Combat is a fundamental part of mudding. Through combat, your character will gain experience, rise in levels, and become more proficient in various skills. It can also be very fun and challenging.
Skill reigns supreme in the arena of Mirrors combat. Stats play a small role, but an experienced character will well-trained skills will be able to overcome any character shortcoming he may have. Of course, in order to become skilled in combat, you must practice combat skills, and the only way to practice combat skills is... you guessed it!... to engage in combat. Taking some lumps is definitely part of the game, and in fact, certain skills require that you be hit and hit hard to even learn them.
Weapons come in various classes. Each class of weapon has a range associated with it, which follows some pretty basic guidelines. Imagine, for a moment, two people fighting. One is using a very long spear, while the other has a razor sharp dagger. Who has the advantage? The answer of course is it depends... If the two people are standing toe-to-toe, the dagger is far more effective, as the spear cannot be brought down to stab with. If the two are separated by several feet, the dagger becomes next to useless, while the spear stabs in and out with ease.
This situation is handled by the combat engine: skill plays a large part in this. The character with the dagger will be continually trying to close the gap, while the spear wielder will be backing away, and slashing to keep his distance. The advantage will probably switch back and forth several times during the battle, possibly each round.
The absolute basics of combat are the same here as on most muds or computer games. Each character has a certain number of hit points. When this number is reduced to zero, that character is dead (actually knocked out, and returned sans equipment to a safe location). You try to hit your opponent with your weapon, while trying to avoid being hit. Successful hits do damage, which reduces the victims hit points. Weaves can also be used by channellers both to heal and to do damage in combat.
Skills associated with combat include the weapon skills (maces, long blades, short blades, etc...), bash, armor (required to fight effectively while wearing armor of various types), hand to hand fighting styles, advanced forms for weapons, and other, more esoteric techniques.
Note: bash here reflects a combination of techniques from the bull rush and hilt smack, to judoesque techniques. The key effect is to knock your opponent on his ass temporarily by catching him at an off balance moment in the combat. Thus, a skilled four foot waif will be quite capable of "bashing" the 6 foot 250 pound oaf attacking her, though the way she physically accomplishes the task would probably be quite different from the way he bashes her.