First Edition Optional Rules

Magic Realm First Edition Optional Rules

Here are the optional rules that were in the 1st edition of the game. Many of these were incorporated directly into the regular rules in the 2nd edition, but some of the others might be brought back as optional rules in the 3rd edition.


The players can agree to use any of the rules listed below, as tickles their fancy:


1.1 Multiple Characters: Allow each player to select two (or more) characters at the start of the game, running each character separately. A player wins when any of his characters fulfill the victory conditions.

1.2 Hidden Movement: Whenever a hidden character is not in a tile with another character who has found ‘HIDDEN ENEMIES’ that day, he places his Character Counter on the tile where he is located but he does not place it in any Clearing. He uses his recorded moves to keep track of where he is. If there is a character who has found ‘HIDDEN ENEMIES’ this day in the same tile with him, he is still hidden but his Counter is placed in the Clearing where he is located.


2.1 Weapon Times: Whenever a character attacks with a weapon that shows an attack time, the time number on the weapon is used instead of the time number on the FIGHT counter he plays.

2.2 Daggers: A character can attack without a weapon, just by playing a FIGHT counter. All characters are assumed to be carrying a dagger with ‘L’ weight and one sharpness star.

2.3 Armor Bonus: When a weapon with one (or more) sharpness star(s) strikes armor, reduce the damage inflicted by one level. Weapons without sharpness stars are not affected.

2.4 Reviving: A character who is killed is not out of the game permanently. He can start the game all over again on the next day (or week, if the players prefer), starting at the INN.

2.5 Parrying: A character can parry the attack being made by his target instead of attacking the target himself. When a character parries he places his FIGHT and weapon counters in a ‘Maneuver’ box instead of an ‘Attack’ circle. His attack placement and speed are compared to the placement and speed of his target’s attack, and he ‘hits’ if his parry matches directions or undercuts in speed. Weapons execute their attacks in the normal order, and if the parrying attack is resolved first it inflicts damage on the target’s attack. If the damage equals or exceeds the weight of the target’s weapon, the attack is parried and cancelled and both weapons are turned non-asterisk side up.

2.6 Weapon length: On the first Round of Combat in each Clearing each day, weapons attack in the order of their length (longest first), speed breaking ties.

2.7 Ambush: A hidden character (or hired leader) using a bow can attack without being unhidden. He places his attack and resolves it normally, but his Character Counter is not turned green side up. At the end of the Round he must make a normal HIDE roll, and he is unhidden if he fails it.


3.1 Armored monsters: All Dragons and serpents are armored and get the armor bonus described in OPTIONAL RULE 2.3.

3.2 Heads and Clubs: Each of the Tremendous Dragons and the Giants has an additional smaller counter that cannot be attacked by themselves, but are killed when the monster’s body is killed. Each has attack values and attacks the same target as the monster itself; however, the body and head/club of the monster can never be placed in the same red box. These heads/clubs all have ‘Bustard Sword’ length; they turn over normally, like Medium and Heavy monsters.


4.1 Caching: When a character abandons an item, he can record the item and the Clearing he abandoned it in. Then, whenever he comes back to that Clearing he can use a SEARCH phase to take the item without having to roll for it. Other characters can still LOOT to try to find it. As soon as any character draws it again the cache is cancelled and the player must LOOT to find it again.

4.2 Stealing: A hidden character can LOOT to draw the items being carried by another character in his Clearing. He can draw only from the character’s inactivated items (which are piled up by their owner for the purpose), and he must make a normal HIDE roll each time he loots; if he fails the roll he is unhidden.

4.3 Opening Doors: The 7-LEAGUE BOOTS, GLOVES OF STRENGTH and ALCHEMIST’S MIXTURE can be used to loot the VAULT or CRYPT OF THE KNIGHT without fatigue.


5.1 Armored natives: All natives in the COMPANY, SOLDIERS, PATROL, GUARD and ORDER groups, plus the short swordsman in the ROGUES, are wearing armor and get the armor bonus explained in OPTIONAL RULE 2.3

5.2 Gaining Friends: Whenever a character sells a Treasure with conditional FAME to the group named on the card, that group becomes one level friendlier for the rest of the game. Whenever he buys a Treasure such a Treasure from the group named on the card, they are one level unfriendlier for the rest of the game. Note changes in status on the PERSONAL HISTORY sheet.

5.3 Making Enemies: Whenever a character or one of his hired natives kills an unhired native, that native’s group are that character’s enemies for the rest of the game. Note changes in status on the PERSONAL HISTORY sheet.

5.4 Pocket Change: When a hired non-leader is killed by a character or hired leader, the character or leader gets the victim’s value in gold in addition to the notoriety he gains normally.

5.5 Hired Captains: Allow hired leaders to record gold, fame and notoriety points and discoveries, and to carry items for their owners; the items are inactivated and are kept on the leader’s PERSONAL HISTORY sheet. The leader can execute any activities while separate from his owner, and everything he finds, buys or sells belongs to his owner. He can buy and sell using the gold and items he is carrying for his owner as if he were his owner. He can transfer gold and items to or from his owner only when they are in the same Clearing. His recorded fame and notoriety count towards his owner’s victory conditions as if they were values being carried by the owner; however, his recorded gold and the items he is carrying do not count towards the owner’s victory conditions–they must be transferred to the owner to count. If the leader’s term of hire expires, his recorded points and discoveries are lost and the items he is carrying are added to his group’s box; if the leader is killed his points and items are disposed of as if he were a character.

5.6 Strong Helper: Any hired native with an attack that inflicts ‘T’ damage can be used to satisfy the requirement of paying a ‘T’ counter to loot the VAULT or CRYPT OF THE KNIGHT.

5.7 Buying Drinks: Whenever a character rolls on the MEETING table to deal with a group, he can ‘buy drinks’ for the group and roll on the next friendlier column than the one he would normally use. ‘Buying drinks’ costs him one gold piece for each member of the native group who is in the Clearing.

5.8 Native Blocking: Whenever a character ends a phase of his turn unhidden, he must make a MEETING roll for each unfriendly or enemy native group in his Clearing, to see if that group Blocks him.


6.1 Steel Against Magic: A character cannot play a MAGIC counter if he has any weapon except a staff activated.

6.2 Development: A character can start the game at a lower stage Development than the fourth. At the start of the game each player secretly records the stage at which his character will start; then all of the players reveal their stage. Each character gets the armor, weapon and Spells listed for the stage at which he starts, and he gets the combat counters for that stage plus all earlier stages. IMPORTANT: A character who starts the game at a lower stage has easier victory conditions than a character starting at a higher stage. Each character must assign one victory point for each stage of development, so a character who starts at the first stage would have to record only one victory point; when he fulfills that condition he wins the game.

6.3 Aiming Magical Attacks: When a character Casts the STONES FLY, FIERY BLAST or LIGHTNING BOLT Spells, he must aim his attack like an attack with a weapon. When attacks and maneuvers are being secretly placed, he takes the MAGIC counter that he used to Cast the Spell and places it in one of the ‘Attack” circles on his sheet. The Spell must hit its target or the Spell is stopped; use the direction of the Spell and the time number on the MAGIC counter to determine whether the attack hits (if the MAGIC counter was prepared it automatically hits). When attacking multiple targets use the same direction of attack against them all. Since Spells have maximum weapon length, attacking before all weapons, multiple target attacks can be resolved at the same time they are checked for hitting.

6.4 Aiming Spells: All spells directed against characters, natives or monsters must be aimed as explained above in ‘Aiming Magical Attacks’.

6.5 Dissolving Doors: A character can use a Spell that yields ‘T’ results (such as MELT INTO MIST or HURRICANE WINDS) can be used in place of a ‘T’ strength counter to open the VAULT of the CRYPT OF THE KNIGHT. A character can play the MAGIC counter (and color counter) for the Spell when he LOOTS, just as he would play a FIGHT or MOVE counter. The FIERY BLAST or LIGHTNING BOLT have ‘T’ results only if they cause ‘T’ damage as determined by rolling on the MISSILE TABLE; a character who wants to use them must fatigue his MAGIC (and color) counter before he rolls.


Glory: When a character or his hired natives kill an enemy named on the campaign counter being carried by the character, the character gains fame points equal to the notoriety points he gets for killing that enemy.

And a Final word: Characters can adjust the length of the game by agreeing to assign more or less victory points at the beginning of the game. Playtesting indicates that the game can be set up in about half an hour, and each victory point added to the victory conditions adds about 45 minutes to the playing time, so be warned.


“The old Glory rule turned out to be too strong, if you could get a campaign chit early enough.” -Richard Hamblen, in a message to Steve McKnight

I see a lot of these “optional” rules have made there way into the regular rules in second (and third) edition. I find 1.2 hidden movement interesting, and should be easy to do with pbem. Parrying sounds a bit unnecessary.

We tried the Parry rule back in our 1st edition games, but I can’t remember if it was simply so rarely used that it wasn’t worthwhile, or if there was some problem with it. I think we discovered that you were almost always better off attacking than parrying… but I could be wrong about this. -Jay