I'm mightily impressed with those few souls who comprehended and played Magic Realm using the first edition ruleset. They were a peculiar breed of gamer.
The majority of us struggled through Magic Realm's first edition, playing the game incompletely or not at all. Most of the blame rested with the first edition ruleset, but the Magic Realm counters were also to blame.
Not only did Avalon Hill misprint several of the monster counters during the initial print run, but the counters were incomplete, lacking sufficient information for efficient gameplay. The above counter, representing the tremendous troll, is a case in point.
Only the harm inflicted by the troll's attack -- heavy (H) with an attack speed of 4 -- and the troll's move speed (4), appear on the counter.
The second edition of Magic Realm fixed some of the rules problems, but failed to improve the counters. It would take some dedicated fans to resolve the problems with the counters.
Below is a counter for the tremendous troll, from the electronic version of Magic Realm, called Realmspeak. One of the most valuable innovations of the Magic Realm fanbase is the addition of the vulnerability code, shown in the top right corner of the counter.In this case, the vulnerability code is "T" and is surrounded by a grey circle. The T signifies that you must inflict tremendous damage on this monster to kill it, and the grey circle signifies that the monster is armored.
As I mentioned earlier, armor eliminates one sharpness star from an attack, so any attack on an armored monster loses one sharpness star before damage is determined.
For example, the Black Knight strikes the tremendous armored troll with an axe.The axe does heavy damage (medium weapon plus a sharpness star equals heavy damage) and the Black Knight overswings the medium weapon with his H4** chit, thus increasing the damage to tremendous. However, because the troll is armored, we must deduct one sharpness star. Therefore the Black Knight does only heavy damage, insufficient to kill the tremendous armored troll.
If a monster is unarmored, its vulnerability code is surrounded by a yellow circle, rather than a grey circle. Case in point is the tremendous giant.As you can see, the giant's tremendous vulnerability code of "T" is surrounded by a yellow circle, signifying that he is unarmored. In the case of the giant, the Black Knight's attack, above, would have dispatched the giant, as the tremendous damage inflicted by the overswung axe equals the vulnerability of the unarmored tremendous giant.