Combat in West of Loathing is turn-based, pitting one side (you and your pardner) against the other.

Combat Scene

A 6x3 grid is used, with you (and your pardner) on the left, and the enemies on the right, each side given a 3x3 set of squares to occupy (and thus you can face at most 9 enemies at once).

Character position is fixed at the start of combat, and does not change (other than during the animated attack effects). The player (you) always begins in the center of their 3x3 block, and your pardner in the cell below and to the right. On the opposite side the location of each enemy participant is also fixed, and will be the same each time that fight scene occurs (although in a few combats the opponent locations are randomly selected).


Which side goes first in combat, as well as the order of character attacks, is based on the speed attribute. Your Gumption defines your basic speed value, but different items and effects can be used to modify your speed to help you get the first hit in. The Snake Oiler skill Quick on the Draw can also increase your Speed.


You start combat with a specific number of action points, or AP, as defined by your Gumption. AP is a resource required for many special attacks, although a basic attack does not consume AP. AP is not replenished during combat, except by special spells/effects, so spend it wisely. Various combat items and effects can be used to give you additional AP. The Beanslinger skill Wary will increase the amount of action points you get at the beginning of combat.


Spell and melee attacks let you target arbitrary opponents, but pistol attacks are generally affected by occlusion, requiring you attack and kill off an enemy in front before you can reach the enemy behind them. The game will warn you when you try and attack an opponent that will in fact result in attacking the opponent in front of them.

Some items exist to specifically provide cover, and may be encountered as various static parts of the game scene, such as barrels, rocks, etc. Under player control, cover can be created using a full canteen, being constructed by Susie using her Build Cover skill, or using the skill Beanwall (Beanslingers only). Cover is (mostly) not affected by ranged attacks, but is immediately destroyed by melee damage. The Beanwall created by Beanslingers offers a limited form of cover, blocking all forms of damage, but only enduring a limited number of attacks of any type.


There are melee attacks, ranged attacks and spell attacks which use muscle, moxie and mysticality respectively. If your attribute is higher than your opponent's attribute, you will deal more damage; if less, you will deal less damage.

Combat damage is typically calculated based on a base damage value and the difference in appropriate stat:

  • Base damage range + your stat - opponent's stat = Damage range

For example, a crowbar does 5 - 6 base damage. If you have 4 muscle and an opponent has 2 muscle, you will do 7 - 8 damage with a basic attack.


  • Melee attack damage is further increased by any bonuses to Melee Attack Damage, while pistol damage is improved by Pistol Attack Damage, and spells by Spell Damage.
  • Melee attack damage is reduced by your opponent's armor value. Some opponents and pardners have a base armor built-in, while you can enhance your own armor value through various items and effects.
  • Damage by elementally-aligned attacks is proportionally reduced by your opponent's percentage of elemental resistance.
  • Various skills and perks can also modify this calculation.

Combat Status Effects

  • Some attacks result in an ongoing effect on a character. Being poisoned results in damage every round, being on fire results in increasing hot damage every round, and being disabled prevents a character from acting for a fixed number of rounds. Combat effects are summarized on this page.

Bad Guys

Bad guys generally use the same damage calculations as do you. A major difference is that base damage is computed, based on the monster region (and choice of Hard Mode or not):

Base Damage for Bad Guys
a b c d e f g h
Normal 5 7 10 14 19 25 32 40
Hard 6 10 15 20 25 30 40 50

Stats and Scaling

Outside of the prologue, opponent stats are based on their class, and the area in which they are associated. Bad guys are mostly classed as muscle, mysticality, or moxie types, with higher base stats in their primary characteristic. Some monsters have a generic class, with middling values in each of their stats, and a few special monsters have uniformly high values in all stats. Goblins are generally a little less balanced than other species---higher in their main stat, and lower in their offstats.

The actual stat values are computed based on which of the eight regions the opponent is associated with. This affects their muscle, mysticality, and moxie, but also their HP, speed, damage, and indirectly their armor (as, if present, the armor value is derived from the computed HP).

Combat is also scaled based on your current winning streak. A counter is maintained, increased by each successful combat (needs confirmation), and reduced (reset?) by failure. This value, capped at different values per region, is added onto the stats of your opponent(s) corresponding to your main stat, and a smaller increase (1/3) is made to the offstats—e.g., if you are a Cow Puncher, your winning streaks result directly increases your opponent muscle, and has a smaller impact on your opponent's mysticality and moxie. The capped value is also much higher in Hard Mode. These caps are:

Region Cap on Winning Streak
a b c d e f g h
Normal 10 10 20 20 30 30 40 40
Hard 200 300 400 500 600 800 1000 1000


Opponents make specific choices as to the order in which they attack (breaking ties randomly). You can use this to your advantage in planning your own attacks. Generally speaking,

  • Melee/muscle and Ranged/moxie opponents will target the frontmost.
  • Spell/Mysticality opponents target the player.
  • Goblins and cows target randomly

The full list of possible targeting strategies includes:

  • highesthp (current total)
  • lowesthp (same deal)
  • mostdamaged (highest maxhp-hp value)
  • leastdamaged (lowest)
  • highestmuscle/mysticality/moxie
  • lowestmuscle/mysticality/moxie
  • primary (always either the player or the primary enemy)
  • front (frontmost)
  • rear (rearmost)
  • pardner (randomized if not applicable)
  • all (everyone on the other side)
  • targetsrow (everyone in the row of the current target, ordered from front to back)

There are also _friendly versions for bad guys who cast buffs on their allies.

Win or Lose

Combat continues until either you are defeated by losing all HP (a loss), all your opponents are killed (a win), or you run away (a kind of loss, at least of face). Your pardner may die during combat, but this is temporary, as is any reduction in health, as future combats always begin with fully restored health and other stats.

Winning grants XP rewards and/or loot, while losing increases your anger level. Becoming more angry than your pain tolerance results in you waking up in the next day in your bed at The Jewel Saloon, resetting any consumption limits, and erasing any effects acquired from potions, booze, or food.

Running away is a possible combat action, at least if you survive the first attack (or are the starting side), and can be a better option than losing and having all your beneficial effects disappear. It does have an impact on the scaling of fights, as detailed above.

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