Monday, June 1, 2009

Orcball!

Orcball is a wildly popular sport in the border towns and less civilized areas of the Wasted Lands. A sport originally enjoyed only by the brutal humanoid races, Orcball has been catching on amongst seedier human, elf, and dwarf communities and is quickly becoming a wildly popular spectator sport. This is of great concern to those of a goodlier bent, as broken limbs, permanent disfiguration and death are often part and parcel of the game.

In Orcball, the idea is to put a skull into a hole at the far end of the field (though in an effort to "clean up" the game, human, elf, and dwarf leagues often use oblong balls that are vaguely shaped like animal skulls). This hole is exactly large enough to stuff the skull into--with some force applied--and thus the skull cannot be hurled, but must be physically jammed into the hole at the source.

The Orcball Team
Only one person on the team--the Runner--is allowed to touch the skull with his hands, and only the Runner may place the skull in the hole, though anyone can kick or hit the skull to move it around. Of course, the opposing team's Runner will be after the skull, too, and is allowed to use any tactics she desires to acquire the skull, save magic, hand-held weapons, or ranged attacks. Studded and weighted gloves, on the other hand, are allowed and commonly used, as are jagged forearm and shin plates, and other nasty pieces of personal armor. Runner armor consists of boiled leather and padding.

Aside from the Runner, there are four other people on each Orcball team. The jobs of these people is twofold: ensure their runner gets the skull in the hole, and stop the other team's Runner from doing the same. No one is allowed to touch a Runner unless he has the skull in hand, and if two Runners are engaged, combat must be one-on-one. A Chaffer cannot touch a Runner if she is currently engaged in fighting the other Runner, for example. The sole exception to this is the Whip, who may always come to his Runner's aid.

The other members of the team, and their specific responsibilities, are:

Chaffer: The Chaffer's duty is to cut a swath through the other team so that his Runner can have a clear path. The Chaffer's secondary duty is to cut down the opposing Runner if he has the skull. Chaffers are always armed with some kind of staff or pole arm, very often resembling a sickle, allowing the Chaffer to attempt to trip the Runner. The Chaffer's blade is supposed to be dulled and/or blunted, but orcs are orcs, after all, and this doesn't always happen....

Chaffers may (and often do) wear pieces of loosely stitched together plate and leather.

Wall: the Wall's job is to stop the Chaffer. Walls can be armed with anything from pole arms to paired hammers or maces. Again, sharp blades and spikes are generally not allowed unless very dulled or blunted. Walls may wear Chaffer armor, or may beef their armor up so that it provides more protection, but in this case they tend to be less effective in hitting, as the armor encumbers their movement. Walls armed with paired weapons throw two attack dice, but threaten only one square or hex adjacent to themselves.

Whip: The whip's sole job is to protect the Runner. He is generally armed with a flexible weapon that has great reach, like a whip or length(s) of chain, allowing him to create a whirling "shield" under which the Runner can take refuge. Whips are armored as Runners, but threaten up to three squares/hexes distant from themselves if armed with a single length of whip or chain, or can throw two attack dice if armed with two shorter lengths, but in this case only threaten one adjacent square. Note that each Whip must choose one full length or two half-length whips.

Skulltender: The Skulltender's job is to guard the hole and ensure no skull gets placed therein. Skulltenders are armed and armored as Walls.

Variations on the game exist, and there are games with up to three runners, two Chaffers, two Walls, and two Whips on each side, this provided each side has enough players and a large enough field upon which to play. In no variation is there ever more than a single Skulltender.

The orcball field is approximately 250 feet long on average, though the size widely varies from field to field, the center line and starting zones for each player marked in blood. A typical orcball field appears as follows (the skulls at either end indicate goal zones):


For a higher resolution version, click here.

(Rules have been removed for actual development)

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