Live Combat Rules

Mystic Realms®' combat is a light-contact style using genuine weapon techniques, in which a player must focus on defense as well as offense. Hit avoidance and the recognition of blows are stressed; unrealistic weapon strikes are discouraged. To simulate realism on the battlefield, players must roleplay injuries before returning an attack.

Calibrated light touches and penalties for striking illegal targets support the safety of players.

Tactics and strategy are a major part of the game. In Mystic Realms®, the victor is not always the most powerful character, but rather the side that plans, organizes, and prepares for engagement.

Combat Control Words

"Caution!"

This command is used to warn another of an out-of-game dangerous situation that could cause injury, or to respond to a minor injury. For example, if someone is going to trip over a fire pit, fall into a stream, be stepped on in combat, or if someone was struck in an illegal target and wants a moment to catch his breath, then a caution should be called.

To call a caution, shout "caution" loudly, point at the person and describe the danger. The person calling the caution and the person or persons in danger are immune to the effects of all skills until they resolve the situation. Action continues around them as if they do not exist. Most cautions can be resolved in a sentence and the parties continue playing, joining into the action as it progresses.

Combat must never occur in dangerous areas. Cautions should be called before players move into these areas or before combat begins. All players have an out-of-game responsibility to not initiate combat in a dangerous area.

"Clarify"

This command is used to make an opponent repeat the last skill used or explain its effect, or to inform another that he was struck with a skill and needed to respond.

To call a clarify, shout "clarify" loudly and point to the person who used the skill. A player may shout "clarify effect" to have an effect explained. The person calling the clarify and the person who used the skill are immune to the effects of all skills until they resolve the situation. Action continues around them as if they do not exist. Do not allow persons stuck in a clarify to stop the action around them. Players must ignore them. After the clarify ends, the parties play on, joining into the action as it progresses.

Do not use clarifies to make unnecessary out-of-game comments. Never use clarify to say "good hit" or "nice shot" or to make other non-rules related out-of-game statements or jokes. Most clarifies can be resolved in a sentence. Keep all clarifies short and never let them degenerate into a discussion. These types of behaviors ruin serious role-playing and are best saved for after the situation. Major rules problems should be addressed out of earshot of those who want to play without out-of-game interruptions.

"Hold!"

"Hold" is used to stop all action in the game. This should only be called due to an injury or critically dangerous out-of-game situation. Players should never call a hold unless the situation warrants it. Holds spoil the continuity of the game. Other commands are usually more appropriate.

To call a hold, shout "hold" loudly. All persons hearing the call will repeat it and immediately drop to one knee. The person calling the hold remains standing and announces the reason for the hold. Since this is such an important command, players are asked not to use the word hold while playing in-game except for the sole purpose of calling a hold.

While in a hold, all players must maintain their position, on one knee in the field and they cannot speak. Since holds are a serious matter stay quiet and listen for instructions.

To resume the game after a hold has been called, the person who called the hold (the only person standing) will shout, "three, two, one, play on!" As he counts down, players should stand and prepare to continue the action at the point where it was stopped.

General Combat Overview

Target Areas

There are many skills in Mystic Realms® that must hit the target in certain locations. Hits on points where target locations meet count for either location.

Torso

For purposes of Mystic Realms® combat, the torso is define as reaching from one inch below the belly button to one inch below the throat in the front and from the small of the back to the base of the neck in the rear. It includes the sides.

Arms

The shoulder region is bisected by a line drawn straight up from the armpit. The region between the neck and this line is considered torso, while the arm region begins at this line and continues distally to the hand. Hits on the hand are counted if they land squarely.

Legs

The leg begins at the hip and crotch and continues distally to the toe.

Step and Grunt Rule

In real life, it obviously hurts when someone is gutted with a sword. Likewise, in Mystic Realms® when a character is struck he is expected to show pain, as if the weapon were real. The step and grunt rule requires that characters who are struck by a blow, damage-causing event, or damage-causing lore skill take one large step backwards and role-play the effects of the injury by grunting. This grunt can be a snarl, loud whimper, pained scream, and so forth, but must be noticeable to the attacker so that both parties understand a hit was scored and damage was taken.

A character who has been struck cannot return an attack until he has complied with this rule. Once the character has stepped back and reacted, he may attack normally. Attacks launched by non-reacting players do not count.

Fumble Rule

The Mystic Realms® style of combat seeks to simulate reality while maintaining a safe environment. The fumble rule accomplishes both. It is not to be seen as a punishment, but rather as a deterrent. Those persons who maintain awareness and have control over themselves and their weapons at all times will never have to suffer the effects of the rule.

The fumble rule requires that if a combatant strikes another in an illegal target area: the throat, neck, head, groin or female breast, the combatant must drop all weapons and his shield.

In-game Injury and Damage

There are many kinds of weapons in Mystic Realms®, but they are divided into four general categories; melee, thrown, projectile, and crew-served weapons. A character with the appropriate weapon knowledge may use that weapon in combat to harm another. The amount of damage caused by a successful strike is according to weapon size and type. Generally, one-handed weapons do one point of damage and two-handed weapons do two points.

In melee combat it is the target who decides if the blow was successful and responds accordingly with a step and a grunt. The attacking player does not announce the damage done by his weapon as the target will be able to determine it.

When using distance weapons, such as thrown weapons, projectile weapons, or crew served weapons, the rule is reversed. The person using the distance weapons is in a better position to determine if the target was struck. To represent this, all characters using a distance weapon must announce the damage or effect caused after successfully striking the target. Only after being notified of the effect will the target be required to respond with the step and grunt rule.

Safety Rules

Safety is a primary concern of Mystic Realms®, and to help in this goal are the following general rules are applicable to combat.

Awareness

All combatants are required to be aware of themselves and their surroundings at all times; this includes control over their weapons. Combatants must not strike wildly, blindly, or with too much force. They must look around before they fight. Combatants must caution those around them of potential hazards.

Charging

Charging is not allowed. Charging occurs when a combatant moves into melee combat range with an opponent at a greater speed then a walk. Characters who run in the direction of another, must stop running outside of combat range so that they approach the target at a walk speed. Charging can also occur if a defender feels that he is being forced to retreat unsafely because of an attacker's aggressive forward press. In either situation, the defender should announce "charging" and the attacker must immediately cease his forward movement. There is a fine line between pressing an attack and charging, but a good rule of thumb is, if a combatant is walking slowly toward an opponent, it is pressing and is legal.

Grappling

A combatant is never allowed to physically make contact with another character with anything other than a properly inspected and padded weapon. This means you may not grapple, punch, kick or make any other non-weapon contact in combat.

Since participants are not allowed to physically touch characters with their hands or feet, Mystic Realms® does not provide for a weaponless combat system. It is assumed that unarmed characters will be easily dispatched by characters intensely trained in the arts of weapon use.

Illegal Targets

The throat, neck, head, groin, and female breasts are illegal targets. Strikes to these areas do not count and will cause the attacker to fumble his weapons. The fumble is mandatory as players must always be in control of their weapon strikes.

Weapon Construction

All players must assure that their weapons are properly constructed and inspected for safety. Participants should check their weapons following every combat.

Weapon Strikes

All physical contact with weapons during combat must fall within an acceptable range of force. Weapon strikes should be able to be felt by the target, but must not cause physical discomfort. Weapon swings must be controlled so that blows are delivered without force, power, or strength. Larger or stronger combatants must exercise restraint to ensure that their touch lands comfortably for all players.

Fighting While Blind

There are a number of in-game ways for a character to become blind. When a character is blinded the participant must roleplay the blindness without closing or shielding his eyes. Blind characters are unable to engage in effective combat and must find their way by feeling the path with their hands or other instrument.

Unsafe Areas

Avoid precarious terrain, such as thorn bushes, steep inclines, rocky trails, or wasp nests. Participants should avoid entering unsafe areas. When players, especially cast members, plan their attacks they should select a safe place to fight and not attack other players in questionable areas.

If these concerns are addressed before play, then they will not interrupt combat. However, players will invariably find themselves on dangerous ground. In such situations, it is not necessary to call a "hold" and stop the whole battle because someone blundered into a thorn bush. Those involved should call a caution and move the combat away from the bad terrain.