Combat, like everything else, is player-facing. Players go in whatever order they want, each doing something; foes act when a soft or hard move is triggered; foes who were not engaged then act at the end of the round.
Because Glorantha World is fiction first, how much you can do in a turn is up to the GM's judgement and a sense of what could be accomplished in a short period of time. Generally, you can attack one foe, unless you have an ability to attack more or your weapon or move has the quality area. Each person gets one turn per round.
Moves which auto-trigger at the start of a battle are *not* actions and the things they enable by spending hold usually don't count as actions for the round. All such moves are usually resolved before anyone acts.
Hold from moves may allow actions during someone else's turn.
Example: Angar and his friends are slipping through the woods, planning to raid the Rain Blossoms and steal some cows. But they stumble on a Rain Blossom party with the *same idea*. Angar triggers Move Like the Wind, which goes off when he enters battle; this does not count as an action. He gets 5 + 3 Might = 8. This gives one hold he can spend to act. He saves the hold to spend later, because no foes are within range or attacking yet. Tybalt activates his Battle Magician, which also triggers when he goes into battle. 7 + 2 = 9. He gets one hold, which he saves. Yrsa cannot activate her Master of Spirits because she is not confronting any unbound spirits. Yora can activate Battle Trickster. 8 + 2 Wits = 10! 3 Hold! She immediately steals a foe's broadsword with one hold, leaving him holding a crust of bread, and saves the rest. Braneld rolls a 3 and even with +2 Magic, she gets one Hold but suffers one Harm. Ack! She spends it to get +1 Armor for the rest of the fight. Harrid and Jarnegar have no relevant abilities.
The party is at Close Range of their seven foes, due to the thick forest. "I'm drawing my sword and charging at the enemy," Angar's player declares. Angar rushes at one of the enemy raiders, closing to Hand-To-Hand range. The enemies aren't ready for chargers, so they don't get to make a move in response. "Ditto for us," Jarnegar's player says for himself and Yora. Jarnegar and Yora join him. "I am casting my Shield spell and taking cover behind a tree." Braneld casts Shield, gets 6 + 2= 8, so she has one hold she spends on +1 Armor vs. Missiles (which stacks with her general +1 Armor). Being behind the tree has to shape any later Moves the MC uses against her (enemies don't roll to hit, they act if you fail or ignore them.) "Tybalt chants his Windbolt spell, waving his arms and his Air Rune tattoo glows brightly; he targets the closest raider." Tybalt casts Windbolt; he rolls 8 + 2 Magic = 10! 3 hold! He proceeds to attack one of the raiders, using Volley. He rolls 5 + 0 Grace = 5. He fails and so one of his foes throws a javelin. Tybalt can try to dodge as a PC and "jumps out of the way". This is Defy Danger, rolling Grace. He gets a 3 + 0 = 0. He fails and the attack does 2 Harm to him; he doesn't have any armor so he loses 2 Harm. He gambles and fires a second Windbolt at the guy. 10 + 0 = 10! He nails the man for 2 Harm. So he uses his third Windbolt. 8 + 0 = 8! He decides to just avoid any counter-attack. "Harrid stares at the enemy, then licks his lips and recites his version of Windbolt, targeting the raider furthest left," Harrid's player says. Harrid rolls 4 + 3 = 7 as he casts his Windbolt. His foe suffers 3 Harm (passing out) and is knocked to far range, but Harrid suffers a soft move. Harrid trips over a root and falls down into the dirt. WHAM. "Yrsa raps her broom on the ground to wake up the Lightning Brother living inside it." She rolls 7 + 2 Charm = 9. She gets one Hold, so her broom is now covered in lightning, doing +1 Harm.
Jarnegar, Angar, and Yora are each engaging one of the surviving foes. Another one already went, throwing javelins at Tybalt. Harrid knocked one out, so two remain. One throws a Javelin at Braneld, but it bounces off her +2 Armor against missiles. She screams anyway. The other sees Harrid as an easy target and throws a Javelin at him; he suffers 2 Harm as he gets hit in the butt to his embarrassment.
We'll come back to this later.
You can generally only attack one target, using Volley, Smite Foe, or a move from your Playbook. (You can also use things like Intimidate, but social actions often take too long to do in combat time.) Some moves may allow attacking multiple targets; weapons with the area tag can attack multiple targets.
Attacks are player-facing; on a 10+, you typically hit your foe and avoid retaliation. On a 7-9, you may face a soft move or specified problems; on 6 or less, your foes hit you hard.
Example: Angar (Grace +1) throws a javelin at one of the Rain Blossoms, who is raiding his clan's tula. This is a Volley.
Volley: When you attack someone with a ranged weapon, roll +Grace.
Angar rolls a 7 + 1 Grace = 8. He chooses to just disarm his foe, knocking the sword out of the man's hand.
Jarnegar (Grace +0) then shoots at the man with his bow. Unfortunately, he rolls a 4 + 0 = 4 and so the foe gets to make a hard move, drawing a javelin and throwing it at Jarnegar, who gets a defensive roll in the next example.
Foes you didn't engage or who you bungled attacking get to attack you and you get a defensive roll; you can use Defy Danger to dodge the attack or Tough It Out to try and shrug it off.
Example: Jarnegar is about to be hit by a javelin. He decides to Tough It Out with his Might +1. He rolls 6 + 1 Might = 7. He goes for half-damage, which is 1 point of damage.
If you are wearing armor (but ONLY if you are wearing armor), you can make a +Armor roll: 12+: reduce Harm by 3. 10-11: reduce Harm by 2. 7-9: reduce Harm by 1. 6 or less: They find a weakpoint, you take full damage.
Shields add their Protective rating to this roll.
Example 1: Jarnegar got hit by a Javelin for 1-Harm in the previous. He is wearing light mail, giving him one point of armor. He rolls +Armor. 6 + 1 Armor = 7. He reduces Harm by 2 and is unscratched!
Example 2: Angar, in light mail and shield (so +1 and +1 to +Armor rolls, +2 total) faces a Walktapus with his friends. He just rolled a 3 to hit it and it proceeds to bitchslap him for 5-Harm. OWWWW. He rolls an 8 + 2 Armor = 10. He reduces the Harm by 2, down to 3, which is still ugly.
PCs have eight or more slots in their Harm track; once you have four Harm, you are Wounded, which is a -1 to everything you do and requires greater effort to heal you. At Six Harm, you pass out. At Eight Wounds, you are in Critical Condition and will need help soon or you will die. If you take 9 or more Harm, you just die. Many NPCs have less Harm slots than a PC; some creatures may have way more. (A few foes may have only 1 and die when pricked; they are minions.) A typical non-combatant is Wounded after suffering 2 Harm, passes out at 3 and is in Critical Condition at 4.
Example 1: Jarnegar is hit by another Javelin, having blown his effort to dodge and failed at his armor check. It inflicts 2 Harm; he had no damage, so he is down by 2 but is not Wounded.
Example 2: A Walktapus hits the unfortunate NPC Kevala, a normal Orlanthi Farmwoman. He inflicts 5-Harm; she only has 4 Harm boxes and just dies. He also bitchslaps Angar, as seen earlier; Angar had 2 Harm already. He now has 5 and is Wounded, suffering -1 to everything.
Foes normally react to PC actions; any foes who are ignored by the PCs, however, will take action against the PCs after the PCs act; PCs can still use defensive actions like Defy Danger to try and evade their actions.
Example: Angar, Yora, and Jarnegar face five Broo. Each of them attacks one of the Broo, leaving two unattended. One of them attacks Angar, who uses Tough It Out as a defense. The other attacks Yora, who uses Defy Danger to evade them.
Angar, Tybalt, and Yrsa are scouting ahead from the air for a White Quartz raiding party; they encounter five Blue Jay warriors who are doing the same thing, but on the ground. As PCs, they will act first and their foes react.
Angar and Tybalt have 'when you enter battle' powers they must roll; Yrsa only rolls hers if she is confronting spirits and these are mortals. Angar rolls 8 +3 Might = 11! 3 Hold for his Move Like The Wind. Tybalt rolls 4 + 2 = 6! Ack! He suffers -1 on his next action but does get 1 hold.
The PCs are up in the air, at Near Range from their foes.
Angar flies down, slapping a Blue Jay with the butt of his sword, then slashes across the man's chest. Angar burns one hold to close on the man without any risk to himself, then burns a second to stagger the man; this gives him Advantage; He then uses Smite Foe. He rolls 3d6 and takes the best 2. 2, 5, 1, so 7 + 3 Might = 10! He inflicts 3 +1 (from the 10) Harm on the man, who reduces it by 1 to 3. His foe passes out. The Blue Jay stumbles as the heavy metal hilt strikes his head, then his armor is sliced open and he collapses, bleeding and moaning.
Tybalt chooses a foe, then waves his hands in a vortex shape while chanting the seven names of the seven winds; a vortex forms between his hands and fires down at a Blue Jay. Tybalt casts Windbolt. He rolls 5 + 2 Magic = 7. He gets one Windbolt, so he rolls +Grace with Volley. He rolls 8 + 0 = 8. He decides that he will accept exposing himself to counter-attack so he can hit; his foe takes 2 Harm, reduced to 1 by his armor, and is pushed out to Far Range. (to Close range relative to Angar who closed with the foes.) The GM rules that Tybalt accidentally exposes himself by flying to Close Range of the Blue Jays... thus within range of their Javelins). Tybalt is at Near Range relative to the guy he windbolted, Close Range of the other Blue Jays. Tybalt is tugged closer to the enemy by his own Windbolt, which hits a Blue Jay, sending him tumbling through the scrub brush.
Yrsa flies closer, waving her broom around and chanting in strange electrical crackles. Yrsa moves to Close Range of the enemy, then calls upon her Lightning Brother. 11 + 2 Charm = 13! 3 Hold! That's what she needs to unleash a lightning bolt! Crackling Lightning forms around the broom and she unleashes it on a third Blue Jay. Auto-hit for 3 Harm. His armor knocks it to 2; he is now Wounded; the MC rules he makes a run for it, panicked by his pain. But he could fight on, though he would do less damage if he got a chance to hit. But these guys are not here to fight to the death. "Damnable Spirit Freak!" the Blue Jay shouts, then flees in pain.
Two Blue Jays remain unattacked and now get to take action. One Blue Jay lunges at Angar, trying to stab him in the gut. Angar's player decides on his response. Angar spins and parries the blow with his shield. This is Take a Hit. He rolls 5 +3 Might = 8. He takes half-damage, but the MC decides he falls down. Angar takes 2 points, but can soak with Armor. He rolls 6 + 2= 8. He soaks 1, so 2 - 1 = 1. Angar now is down by 1 Harm and falls prone. Angar blocks the blow but it hits so hard he falls down on the ground and bruises himself as hit hits hard ground.
The other Blue Jay throws a Javelin at Tybalt, who chooses to Defy Danger. He rolls 7 + 0 Grace = 7. He could either fail to dodge, or succeed with a problem. He chooses the latter and crashes into a tree, taking one Harm as he dodges the javelin.
Angar stumbles to his feet. Angar gets up from being prone.
Tybalt flings another windbolt at the man he blasted before. Unfortunately, he rolls 4 + 2 = 6 and fails; he turns sheet white and suffers -1 to +Charm the rest of the day.
Yrsa waves her broom, begging her Lightning Brother to strike again." 8 + 2 Charm = 10! That's enough for a lightning bolt! Yrsa calls down her wrath on the one who attacked Angar. Auto-hit for 3 Harm; His armor knocks it to 2 and he flees in pain. The Blue Jay shouts impotent curses as he flees.
At this point, the two remaining Blue Jays decide to flee, but the PCs will give chase to stop them from warning the Blue Jays the raid is coming.
Without magic, you typically heal all Harm over night if you are not Wounded, and one Harm a day if you are Wounded.