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Optional Combat Rules


The Optional Combat Rules are included in the Second Edition rules. Since they may be unfamiliar to many players, that section of the Second Edition Rulebook is reproduced below. Several great examples of how the Optional Combat Rules affect play are contained in Jay Richardson's article at


5.1 MOVE actions: When a character plays a MOVE chit, Boots card or horse to run away or pick up a dropped belonging, he must roll on the STUMBLE table to see if his play works or is cancelled. His move time does not have to be lower than the move times of the attackers (denizens and ACTION chits) on his sheet, although playing a low move time will increase his chances of success. He still cannot play a MOVE chit if a Tremendous monster is red side up on his sheet.

5.1.1 In addition to his normal die roll modifiers, he modifies the die roll by adding the number of attackers on his sheet and subtracting his time advantage over the fastest attacker. His time advantage equals the attacker's move time minus his own move time. If the result is negative, subtracting it adds to the die roll: in effect, he adds his own move time to the die roll and then subtracts the attacker's move time. EXAMPLE: If he plays a move time of "2" when three attackers are on his sheet and the fastest has a move time of "4", he adds 3 (for three attackers) plus 2 (his move time) and subtracts 4 (the attacker's move time), for a net adjustment of + 1. If he rolls "6" his final result is "7".

5.1.2 If his final result is 6 or less, he completes his action successfully. If it is 7 or more, his play is cancelled.

5.1.3 A character must also use the STUMBLE table when he flies, but only flying attackers count towards altering his die roll.

5.2 RIDING HORSES: When a character has an active horse, it is the only piece he can play to move. He cannot play MOVE chits or Boots cards to charge or run away, and he must play the horse to do his maneuver. Special: When a character or native uses a horse to maneuver, he can also play a maneuver of his own. A character can play a MOVE chit or Boots card in any Maneuver square, subject to the normal restrictions. A native is always assumed to be maneuvering with his own counter in addition to his horse (if he has one).

5.3 Characters are able to attack riders without attacking the horses they are riding (inactive horses cannot be attacked). When a character specifies a target who is riding a horse, he must specify whether he is attacking the target or his horse. Denizens continue to attack as explained in the basic rules: except for red-side-up Tremendous monsters, they always attack the horse first.

5.3.1 If he attacks the horse, his ATTENTION chit is put on the horse and the attack is resolved normally, against the horse.

5.3.2 If he attacks the rider, he must still intercept or undercut the horse's maneuver to hit the rider. If the rider also played a maneuver of his own, it merely alters the harm that the attack inflicts (see rule 5.4/2).

5.4 ATTACKS: When any attack hits, the harm it inflicts is modified by the OPTIONAL COMBAT TABLES. After calculating the harm caused by the attack's harm letter and sharpness, the attacker rolls the dice and consults the appropriate table to adjust the harm. When making a striking attack, he uses the FUMBLE table to adjust the harm. When making a missile attack, he uses the OPTIONAL MISSILE TABLE (instead of the regular MISSILE TABLE). The effects are indicated on the tables.

5.4.1 In addition to the normal modifications to his die roll, he subtracts his attack's time advantage over the target's maneuver time. If his attack did not intercept the direction of the target's maneuver, he also adds "4" to his result. His time advantage equals his target's maneuver time minus his own attack time. If the result is negative, subtracting it adds to the die roll: in effect, he adds his attack time to the die roll and subtracts the target's maneuver time. EXAMPLE: If his attack time is "2" and the target's maneuver time is "3" his time advantage is 1, subtracting 1 from the die roll. If his attack fails to intercept the target's direction, he adds "4" to make the net adjustment +3; if he rolls a 6 it becomes a 9.

5.4.2 If the target played both a horse and a maneuver of his own, the die roll is altered by both the horse's maneuver and the rider's maneuver. The attacker calculates his time advantage over each maneuver and subtracts both advantages from his die roll, and he adds "4" for each maneuver his attack does not intercept. EXAMPLE: If his attack time of "3" hits a horse and rider with move times of "5" and "2", he subtracts 2 (his advantage over the horse) and adds 1 (his disadvantage over the rider), for a net adjustment of 1. If he intercepts the rider but not the horse he adds 4, making his final adjustment + 3. If he had intercepted neither the horse nor the rider, he would add another 4, making his final adjustment +7.

5.4.3 The attacker uses the normal procedure to determine whether his attack hits; misses are removed without being rolled for. Attacks that hit armor still lose one sharpness star. The die roll is affected by the attacker's modifications, not the defenders.

5.4.4 If the defender is a character who did not play any maneuver at all, the adjustment is calculated as if he had played a move time of "8". EXAMPLE: An attack time of "1" would have an advantage of 7, subtracting 7 from the roll.

5.5 PENETRATING ARMOR: When a missile attack hits a character's armor, the harm inflicted on the character but the armor reduces the harm. The armor is not damaged or destroyed. This rule applies to all missile attacks that hit characters. Missile attacks that hit armored denizens and all striking attacks that hit armor continue to inflict harm as explained in the basic rules.

5.5.1 If the final harm exceeds Tremendous, it simply ignores the armor and kills the target. Otherwise, the harm is compared to the toughness of the armor. If the armor exceeds the harm, the attack has no effect - the target is not wounded. If the harm equals the armor, the target gets one wound but there is no further effect: he is not killed and the armor is not damaged. If the harm exceeds the armor, the harm drops one level (in addition to the sharpness star it has already lost) and the resulting harm is inflicted on the target as if he were not armored. The armor is not damaged nor destroyed. EXAMPLE: If Heavy harm hits a Medium piece of armor, the harm drops to Medium and Medium harm is inflicted on the target.

5.5.2 A missile attack can penetrate several pieces of armor, losing one level for each armor piece it penetrates. If it reaches a piece of armor it cannot penetrate, it stops. EXAMPLE: If a Tremendous missile attack hits a shield and breastplate, it drops to Heavy when it penetrates the shield and drops to Medium when it penetrates the breastplate. Medium harm is inflicted on the target.


Explanation of the OPTIONAL COMBAT TABLES: These tables allow results from 1 to 10. If the adjusted die roll is from 1 to 10, use it to find the result. If the adjusted die roll exceeds 10, convert it to 10. If it is lower than 1, convert it to 1.

STUMBLE table: In addition to the normal die roll modifications, the character subtracts his time advantage from the die roll, and then he adds the number of attackers (denizens and ATTENTION chits) on his sheet.


Adjusted Die RollEffect on actionExplanation
1-6completedThe character completes his action
7-10cancelledThe character's action is cancelled

MISSILE and FUMBLE tables: In addition to the normal die roll modifications, the attacker subtracts his time advantage from the die roll. If his attack fails to intercept, he also adds "4" to the die roll. See optional rule 5. If the result is "Negligible" harm or less, the hit inflicts no harm but it still counts as a hit: if a weapon attacks it is unalerted, if a Tremendous monster attacks it turns red side up. increase . . . : Increase the harm inflicted by the indicated number of levels. decrease . . . : Decrease the harm inflicted by the indicated number of levels. no change: The harm remains unchanged. wound: If the attack hits a character without hitting armor, the character suffers one wound. If the attack hits armor or a denizen, it has no effect. Negligible: The hit inflicts Negligible harm.


Adjusted Die Roll:Effect on harm inflicted:
1increase two levels
2-3increase one levels
4-6no change
7-8decrease one levels
9decrease two levels


Adjusted Die Roll:Effect on harm inflicted:
1increase three levels
2increase two levels
3increase one levels
4no change
5decrease one levels
6decrease two levels
7decrease three levels


Richard Hamblen (creator of Magic Realm) has suggested that the missile table in the rulebook has been wrongly typeset. Instead one should use the revised missile table given below.


Adjusted Die Roll:Effect on harm inflicted:
-2 or lessincrease three levels
-1increase two levels
0-1increase one level
2-4no change
5-6decrease one level
7decrease two levels
8 or moredecrease three levels

When rolling for a prepared (i.e. time zero) Fiery Blast or Lightning Bolt Spell, subtract one sharpness star (in addition to any sharpness lost due to armor).

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Page last modified on February 04, 2006, at 03:21 PM