When a fight breaks out, all players roll Skill and take turns acting from high to low roll (reroll ties). The GM can either roll once for all the enemies to share, or make separate rolls for groups and/or individual foes. Once the last combatant takes their turn the next round begins. Keep the same order; don't reroll.
If the GM rules that some fighters were taken by surprise, roll for acting order as usual but for the first round only those not surprised may act. Depending on the circumstances, the GM may allow combatants to attempt Mind 6+ to see if they were perceptive enough to avoid being surprised. If the surprising side was actively trying to sneak up however, it should instead be a contested Mind vs. Skill roll.
Your Turn in Combat
Each character takes one action during their turn. This will usually be to attack, cast a spell, or use an item, but players are encouraged to get creative and describe additional, minor actions to keep things interesting (swing on a chandelier, spit in an enemy's face, yell a challenge, and so on). The GM is encouraged to reward engaging play styles.
To attack, declare your chosen target and roll your character’s Body dice. If your roll meets or beats the target’s Defense score, you hit. In general Weak enemies have Defense 3, Average is 6, and Hard foes require 9 or better. (By the way, a player character has Defense 6.)
If the roll succeeds, you deal damage. Unarmed attacks deal only 1 point. Otherwise, roll the power dice for the weapon you used, and subtract 2 points if it is a ranged weapon.
If the target is wearing armor they roll the armor’s power dice to see how many points of damage are prevented. Armor reduces any type of damage, even magical.
Finally, an remaining damage is subtracted from the target’s hit points. If the HP drops to zero or less, the target dies.
Roll Mind to cast a spell. Declare targets before rolling. You need a 6+ to successfully cast in combat, or just 3+ if not in a dangerous situation. See page 15 for details.
Using Combat Tricks
Your action may be used to flank, sneak up on, backstab, trick or otherwise get the upper hand on an opponent. This takes a roll of Skill 6+. Declare your target before you roll, and remember to describe your moves! If the roll is successful, you get +1D to attack that target next turn, and +1D to damage if it hits! If you don’t attack that specific target on the very next turn however, the benefit is lost.
In combat, you are "engaged" when you are close enough to the enemies to make or receive hand-to-hand (melee) attacks. When a combat first begins no one is engaged. But once someone announces a melee attack – or is on the receiving end of a melee attack – they become engaged to all others who are engaged.
By using an action you may attempt to carefully and safely extract yourself from engagement. Make a Body check; a result of 6+ is successful, and in addition no one can make a melee attack against you until after your next turn has passed. If the roll fails, you remain engaged and your turn ends.
Using Ranged Weapons
Bows, crossbows, slings, etc. never run out of basic ammunition. Magical ammunition is of limited quantity however; keep count of them.
The upside: At the start of each combat round, any combatants that are not engaged may make a free ranged attack, in acting order.
The downside: Ranged weapons don’t do as much damage as melee, sometimes to the point of basically missing: Subtract 2 from the damage of all ammo-based weapon attacks.
Small weapons like daggers or hand axes can be thrown, for full damage. However the weapon is lost for the rest of combat unless you use an action and roll Body 6+ to maneuver around the battle and pick up the weapon.
Six Six Six
Note that pretty much every target number to accomplish something in combat is 6 or higher. Even the Defense of an Average enemy is 6!
Trying to cast a spell in combat? Want to fight dirty? Recover a thrown weapon? Do you want to disengage? Trying to avoid being surprised? The target number to accomplish any of these is six. Easy!
Deep in the cavern, the heroes are set upon by goblins! Acting order: Alean, Oxx, goblins, Cain.
Alean: “No one is engaged, so let’s take care of the free ranged attacks. I fire an arrow at the lead goblin.” (rolls Body, gets a 4)
GM: “Goblins are Weak enemies; their Defense is only 3, so that’s a hit. Roll the bow’s power for damage.” (Alean rolls 5, but subtracts 2 for this ammo-based attack) “It’s not dead yet!”
Alean: “No problem. No one else is making a free ranged attack?” (Oxx and the goblins don’t have weapons they can use ranged, and Cain doesn’t want to lose his dagger by throwing it) “Okay then, now I’ll make my main attack!” (rolls a 2) “Oh... Well, your turn, Oxx.”
Oxx: “I charge in and swing at a different goblin.” (rolls Body) “Yeah, I’m pretty sure a 10 hits!” (rolls the axe’s power) “And that’s 10 points of damage!”
GM: “You cleave the poor thing in half! Only two goblins remain, and one has an arrow in its chest. That one moves up and swings his sword at Alean. The remaining goblin approaches Cain, weapon in hand.”
(The goblins make melee attacks. The wounded one misses Alean, but the other hits Cain for 6 damage. Every combatant is now engaged.)
Cain: “Six damage? Good thing I’m wearing leather armor. The power is 1D.” (rolls, gets 2) “So...I only take 4 points damage. It’s my turn now, right? Time for revenge! I’ll try to fake out the goblin to get an edge.” (rolls Skill, gets 7) “Success! That goblin is mine next turn.”
Alean: “I don’t like this goblin in my face. I’m going to try to disengage.” (rolls Body, gets 5) “Dang, bad luck. Maybe I should have just attacked.”
(The battle rages on...)