Combat is a fact of life in the Forest of Doors, as it is in most of the eight Gateworlds. It is easy enough to pick up a weapon and start wading into battle; it is difficult, however, to do it such that you survive the attempt.
Damage and Wounds
Forest of Doors uses a wound location system along with a simple point system derived from vitality, armor, and/or protective spells. Essentially, a character totals their level of Resilience (armor + protection + vitality) to arrive at a number of “hits” they can normally take. Any attack that hits a legal location takes off points of Resilience equal to its damage. If a character is struck by an attack that does more damage than their remaining Resilience, they take a wound to the location that is hit. Most weapon attacks will do only 1 damage, which will give you a sense of the scale of points we are talking about; it is quite unusual for a character to have more than single-digit Resilience, to be more specific.
A wounded arm is unusable, a wounded leg means you must take to your knees and can only move by crawling, and a wounded torso means you are Critical (dying). A wounded limb that is hit again causes the character to take a Torso wound directly, as do three limb wounds in any combination.
Weapon Use and Types
Except in the case of Heavy and Giant Weapons, which require the Strong trait in order to use, and Thrown Weapons, which require level 1 in the appropriate skill to employ, any character can use any weapon. All weapons do the same amount of damage for normal attacks (1 point). A good rule of thumb is that if no “tagline” is called, the damage is 1.
We allow both striking and thrusting with most weapons in FoD, with the following exceptions: Spears are thrusting only; Axes, Maces, Clubs, and Hammers are striking only. A Staff can be used to strike or thrust, and can also be used one handed, though only for defense in the latter case. No shield besides a strap-on buckler can be wielded while using a staff, nor can any offhand weapon be used with one. When attacking, “hafted” weapons (Maces, Hammers, Axes, Spears, Halberds) must strike their targets with the head of their weapon; haft hits do not count as legal attacks.
Combat skills grant characters the ability to do extra damage, parry incoming attacks, and many other special techniques. For each level a character has in their highest combat skill, they have that much Prowess available. Prowess is automatically refreshed after 10 minutes of rest (i.e. no combat, no running, and no spellcasting). Though Prowess is based upon a character’s highest combat skill, the abilities available to them are dependent upon the weapon(s) they are currently using, except with Dodge, which may be used regardless. Each ability, when used, costs a variable amount of Prowess.
A universal rule, which applies to magical attack taglines AND combat abilities, is that only one tagline can be called with any attack. In essence, we avoid “stacking” effects in FoD wherever possible.