Minimum Damage on Missed Attacks



Hey, had a little idea to speed up combat and make those wasted attacks sting a bit less.

Here’s the rule: If a player character or monster misses an attack roll, they still deal minimum damage equal to the ability score used for the attack.

Haven’t tested it myself, so not claiming it’s a miracle fix for everyone. Just throwing it out here for your take. Any thoughts on whether it’s a yay or nay? What downsides or things should I keep in mind?


Where I think this is an interesting idea the limited HP of the characters would probably make it a bit too deadly in my opinion. Some simple solutions to speed up combat:

  1. Reduce the room target

  2. Give monsters fewer HEARTS

  3. Give out more HERO COINS

  4. Limit the number of monsters you introduce in a combat scenario. Go for fewer, more interesting than sheer numbers.


Thanks for the feedback, do you think it could be better implemented if I were to use the rules for Armor HP* from Blood & Snow.

*I don’t know if its called Armor HP, but what I mean is Armor serving as a damage sponge.


My opinion on that is that you enter into tit for tat scenario which really doesn’t grant much if any benefit. I think this would just add more to deal with that doesn’t really need to happen.

Another thing to remember is that an attempt of the same task the next round is EASY. So, even if a character missed an attack roll the next one is likely to be effective.

I think with the above mentioned stuff plus this you have some baked in mechanics that just plain work. Of course, you can do whatever you like for your games if it works for you! I just lean toward running the core rules as-is because they are proven to be mechanically solid.

I have seen over the years a tendency to blame mechanics first without objectively looking at what we are doing as GM’s and players. Not that you are doing any wrong, it just may be something that takes a simple adjustment in playing style to curb slow combat. The examples I listed are great ways to help with that but there can be so many other things that contribute to slow combat such as running games with too many players or monsters, lack of familiarity with the system, fiddly VTT stuff (If you play that way), etc… My advice is that if you are new to ICRPG would be to play the system for a while before making core mechanical changes, but again this is a DIY system so run it the way that feels right to you!


I see the point you are making. I might try it in a game, but if it doesn’t have the intended effect will go to the “gove out more hero coins” option


Sounds good! Let me know how it goes for you, I am curious on how the mechanics will play out.

One thing I did think of is that you could just make this rule effective for characters only (they deal the minimum damage to the monsters) if it ends up being too deadly.


Could also make it apply only towards player characters. Monster still deal 0 damage in missed attacks, but heroes deal “minimum damage”.

That being said, @rpgerminator probably has the right of it. ICRPG runs pretty fast as it is, especially if you can remember that the second attempt is “easy”.


I think one thing that is missing from a lot of books, including ICRPG, is how hard should it be…

You are saying that combat is slow and your train of thought is that they are missing and dealing no damage.

My thoughts have gone to, why are they missing? Is it too hard? etc…

100% / 20 = 5%.

Each number on a d20 is 5%.

From PDM, and from trying it in my games, giving a 65% chance to hit (or around that) is a good guideline. This means rolling an 8 or better. 8 + your average ROLL TO HIT Number for the group will be your ballpark ROOM TARGET. Fighter has a +4, Archer has a +3 and the Wizard has a +3. Sooooo… 8 + 3 gives me my ROOM TARGET of 11.

Personally I am not a fan of your next hit is always easy. But I do use that for other attempts and checks.

Of course, sometimes you want a harder room. But then that room will be, harder! So you wouldn’t give them damage on a miss.


On the other hand, missing an attack can feel crap. DM Scotties Luck Dice or ICRPGs version idea could help with this. I am fine-tuning something myself for “When players fail”. For those who know it, I am looking at the Power Mechanic in Terra Mystica Board Game…

So if it is to shorten combat, I think something else is going wrong with your design. If it is to stop players feeling crappy, then adding some extra HPs to the monsters and this mechanic might not actually be a bad idea! But I wouldn’t as I say use it to shorten combat.

In a way it makes sense that a miss still does HP damage as HP represent stamina and all sorts. So you haven’t missed, they have blocked. Can they block you forever?


This sounds nice. So for the sake of shortening combat I will go to timers and try to design and implement them in ways that keep them shorter.
But for taking wasted turn out of the game I will try it certainly. Maybe at first really only for PCs against monsters, but I can see it fun against PCs aswell.
I don’t know how you feel about it but PCs with super high AC could be threatened with this, without having to say “well the monster has +10 to its rolls and succeeds no matter what”.

If against PCs then I would certainly give them the benefit of using armor as a damage soak, so that they have some extra HP.


Sometimes it’s not the damage output that makes combat run long. It’s that GM’s play every combat as if it’s always to the death. When the tides turn, have your bad guys surrender or retreat. That speeds up combat and is more interesting.


I might actually use this mechanic for a boss monster. I anticipate players would be terrified of a monster that does a minimum of 2 damage every round to a couple players, no matter what.


This is a correct approach to combat. Not everyone will fight to the death. With mobs, if reduced to 50% they may decide to concede or run away. I’d make the PC character roll a CHA check against the target number with EASY for cowardly creatures.

When designing combat encounters, ensure that there are more narrative win conditions like saving hostages, recover the mcguffin and leave, protect the NPC for X rounds to complete Y, escape with as much gold before being skewered by the Giant’s lance.

Another thing to note is GMs using too high of a Target Number to start and it sets the tone to be too difficult. Start sessions with target 9 and don’t really go above 14 to start. Find that groove and make sure that you reward EASY rolls for creativity in combat.


Stars Without Numbers does something similar to your idea:

Some melee weapons apply Shock, and are guaranteed to do some degree of harm to a target. A weapon’s Shock quality lists the number of points of damage it inflicts on any target with an Armor Class equal or less than the one given. Thus, a primitive knife with a Shock score of “1 point/AC 15” would always do at least 1 point of damage whenever its wielder attacks a target with AC 15 or less, whether they hit or miss.

Shock damage always adds the wielder’s attribute modifier and any other bonuses that might apply from weapon mods, foci, or other advanced tech. Some advanced armor will always protect completely against primitive weapons, however, and some advanced weapons can ignore primitive gear, treating it as AC 10.

It’s not too complicated but I feel that it is still a bit too complex and unfitting for ICRPG where characters mostly all have only a single :heart: (ten HP). As such, maybe a missed attack still deals a single HP of damage? Remember that 1d10 dmg has 10% to outright kill a character: ICRPG be brutal shieldbro. :shield:

Either way, have fun! :v:


This isn’t exactly the same idea, but may be in the same vein, and so worth checking out: Effort as Damage Reduction: Checkless ICRPG Combat


But… why not Effort instead? To me it’d make much more sense if t was Effort-based.


Both would work, I don’t know why I chose ability scores as the base. I think maybe because you roll the attack roll with your ability score and effort only on a hit. But effort would make more sense, otherwise it would be possible to do more damage with a missed attack than with a hit