Combat and Safety

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In Odyssey, you can expect to engage in combat whenever you enter the arena and travel on a quest. Combat outside the arena is also possible, so all players should be familiar with the concepts.

This section covers the rules of combat and how to fight safely. Being safe is of paramount importance. If you are new to live roleplaying then please speak to a member of our GOD crew and they will arrange a suitable demonstration for you so that you can be confident that you are safely following the rules.

Weapon and armour checking

  • All your weapons and shields must be checked at every event by a weapon checker
  • You may only use spears and javelins with collapsible tips
  • Any armour that you use at an event must not have sharp protruding edges
  • You can carry prop items such as a wooden staff but they must never be used in combat
  • IDV tear-drop arrows are not usable at any Profound Decisions events.

You must have every weapon and shield you bring to an Odyssey event checked by an official weapon checker to see if they are safe for use in combat. You do not need to have your armour checked but it must still meet minimum safety standards.

Odyssey weapon check guidelines are similar to those used at Empire. Where information is not specifically contradicted, the contents of are relevant.

Fighting Safely

  • You must pull all of your attacks so that they land with virtually no force
  • You must not thrust with any weapon other than a spear or javelin with a collapsible tip
  • You must avoid aiming for the groin, breasts, neck or face where possible
  • You must not pick up and reuse an arrow that has already been loosed in a combat
  • Please use common sense in all cases.

You may put your hand in the air to indicate that you do not wish any player to make physical contact or hit you with a weapon. If you wish to harm a character who has their hand in the air then you must say, “OOC - I am incapacitating your character” while you are within arm’s reach.

Grappling and body contact

  • You must not grapple, trip or make bodily contact with another player while fighting
  • You must not grab an opponent’s weapon or shield

Prior to a small fight you and your opponent might agree to allow grappling or other techniques. You must personally have explicit permission from your opponent beforehand.

Man down

  • You should call MAN DOWN if you see anyone suffer a real injury

This call alerts all players to the fact that someone is potentially hurt. You should alert the nearest member of crew if necessary.

Body Hits

Body hits

  • You start with one body hit
  • Every time you are struck in combat you normally lose one body hit
  • Skills, armour, special items, blessings and mysteries may provide you with additional body hits
  • When you reach zero body hits you are incapacitated and may be at risk of death

Every character has a number of body hits to represent the injuries they can endure before becoming so badly wounded so badly that they cannot act. It does not matter where you are hit, though blows to hands that are holding weapons and to feet that are on the ground do not count.

Once you have lost all your body hits you are incapacitated. You cannot go below zero. You do not die just by being on zero body hits, although another character may execute you.


  • When you reach zero body hits you become incapacitated and should fall over
  • You must not take any action other than talking while you are incapacitated
  • You cannot drink a potion by yourself, but you can be fed one by someone else
  • You can be executed or searched
  • You remain incapacitated until you are successfully treated by a physician

If you are incapacitated then you are so badly wounded that you are only semi-conscious. You must roleplay the fact that you are very badly wounded. You can sense what is happening around you but cannot act. You can talk, scream and make small movements while incapacitated, but you must not take any action such as attacking, defending or moving from the spot.


  • Anyone can execute an unresisting target by roleplaying delivering a killing blow
  • You must have a weapon in your hand
  • A character should only take one normal execution call in any fight. This will almost always be fatal.
  • Some artefacts allow special execution calls. These are labelled, and do not apply to the one execution rule above.

Execution is used to kill an unresisting or incapacitated target by inflicting a mortal blow. You do not need a skill to execute a character, you can do it with any weapon.

To deliver a killing blow requires concentration. Neither you nor the target must be being interfered with - including being healed, engaged in combat or moving. The principle is that an execution must be obvious and deliberate.

You must roleplay delivering a blow with your weapon in such a way that it is obvious to everyone in the vicinity what you are doing. For example, you might position yourself to decapitate your opponent or plunge a blade into their heart. You must remember to pull your blow when executing a target.

Armour and Shields


  • You gain additional body hits when you wear armour
  • Anyone can wear armour to gain one body hit
  • Characters with the armour skill gain three body hits by wearing the appropriate cultural armour

Armour protects you. This means you can take more blows in combat before becoming incapacitated.

Anyone may wear armour to gain one additional body hit. If you have the skill ‘use armour and shield’ you can wear culturally appropriate armour for three additional body hits rather than one.

All lost body hits, regardless of the source, are healed by physicians. Armour does not need to be repaired after combat.

Helmets are not part of cultural armour however they are strongly recommended.


  • Shields can absorb all blows that strike them
  • If you use a shield without the skill then any blows striking the shield are assumed to have struck you
  • You must actively use the shield in order to block a blow, if the shield is slung or just carried then it has no effect and the blow is assumed to have struck you
  • If you block a STRIKEDOWN you must still fall over

If you have the skill ‘use armour and shield’ then any weapon or missile that strikes your shield is blocked and you do not lose any body hits. If you do not have the skill, or a shield is being carried rather than actively used, then any blow that strikes the shield affects you instead.

Each nation uses a particular style of shield. The skill ‘use armour and shield’ allows you to use any acceptable style of shield whether specific for your nation or not. There are lesser and greater mysteries in the game which give combat bonuses if you use the appropriate shield design for your nation.

Shield Designs

  • There are two basic shield designs - rectangular and round
  • Each nation has a more specific shield design
  • Later designs like curved heaters and kite shields are not allowed at Odyssey.

Rectangular shields have maximum dimensions of 30"x48". Round shields have a maximum dimension of 40" diameter. If shields are curved then the shield is measured across, not around the curve.

Shields must be passed by a weapon checker before they can be used at events.

Cultural Armour and Shield Designs


  • Rigid or woven leather or animal skins on the torso
  • Simple wooden or hide round shield, optionally reinforced with metal


  • Broad leather bands on the torso
  • or unarmoured other than a helmet styled after one of the Egyptian gods
  • Wooden or hide rectangular shield with tapered top


  • Cuirass of layered linen, leather or metal on the torso
  • Domed round shield

Hellas Phoenicia

  • Cuirass of layered linen, leather or metal on the torso
  • Round shield of any type


  • Leather or metal plates or scale on the torso
  • Figure-of-eight rectangular shield or crescent round design


  • Leather or metal lorica segmentata on torso ("Legionary" armour)
  • or leather or metal helm, manica and greave (single or pair) ("Gladiator" armour)
  • Curved rectangular or oval shield

Missile and Thrown Weapons

Missile Weapons

  • You can dodge missiles or block them with a shield
  • You cannot parry missiles with a weapon

You need the appropriate skill to use a bow or sling. If a missile is shot at you, then you may attempt to dodge the missile or block it with a shield. You cannot parry a missile except with a shield. If an arrow or slingshot strikes your weapon then you must take the damage and effect as if you had been hit.

Thrown Weapons

  • You can dodge thrown weapons or block them with a shield
  • You can parry thrown weapons with another weapon

You need the appropriate skill to throw a javelin. Thrown daggers and rocks are not allowed in Odyssey. If a javelin is thrown at you then you may attempt to dodge, parry with a weapon or block it with a shield.

The One-second Rule

  • You can only call damage or strike a blow once each second
  • This rule also applies to all other calls in the game except RESIST

You may only strike an opponent once per second. This applies to your attacks, not the number of weapons you are using. You may parry or feint as fast as you wish, but you must leave one clear second between each strike. This is called the “one second rule”.

Combat Calls

  • You do not have to call normal damage
  • You may choose to call SINGLE if you need to make it clear to an opponent that you have struck them
  • Arrows do IMPALE damage automatically
  • These calls might be caused by a weapon blow or by a ranged magical ability

If you are struck in combat by a weapon then you normally lose one body hit. Your opponent does not need to make a call unless it is a special effect, or if you are unsuspecting or unaware of the source of the blow.

All arrows do IMPALE damage. This does not require a special call.

If someone makes a damage call when they strike at you with a weapon then you only take the effect if they hit you. If you are hit then you lose one body hit in addition to the special call.

Ranged magical effects automatically hit you. If you have an ability or item that allows you to use a magic call then you will be given information on how to use it.


  • You have been touched by magic and must find a referee

Curses are variable magical effects that may be caused by mysteries created by mortals or by mythic powers. Their effects range from a stomach upset or a case of boils, to more devastating consequences such as death or petrification. Most curses may be alleviated at the whim of the gods or by other mysteries.


  • You lose all remaining body hits
  • All arrows do IMPALE damage automatically

If you are hit with an IMPALE then you immediately lose all your body hits. This makes you incapacitated.


  • You may not move or speak
  • You count as being incapacitated
  • The effect lasts for ten seconds

If you are hit with a PARALYSE call, then you are prevented from moving. You may either freeze in place or else fall to the ground. You count as being incapacitated but cannot speak for the duration of the effect.


  • You must move directly away from the caller
  • This effect lasts for ten seconds

If you are hit with a REPEL call you are forced away directly away from the caller. This effect lasts for ten seconds. If you are repelled into a corner or obstacle you cannot reasonably avoid then you should roleplay being pressed against it. You can speak and act as normal apart from this restriction.


  • This effect crushes a single item, making it unusable
  • If you are not wearing armour then you lose all your body hits and are incapacitated

If a CRUSH call targets an item such as a weapon or shield then the item is broken into many pieces and cannot be used. You must drop the affected item or put it away if you are holding it.

If you are hit with a CRUSH call and you are not wearing armour then you lose all your body hits and become incapacitated. If you are wearing armour then this call has no effect. Your armour is not affected.


  • If you are hit by a STRIKEDOWN then you must fall over
  • If you block a STRIKEDOWN with a shield or weapon then you must still fall over

If you are struck with a STRIKEDOWN then you are knocked over by the force of the blow. You should roleplay that you have been struck by a weapon with great force.

If you block a STRIKEDOWN with a shield or you parry a STRIKEDOWN with a weapon then the force of the blow will still knock you over although you will not take the damage from the weapon blow.


  • This call allows you to affect multiple targets at once
  • You must indicate this by including the word MASS before your call
  • If you use a MASS call then everyone within five metres except you is affected
  • You can use your arms to indicate who should be affected

You may target specific groups with this call by clearly holding out both arms to indicate an arc. The MASS call will then only affect those characters who are within five metres of you and who are inside the arc. You may choose to make the arc as large or small as you wish.

For example, the CURSE call normally affects a single target. If you have a special item that allows you to call MASS CURSE then you affect all characters within five metres of you. You might choose to hold your arms apart out in front of you as you make the call to indicate an area where characters are affected.


  • You must call RESIST if a call does not affect you
  • You must call RESIST even if you are only immune to some of the effects of a call

If you are protected against a magic or damage call, then you must call RESIST to indicate to everyone that you have not been fully affected. It is very important to always call RESIST when you resist an ability so that other players know you have heard the call, but are not affected.

The RESIST call is the only call that does not follow the one second rule. Using RESIST has no effect on your ability to use other calls, nor does it interrupt any action or skill use.

Recovering Wounds

Recovering lost body hits

  • You recover all lost body hits after fifteen minutes if you are not incapacitated

If you are wounded but not incapacitated then you will recover lost hits naturally after a period of fifteen minutes of rest. If you have lost all your body hits then you are incapacitated and will not recover until you receive aid.

Only a character of the same nation with the physician skill can treat you. These characters will be able to quickly restore your lost body hits using their magic.

You can remain incapacitated indefinitely without penalty. If you do not have access to a physician then you may choose to treat yourself but you have only a small chance of survival. This requires a referee.

Incapacitated on Atlantis

  • You recover automatically when treated by a physician of your nation
  • You do not require a referee

If you become incapacitated while on Atlantis then you will automatically recover fully when treated by a physician of the same nation as yourself. This does not require a referee.

You are not at risk of death unless you are executed or you attempt to treat yourself without the help of a physician.

Incapacitated in the arena or on a quest

  • You may die when treated
  • You do require a referee

If you become incapacitated in the arena or on a quest then you may die. To determine the severity of the wounds a physician from the same nation must consult a referee and then treat you.

If you have the skill ‘resilience’ then you have an increased chance of surviving incapacitation.

If the wound is not fatal then you recover fully and are no longer incapacitated.

If the wound is fatal then you remain incapacitated and will die within a few minutes.