Combat Rules

All Important Rules

Time Calls - Damage - Special Calls - Surviving Combat - Subdual & Fatigue
Psychic Combat - Unarmed Combat - Healing - Weapons - Ranged Weapons - Armour

Time Calls

LARPing uses a bunch of different calls to switch between IC (In Character) and OoC (Out of Character) stances, with varying flavours.

So, the actual combat bit then...

Having got the necessary health warnings out of the way, on to the actual system. This being a LARP game combat is based on a reasonably simple resolution system. Try to hit your target. If you hit them then you have hit them, if not then you haven't. When you hit somebody you call out the amount of damage that you do, be it "Half", "Single", "Quad" or whatever. The target then loses this number of Hits from the location you hit.

Damage to PCs
Player Characters (PCs) have a base of two Body Hits per location, modified by the Tough skill and occasionally their race (see the character generation page). There are five locations - torso, right arm, left arm, right leg and left leg. Once you have lost all of the Body Hits on a limb, it becomes useless. If you have lost all of the Body Hits on your torso you collapse unconscious. PCs are expected to keep track of when they should be falling over. If in doubt, go down and claim to have been "winded".
If you take enough Body Hits to a location to drop it to minus its normal maximum Body Hits then it is severed or destroyed and cannot be healed without great difficulty. For example, if your arm normally has 3 Body Hits and it takes three Doubles, dropping it to -3, then you lose that arm.
If one of your legs drops to zero Body Hits then you should drop to one knee. This provides a reasonable representation of how hard it is to fight with one leg gone, without relying on people's varying ability to hop or different interpretations of how flexible an injured leg is. If your leg is severed or destroyed and then gets hit, count this as a hit to the other leg.
If one of your arms drops to zero Body Hits then just let that arm drop to your side and drop any item held in it. Be sensible though, for example don't just let a fragile arrow drop into the middle of a combat but pop it to one side when you have a moment. It is reasonable to suppose that anything like a shield is still strapped to your arm. If your arm is severed and then gets hit, count this as a hit to your torso. Characters with the Ambidextrous skill who are really bad OoC at fighting off-handed may, if they wish, swap the fact that their IC sword arm has been disabled and keep using their favoured arm to fight with. Some people will want to do this, others will want to try and phys-rep fighting off-handed. But if a character 'swaps arms' they will have to swap leg locations as well, as their footwork will be different. Please indicate this loudly to the monsters and the GM as you are having to swap (and please still take a moment to pass the weapon from hand to hand).

Damage Calls
Since some of you may not be familiar with LARP damage calls, it's probably best to give a quick list here:

Please Note that there is no "magic" damage call. Damage from spells is exactly the same as damage from their mundane equivalents.

Special Calls
These are special calls you can make if you have the right skills:

There are also some other special calls to which PCs don't have access. GMs are free to use a couple of specialist calls, either from the list below or created especially for an adventure, as long as they clear them with the LARP Organiser beforehand and explain them clearly at the start of the adventure during the safety briefing. Examples of these special calls include:

Damage to Monsters
Most monsters, like PCs, have a number of Body and Armour hits per location. Some have a set number of Global hits and any damage to any part of their body is taken off this total. Some are Insubstantial, in addition to their having Global hits all blows landed on them count as Halves regardless of how much damage they would normally inflict. Some monsters ignore blows to their torso, some monsters ignore blows to any location except their torso. Some monsters are ethereal and can only be damaged in psychic combat. Some monsters have more obscure immunities. See the monsters page for more details.

PC Death
A PC will die under a number of circumstances. These circumstances include:

Surviving Combat
There are a bunch of things you can do to increase your odds of surviving combat. More precisely, there are a bunch of things you can have to increase your odds of surviving combat.

Armour - Armour gives you between 1 and 6 Armour Hits per location. It comes in light, medium or heavy flavours, can be made of normal materials or steelsilk, and can often be repaired during the course of an adventure by characters with the Armour Repair skill, village blacksmiths and the like.

Dodges - Dodges are the art of getting the hell out of the way of incoming attacks. Each Dodge you have allows you to completely ignore one blow per Encounter. You can Dodge anything you can see coming as long as the description doesn't say otherwise. If you are wearing medium armour you halve the number of Dodges you gain from the "Quick" skill (rounding up). If you are wearing heavy armour you cannot use Dodges gained from the "Quick" skill at all - but in both cases you may still use Dodges gained from skills like Tactician and Survival, from Superior equipment, and from Blessings.

Parries - Parries are the art of stopping attacks with your sword. Note that there is a difference between a capital 'P' Parry and just using your sword in a fight normally, just as there is a difference between a capital 'D' Dodge and just avoiding a blow normally. Each Parry you have allows you to avoid one blow per Encounter. You cannot Parry ranged attacks. You can always Parry regardless of what armour you're wearing.

Subdual & Fatigue

In addition to their Body Hits and Armour Hits characters have a number of Fatigue Hits. These are lost in a number of circumstances, most notably when somebody strikes to subdue. This takes the form of a special damage call of "Subdue". Everyone always strikes for Subduing Singles, with the exception of Thieves with the Cosh skill (who may strike for Subduing Doubles if wielding a blunt weapon). Subduing attacks only count if they hit the target's torso, any subduing hits to other locations are ignored.
Once a character has run out of Fatigue Hits they fall unconscious until the end of the Encounter, after which they recover Fatigue Hits at a rate of roughly one a minute and regain consciousness when all their Fatigue Hits have returned.
During an Encounter Fatigue Hits are recovered at a rate of one for each minute of complete rest the character receives - this means lying down and relaxing in a safe environment without any threat within sight or earshot, and is subject to GM veto.
Wind Sorcerors lose Fatigue Hits for casting spells. GMs may impose Fatigue damage under other circumstances at their discretion. A character who misses a night's sleep is on half Fatigue hits (rounded down) until they get a good night's sleep.

Psychic Combat

Periodically PCs may come under psychic attack from various types of Sorcerors, ethereal creatures and other strangeness. Because it'd be really boring to just stand still and go "nnngg" while looking constipated, like a character in a bad Japanese cartoon series, psychic combat is assumed to be represented by normal combat between the characters (you can think of this as a fight on some kind of "astral plane" if it helps). Psychic combat happens instantaneously - while a psychic combat is going on, everyone is held in a Time Freeze except for the participants and any Exorcists in the area.
Participants in a Psychic Combat should match weapons (defaulting to one single-handed sword each).
Psychic combat is fought out just like normal combat except that most people only do Halves because they are simply not used to fighting in this kind of way. The exceptions are Priests, Sorcerors, anybody with the Empowered skill and nobles with Velasquez Blood, who do a minimum of Singles. Psychic damage is always taken off your Psyche Hits regardless of where blows land.

It is important to note that most humans cannot initiate psychic combat. Even Empowered characters can't do it. To start psychic combat you need a spell that says you can, or else you need to wait for something else to attack you. This also means that you cannot intervene in someone else's psychic combat. The one exception to this rule is Priests with the Exorcist skill, who can join another person's psychic combat and can initiate psychic combat against an ethereal spirit or a creature which is possessing someone.

It is equally important to note that Dodges and Parries are of no use in psychic combat. Being good with a sword doesn't prevent you from being possessed. However, at the risk of confusing everyone massively, it should be pointed out that there are some physical creatures which do Psychic damage with their physical attacks (Rosemary Maids, Vitrimorphs and so on). Blows from these creatures can be Dodged and Parried. There's a difference between psychic damage taken in physical combat and full on psychic combat.

A character who runs out of Psyche Hits will have any number of things happen to them, depending on the circumstances. If they were in psychic combat with a spirit of some kind, they may get possessed. They may simply fall unconscious. If they were fighting a power of Ash they'll probably die. If they were fighting something from Glass they'll probably go mad. Regardless of the side effects, they will recover consciousness at the end of the Encounter with half their maximum Psyche Hits.

Unarmed Combat

Unarmed combat takes the form of light taps with the open palm of the hand - no actual punching, kicking or slapping is allowed and head hits are still forbidden.
Due to their intensive training in martial arts, characters with the Weapon Master: Unarmed Combat skill always count their unarmed attacks as a superior quality weapon, i.e. there is no limit on the damage bonus that can be applied and they have one extra Parry per Encounter if fighting exclusively with superior quality weapons.
Characters with the Gutter Fighter skill and Weavers do base damage of Singles with their unarmed attacks and count their unarmed attacks as a standard quality weapon, so can never have a damage bonus of more than +1.
Characters who don't have the Gutter Fighter skill or the Weapon Master: Unarmed Combat skill and aren't Weavers do base damage of Halves with their unarmed attacks, but the first point of damage bonus applied to these attacks instead counts as raising their base damage to Singles. They can never do more than Doubles with their unarmed attacks. This is an exception to the normal damage rules and the normal weapon quality rules.


Most healing has already been described in other sections, but I'll summarise here.

Arms & Armour

There are some special rules which need to be gone into as regards weapons and armour. Some of these rules are repeated from earlier.

Weapons & Weapon Quality
All single handed weapons are assumed to be roughly equivalent. Clubs, swords and daggers all have basically the same rules. IC differences between the weapon types are more than adequately accounted for by the OoC difference in the way the actual weapons handle. A dagger, for example, has no rules that make it inferior to a sword, but a character with a dagger will have considerably less reach than one with a sword so it all comes out in the wash. If a particular weapon is unsuitable for you to use due to your personal physical strength and build, the weighting not being to your liking, etc. then please switch to using a different weapon.

Daggers are one handed weapons, with no bonuses for having both hands on the weapon. For those who attend the White City LARP regularly, think of Julian's daggers as being the upper limit on size.

For one-handed weapons (swords, maces, clubs, etc.), those who attend the White City LARP regularly should think of Helen's basket hilt sword as being the upper limit on size.

Bastard weapons (swords, maces, axes, etc.), also known as hand-and-a-half weapons, are one- or two-handed weapons with base damage of Singles if used in one hand and base damage of Doubles if used in two hands by someone with the Great Weapon skill. For those who attend the White City LARP regularly, think of anything from the club's orange maces up to Richard's maces as being the upper limit on size. Using something else in the other hand when wielding a hand-and-a-half weapon in one hand is possible, as they themselves are limited to the same length as one handed weapons. Bastard weapons should not be too short.

Great weapons (spears, staffs, greatswords, etc.) must be used in two hands, with base damage of Doubles if used by someone with the Great Weapon skill. These are always two handed weapons and may not be used with one hand, regardless of circumstances: if you lose the use of an arm while wielding a two-handed weapon, you should drop the weapon.

In order to spice up the weapons mix a little, there is a small degree of variation between weapons of a particular type. Weapons can be of substandard quality, standard quality or superior quality. Ranged weapons have their own rules, for melee weapons the distinction is as follows:

Ranged Weapons
Soft-cored LARP-safe throwing daggers are available to use. Do not throw any other kind of LARP dagger, and please try not to lose any of the throwing daggers in the undergrowth. Some people also have other LARP-safe throwing weapons for their personal use.
LARP bows and crossbows can be used. A bow competency test or crossbow competency test must be carried out under the LARP Organiser's supervision before you will be permitted to use a bow or crossbow on a LARP, please consult the LARP Organiser in advance if you are thinking of doing so in order to arrange for these tests to be taken.

Armour & Armour Quality
Most of the rules for armour are already given elsewhere, but are summarised here. Armour will provide +1-2 (light), +3-4 (medium) or +5-6 (heavy) Armour Hits to a location it covers and (unsurprisingly) no protection elsewhere. Whether the armour provides the lesser or higher number of hits depends on whether or not the player has a phys-rep for it. Like weapons, armour may be of substandard quality, standard quality or superior quality:

Steelsilk Armour
The City of Silk, on the far side of the Great Forest to the West of the White City, produces a substance called steelsilk which, as its name suggests, combines some of the best properties of the two substances. Steelsilk armour is always treated as light armour for the purpose of Dodges and repair, however much protection it provides. This also means that you can legitimately pass off a silk shirt as light armour. Steelsilk armour can only be repaired by Weavers with the Armour Repair skill.

Using Magic in Combat

Most types of magic have some kind of combat-useful spells, because after all it's a LARP game. Mostly it's just a matter of doing what it says in the spell description. In addition, when casting a spell you should name the spell you're casting and the amount and type of damage it does (as well as which location it does it to) or the effect it has.

Up to the top - Time Calls - Damage - Special Calls - Surviving Combat - Subdual & Fatigue
Psychic Combat - Unarmed Combat - Healing - Weapons - Ranged Weapons - Armour

This page last updated: 6th January 2007

Email the White City webmeister § Email the LARP Organiser § Back to the gates of The White City