[Let’s Study: Yggdrasill] Part 4: Sample Combat or, Ivar and Sigurd Try To Kill Each Other.

Posted: August 6, 2012 by pointyman2000 in Articles, Let's Study, Roleplaying Games, Yggdrasill
Tags: , , ,

Today we’re starting out the week with a study of Yggdrasill’s combat system. For the purpose of this sample combat we’ll be using the character we built last week, the Berseker that we’ll call Ivar from this point forward.

Let’s do a quick recap of Ivar’s character sheet:

Ivar Olafson

Runes: Fehu (-), Algiz (+), Ehwaz (+)

Body: Strength 3, Vigour 3, Agility 2
Mind: Intellect 1, Perception 2, Tenacity 3
Soul: Charisma 1, Communication 2, Instinct 2

HP: 41
Reaction: 5
Physical Defense: 7
Mental Defense: 6
Movement: 5
Encumbrance: 9

Furor: 8d10

Gifts: Savage Warrior, Iron Body
Weakneses: Cold

7 Athletics
7 Dodge
7 Intimidation
7 Survival
7 Long Weapons (long swords & axes and such)

Defense feats:

  • Leap of the Lynx (level 1)

Utility feats:

  • Bloodthirsty Howl (level 1)
  • Quick as Lightning (level 1)

Attack Feats:

  • Impetous Charge (level 1)


  • War Axe: Damage Bonus +9, Hit Points 10, Encumbrance 2
  • Leather Vest: Armor Value: 2, Encumbrance 0

As for his opponent, let’s put him up against one of the sample characters from the book: Sigurd the Hirdman. With both of them starting off as new characters, it’ll be an even match.

For the sake of this exercise, let’s assume that Ivar and Sigurd have gotten into an argument that can only be resolved by violence.


The two men square off against each other, bearing their weapons. Sigurd brandishes his long sword, while Ivar tightens his grip on his war axe.

To determine initiative, the players for both characters roll 1d10 + Reaction score. Ivar get a 3, and Sigurd a 4.

Ivar’s Reaction is a 5, for a total of 8
Sigurd’s Reaction is a 5 as well, for a total of 9.

Sigurd wins initiative and acts first.


Sigurd makes the first move, acting a fraction of a second faster than Ivar. Sigurd is well aware of Ivar’s nature as a Berserker and opts to use his Stun Attack Feat, taking a -3 penalty to his attack in hopes of rendering Ivar incapable of counterattacking this round.

In order to do so, Sigurd plays it safe an opts to use a Classic Attack, which relies on his Agility score to hit, and at no further penalties beyond the -3 of the Stun Attack Feat. All attack rolls are Characteristic + Skill against a Success Threshold of 14 + the opponent’s Physical Defense.

Therefore, Sigurd has to roll his 2 Agility dice then adds his Weapon Skill of 7 with Long Weapons against a Success Threshold of 14 + Ivar’s Physical Defense of 7.

Sigurd rolls a 3 and a 4 for a total of 7, adding his skill for a total of 14, and reduces that value by 3 due to his attempt to use the Stun Attack Feat for a final value of 11. Unfortunately, this isn’t enough to score a 21, which Sigurd needs to hit.

Sigurd has spent his Primary action on the attack, but misses, his long sword swinging wildly as Ivar moves out of the way with surprising speed.

Ivar’s action comes up next, and the Berserker decides to spend his Primary action on an attack against Sigurd. Ivar has little in the way of patience in battle and decides to go all out. Unfortunately, given the fact that they’re so close together in this fight already, Ivar doesn’t have the room to use his Impetuous Charge gift.

Ivar chooses to make a Devastating Attack on Sigurd. This form of attack inflicts a penalty to the attack equal to Ivar’s strength, but if it hits, Ivar triples the additional strength damage from the blow.

[Strange, at this point the Power Attack description says that the dice roll is a Power+combat skill test, but I’m pretty sure there isn’t a Power stat anywhere. For the sake of this combat example I’m assuming they meant Strength]

Ivar also opts to go into a state of battle furor. He spends 2 of his 8 Furor dice to bolster this attack.

Ivar then makes his roll and gets: 7, 3, 5 taking 7 and 5 to get a result of 12, adding his skill to get a total of 19, and reducing that value by 3 for a final value of 16.

Ivar then also rolls his 2 furor dice, adding a 6 and a 10 (rerolled to get a 2) for a total value of 18 (6 + 10 + 2) which is then added to his attack of 16 for a grand total of 34.

Sigurd’s Physical Defense is 5, for a target value of 19.

Ivar’s berserk fury is unstoppable! The Berserker makes a vicious horizontal backhand swing, aiming to disembowel Sigurd.

Sigurd attempts to save his hide by making a parry test, praying to Odin that he somehow stops the Berserker’s killing stroke. He spends his first Secondary Action (therefore taking a -2 penalty)  making an Agility + Weapon Skill test against Ivar’s total of 31.

He rolls a 4, and a 6, for a total of 10, adding his weapon skill of 7, and reducing it by his Secondary Action penalty of -2 for a total of 14. Sigurd’s attempt to parry fails, and Ivar’s War Axe continues on it’s lethal journey.


Ivar’s attack roll of 34 is first compared to the best defense value used against it, which in this case was Sigurd’s Physical Defense plus the basic 14. Seeing that 31 is not double 19, Ivar does not score a critical hit.

However, Ivar still deals damage equal to the success margin between his attack and the highest defense value. This is further modified by his weapons damage bonus, and by adding triple his strength score due to his Devastating Attack action.

This means that Ivar deals: 15 damage from the attack, plus 9 from his War Axe’s damage bonus, and another 9 from his Devastating Attack bonus for a grand total of 33 damage.

Sigurd’s armor value is 12, meaning that only 21 damage gets through.

Major Wounds

Since Sigurd’s total hit points is 40, and he has suffered a hit that has dealt half of his original hit points in a single attack, he suffers a major wound. The nature of the wound and its consequences are determined by a 2d10 roll on a Major Wounds table.

We roll a result of 13, meaning that Sigurd suffers from Broken Ribs from the blow, and must succeed at a Tenacity Test (ST 19) every combat round. If failed, Sigurd may only perform one action that round. Furthermore, Sigurd permanently loses one point of Strength.

Things are looking grim for Sigurd, as Ivar’s battle furor is far from over.


Just to clarify things a bit, Yggdrasill assumes that all characters may make multiple actions in a round up to their Agility score plus 1. The catch is that every Secondary after the Primary one suffers a penalty. In this case Sigurd tries to parry Ivar’s attack, and the parry attempt is counted as his second action for the round.

Okay, that was just a fraction of a single round, given that Ivar could keep attacking with whatever actions he had left, spending at least 2 Furor dice on each attack. It’s a nasty situation that sort of highlights just how dangerous a Berserker can be. Combat is pretty brutal, but I expect that fights between non-Berserkers are probably less explosive, but more tactical. The system looks tricky at first, with different attack options, but after a while I felt that the system was stepping aside after a while and blending into the background.

Overall given the goal of Yggdrasill to have cinematic, yet brutal, combat, I think they succeeded quite well. The system is easy enough to teach, so I think after a few test rounds, most groups will be able to get the hang of it pretty quickly.

Alright, now that we’re done with combat we’ll move on to Magic in Yggdrasill tomorrow!

  1. I play a few games that have a long list of combat actions, I’ve run a few too. My advice for this game would be to try and find a one sheet way of handing the list out to the players along with the character sheets. It won’t take long for people to know where to look for the tricks they’ll be using, and it should save the GM spending ages looking stuff up. Savage worlds springs to mind for a handy one page of combat actions.

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