Attacking and Defending

Site Index > Rules > Gameplay > Attacks

Attacking and Defending


Term Name: Attack

Description: Anytime you successfully make contact with your opponent in combat or deliver harm to them through some game mechanic is an attack.

Abbreviation or Synonyms: hit, shot, strike, swing

Rule Type: Gameplay

This page covers all the fundamental rules of combat.


In order to understand how to attack an opponent we first need to define what is and isn't a legal hit.

Weapon hits only count when they make contact with a person's body. For example, hits with a melee weapon that strike someone's cloak, but don't make contact with the person, are not legal hits.

Players can never hit themselves with their own weapons by accident. They can deliberately do so if they wish to role-play that for some reason. Allies can hit you, both intentionally and by accident.

Players in heavier armor need to be more aware of hits against them than others. A hit at the appropriate force for a player outside of armor may not be felt in plate.

Any player can voluntarily take a hit that would otherwise not be legal if they wish to be a good sport or because they think doing so would be interesting/ entertaining.

Melee Hits

Melee attacks should always have a controlled amount of force behind them. Not too hard and not too soft. Every player goes through a tutorial their first event to help them calibrate how hard is the right amount. Players who have trouble with this can work with the Player Outreach & Education Marshal (Brandon Febles and Michael Maneri) to address the issue. A player who regularly has issues with calibrating how much force to put into swings will not be allowed to wield weapons for a period of time so they can practice more and work on getting it right.

Melee attacks also need to be at a reasonable speed. Real weapons are heavier than foam ones, and take time to use. Tapping someone in rapid succession is not allowed. As a general rule a legal hit should require bending your elbow to at least a 90 degree angle before hitting again. Holding you arm fully extended and flicking your wrist for hits for rapid attacks are not legal hits.

Melee attacks should only be done with the portion of the weapon intended for striking. If a portion of the weapon has less padding so you can hold it, that is not a legal part of the weapon to strike with. Some weapons will get damaged if used improperly. This typically means they need to be used exclusively as slashing weapons, or more rarely only as jabbing weapons. Knowing this and practicing good management can help increase a weapons longevity.

Ranged Hits

Ranged weapon hits should be taken regardless of how hard they may hit. These weapons are difficult to control the exact force of and rarely hit too hard: bows have a limit for how much force they can exert.

Once any ranged weapon has hit the ground or another character it is no longer dangerous to anyone else. Ranged weapons can only ever hit one person at most.

Projectile Weapons

Projectile weapon hits only count if you are hit by the head of the projectile. You may not use a weapon to deflect incoming missiles, real projectiles are much faster than slow moving larp arrows, and this will damage arrows. If you deflect an incoming projectile with your weapon, even by accident, that counts as a hit. Shields may block missiles like they block any other weapon.

For the purposes of determining weapon hits, count thrown Javelins and Great Javelins as missiles instead of throwing weapons (they otherwise still count as thrown weapons). This means that you only count the hit if the head of the javelin makes contact with you and you can't deflect them with your weapon.

Thrown Weapons

A character can only throw one thrown weapon at a time.

Thrown weapon hits count no matter what part of the weapon strikes you. These weapons may be blocked by shields and deflected by weapons. Thrown weapons are different than missile weapons because of how the props are constructed, they are safer and also less likely to be damaged.

Tag Bags and Boulders

Tag bags (which are used to deliver spells) and boulders count as hitting if they make contact with ANYTHING worn by a player. A hit from a tag bag or a boulder is never too light.

Some attacks delivered by tag bag do not count as spells. For these tag bag attacks shields may block them. You can tell if this is the case based on the call used.

Characters can only throw one tag bag at a time unless a rule allows them to throw more than one. When a rule allows a character to throw more than one tag bag at a time, characters hit by those tag bags only ever take at most one hit regardless of how many tag bags may make contact.

Tag bags must be thrown to deliver calls, players may not reach out and touch other players with a tag bag.


Level based traps always count as hitting the torso. Some other traps such as pit traps will have their own special rules telling you where you are affected by them.

The Next Legal Hit

Some effects will say they take occur on the next legal hit. You may use that attack for each swing you make until you successfully land a legal hit on your opponent. If they block with a shield, another weapon, or you simply don't make contact, you have not hit them yet, and may continue to use that call. When you finally land a legal hit anywhere on their person, even if they prevent it (and that person calls 'No Effect!') you have now landed the hit and consume one use of the effect (if the effect has a fixed number of uses).

Hit Locations

When you are legally hit the next thing we need to determine is where the hit landed. Legal hit locations are a character's right & left arms, right & left legs, and torso.

Head and Neck

The head & neck are off limits for weapon strikes, and should never deliberately be attacked. Feigning as if to hit someone's head is also off limits. Tag bag's should not be aimed at people's heads, but if they happen to hit someone in the head that IS a legal hit and count as hitting the character in the torso.


Hits to the shoulders, chest, stomach, sides, back, groin and buttocks all count as torso hits. You should never deliberately aim for another player's groin, but accidental hits to that location should be accepted as legal.


If a hand is holding an object it is not a valid hit location. We don't want to see objects not intended for fighting broken (or worse instinctively swung back), and we don't want someone's hands to get injured by a strike. This is why we leave hands as a safe location when something is held. An empty hand is a valid target, and is treated as part of the appropriate arm. Players should not deliberately block attacks with their hands, and should never use items not intended for combat (things that are not inspected shields) to block.

When you are hit in the hand you should use the 'Hand!' call.


Feet that are on the ground are not a valid hit location. If someone is running, jumping or otherwise moving and their foot is off the ground if you happen to hit it that is a legal hit.

Worn Items

When something worn or held is hit, the hit is considered to be located where ever that item connects to the body. Common examples include; A tag bag hit to a cloak is a torso hit because cloaks attach to the shoulders. If you deflect a missile with your weapon, that's a hit to the arm holding the weapon. When a shield is hit by something it can't block, that's a hit to the arm holding the shield.

Calling Attacks

Each time you attack with a weapon you'll make what is known as a call to tell your opponent what happens if the attack lands. You generally make this call as you swing before you know if it will land, and do so repeatedly over the course of a fight.

The most basic call is just a number, you declare how much damage you are doing. This is most commonly based on the might for melee attacks, and accuracy for ranged weapons.

All characters attack for 1 damage by default, so they could call '1' each time they swing their weapon. When attacking for only 1 damage with no other calls involved, you do not have to call anything. An attack with no call can be assumed to be 1 damage.

If a weapon has a special damage type, you must add that to the attack's call unless you use a replacement call.

Example: A silver weapon wielded by someone with 2 Might would call '2 Silver!' with each swing of their sword. If this same character only had 1 Might they could call for either '1 Silver!' or 'Silver!' either is acceptable.

Example: A character with a goblin iron weapon must call for 'Poison!' with each attack. Because the poison call doesn't always deal damage, a character with 1 Might and a goblin iron weapon should always call '1 Poison!' if they attack with this weapon to make it clear they are doing damage.

Replacement Calls

Some effects give calls that replace a weapon's normal damage. These calls are used instead of the call the weapon would normally make. With each swing of your weapon you may call EITHER the weapon's normal call, or the replacement effect's call. You can chose which with each attack.

A replacement call uses the damage or call provided by the source of the effect and never uses the damage type of your weapon. They only use your Might or Accuracy if they say they do.

Often these replacements apply only to the next legal hit. If you choose to use the weapon's normal call, your next legal hit still consumes a use of whatever effect is happening.

Example: You attack your opponent with a Thermium sword (which has the damage type Nature), and you have the skill Might proficiency. Your normal attack is '2 Nature!' with this weapon. However, you have used the alchemical Scorpion's Kiss on the weapon which lets you call for 'Poison Weaken' instead. When you attack you may chose to call '2 Nature' or 'Poison Weaken', but not both. Whichever choice you make, after you successfully hit an opponent the Scorpion's Kiss is consumed and from that point on you can only call for '2 Nature!'.

Modifier Calls

Modifier calls get added on to existing attacks instead of replacing them. These specific calls: 'Blunt', 'Pierce', and 'Slay'; are the only calls that will ever get added to an existing call, and only if a rule specifically tells you to modify your normal attack. This will only ever happen to attacks that deal damage. When one of these calls is added to an attack, simply add it to the end of the attack. Only one modifier can be applied to a call at a time.

These calls can also change the amount of damage you deal. The specific rule or effect being used will tell you if any changes to the amount of damage happen.

Example: A character has Might Mastery and is swinging a Goblin Iron great weapon. Great weapons can deal half damage to add the slay call to an attack. The character with this weapon can choose to call for '4 Poison' or to call for '2 Poison Slay' with each attack.

Tag Bag Calls

Tag bags never deal damage using Might or Accuracy. The effect allowing you to throw a tag bag will always tell you exactly what to call when throwing it.

Taking Damage and Hostile Effects

Once you have been hit, know where the hit landed, and what call was used, we need to apply the results of the attack. This procedure is followed for weapon attacks as well as effects generally delivered by a tag bag. Triggering a trap also follows this procedure. An attack is anything seeking to harm you.

Prevention Effects

The first step of applying a hit is to check to see if you have a prevention effect related to that subject.

Any time you prevent an attack you call 'No effect!' to let your opponent know that they successfully hit you, that you know this, and that nothing happened.


Immunities are unlimited use prevention effects. They stop EVERYTHING related to a certain subject. When you are hit if you have a relevant immunity the entire attack is prevented. Call 'No Effect!' and nothing further needs to be done for that attack.

Example: You are hit for '4 Poison!' and you currently have immunity to poison, it will prevent the damage, and you will not become poisoned. When this happens you would call 'No Effect!'. The same thing would occur if the attacker called '4 Poison Pierce!' or 'Poison Pin!'. All of these calls include the word poison and because you are immune to it, you prevent the entire attack.

One-Time Prevention Shields

If you don't have a relevant immunity (most times you will not), the next thing we check for is a one-time prevention shield. These are spells or effects that shield you from the next time a specific thing affects you. If you have a one-time prevention shield that is relevant to the attack it stops the attack completely.

Example: You are hit for '4 Magic!' and you are currently benefiting from Warding Amalgam, which creates a one-time shield that stops the next magic call that hits you. First you call 'No effect!' and then you mentally make a note that the Warding Amalgam has been consumed. If another '4 Magic' call hits you, then you will not have this defense available to stop it.

Taking Hostile Effects

You've been hit, you don't have a relevant immunity to stop the attack, or a relevant one-time prevention shield. If the call doesn't deal damage, you now take whatever effect the call has. As long as there is no damage, that's it there's nothing more to process with this attack.

Example: You are hit by an attack that calls for 'Pin!'. Currently you don't have any relevant immunities or a one-time prevention shield relevant to that call. So you now gain the Pinned condition: your feet are pinned to the ground and they can't move for the next 10 minutes. You'll continue fighting from here.

Taking Damage

If an attack is not prevented and it deals damage, now we have to figure out what happens. Characters have four types of defenses that can prevent damage.

In the order they are applied, these defenses are:
Magic Armor -> Physical Armor -> Natural Armor -> Body Points.

Each of these defenses will have a value 0 or higher. You assign your damage taken first to magic armor, reducing its value by the amount of damage taken. If the magic armor doesn't absorb it all, then any remaining damage is applied first to any relevant physical armor, then to relevant natural armor and finally to body points. If after all of this any damage remains, regardless of if it is 1 damage or 100 damage, you will take a Wound condition to the location that was hit. Only one wound can be caused by an attack. Additional wounds require additional hits.

The word 'relevant' is used with natural and physical armor, because both defenses often apply only to locations of the body where the armor is present.

Example: A character is hit in the torso with an attack that calls for '4 silver!'. They have no relevant prevention effects so they are taking damage. They have 0 magic armor, 4 physical armor, 0 natural armor and 4 body points. They have no magic armor to reduce the damage with so next we move to physical armor. The character has a magical chain shirt, it provides physical armor for being made of chain. The damage is applied there, reducing their physical armor to 0. All of the damage has been applied, the attack does nothing further. Should that character then get hit this time in the leg for '4 Silver!', it will apply to their body points next (because they have no magic, physical or natural armor left), reducing their body to 0. If once more the character is hit in the left arm after that. They no longer can reduce the damage. This means that arm takes a (Left) Arm Wound condition.

Another Example: A character is has 2 magic armor, 3 physical armor, 0 natural armor and 2 body points. They are hit for '4 Primal!' damage in the torso where the physical armor is located. First the magic armor reduces 2 of the damage, lowering the character's magic armor to 0 and leaving 2 damage remaining. That remaining 2 damage is then reduced by using 2 points of the physical armor. The character now has 0 magic armor, 1 physical armor, 0 natural armor, and 2 body points remaining. Should they be hit in the torso again for '4 Acid!', 1 point of damage will be reduced by the physical armor, leaving 3 left. Then 2 points of damage will be reduced by their body points, leaving 1 damage left. This last point is has not been prevented. The character takes a Torso Wound condition.

I'm Confused

If at any time you don't know how much damage you've taken, err on the side of the attacker and take an immediate Torso Wound condition. In other words if you are in doubt or confused it's always ok (as long as you aren't doing it for a tactical advantage) to take more damage to make sure you got it right.

If you don't wish to fight, it's also ok to take any hit as a Torso Wound condition.

Combat Summary

When you are hit do the following in this order:

  1. Check for on-going prevention effects (immunities such as the spell Mind Blank).
  2. Check for one-time prevention effects (effects like the spell Spirit Shield).
  3. Apply remaining damage to Magic Armor.
  4. Apply remaining damage to Physical Armor.
  5. Apply remaining damage to Natural Armor.
  6. Apply remaining damage to Body Points.
  7. If any damage remains take a Wound condition in the location hit.

Special Circumstances

Killing Blows

A special kind of attack, known as a killing blow, is available to characters circumstantially. Killing blows can only be performed if an opponent has the Torso Wound condition. To make a killing blow you role-play giving the character a fatal wound. There is no special call made when you perform a killing blow.

Sometimes you'll hear someone say 'Killing Blow!' aloud when they perform one, this is incorrect and shouldn't be done.

A killing blow gives a character the Dead condition.

The Helpless Condition

A character with the Helpless condition is unable to defend themselves by any means. They can't execute any actions even if they are still conscious. The character is treated as having no free hands, and may not cast any spells even if the spell requires no incantation.

Condition Name

Effect Duration Common Sources Common Cures


You are unable to defend yourself. Variable Torso Wound and Terrorized conditions Removing the source.

Master's Strikes

A master's strike is a type of modifier call granted by some abilities and items. When used a master's strike modifies the characters next successful hit. Using a master strike a character can add either the 'Slay!' call or the 'Pierce' call to a weapon attack (for the purposes of this ability a projectile weapon delivering a tag bag spell does not count as a weapon attack). Additionally when using a masters strike Might is capped at 4 while dual wielding or with a sword and shield, instead of the normal cap of 2. Remember, only one modifier can be applied to a call at a time. If a modifer is already present, no additional modifiers can be added.

Example: A character is using a great weapon and they attack for half damage to apply the slay call to the attack. They may not then apply a master's strike to that attack to also add the pierce call.


The 'Hand' Call

Hits to hands holding weapons are not legal, the hand is considered part of the weapon. This is at least in part a safety consideration, we don't want people's fingers getting broken which is more likely if hands are being attacked regularly. Anytime a player hits you in the hand, let them know it by calling 'Hand'.


Call Type Description Common Sources Associated Condition(s)


Defensive Indicates the hit landed on someone's hand Combat etiquette None

Light Calls

Novitas has a certain range of force that players are expected to put into their swings. An attack that is too light can't be felt. When an attack lands, but is too light, let the attacker know why you are not taking the hit by calling 'Light!'.


Call Type Description Common Sources Associated Condition(s)


Defensive Indicates a hit landed too light Combat etiquette None

Hard Calls

While we don't want hits to be too light, we also do not wish hits to be too hard. That poses a safety concern and most of our players don't enjoy coming home with bruises. Hitting too hard is a serious concern and you should be sure to let them know by calling 'Hard!'. These attacks are not taken as a form of minor penalty to the person swinging that hard.

It's worth pointing out that sometimes hard hits happen by accident. A person might swing at normal speed, but the defender happens to move at full speed directly into the arc of the attack. No one is entirely at fault. However, if one person is regularly swinging too hard, please let a member of the Player Outreach & Education (Brandon Febles and Michael Maneri) team know so they can look into it.


Call Type Description Common Sources Associated Condition(s)


Defensive Indicates a hit landed too hard. Combat etiquette None

Fast Calls

For both immersion reasons and for game balance's sake, rapid weapon strikes (known as 'machine gunning') are not permitted. Melee attacks need to be performed at a reasonable speed, the general guideline being that you should take enough time to bend your entire arm to a 90 degree angle before landing a subsequent blow. When rapid hits happen you should let the attacker know by calling 'Fast!'. Take one of the hits (or an appropriate number if it's a prolonged exchange), and ignore the rest.


Call Type Description Common Sources Associated Condition(s)


Defensive Indicates a player is attacking too rapidly Combat etiquette None

No Effect Calls

'No Effect!' calls are used any time a character is hit by an attack, but it is prevented for some reason. This could be because an immunity stopped it, a prevention shield stopped it, a damage requirement stopped it, or some other unusual circumstance. Any time someone's call doesn't impact you, you should let them know by calling 'No Effect!'.

You should also call 'No Effect!' when you ignore an announcement call, such as by casting Anti-Magic Aura and walking into a Sanctuary.


Call Type Description Common Sources Associated Condition(s)

No Effect

Defensive Used to indicate another call has no impact Immunities, Prevent effects, Damage Requirements None

Physical Contact

Players are allowed to act as if they are physically fighting if all parties have given clear verbal consent in advance. These situations should be purely for theatrical purposes and should take place outside of active combats to make it clear they are not part of the combat.

Physical contact is a subject that should be taken very seriously for the safety and comfort of all players. There is no physical contact allowed in combat ever. Contact with boffer weapons is different than physical contact for these purposes.

Other than weapon contact in combat situations, physical contact is permitted only when both players consent. Any rule that involves two players interacting where physical contact might get involved can be summarized by that last sentence.

Physical contact for combat purposes is never permitted. A player may not charge another player or do anything else that would force another player to move in order to avoid physical contact. Players may not grapple, wrestle, or otherwise entrap or impair limbs during combat. You may not grasp another player's weapon in combat. It is permissible to use a weapon to attempt to push or pull a shield or another weapon out of the way. However, it is not acceptable to pin a weapon or shield to an immovable object (such as a wall or the ground).

Bashing another player with a shield with the intention of knocking them off balance is also not permissible.

Categories: Gameplay Rules | Combat Rules

Site Index About Us Event Calendar Novitas Linktree Contact Us
Page last modified on February 20, 2024, at 09:56 PM
Powered by PmWiki