How Combat Works--The Fairly Gory Details
Whenever a unit enters a hexagon occupied by a non-allied unit or an Avatar enters a hexagon next to a non-allied unit, there could be a battle. If the moving unit's mission is Explore, it will retreat from the non-allied force (at a cost of 10 MPs). If the moving unit's mission is Conflict, a battle will ensue (also at a cost of 10 MPs to both forces unless a force contains an avatar). How the battle is resolved depends on many of the factors in the previous section. It also depends on the terrain the combatants occupy at the moment of battle.
If units from three or more realms are in a hexagon, things get complicated. Basically, the unit that moved into the hexagon keeps attacking until it is defeated or it has overcome all opposition. Obviously, allies don't attack each other.
Once battle is joined, the opposing units pair off against each other. If one side has more units than the other, then the excess units may double up against opposing units. Then the number of magic and missile rounds of combat in the battle is randomly determined. There can be from 2 to 4 rounds of magical combat and from 3 to 5 rounds of missile fire. Following missile combat is melee combat, which will last until the battle is over.
The three different types of combat rounds (magic, missile, and melee) pit each unit's appropriate attack and defense abilities against those of its opponent. Factored into these scores are terrain effects, relevant bonuses, and each individual unit's experience.
During a magic combat round, Unit A attacks Unit B with its Magic ability, while Unit B resists the attack with its Magic Resistance. Both abilities are adjusted by any appropriate bonuses (from items, leaders, Avatars, and communities), experience, and terrain effects. Unit A must successfully make an adjusted magic attack and Unit B must fail its adjusted resistance in order for Unit A to hit Unit B. If it does so, then Unit B loses 1 hit. Just to make life interesting, while Unit A is attacking, Unit B is usually attacking Unit A in the same manner.
A round of magical combat could end up with no damage to either unit, with 1 hit of damage to one unit, or with 1 hit of damage to each unit. This process is repeated for each round of magical combat. If neither Unit A nor Unit B has a Magic rating, this pair of units does not participate in magical combat.
The same procedure applies during missile and melee combat rounds. The appropriate scores for missile combat are the Missile rating for the attacker and the Defense score for the defender. For melee combat, the attacker uses the Melee rating, while the defender uses the Defense rating.
The battle rages on until all units on one side have been destroyed or one side fails its morale check and retreats. A morale check is rolled for a side after each round of combat in which that side suffers the loss of a unit. Each side in a battle starts out with a fairly high morale, but every hit taken erodes the side's will to fight, increasing the chance for that side to fail its morale check. When a side fails its morale check, it retreats from battle. The defender has an advantage if he possesses garrison units--he makes no morale checks until all his garrison units in the battle are destroyed. You may sometimes notice your armies running away from a battle they might have won, if only they hadn't failed a morale check. You will eventually (we hope) come to appreciate the viewpoint that a unit that fights and runs away lives to fight another day. See Advancing to the Rear for more information on this time-honored maneuver.
A unit is destroyed once it loses all of its hits. As the pairs of battling units zap, twang, and hack away at each other, the combatants are going to start dropping off like flies. When a unit slays its opponents, it is free to choose another unit as its target.
Eventually the battle ends. One of the sides is vanquished, and the other remains in the hexagon, licking its wounds and basking in the glow of its hard- won victory.
When one side is destroyed or retreats from the battle, the victorious side gains all items dropped in the hexagon by destroyed units. The remaining armies and leaders on the victorious side recover their lost hits. Retreating armies and leaders recover their lost hits after they've retreated to a safe hexagon. Avatars do not recover lost hits after a battle in this manner, but they can gain additional hits by use of the Offer order.
The realms that participated in the battle each receive a combat report with
their Turn Results. This report describes the battle, the units involved, and
the outcome. Details on units damaged and destroyed appear in the report.