Modifiers to the Attack Roll

In combat, many factors can modify the number a character needs for a successful hit. These variables are reflected in modifiers to the to-hit number or to the attack roll.

Strength Modifiers: A character's Strength can modify the die roll, altering both the chance to hit and the damage caused. This modifier is always applied to melees and attacks with hurled missile weapons (a spear or an axe).

A positive Strength modifier can be applied to bows if the character has a special bow made for him, designed to take advantage of his high Strength. Characters with Strength penalties always suffer them when using a bow weapon. They simply are not able to draw back the bowstring far enough. Characters never have Strength modifiers when using crossbows--the power of the shot is imparted by a machine, not the player character.

Magical items: The magical properties of a weapon can also modify combat. Items that impart a bonus to the attack roll or Armor Class are identified by a plus sign. For example, a sword +1 improves a character's chance to hit by one. A suit of chain mail +1 improves the Armor Class of the character by one (which means you subtract one from the character's AC, changing an AC of 5 to an AC of 4, for example). Cursed items have a negative modifier (a penalty), resulting in a subtraction from the attack roll or an addition to Armor Class.

There is no limit to the number of modifiers that can be applied to a single die roll. Nor is there a limit to the positive or negative number (the total of all modifiers) that can be applied to a die roll.

Table 51 lists some standard combat modifiers. Positive numbers are bonuses for the attacker; negative numbers are penalties.

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