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Navigation: RuneScape Wiki >> Game Guide >> Combat


The very first thing you need to know about combat is what a Combat level is and what you can do with it.

The combat level depends on the combat skills of a player or NPC. Generally, the higher the combat level, the more skilled the player or NPC is in combat.

black dragon.jpg
Right-click combat options

An important thing to note is that combat level is based upon the armour and weapons that an NPC has, natural or equipped. For example, a black dragon has a higher combat level not only due to its natural Strength, but also because of its natural armour (dragonhide) and weapons (claws and fire breath).

When you hover your mouse cursor over an NPC or player, that person's (or NPC's) combat level will be displayed.

Combat levels in green mean that you have a higher combat level. Combat levels displayed in red mean you have a lower combat level. If the colour is displayed in yellow, it means the player has a similar combat level to you, or the NPC is within your combat level range.

Your own combat level is calculated from your statistics using:

These numbers are added together to determine your combat level which is currently capped at 200.

Life and Death

Life points

Main article: Constitution

Constitution Life points are represented by the green and red bar above your head during combat. The green area on your life bar shows your remaining health, whereas the red shows how much health you have lost. If you want or need a more accurate view of your health, look at the life points globe next to your mini-map. This will display the number of life points remaining from your total; for example, 180 (out of 400).

Always keep an eye on this and make sure that your life points do not reach 0, or you will die! To avoid death, you will need to heal during a fight to restore your life points. For this you will need food. To see what food is 'best' and what heals the most, see the Cooking guide.

When fighting an opponent, you are likely to become damaged and lose health. The health you lose is displayed on red 'hitsplats' rising from your character. These hitsplats are also used to display the damage that you are doing to your opponent (these will rise from your opponent). You can view the type of damage that is being dealt (melee, ranged, magic and more) by looking at the icon next to the number. A blue shield icon indicates a miss, with no damage dealt.

If you find you are losing a battle, then you can run away by clicking on the ground. If you do retreat it's best to keep moving, as monsters will pursue you and carry on attacking. If you run far enough away, monsters will eventually give up the chase.


Main article: Death in Gielinor

If you are unfortunate, or do not take any health supplies, you may die as a result of combat. If this happens, you will appear in Limbo and will be able to choose your respawn point. This point will always include Lumbridge, but you may find that your 'hub' - the last city you passed through - is included on this list, and a number of respawn points that you have unlocked via quests.

If you die outside of the Wilderness then you will be able to choose three items you can keep on death in the death interface. These are set by default to the most valuable items according to the Grand Exchange guide price, but can be changed while you are in the death interface. If you are using the Protect Item prayer or curse at the time of your death, sometimes you will retain four items. You may also be holding a number of items that are kept automatically; this is because they are quest items, or are useful but common items that would be awkward to retrieve if you lost them. Coins are protected in this way.

Defeating your Enemies

The beginnings of your enemy's demise starts with them becoming a target. A player or NPC can be set as your target for all following spells, attacks, and abilities. This will be automatically set when you attack them, but can also be set by clicking an ability and then selecting the enemy you wish to attack. This can be useful for starting combat with an ability rather than an auto-attack.

Some quest objects can also be targeted if, for instance, a spell needs to be cast on them.


When you have a target, it will have a red circle at its feet. When you are being targeted, a yellow circle will appear at the feet of the enemy who is attacking you. In areas where there are aggressive NPCs, you'll find that multiple enemies can attack you. Those that can hit you will be highlighted with a yellow circle as usual, but those who cannot reach you will not be highlighted in this way. That doesn't mean that they won't attack you once the thing preventing them from reaching you is removed, however.

Hover Information
Hover Information

By hovering your mouse over a monster, your cursor will change into a sword indicating that you can attack it. As well as the cursor changing, a pop-up will display information the name of this action.

Attackable monsters will display an additional pop-up which contains their name, life point total, level and weakness. As you do damage to the monster, its life point total will decrease and the bar behind the life point total will also decrease.

You can turn off the hover information and the target information through interface settings. To get there, press 'Esc' on your keyboard, or press the Settings icon on the ribbon, and press 'Interface Settings'. From here untick 'Always show target information' and 'target reticules' and theses features will no longer show.

Hit Types

There are three levels of damage you can do to an enemy:

  • Normal hit damage - the amount of damage you do under normal circumstances. This is determined by the accuracy and damage stats on your weaponry, as well as how resistant an enemy is to your attacks.
  • Critical hit damage - each hit has a chance to do increased damage. This is determined by your critical chance and can be improved by wearing accessories or off-hand items.
  • Maximum hit damage - this is the maximum amount of damage you can do to an enemy.
Hitsplat Description Restore
Auto-attack damage Any damage you deal using auto-attacks will show up along with an icon depending on what type of damage was caused. The different types of damage are shown below: Food
Rapid Heal
Rapid Renewal
certain Familiars.
magic hitmark.gif Magic damage melee hitmark.gif Melee damage ranged hitmark.gif Ranged damage
deflected hitmark.gif Deflected damage cannon hitmark.gif Cannon damage
Abilities damage Any damage you deal using abilities will show up with this red background hit hitsplat.gif along with an icon depending on what type of damage was caused. The different types of damage are shown below: Food
Rapid Heal
Rapid Renewal
certain Familiars.
magic hitmark.gif Magic damage melee hitmark.gif Melee damage ranged hitmark.gif Ranged damage
deflected hitmark.gif Deflected damage cannon hitmark.gif Cannon damage
Poison damagemember badge tiny.png If you are poisoned you will periodically take additional damage until the effect is cured or wears off on its own. This is identified by these green hitsplats poison hitsplat.gif and can quickly wear down your health if overlooked. Additionally, when poisoned, your life points globe by the mini-map will change to green and a debuff icon will appear on your Buffs/Debuffs interface to indicate that you are currently poisoned. Antipoison potion
Cure Me
Waiting until it expires
Healing When you heal damage, a number with this icon heal hitsplat.gif will appear indicating how many life points have been restored. N/A
Block When you are damaged but your armour defends against that damage this icon block hitmark.gif will show. N/A


Main article: Abilities

Abilities are how you mix up your fighting style, allowing you to do special moves and heal yourself, amongst other things.

There are three types of ability:

  • Basic - These abilities are quick, usually damage based, abilities that can generate Adrenaline. Adrenaline is used to perform more advanced and stronger abilities such as threshold and ultimate.
  • Threshold - Threshold abilities do more damage than basic abilities, but they also drain some of your adrenaline when cast. Threshold abilities do regenerate a small amount of adrenaline, however.
  • Ultimate - These are the most powerful of all abilities. They wipe your adrenaline bar completely, and do not generate adrenaline.

Some abilities have special requirements such as skill level, weapon requirements and rune costs. Unless you meet these requirements, you will not be able to use your chosen ability.

Combat Modes

Chosen via the Combat Settings interface, combat modes allow you to customise how you fight. Though manually activating your abilities can be far more versatile, there are other options for those who prefer a simpler interaction with combat.

  • Combat mode: full manual - This selects your combat mode as manual i.e. you decide what abilities to activate and when.
  • Combat mode: revolution - This selects your combat mode as revolution i.e. the first 9 abilities in your Action Bar will be used consecutively without input.
  • Combat mode: momentum - This selects your combat mode as momentum i.e. your automatic attacks have increased damage and no abilities can be used.

Types of Combat

There are three types of combat in RuneScape. It is always worth considering your opponents' (player or monster) weaknesses when thinking of which combat type to attack with. Certain armours are weak to different weapon styles and it will give you a significant advantage if you play on these weaknesses.


Main article: Melee

Melee combat is divided into three main areas: Attack, Strength and Defence. Attack will determine your accuracy when fighting and will increase your consistency when hitting opponents. Strength will determine how hard you hit your opponent. Finally, Defence relates to how resilient you are to attacks and how often your opponent will hit you. The higher your Defence, the more likely the opponent is to miss.

The main weapon styles are stab, slash and crush attacks.


Main article: Magic

Magic is one of the most useful and versatile skills within RuneScape. Once you have learnt to use it properly, you'll find that it complements many other skills within the game, while also acting as an incredibly powerful tool in its own right.

There are two sides to Magic: combat and non-combat. The use of Magic in a fight may be vital in gaining the upper hand and ultimate victory. Outside of combat, Magic can be used to teleport around RuneScape quickly, used in combination with other skills, or even for making money out of items you have obtained or made yourself.

To cast spells you will need the correct runes. Each type of rune contains a different type of power and is used when casting different types of spells.

Clicking on the book on your side interface brings up the ability book within which you should select the magic tab. This will show all of the spells available to you within the game.

To cast combat spells, you need to have a target and the simplest way to do this is simply to left-click an enemy, but you can also manually select a target without engaging them by pressing 'T' and then selecting them. You can also set damaging combat spells (such as Air Strike) to auto-cast by right-clicking them in the ability book. This will cause you to engage enemies with this spell set as your basic attack. With an opponent targeted you can click individual spells or abilities to cast them which is vital for keeping your opponent bound, weakened and on the defensive.

Skill spells vary in effect but are typically cast by selecting the spell then selecting an item in your inventory or an NPC in the world.

The main spell styles are fire, earth, air and water attacks.


Main article: Ranged

Ranged is a very flexible and useful skill to develop as part of your arsenal. It allows you to attack opponents from great distances, using a variety of projectile weapons. The bow and arrow is the most common weapon used by rangers. However, you can also train your Ranged skill using other weapons, such as throwing knives, darts and javelins.

Bows are the favoured weapon of rangers. Shieldbows are more powerful, but at the price of rate of fire. Shortbows have a quicker rate of fire, but they sacrifice power to achieve this.

The main weapon styles are thrown-, arrow- and bolt-based attacks.

The Combat Triangle

Main article: Combat Triangle and Tactics

combat triangle.gif

The combat triangle is how the three combat types work together. It basically boils down to this:

  • Ranged attacks are best against Magic users, but weak against Melee
  • Magic attacks are best against Melee users, but weak against Ranged
  • Melee attacks are best against Ranged users, but weak against Magic

Specific weaknesses will have a further bonus to your hit chance if you attack with these. For example, monsters with a weakness to bolts weak to bolts.gif will be hit for more often and for more if you use this weapon type over other Ranged weapons. Specific weaknesses do not come into play for PvP.

You can try to counter this with different armour, potions, prayers and other combat aids, but these strengths and weaknesses will always remain, albeit in a reduced form if you consider your setup carefully.

Poison and Bleeding Effects

Main article: Poison

Poison or bleed, is a damage over time effect that causes damage every 30 seconds until cured. Damage caused by poison appears as a poison hitsplat.gif hitsplat.

Applying a Weapon poison potion to your melee weapon has a 1 in 4 chance of causing poison damage to a player or NPC. For ranged weapons, this is a 1 in 8 chance. The damage caused depends on the potion used.

Some NPCs are immune to poison, therefore there will be no damage from your poisoned weapon.

For NPCs causing poison damage to you it can be calculated as: (40 + (poison * 10))/5 where poison is a non-player facing value that varies depending on the NPC. For example, a Tribesman has a poison value of 30 causing 68 hit points of damage, whereas the Jogre Champion has a poison value of 40 causing 88 hit points of damage. If you know the damage the NPC caused you, you can work out the poison value using this formula: ((poison damage x 5) - 40)/10.

Telling How Tough an Enemy Is

Main article: Bestiary

Combat Level

Combat level is calculated from statistics using:

This applies to NPCs and players. Generally, the higher the combat level, the more skilled the player or NPC is in combat.


For players, you can tell their approximate difficulty by their armour and their combat level. This may vary due to player skill, but you can get a rough idea of how tough they are from this.

Higher level armour will determine how many additional hit points they have, and how well protected they are. Armour type can also tell you what type of damage they are protected from and weak to.


As with players, the difficulty of an NPC can be roughly guessed by referring to their combat level. Some NPCs are much tougher as they have a high amount of hit points for their combat level, or special resistances:

  • Immune to Poison
  • Immune to Leech
  • Immune to Stun
  • Immune to Shove

Hovering over an enemy will tell you what type of damage they are weak to, how many life points they have, their combat level and any buffs/debuffs that they have active.

Getting Equipped

Loadout Interface

Main article: Loadout


The Loadout interface can be accessed through the Gear interface, simply press 'F2' on your keyboard.

This interface is where you can see what items you are wearing in each slot and how heavy these items are. More importantly, the interface allows you to see just how much damage you are capable of doing, and how much damage you can absorb, under different circumstances. Equipping or unequipping items will change the numbers listed so you can see what effect they have on your hit and defend chances.

Depending on whether you have an item in both hand slots, another tab may be accessible showing the stats and hit chance of your off-hand item.

The plus and minus icons next to 'select a combat level' will allow you to adjust the combat level of an imaginary foe so you can see how effective you would be against them.


Main article: Armour

Armour is worn in the back, head, torso, legs and feet slots of the worn equipment inventory. There are often several types of armour for each slot, each usually aimed at a different part of the combat triangle. For example, both chain bodies and robes can be equipped in the torso slot, but where the plate bodies are aimed at warriors, robes are better for mages.

Armour typically offers protection from attacks by way of an armour rating and a class type, and provide a life point bonus and Prayer level increase. These vary from armour piece to armour piece, but typically the higher the armour rating, the higher the life point bonus and Prayer level increase. It should be mentioned, that some armour is cosmetic and provides no bonuses at all.

A class type determines which class the armour is strong and weak against in terms of the combat triangle (as explained above).

A life point bonus increases the amount of life points you have by that number. So, if you have 1000 life points and your armour's life point bonus is 100, you would have a total of 1100 life points.

A prayer bonus modifier affects how quickly prayers drain your prayer points, having a higher prayer bonus modifier means your prayer points will drain slower.

Armour comes in 3 types: tank, power and hybrid. These all vary slightly in terms of armour rating and life bonus, some even come with damage modifiers.


Main article: Weapons

Weapons are worn in the main hand and/or off-hand slots of the worn equipment inventory. There are often several types of armour for each slot, each usually aimed at a different part of the combat triangle. For example, both two handed crossbows and staves can be equipped in the main and off-hand slots, but where the crossbows are aimed at rangers, staves are better for mages.

Weapon speed determines how quickly you can attack your opponent. Slower weapons tend to do more damage than their one-handed equivalent in the same tier to make up for their slower attack speed.

Accuracy comes into play when determining your hit chance (see below). It can come from your weapons, or from your skills.

Weapons offer differing amounts and types of damage depending on their class, critical damage bonuses and damage rating. Some weapons even take into account the damage rating of their ammunition.

Off-hand Items and Accessories

Many non-combat off-hand items and accessories offer bonuses to critical hit chance or, in the case of Magic based off-hand items such as orbs, or books, increase casting speed.

Other off-hand items like shields offer additional armour rating and life point bonuses to boost those given through your armour pieces.

Combat Areas

In Gielinor combat is common and you are able to engage (or be engaged upon by) multiple enemies at once. The only exception to this is in the Wilderness where you can choose to be set to single-way or multi-way combat through the use of a Constitution ability.

In a lot of areas, the local inhabitants aren't particularly aggressive and will only fight you if provoked, but exercise caution when exploring new areas as multiple enemies may be less than friendly to your arrival. Area-of-effect and multi-hit abilities can be useful for fighting multiple enemies at once as they can be used anywhere, but be careful not to draw more enemies than you can handle into a fight!

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Can you explain the combat triangle to me?

2. When I left-click on a monster, my character does not attack it. I have to right-click and then select 'Attack'...

3. Once I enter a fight, how long must I wait before I can log out?

4. How can I calculate my maximum hit?

5. Does your Defence level have any effect on the amount of Ranged or Magic damage you receive?

6. What is the highest level a player can go up to?

7. I never seem to hit certain monsters, even though I've got a high Attack level. Why not?

Development Team

Evolution of Combat
Developer: (Project Lead:Chris L, Chris E, Fred H, John P) Kevin G, Jose P
Editor: William D
Wiki: Michelle-Louise J
Concept: Paolo P, Dave B, Neil R, Giuseppe G, Yann B, John McC
Character Art: Alec V, Zoltan H, Baj S, Mark C, Mark B, Damo C, Manu L, Kyle N
UI: Rakesh M, Thomas G, Tursan Raja
Animation: Chris W, Wing C, David C, Gurpreet K, Brad A, Stuart O, Hing C, Simon P, Victor G, Lelio C, Henrik V
Environment Art: Alan O'B
Quality Assurance:
Core Testers: (Project Lead:Lewis R) Lewis R, Graeme C, Alistair H, Ian H
Additional Testers: Jamie B, Dan M, Richard D, Adam D, Alex D, Anthony D, Thomas H, Ian H, James H, Sarah J, Ben L, Vicki M, Stacey N, Kristina S, Juliet T, Sarah-Jane W, Lesleyann W, Giles W, Andrew Y
Audio: Adam B, Ian T, Adam R

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