Combat Rules

A quick summary of Combat Rules

EOA Combat Rules

Echoes of Athus (EOA) has a full fledged LARP combat system, in which we try to mimic real combat as closely as possible; however, we also want every participant to be able to walk away without injury! Although real combat has no rules this is a game. In EOA we must have rules in place to govern combat for fairness and the enjoyment for all players involved. Our number one concern of EOA staff is the safety of its players, and combat is the least safe aspect of most LARPs. For this reason, a MANDATORY safety course is given to all players and the urles for combat MUST BE adhered to in order to reduce the chances of injury.

Combat Safety Rules

The number one and most important concern of EOA staff is the safety of its players, and combat is the least safe aspect of the game. For this reason, a MANDATORY safety course is given to all players, and the rules for combat MUST BE strongly adhered to in the interest of preventing injury.


This is the most important rule that must be adhered to by all EOA participants.

Any player, at any time that feels unsafe for any reason, is being hit too hard by his foe, or is attempting another person from getting injured (generally by tripping/falling backwards into something) may call a hold. The player calling the hold must yell the word “HOLD!” loudly enough for everyone in the immediate vicinity to hear.

When a Hold is called, everyone involved must stop all in-game actions and conversation, and drop to one knee. Once in a Hold the player who called it should then resolve the reason for the Hold by telling his/her opponent, or a Marshal, the problem. Once resolved the player who called the Hold must call the game back into play. To do so, he tells everyone to get up and loudly proclaims “3, 2, 1, Lay On!”.

Players should remember the importance of calling a Hold and should only call one when necessary, since it detracts from the game. Anyone ignoring a Hold may be subject to disciplinary action. Holds are used for emergencies and players should treat all Holds as emergencies until it is determined there is not one.

If there is a valid medical reason why you cannot drop to one knee, please make an effort to crouch or stoop to signify you are in a Hold.


During the course of the event your character will need healing from damage sustained in combat. It is an out-of-play necessity that the term “Medic” be forbidden unless a person is hurt in real life. If you have a REAL injury, call a Hold, and remove yourself from the battlefield if possible. If you feel that this is a serious injury then call 911 or have another participant take you to the local hospital. If you witness someone else get injured and see that they cannot call for help, do so for them or call for the closest Staff member.

If your character is injured and needs healing in-play please call for a “healer” or “cleric”.

For small injuries, EOA has some first aid supplies, which will be located in the the tavern for participant use. We do not have a medic on-site , if you are in need of medical attention please go to the local hospital.

Swinging a Weapon

When using a weapon in combat the character must pull back his arm to at least a 45 degree angle but no greater than 90 degrees, state the damage call, and then swing the weapon. When thrusting with a weapon a similar rule applies — the character must pull his arm back at least six inches and call weapon damage before thrusting again.

These rules help simulate real world weapons and allow for characters to call weapon damage clearly and consistently each time.

Striking Force

Weapon combat in EOA is a “lightest-touch” system. Combatants should use the lightest swing possible while still striking with sufficient force for the target to reasonably feel the impact. Characters may have to swing proportionately harder to strike with sufficient force against someone wearing heavier armor.

The goal of EOA weapon combat is to avoid injury. Weapon blows should either cause no pain or a light and brief stinging sensation if on bare skin. Weapon blows should not cause: bruising, cuts, concussions, broken bones, or lingering pain. If you have any doubt that you may be hitting too hard, please speak with a Staff member.

During combat, players should inform the opponent if he is striking too hard. If the opponent is striking so hard that he may risk causing serious injury, a Hold should be called but this is only to be used for safety.

Target Locations

Weapon combat may only target certain locations on the body. You may not aim for the target’s head or groin. All other locations on the target’s body are legal strike zones.

Striking an illegal location will result in the blow being invalid, causing no damage or effect. In a combat situation, the player should let his or her opponent know if a blow landed on an illegal location. This serves to inform the attacker that no damage or effect was taken and weapon swings need to be adjusted. If the attacker continues to strike an illegal area, please inform a Staff member.

Performing A Weapon Block

Blocking is performed by interposing a weapon or shield between the target and an incoming attack, so that the incoming weapon is at least partially deflected or slowed by a weapon or shield. A block need not stop the entire motion of the incoming weapon. An attack that strikes a dagger then slides off and strikes a legal target location will still count as blocked. A weapon swing blocked in this manner deals no damage.
Using A One-Handed Weapon in Two Hands

You may use a one-handed weapon in two hands as long as it can be done safely. This is a style choice and provides no in-game benefit to the player.

The Hand Rule

A player can only have one in-game item in his hand at any given time. If more than one in-game item is held in one hand, neither item functions. For example, if a sword and shield are held in one hand and either item is the target of a weapon blow, the character would take the damage or effect.

Pushing Aside Weapons

Pushing aside weapons is using a weapon or shield to manipulate another combatant’s weapon or shield without trapping it. Pushing aside weapons is legal however, a player may not manipulate an opponent’s body, such as tripping him or her with an axe.

Unsafe Combat Practices

Unsafe combat practices are prohibited in EOA. This includes any combat maneuver undertaken by a player which denies the opponent the opportunity to make a safe and legal weapon attack against him or her. This can include using the environment, legal weapons or shields, or a player’s body positioning (ex: Turtling - crouching down behind a shield so that no legal targets are showing.) Actively using a weapon tied to your body in any way during a combat situation is prohibited. These are not the only instances, but just the most common.

EOA Staff members have the authority to call out a player for unsafe combat practices at any time when they perceive that a player’s out-of-game combat circumstances are unsafe.

Blocking with an Illegal Target

Interposing an illegal target between an opponent’s weapon swing and the target is not permitted. The most common example is blocking a weapon blow with a free hand. If this happens, the target will take the damage or effect. Repeated violations should be referred to a Staff member.


Players are to stay at least an arm’s length from his or her opponent while engaging in combat. This distance is measured by the combatant with the shortest arm length (fingers extended) to the opponent’s torso. Some weapons or shields may extend past this distance, but they are not included in the measurement for charging. Moving inside the reach of, or into contact with weapons or shields is not charging.

Machine Gun Rule

Because the weapons used in EOA have the potential to be much lighter than real weapons, a player can physically make many more strikes in a short time than realistically possible by “bouncing” the weapon off a target, recovering an inch or so, and then striking the same place again. This is “machine gunning” and it is not permitted. A combatant should strike no faster than he or she can state the combat call (“Two Normal Damage, Two Normal Damage”) and enunciate it clearly enough to be easily understood.

Most players can swing their weapons and clearly enunciate their combat calls twice per second. If a player is swinging more than two times in one second, he or she is almost certainly machine gunning. The player must slow their swings for safety.


Shield-bashing is any movement of the shield that results in body contact with the opponent. This is illegal. The wielder of the shield is almost always ultimately responsible for any illegal contact between his shield and the target’s body. A target coming in contact with a player’s shield does not constitute shield-bashing if the player’s shield is stationary while the target moves into contact with it.

Incidental shield-to-shield contact is extremely common and does not necessarily constitute shield-bashing however, using a shield intentionally as a ram against an opponent — even if the opponent’s shield is contacted first — does constitute shield-bashing.

Hidden / Invisible / Shifted Targets

Swinging a weapon wildly in an attempt to land a blow on a creature or character that is not visible is illegal in EOA. This means that it is not acceptable to swing a weapon blindly around a corner or through a door or over any object that is blocking the line of sight of the creature or character in an attempt to strike the target. A player must be able to see the creature or character in order to land a legal blow.


Trapping is any technique that uses weapons, shields or other objects to prevent an opponent from withdrawing his or her weapon. Trapping is illegal in EOA as many of the counter maneuvers would be unsafe to perform.

Weapons and shields may not be designed to deliberately trap opponent’s weapons.


Any sort of disarming attempt which depends upon twisting the opponent’s wrist or which operates in conjunction with trapping is not permitted.

Spell Casting

To cast a spell, the caster must have a spell packet in hand. The hand and arm with the spell packet in it must be “free” (Hands that are holding something else, or are tied or bound either physically or with magic are not “free”). The caster must then correctly recite the verbal for the spell in a voice loud enough to be heard by a person standing next to you even if there is no one standing next to you. Within three seconds after finishing the verbal, the caster must then throw the packet at the target. The short phrase or “verbal” of the spell is spoken in plain English so the victim will know what spell has been cast. In game, these words are understood by anyone, but have a “magical effect” associated with them that makes them different from normal speech. Even though you can speak the language, you cannot “fake” a spell verbal or otherwise bluff the casting of a spell. You also cannot bluff the start of a spell verbal. If you start the incantation, the spell is used.

Spell Disruption

If a person takes hit point damage while casting a spell, the spell is disrupted. It does not work but is not lost from memory. A spell can be disrupted by anything that deals hit point damage, including weapons, traps, and certain spells such as silence. This is known as Disruption or Spell Disruption and is sometimes applicable to other types of attacks as noted in their descriptions.


Touch-casting is performed by holding a claw and placing it against the target you wish to affect. Under no circumstances can you touch another player with a packet. The obvious advantage to this is that there is no chance of missing and wasting the effect. In such a case, the effect recipient may choose to “accept” the effect, thus letting it past their Spell Defenses such as Arcane Armor . The recipient must be conscious to “accept” an effect without triggering the Spell Defenses. The decision to accept an effect through touch-casting is made immediately after the effect is cast. This is to prevent a caster from tricking an unsuspecting victim. "Touch casting in this manner only applies to beneficial or "buff" spells. Under no circumstances can one touch cast damaging or detrimental spells. Whenever attempting to touch-cast, you must abide by all EOA safety rules.

Stacked Effects

Identical spells may not be stacked. No person may have a second copy of the same spell actively affecting him or her unless the spell description states otherwise. If you are hit with a second effect that isn’t stackable, the spell is lost and the target should call “No effect.” This definition is extended to include all identically named EOA game effects, not just spells. Identical effects are not stackable, unless noted in the effect’s description. The following spell types have special rules regarding spell stacking.

Spell Packets

Spell packets in EOA are real tangible objects that exist naturally in the environment, known as spell crystals. These dull grey crystalline objects are spherical in shape and not suitable for any other purpose other than channeling mana through them.

Non-Combatant Rules

A player who is unable to be in a combat situation is a non-combatant player and must ALWAYS wear a fluorescent-colored headband preferably yellow, pink or orange.

Once a player is deemed a non-combatant, he or she may not remove the Non-Combat headband, unless first approved by a GM or AGM. Players may not simply deem themselves a non-combatant without first notifying the GM or AGM.

Under no circumstances is a non-com player to be struck with any weapons or any packets however, the non-combatant may accept touch-casting of spells. The non-combatant cannot carry any ranged or melee weapons, but may carry packets. The non-combatant may only touch cast spells onto a willing target, and must try to avoid any and all combat situations. To render this person into their death count, one can point their finger at the player and say “Deathblow 1, Deathblow 2, Deathblow 3”. This action must be done within five feet of the target, is unavoidable to the target and cannot be defended in any way by anyone.

Delivery Methods


All packet attacks are delivered by throwing a packet or by touching a packet to a target. This includes spells, special abilities, and some innate attacks. The packet only needs to touch the target or any possession of the target to have an affect. Packets are made with a square of 6” x 6” cloth filled with bird seed. When delivering packets, you should not “baseball pitch” the packet. Just like all other attacks, your intention should be to land the hit causing as little harm as possible.


This includes all blows from all weapons including one handed weapons, two handed weapons and thrown weapons. If a weapon attack includes a damage number or is a fighting skill that requires the skill name,” then the blow needs to hit a valid target.

Thrown Weapon

Thrown weapons are made of foam or latex. Unlike melee weapons, thrown weapons have no cores. Also, they cannot be weighted with metal, wood or any material that is not foam, latex, or tape. Thrown weapons count as legal hits if they strike any area of the body, although repeatedly striking the head may result in you not being allowed to continue to use thrown weapons. Thrown weapons can be blocked with weapons or shields.


Some creatures in EOA do not carry weapons but their reach may be longer than that of a standard arm length. To reflect these types of combat claws the claw tagline is used. Claws are represented by a twelve inch piece of pipe foam covered in duct tape. Carrying a claw physrep and a weapon physrep in the same hand is not allowed.

Spell Strike

Weapons can also be used to deliver certain spell effects via the Spell Strike delivery method. In these cases, the weapon is charged with a spell-like effect, the attacker will shout, "Spell Strike: (spell name) and then must touch the target's body. Spell strikes can be dodged, blocked by another weapon or deflected with a physical shield.


Innate casting is a representation of magic that is natural or racial in origin. These are effects that do not require a verbal and are delivered instantly. For some creatures, magic is so ingrained into what they are that the creature does not need to use a verbal to cast a spell. The combat call is “Innate X .” This is an out-of-game statement and, as such, the creature may still cast even if under the effects of Silence. Creatures who can cast innately cannot be interrupted by hit point damage. Any spell delivered via innate casting can be defended against in the same way as any other ability or spell.

Enhancement Lines

Enhancement Lines encompass a type of delivery that is conveyed through physical contact. The most common forms of enhancements are status effect based and are typically delivered via a melee weapon or claw. Standard enhancements are augmented attack swings that follow a special rule. Status enhancements are an additional effect that is tied to the weapon swing and will include one of the standard statuses covered in Chapter 6.

Standard Enhancements

Massive: If you are struck with a massive tag line, you must take it. If you block with a shield or weapon you still take the damage. Skills may be used to prevent or redirect this damage.

Rending: Ignores armor and threshold (monsters with special material weaknesses)

Elemental Enhancement: If an attack is elementally enhanced then depending on its delivery mechanism will dicated how it can resolved. Any weapon or claw swing with an Elemental Enhancement, can be blocked with a Weapon, Arcane Shield/Armor, or Physical Shield. If the attack is packet delivered, than this effect cannot be blocked by a Weapon or Shield. Any contact with the packet is considered a hit. The only way to then resolve this effect is with a spell such as Arcane Shield/Armor.

Status Enhancements: The enhancement status is added to the attack swing and conveys both the damage swung plus the enhanced status effect. There is one important rule to be considered with status effect based enhancements. The attack must actually do hit point damage to the target in order for the enhancement status to take effect. If you are wearing armor or if you happen to have threshold which would negate the damage before it makes contact with your health, then you do not take the effect.