Overview - Combat
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Combat. It's fast and furious, and can be confusing at first. The rulebook covers everything you need to know, but let's take a look at an example combat or two, to learn how those rules are applied.
We'll start simple. Bill the Warrior is walking through the woods when he comes upon an orc, who attacks him. Bill has 8 health and is wearing fur armor, which gives him 2 armor points. Bill is carrying a long sword, and has the one hand edged skill. The orc is holding a mace and a shield, and has 6 health.
They begin to battle. Bill swings, calling "Two!" with his swing, and the orc blocks with his shield. The orc swings, calling "Two!", and Bill parries with his sword. So far, no one has taken damage. Bill swings again, calling "Two!" and makes contact with the orc's arm. The player representing the orc subtracts two points, and knows he has 4 health left.
Bill swings again, hitting the orc's shield, and the orc quickly ripostes, catching Bill's sleeve. Bill calls "Garb" and takes no damage. The orc swings again, striking Bill while calling "Two". Bill subtracts 2 from his armor, leaving him with no armor points. The next strike Bill is hit with will take points from his health.
The orc continues to hack at Bill, calling "Two" with his strikes. The orc manages to hit Bill four more times, reducing him to zero health. Bill falls to the ground, lying face up to represent being unconscious. The orc moves on. After five minutes, Bill awakens with one health, and is able to move about, and likely seek both a healer and an armorsmith.
Next, we'll get a bit complex. Our combatants for this example are Bill the Warrior again, Sneaky the Rogue, Diana the Archer, Lola the Mage, and Doc the Cleric. For simplicity, they each will have the one handed edged skill, and a long sword. Other skills we'll use in this example are as follows:
Bill: Weapon Proficiency (long sword), Shield, Parry
Sneaky: Dodge, Backstab
Diana: Bow, Precise Shot, Flame Arrow
Lola: spell use
Doc: 1st Aid, spell use
Our party is confronted by a group of goblins, armed with a myriad of one handed weapons. Lola casts the spell Shield, reciting her primer and incantation. Diana prepares her Flame Arrow.
The goblins attack, hacking merrily at their foes with accompanying calls of "one" and "Two!" dependent on their weapons. Our party parries and sidesteps and generally avoids being struck.
Diana lets fly her Flame Arrow, calling "Four Fire!". The arrow strikes a goblin, which falls unconscious having only 4 health.
A goblin swings at Lola, calling "Two!", and connects. Lola however, is under the effect of a Shield spell, and calls "Resist!" as the spell repels the strike. The next hit she takes will damage her normally.
Bill swings repeatedly, calling "Two" and laying goblins low with every other swing.
Sneaky moves around behind a goblin, calling Backstab 3, striking it in the back. With another swing from Sneaky and a call of "Two", the goblin falls dead.
Sneaky is then hit by a goblin, but calls "Dodge", and thus takes no damage as he uses his Dodge skill to avoid damage. The next strike will damage him normally.
Bill advances, and stands side-by-side to help Lola fight off some goblins. One strikes her, and he calls "Parry" to use his parry skill to intercept the strike.
The fight rages on, and our party is victorious. Sneaky, however, still lies dying. Since he had only taken 2 damage past zero, he is considered to be at -1 health for 10 minutes. Only 5 have passed, so Doc spends a 50 count tending to him with 1st Aid. Sneaky is now unconscious, at zero health, and will normally remain so for 5 minutes. Doc, however, casts Lesser Healing, restoring 6 health to Sneaky, who is now awake and able to function.
These are just examples of how combat works...as you can see, it can get a bit confusing, and so each player must keep track of the things that are happening to them and role play them accordingly. We'd rather see a character go down a bit late or early when the math gets confusing and really role play what's going on, but do try to avoid rhino hiding and other cheats.