What does 'Magic Combat' mean, and how does it differ from bopping the monsters with weapons?
Magic Combat monsters may be totally unaffected by physical weaponry, and may also do no physical damage on a "blow round". It is recognised that magic users are physically weak, but have an existing armoury of physical protection spells - to which will be added further sets of magical offensive defensive and other spells. It is likely that lowest level magical monsters will only fight magically; the highest level monsters will be harder to deal with as there will be some physical attacking which the magic user needs to defend against.
As fighters are excluded from the high level magic areas, and magic users of a different class from the highest level magic quest areas, learning to survive and having the right combination of spells for defense and offense of the right type will be one of the skills you need to acquire.
Fighters would be unlikely to survive even the lowest level magical monsters, without strong protection from magic users - a role reversal compared with the Citadel! Existing armour only provides a small magical protection.
The 'magic resistance' is your armour! Assume for this discussion that there is no physical fighting. Then on each 'blow round' when you would normally hit the monster, and it hits you, you will auto-cast a spell, and the monster will cast a spell at you. Note that you can cast any spells at any time as well as changing or even inhibiting the auto-cast spell instantly.
Enshroud in Fire, Mystic Beads of Light, and Fireball have been changed to auto-target your fight opponent if you omit the target.
Some locations will have weird effects; after all, they are strongly magical!
Although monsters behave very much like other players in combat situations, there are various differences.
A player-player fight is always conducted at the physical level (with a magic user putting up high power physical defensive spells such as mysh) but the magic user may cast spells at any time via objects, spellbook or from learnt spells - which will autotarget to the opponent if it is an offensive spell. Auto-casting does not take place although cast may be used to fire off a prepared combat (or defensive) spell at the spell fight power.
The type of player-mobile fight is determined by the characteristics of the monster.
Monsters will initiate spell combat or physical fights, whoever attacks first. According to their nature, like lacking in arms for example(!), they may only attack magically, but can optionally attack physically. You can determine this from the fight messages. If a spell is cast by the monster, then if it is able to attack physically, you will see the normal physical damage messages immediately after the spell cast on each combat round.
Monsters may also be immune to normal (non-magical) weapons. After your autocast of a spell on a combat round, if the monster is not immune, then you will see a physical damage message - ie you hit the monster with a devastating blow, etc will appear.
Ok, what about magic weapons?! I bet you can guess which weapon will be imbued first with extra power!! If you ready a magical weapon, then your spell attack damage will be enhanced by the power of the magical weapon. Yes, you can't ready a Spell Book and a magical weapon at the same time!!
However, the magical weapons you will find in the new areas will be pretty darn powerful, and well worthwhile readying instead of your Spell Book to demolish a nasty! Note that the magical weapon cannot be used to inflict magic damage by itself. It acts to enhance a cast spell.
Also BEWARE!!!! Some magical weapons are cursed and in fact will reduce the amount of damage inflicted by a spell. The magic dummy will be useful to try out new items safely, to check that you aren't causing yourself grief!!