Combat occurs when you encounter a monster or another player
A player has several options while in combat. They are as follows:
Skirmish - Inflicts a little less damage than melee, but decreases the monster's quickness instead.
Spell - Cast combat spells.
Nick - If the player has a sword, hits the monster one plus the player's sword, and gives the player 10% of the monster's experience. Decreases the monster's experience an amount proportional to the amount granted. This also increases the monster's quickness. Paralyzed monsters wake up very quickly when nicked.
Rest - Fighting for too long makes a character fatigued and lose speed. Rest to restore speed and energy. However, monsters will get a free attack while you are doing so.
Luckout - This is essentially a battle of wits with the monster. Success is based upon the player's and the monster's brains. The player gets credit for slaying the monster if he/she succeeds. Otherwise, nothing happens, and the chance to luckout is lost.
In addition, do not take too long to fight. The longer a fight takes, the more your speed drops. Characters have been known to die of fatigue, especially when terminals are left unattended.