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Section I : Getting Started

Chapter 5: Combat

Preparing for Combat

Before your first fight ever, the following things are absolutely necessary to be done. Go to combat settings and check your character positions. It is wise to keep your Magi and Healers in the back rank; after all they were not born for melee combat. Later you might let them train their melee skills but you should always be careful. There are some parties who put all characters in the front rank, although this is dangerous it does allow Magi and Healers to improve their Strength and Endurance attributes over time. Normally you put Warriors, Rangers and Rogues in the front rank; the more spiritual characters in the back. However, for different reasons you can change this sometimes, but always remember what your current character positions are. It is normally worth have multiple windows open when playing the game, (Right click over a link and select -open new window-). That way you can quickly see what your current choices are. It only costs 1 AP to change position, but several hundred to several thousand to replace a lost character and his skills.

Another thing to check is the Magic Use in Combat option. Mages and Healers have many spells but not all are useful in combat: when fighting orcs, casting Improved Haggling Skill doesn't make any sense, does it? You can delete existing spell orders and create new ones. A spell order has a priority, a minimum opponents mark, a monster type you use it against and of course the specific spell itself. Priority means that a character will rather cast a spell with a higher priority than other spells but he will not always do it like that (for example, there is no need to heal, when no character is hurt).

The "Minimum opponents" and "Monster type" is best used in combination, although you can create a setting for any monster by entering "0" under the monster type. However, against some opponents you may prefer to save the spell points, whilst casting a Lightning Bolt against a single giant is worth it, doing the same against a single kobold would be a waste. Not only could the magic points be better spent elsewhere but it will also use up valuable magical components. The spell selection should normally be a combat spell, or Heal is useful for healers at times. The advantage of doing it within combat is that no extra AP's are used.
Unfortunately the system selects the character to be healed and does not choose the worst injured. However is you have one character damaged by 50 and another by 2, why not rest for 4 AP's and then the next combat will heal the character with more damage. It is not necessary to cast Improved Herblore Skill in combat. So make orders for combat spells, like Fire and Ice Bolts and combat skill spells, like Improved Blade Skill or Improved Bow Skill. Other spells are best cast with the cast spell menu. This is another way to prepare for combat: before attacking an enemy casting bless spells or improved skill spells may assure you that your Mage picks the right target (example: I got a Wand of Improved Chain Skill once, wands have limited use(they disappear after a time), and I made a spell order for it. My Mage used it often but on all my characters: so my Warriors that where running around with Full Plate got better chain skill, which was useless).

You should also have a look at your attitudes. In the beginning you are neutral. This means nobody will attack you but orcs, lizard men, goblins and kobolds (and of course the more trained of their race: guards, chiefs,..). If you want to get yourself to attack other monsters to you can change your general attitude to hostile: means that monsters will attack you. You can also create specific attitudes: hostile against pixies or against dwarves (I wouldn't do that if I were you). In some dungeons the monsters are neutral, which means that if you attack a monster type only those groups belonging to that monster type will attack you.

Another important point is the Risk Levels. Risk levels. setting is part of the key to a successful party. Each setting defines a condition that is sufficient to make your party try to flee a battle.

MaxRetreatLevel Represents the percentage of total HP's of your party that has to be reduced to for your party to start to fleeing. Example MRL: if your party has a total HP's of 600 and you set a MRL of 70%, you'll start to flee as soon as you remain with (600 * 70%) 420 HP's or less. MaxRetreatLevel should be set at a value that gives at least a chance for your characters to survive: if you set a MRL of 50% you won't ever try to flee until you have lost half of your party HP's. That means you risk to lose half of your characters as well.
StartRetreatLevel Represents the percentage of total hps your party has at the beginning of combat, that has to be reached for your party to start to fleeing. Example SRL: suppose your party has a total hps of 600, but lost 50 hps in a previous fight. If you have a SRL of 70%, you'll start to flee as soon as you remain with (550 * 70%) 385 hps or less. If you loose another 40 hps in a fight, next fight you'll start to flee as you remain with (510 * 70%) 357 hps. StartRetreatLevel, should always be set at a higher value than MRL, otherwise it is pointless. Also notice the threshold of hps left tends to lower as you get damaged, while MRL set it to a fixed value.
RiskLevel This represents the balance between your party's HP's and the opponents. It lets your party run away if they are significantly outnumbered. Example: suppose your party has a total HP's of 600, but lost 100 of them in previous battles, and has a RL of 50%. It engages a fight with a group of foes that have a total of 900 hps. If your party suffers another 100 damages, while dealing 80 to opponents, your party will start to flee cause their HP's (400) are less than 50% of opponent's HP's (820). RiskLevel may be be used to avoid your party entering a suicidal fight against much stronger opponents or to escape a hopeless fight once it has started.

Risk levels work best when you find a good way to combine their effects. Remember that as soon as one of the risk level conditions becomes true, your party will start to flee a battle.

Then some advice before engaging in combat:
  • Check your characters. HP's, if necessary rest or heal.(Many a character has been lost because this simple procedure was forgotten)
  • Check your characters MP's, if necessary rest.
  • Remember to cast useful spells or gather spell components.
  • Look at the party you are going to attack, think back about previous encounters with the same race and be absolutely sure to win the battle before attacking. (Lost one character because I forgot this one)

  • Combat

    When you enter a square with creatures hostile to you or when you attack a player or non-player party every combat is done in the same way: one magic phase, one missile phase and then melee phases until one of the two sides flees or is destroyed.

    In every phase the attacker moves first. During the Magic Phase all characters able to cast spells will cast one if they have enough magic points and have spell components. In the Missile Phase all characters armed with missile weapons will fire missiles (they will not always hit!).
    After this, the Melee Phase starts with as many rounds of combat as necessary to get one of both parties killed or fled. In the melee phase all characters in the front row will hit characters in the enemy front row and vice versa. When there is no more front row, they will hit the back row until they die or run away. Note that the back row never fight back! If a character has no melee weapon don't worry, he'll fight unarmed combat that can also be effective (over time and with some training).

    When one side is destroyed or flees, combat ends. If the other side remains he will get the loot off dead enemy monsters (and maybe dead characters from their own side). If both sides flee all loot is lost!

    When there are multiple hostile parties in a square you will fight them all one after one (remember this when contemplating to enter a square). However it is easier to kill two parties of five monsters then one party of ten monsters (I assume the monsters are the same here).

    Some advice: in the beginning only fight Kobolds, Goblins, Orcs and Lizard Men and never more than five or six of them at once. Pixies and Sprites are rather weak but you must watch out for there magic use. Always be aware of the capacities of your party. Never attack 4 or 5 creatures of a race never fought!

    Recovering from combat

    After a fight take a time to check the status of your party: HP's, MP's and weight load. If necessary, rest but only if you cannot heal your party back to full HP's. It is better to spend 50 more AP's on some resting than not rest and get your character killed (which will definitely cost you more than 50 AP's).

    To rest, go to the Camp and Rest option. Fill in an amount aps to rest for. Other ways to recover are using the temple in a city: for 50 gold all your characters will be healed. Or the Inn: for a few gold you can rest at doubled rate.