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Player's Guide


ombat Basics


Full or partial armor value

Full or partial health points

    The mechanics of the Eldritch combat system are intended to keep the player immersed in the essence and brutal experience of simulated combat for the duration of the encounter. The core sections of the combat system are as follows:

  • Hybrid Hit Location System: This section covers how attacks are received and how damage by weapons is dealt. In summary, all weapons deal 1 point of damage to a target, which is then subtracted, first from any Armor Value they may have, and then is taken to the bodily location of the target, disabling, or potentially killing them.

  • Bleeding out and Death: This section details the states of both dying and death for a character. There are various means by which to be healed from these states, but these are specific to character professions, and skills from the general skills table. Healing in Eldritch is a grim business and, while fairly common, is not a highly effective or expedient endeavor.

  • Armor: This section details the rules Armor system. In summary it is a means by which to protect yourself from attacks. Depending on the material the armor is made out of, it will grant you a number of points that contribute to what is referred to as your Armor Value. Armor value is simply the number of weapon strikes you can receive before you must defer to the Hit Location System, as described in the section below.

  • Melee and Ranged Combat: This section details how to deal and receive attacks, safety, and the different types of weapons in game.

Bleeding Out

    After a player has exhausted their armor value, and is then struck in the torso, the player must drop to the ground and start their Bleeding count. This state lasts 3 minutes, during which time they may use no Active Martial Skills, may only use those limbs that are uninjured, and cannot run. Note that a strike to the torso without any armor value will also start a character’s Bleeding count. Any successfully resolved strikes to both legs will render that player unable to stand, while if one leg is still usable, they must go down to one knee. It is ultimately up to the player as to how they choose to spend this time, and you may crawl away should you have the uninjured limbs to do so. If your character should be healed via the Medicine skill, and then receive another strike to the torso without first being completely healed of their injuries (via the aid of the Apotheca or a Medic Knight, for example), they are to immediately enter the Dying state, instead of the Bleeding count, as stated previously. Likewise, a character enters the Dying state after they are struck in the torso when in their Bleeding count.

Stages of Combat


    At the end of the 3-minute Bleeding count, a character will enter the Dying count, which lasts another 3 minutes. During the Dying count, a character is rendered unconscious and is unable to act, until they are permanently dead at the end of the 3 minutes. At this point, a player is to proceed to the staff center and await further instructions. A player may render a killing blow to most other human and humanoid beings by miming a killing blow to a vital area, i.e. stabbing them in the torso, etc…for a duration of at least 5 seconds, to bypass this state, and render that character or other, permanently dead. Note that this may not work on all adversaries.


    If a character is healed from their Bleeding or Death counts, they are now in what is called the Wounded state. This means that they can no longer run or use any Active Martial skills. This condition may be resolved via specific profession abilities.

Stages of Dying and Death ExampleJonas and Eben are engaged in combat. Jonas has an Armor Value of 3 and Eben has an Armor Value of 2. Jonas eventually wears through Eben’s 2 Armor Value with a series of successful strikes. Jonas then strikes Eben’s arm, rendering it useless. Finally, Jonas strikes Eben in the torso, placing him in the Bleeding count. While in this state, Eben must drop to the ground, roleplaying as being critically injured, and can use no Active Martial Skills. Jonas considers the fight over and lets Eben retreat. Eben has three minutes before entering the Dying state and time is running out for him. Sigrid runs and delivers the Medicine – 2 skill to Eben such that after 5 minutes of the appropriate roleplay, it stops his Bleeding count permanently. However, Eben may not run or use Active Martial skills until such a time that he can be fully restored via the healing arts of the Apotheca or Medic Knights, who can restore the use of his limbs and mend his injuries. This state is known as being Wounded. Likewise, if Eben is hit in the torso before being fully restored, he will immediately enter the Dying count.


    From simple leather armor to heavy steel and chainmail, armor comes in many varieties, and provides varying degrees of protection. It is the intent of this system to grant its wearer the benefits of said protection without allowing for characters to be invincible. Armor grants cumulative benefits and protection to its wearer. That is, a player who is wearing any approved starter armor material, as listed on Table 1.1 below, on a majority of approved hit locations, starting with the torso, will now be able to receive a number of attacks equal to the listed material value of the armor to any legal bodily target before they must adhere to the hit location system. Rather, armor allows you to be hit more times without injury, than you might otherwise be able. Note that when struck, it IS NOT necessary to state, or “call,” that a successful attack to your person was taken to your armor, i.e. “Armor!”. In order to wear armor, you'll need to purchase the Armor Proficiency skill. The first level of this skill allows you to wear any armor type, though you'll need to purchase additional levels if you're to take full advantage of higher quality sets of armor. See the skill description for more details.

    When your armor runs out of armor value, it is considered to be damaged, and no longer in a state to provide proper protection. Any armor points that have been used will persist at that value until such a time as the armor is repaired by a blacksmith. High quality polyurethane armors will be accepted on a case by case basis. Note that the armor types and values on table 1.1 do not represent the entirety of the armor types you will see at Eldritch events. These are simply the armor types that are available to all starting characters. You may substitute components of approved heavy armor, such as a breastplate, or just bracers and grieves as an example, as a physical representation for lighter armor grades, but not vice versa. See table 1.1 Armor for approved armor materials and their corresponding armor values.

Table 1.1 - Armor



Leather or Chainmail

Scale Mail or Coat of Plates

Iron Plate










May negate two Cleave Active Martial Skills until its material value is exhausted. Repairing the armor restores this benefit. 

May negate all Cleave Active Martial skills until its material value is exhausted. Repairing the armor restores this benefit.

Hybrid Hit-Location System

    Eldritch utilizes what is known as the Hybrid Hit Location System in order to simulate the live combat experience. The hybrid hit location system is one wherein a player may have some combination of armor and other simulated defense mechanisms that provide additional protection, which after being exhausted, must then defer to the hit location system. For example, your armor might provide 2 additional points of protection, before a third hit might disable your arm when struck.

    The hit location system entails that when there is a successful strike to any unarmored limb (no available Armor Value) it will render it completely unusable. It is important to note here that when a character no longer has use of their legs in this way, they are immobile and CAN NOT “hobble” around on their knees. A successful attack to an unarmored torso will send a character into the Bleeding count, at which point they must fall to the ground, roleplaying as being critically injured, using only those limbs which are uninjured, and can use no Active Martial skills. The sum total of all points contributed by either armor or other physical enhancements, such as the Tough skill, will be hitherto known as Armor Value. Any successful strike against a player, on any legal part of their body will subtract one point from their current armor value. It will first be subtracted from their worn armor, and then from any points of Tough purchased (see Passive Martial Skills), or other physical enhancements..

No armor value

No health points

3 minute bleed count over

3 minute death count

No armor value

No health points

3 minute bleed count

Full or partial health points

No armor value

elee & Ranged Combat

The Break

    At times an opponent in combat may be in too close, attempting to simply lock their enemy in to a corner or keep them from moving by forcing their shield upon them. This is not an approved tactic in the Eldritch combat system. While the opponent has the option of using the Shield Bash ability and then moving away, they may not attempt to corner an opponent or stay in close (less than an arms-length) in an attempt to land weapon strikes. This is a form of "griefing" as per the code of conduct. If you feel as though this is the case and you, as the opponent are being subject to this behavior, you may announce “Break,” at which point your opponent must step back a minimum of three feet. At this point combat may once again commence. Similarly, if you are found to be egregiously abusing the Break rule for your own benefit, you will be subject to the rules of the Code of Conduct.

    The Eldritch combat system seeks to emphasize the experience of combat; that is the fear, excitement, brutality, and finality of choosing to fight someone else as a course of conflict resolution. To successfully uphold and execute on this ideal, players must adopt the culture of this ideal; that is, taking the emphasis off of simply trying to resolve as many attacks on their target as possible and placing it on the immersive and physical aspects of combat. So how does this translate practically? Perhaps when struck with a sword or other weapon, you might wince, stagger back, or cry out in pain, reeling from your injury. Likewise, when swinging a weapon, perhaps you might imply its weight by swinging it slower, or less frequently; by being more calculating. The end goal is to adopt a more cinematic and immersive combat style, versus one whose aim is solely bent on landing as many blows as possible. Have fun. Take your time. Get into it. As such, this system utilizes the following mechanics for melee and ranged combat.


Legal Bodily Targets & Safety

    In order to enforce suitable guidelines for safety, the only legal bodily targets are the arms, legs, and torso. All care should be taken to avoid the head and groin areas. The Eldritch combat system can be classified as “medium touch”. That is, it is not enough to simply touch or tap someone with your weapon to count as a successful hit. A weapon strike needs to make firm and unimpeded contact with a legal bodily target on your opponent. When considering whether or not to play a combat character, note that medium touch strikes can and will sometimes sting or leave a residual but temporary feeling of discomfort. For this reason, it is advised that if you do not want to take part in combat encounters that you notify staff at check-in. The Eldritch staff will ensure that our players have taken the proper steps to indicate they do not wish to take part in combat.

Ranged Weapons & Traps

    All ranged weapons approved for in game use are on table 1.2 below, and any player who wishes to use a ranged weapon, be it a bow or pistol, must purchase the requisite kill to do so from the Martial Skills table on the Skills page.

Pistols and Rifles

    Approved pistols should fire one shot at a time, in the form of a small dart or foam ball. If the shot successfully resolves on a target, in any legal bodily location, the target immediately enters their Dying count. Bullets deliver the Sunder effect to shields. This effect does not have to be called and may not be Resisted. Ammunition is considered a finite good and is purchased in bundles at game. Once you are out of ammunition, you must purchase more. Non-masterwork pistols may not fire in the rain.

    A pistol must be of the Buzzbee brand or similar, in the flintlock style, that shoots a small foam dart or ball. As part of the loading process, you must also apply a plastic pop-cap to the wheel mechanism, such that when it fires, it makes a loud, auditory cracking sound. You are encouraged to paint or otherwise modify the pistol to improve its aesthetic quality.

Throwing Weapons

    Throwing weapons are smaller versions of normal melee weapons, be they dagger, axe, or even something more exotic. They function as any other melee weapon and do damage as such. They may not be longer than 12” and contain no core.


    When triggered, all traps deliver a number of damage based on the color coding of the trap, as detailed below. Any damage taken in excess of any armor value is applied to legal hit locations of the target’s choice. The rules of the hybrid hit location system then apply. Basic trap representation requirements include anything that can be triggered by an offending player, such as a mouse trap and string, pop-its, a bell, etc… and include the item tag associated with the trap. Safety should always be a consideration when choosing and/or setting up any such device.

Green - 4 Damage

Blue - 8 Damage

Red - 12 Damage

Weapon Strikes & Damage

    All melee weapons, regardless of size, inflict one point of damage when an attack successfully resolves on an opponent. Contrary to conventions of some other larp combat systems, it is not necessary for you to vocalize this damage, as in reciting, "1 Damage" when making your swing. You may instead simply swing your weapon. All weapon strikes, with the exception of the dagger, rapier, spear, and claw boffer type must come from beyond 45 degrees relative to the position of your opponent. All weapons may be used to thrust, while still observing the tenets of fair play and safety.

    When struck, you first subtract points provided by any armor worn, followed by those provided by any Tough you may have. After these points are gone (collectively known as your Armor Value), any damage taken to a limb will disable that limb, while a strike to the torso will put you into the Bleeding state.

    You may not use the hilt or pommel of your weapon as a legal striking surface. Please try and provide at least a one second delay between weapon strikes. The defender does not have to take any attacks by the same weapon that are delivered with less than one second between them. The one second rule applies to all attacks from any weapon type. The attack always goes to the defender – the defender is always in the right when determining whether a hit is successful or not. If you feel as though an opponent is not taking their hits, please continue play and notify a staff member after the encounter. IT IS NEVER OK to call out concerns in this regard during the course of the combat. 

Hybrid Hit Location ExamplePlayer A is wearing leather armor. Leather armor adds 1 point to Player A’s Armor Value. This means that player A can take a hit to any combat-legal location on their body, before they start taking them to their limbs, etc.. Player A enters a combat with player B. Player B successfully resolves 1 hit on player A. Player A’s armor is now considered damaged and must be repaired. Player B hits player A on the right arm. Because player A has no more armor points with which to absorb damage (from either armor or tough), player A must take the hit to their arm, rendering it unusable until proper care is given to set it right again.

Approved Weapon Manufacturers

All weapons and shields must come from an approved manufacturer and no homemade weapons or shields are allowed. This is to ensure consistency in not only aesthetics and quality, but safety. Should you wish to purchase a custom weapon from a non-approved manufacturer, please submit your request to staff in addition to the vendor and item specifications. Please include any helpful links as well. The only exception to this is the Claw weapon type, as detailed below. The following brands are approved for use: Calimacil, Dark Knight Armoury, Epic Armoury, Mytril, Atelier Nemesis, Medieval Collectibles, Mytholon, and Buzzbee. Any other manufacturer must be approved before it may be used at an Eldritch event.

Melee Weapon Sizes

    One handed weapons are considered to be 43” from end to end or smaller, while two-handed weapons are anything beyond this. Note that you may wield a two handed weapon with one hand, however may not then, use any Martial skills that requires the use of a two handed weapon. The weapon must be held with both hands for you to use the corresponding Martial skill.

Weapon & Armor Durability

    All weapons and shields are fallible to some degree. Depending on the material out of which they are made, they will be able to absorb a number of Sunder martial skills before they are considered fully broken and beyond repair. Like armor, they too have a corresponding armor value, as will be detailed on their corresponding item card.


    In order to successfully resolve a weapon strike on an opponent, the strike must not be blocked by a shield or weapon. The blow should make clean, unimpeded contact with a legal bodily area, as detailed in the paragraph above. A block is successfully executed when the blocking medium (a sword, shield, etc...) resoundingly impedes the motion and/or trajectory of the striking weapon. While there is certainly room for the honor system and/or marshal interpretation here, this blocking definition is meant to dissuade combatants from attempting to resolve a weapon strike using the ‘blow through’ method; that is, swinging a weapon with such force that an opponent cannot block it with sufficient, opposing force. The success of the block is always determined by the defender.

Note - Shields may block any attack though receive a Sunder when blocking a bullet from a firearm.


    If an arrow successfully resolves on a target in a legal bodily location, it bypasses any Armor Value (Tough and Armor Points) that the target may have. Note that Resist may not be used to negate any damage from arrows in this way. Arrows are considered a finite good and must therefore be purchased in game. Arrows are purchased in bundles from the corresponding in-game vendor. Shields may block arrows as they normally would any other weapon, with the exception of firearms. A bow can be 24” to 72” and have no more than a 35 lb. maximum draw weight.