Combat Scores

Each weapon (or unarmed attack) has four scores you can precalculate:

  • Initiative Bonus: Quickness + Weapon Initiative Bonus – Encumbrance
  • Attack Bonus: Dexterity + Relevant Combat Ability + Weapon Attack Bonus
  • Defense Bonus: Quickness + Relevant Combat Ability + Weapon Defense Bonus
  • Damage Bonus: Strength + Weapon Damage Bonus

For example, a character with Quickness +1, Dexterity +0, Strength +2, Encumbrance 1, and Great Weapon 4 (Pole Axe) is using a Pole Axe. That Pole Axe grants +1 initiative, +5 attack, +0 defense, and +11 damage. When using that weapon, the scores are Initiative +1, Attack +10, Defense +6, and Damage +13.

You can also precalculate your Soak Total, which is equal to Stamina + Armor Soak Bonus.

Basic Combat Sequence


Roll each individual’s initiative once at the beginning of the fight: each combatant rolls a stress die + Initiative Bonus. Act in descending order of initiative for the rest of the combat.

There is no change for switching weapons later in the fight. Fast-casting mages might be able to act out-of-turn as per the fast casting rules.


On your turn, you can make one attack with a weapon (spell attacks are explained below).

Roll a stress die and add it to your weapon’s Attack bonus. Your target rolls a stress die and adds it to her weapon’s Defense bonus.

If the total attack exceeds the total defense, the attack hits. Add your margin of success on the attack to your Damage bonus, and subtract the target’s Soak total.

If the number is still positive, divide it by (5 + target’s Size) and round up: 1 indicates a Light wound, 2 a Medium, 3 a Heavy, 4 an Incapacitating, and 5+ an instant kill. You can also use the Damage table (page 171) rather than doing the math.

Suffering Damage

Each wound imposes penalties to most rolls, particularly in combat, and the total for all wounds is added together. Light wounds impose -1, Medium -3, and Heavy -5 (Incapacitating wounds immediately prevent you from continuing combat).

If your totals are high enough, you can take any number of Light, Medium, or Heavy wounds and still keep fighting. After reaching -3 and especially at -6, it has profound implications on movement and activities outside of combat. Wounds can also worsen after combat.


When managing multiple individuals, particularly fighting grogs, up to six individuals can be combined into a group for combat. Each individual in the group must be within 5 points of Combat bonuses of every other member (e.g., a group of 3 swordsmen with Damage +5 can’t add the pole axe wielder with Damage +11).

Choose a Vanguard for the group. Use the Vanguard’s bonuses for attacks and defenses (so the Vanguard should usually be the strongest fighter of the group).

When a group’s attack hits, count it as multiple attacks with the same total equal to members of the group (e.g., if there are 3 members of the group, and the final damage result is 7, apply three 7-damage hits to the target).

If a group is hit, distribute attacks as evenly as possible across the group, but the Vanguard cannot take fewer hits than anyone else. For example, if a group is hit by a single attacker, the Vanguard takes the damage. If a 3-member group is hit by a 4-member group, the Vanguard takes 2 of the hits and the other two members of the group each take one. Calculate wounds based on individual sizes (e.g., if the Vanguard is +1 size, but everyone else is +0, the Vanguard may take smaller wounds).

If a group has trained in fighting together (requires at least one season training in combat in the same location), the group can also choose a Leader (which may or may not be the same person as the Vanguard). If the Leader has a Leadership score equal to or greater than the number of people in the group, they get a combat bonus equal to Leadership score x 3 (technically, it’s a total of the non-Vanguard-members’ combat scores that cannot exceed Leadership x 3, but it will likely often be Leadership x 3). Each round, the group can choose to apply this bonus to either Attack or Defense.

If either the Leader or Vanguard is killed or incapacitated, the group splits back to individuals and can only recombine out of combat.

Groups can choose to defend one or more allies (the defended allies cannot be more than the members of the group). The defended allies cannot be attacked unless the defenders are incapacitated or botch their defense roll.

Combat Options

Combat options are explained in more detail starting on page 173.

  • Disengaging: Instead of attacking, roll your Defense total. Anyone that attacked you in the last round makes an Attack roll (that can’t deal damage). If no one meets or exceeds your Defense total (including if no one attacked you in the last round) you successfully exit combat. You get a cumulative +3 bonus each round you do nothing but attempt to disengage.
  • Exertion: Take a Fatigue level to add your Combat Ability again to either one attack or all defense rolls for the round. (In a group, all members must take one Fatigue.)
  • Magic: Spells do not have an initiative bonus. You may cast one normal spell per round, plus as many spells as you can fast cast (as per the fast casting rules).
  • Missile Combat: If you are being attacked at range (and do not have a missile weapon) you can only defend (and can only use the Defense bonus from a shield; you cannot defend with other weapon types). Ranged weapons take a cumulative -3 penalty for each range increment beyond the first (as described in the weapon stats).
  • Mounted Combat: Add your Ride ability or +3 (whichever is lower) to Attack and Defense.
  • Non-Lethal Combat:
    • Scuffle: Make unarmed or sap attacks normally. If using a deadly weapon, attack at -3 and don’t add the weapon’s damage bonus. Consult the Scuffle chart on page 175 (this mostly converts wounds to Fatigue levels).
    • Grapple: Make an attack to grapple using Brawl (you must have free hands). If the attack overcomes defense, instead of dealing damage, the target is grappled and the margin of success is the Grapple Strength. The grappled target may only attempt to escape the grapple (but can use any relevant combat ability): subtract Attack Advantage from Grapple Strength. If Grapple Strength is reduced to 0, deal a Light Wound to the grappler and escape. On subsequent rounds, the grappler can roll to further increase the Grapple Strength, and the target can roll to reduce the Grapple Strength further.
  • Special Effects: The GM sets a reasonable margin of success necessary on an attack roll to achieve the special maneuver (examples on page 175). Most maneuvers use Brawl to attack.
  • Splitting Groups: Attack to break members out of a group. See page 175.

Armor and Weapons

See the charts and descriptions starting on page 176.


A character’s Encumbrance score penalizes initiative, most athletic rolls, and spellcasting.

Sum the character’s Load from worn and carried items (most weapons and armor have a Load total). Compare to the following chart to generate Burden:

Total Load Burden
0 0
1 1
3 2
6 3
10 4
15 5
21 6
28 7
36 8
45 9
55 10

If your Strength is 0 or less, Encumbrance = Burden. If your Strength is +1 or better, Encumbrance = Burden – Strength.


Each character can have up to four Fatigue levels before falling unconscious. Several actions can result in taking a Fatigue level. The total number of Fatigue levels impose a penalty: -0 at 1 (Winded), -1 at 2 (Weary), -3 at 3 (Tired), and -5 at 4 (Dazed). At 5 levels, the character is Unconscious (and additional sources of Fatigue may wrap to damage, depending on the source).

Characters can have Short-Term and Long-Term levels, which stack for tracking penalty/unconsciousness but which recover at different rates. Short-term levels are lost at a rate based on the chart on page 179. Long-term levels are recovered at 1 per good night’s rest. If a character has both types of levels, the short-term levels are treated as the worst levels (e.g., if you have 1 short-term and 2 long-term, the short-term level takes longer to recover than if it was your only Fatigue).

See page 178 for additional rules for acquiring short-term Fatigue from strenuous actions, and recovering from it more quickly.


See page 178-179 for out-of-combat limitations from wounds and how to recover from them.

Other Perils

See page 180-181 for hazards of poison, disease, deprivation, non-combat injury, and travel times.