Presented via FAQ, until I can get it a bit more organized... If you're familiar with DnD or Tabletop Roleplaying, skip the first two questions.
What is Battlequest?
Battlequest is a tabletop roleplaying game (RPG) with at least two people (recommended five or six) at a table. Like many tabletop roleplaying games, Battlequest is played with one of the players acting as a narrator, storyteller, and deitous force (known as the Game Master, or GM) over the rest of the players, who each play one character in a world cast with other characters played by the GM (known as non-playable characters, or NPCs). All that is needed to play are pencils, paper, and a variety of different polyhedral dice for each player and the Game Master.
Because of the nature and simplicity of Battlequest, there may be some discrepancies found between the rules of the game, expectations of the players, and playstyle of the GM. If such discrepancies occur, the ultimate and overriding rule is that the Game Master is always right. The rules of Battlequest are meant to be adaptable to fit the needs of the game, as seen fit by the GM. Such leniency is given to the Game Master because this player is sacrificing the right to play a character in order to make the game fun for everybody else.
How do I play Battlequest?
The play of the game takes place in three simple steps:
- The GM describes the situation, scenery, and setting
- The players (perhaps in a turn order, but definitely one at a time) describe to the GM how they would like to interact with the world
- If necessary, the GM has the player roll a 20-sided dice to check the success of the player's action
Rinse and Repeat.
What makes Battlequest unique?
Though Battlequest is played like many other tabletop RPGs, there are several unique aspects about it. Firstly, the players seven skills that encompass everything a player might do outside of battle. These seven "Quest" skills are Arcana, Athleticism, Awareness, Creativity, Deftness, Intellect, and Personality. The "Battle" skills are Accuracy, Dodge, Heavy Weaponry, Light Weaponry, Magicka, Shield Use, and Defense. There are no governing attributes for these skills. Players will improve their skills by using them, and especially by failing at them; this is the foundation of Battlequest. As players improve their skills, they will be able to select Talents that govern their skills and increase their odds at success in them. Because of the nature of these two separate trees, each player will have a "Quest Level" and a "Battle Level", both of which are equal to the amount of Talents in their respective trees.
How do I level up?
Leveling up in Battlequest is intended to be both interactive and easy. Each time you use a skill, you put down a "mark." Quest skills will have couple of skills you have proficiency in, and if you fail at one of those skills, you receive two marks. The number of marks you need to level up a skill are equal to four times your next level. For example, if I'm trying to progress from level 3 to level 4 in Intellect, I need 16 marks to achieve level 4. In Battlequest, you need only level 3 Quest Skills to receive a Quest Talent, or 3 Battle Skills to receive a Battle Talent. The catch is this: the Talent you receive must correspond to one of the three skills leveled (more on this later).
Battle skills level up differently. For Accuracy, Light weaponry, and Heavy Weaponry, and Magicka, at the end of a 12-second round, you'll make two marks if you made all your weapon swings that round, or one mark if you made at least one weapon swing, but not all of them. For Shield Use and Dodge, you'll receive one mark for using the respective skill at least once, or two marks if you max out the skill. For Defense, you'll receive up to two marks per 12-second round, one for each time you take a hit.
How do I use skills?
When you request an action and the GM asks you to make a skill check, the GM sets a number in his head that you have to achieve (known as a Difficulty Check, or DC; an average task usually requires a 15, a difficult task might be anywhere between 20-25, whereas a simple task might be 5-10). You will roll a 20-sided dice, then add your skill level in that check, then include any modifiers set by the GM or by your talents. For example, the GM asks me to make an Intellect check. My Intellect is 6, so when I roll a 17 on my 20-sided dice, I tell the GM that my total number is 23.
How do I create a character?
Ready to play? All of your Quest and Battle skills will start at 0. You have 9 points you can distribute to the Quest Skill tree and 6 Battle Skill points. You may also receive 3 Talents from the Quest tree, and 2 talents from the Battle tree provided that the talents you receive come from skills you put points into. For this reason, it is recommended you distribute your skill points three-at-a-time, and then take a talent in one of those skills, performing that process three times for each tree. The GM may want to set a limit to your starting skills (usually 5 or 6). An example of creating a character is provided below. Finally, choose three skills you wish to be proficient in the Quest Skill tree, and two skills in the Battle Skill tree. These skills will level up faster. If Arcana is one of your proficiencies, you may also choose three Aspects (see "Magic" below; the GM may also limit which aspects you can take at your level or even give them to you based on your background)
(Not challenging enough? Try Peasant Mode! You start all skills at 0 and receive no talents to begin with. You'll be bad at everything to start!!!)
What Talents may I select?
Battle Talents work differently. Each "Talent" you take for Accuracy, Light Weaponry, or Heavy Weaponry increases your swing total by 1 per swing. Each Talent you take in Shield Use and Dodge increases your use total by 1 per use. Each Talent in Defense increases your effective armor rating by 1, regardless of whether or not you are wearing armor. Talents in Magicka and Accuracy increase your likelihood of hitting your target.
How does Combat work?
Every round of combat lasts about 12 seconds. Within that 12 seconds, you will get a number of swings depending on your weapon. Here's the chart:
Daggers, Knives, unarmed combat, and extremely light weapons: 6d4 per round (2 seconds for each swing [2, 4, 6, 8, 10, 12])
Short swords, Hand axes, Quarterstaves, and other light weapons: 4d6 per round (3 seconds for each swing [3, 6, 9, 12])
Longswords, Battleaxes, Spears, Maces, and other heavy weapons: 3d8 per round (4 seconds for each swing [4, 8, 12])
Greataxes, Greatswords, Warhammers, Pikes, and other "massive" weapons: 2d12 per round (about 6 seconds per swing [6, 12])
When you are engaged in combat, the GM will call out the seconds in ascending order (1... 2... 3...). Each time your weapon allows you to swing (for instance, a dagger would swing on 2, 4, 6, 8, 10, and 12; a greatsword would swing on 6 and 12), call out your swing and roll your dice. After you have rolled your swing, your opponent can decide to dodge, block, or take the hit. You are limited to how many blocks and dodges you can make, so evade wisely!
Damage from an enemy source can be negated in two of three ways: Armor and Blocking or Dodging. The first way is Armor! Wearing armor negates damage from the enemy per swing, up to three points. However, wearing armor reduces your ability to dodge (explained later), as shown below:
No armor: No damage negated, (may dodge with up to 3d12 dice)
Leather, Bone, or light armor: 1 damage per swing (3d8)
Chainmail, Half Plate, or medium armor: 2 damage per swing (3d6)
Plate Mail or heavy armor: 3 damage per swing (3d4)
Being flanked reduces the amount your armor negates by 1.
Shields and dodging roll dice that may negate damage equal to or less than the number rolled. For example, if somebody with a longsword rolls an 8, a 6, and a 4, and I (whether dodging or blocking) rolled a 7, a 4, and a 2, I could negate the 6 and the 4. I would still take the full 8 though. You may only block or dodge as many times as there are swings against you. As for what shields can roll, refer to the chart below. You may NOT block AND dodge in the same 12-second round:
Bucklers and smallest blocking devices, as well as weapon blocks: up to 6d4
Small shields: up to 4d6
Large shields: up to 3d8
Tower shields: up to 2d12
Accuracy: Throwing a weapon only counts as one swing, and uses a dice corresponding to the chart above (for example, a thrown dagger deals 1d4 damage). Longbows fire at a rate of 12 seconds, but fire 2d12 which is considered a single swing on the 12th second. Shortbows fire at a rate of 4 seconds, making their dice 3d8, with each dice being a swing. Arrows can be blocked, but not dodged, and are not considered flanking at any time when facing an armored enemy. Bows may not be used against an enemy 5 ft or less away that's not prone. To test whether your accuracy weapon hits its mark, make an accuracy check with every 12-second round by rolling a d20 and adding your Accuracy level to the roll. You must roll at least an 11 if they're within 10 feet, and must add 1 to the DC for every 10 feet away the target is. Throwing weapons have a maximum range of 30 ft, Shortbows have a maximum range of 260 ft, and Longbows have a max range of 600 feet.
To keep track of the fact that you're surviving in combat, you need to utilize what is called the Wound Pyramid. The Wound Pyramid consists of 3 minor wounds, 3 moderate wounds, and 3 major wounds. Taking 3 minor wounds results in a moderate wound, and taking 3 moderate wounds results in a major wound. 3 major wounds is unconsciousness, so avoid that. Taking damage from a swing dealing 1-3 damage will result in a minor wound; a 4-6 damaging swing will be a moderate wound; taking 7+ damage from a swing deals a major wound. Remember, you can take up to 27 minor wounds, but only 3 major wounds!
How does Magic work in this game?
Magic is a powerful and innate entity found in everyone, but to manipulate or even master this entity requires a lot of study on a mage's part. To break it down, there are Aspects of magic that can be learned by a mage, split into two categories: Essence and Power. To "cast a spell," At least two aspects are required, with at least one Essence and at least one Power needed. One or more Material components whether mundane or magical are also required to empower a spell, and are consumed on casting. A spell may also be given a far more rare Aspect known as a Complication to bolster it's abilities.
There may be other Complications, Essences, or Powers out there yet to be discovered, but these are some basic ones to get a mage started and up to an intermediate level. Using a spell with just one essence and one power may have a DC varying from 12-15, with each additional Complication, Essence, or Power adding to the DC in some way. Spells are made with an Arcana check. It is also important to note that the player will not know all of these Aspects right away; they'll have to learn them in game.
Each time a spell is cast, the player suffers Exhaustion. You may cast a number of spells equal to half your Arcana level rounded down before you're exhausted and can no longer cast spells until you've taken a rest for at least 8 hours. Once you've rested 8 hours, all points toward exhaustion disappear.
How does Magic work in Combat?
Using magic in combat is dangerous and often unheard of. The forces of energy that allow themselves to be manipulated by users of magic prefer to be coerced rather than forced. That said, there are those rare few who are so in touch with the inner workings of the entity we know as magic that they are able to will that force to bring harm to others at a whim. Causing someone's eyes to light on fire, or filling someone's lungs with water, are but a couple of imaginative examples of how Arcana could be used to harm somebody. The use of Arcana in this way is known as "Magicka."
To even be able to use Magicka in a 12-round, you must know one Power and one Essence. Also, every 12-second round, you must make a Magicka check by rolling a d20 and adding your total Magicka level to the roll. Your result determines the potency of your attack, as shown below:
- lower than 12: You are unable to focus, or can otherwise not use Magicka this 12-second round.
- 12-13: You make 6d4 swings, as you struggle to spark any sort of life to your spells
- 14-15: You make 4d6 swings
- 16-17: You make 3d8 swings, as your concentration allows a little more potency
- 18-19: You make 2d10 swings
- 20-21: You make 2d12 swings, your power surges out suddenly and unexpectedly
- 22+: You may choose 6d4, 4d6, 3d8, or 2d10 swings, as you have total control
Note: Magicka cannot benefit from flanking bonuses.
Magicka takes effect in the way envisioned, but often doesn't do damage the way one would expect. For example, if with 4d6 swings you manage to inflict two minor wounds with your magicka by summoning fire on your foe, the flames will indeed burn, but not as powerfully as perhaps ordinary fire would burn. Or, with a lucky d12 swing, you inflict a major wound, as your conjuring water in the foe's lungs does just as potently as expected.
Items on the Docket to be worked in:
- Athleticism vs. Armor (Running, swimming, etc.)
- Dual Wielding
- Number of Dodges may need reworking
- Items used in combat need timers