Attack Delivery, Game Effects, and Flavor Traits
(Quick-Link to the Effects & Traits sub-page HERE. )
At the heart of the Brittanis game engine is a single concept--your character wants to affect their environment, and the environment (monsters, NPCs, etc) want to affect your character. The goal of the Core Rules are to facilitate that in the most immersive way while making the actual operation of the rules as simple and streamlined as possible.
In a LARP, any time a character interacts with their environment, two things normally happen: first, there is frequently some kind of mental math that has to be done, which is usually a quick addition or subtraction (damage being subtracted from vitality, using stamina to cast magic, or gaining a damage bonus to your weapon are good examples). This happens most commonly during combat or when a character is using Resources to achieve a goal.
Second, the Player must use the rules in some way to affect the game world. Sometimes, that interaction is as simple as talking with another PC or a plot character in the way your character would (using the character creation rules to determine your character’s race, class, and background all influence this) In more stressful situations such as characters attempting to influence one another or during combat, quick and easy to understand rules are needed to facilitate ease of play. Every moment you have to stop and think about the rules is a brief moment you’re not as immersed in the game world as you could be.
The Brittanis rules attempt to facilitate both of these design goals by keeping the math simple and by breaking down the ways a character can change their environment into simple, discrete packages that are easy to memorize and remember. Basically, EVERYTHING your character can do or can be done to him can be broken down into a simple formula:
[Delivery] causes [Effect] tied to a [Trait]
Each section of this formula is covered in its own section below and on the next page, but let’s talk about how they work together for a moment.
- Delivery describes HOW an Effect gets to the target. Every single Effect, even beneficial Effects such as healing or buffing spells, all have a specified Delivery, which explains how the effect gets from the originator of the Effect to the Target. The three main means of Delivery are Touch, Weapon and Packet, though other ways such as using a target’s name to target them specifically at a distance are possible.
- Effect is WHAT happens to your character. It describes things that can happen to your character, both good and bad. Instead of each individual skill describing what it does, the game has a set list of Effects that cover things that can affect your character. In a fight, your character might become wounded—this is represented by the Damage effect. Every single time the Damage effect comes into play, it works exactly the same. An effect that knocks a character unconscious or puts him to sleep would use the rules for Stun, and so on. Every time a Stun effect occurs, regardless of what in-game causes it, the victim reacts the same way. In a nutshell, Effects are small packages of easily-remembered rules that represent any in-game alteration to a character.
- Trait is WHY an Effect takes place. It describes the kind of power that "fuels" a particular Effect. When a weapon strikes you for the Damage effect, it has the "Weapon" Trait, because the weapon is the thing that makes that Damage possible. Traits are descriptive terms that let other characters know more about how an effect happens in the game world. Heroes have Traits that help describe how they get some of their abilities; your Source gives you descriptive Traits like “Nature” for Primal characters or “Training” for Skill based characters. Arcane and Otherworld characters can both use the “Magic” trait for their spells, etc.
Delivery, Effects, and Traits combine for small, out-of-game phrases referred to as “verbals”—this is what you as a player say out loud in order to represent what your character is doing in-game.
Example: Kendrick is a Brittanic Human Warrior, and he faces Velarion, an Erin’Tar Wizard, across the battlefield. Kendrick is a Skill-based character, so he has access to the “Training” trait. He swings his sword (Melee Weapon delivery) and hits the Sun Elf, calling, “5 Damage by Training” (Damage Effect and Training Trait) as he does so.This represents the warrior’s skill giving him superior combat ability and slamming his weapon home against his foe.
Velarion staggers backwards, clutching his side (roleplaying taking the damage), and he calls upon his magical abilities, uttering a magical incantation and then throwing a packet made of cloth and birdseed (packet delivery) to represent his magic spell. Velarion calls, “Agony by Magic” (Agony Effect and Magic Trait); this represents Valerion casting an arcane spell that brings wracking pain to his target.
That’s it—the simple formula of“Delivery/ Effect/ Trait” is the heart of the Accelerant system. Once you understand that, everything else is simple and is just a combination of those variables.
Touch, Melee, Missile, Packet & Special
In game terms, “delivery” is defined as the mechanism used to take an effect from the originator to the target. This applies to ANY Effect, so even beneficial Effects use the same rules as those which harm. There are five main categories of delivery: Touch, Melee Weapon, Missile Weapon, Packet, and Special.
The Rule of "Ouch!"
First and foremost in regards to combat, everyone should be aware that IF THE VICTIM DOES NOT REACT TO AN EFFECT THAT HITS, THE ATTACKER DOES NOT SPEND RESOURCES ON THAT EFFECT. The victim of an attack must either declare a Defense against the attack (Shield, Resist, etc. See Defenses below) or react to the attack with appropriate roleplaying. If the victim does not acknowledge an attack that hits in either manner, any Resources the attacker spent on the attack are considered unspent.
A missed attack or one blocked by the defender (by a shield prop or a weapon, for example), still cost Resources. It's only when an attack that HIT the target is not acknowledged that this rule applies.
This rule helps reduce Rhino Hiding (see below), because the rule applies both ways-- if you're not acknowledging any attacks against you, it's a pretty safe bet that your attacks aren't being acknowledged either.
Verbals: When in Doubt, Shout It Out!!
Whenever you use any Effect on another target, you must call out the effect. This is so that you and your opponent both know how much damage they are taking, and what additional effects the strike may have. If your weapon deals no “special” kinds of damage, then you just call out the number of points dealt. If it has an identifier after it, such as a silver coating, magic spell, elemental buff, or poison, you must add that to the damage you call when swinging. This is referred to as the Verbal of the Effect.
Verbals are considered Out of Game and cannot be prevented by a Silence spell or other means. If you use more than one weapon, you must call the damage out each time. If a weapon strike hits but has no verbal accompanying it, the attack is assumed to deal 1 Damage By Weapon as a default.
Effects must be stated in a clear voice loud enough for your opponent to clearly understand. If your opponent is garbling their words so you can’t understand them, say, "Clarification" to ask them to repeat themselves. Be polite. In the heat of a fight, it can be hard to keep your mind on conversational combat.
If an attack would have ONLY the “Damage” effect and “Weapon” trait, both can be dropped by the attacker. If ANY OTHER Effect or Trait are present in the attack, the entire verbal must be called completely. If an attack has the Damage effect but a different Trait, then the attacker can drop "Damage" as well. Damage and Weapon are the only verbals that can ever be dropped. Waste Vitality is NOT a damage effect. See Example #1 below.
Effects can stack, but the last Trait over-writes all others. If an attack, due to augmentation and buffs, gains multiple traits that might apply, ONLY the last Trait added is used for the Effect. All effects from that attack are considered to have the single Trait, regardless of theirsource. See Example #2 below.
Example #1: Brekk is a Norn Berzerker, and he swings at Majeeda, a Khemri skirmisher, with his greatclub. Brekk has skills that increase one weapon swing to an impressive 5 points of damage. He would technically call “5 Damage by Weapon” when time he swings for that much damage, but because the only Effect and Trait called are “Damage” and “by Weapon,” he can simply call “5” when he makes that single attack. If he had a skill that says, “5 Damage by Nature” in the description, then he must call "5 by Nature" because the Damage effect is assumed.
Example #2: Majeeda wants to get back at Brekk for the crushing he gave her earlier. She uses a shortsword that has been alchemically treated with silver, so she calls “1 Damage by Silver” (or "1 by Silver") as her base. An ally adds a spell onto it that gives it +2 magical damage for 1 attack, so now Majeeda loses the Silver Trait and calls, “3 by Magic,” because only the LAST Trait modifying the attack is called. If she were to add poison to the blade that had a Stun Effect, she would lose the Magic trait, and her attack call becomes, “3 and Stun by Poison,” because again, only the Effects stack, and Traits overwrite each other. If Majeeda really wanted that Silver effect, she should wait until the spell is cast and poison used THEN apply the alchemical to her blade, because if the Silver is used last, that is the Trait that gets called on the attack.
Touch delivery is almost always used for beneficial effects-- Heal, Cure, Grant, etc. Touch can only be used to deliver Attack effect against helpless or unconscious targets-- touch can never be used as an attack delivery against an enemy who can resist, due to safety considerations.
Touch delivery is simple-- the originator of the effect holds a packet in their hand and touches the target with the packet, following all other applicable rules for that skill. You must always follow the Etiquette Rules in regards to Touch delivery.
Melee Weapon Delivery
Melee attacks require special hand held padded weapons to deliver an attack—usually referred to as “boffer” weapons. Melee weapons cannot be thrown unless they are specifically designed and approved for throwing. You must have both hands on a two handed weapon in order to use it in combat unless some game ability specifically states otherwise.These padded weapons have a strict set of creation rules and must pass a safety inspection at each and every event where you intend to use them.
Dishing It Out and Taking It, Too
The only contact allowed in Brittanis is by weapon or packet. PERIOD. There are no exceptions to this rule,ever. Even those creatures who would have natural weapons such as claws will have “weapons” covered in red tape or colored red to represent their natural weapons. Grabs, kicks, throws, punches, or any variation thereof are strictly forbidden and will result in CP loss or you will simply be asked to leave. We’re not here to injure each other.
The entire body is a legal target EXCEPT the head, neck, groin, hands and feet. Hands are NOT a legal target when holding a weapon, but are considered part of the arm when nothing is in them. You may NOT grab or trap a weapon with your hand.
A strike blocked at all by a shield is considered to have lost the momentum to do harm and even if it makes contact with the body after the shield, is considered a blocked attack.
Many skills work only on limb hits. A limb hit is a strike to the arm or leg. A torso hit includes the chest from the belt up to the top of the shoulder. Any hit to the leg or buttock is a leg hit. Any hit to the arm or to the outer shoulder is an arm hit. Hits that come down on the shoulder or that come down between the shoulder and the neck are also arm hits. Neck hits are illegal.
Glancing blows, shots light enough to graze or with little power behind them, and deflected shots do not count. Likewise, weapon strikes that hit the clothing but not the body do not count as well. It is courteous to tell your opponent “Light” or “Glancing” or “Garb”when one of these conditions occur.
If you believe another player is hitting too hard with a weapon, call, "Heavy" to them, to let them know to lighten their strikes. If you call Heavy to a player and they do not adjust strikes, inform Staff immediately.
The Flurry Rule
A flurry is a series of melee swings delivered at an enemy in combat with little or no pause. You can make no more than three consecutive attacks where your weapon contacts an opponent or their weapons, including their shield, before you must reset. To reset your flurry you must stop all attacks for at least a second and, if movement brought you closer to an opponent, reset your range to two paces (weapon tips crossing for Medium weapons.)
That's all you need to remember, everything else are clarifications and answers for specific questions.
- Blocked swings that contact a weapon or shield and successful hits that contact the body are counted as flurry swings. Feints and swings that do not make contact against weapons, shield, or body do not count as a flurry swing. You must reset your flurry after you have made three swings with contact.
- When we say two paces, we mean two normal walking paces. If this is unclear, this is the range where you are far enough from your opponent that if you extend a full length one handed weapon at them only the tip will touch the closest part of their torso including their shoulders.
- If you are already two paces away then you need only pause for the full second to reset your flurry.
- An opponent can't try to prevent you from resetting your flurry by advancing. If you have retreated in an attempt to increase your range to two paces but your opponent's advance has prevented you from doing so then you may reset your flurry after a full second pause.
- Incidental weapon contact and aggressively engaging an opponent's weapon with beat attacks or offensive parries can make flurry determination confusing. We realize it is difficult to determine if these types of weapon maneuvers count as a strike in a flurry. As a Rule of Etiquette, if both your elbow and the weapon tip move forward and contact an opponent's weapon then count that as one of your flurry strikes even if it was not your intention to launch an attack. This might mean that both combatants use up a Flurry swing during incidental weapon contact.
- Flurry rule applies to all combatants, PC and NPC.
The Proximity Rule
You must maintain a safe distance from any active opponent. If you can reach out and touch the torso of an opponent with your hand then you are too close and you must back away. If there is a significant difference in the reach of two opponents, the opponent with the shorter reach may approach close enough so that they can strike their opponent with their weapon so long as they cannot touch the torso of the opponent.
Rhino Hiding and the Paradox of Honor
Not counting damage dealt to you when struck fairly is called “rhino hiding” and is both a breach of the rules and downright rude to your fellow players. It also will not be tolerated.
It should be noted that the Brittanis combat system is very similar to many other LARP combat rules, in that it relies heavily on the honor of the combatants involved. This game runs on the honor system; it has to because there cannot be a Marshal everywhere at all times. It is also, however, a self-correcting system: if you rhino-hide regularly, your opponents will start not counting your shots on them either. Likewise, if you swing too hard after repeated warnings, many times someone who is stronger than you will step up and make sure you get the picture, no matter the vitality involved.
We are all trying to have a good time,and when a player puts themselves above other players by cheating, everybody has something to lose. Note that this creates an interesting paradox: even if a character has no honor whatsoever, in order for the game to work, the PLAYER must act honorably in regards to the rules and his fellow players, even if his character is a rotten scheming bastard towards the other characters.
Claws and Natural Weaponry
Some characters have the ability to use claws or natural weaponry instead of, or in addition to, weapons. These weapon props are red, though some plot creatures may have props that are constructed to appear to be part of that creature.
Claws are considered to be melee weapons and can be used to block melee attacks. Claws are not affected by Disarm. Destroy effects delivered to such weaponry will cause a Maim effect to the limb using the weapon.
Claws and natural weaponry are not bladed weapons, and cannot be used with skills or effects that require bladed weapons. If you are holding a claw that is struck by a melee or missile attack,and you cannot legally block with the claw due to some game effect, you will be affected by the attack since you cannot drop the claw in response to the strike.
Missile Weapon Delivery
Missile attacks use special thrown weapons, approved projectile weapons such as bows and crossbows, packets that represent arrows and bolts, or approved NERF-style weapons that fire projectiles. If a weapon is designed as a projectile, it cannot be used in melee combat. You may only throw one thrown weapon at a time, although you may fire a projectile weapon such as a crossbow from each hand if you are skilled in using that weapon in both hands. All the same rules for legal targets for melee attacks apply to Missile Attacks.
A missile projectile or thrown weapon CANNOT be parried or knocked out of the air by a weapon. If a defender does so, the attack is considered to have hit the defender’s torso. On the other hand, if a defender is unaware of an attack and the attack hits his weapon, the attack is considered to have missed. Just like the Rhino Hiding rule, the player honor code is very important with missile weapons.
Shields CAN be used to block projectiles and thrown weapons. An attack that hits a shield in any way is considered to have lost the force necessary to deal damage to the shield bearer. Even if it ricochets and hits the target after it hits the shield, it has no effect on the target and is considered blocked. The attacker spends all applicable Resources as if the effect had hit.
If a player wishes to use packets to represent archery, he can so do. Packets that represent missile projectiles must be completely white in color, and the attacker must hold a representation of the missile weapon (foam bow or crossbow, etc) in one hand and draw the throwing hand all the way back to the ear before throwing. A white packet uses the rules for missile weapons, and can be blocked by shields. It is considered a missile weapon attack, and not a packet attack.
A packet is a small bean bag filled with bird seed or plastic craft beads that represents some sort of alchemical, mystical, psychic, or supernatural ranged attack form. [Weapon Construction | Packets have strict construction guidelines]].
To use a packet, the attacker calls a verbal and throws a packet at a target to deliver the attack. If the packet hits the target, or any direct possession of the target to include clothing, then the effect is delivered to the target.
Any Effect with a range of “Touch” should actually be delivered by gently touching the target with a hand-held packet. DO NOT TOUCH ANOTHER PLAYER WITHOUT THEIR EXPLICIT PERMISSION.
Packets follow all the same targeting guidelines as Missile attacks. A packet that hits a target’s weapon OR shield is considered to have hit the target. There is no such thing as a glancing strike or a light strike with a packet attack. It either hits or misses entirely.
Be careful when throwing packets to not throw them hard enough to actually injure the target. If you are winding up to throw the packet, you are throwing too hard.
Packets for spells are not solid objects and cannot be affected by Disarm or Destroy, but they are a visible, in game effect. If someone is carrying packets and you see the packets, you can assume they have some sort of aura that makes you realize they are capable of something special. Because of this, you cannot carry or throw packets unless you have the power to use them for something.
The only colors that CANNOT be used for Packet Attacks are WHITE (see Missile Weapon) and Hunter (or Safety) Orange. Orange is reserved for alchemical items like acids and poison gases that can be used in grenadelike fashion. Just like spell packets, orange alchemical packets can be identified while being held in the thrower’s hand.
Packets are out of game items and cannot be stolen, or traded as such. Characters with in-game grenadelike weapons will have Item Tags that represent those items-- and the TAGS can be stolen, but the props that the player owns cannot.
It is HIGHLY recommended that individual packet users personalize their packets for identification post-battle. It is also highly suggested that a bright, easily visible color be used so they can be found in the dark. Reflective, glow-in-the-dark fabric or shiny paint helps flashlights locate them after the sun has gone down.
If a packet clearly strikes a target and they do not acknowledge the hit with roleplay or by negating it with a defense, the resource (stamina, alchemical item, etc) is not expended. See the Rule of Ouch, above.
If the packet misses, is acknowledged by roleplay or defended against, the skill or resources are paid normally.
To deliver a packet attack, the arm that is delivering the packet must be free and the hand empty except for the packet itself. A free arm cannot have props tucked under it or tied to it other than armor. You cannot deliver packet attacks if you cannot use game skills, or if the arm is affected by something that prevents its use such as a Maim effect or shackles. Some packet based skills have additional requirements as well.
Grenadelike weapons (such as alchemical items or thrown rocks, etc) are Weapon attacks delivered by packet. A grenadelike weapon that hits any area other than the target’s head or groin is considered to have hit and takes full effect. Strikes by grenadelike weapons to other weapons, shields, armor, shields, clothing or shields (did I mention SHIELDS??) as well as body targets take full effect. There is no such thing as a glancing strike or a light strike with a grenadelike weapon. It either hits or misses entirely.
Special Attacks & Deliveries
Special attacks are delivered in unusual ways rather than using the regular melee, missile, and packet combat system. They represent large scale effect and atmospheric conditions.
Special attacks always begin with the person or area that the attack affects (Target) followed by a verbal.
If you have a defense that works against the verbal of a special attack you can use it to negate that attack as normal.
Someone delivers an effect to your immobile or unconscious form by touching a weapon or packet to your torso and stating "Affliction One, Affliction Two, Affliction Three" clearly and slowly followed by a verbal. This follows the same delivery rules as a Death Strike and can be interrupted in the same manner as a Death Strike. The verbal may be a standard effect, or it may deliver an Inflict effect in which case the character will give you an effect card. Basically, Affliction is a Finishing Blow delivered with a non-weapon attack form.
A death strike is used to kill an unconscious or immobile target. You must touch a weapon to the torso of the victim while saying "Death strike one, death strike two, death strike three…etc” all the way to five. Then you can call “Death by Weapon". This verbal must be spoken clearly and at a normal speaking pace and volume. You must have skill with the weapon to inflict a death strike.
If the death strike is successful, the target is immediately is considered Dead, and begins the 5 minute count until they turn into a Spirit (see Death & Dying). If they have the ability to resurrect, they immediately begin that process. If not, the target’s spirit moves on into the Otherworld and is gone.
To inflict a death strike, the victim must be helpless. The victim can be unconscious or unmoving because of a game effect, but you cannot inflict a death strike on a body until it comes to rest after an attack, nor can you inflict a death strike on a bound but struggling victim. If the victim can move of their own volition, even a little, the victim can prevent a death strike.
To interrupt a death strike, you must strike the person attempting to deliver the death strike with an attack or distract them to the point that the death strike verbal is interrupted. You may also interrupt the death strike by striking the weapon used to perform the death strike with a weapon of your own. You do not have to force the weapon away. A death strike that is interrupted is canceled and has no effect.
An attacker who has a death strike interrupted must begin and complete new death strike in order for the target to be affected. The interrupted death strike cannot be re-started at the count where it was interrupted.
Someone who has met your gaze for a full three seconds calls out "By My Gaze" followed by a verbal. A vampire might whisper "By My Gaze, Paralyze by Will." Other creatures might cause fear or other effects.
Someone points at you with a hand or a weapon and calls out “By My Gesture” followed by a verbal. If the effect has a duration that is not instantaneous, then instead of the normal duration, the effect lasts so long as they point at you.
Someone calls out "By Your Name," states your name, part of your name, or some pseudonym that you have used and calls out a verbal. The attack is successful if you recognize that name as a name you have used or a name that person might use to refer to you.
Basically if you know they are talking about you then the effect hits. You can still use Defense Effects against the Name Attack as per normal.
A variant of this Delivery is “By YourTrue Name, [True Name],” Every sentient being has a True Name—the syllables that make up their essence. Most beings do not know their own True Name, and those that do keep it a tightly-mastered secret—because an attack delivered to a target, “By Your True Name” CANNOT BE DEFENDED AGAINST.
If a character calls out "In This Room" and an effect verbal then everyone in that room will be affected by it.
Doorways and gates act as room dividers—even if the door is open or the gate is made of widely-spaced iron bars, etc. This delivery is commonly used for traps and performances.
The attack only works in an enclosed room with normal doorways and corridors leaving it. The attack will affect you if any part of you is within the room when the verbal is called.
Someone calls out "By My Voice" or “In This Place” followed by an effect and everyone who hears the verbal is the target. You cannot defend against Voice or Place attacks by intentionally obscuring the sound of the verbal with loud noise or by plugging your ears once the Attack has begun. Plugged ears before the attack verbal begins may be effective, subject to GM/Marshal approval.
“Voice” attacks indicate that the effect is radiating from the creature calling the effect. “Place” attacks indicate that the effect is environmental and the creature calling it is not itself causing the effect.
Okay, so now we know how attacks are DELIVERED to the target, what a valid TARGET is, and the DELIVERY that are used to get an Effect to its target.