Style Specialization

Punching and Wrestling Specialization

Martial Arts

Fighting Styles

The Four Fighting Styles

Specializing in the Styles


Multiple Style Specializations

Limitations on Style Specialization

Single-Weapon Style

Two-Hander Style

Weapon and Shield Style

Two-Weapon Style

Sample Style Specialization

Melee Maneuvers

Called Shots

Striking a Specific Body Part

Smashing Something Being Held

Bypassing Armor

Special Results


Thrown-Weapon and Missile Disarms

Expert Disarms


Grabbing a Person

Grabbing a Monster

Hold Attack

Characters with Multiple Attacks


Choice of Parries

Polearm Parries

Missile Weapon Parries

Parrying from the DMG



Use of Polearms





Surprise and Flash Maneuvers

Don't Say No; Determine Difficulty

Maneuvers in the Campaign

Punching, Wrestling, and Martial Arts

Specializing With Punching and


Normal Punching Attacks

Punching Specialization

Normal Wrestling Attacks

Wrestling Specialization

Martial Arts

Martial Arts Results

Descriptions of the Maneuvers

Specializing in Martial Arts

More Than One Style

Continuing Specialization

The Complete Martial Artist

In Oriental Campaigns

Barehanded Maneuvers

Called Shots: Punching and

Martial Arts

Called Shots: Wrestling



Hold Attack








Hit Locations

The "Numbed" and "Useless" Numbers

Body Locations

General Effects of Called Shots

Specific Effects of Called Shots

Recording These Injuries

Individual Injuries and Healing Magic

Permanent and Crippling Effects

Monsters and Hit Locations

This System and Low-Level



Recovery of Temporary Damage

Recording Temporary Damage

Recovering From Temporary


Magical Healing and Temporary


Recovery From Knockout

Temporary Damage and Knockout

Magical Healing and Knockout

Combat Conditions

Darkness and Blindness

Unstable Ground

Mounted Combat


Lance Specialization

Horseback Archery


The Basic Tournament

The Joust List

The Jousting Competition

Blunted Lances

Queen of Love and Beauty


Other Events

Archery Competition

Foot Lists

Merchants' Stalls

Dancing, Socializing

When to End Combat

When Characters Don't Accept Surrender

When Characters Always Chase


When Characters Never Negotiate

Notes on the Combat Sequence


Shield Walls and Polearms

Wolf-pack Tactics

Tactical Mix



Directing Traffic

Campaign Tactics

Just Arriving in Town

The Combat Sheet


Old Weapons

One-Hand, Two-Hand

New Weapons

Gladiator Weapons

Pirate Weapons

Samurai Weapons

Savage Weapons

Swashbuckler Weapons

New Armor

Gladiator Armor

Samurai Armor

Effects of Armor

Effects on AC

Effects on Speed

Effects on Dexterity Checks

Effects on Vision and Hearing

Other Helms and Helmets

What Head Protection Doesn't Do

Vision and Hearing Checks

No Head Protection

Variant Armor

Racial Armor

Armor Fitting

High-Quality Racial Armor

Piecemeal Armor

Weight of Piecemeal Suits

Magical Armor

Gladiator Armor

Damage to Armor

Piecemeal Armor

Magical Armor

Repairing Armor

Effects on the Campaign

Magical Items

Miscellaneous Equipment


Character Creation
In this chapter, we'll briefly present notes on character creation in the AD&D® game. This is material you already know, but we'll be talking about character creation as it specifically applies to warrior player-characters (Fighters, Paladins, and Rangers).
Ability Scores
For a normal campaign, any of the six dice-rolling methods from the Player's Handbook is acceptable.

If you decide to run an all-warriors campaign (see the Role-Playing chapter of this book for details on such a thing), we recommend that you use one of the five Alternate Dice-Rolling Methods presented.

Whether or not you run an all-warriors campaign, if you utilize the Warrior Kits chapter of this rule book, we recommend that you use Method VI to create the ability scores for your characters. Because characters using the Warrior Kits are so specialized, you'll find it helpful to be able to custom-design your character ability scores, which Method VI allows you to do.
Much of The Complete Fighter's Handbook is written with the human character in mind. However, most of the text is equally applicable to all the other player-character races as well, and can be used by them without any sort of adaptation necessary.

All the normal rules for racial ability adjustments, class restrictions, level limits, languages, and miscellaneous bonuses and penalties will be used, and all the material in this book can be used for all the demihuman races except where specifically noted in the text.

The three warrior character classes (Fighter, Paladin, and Ranger) are still the only warrior character classes. However, those players who would like to have more specialized warrior classes will probably find what they want in the Warrior Kits chapter.

When you're creating single-class warrior characters, we recommend that you start all first-level warriors with the maximum number of hit points they can have at that level—don't even bother to roll the dice. In other words, if you have a first-level Fighter with a Constitution of 16, he'd start with 12 hit points instead of rolling his 1d10 and adding +2 for his Constitution adjustment.

This is for a couple of important reasons. First, it gives the warrior a slightly better chance for survival at lower experience levels. Second, it reflects the fact that warriors are simply tougher and hardier than other player-character classes.

But remember: This is for first level single-class warriors only. Starting with second level, these Fighters, Paladins, and Rangers have to roll their hit points like everyone else. No other class gets this benefit, and multi-class warriors (such as warrior/thieves, warrior/mages, and the like) don't get to do this.

The Complete Fighter's Handbook follows all normal game rules for character alignments. Once the player has chosen an alignment for his character, he needs to have his choice approved by the DM; it may be that his choice will clash excessively with the alignments of other characters in the party, so the DM is within his rights to disapprove any alignment choice. (The chaotic evil fighter who wants to play with the troupe of wandering paladins will be a problem.)
Warrior Kits
Once you've worked up your character's ability scores, and then chosen his class and alignment, you can choose a Warrior Kit for the character. Warrior Kits are discussed in the Warrior Kits chapter of this book.
As the Introduction notes, use of the Proficiencies section of the AD&D 2nd Edition Player's Handbook is not optional with The Complete Fighter's Handbook. The Proficiencies are necessary for you to customize and fine-tune your character, and for the use of the Warrior Kits chapter of this book.

Use of the Weapon Proficiencies are pretty much self-evident after you read the Player's Handbook. Later in this book, though, in the Combat chapter, you'll learn some interesting new things which you can do with weapon proficiencies.

Don't forget that high Intelligence scores grant extra proficiencies (equal to the number of extra languages the character receives for the same score).

Here, let's talk about three nonweapon proficiencies (Armorer, Bowyer/Fletcher, and Weaponsmithing) which are of particular use to the warrior player-character.

With the Armorer proficiency, a character knows how to build all varieties of armor. Armorer overlaps a couple of other proficiencies:

The Armorer knows enough Blacksmithing to forge metal armor and craft scale and chain mail (though he cannot forge horseshoes, wrought iron gates, hardened metal tools, or any other useful items unless he also knows Blacksmithing);

The Armorer knows enough Leatherworking to cut and shape boiled leather into leather armor, shield coverings, and the under-layers of scale mail and banded mail (though he cannot make dress jerkins, saddles, elaborate pouches or rucksacks, or any other useful leather items). The Armorer knows enough of the Tailor's art to manufacture padded armor and armor padding (but not enough to cut and sew any sort of good-looking garment).

Naturally, the ordinary Blacksmith cannot forge metal armor, the Leatherworker is not experienced with making leather armors, and the Tailor isn't conversant with the making of padded armor, unless they also take the Armorer proficiency.

The Armorer can repair existing armor that has taken damage (if you're using that optional rule), and can also craft barding (horse armor) through use of his proficiency.

But what does all of this mean in a campaign?

The Workshop
To craft armor, the character must first have a workshop (a place to work and tools with which to do work).
Metal Armor
If he intends to make any sort of all-metal armor (chain mail, field mail, full plate, plate mail, and helmets), the workshop is a smithy, complete with tools, bellows, a furnace, an anvil, tongs, cauldrons, casting molds, and all the other materials necessary to process unrefined metal into armor.

Such a workshop costs 200 gp, plus the cost of the shelter where it is set up: An additional 100 gp for a pavilion tent, an additional 300 gp for a well-crafted hut/workshop, or more as part of a larger dwelling, such as a mansion, villa or castle (these sorts of dwellings are priced at whatever sort of price scheme the DM prefers).

(Included in the price of the smithy is the cost of the tools necessary to make leather hilt-wrappings, padded armor, armor linings and padding, and the simple leather straps used to hold all-metal armors together.)

This workshop is large enough to accommodate the character and up to two apprentices working full-time. (The apprentices, too, must have the Armorer proficiency; the character can always take in an apprentice without the proficiency and train him, but until he acquires the Armorer proficiency he doesn't count as a productive element of the workshop.)

In theory, the character could hire another three-man crew to work a second shift in the same workshop; thus the workshop would be occupied nearly 24 hours a day. (This presumes eight- to ten-hour shifts and a certain amount of necessary nonproductive time each day: Time for furnaces to cool and be cleaned, tools to be repaired and sharpened, etc.) No more than three people can work in this workshop effectively; with more than three people, the workshop suffers a loss of efficiency so that it produces goods just as though it were only manned by three armorers.

To expand the workshop costs an additional 50% for each +three workers. If the smithy costs 200 gp and is set up in a 300-gp hut, thus costing 500 gp, the builder could pay +250 gp. Then, the workshop would accommodate three more armorers at the same time. For another +250 gp, now totalling 1,000 gp, the shop can accommodate nine armorers at the same time.

Leather Armor
If he intends to make any sort of all-leather armor (hide armor, leather armor, and armored leather caps), the workshop is a leatherworker's shop, including apparatus for leather soaking, scraping, tanning, boiling, boiling in wax, shaping, hole-punching, sewing, and all the other processes by which leather is transformed into armor.

Such a workshop costs 25 gp, plus the cost of the shelter where it is set up: An additional 25 gp for a large tent, an additional 75 gp for a well-crafted hut/workshop, or more as part of a larger dwelling (at whatever price scheme the DM prefers).

(Included in the price of the leatherworker's shop is the cost of the tools necessary to make padded armor and armor linings and padding.)

As with the smithy above, this price presumes one principal leatherworker and up to two apprentices may work together at the same time. Above that number costs 50% of the workshop and housing costs per additional three leatherworkers.

Metal and Leather Armor
If he intends to make both sorts of armor, or armor which combines both metal and leather elements (banded mail, brigandine, bronze plate mail, ring mail, scale mail, shields, splint mail, and studded leather), a combined workshop is needed.

Such a workshop costs 250 gp, plus the cost of the shelter where it is set up: An additional 100 gp for a pavilion tent, an additional 300 gp for a well-crafted hut/workshop, or more as part of a larger dwelling (again, at whatever pricing the DM prefers).

(Included in the cost of the armorer's shop is the cost of the tools necessary to make wooden shield blanks and shield frames, padded armor, and all armor linings and padding necessary to the armored goods.)

As with the smithy above, this price presumes one principal armorer and up to two apprentices; above that number costs +50% of the workshop and housing costs per additional three armorers.

Apprentices and Overseers
The cost of the workshop constitutes only the set-up cost for the armoring operation. Maintenance of the workshop, pay for the employees, and cost of materials also come into play. Of course, so do the profits from the sale of manufactured goods.

Each apprentice costs 2gp/week for food, upkeep, and training. And once an apprentices has reached young adulthood (age 16) and has achieved an Armorer ability check of 12 or better, he'll demand to be promoted to Overseer status (described immediately below) or will find better pickings elsewhere.

Apprentices cannot run a workshop unsupervised. Supervision comes in the form of an Overseer, an adult with an Armorer ability check of 12 or better. Each Overseer costs 15 gp/week (the DM may wish to have the cost relate to the Overseer's Armorer ability check: 15 gp/week at a check of 12, +15 gp/week per +1 to his ability check; thus, if his ability check is 16, he costs 75 gp/week).
Time to Craft Armor
To determine the time it takes to make a piece of armor, take the armor's AC. The number that the AC is under 10, multiplied by two weeks, is the time it takes an apprentice (supervised and aided by an Overseer) to craft the item.

Thus, a set of chain mail (AC 5) is calculated this way: 10 – 5 = 5; 5 x two weeks = ten weeks. It takes 10 weeks to make a suit of chain mail.

Standard Costs to Manufacture Armor

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