Please note: these rules aren’t in play until the DM says so
The DMG had some really fascinating things to say about the mechanics of charging. The rules are presented in an odd oder, so here are all the listings for FURTHER ACTIONS in the COMBAT section:
Close To Striking Range: This merely indicates that the party concerned is moving at base speed to engage the opponent. This action is typically taken when the opponent is over 1″ distant but not a long distance away. Play goes to the next round after this, as melee is not possible, although other activity can, of course, take place such as that detailed above (half-movements and such).
Charge: This action brings the charging party into combat on the charge round, but there are a number of considerations when it is taken.
~~Movement Rate Outdoors: Movement bonus for charging in normal outdoor settings is 33%% of base speed for bipedal creatures, 50% forquadrupeds.
~~Movement Rate Indoors: The indoor/dungeon rate is greatly reduced due to the conditions. Therefore, all movement at the charge is double base speed, remembering that encumbered creatures are not allowed the charge. Note: The opponent must be within 10′ distance at the termination of the charge in order for any blows to be struck during that round.
~~Armor Class of Charging Creatures: There is no dexterity bonus allowed for charging creatures. Creatures with no dexterity bonus became 1 armor class lower, i.e. easier to hit. Thus on AC 3 creature becomes AC 4. There is no penalty to AC 10 creatures for charging, however.
~~Melee At End of Charge: Initiative is NOT checked at the end of charge movement. The opponent with the longer weapon/reach attacks first. Charging creatures gain +2 on their “to hit” dice if they survive any noncharging or charging opponent attacks which occur first. Weapon length and first strike are detailed under Strike Blows . Only one charge move can be made each turn; thus an interval of 9 rounds must take place before a second charge movement can be made.–
The difference between the indoor outdoor movement may seem odd at first, but remember you are traveling in yards when outdoors. More importantly, those of us with longer weapons (talking to you, you two-handed swordsmen, pole-arm users, bastard and long-sword wielders) – ((not talking to you, you Freudian armchair analysts)) – if an opponent is sporting a weapon shorter than yours, you can hit them first on a charge with an automatic +2 to hit. You lose your Dex bonus to your AC, or suffer a neg 1 for that round. But still pretty sweet!That being said – there are some times when charging is definitely a bad call.
Set Weapons Against Possible Opponent Charge: Setting weapons is simply a matter of bracing such piercing weapons as spears, spiked pole arms, forks, glaives, etc. so as to have the butt of the shaft braced against an unyielding surface. The effect of such a weapon upon a charging (or leaping, pouncing, falling, or otherwise onrushing) opponent is to cause such opponent to impale itself and take double normal damage if a hit is so scored.
So I am thinking that the important take-home message of these charging rules is to look before you leap, or rather, check before you charge. If your weapon is longer than you opponents, consider charging. If they have any pointy pole arms, do not charge! But you know what, you already knew that. Odds of your having a weapon longer than an opponents spiky pole arm in near moot, but still important to keep in mind. Now here is a fascinating little bit of info:
Weapon Speed Factor: (edited) When weapon speed factor is the determinant of which opponent strikes first in a melee round, there is a chance that one opponent will be entitled to multiple attacks. Compare the score of the lower-factored weapon with that of the higher. If the difference is at least twice the factor of the lower, or 5 or more factors in any case, the opponent with the lower factored weapon is entitled to 2 attacks before the opponent with the higher weapon factor is entitled to any attack whatsoever. If the difference is 10 or greater, the opponent with the lower-factored weapon is entitled to 2 attacks before the opponent is allowed to attack, and 1 further attack at the same time the opponent with the higher-speed-factored weapon finally is allowed to attack. Note that such speed factor considerations are not applicable when either closing or charging to melee, but after on initial round of combat, or in cases where closing/charging was not necessary, the speed factor considerations are applicable.
Yes. Yes! Reasons to be a dagger wielder! Reasons to have a short-sword. According to these rules – Ingbee, with his short-sword (Speed Factor 3), should get two attacks each round when fighting against an opponent wielding a flail (SFs 6 or 7), for example. Hell, if he is fighting some pole-arms, that is three attacks! Per round! Ulla forbid Igbee’s ever mixing it up with two handed swordsmen, but that is awesome to know! Dagger users, with the Speed Factor of 2, they can get multi-attacks all over the place. Sweet beans!