The Arena

*NEW:* Rules amendments added in red, including dice rolls.

The audience shoots to their feet and roars as you step onto the warm sand of the arena. The flags flutter overhead as you see a thousand people watching you. This is your moment to show your skills as a pupil of the fabled Academy of Arcane Arts. Now it’s only a question of how you will perform . . .

Welcome to The Arena! This is where you can test your mettle against fellow academy pupils. The rules are as follows:

  1. Keep it clean and respectful. An academy pupil treats his opponents with honor, giving the standard courtesies. That of course includes a bow before and after a fight, as well as showing one’s stripes.
  2. Pupils are expected to use the full trigger phrase of the spell they are casting, as well as name of the spell. Example: “I slap my wrists together with the First Offensive, shouting, Annihilo!”
  3. All offensive spells shall be cast feathered, meaning at diminished strength. This is practice dueling only!
  4. Choose a time to duel, being mindful of time zones.
  5. Choose a nickname when in the arena. Augum, for example, would be called Augum “The Hood” Stone.
  6. Choose an element. Available elements are: fire, earth, water, air, lightning, ice (healers do not duel, and necromancy will not be an option at this time).
  7. Agree on degree level for all contestants prior to the duel. Available degrees are 1 to 9. This matters because you will not be allowed to cast spells of higher degree (for the purpose of simplicity we will not account for people training beyond their degree).
  8. Dice rolls: Roll a twenty-sided dice (“D20”) to cast a spell/strike an opponent. Add your degree level to the roll. A roll of 14 or higher hits. If the opponent chooses to dodge or parry, they must roll higher than you (they too will include their degree bonus). Tie rolls go to defender. Centarro adds +4 to all rolls. Shields add +2 to all defensive rolls. Elemental Armor allows for two free hits before destruction. Feel free to use online dice rollers like this one.
  9. Example: A 4th degree warlock smacks their wrists together, incanting, “Annihilo!” He/she then rolls a D20, getting a 10. They then add their degree, scoring a total of 14, which would strike. But their 2nd degree opponent chooses to block with a summoned shield. They roll a D20, getting an 9. Adding their degree and the shield bonus, their total is 13, which means they failed to raise their shield in time and the First Offensive struck true, scoring one point for the caster.
  10. GOLD EARNINGS: Each duel participant receives 5 crowns, regardless of who wins. The crowns must be honestly tabulated at home using the honor system, but you may appoint someone among you to hold the title of “Treasurer”. It will be that person’s responsibility to keep tabs on everyone’s earnings.

    The earnings can be used to purchase the following:

    5 crowns – A Potion of Trickery that, when consumed, takes away an opponent’s point. Costs one action to perform. Can only be consumed mid duel.
    25 crowns – A better quality practice weapon, earning +1 on all strike rolls when using it.

    35 crowns – Ring of Tempering: reduces all non-spell physical strike attack rolls by 1
    35 crowns – Ring of Striking: adds +1 to all physical attack rolls (non-spell attacks)
    35 crowns – Ring of Absorption: adds +1 to all defensive rolls against mind attack spells
    35 crowns – Ring of Consternation: opponent suffers -1 on all mind attack defensive rolls
    40 crowns – Circlet of Luck: +3 on all “Rolls to Succeed” (see below)
    40 crowns – Circlet of Retrial: Once per duel, you may ask for a re-roll of any one single roll
    50 crowns – A shimmering elemental robe that penalizes all castings cast against the wearer, endowing a -2 penalty on all opponent’s strike rolls (physical offensive spells only, not mind spells).
    100 crowns – The purchase of an arcane Dreadnought weapon of your choosing (can be an axe/sword/bow/staff etc). You also get to name it. +3 on all strike rolls, and has the ability to cast First Offensive through the weapon (for 3rd degree+ only).
    Author’s request 1: Come up with a list of items. Have Attendant Atticus email them to me. Feel free to suggest amendments to the above too.
    Author request 2: what sort of mechanics would you like introduced for penetrating a shield / Mind Armor / Elemental Armor due to strong attacks? And how would attacking using a fist / foot factor? Think it over/playtest some ideas, and get back to me in due course with specific mechanics.
    Author request 3: What sort of mechanic would you like to introduce that is house-specific? Perhaps certain off-the-books spells/abilities only available to those houses?
  11. RULES CLARIFICATION: Second Offensives (always cast tempered) result in two points being awarded if both strike true. Chances of both striking are as follows: should attempted defenses fail, defender rolls a D6. If it is 1-4, the attack is successful and attacker is awarded 2 points. If it is a 5 or 6 defender manages to sustain one of the two attacks, but dodges the other (imagine one hitting a leg and the other the ground, or one the torso and the other zipping underneath an arm, etc).
  12. RULES CLARIFICATION: Strength: Should a physical attack be successful under the influence of Strength, the attacker is awarded one extra point. Further, all non-attack Strength attempts that relate (like flipping someone, lifting something, etc) using dice rolls gain an additional +4 on any D20 “Rolls to succeed” attempt rolls.
  13. RULES ADDITION: D20 “Rolls to succeed“: Any player may use an attack to attempt something not as yet discussed. At that point, the player is asked to honestly self-assess the difficulty of accomplishing the feat, and roll a D20. For an easy feat, they must score a 10 or higher. For a moderate feat, 14 or higher. For a difficult feat, 18 or higher. A successful moderate feat earns the attemptee one extra crown at the end of the match. A successful difficult feat earns them an extra two crowns! [Author asks the players to play test this and “feel” it out for balance issues]
  14. 2 ON 2 DUELS: You may now duel each other in team pairs! All participants will get an automatic 8 crowns per person. Initiative is rolled each round using a D20 (twenty-sided die). To cut down on text-based messages, this may be accomplished by the master of ceremonies/appointed score keeper/one of the participants. Highest goes first, with ties going to the person with more points that round. If a tie still remains, those involved in the tie are to each roll a D20 until one gets higher than the other. Further, the winning team is each awarded two extra crowns per person. [Author asks the players to playtest 2 on 2 and get back to him (perhaps via Attendant Atticus) on how to improve the mechanics].
  15. [OPTIONAL CHALLENGE]: Start dueling at 1st degree. After every duel, you graduate one degree. When you hit the 10th, you can choose any degree (between 1-9) to duel with. A request from the author: if the community comes up with a rank title for those who complete this challenge, have Attendant Atticus email me with the resultant decision and I will amend the rule here to make it official, allowing for people to use the rank in their name.
  16. Agree who goes first. Take turns. You can roll a dice to add randomness.
  17. You can cast one spell per text post. The person reacting MUST do the following however: react to the spell cast at them, and cast a counterspell / make an action.
  18. Possible actions:
    – Cast a spell, such as summoning a shield or weapon, summon elemental armor, Disarm, a First Offensive (feathered of course), etc. etc.
    – Block with shield / parry with practice weapon (practice weapons can be retrieved telekinetically from the carts that are wheeled out prior to each duel, costing one action). Weapon classes: spear, sword (short/long), dagger, axe, halberd, club, bow & quiver (3 arrows in quiver allowed max), any other reasonable weapon you can imagine.
    – Move to engage opponent in hand-to-hand combat (or with weapons)
    – Move away from approaching opponent
    – Dodge / duck / jump over the spell / twirl aside / (the audience roars for greater creativity!) etc.
    – Slash / thrust / slice / jab with weapon (etc). Can also throw the weapon.
    – Telekinetically bend the arc of an arrow / fireball / thrown object. Available only to 5th degrees and up.
    – Battle ‘port away (available only to 9th degrees and up)
    – Reflect a spell using Mirror of the Dragon (available only to aspirants who have passed the Arcaner trials and have subsequently gone through the training. Will flesh out rules in due course).
  19. [OPTIONAL RULE] You can use up to two dodges per battle, so choose wisely. After your dodges have been used up, the opponent’s spells strike true (as long as they roll a 14).
  20. Each opponent can withstand one hit to their Mind Armor before future spells blow through. At that point, the defender must roll a six-sided dice (known as a “D6”) Alternately, the Master of Ceremonies can be the dice roller. Results as follows:

    -A roll of 1 means the attack is successful and does full damage to the mind (1 point awarded, combatant must role-play how it affects them). So if it’s a Sleep spell, the person struck is put to sleep and the duel is over then and there.
    -A roll of 2 means the attack is somewhat successful and does half damage to the mind (1 point awarded, combatant must role-play how it affects them)
    -A roll of 3 means the attack is a partial glancing blow, and does no damage, but a quarter of the effect is felt by the person sustaining the attack (no point awarded).
    -A roll of 4 means the spell crumpled against the pupil’s Mind Armor (no effect/damage)
    -A roll of 5 means the spell crumpled against the pupil’s Mind Armor (no effect/damage)
    -A roll of 6 means the spell crumpled against the pupil’s Mind Armor (no effect/damage)

    All pupils are expected to report their rolls honestly. That is the way of honor that all pupils who hope to last in the academy shall obey. And losing a duel can be just as fun as winning one. After all, everyone learns from a loss and becomes slightly better not just as a pupil, but as a combatant. Losing builds characters more than winning.
  21. First to three solid hits wins! (This will keep the duels shorter). [OPTIONAL RULE:If no one is waiting in the wings to duel, both opponents can duel to five points]. But if a pupil believes he has been outmaneuvered in an incredible fashion (let’s say they believe their opponent was being particularly imaginative with their attack) then that pupil may do the honorable thing and bend the knee.
  22. For added fun, a third person can play the role of the Master of Ceremonies (Think Lucca Giovanni from the book Clash). This person’s sole job is to dramatize the events before them. They will also be the judge of the tournament, assigning points, making rules calls, etc.
  23. You’re welcome to suggest rules / amendments below. Due to the limitations of a text-based duel in this site, we will all have to be a little patient and forgiving in how things flow. A pupil is expected to do their best and to use their imaginations, as they are the most potent weapons they have. Good luck to all combatants!

The scene: The crowd stirs anxiously as the combatants meet in the center of the sandy arena. They are bare of foot and wearing the color of their respective degree. It is a [Master of Ceremonies chooses weather] day, and people have paid good money to see quality practice duels. In attendance we have academy arcanists, always keen to see how students are progressing. We have two high-degree healers as well, eager to help combatants injured in the fray [Master of Ceremonies may role-play what they do]. And of course, we have representative heralds from the Blackhaven Herald, the Antioc Herald, and the Academy Herald (Cry Slimwealth may be in attendance). And they like to gossip.

The heralds have been seen chatting together, in fact. Speculation has been mounting on whether or not everyone would get a glimpse of the fabled trio, who have been said to be interested in the events. Everyone is hoping to get a visit from one of them, although they are quite busy people these days guarding the kingdom. Perhaps in due course . . .

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