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The Mechanics of Melee Combat - Part 2


When you make a melee attack, you must successfully overcome the various defenses of your target before you can even land a damaging blow. The single most important stat for this is HITROLL, which can be boosted in a number of ways including equipment, spells, and training.

Hitroll is a measurement of your ability to penetrate your foe's armor class in combat. Your hitroll is added to the attack roll, whether positive or negative. Ultimately, the higher the hitroll, the better (higher) the ac you can overcome and the better chance you have of defeating parry and dodge.

Thieves and especially warriors also get an invisible bonus of between 3 and 10 hitroll based on level, which can help greatly against high level monsters.

To calculate an estimate of your total HITROLL, take the value from your score and add in the bonus. If you're a high level warrior, add 10. If you're a high level thief, add 5. If you're a high level cleric or druid, add 3. Mages and necromancers get nothing. The highest bonus out of all your classes is your final bonus - don't add the bonuses for all your classes together.

The bless spell also directly affects one's hitroll. You gain a bonus to hitroll while the spell is in effect depending on the caster level, as indicated below:
  • Caster Level 9 or less = +1 Hitroll
  • Caster Level 10 to 19 = +2 Hitroll
  • Caster Level 20 to 29 = +3 Hitroll
  • Caster Level 30 to 39 = +4 Hitroll

A bless spell cast by a god can confer even greater bonuses. A player receiving a bless from the priest of the god whom they worship may find the bonus to be lesser or greater depending on their standing with their deity.

Some combat skills (berserk being one notable example) may also change your hitroll while they are active.

Defenses to Attacks

For the purposes of this article, there are only three skills that really serve as active defenses against melee attacks. These are the dodge, parry, and defensive fighting skills.

The outer layer of defense is the parry skill, which serves to block blows using a weapon. This skill is fairly powerful, and can be very frustrating when fighting skilled opponents. If your blow is parried, you'll see it unless you have your spam filters on. Hitroll, dexterity, and your own knowledge of parry all help negate an opponent's parry skill.

The inner layer of defense is the dodge skill. An opponent that isn't there can't take damage. This skill is weaker than parry, but can still be powerful when used by a skilled opponent. If your blow is dodged, you'll see either that it was dodged, or that you have missed your opponent outright.

Similar to parry, hitroll, dexterity, and your own knowledge of dodge all help to negate an opponent's dodge skill.

Defensive fighting doesn't add any new defenses, instead it strengthens both dodge and parry. Defensive fighting does have a downside though, in that while defending the target has drastically reduced attacks.

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