Fantasy Wargaming—Personal Combat

Combat round sequence
Going berserk
Weapons and armor


At first glance, the rules for personal combat in Fantasy Wargaming seem straightforward. There are some subtle points, however, that must be noticed if you want to get it right. There are also some ways to simplify the calculations and reduce table look-ups.

Combat round sequence

Combat rounds are 10 seconds long. All sides act simultaneously in each step. Effects are applied immediately. For clarity, the word “melee” is used here where Fantasy Wargaming sometimes uses the word “combat” to mean “hand-to-hand combat.”

  1. Pre-melee phase
    1. Check morale if required. Morale is checked for all characters in the first pre-melee phase.
    2. Control check for berserks if required. Berserks always make a control check in the first pre-melee phase.
    3. Declare actions.
    4. Movement, charging, and other actions.*
    5. Missile attacks.
    6. Magical attacks.
    7. If melee has not yet begun and combat continues, return to step 1.
  2. Melee phase
    1. Fire missiles into melee against a random target.
    2. Cast spells into melee against a random target.
    3. Declare lunges and defensive maneuvers.
    4. First strikes: attacks by characters with weapons two or more feet longer than their opponent's, or with surplus agility 5+ more than their opponent's.
    5. Counter-attacks against first strikes.
    6. Flurry of blows, dodge, disengage, or parry.
  3. Post-melee phase
    1. Check morale if required.
    2. If combat continues, return to melee phase (step B).

* The precise handling of movement and other actions (aside from charging) is not specified in Fantasy Wargaming. I have added it prior to missiles and magic so that these attacks may target those who are taking those ongoing actions (e.g., shooting arrows at moving warriors). Missiles and magic will always have the opportunity to interrupt ongoing actions before they are completed.


The morale rules list the circumstances when morale must be checked. When one of these circumstances occurs, check morale at the appropriate point in the combat sequence. Morale checks will sometimes occur outside of combat, as specified in the text.

To more easily determine the column of the morale table to use when checking morale, each player should keep a running “Morale Factor” (MF) on his character sheet. The MF should be recalculated at the beginning of each day. To calculate the day's starting MF, add combat level and bravery, and adjust as follows:

Combat level lower than party leader +1 per level
Combat level higher than party leader −1 per level
Party leader+2
Selfishness 8−+1
Selfishness 14+−1
Intelligence 8−

For each victory in combat in a day add 1 to MF. For each defeat subtract 1. Recalculate MF any time the party leader changes.

When a morale check is called for, apply the following cumulative modifiers to MF for that test only:

Injured up to half endurance−1
Half endurance or less, or 4 points or less in any case −2
Party intact+2
Party has suffered half casualties −2
In a secure position +2
Under missile fire this phase −1
Mage faced with higher-level magic −1
Mage or cleric faced with combat −2
Warrior faced with magic or miracle −2
Greed or Lust 14+ and faced with object of desire +2
Least brave member of party passes morale check +2
Party member fleeing this phase −1
Party has deserted −2
Party leader fails a morale check −2
Demoralized by last morale check (any result less than “obey orders”) −2
Already fleeing−4
Character's astrological sign is influencing ±1

* Physical combat only

The luck die should also be thrown. The results of the morale check are explained clearly in the text.

Going berserk

All Vikings, and all characters with bravery 12+ and intelligence 9−, must check at certain times to see if they go berserk. These characters should maintain a “Berserk Factor” (BF) on their character sheets. To calculate the BF, Vikings start with half their combat level (rounded up) + 2. Non-Vikings start with half their combat level (rounded up) treated as negative. The apply the following modifiers:

Bravery 14++1
Bravery 15–16+2
Bravery 17++3
Intelligence 6–7+1
Intelligence 4*–5+2
Intelligence 0–3+3
Leader of party−2

* The text leaves out the factor for Intelligence 4. It seems obvious that it is meant to be +2.

For any given check, the BF should be temporarily modified as follows:

Endurance 3 or below−3
Berserk in last two days +2
Party member dies, flees, or surrenders this phase −1 per member
Failed last morale test
Character's astrological sign is influencing ±1

Roll luck as usual. The effects of going berserk are explained in the text.

Weapons and armor

To use the Striking Table, players need to calculate the following values for each of the weapons their character is holding: surplus strength, surplus agility, and adjusted damage. Surplus strength and surplus agility are both reduced by the total encumbrance values of all carried weapons not being wielded, and surplus agility is further reduced by the listed value for armor. Then the character's “Weapon Factor” (WF) may be calculated: it equals the modified surplus agility if this is negative, or half the surplus agility (round up) if it is positive.

Adjust the WF of the weapon based on the character's statistics as follows:

Combat level+1 per level
Non-favored weapon−2
Intelligence 14++1
Intelligence 4–8−1
Intelligence 0–3−2
Bravery 14+*+1
Bravery 4–8*−1
Bravery 0–3*−2
Endurance 14+*+1
Endurance 4–8*−1

* Melee weapons only.

Record this final WF for each weapon. If the character drops or acquires any non-wielded weapons with encumbrance, the WF must be recalculated.

The weapon's damage should be adjusted by surplus physique. This adjusted damage is what should be recorded.


The column on the Striking Table to use is determined by the weapon's WF, adjusted for the situation:

Ranged weapons only
Tiny target−2
Small target−1
Large target+1
Very large target+2
Very fast-moving target−2
Fast-moving target−1
Slow-moving target+1
Very slow-moving target+2
Over half range−1
Extreme range (last 10 percent) −2
Opponent sees you fire −1
All weapons
Blow is carrying over from a parry in which the opponent's weapon broke* −2
Character is berserk −1
Character is outnumbered −1 per foe beyond the first
Character damaged in last melee phase −2
Character is exhausted −4
Opponent damaged in last melee phase +1
Opponent exhausted +1
Opponent is outnumbered +1 per foe beyond the first, maximum +3
Attack is a first strike +1
Free hack +3
Astrological sign is influencing ±1

* Melee weapons only.

Roll for Luck as usual.


The Striking Table tells whether an attack is successful, and what part of the body it hits. There are a number of “special effects” for hits in certain amounts of damage in certain locations. These are simple to understand, and will not be examined here.

When an attack hits, roll the adjusted damage dice. Subtract the opponent's armor value (“protection afforded”). This is what you subtract from the target's endurance.


Instead of attacking, you may parry (with weapon or shield), dodge, or disengage. Calculate as for an attack on the Striking Table as above, then adjust further with these modifiers:

Maneuver area large (50+ sq ft) +2
Maneuver area moderate (30–49 sq ft) +1
Maneuver area medium (20–29 sq ft) +0
Maneuver area small (15–19 sq ft) −1
Maneuver area cramped (14− sq ft) −2
Achieved substantial success in last flurry +4
Achieved partial success in last flurry +2

To disengage, the area must be at least moderate in size; to dodge, the area must be at least medium in size.

If the defense gets at least a partial success, the chances and effects of the opponent's blow will be lessened. Look on the Parry, Dodge, Disengage Effect table to determine the effect. For instance, when parrying, if one achieves a substantial success, the opponent's roll on the Striking Table will be pushed one column to the left (a −1 factor), and any damage caused will be reduced by 3 points. Any totally successful defense always means you yourself will not be harmed.

There seems to be an odd contradiction between the modifiers for the Striking Table and the Parry, Dodge, Disengage Effect table. The Striking Table modifiers specify column shifts, but the PDDE table shows the same adjustments as damage reduction. (And the Striking Table modifiers don't account for disengaging at all.) I don't know how to account for this. Here I have assumed that the PDDE table is correct (otherwise why have it?), and ignored the column shifts in the attacking modifiers above.

On a successful parry, the defensive fighter's weapon or shield may break. Look at the Weapon Breakage table. If the parry was with a shield and the damage caused by the opponent exceeds the shield's defensive value, roll on the table immediately. If the parry was with a weapon, roll the damage dice of the parrying weapon. If the opponent scored more damage (before subtracting your armor value), roll on the table. The parrying weapon will not break if it rolls damage more than or equal to the opponent's damage.

Last updated August 8, 2010

David Trimboli | Index