Table of Contents

Basic Combat




Love of swordsmanship will turn any dull warrior into a curator of instincts. Love of the outcome of swordsmanship will only turn you into the most aborrent of monsters.

~Velvet, Enforcer of The Weeping Men

Basic Combat

Basic combat is defined as combat with NO SKILLS or EFFECTS.

Age of Ashes uses a hit location system for combat. The important locations are your arms, legs and torso. Hands/feet should be avoided, but count as the limb they are attached to. The head and groin are never legal targets.

Age of Ashes Hit Locations are detailed in the image above. If there is uncertainty which location is hit, the person being hit makes the call as to the location.  Generally, strikes to the buttocks are considered part of the legs.


Safety is absolutely the number one priority for staff, but it has to be the number one priority for players as well. Intentionally injuring players or deliberately striking with more force than is necessary is never acceptable behavior and is grounds to be banned from the game.


If you feel that an opponent is cornering you or fighting too close to you for comfort or safety, you may call CROWDED and the expectation is that combat will pause and combatants will readjust to safer circumstances. 

In the event of a medical emergency, injury, or unsafe conditions, yell SAFETY. All players are expected to halt all fighting and roleplaying immediately and to propagate the call until the unsafe conditions are corrected or someone from staff or someone with medical training responds. The game will resume when injured players are cleared or conditions are now safe to fight in.  It is appropriate to yell SAFETY whenever things could be considered unsafe. 


In Age of Ashes players may signal that they are non-combatants by wearing an orange sash, generally of a large size. 

Since it is not always obvious when combat is going to break out, we ask that players who are non-combatants wear their sash as long as they are in the event space during game hours. If it is too dark for the sash to be seen or if a non-combatant thinks that for any reason nearby combatants will be unable to see their sash then they should call out SAFETY and move away from any fighting immediately.  Combatants should strive to avoid fighting directly around non-combatants, and should never use them as part of their combat strategy.

Players who are non-combatants are not to be physically struck, although they may be attacked via the system below. This holds true for any physical strike within the system.  

A non-combatant does not have to fall to the ground when injured/dying. Instead they may move to the side of the immediate area and await healing (or death) and/or looting there.

In order to attack a non-combatant or for a non-combatant to attack another, it is necessary to walk up to the target and announce an intention to attack. The attacker will then point out which body part they are attacking and engage the defender in a rock-paper-scissors match in order to see if the hit connects. If the hit lands, then the defender may call defenses as appropriate.

On a tie, the attacker and defender will engage in another rock-paper-scissors match until there is no longer a tie.

If either participant in the match successfully defends in the rock-paper-scissors engagement, then they are deemed victorious and may attempt to escape if they desire. At this point they may ask the loser, “I intend to run, do you intend to give chase?” If the loser answers in the negative, and there are no other attackers nearby who wish to enter combat with the winner, then the winner may enter the OOC status by placing a closed fist on their forehead and swiftly exiting the area. They must re-enter game out of line of sound and sight from those they escaped from.

If the loser answers in the affirmative that they do intend to give chase, the pair engages in one more rock-paper-scissors match. If the winner wins again, they may enter the OOC status by placing a closed fist on their forehead and swiftly exiting the area- assuming there are no other attackers nearby who wish to enter combat with them. They must re-enter game out of line of sound and sight from those they escaped from.

If there are others within melee range who wish to engage the non-combatant, the non-combatant must similarly defeat them in turn before they may enter the OOC status and escape.

If escape is not desired or successful, the attacker and defender will simply test with rock-paper-scissors until one is Downed.

If the attacker has an ability or skill that increases the chances of striking a defender (e.g. assassinate), then they win on ties, and there is no need to replay the match. We advise wherever possible for non-combatants to stay on the outer edges of group combat to avoid stray hits, as we cannot guarantee that a non-combatant will not get hit in a mass combat.


Age of Ashes is a medium contact LARP. Every physical weapon should be used as though they had real world weight, which means swinging with deliberate movements, but reduced force.


A weapon hit, or a Strike, is registered when a weapon makes bodily contact with Sufficient Force to wound the character, and is always the call of the defender, regardless of the level of interference. This means that accidental bumps and jostling touches from weapons do not count as hits. If you have interfered enough with the weapon to negate a hit, you have Guarded the blow. 

Sufficient Force is considered to be a Strike that is intentional, strikes with the edge of the weapon (if applicable), and in the case of melee weapons, can be felt even if the blow was not seen.  In the case of items that cannot deliver sufficient force, such as thrown weapons, magic projectiles, and bullets, it is the responsibility of the attacker to inform you that you have been hit if you do not notice.  

Excessive Force

Weapon contact is inevitable in combat. Striking someone too hard does not have to be. If your opponent says you are hitting too hard, you are. This is a game with trust as the foundation; even if you don’t think you are hitting too hard, you are expected to soften your blows for the comfort of your opponent. 


Age of Ashes does not allow for ‘machine gunning’ quick attacks. After every hit on an opponent, you must wait for a Hit Resolution from your opponent, indicating if the hit was successful (either by roleplaying that they were hit or by the simple statement “Taken”) or if there is a defense call. For the purposes of basic combat, this can either be, Armor, Guarded or roleplaying the injury. Advanced combat may include such calls as Dodge, Parry, etc. Subsequent hits will deal no damage if a response is not awaited.

In the event that multiple people hit a single target in a short amount of time, the target may use one singular Defensive call to counter all of those received hits. Those attackers who have a counter may then use it.  For example, if five PCs land hits on a monster within the same span, the monster may call Parry against all of them. If one or more of the five PCs has a use of Mighty, they may then call it and the monster would take the hit from that PC. 



Unless otherwise noted, all skills may be used once per rest. 

A rest occurs when you take five uninterrupted deep breaths while stationary and leaning forward, with both hands making contact with your knees while holding your weapons.

This refreshes all all expended skills but if someone attacks during this process the rest is assumed to be interrupted. 



Unless otherwise noted, all skills may be used once per rest. 

A rest occurs when you take five uninterrupted deep breaths while stationary and leaning forward, with both hands making contact with your knees while holding your weapons.

This refreshes all all expended skills but if someone attacks during this process the rest is assumed to be interrupted. 


Every physical weapon hit does 1 Strike of damage.

If you take a Strike, you must roleplay as though you took a painful wound, with at least a quick reaction of a grunt, cry, or other sound, in addition to some physical movement such as staggering stepping back or grabbing the wounded area.

If you take a Strike to an arm or leg, that limb is Injured and cannot be used. If you take a second Strike to an injured limb, you are Downed. If you take a Strike to your torso, it is injured and you are Downed.

  • Injured Arms may not hold anything above a few pounds. You may still gesture feebly, open doors, use a fork, and other minor tasks.
  • Injured Legs may not support any weight.  A character with one Injured leg may put their majority weight on their good leg so they can limp.  A character with an injured leg should not hop on one foot.  A character with two Injured legs cannot stand up or walk unassisted.
  • An Injured Torso means you are Downed.


There are several types of defenses and calls.  A call is a verbal announcement that can negate Strikes or activate abilities. In Basic Combat there are two: Armor and Guarded.

The Armor call is used when your armor is struck.  An Armor call, if available, will negate a Strike made against you. The strike must have actually hit a place on your body that was covered with the armor in order for you to make an Armor call.  Armor is not part of the normal defensive chain of Advanced Combat. This means that if Player A strikes, Player B calls Armor, then Player A calls Driving, Player B may also call Dodge.

The Guarded call is used when a Strike is physically stopped from touching you or makes insufficient contact by either interfering with another weapon or with a Shield. This is an optional clarifying call, for when a Strike made against you was confusing and you want to communicate that the attack did not cleanly connect or contact.

In Advanced Combat a defender may call “parry,” “dodge,” or “block” depending on their abilities.  These defense calls may be countered by various other abilities, but the chain stops at that third call. There is no call that negates the negation of a defense call, or in other words there is not a second defense call that can be used. For example, Player 1 lands a Strike on Player 2. Player 2 calls “Dodge”. Player 1 calls “Quick” which negates the Dodge. This is where the calls end and Player 2 takes the hit, even if they had other defensive calls they could have used. They also have used up their Dodge, even though it was negated.   

The one exception to this is Power Strike.  Power strike is the one ability in which a second defense may be called.  Essentially, Player A hits Player B, Player B calls a Defense, Player A calls Power Strike, and then Player B may also call Power Strike as a counter.

When using offensive calls in Advanced Combat only one call may be used at a time.


While Downed, you will be considered Dead once you receive three additional Strikes anywhere, or when you finish quietly reciting your Last Rite, whichever occurs first. You may only speak as though you are in pain and crawl slowly, but you cannot attack or defend yourself.

Always feel free to interrupt combat to ask OOC what an effect is. However, as a general rule if you are in doubt during combat and don’t explicitly know what an effect does when you are hit, take a Strike to the torso and become Downed. If you hear any effect upon hitting an opponent that you don’t recognize, consider your hit guarded. 

Your last rite is a series of personal prayers that do not exceed one minute. After you are finished you will take three strikes immediately and succumb to Death. This is used instead of a timer to determine the length of time that a character bleeds out. Instead of counting out loud, you pray as darkness engulfs you. Ideally, your prayer will address your character’s religion, or lack thereof, and any unfinished business your character has.

Sample Prayer

Gods! Oh, any Gods that may be listening, I should have given myself to one of you long ago, but thought I had more time. I call out to you now in desperation, need, that you might visit mercy upon this piteous nonbeliever. Let this not be my final hour on the earth, and if it is I beg you ferry me through the unknowable dark to a better haven beyond. But most of all, I pray you visit vengeance upon he who has wronged me. Do that, Nameless One, and I will serve you faithfully in this world and the next.

I have too much left to do upon this wretched, twisted plane. I beg that you give me more time, that I might find someone to love, settle my lasting debts, and make my makers mark upon my legacy. Show me some sign, secret Lord of my heart, that I might know I am not a madman or a fool speaking to dead and empty air.  

I can feel the darkness coming now. I am dying. In these last breaths I beg of you to save me. I’m not prepared to meet the night alone.


Anyone can Stabilize a person who is downed by wrapping bandages five full revolutions over the affected area of the body. This can be done over clothing, but cannot be done over armor without a special skill. Normally, stabilization cannot occur without bandages, nor can someone stabilize themselves.

An injury that is Stabilized becomes a Battered torso or limb. When someone who is Downed is stabilized, they are considered to have a Battered torso. In this state, partial strength is returned, though continued discomfort or pain should be roleplayed.

If you have a Battered limb, you may not use any combat skills with weapons held in that limb. If you have a Battered torso, you may not use any combat skills, although in both instances you may still hold and use weapons to guard, strike, and use non-combat skills. As ranged weapons require the use of a skill to utilize, you may not use a firearm or a crossbow in a Battered limb or if you have a Battered torso, and you may not use a two handed bow with either arm Battered or a Battered torso. Other skills, such as social and crafting, may be used without any penalty. A strike to a Battered torso or limb becomes a Maim.

At the end of the game event, absent any healing intervention, battered individuals automatically become Healthy, your default healthy state, though any maims still remain.


Maims are a permanent injury, and cannot be Stabilized. They represent grievous injury, the likes of which will not heal on their own and require specialized healing.  A maim is obtained if a Strike is taken to the injured part while Battered.

The first time you gain a maim, it is a Minor Maim. If a Minor Maim already exists in that location upon taking another maim, it becomes a Severe Maim. If a Severe Maim already exists within the location upon taking another maim, it becomes a Crippling maim. All maims need to be reported to staff when convenient that day, or added to the character database. Crippling Maims may also be taken at character creation. 

All maims must be roleplayed, attempting to do actions forbidden by maims will result in a Strike on that location. 


Armor is a worn item that when struck in combat supplies you with a defensive call a certain number of times before it breaks and needs Repairing. Below are the basics of armor however, keep in mind some skills may alter, negate this basic list.

Armor can also be Sundered, in which the defender’s equipment is reduced to a state that the defender is no longer able to use any skills with it and must be repaired or replaced in order to use it again.  You cannot gain the benefits of multiple pieces of armor on the same hit location unless it specifically says so in the schematic or tag.

Light Armor – is any armor made of  leather or cloth. It grants the user 1 armor call to the area which is covered. The armor must be Repaired if the armor takes a second blow to the same area, as it breaks and the wearer takes a Strike.  Wearers can stealth while wearing it. 

Medium armor – is any armor made of metal that is not plate, such as chainmail.  It provides 2 armor calls to the area that is covered, must be Repaired if it takes a third blow which passes through to become a Strike.  Wearers cannot stealth while wearing medium armor. 

Heavy armor- is any armor made of plate.  It provides infinite armor calls against any weapons that lack the driving perk. Driving weapons do not cause the armor to need to be Repaired. Arrows and Firearms both possess driving and go through heavy armor, although Firearms also Sunder and break heavy armor.  Wearers cannot stealth while wearing heavy armor.

Shields- These can consist of a variety of materials ranging from wood and metal to the exotics. A shield can be interposed to stop any physical attacks. Shields can protect from a single shot from a firearm, but are then sundered. Shields may not be Disarmed.

Firearms and arrows penetrate through all armor. Firearms sunder shields and heavy armor, arrows do not. 

Mixing armor is allowed, but the effects are based strictly on which piece was hit.


Weapon Basics: All weapons will need to be inspected for safety each and every game.  Any weapon not approved by staff is not allowed to be used by players. Melee weapons may be used without any skill, although Ranged weapons require a skill to use. 

Please keep in mind this only covers the weapon basics and may not account for skill ranks altering effects.

Brawl – The use of offensive Brawl skills requires the use of a Natural Weapons boffer, including the offensive use of Push. To use the call Push defensively to break Grab, the user needs to have at least one hand unarmed. If using a two handed weapon at the time of Grab, the user will need to drop their weapon in order to defensively call Push.  Grab and the offensive use of Push may be either Parried or Dodged as a defense. Brawl boffers cannot be used to block another brawl boffer, as they are meant to represent punching/grabbing.  If the user wishes to move the target without the skill Carry, they may only move them within the sphere of a pivot in place. 

Natural Weapons – Primarily used in brawl, these padded red or red-marked batons have a padded part that is approximately between 6” and 18” and the entire weapon cannot be longer than 21”. You must strike with the padded section of the weapon. Monsters may use natural weapons that are longer than this to signify claws and monstrous attacks.  For natural weapons that are not brawl related, such as stitching tentacles, check the schematic for required lengths. Natural weapons cannot be used to guard against melee weapons or parry with unless you have Superior Balance in the Martial Arts Tree. 

Thrown Weapons– A weapon with no core. These may take on many shapes from daggers to rocks.

Light Weapons– The length of this weapon should be approximately the length from your fingertips to your elbow. Light weapons are those that would always be considered 1-handed weapons. Examples include Dagger, Club, Sickle, Short Sword, Handaxe, Scimitar, Rapier.

Medium Weapons– The length of this weapon should be approximately the length of your hip to the ground. Medium weapons are those that could be considered 1 or 2-handed weapons. Examples include: Axe, Broadsword, Mace, Spear, or Medium Sword.

Heavy Weapons– The length of this weapon should be approximately your height, but should not exceed 75”. Heavy weapons are those that are considered to always be 2-handed. Examples include: Polearm, Greatsword, Pike, Naginata.

Heavy weapons require 2 hands while defending or attacking. If one of your limbs is injured while using heavy weapons, you are not able to use your weapon.

Bows- Should be limited to 20Lb pull the arrows must be approved by staff. Store bought LARP-safe arrows only are allowed (No homemade arrows will be considered). The pull must be checked at every game by staff. If we get complaints that you are using your bows in an unsafe manner or that your arrows are hurting people we will ask you to lower the poundage or stop using bows entirely.  Packet bows may be used instead. 

Arrows are considered to be Driving, and thus ignore armor. However, shields will stop them.  Arrows are expended when fired, just as firearm ammo is.

FirearmsShould be single shot only, unless you have a schematic allowing for alteration. Firearms ignore armor and sunder heavy armor and shields.  You can only have one bullet in your gun at a time, and you have to keep additional bullets in your pocket, to be reloaded one at a time. In addition, you will need to have a tamp for your gun and when you reload you will need to put the bullet in and then mime tamping it down.

Currently Age of Ashes allows front-loaded spring powered stock commercial blasters that fire standard Elite/Mega darts or equivalent darts. We do not allow for NERF Rival series, disk shooters, air soft or any Rival similar high velocity ball shooters, and our FPS cap for dart blasters is 100 FPS- which we will test via range testing or chronograph.

Regarding modifications of nerf weapons, we welcome cosmetic modification on weapons but ask you do not change any of the stock firing components to increase performance. This includes barrel attachments or stock attachments that directly relate to firing performance.

For all ranged weapons you are responsible for collecting your own ammo.  We encourage you to put your name on your ammo for ease of identification. If a ranged weapon user fires a shot that another character or NPC does not appear to have registered, they may call “Confirmed Arrow” or “Confirmed Bullet”, etc. as relevant, prompting calls in cases where a hit may not have been noticed. We also encourage ranged weapon users to use chalk on the end of their weapons if they would like, in order to better indicate hits. 

Weapon Qualities: Weapon quality calls are delivered after a successful blow has landed, but before any defense is called.

Edged weapons (swords) – Bleed (You cannot take a rest) – lasts for the combat

Weapons that have a driving point (spear, stiletto, rapier) – Driving (ignores armor, including plate)

Blunt weapons (hammer, mace) – Crushing (Ignores Shields)

Staves and hooked (sickle) – Disarm (Weapon must be dropped if arm is struck)

Dense Weapons (ex. axe) – Sunder (Item struck is broken)


Minor Leg Maims

  • Trick Knee – You have a damaged muscle that causes your knee to slip out of place at the worst moments. Any time a Strike hits your legs, you suffer a Trip effect, regardless if you negate the Strike with a Guard or Armor call.
  • Bad Knees – You can’t trek around the wilderness like you used to be able.  Moving off of the established roads involves much too many dips, hops and hurdles for you, and thus you cannot step off of ordinary paths at all without heavy assistance. You also may only travel half as far as other characters during Downtimes unless you have a horse or wagon.

Severe Leg Maims

  • Cannot Run – Injuries to the muscles or joints are extensive and you cannot keep your balance. You need a cane or staff to walk. You will immediately take a Trip effect if you move faster than a walk, and you cannot use Dodge.
  • Terrible Balance – Damage to your nerves has resulted in difficulty coordinating your hips and legs, which means you can’t generate the necessary foundation for combat. May not use melee combat skills.

Crippling Leg Maim

  • Missing Leg –  Injuries to the hip, spine or nerves have left the legs useless, and the character can no longer walk at all, even with assistance. They must be moved manually, or rolled about in a cart.

Minor Arm Maims

  • Weak Grip – Hand injuries cause a weak hold on gripped objects. Any strike with a Large Weapon to the arm or a Mighty attack causes you to be Disarmed.
  • Limited Range – Due to a shoulder injury, you cannot lift your arms above your shoulders. You cannot use a shield or draw a bow.  At the end of every combat, an arm of your choice is Injured if you used a Medium or Heavy weapon.

Severe Arm Maim

  • Damaged fingers – Important fingers like the thumb, forefinger or both are missing from one hand or severely damaged, and it makes fine manipulation with that hand exceptionally clumsy.   Crafting or copying anything takes 10 more minutes, and you cannot fire a bow or pistol. Additionally, any strike to that arm or hand results in you being disarmed if you are holding a weapon in it.

Crippling Arm Maim:

  • Missing Hand: Your hand has been removed totally at the wrist or lower, or the hand has otherwise been rendered totally useless by injury. Crafting times double, and no equipment such as weapons or shields may be used on the affected limb.

Minor Torso Maims

  • Back Pain – Injury to your hips and lower back make it impossible for you to crawl on hands and knees through tight spaces, and make crouching and ducking very painful. You cannot enter Stealth, and you cannot carry or drag an injured or Downed companion. 
  • Injured Liver – A fateful stab or chop has caused serious injury to your liver. All poisons or negative potion effects are treated as one level higher. 

Severe Torso Maims

  • Constant Pain – crushed and pinched nerves in the chest or spine put you in constant pain. Any Injury will immediately put you in the Downed state as you are already at the very limits of pain tolerance.
  • Half Lung – You have broken lungs from an old injury and it has hurt to breathe deeply ever since.  You are unable to Rest during combat as the excitement and exercise are too much for you to recover quickly from.

If a Torso Maim progresses to Crippling, staff may assign a Head Maim or Modification.  

That concludes basic combat.  Click here for a full list of terms, states, and conditions used on this page.

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