The party must battle its way through many dangerous foes to complete the adventure. The following sections offer some more information and tips for combat.
Combat Map Battle takes place on a tactical combat map that is a detailed view of the terrain that the party was in when the combat began. This map is set up with an invisible square grid.
Initiative Each round of combat is divided into 10 segments, and every, character and foe acts on a specific segment based on a random initiative number. Initiative is generated at the start of each combat round, and is modified by dexterity and random factors such as surprise. Characters can act on their initiative segment, or use the DELAY command to hold action until the end of the round. Casting spells may take extra time to perform, so often a spellcaster will begin a spell on his segment, but the spell will not go off until a little later.
Computer Control In combat you control the actions of PCs. The computer controls the actions of monsters. NPCs, and PCs set to computer control with the QUICK command. If you have a paladin in your party, he may take control of NPCs at the start of combat by making a successful leadership check. A successful leadership check puts NPCs under normal control for that combat.
Combat Ability Each character's ability in combat is defined by AC, THAC0, and Damage.
Armor Class The difficulty of hitting a character or monster is represented by the target's armor class (AC). The lower the AC, the harder the target is to hit. AC is based on readied armor and a dexterity bonus. Some magic items, such as some bracers, also help improve AC.
THAC0 The ability to hit enemies in melee or with missile fire is represented by THAC0. THAC0 stands for To Hit Armor Class O. This is the number a character must 'roll' equal to or greater than to do damage on a target with an AC of O. The lower the THAC0, the better the chance to hit the target.
Note: the generation of a random number is often referred to as a 'roll'. In determining the success of an attack, the number generated is from 1 through 20.
An attack is successful if the random number is greater than or equal to the attacker's THAC0 minus the target's AC. THAC0 may be modified by things like range, attacking from the rear, magical weapons, and magic spells.
Example: A fighter with a THAC0 of 5, attacking a monster with an AC of 3, would need to roll: (THAC0 5) - (AC 3) = 2+ But to hit a monster with an AC of -2 he would need to roll: (THAC0 5)- (AC -2) = 7+
Damage Damage is the range of hit point loss the attacker inflicts and is based on the attacker's Strength, weapon type, and any magic bonuses the weapon has. The base damage for each weapon is summarized in the Weapons Table on page 50.
Some monsters take only partial or no damage from certain weapon types. Skeletons, for example, take only half damage from sharp or edged weapons, while some other monsters may only be damaged by magical weapons.
Attacking There are two basic types of attack: Melee and Ranged (or Missile). The following describes each type and other rules governing combat.
Melee Combat Melee combat is face-to-face fighting with weapons such as swords and maces. Only when using melee weapons can characters receive Strength bonuses. Fighters can sometimes overpower several small foes during melee combat, and thieves have opportunities to 'back stab.'
Ranged Combat Ranged combat is firing at distant enemies with weapons such as bows or darts. A character with a missile weapon (bow. sling. etc.) may not attack when adjacent to an enemy. Two arrows or three darts can be fired per turn.
Multiple Attacks After seventh-level (eighth for rangers) all fighter-type characters increase the number of attacks they make with melee weapons. The first increase is three attacks every, two rounds, then two attacks every round. See the Multiple Attacks for High Level Fighters table on page 49.
All of a character's attacks are taken against his first target. If the first target goes down with the first attack, you can aim the remaining attack at another larger. Fighter-types may also 'sweep' through several weak opponents in one combat round. When a character 'sweeps,' he automatically attacks all of the weak opponents.
Back Stabbing A thief 'back stabs' if he attacks a target from exactly opposite the first character to attack the target. The thief may not 'back stab' if he has readied armor heavier than leather. A 'back stab' has a better chance of hitting the defender and does additional damage.
Saving Throws Attacks such as poison or spells do not automatically have their full effect on a target. Victims may get a saving throw to avoid some or all of the effect. If the saving throw is successful, generally the target suffers either no effect or only half-damage. Saving throws improve as characters gain levels.
Note: Some monsters have natural magic resistance which decreases the chance of them being affected by spells.
Combat Movement The number of squares a character can move is affected by carried weight, character strength, and the kind of readied armor. A character's movement range is displayed on the View Screen and during the character's segment in combat. Combat movement is important for both closing quickly with opponents (and stopping missile fire) and fleeing from battles that are too tough.
Running Away A character may flee from the battlefield if he moves faster than all enemies, but not if he moves slower than any enemies. A character has a 50% chance to move off the battlefield if he moves as fast as the fastest foe. There is an exception: if a character can reach the edge of the combat map without any of his opponents being able to see him, he may then flee successfully even though he is slower than his opponents.
Returning to the Party A character that moves off the battlefield returns to the party after the fight is over. If all active characters flee combat, any dead or unconscious characters are lost. Characters that flee a combat receive no experience points for the battle.
Combat Strategies To succeed in combat, a skilled player deploys his party well. casts effective spells before and during combat, maneuvers his characters into advantageous positions, and attacks using his most powerful characters and weapons.
Deploying the Party When a battle begins, your party is automatically positioned based on the order list of the characters. Characters near the top of the order will be in the front lines and vulnerable to attack. To change the starting deployment, change the party order from the ALT Menu while encamped. Shift the heavily armored fighters up the list and the vulnerable magic-users and thieves toward the bottom. Party order cannot be changed while in combat, although characters are free to move.
Your party may be placed in a bad position at the start of a battle. Get an idea of the situation and move characters into better deployment. Sometimes the best strategy is offensive: charging with fighters to close ground and stop enemy magic and missile fire. Other times, the best strategy is defensive: moving your characters to anchor their flanks on an obstacle such as a wall or tree. Setting up behind a doorway that your enemies have to move through also makes for a very strong defensive position. Always keep magic-users and missile weapons safe behind the front line.
Wounded Characters Characters who are seriously injured should be cured or moved out of the front lines if possible. Remember: if you move away from an adjacent enemy, he gets a free attack at your back and has an improved chance to hit.
Stopping Ranged Attacks Missile weapons cannot be fired if there is an adjacent opponent. To stop enemy missile fire, move someone next to the opponent. If you want to fire missiles, keep away from the enemy.
Exploiting Enemies' Weaknesses Exploit your opponents' weaknesses by directing attacks against helpless. wounded, or isolated foes. Concentrate your attacks to eliminate one opponent rather than injure many (Exception: enemy spellcasters). A foe with one hit point remaining attacks as powerfully as an uninjured one.
If spellcasters are hit in a round, they lose any spells they are preparing to cast, and cannot cast for the remainder of that round. Try to keep enemy spellcasters under attack every round while protecting your own.
After Combat If one or more characters survive on the battlefield at the end of combat, the bodies of unconscious or dead party members stay with the party. If the entire party floes from combat, all unconscious and dead party members are permanently lost. If ALL the party members are slain, go back to your last Saved Game and try again from that point.