A player's tactics settings determine various options about how they will behave during combat.
These settings can be viewed and set using the 'tactics' command, and the options available are explained in detail below.
A player's 'response' setting determines which of the fighting.defence skill subtrees they will use to defend themself. It can be set to one of four options:
- Dodge - with this option set, a player will always attempt to dodge incoming attacks, and will not attempt to parry or block them.
- Parry - with this option set, a player will always attempt to parry or block incoming attacks (depending on whether the hand(s) specified in the 'parry' option below are holding a shield or not). They will not attempt to dodge.
- Block - with this option set, a player will always attempt to block incoming attacks. They will not attempt to dodge nor parry.
- Neutral - with this option set, a player will randomly decide to either dodge or block or parry each incoming attack.
Generally speaking, it is preferable to decide early on whether your character is more suited to dodging or parrying or blocking, and set your response to one of these accordingly - as attempting to gain proficiency in both response types requires twice the amount of XP expenditure.
That said, there is a minor bonus conferred in combat if a player's response is neutral, as the enemy isn't sure how the player will react.
A player's 'parry' setting determines which hand (or hands) a player will use to parry incoming attacks. Obviously, this setting only applies if the 'response' setting above is set to either 'parry' or 'neutral'.
Available options are:
- Left - parry only with the left hand.
- Right - parry only with the right hand.
- Both - randomly choose which hand to parry with for each attack. This confers a very slight reduction in the action point cost of parrying, but means that a player may find themself parrying with an unfavourable weapon.
- Unarmed - determines whether the player will attempt to parry when unarmed or not (each time this option is set it toggles allowing/disallowing unarmed parrying).
A player's 'attack' setting determines which hand(s) are used to attack.
Available options are:
- Left - attack only with the left hand.
- Right - attack only with the right hand.
- Both - randomly choose which hand to attack with for each strike. This confers a very slight reduction in the action point cost of attacking, but means that a player may find themself attacking with an unfavourable weapon.
A player's 'attitude' setting essentially determines how aggressive or defensive the player is in combat. This affects a number of things, as detailed in the table below.
|Attitude||Extra GP drain per attack||Extra GP drain per defence||Action point limit for attacking||Action point limit for defending||To hit modifier||To defend modifier|
The action point limits in the above table should be treated as relative to each other for the same skill level, rather than anything absolute. Note that a player generally has higher action point limits for defending than attacking, as people are prone to avoiding pain.
The to-hit and to-defend bonuses are roughly equivalent to improving or worsening the chance to hit or defend by that much (but be aware that a great many other factors also influence this test).
A player's 'focus' option determines which part of the body their attacks will be aimed at.
Available options are:
- Specific parts of the human body (head, neck, chest, abdomen, arms, hands, legs, feet) - in which case all attacks will be aimed at that area.
- More general areas - upper body and lower body.
- None - just choose randomly.
See here for details on the likelihood of hitting various body parts if the 'upper/lower body' or 'none' options are selected. If one of the specific areas has been selected, and the target is not humanoid, then the target area will be mapped onto a roughly similar area (eg. chest, abdomen, arms, legs, hands and feet might all strike the body area of a snake).
Setting focus to a particular area may be useful in that it can be used to get avoid armoured areas on the opponent, or to hit more damage-sensitive areas (such as the face), however, attempting to focus on a specific area incurs a significant to-hit penalty:
- No penalty for focus 'none'
- Penalty very roughly equivalent to 25% chance to hit for 'upper body' or 'lower body' focus.
- Penalty very roughly equivalent to 0 to 25% chance to hit for focusing on specific areas, depending on how big the area is (bigger areas incur a lesser penalty).