Enchanted Realms Rulebook

 Game Starter 
 Combat Basics

Combat Basics

Rapid Rules:
• Combat is not just hack-n-slash with numbers.
• A round is a ten-second block of combat where each player, NPC and monster are permitted a turn.
• Initiative is the numeric representation of the turn order.
• When one has a turn in combat, he, she or it takes an action.
• A reaction is an extra an optional action permitted under special circumstances caused by an outside event.
• When attacking another on the battlefield, there are simple math rules to calculate the success of combat actions.
Resolving conflict through violence!

One of the most common challenges in a fantasy role-playing game is monsters or other combative threats. Not every game has to be like this, but it is probably a commonality for most of the genre. Therefore, understanding the battle mechanics is significant. This section will not go into the crunchy details but rather define the basics and the general process of encountering a combat scenario.

No weapons or equipment are detailed here. Those will be listed later, but again the purpose of this section is not to detail everything that can occur in a combat - just give a general understanding of how it works.

There are game systems for RPGs that basically are a numbers comparison and characters are bags of life-points. In the overview, one of the important factors of design for combat in Enchanted Realms is the opportunity to use strategy, battle locations, movement, holding ground, calculated retreats and such. Of course “tougher” characters and monsters always have the better odds, but the idea developed here is to permit the player to have numerous methods to customize the advancement of one’s own character rather than be defined by a linear class system. Rules for swarming, weapons that effect movement, armors that are superior against the opponents’ weapons, skills that enhance the use of particular fighting techniques -- all of those variables make a difference in the outcome of the fight and define the relative meaning of “tougher.” Combat strategy offers the lesser-skilled combatant to overcome the stronger one if recognizing how to take advantage of the situation. And that's the premise of combat in this system: better numbers aren't necessarily the dominant factor.

Theatre of the Mind

This Ain’t No Wargame

Each opponent takes a turn, moves, performs an action, blah, blah, blah… This can easily be seen as a boring game of chess from reading that description. What is described here are the mechanics of combat for playing the game to allow for that strategy component mentioned above. However, what is really happening is far more fluid. During the ten seconds of a round where ten entities all take their turns, all of the are moving and acting virtually simultaneously. The attack isn't a single strike that happens on the sixth second of the round. Instead that fighter has swung his battle axe two maybe three times during that time, but there is really only one that lands well -- or perhaps imagine it as all of them hit but a little less effectively. That parry skill isn't blocking a single incoming swing, it is thwarting several steps and thrusts, making the character just a little harder to hit. The point is while the tokens on the battle map move in staccato, the imagining of the fantasy fight is vastly different. Thinking of it in this fashion helps to remove the potential monotony.


“Time moves slowly but passes quickly.” ―Alice Walker

The term “round” is in reference to a specific duration of time in a fight. A round represents a ten-second block of the combat. It is also the game mechanism to determine the results of each combatant’s actions in that time frame. Further, a new round is the game mechanism for resetting the combatants’ reaction availability. During a round of combat, each player, monster and NPC involved is granted a “turn” within the round. Upon each creature’s turn, he, she or it can take an action and use movement. The timing of one’s turn is determined by the initiative roll. There are times when “round” and “turn” may sound like they are synonymous, which they are close, the round represents the entire timespan of the ten-seconds of everyone’s turn, while the turn is what belongs to the individual taking its action during the round.


“It's my turn now. I'm ready for it.” ―Krista Ritchie

During the ten seconds of a round, everyone is acting simultaneously. As one person does something, it impacts the viability of another’s actions. Should a monster be running one way, will a PC be able to catch up to attack? Who got the jump on whom? All these questions are answered by determining initiative.

Initiative is merely a word to determine when each member of the battlefield gets to take one’s turn. From a game perspective, it is the order of effects that occur. However, players should not think this process as a truly-accurate portrayal of the combat in a stop-action method but rather merely as a game mechanic. Resolving conflict by the mechanics may appear like a chess game, but in the theater of the mind, players should imagine all the efforts happening simultaneously - just some effects resolve quicker than others.

If someone’s turn happens first by initiative, making another’s intention less desirable, then that’s just the incalculable nuances of combat playing out in the game mechanic. Conversely, someone acting later in the round might gain strategic advantage from examining the changes of the battlefield. That too is just the breaks of happenstance.

To determine the order of action, every participant rolls a d10, then adds any modifiers from Agility, skills or magical effects, then adjusts for weapon modifications. Unlike some other fantasy games, initiative rolls occur every round so the exact order cannot be known from round to round; this helps avoid meta-gaming.

The creature or character with the highest number takes the turn for the round first. Then each lower number is processed in descending order. If two creatures tie on the initiative score, then roll off on a d20 with the highest score being the winner. If ties continue to happen, keep rolling until the result is determined.

Initiative = d10 + AgilityMod + Other Modifiers

Protective Points

“Defence is our best attack.” ?Jay Weatherill

Before how to swing the sword is explained further, it is necessary to talk about Protective Points. This is the target number value that the attacker needs to reach on his or her roll to inflict damage. Other systems call it Armor Class or Defense; however, in Enchanted Realms those terms seemed to fall short of the defensive component of combat. Those other systems use a static number that is the same all the time, but not here.

A character’s total Protective Points vary based in part by his or her ability to guard oneself. Just as every attack isn’t optimal every time, neither is one’s ability to self-protect. Thus, every new round, when the GM calls for initiatives, there are two extra dice that are rolled at the start of the round: 2d4. These are called the guard rolls.

Thus, on the character sheet, at the top, there is an area call “Combat Values” which is used to track round-to-round changing values. When rolling the d10 for initiative, the player should place the resulting die in that location of the character sheet. (Pro tip: use a d10 but only count it as a d10; this way when adjusting for initiative bonuses number over 10 will be available.)

However, when rolling that d10, throw out two d4s as well. These will need to be color-coded, as one represents the range number. Be consistent and don’t cheat. Place each in their representative places.

At this point, we can look at the rest of the PP-formula. What kind of body armor is being worn? Normal clothing is zero (0). Studded Leather is two (2), while Chain Mail is six (6). More details about armor later, but for now we will say the character has a light chain shirt, which is worth four (4) Protective Points. Next we check to see if a shield is being used, which a normal one counts as two (2) PP. Some armors allow attribute modifiers to count; others do not. In this case, the chain shirt uses Judgment for its PP modifier, and this character isn’t high enough to gain a bonus. The “Other” variable represents magic buffs or anything else to offer a bonus. Again in this case, that value is zero (0).

The static PP part, the body armor and shield, offer 6 PP. The range guard roll was a two (2), meaning that anyone attacking with a range weapon, like a bow, the target number to equal or beat is eight (8). However, the melee guard die was three (3), and the calculation appends to the range value; thus, in hand-to-hand combat, the attacker must hit or exceed a score of eleven (11) to strike and inflict damage.

Striking The Opponent

Finally, the explanation of how to hit something

And now the mechanics of combat for the attack. When first starting, this will seem simple: a target is selected, the d20 is rolled to determine whether or not the victim is effectively hit or not. To do this, one really needs either the melee fighting or ranged fighting skill. In game terms, these skills grant the character one d20 to roll against a combatant. As the character gains additional combat skills, additional dice are added to the attack. Very skilled fighters may be rolling 4d20 for an attack as their normal swing. But it takes a while to get there.

The attack itself is performed by rolling the number of d20s allowed, based on the combination of skills a PC has. This group of dice is called a “die pool” which is just a way to refer to all the dice/skills being applied to a strike. It may help to think of a “die pool” as an individual strike. Thus, the die pool is rolled. Then each d20 is adjusted by modifiers and then compared to the defender’s target number, which is its Protection Points (explained above). Only if all those adjusted values from all those dice fall below the target number is the strike a miss. If even one die score is successful, then damage can be inflicted. And the more dice that meet or exceed the opponent’s PP score, the greater the damage imposed.

There are many combinations of skills, as are there many details, but the basic concepts are the same. Those combinations and details are merely expansions of the core system of rolling dice and comparing the results against a target number. However, at this point, the different methods of attacks should be examined -- not just in mechanics but in the game philosophy. There are essentially three deliver methods of a physical attack: melee, range and savage. Melee is the use of some type of martial weapon with which to strike an opponent at a close proximity. Range is using throwing or launching an object at an enemy usually at a distance farther than the opponent can instantly strike back. Finally, savage attacks are things like a wolf bite, a harpy’s claws, the punch of a pugilist, or any body weapon attack.

This is where game balance comes into play to ensure that the options are not improperly favoring a particular method. Statistics and test play has allowed the equity of risk/reward to establish slight differences between these methods. Melee and savage are quite close with small differences between them, more limited by progression and damage potential, but that also gets balanced back by so many monsters making multi-attacks. Using range weapons comes with a lower risk of being hurt on average. Thus, there are some design in the mechanics to make up for that, most notably a lower damage potential. This is shaped not out of realism but rather game balance. By no means does this mean attacking at range is pointless; instead the strategy of the methods of attack vary with circumstances better for each in different ways.

The Melee Attack

Let’s read about all that advanced stuff later. Right now, let's just demonstrate the basic starting character and the game mechanics for a fight. Let’s say our character has a gladius sword. Further, the only skill at this point is melee fighting. This permits one d20 for the primary hand die pool. Let’s pretend there is a goblin in front of the character and is in an adjacent hex. The character has initiative and it’s now his or her turn. “What’s you action?” the GM will ask. The answer: “I’m going to swing on that goblin.”

Melee weapons use Strength to modify the attack. Let’s assume the character has a Strength score of 4. For the to-hit formula, the total Strength score is used to add to the d20s rolled. So, the attack is d20+4. Since this is an iron sword and no magic is involved, all the possible modifiers have been included. The formula is set. The player rolls the die and adds four points to determine the total score. If the total attack score is equal or greater than the opponent’s PP value, then the goblin has been hit and damage needs to be determined.

Because the d20 struck, it counts for 1 point of damage. Additionally, damage calculates the any sub-attribute modifier -- in this case, the Strength score of 4 means +1 is added to the damage. Next to figure is the weight of the weapon. Weapons have a weight value from 0 to 2. In this case, a gladius is 1 point. Therefore, 3 points of edged damage wounded the goblin.

And that’s it for the simple example.

The Ranged Attack

Let’s do this again -- only this time with a bow and arrow. Resetting the assumptions, the character this time will have ranged fighting, and as such, can use one d20 from the primary hand die pool. Just to clarify, this weapon requires two hands to operate; thus, although the character cannot do anything with the off hand, this is not even an option due to the type of weapon being used.

Let’s pause for a moment to discuss game balance because without understanding the why of the ranged-rules, new players and GMs may misunderstand and adjust the rules because they might sound a little underpowered or unfair. Firstly, a ranged fighter typically has lower risks of getting hurt in that style of fighting. Secondly, the target PP against ranged attacks will be 2½ points lower on average than what a melee combatant will need to hit. That melee fighter is also taking bigger risks. Right, wrong or indifferent, the game designers of Enchanted Realms wanted to have outcomes based on a risk/reward ratio. Based on those factors, ranged weapons will hit targets without cover more often than hand-to-hand strikes, but to offset that, range weaponry, on average, will not inflict as much damage. Realistic? Well, it is in this world. Knowing this allows a player to pick the appropriate strategy.

Ranged weapons use Agility to modify the attack to-hit roll. Let’s assume the character has an Agility score of 4. For the to-hit formula, the total score of Agility is used to add to the d20s rolled. So, the attack here is also d20+4. Also, the bow is normal; thus, there are no magic/material modifiers to be added. The player’s character fires the bow. The player rolls the die and adds four points to determine the total score. As before, if the total attack score is equal or greater than the opponent’s PP value, then the arrow strikes the goblin and inflicts damage.

Like when using melee, every d20 that hits the opponent’s AC inflicts 1 point of damage; in this case, there is only one d20 -- so 1 point. Unlike melee, ranged attacks do not gain bonuses to damage from sub-attributes. Moreover, an arrow (as almost all ranged weapons) have a weight of zero. In this example, the total damage inflicted is a mere single (1) point of piercing damage.

Critical Hits

As discussed in Raw Dice, the math of the game could allow some unfairness on the extremes. Powerful characters would never miss and high PP values 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 target PP.

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 style: bludgeoning, style: cleaving, style: polearms or style: 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 has more skill, then 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 reward dice could create an exploding chain of crits. Should that new d20 result as another “natural 20,” then another d20 is granted and rolled in the chain. This perpetual explosion of crits is unlimited.

A crit gains additional damage. 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.

The Whole Turn

When it is a character’s or monster’s turn, the announcement of what to do is stated. Then the being moves on the map and takes an action. The character or monster decides whether to move and then act or the other way around. Additionally, movement can be broken up so that part of the distance is moved, then an action taken, followed by the rest of the movement. Further, not all the movement distance has to be used. It is important to note there is no “holding an action” to be used later without having special skills. If the character or monster decides to hold position (or even move some) but take no action, then that is set for the round.

One may recall when discussing initiative, that all the actions of all those in combat are occurring simultaneously. It is because intent and prior gambit which one is already committed towards the action to be taken why the “holding an action” cannot occur by default. This moment is merely the opportunity to take the chosen action. However, one should not be confused by the strategic benefits, game-wise, of a later initiative, as this allows a player to be more aware of the happenings on the battlefield to choose a more strategic action. All this means is the character made a better gamble of choice with this intent prior to the initiative score value.

No one wants to ruin the fun at the table, but there is a fine line between helping other players and taking part in meta-gaming. Thus, there is a rule that during combat, speaking and gesturing to other characters is only permitted on one’s turn. These should be brief utterances or expressions -- again, it’s only 10 seconds. However, part of the reasoning is that there are skills and magic which may override this rule, which would be pointless if the GM didn’t enforce this part of the game.

Typically, this is move and attack, cast a spell, use some item, or render aid to a wounded ally. However, actions might include unusual deeds such as “grab the idol from the pedestal” or “crank down the drawbridge.” These non-hostile actions do offer the potential of a contest. Should any other character or monster intend to take the same action that would result in a contest, then the player (or NPC) would announce that intent. The GM will decide if the distance permits interference. Despite a later initiative, those who intend to take the same action, assuming movement is available, will enter a contest to “grab the idol” or “open/close the door” which will be decided as the final determination of the round. However, those details will be explained later.


In addition to the action taken on one’s turn, there are opportunities to act again during the round. Certain skills, magical effects or circumstances permit a character or monster to have a reaction: a near-instant response to an event of some sort, which can even occur on someone else’s turn. Using a reaction is not required, but only one reaction per character can be used during a single round of combat.

The reaction is a special action that is processed as an immediate response to the event, even if that is in the middle of another combatant’s turn. In some cases, a reaction’s effect may even occur before the action. The reaction is announced, calculated and handled, then play continues from where it was interrupted.

A few examples of reactions are listed below:

• Avoid being disarmed: The weapon disarm skill permits the victim to use a reaction to avoid.
• Counterspell: When a sorcerer in range casts an axiom, a reaction may be used to disrupt it.
• Deflect Missiles skill: When being struck by a ranged attack, this reaction may be used to avoid it.
• Dismount: When a walking mount is incapacitated, the rider may use a reaction to land on his feet.
• Dodge skill: When being struck in melee, a reaction may be used to attempt to lessen the damage.
• Evade a drive maneuver: A reaction can be used to avoid the effects of drive.
• Flee attack: When an enemy moves through adjacent space and reaction attack may be permitted.
• Flinch: A sorcery axiom cast as a reaction when being struck
• Impalement: Reaction used against a charging opponent, provided skills and weapons are used.
• Lure: A specially-trained reaction to counter someone attempting a sneak attack.
• Standing up: When knocked prone and having enough movement remaining for the round, standing back up can be performed as a reaction. However, the victim remains prone until to first of the lower number of initiative. Thus, if knocked down in 5, using a reaction, the character remains prone through all combat actions in 5 and is not back on his or her feet until the first result of 4s.
• Takedown: A martial-arts maneuver to force an attacker to the ground.