Battlegames

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From the Rulebook

Battlegames are competitive matches between two or more teams using a variety of different possible mechanics. Victory is determined by any number of pre-set conditions. The variety and combinations of possible games are limited only by the imagination. This section describes the mechanics and components of battlegames, how to build your own, and lists some example common battlegames.

Battlegame Components

These are the individual pieces that make up how a game works. These parts can be mixed and matched to create any number of possible different games. A game essentially has seven parts:

Lives

How many times players can return to life. This can be a fixed number per player, a fixed number per team, unlimited, or something else.

Respawn

Where and when players return to life. This can be after a period of time, instantly, in groups of a minimum size, at base, where they died, in a central location or something else. Players who Respawn do so with all of their equipment intact, Wounds healed, Enchantments removed, and all States and Ongoing Effects removed unless otherwise noted. When designing a game keep in mind that dying should generally be the worst thing that can happen on the field. For instance when designing a Full-Class game your Respawn counts should not be shorter than the longest negative field effect (60 seconds because of Magic Balls). Alternatively dying can be penalized by having a finite life pool for the team as a whole.

Base

Some Magic and Abilities refer to ‘returning to base’ or otherwise reference the location of a base. Bases may also be used to repair a broken weapon, bow, or shield after 60 seconds at base, though this may be adjusted by the game designer. Determine what the bases will be for these abilities for each team. This can be a field location, a team reeve, or something else.

Game Type

The Game Type refers to the set of rules used to play a Battlegame. The common Game Types are:

Teams

The number of teams that play in the game. This is commonly two or three, but may also be:

  • By Size: Players divide into any number of teams with no more than X players per team
  • Free For All: Every player for themselves

Objectives

The win condition for the teams. This can be eliminate the other team, eliminate a specific player, score points, survive, or something else.

Refresh

How and when per-Refresh abilities are returned to full uses in Class games. This could be none, every 30 minutes, when teams rotate, when a point is scored, or something else. Refreshes should be infrequent in order to encourage players to use their per-Refresh abilities tactically and thoughtfully.

Scenario Rules

Any specific rules that modify the way the game is played. This could involve monsters, ruling out specific classes, creating offlimit areas, creating special-effect areas, or anything else.

Combine different components in different ways to create entirely different game types to suit the needs of the group. A good battlegame is fast-paced and focuses on providing constructive conflict for all opposing teams. Combat is a means of resolving conflict, but should not be a goal in and of itself. Downtime for players should be minimal, but killing an opponent should still provide a meaningful advantage to the killer or their team.

Battlegame Examples

Battlegames can take any form imaginable or desirable by the group. The best game type for the group will be dictated by the size of the area, number of players, available time, and available terrain. The games listed here are just common examples to stir the imagination and can be played as they are or customized in any way.

Capture the Flag

Two or more teams compete to secure a flag at their base in order to score points. First team to three points wins. The flag is considered a game object. This game is fun to play in the woods or other areas with interesting terrain.

  • Teams: 2+
  • Lives: Unlimited
  • Respawn: Instant at base
  • Players: 5+ per team
  • Objective: Bring the game flag to your base and hold it there for five seconds in order to score a point. Once a point is scored all teams reset to their bases.
  • Refresh: Every 45 minutes of play time.
  • Types Best Supported: All

Ditching

Two teams line up across from each other just out of melee range and fight until one team is eliminated. New players join the losing team before the next round starts. If no new players are ready to join then the first dead on the winning team switches to the losing team before the next round starts. This is the simplest of all Battlegames and a good pickup game. Best played in medium-sized, open areas.

  • Teams: 2
  • Lives: 1
  • Respawn: Start of round at base
  • Players: 2+ per team
  • Objective: Eliminate the other team. Once one team is eliminated each team resets to their side.
  • Refresh: Not applicable, no classes used
  • Types Best Supported: Ditch, Militia

Ring The Bell

Two teams attempt to hit the ‘Bell’ at the other teams base fist. Bells must be touched by a player, or by a weapon under 36” currently held by a player, to be rung. First team to three points wins. This game is fun to play in small, open areas.

  • Teams: 2
  • Lives: Unlimited
  • Respawn: Start of round at base
  • Players: 3+ per team
  • Objective: To strike the opposing teams bell and score a point. Upon a point being scored each team resets to base.
  • Refresh: Not applicable, no classes used
  • Types Best Supported: Ditch, Militia

Very Heavy Object

Two teams attempt to bring the Object to their opponent’s base to score a point. The Object must be kept at the opponent’s base for five seconds in order to score a point. The Object is considered a game item and should weigh at least 30lbs. First team to three points wins. This game is fun to play in medium sized areas with interesting terrain.

  • Teams: 2
  • Lives: Unlimited
  • Respawn: Groups of two or more at base
  • Players: 3+ per team
  • Objective: Move the Object to the other team’s base and keep it there for five seconds in order to score a point. After a point is scored each team returns to base and the Object starts with the team with the lowest score.
  • Refresh: Every 30 minutes of play time
  • Types Best Supported: All

Castle Defense

One team defends, two teams attack. Rotate teams so each team has a chance to defend and two chances to attack. The team that wins is the team that defends the castle (or any given location) the longest before being eliminated. This game is fun to play in any place where you have a defensible location.

  • Teams: 3
  • Lives: Unlimited for the attackers, life pool for the defenders
  • Respawn: Groups of three or more for the attackers at their base. Instant for the defenders at their base.
  • Defender respawns reduce the available life pool.
  • Players: 5+ per team
  • Objective: The defending team with the longest duration in the castle wins. After the defenders are eliminated the teams rotate who is in the castle.
  • Refresh: Each time the teams rotate
  • Types Best Supported: All

Hold the Location

Three or more teams compete to hold a single central location for the longest cumulative time. Team bases should be spaced equidistantly around a central location. Game runs for a set amount of total time, normally 30 minutes. This game is fun to play in medium sized, open areas

  • Teams: 3+
  • Lives: Unlimited
  • Respawn: Instant at base
  • Players: 5+ per team
  • Objective: The team with the highest cumulative time controlling the location wins. The location is controlled by the team of the last player that touched it.
  • Scenario Rules: A team must control the location for at least ten seconds in order to get any credit for their possession; this makes it easier to accurately count and award time to each team.
  • Refresh: None
  • Types Best Supported: All

Mutual Annihilation

Two teams fight until all the players on one team are out of lives, or ‘shattered’. This game is fun to play in small environments with interesting terrain.

  • Teams: 2
  • Lives: Each player has a set life pool that runs out individually. Once out of lives, players must wait for the next game.
  • Respawn: Players respawn at base after a 150 second death count
  • Players: 3+ per team
  • Refresh: None
  • Scenario Rules: If at any time all players on one team are dead, all players are set to their bases and all dead players are advanced to their next life.
  • Types Best Supported: Militia, Full-Class

Quests

Quests are a special type of battlegame that offer a more free form set of objectives than what is normally available. A good quest should contain multiple objectives and have multiple methods of achieving those objectives. A good quest allows players to achieve success by thinking and role-playing as well as by fighting. Finally, quests typically make use of the Quest Abilities available to each class.

Example Relic Quest

Individual teams scour the forest to find powerful magic items protected by various monsters and held in chests spread throughout the forest. The chests are locked and the monsters have unmarked keys that they hand out when they are defeated. Each monster should also have a demand. Demands should be straight-forward tasks the questors can perform to get a key from the monster. A good example demand might be ‘bring me the magic orb hidden in the forest’. Demands should only be stated by the monsters when asked. Questors must role-play in order to discover a monsters demand. For added realism, have real locks on real wooden boxes and have the monsters hand out actual keys when they are searched by questors. The questors can choose to either turn in relics they find to their team reeve when they are found or to start using them in the quest. If they use them in the quest then the relics may be looted from their bodies by other quest teams.

  • Teams: 2+
  • Lives: Unlimited. The quest ends after 1 hour.
  • Respawn: Players respawn at their team reeve in 60 seconds once their team is out of combat.
  • Players: 2+ per team, a neutral reeve for every team, a head reeve, and 1 monster for every three players.
  • Refresh: Abilities Refresh at the 30 minute mark
  • Types Best Supported: Full Class

Quest Abilities

Quest Abilities are designed to give players more tools in roleplay situations that are common in Quest-type battlegames. These abilities are typically not useful in standard battlegames as they focus more on interaction with a storyline and monsters than they do with combat between players. Quest Abilities are chosen by, or assigned to, each player before the battlegame begins. The reeve in charge of the battlegame will announce which Quest Abilities, if any, are available to be chosen for a given game and how they are to be selected.

Reeving Quest Abilities

The use of Quest Abilities should emphasize theatricality and story-telling over strict adherence to mechanics and rules. It is encouraged that each party of players have a reeve designated to them to help adjudicate the interaction between Quest Abilities and the battlegame challenges. If a player can use a Quest Ability in a novel or interesting way that adds to the storyline without being disruptive for other players, allow it. If a player uses a Quest Ability in a way that is disruptive to play or derives an unbalancing gameplay advantage, disallow it.

Creating New Quest Abilities

New Quest Abilities can be created as-needed for new Battlegames and Quests at the discretion of the game organizer. Here are some basic guidelines for creating new Quest Abilities.

  1. Should not fundamentally change the nature of any class.
  2. Should not replicate the behavior or feel of any Magic or Ability.
  3. Should not eliminate the need to overcome a challenge.
  4. Should not be something that players would want to use in a normal Battlegame.
  5. Should not be useful against other players.
  6. Should be easily described in a couple of lines.
  7. Should be designed to encourage role-play and creativity without being abusable.
  8. Should be fun.

Quest Ability Hooks

Quest Abilities work best when a battlegame has challenges or obstacles that are designed to work with them. Collectively these challenges and obstacles are referred to as Hooks. Here are some basic guidelines for working Hooks into Quests.

  1. Hooks should never be unsolvable without a Quest Ability; just more difficult or require a different approach.
  2. Hooks should never preclude a player’s natural abilities, just augment them. For example if a player is confronted by town guards they could attempt to fight their way through or run. The player could also choose to try and name-drop his relationship (real or fake) with a powerful noble in an attempt to bypass a fight. A player who invokes Court Knowledge is more likely to be believed by the guards than a player without it, given the same performance.
  3. Encourage your NPCs, monsters, and reeves to have fun with Quest Abilities by playing along and acting out the effects of a Quest Ability dramatically where appropriate.
  4. Don’t feel obligated to provide Hooks for every Quest Ability, but do provide Hooks for a variety of different Quest Abilities that fit with the theme and content of your game. Turn Undead might not be useful when raiding an orc village, and that’s okay. Tribal Knowledge probably would be.
  5. Hooks should add to the flavor and fun of a battlegame, not slow it down or detract from it. It’s better to cut a bad Hook rather than try and cram it when it doesn’t belong.

Quest Abilities Defined

Quest Abilities are activated by announcing the name of the Quest Ability at an appropriate time to the flow of the Quest. For instance Hallowed Ground would need to be announced before combat is initiated whereas Menace can be announced before or after a player attempts to threaten and bully a group of monsters.

Affinity for Nature

Player is in tune with nature, and the beings who live in harmony with nature. This player will generally be considered a friend by such monsters and NPCs. Thy will also have knowledge about animals and natural locations.

Calm

Player gives of an aura of calm. This player will have an advantage when negotiating or dealing with non-hostile monsters and NPCs.

Charm

Player can initiate a performance that entrances a monster or NPC. The monster will not attack anybody for the duration of the performance or until they feel threatened. The performance must be either a song, a joke, a dance, or a story and may last no longer than 2 minutes. 1/game.

Court Knowledge

Player is familiar with the customs and behaviors of the royal court. The player will have an advantage when dealing with politicians and nobles.

Disarm Traps

Player has an affinity for mechanical traps. If this player fails to disarm a trap they fare better than other players.

Hallowed Ground

Player creates a fixed 20’ radius area where no offensive actions can occur for 2 minutes. Actions that are initiated outside the 20’ radius may still affect individuals in the area. 1/game.

Magical Knowledge

Player has experience with reading magical auras. They can detect and identify magical locks and traps. They also have background information about magical beings and locations.

Menace

Player gives of an aura of menace that can be sensed by hostile monsters and will have an advantage when attempting to intimidate hostile monsters.

Persuasion

Intelligent monsters and NPCs fid the player’s arguments more convincing than they otherwise would and are more likely to be influenced by the player.

Pick Locks

Player has an affinity for mechanical locks. If this player fails an attempt to pick a lock they fare better than other players.

Presence

Player may converse safely with a group of players, monsters, or NPCs so long as the player takes no hostile action towards them. Monsters and NPCs that are not capable of intelligent thought (animals, slimes, mindless undead, etc) are not affected. Players may choose not to converse but may still not harm the player. May not last longer than 3 minutes. May not be used for scouting or reconnaissance. 1/game.

Talk to Dead

Dead players, intelligent monsters, and intelligent NPCs can be asked one yes or no question, and must answer truthfully to the best of their ability. May only be used once per target.

Tracker

Player is an experienced tracker in almost any environment. Player will often be able to determine more information about the kind of monsters and NPCs in the area as well as possible locations of game objectives.

Tribal Knowledge

Player is familiar with the tribal and clan customs of many cultures. This player will have an edge understanding and negotiating with monsters and NPCs who live in a clan or tribe.

Turn Undead

Monster and NPC undead (including monsters and NPCs affected by Undead Minion, Greater Undead Minion, Vampirisim, etc) must stay 50’ away from the player and may not initiate any hostile actions towards them. Any undead that is targeted by a hostile action is no longer affected by Turn Undead and may act normally. Lasts for 2 minutes. 1/game.

Prepared

Player is an experienced campaigner and is aware before a Quest starts of any special equipment or circumstances that may be encountered. The reeve in charge of the Quest should privately give the player a brief overview of the monsters and challenges he is likely to encounter.

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