Jonric: What kind of combat system will we find in the game, and to what degree will it be possible to address situations without having to fight?
Jason Compton: Our combat system is real-time, with available pause on request (hit the spacebar) or upon predefined events (e.g. "auto-pause because my target is dead or invisible"). The player can choose to control each character individually or as a group (you can select multiple characters at once to save time when focusing an attack, for instance), or let the system AI manage any or all of the characters.
We have also implemented a system of "combat stances" - trade off a penalty to defense for a bonus on offense, or vice-versa. The basic combat stances available to all characters are relatively disadvantageous (mostly suited to extreme circumstances), but it will be possible to learn or obtain combat stances that offer better tradeoffs and advantages throughout the course of the game.
Speaking for myself and the rest of the game designers, we are writers first, tactical scenario designers second. So there are plenty of situations in which picking up a sword is not the right solution - but there are some instances when winning a fight will, in fact, be necessary. I believe we can strike a balance that preserves role-playing choices for our players.