An attack or defense maneuver can have a reach value. Body size (‘natural’ reach) will usually add to this. The weapon used in an attack or defense maneuver may also increase reach.
By default most attacks have 0 reach.
If there is sufficient space between two combatants:
Attacks by the person with more reach gain bonus dice equal to the amount by which the reach of their attack exceeds the reach of the defender’s defensive maneuver.
Defensive maneuvers by the person with more reach gain bonus dice equal to the amount by which their defensive maneuver’s reach exceed’s the attack’s reach.
If there is not sufficient space between the combatants:
The reach of an attack or defense is considered equal to the space between combatants for calculating possible bonuses.
Reach granted by weapons and maneuvers gives a penalty equal to twice the amount by which the actual reach of the attack or defense exceeds the space between the combatants. This applies to both attack and defense rolls.
‘Natural Reach’ (granted by large body size) is still advantageous even if there is not sufficient distance. Note that some ‘natural’ attacks have equipment or maneuver type reach bonuses (ie a scorpion tail, etc).
Note – When working out separation remember that people can usually move up to a meter as part of a Minor or Main action as long as they have Move Allowance left and somewhere to go (ie, they aren’t backed into a corner). Use the maximal separation when working out if there is sufficient space for a reach attack to be advantageous.
Grappling and reach zero attacks are not penalized even when there is no separation between combatants, (body to body).
Reach 1 attacks require at least half a step (50 centimeters or so) between combatants to gain the advantages of reach.
Reach 2 attacks require at least a meter between combatants to gain the advantages of reach.
Reach 3 attacks require at least a meter and a half between combatants to gain the advantages of reach.
The stats page will your weapon’s actual reach modifier, but as a general rule of thumb…
Reach 0 weapons are very short, bare hands, switch blades, kitchen knifes, etc.
Reach 1 weapons are around fifty centimeters, machetes, police batons, that sort of thing.
Reach 2 is for stuff around one meter, sledge hammers, wood axes, short spears, etc.
Reach 3 is for pole arm like stuff over one and a half meters, hoes, long shovels, long spears, full sized brush hooks, etc.
A specific merit or power will list the actual ‘natural reach’ granted by larger body size, but as a general rule of thumb:
Huge people, two to two meters plus will often gain a natural reach bonus of 1, (this is a merit in the mechanics system also granting a bonus health box).
Monstrously huge people, three meters at least, will gain a natural reach bonus of 2. Raging werewolves are monstrously huge.
Here are some examples to help get your head around reach:
Case 1: An empty handed human (reach 0) throws a roundhouse kick (reach 1) at a switchblade (reach 0) wielding werewolf in human form (reach 0) who tries to step aside. The human’s attack roll gains +1 dice for reach advantage while the dodge roll of the werewolf in human form is unaffected.
Case 2: The werewolf transforms into huge hairy wolf man form (reach 1) and slashes with claws at the human who tries to step aside. The wolfman gains +1 dice from reach to its claw attack, the human’s dodge roll is unaffected.
Case 3: The human tries to punch (reach 0) the wolf man who tries to step aside. The human’s attack is unaffected. The wolfman’s dodge gains +1 dice from his body size reach advantage.
Case 4: The wolfman tries to claw the human, but the human has picked up a spear (reach 2) and uses it to try ‘step and parry’. The wolfman’s attack roll is unaffected, it doesn’t have reach advantage. The human’s dodge roll gains +1 dice (spear reach 2 – wolfman natural reach 1).
Case 5: The werewolf rages, transforming further into its monstrously huge three meter tall war form with the wolf head etc (reach 2). It grabs at the spear wielding human who tries to step and parry. The raging werewolf’s attack is unaffected (2 – 2 = 0). The human’s defense roll is also unaffected.
Case 6: The human has tried to run, only to become trapped at the end of an ally. The monstrously huge raging werewolf grabs for the human again who tries to step and parry. The storyteller judges that, crowded against the brickwork the maximum separation between human and werewolf is equal to reach one. The werewolf gains +1 to its attack (natural reach 2 is unaffected by separation while weapon reach 2 is reduced to separation 1). The human takes -2 to its defense roll (weapon reach 2 exceeds separation space by 1 which doubles to a penalty of 2).
Alternate Case 6. As above the human has tried to run and become trapped and crowded. Instead of trying to parry the werewolf’s grab attempt the human just tries to step aside, which doesn’t involve the spear. The werewolf gains +2 dice to attack (natural reach unaffected by separation). The human’s defense roll is unaffected by reach.
Case 7: The werewolf has successfully grabbed the human (separation 0). Now it tries to bite into it, while the huma tries to parry with their spear. The werewolf’s attack roll is at +2 (natural reach 2 is unaffected by separation, while the spear’s reach advantage is reduced to the separation of 0), while the human’s defense roll is at -4 dice (spears reach exceeds separation by 2 which doubles to a 4 dice penalty).
Alternate Case 7: As above grab and bite on human but human just tries to squirm aside (not using spear). The werewolf’s attack is still +2 (natural reach 2 verse no weapon reach), while the human’s defense roll is unaffected.
Note – not happy about how some of the more complicated cases work out, may have to revisit in future…