The outcome of a battle depends on a number of factors, all of which are discussed in the following sections.

Combat Statistics

There are three basic types of combat units in War of the Avatars: armies, garrisons, and leaders. A leader is an extraordinary individual (together with his or her henchmen, apprentices, acolytes, and other assorted followers) who may greatly boost the abilities of the troops he or she leads. An army is a collection of hundreds of soldiers who have been trained to fight as a group. A garrison is a group of soldiers that remains in a community to protect it against invaders.

Avatars also enter into battle, but their abilities vary so wildly that it's best to treat them separately from armies and leaders. The armies available in the campaign represent over 50 different races. Leaders are available for only a few of these races. Each type of army or leader is characterized by a set of statistics that define the movement, combat, and other abilities of that unit. These statistics are described below.

Unit Type: This gives the name for this type of unit. The name usually includes the unit's race (Bugbear Militia or Human Garrison for example).

Community Size: This tells the minimum size a community must be to build this unit. Larger communities can also build the unit.

Gold: This entry lists the cost in gold to Conscript the unit. It will usually cost 5 gold more than this amount to Muster the unit. This gold comes out of the realm's treasury; the unit can't be built unless the appropriate amount of gold is in the treasury.

Race: The unit's race is given here. Only communities that have military forces of this race can build this unit. Units of some races detest units of other races. This mutual antipathy prevents these units from serving in the same group together. If you try to place a dwarven unit together with an orcish unit, for example, you'll receive a message that the dwarves refuse to be in the same group as the orcs. It is important to think carefully about which units you put where. Racial and alignment tensions can run high.

The following statistics represent a unit's combat abilities. Except as otherwise noted, each unit is rated in each area using a qualitative scale that ranges between None (no ability) to Divine (this is as good as it gets). The Ability Quality Scale is provided for your reference. If a unit's listing in your turn report is missing one or more of these statistics, the unit has an ability of None in that particular area.

You may ask (and you will not be the first) why we have chosen to use qualitative terms to describe unit abilities rather than good, old-fashioned numbers. The answer is simple. With qualitative terms you can estimate, but not pinpoint, how your units measure up to those of your opponent. This makes the difficult job of running a realm more intuitive and much less of a number- crunching contest. To this you may answer (and you would not be the first) that the truth of the matter rests in the designers' twisted need to create games that are impossible to figure out. Such a possibility is, of course, publicly denied.

Magic: If the unit has any offensive magical ability, this statistic appears with a rating that represents its magical strength.

Missile: This statistic represents the unit's ability to damage an opponent by launching arrows, javelins, boulders, sling stones, darts, etc. as battle is joined.

Melee: The unit's strength in hand-to-hand fighting is given in this entry.

Magic Resistance: This is a unit's ability to resist the magical attacks of its foes.

Defense: This lists the unit's ability to defend against physical attacks (melee and missile).

Hits: This category gives the amount of damage a unit can suffer before being destroyed. Hits are not rated using the qualitative scale but rather as a number. Most units have 2 hits. Avatars, however, have many more.

MP: The unit's movement points are listed here as a number from 0 (for Garrisons) and up. Most units average around 40 MPs. Avatars can move even faster. See the Terrain Effects chart to see how far a unit can move through various types of terrain.

Information Radius: Some leaders (like Rogues), some items (like Crystal Balls) and all Avatars notice forces that reside nearby. The realm will be informed of any forces that reside within the force's information radius at the end of the turn. The information radius also helps sight a pursued enemy unit.

Bonuses: Armies and leaders may gain bonuses due to the presence of a community, leader, item, or Avatar in the same hexagon. Any bonuses gained in this way apply to all units in the group (Avatars are not affected by ability bonuses of any kind). Bonuses are also rated in qualitative terms. However, such terms are relative to other bonuses, NOT to base combat statistics. Thus a Good missile bonus is better than a Poor missile bonus, but it does not necessarily turn a unit's Poor missile ability into a Good rating.

Avatars: All we'll say about these incredible beings is that most Avatars can lick several armies with their arms (paws, tentacles, wings, or whatever) tied behind their backs. Only other Avatars, well-defended communities, or massive armies can hope to take on an Avatar. In addition to their tremendous combat statistics, Avatars grant many combat bonuses to the groups they accompany. The average Avatar summoned at a city starts with a rating of Mighty in all base combat abilities and Fine in all bonus combat abilities, in addition to an average of 50 Hits, 100 MPs, and 5 bonus MPs. The combat ability of avatars is not modified by terrain and is not increased by ANY bonuses (i.e. an avatar does not gain a combat bonus from Enchanted Chainmail and is not hindered in combat by Swamp). An avatar will have a chance to retreat when it reaches 75%, 50%, and 25% or less of its hit points. This means that when two avatars fight each other, the battle will not always go until the death of an avatar.

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