Enchanted Realms Rulebook

 The Fantasy World 
 Combat Strategy 
 Combat Essentials

Combat Essentials

“Good design is like a refrigerator—when it works, no one notices, but when it doesn’t, it sure stinks.” –Irene Au

The general concepts of combat have been given in the Combat Basics section; however, there are many details that may need more explanation. Therefore, this section is designed to address the specifics as well as those peculiar, less common scenarios.

This explanation was given in the mechanics above, but as this section details combat, it bears repeating. To ensure it is always possible for the unskilled to score a hit, despite the math – and conversely, the greatly skilled to occasionally miss, two raw numbers have special characteristics on an attack roll. If the raw die score is 20 (natural 20) or is 1 (fumble), then the math and modifiers do not matter. A “natural 20” always scores a hit, and a “fumble” is always a miss. However, that is the extent of the rule; by purely rolling one of these numbers in no way indicates a “critical” or “special” hit, nor does it imply the dropping of one’s weapon. Those things are possible, but not purely based on the raw die roll itself.

The Action Revisited
Movement In Action
Communication In Combat
Critical Damage
Types of Damage

The Action Revisited

As discussed in the Combat Basics section, specifically in the Actions explanation, it was discuessed how every action of one’s turn falls into one category: an attack, skill-use, item-use, deeds, defending, or being at-the-ready. Below are the details of how each of these work.

The Attack

As stated in the Game Starter, the attack is using a weapon to inflict harm on a foe. This is performed by rolling the appropriate number of d20s and comparing the results against the opponent’s Armor Class. Damage is calculated by counting the number of successful d20s that hit. If any hit, then add in the appropriate Strength or Agility modifier and the weight of the weapon, if applicable.

Of course, when splitting the dice from an attack when performing a multiple-attack on separate targets, then calculating the results must be performed by attack. For example, when using spinning moves with 2d20, it can attack two separate targets; however, only 1d20 is used for each. In this case, if the first is hit, then 1 point of damage happens for the die, then Strength modifier and the weapon. A like amount of damage would be inflicted against the second target if it were also hit.

There are also cases where the same target is struck by two separate attacks. Shield-Blitz would be one of those cases. Here the first weapon attack would be calculated and damage doled out to the foe; then, the shield attack would be rolled and damage calculated. The same type of calculation would be used for two-handed fighting. Basically, if there are two weapons on a single target -- or more than one target, then those conditions are considered an individual attack.

However, not all attacks are weapon-based. There is a whole method of grappling that can be used. Martial arts can often be used in conjunction with those. With the proper set of skills, a martial artist can strike with his hand as a weapon, then get a separate attack as a grappling maneuver. These types of attacks and what can happen are extensive enough that the entire Grappling section is devoted to it.


Most often, casting a sorcery axiom or a priestly incantation is what happens for an action that falls into skill-use. However, other skills that apply could be used here; for example, an engineer might use his or her action to create a make-shift sword. Perhaps a field medic performs wound care during the combat.


Activating an item, usually magical, or drinking a potion is an action of item-use. The description of the item should detail the usage; however, when activating an item, this is a complete action other than movement, unless the item description states an exception to the general rule.


This is when a general action involving the setting is used, such as “Grab the idol from the pedestal” or “Crank down the drawbridge.”


Another option that can be performed during a combat round is standing in defense. This occurs on the characters at the time of the character's action and lasts until the initiative of his or her next turn. It further removes all reactions for both rounds. If a reaction has already been performed by the character's action of defense, then this is not an option for this round.

However, for that sacrifice and actively taken a defensive stance, all attacks (melee, range and even magic) are at disadvantage, provided it is possible for the character can see the incoming attacks. Further, any saves made during a defensive duration are at advantage.

At The Ready

While it was stated above that actions cannot be held until later, there is a very similar concept that can be performed called being at the ready. What this means is using one's action to prepare a self-defined reaction. This trigger must be specific and cannot be a relatively obvious condition. However, what is not valid is using this type of action as way to hold a normal action until a more opportune moment*. Thus, "after the monster attacks again, I will fire my bow" is not a valid trigger. Valid triggers would be "if someone steps out of this corridor, then I will attack" or "if the creature approaches within 20 feet of me, I'll run away."

The way to distinguish a valid trigger from an invalid one is likely defined by the word "if" rather than words like "when" or "after." Therefore, "after Bob takes his attack on the monster, I'll fire my bow" is invalid -- but the trigger "if the monster drops Bob, then I'll fire my bow" would be valid. As they are very similar, the invalid one is based on known or highly expected occurrences, while the other is based on a condition that could happen but lacks a high sense of certainty. The GM will be the arbiter of a valid trigger when there is ambiguity.

The trigger remains in play until the start of the character's next initiative turn the following round. If the trigger does occur, then the action declared is taken near-immediately after the trigger - even if it is in the middle of the other entity's action. There is some gray area here the GM may interpret for timing - such as someone stepping out of the corridor; the action might happen at the end of the movement of stepping out rather than in the exact for hex. However, if the trigger never happens until the character's next turn, then that action/reaction is lost.

*The only way to hold an action is to have special skills or magical items which would allow this.

Movement In Action

Of course, movement is part of the action. It can be performed before, after or both in relationship to the action. The character can move, then use the action. Or the character can take an action and then move. The final option is to move some, use the action, the move up to the remaining amount.

Again, every creature is assigned a movement rate, which measures the distance one is permitted to cover during its turn. Of course, terrain, skills, conditions and magic can all affect that value, but the basic concept of movement is fairly straight forward.

In some cases, a character may have more than one speed, such as a walking speed and a flying speed. Assuming switching modes does not require an action, then one can switch back and forth between speeds during the move. Whenever switching, subtract the distance already moved from the new speed. The result determines how much farther one can move under the new speed. If the result is zero or less, the new speed cannot be used during the current move.

Swing on the Run

Moving more than 15 feet on one's turn while running through an enemy's adjacent hex allows for those others to use a reaction to gain a flee attack. However, sometimes combatants break and run, perhaps using an action, perhaps not. This can potentially turn into a chase. This is different that attacking a semi-stationary target on the battlefield. Normally, targets on the battle field are not actively fleeing or being routed.

Also, while similar to be pursued, this battle chase is a bit different as well. To understand the difference, let's use two examples. First, a bunch of guards respond to the cry of "stop that thief" and see the one fleeing the scene. There are various obstacles and places to hide and lose sight. There is never quite enough closeness in contact for combat to happen. This is the basic pursuit scenario. This is when the abandonment skill would be used to explicitly determine the result. However, the second example is the footrace with combat happening at the same time, exchanging blows during rounds of combat while moving at essentially sprinting speeds.

When the second is in play, the standard action/movement does not really represent the situation well, and optionally the GM may switch the game mechanism to "chase mode." Often this method won't really be necessary, as it is cumbersome. This should only be used in important factors to the story and when all involved are comfortable with it.

For this, a map may not even be necessary as the distance between the two assailants is the real metric of the combat. Now, first and foremost, when making a melee attack while running at full speed, all d20s rolled suffer a -3 penalty. A few skills can lessen the penalty. Then penalty is lowered by one for having and capable of using any of the following skills: charging, martial arts, spinning moves or weapon forte. The penalty can be reduced to only -1 if also having one of ambidexterity, drive, footwork or grappler's shield. Further, the during chase mode reactions as well as spell-casting are unable to be performed, but certain reaction-skills can increase a point of penalty back upon the other attackers, even to a -4 penalty: dodge, treachery or takedown. Moreover, for these penalty assessments, if using mounts, mounted fighting or aerial fighting, then a -2 penalty is inflicted to the other attackers. Finally, if one has the abandonment skill, then one's movement speed should be calculated as 5-ft faster. Also, using a heavy weapon will remove movement if happening on the same second of the attack swing. The attack can be skipped to roll for movement.

Next is determining movement. There are ten seconds in a combat round, each represented by counting backwards from 10 to 1. Initiative is rolled normally. Any score higher than 10 is counted as the first second (named 10), but will still be processed in order as would any other combat. Using the participants movement rates, a hex will be moved roughly every second of the round. Thus, if 50-ft movement rate, one hex could be moved each second counted down. The chart below shows what movement would be for various speeds.

1002 hexes2 hexes2 hexes2 hexes2 hexes2 hexes2 hexes2 hexes2 hexes2 hexes
902 hexes2 hexes1 hex2 hexes2 hexes2 hexes2 hexes1 hex2 hexes2 hexes
802 hexes2 hexes1 hex2 hexes1 hex2 hexes2 hexes1 hex1 hex2 hexes
702 hexes1 hex1 hex2 hexes1 hex2 hexes1 hex1 hex1 hex2 hexes
602 hexes1 hex1 hex1 hex1 hex2 hexes1 hex1 hex1 hex1 hex
551 hex1 hex1 hex1 hex1 hex2 hexes1 hex1 hex1 hex1 hex
501 hex1 hex1 hex1 hex1 hex1 hex1 hex1 hex1 hex1 hex
451 hex1 hex1 hex1 hex1 hex1 hex1 hex1 hex1 hexnone
401 hex1 hex1 hex1 hex1 hexnone1 hex1 hex1 hexnone
351 hexnone1 hex1 hex1 hexnone1 hex1 hex1 hexnone
301 hexnone1 hexnone1 hexnone1 hex1 hex1 hexnone
251 hexnone1 hexnone1 hexnone1 hexnone1 hexnone

Finally, for every opportunity to move, each second counted where movement will advance, the character must roll a d20 and add his or her Agility bonus. If scoring an adjusted value against DC:5, then the distance is moved. If not, then no movement in the game mechanism happens for that second. Keep in mind that his is a game mechanic. Running is happening; distance is being covered, but this just represents the gain or loss of distance between the combatants. Also a "natural 1" indicates failure; a raw 20 grants an extra hex.

Thus, when it is time for one to swing with an attack, including the penalties ensued for running all out, it is only possible if the range of the melee weapon can hit the target. Otherwise, the opportunity to attack is lost. And lastly, if a distance of half (25 feet or hexes for a 50-movement speed) for the one lagging behind is established, then this mode is over. Depending on the scenario, it is possible this will start a pursuit condition.

Communication In Combat

While options of an action, listed above, are the bulk of one's turn, there one other important happening that occurs on one’s turn in the combat round. That is communication.

Up to this point, there has not been much stated about the topic. As one round of combat is only a ten-second duration for the characters, the time required to resolve the actions, numbers, deaths, strategies, etc of that ten seconds might take ten minutes of of real-world time. A lot of thoughts and ideas can be shared during that span. Cutting up, making jokes and having fun are part of the game; however, using that extra time to form plans that the characters could not themselves articulate and share in their ten-second span is what would be called “meta-gaming” -- something most players and GMs do not really want in the game.

For this reason, there is a rule about sharing things among players during combats. The rule is simply this: “Speaking and gesturing to other characters is permitted, but only on one’s turn. These should be brief utterances or expressions that can be conveyed in under 10 seconds.”

It is not meant to be a fun-killer, but to ensure the characters respond as reasonable as possible, this rule should be enforced fairly strictly. Obviously,this requires a bit of discipline of the players and possibly a few uncomfortable “now you can’t do that” rulings by the GM. Again, talking is fine when it reflects a hero’s uncanny odds of acting optimally in a story. However, sharing information that characters could not have received, that meta-gaming word again, is easy to creep in.

That is the premise of why the low-communication rule exists and why sharing at the table should be limited to “in-character” statements. That said, there are magic items, spells and skills that will allow more communication to be shared. Some spells are written around these rules for determining the type and amount of information that can be gained. If this base rule is ignored, it will imbalance the advantages and ruin the fun for many other aspects of the game. This is why players should resist sharing too much during the combat portions of the game and try to adhere to this idea. If it becomes difficult, then perhaps that player should acquire a few of those communication skills.

Critical Damage

As discussed in Raw Dice, the math of the game could allow some unfairness on the extremes. Powerful charaters would never miss and high ACs could never be hit. Thus, there is a statistical equalizer used when a “natural 20” is rolled, that it always stricts the target despite the math of the combat rules. Conversely, a “natural 1” will always miss, even if the math would have struck the AC.

In many fantasy RPGs, people play that a “natural 20” not only hits but indicates a strike to a vital area and inflicts more than normal damage. This is commonly called a “critical hit” or crit.

Enchanted Realms does have a crit system, but these do not occur just based on the raw score of the die. All the natural 20” means is that die effectively struck the target. The specifics of how a crit happens may be in the description of the skill, spell or effect, but most often a crit happens when one of the skills of bludgeoning, cleaving, polearms or slashing, and a “natural 20” is rolled.

That may sound like a conflict: a raw score is not a crit, but in this case it is. If we think back to how combat skills work, the more skills used, the more dice rolled. So, think of it this way. It requires at least two d20s in the primary pool before a “natural 20” becomes a crit. So while those novice combatants may get lucky enough to hit something they normally wouldn’t, their lack of skill simply does not permit a critical strike to happen. Once a fighter is trained and better skilled, that is when those lucky hits turn into vital strikes.

Regardless of how it comes about, the result of a critical hit is always the same: the wielder gains an immediate d20 added to the attack. This additional roll is not from skills but rather an award; therefore, it can exceed the 5d20 limit. If multiple crits occur from the original attack roll, only one d20 is granted. That said, the new dice could create an exploding chain of crits. That new d20, should it result as another “natural 20,” then another d20 is granted and rolled in the chain. This perpetual explosion of crits is unlimited.

To gain additional damage, that awarded d20 (or several d20s) would have to score a hit against the target’s AC. However, if it does hit, instead of just one point of damage, that crit die will add d3 points of damage. This is true if there are multiple crit dice as well.To clarify, each crit that strikes successfully will add d3 to the total damage of the strike. This additional damage is added to the total attack. The damage modifiers from the weapon and Strength modifiers are added only to the total attack and not a part of the crit -- no double modifiers for a crit.

As a straight rule, this is simple to follow; however, there is a hierarchy that needs to be established for the edge-cases that can come from a critical hit. First, it is important to remember, that a reaction occurs after an attack, unless the reaction description specifies differently, such as impalement. That said, all damage from an attack and all its potential crits are determined before a dodge, rebuff, vengeance axiom, etc. This a victim might be killed without the option to react.

Of course, dodge and similar skills reduce damage. This begs the question: what happens if a “natural 20” is rolled? The simple answer is that “natural 20s” always hit. Thus, dodge and similar skills cannot be used against a “natural 20.” Simple and straight forward. That includes all the damage produced as part of and beyond if that strike were a crit.

The only way there could be an exception to this is if the description of a hypothetical magic item explicitly declares that a number becomes a “natural 20”. Similarly, although rare, there could be a magical item, such as a girdle of wound-closure, which has the magical property to protect against critical damage. The magic of such an item is specifically designed to negate a critical hit; therefore, the point from the original hit would still occur, but the critical points from the extra roll(s) could be dodged in theory; although it is unlikely to every come up.

Lastly, there are rules for managing a seeming conflict involving crits. first, by default, ranged weapons do not produce crits. Thus, to have a crit with a ranged weapon, there would need to be a special skill, magic or mystic device that overrides the default rule. Finally, if someone is attacking at disadvantage, no matter of the number of skills or dice, none of the hits can become a crit unless there is specific rule that overrides this general die-rolling guideline.

Types of Damage

This is an appropriate time to discuss the types of damage that the essentials of combat can inflict. Typically, this will be some sort of weapon damage; however, those weapons might have poison on them; or acids might used; some undead inflict a life-withering damage; and so on.

The types of damage that cause damage to Body are as follows: alchemical, blunt, cold, edged, fire, lightning, necrotic, piercing, poison and smite. One might recall there are traits that alter the amount of damage received by these different types. Armor is a great example of how damage protection works; e.g. studded leather has a base AC of 12 but is 13 against blunt damage. Resistance halves the amount of damage received against a specific damage type. Immunity means that damage type cannot hurt the target. There is one further category called absorption, where damage that is inflicted actually heals the recipient. However, at the other end, if something is vulnerable, then it will suffer twice the damage against that type.

Thus, there are some odd scenarios that might be considered. For example, if something is resistant and momentarily enchanted to be vulnerable, then these cancel each other, making the damage normal. Also, if multiple effects of the same type, such as being magically made resistant to fire and then given a ring that grants resistance to fire, these effects do not enhance the overall effect -- only resistance is gained. Remember the rule of internal combination.

All of this said, the broader point here is that there are various different ways in which damage is inflicted -- ten to be precise. Along with this plethera of damage types, there are many ways to alter those effects.