V8 Made Easy
From the Rulebook:
- 1 This Rulebook Made Easy
- 2 Role-playing in Amtgard Made Easy
- 3 Armor Made Easy
- 4 Playing in Battlegames Made Easy
- 5 Reeving Made Easy
- 6 Classes Made Easy
- 7 Magic, Abilities, States, and Special Effects Made Easy
This Rulebook Made Easy
Rulebooks are confusing things. They are often written by people who know what they are trying to accomplish but written for people who have no idea of the writer's goals. Understandably, it is impossible for the writers to foresee and account for every possible situation. With this in mind, please consider the following when reading through this rulebook, and when applying the rules on the field:
- Amtgard requires cooperation, honor, and fair play in order to ensure the most fun for all participants. Please read these rules thoroughly. The more familiar you are with the rules, the better equipped you will be to handle situations that are not explicitly covered.
- On your first few reads through this rulebook, or if you’re just looking to get a quick overview of the system, you’ll want to pay special attention to the “Made Easy” sections. They highlight the most important concepts in each section and are easily identifiable by the presence of our loveable rulebook mascot, Clippy the phoenix.
- If something is ambiguous, it is important to use common sense in adjudicating the proper ruling and course of action. Safety should always take precedence in any determination, followed by fairness, then playability, then thematic considerations. If a course of action goes against safety or fairness for the benefit of thematic elements, that course of action should not be taken.
- Magic and abilities only do explicitly what they say they do, and do not have additional powers beyond what is explicitly stated within the rules.
- Read the rules in their entire context. Some rules may give one impression when read in a vacuum, but make sense when viewed within the larger context of the game.
- Don’t play in the gray areas of the rules. Gray areas and loopholes will not be considered or accepted by reeves.
- If a term is not defined in this rulebook, the commonly accepted definition of the term should be applied. If multiple definitions exist, the one that makes the most sense in terms of safety, then fairness, then playability should be applied.
When in doubt, play fair. In a free-form game like Amtgard there are bound to be interactions and situations that come up that were not imagined or considered by the authors. If those interactions are unclear then the players should adjudicate the situation in the most fair and equitable way possible until an official ruling can be made.
Have fun with it! There are a plethora of options and possibilities in the Amtgard rules. Try something new or goofy. Creativity counts for a lot and teamwork is always overpowered.
Role-playing in Amtgard Made Easy
Be realistic: Interest in role-playing differs greatly among Amtgard players. Don’t try to role-play with people who obviously are not going to join. Move on to those that want to be part of it.
Don’t hide: Don’t hide behind the excuse of role-playing. There is a fair level of treatment that one should expect when role-playing. It is inexcusable to hide the mistreatment of others behind role-playing or use role-playing as an opportunity to strike out at someone.
Take responsibility: Don’t expect anyone else to introduce role-play into your games. If you want to role-play, do so. Other interested players will join in and some won’t.
Keep it relevant: Develop a character that supports the medieval-fantasy atmosphere of Amtgard.
Keep it short: Play a character you can sum up in 25 words or less. If people want to hear more, they’ll ask. Better yet, introduce it through role-play. Role-play is about the experience, not the story telling.
Keep it humble: It’s hard to explain why you are the greatest warrior in the land if you are still learning the rules. Take time to hone your skills and play the game. You will have stories to share with friends that will be better than any story you can dream up.
Don’t limit yourself: Ignore the class name. Think of the abilities that you want your character to have and select that class. You do not have to play Paladin to play a Holy Warrior. Warrior, Barbarian, Scout and Healer all offer abilities that could support that. Want to be a Pirate? Check out Wizard or Scout. Let your character define the class; don’t let the class define your character.
Keep it simple: If you role-play some horrifically powerful were-vamp-dragon hybrid, it will send the wrong message and likely discourage interest in involving you in role-play. Instead, find a way to tone it down and let your character’s story develop on its own. Remember you are only a star in your own story. To everyone else, you are supporting cast.
Teamwork is the key; Amtgard groups consist of players with a range of interests. Opportunities should be made for those interested in role-playing and those who aren’t interested. This allows everyone to enjoy their time at Amtgard. Keeping Amtgard diverse is a key to keeping it strong.
Likewise, selecting someone to play a monster who is not interested in role-playing can give false hope to the role-players involved and be counter-productive. Get people who are willing to role-play to play Non-Player Characters and Monsters in quests.
Armor Made Easy
Armor stops hits by losing points in the location it is hit. Once a location is out of points the armor doesn’t stop hits anymore and the player is hit. All hits remove a single point from the armor in the location struck unless the strike is Armor-Breaking or Armor-Destroying. The three most common Armor-Breaking strikes are from an arrow, a great weapon with Heavy Padding swung two-handed, or a strike from a Barbarian. Armor-Destroying strikes are much rarer.
Armor-Breaking strikes will reduce the armor to zero in the location struck unless the player struck is wearing more than three points of armor in that location. That can only happen if they are playing Warrior, Paladin, or Anti-Paladin. If the player struck has more than three points of armor in the location struck, then all hits to their armor remove a single point until they are at three points or less and then it behaves as stated earlier.
Armor-Destroying strikes will reduce armor to zero in the location struck regardless of how much armor remains.
Keeping track of your own armor is simple. If you are playing any class other than Warrior, Paladin, or Anti-Paladin then each hit removes a single point of armor unless it’s one of the above types of strikes, which reduces your armor to zero. If you are playing a Warrior, Paladin, or Anti-Paladin and wearing more than three points of armor then all Armor Breaking strikes do one point in the location struck until you get to three points, and then it behaves as above. An Armor-Destroying strike gets rid of all of the armor, period.
Determining the approximate amount of armor worn by a player is easy to do at a glance:
- Non-metal armors are always three points or less. Non-rigid metal armors are four points or less. Only rigid armors can reach more than four points.
There are a few more magical effects and abilities that interact in different ways with armor, but this covers the vast majority of the situations encountered on the field of play. If you want more information read the Magic and Abilities sections. If you run into a situation you are not sure of you can always ask a reeve or the player who affected you.
Playing in Battlegames Made Easy
Battlegames are a core part of the Amtgard experience. Two people fighting together is sparring, but three or more people playing together is typically considered a Battlegame of some sort. In order to play in any given Battlegame you need to know the following:
“Who is on my team?”
Typically teams are static and will be assigned before the game starts. Look around when your team is together and try to get a feel for who your friends are.
“What is the objective?”
Game objectives are generally straight-forward and will be announced before the game starts. Make sure you and your team are working towards the goal.
“Where do I go when I die?”
Typically each team has a spawn point and dead players will return to their spawn, or an out-of-the-way place near it, when they die.
“What is the respawn count?”
Respawn counts could be a couple of minutes, a few seconds, or as soon as you reach your spawn point. The reeve will let you know before the game starts.
“How are lives handled?”
Lives could be an individual pool (example: each player has four lives), a team pool (each team has a total of 40 lives), unlimited, or something else. The reeve will announce how lives are handled before the game starts.
Reeving Made Easy
Reeves are an extremely important part of the Amtgard experience, as they are the individuals who are charged with attempting to ensure the safety and enjoyment of the game participants. Here are some helpful suggestions to being an effective reeve.
- As the reeve, your decision is final. If a snap decision is required, make the call that you believe is correct, and consult the rulebook after the fact to confirm the decision. If your call was incorrect, make sure to note that for the future.
- Your responsibility as a reeve is to facilitate the safety and enjoyment of the game participants. This may require you to make calls that are unpopular with some individuals in order to allow the game to proceed smoothly. You should attempt to remain fair and impartial in all of your calls, and apply the rules objectively, regardless of individual feelings on the subject.
- It is important to adhere to the spirit of the rules in addition to the letter of the rules. It is impossible in a game as varied as Amtgard for the rulebook to cover all contingencies. If you encounter a situation where a player’s actions negatively impact safety, playability, or the enjoyment of the participants, you are justified in disallowing that action. Here are a couple of examples of situations where it is reasonable for a reeve to intervene:
- a. A player using a weapon in a manner that provides them with an advantage that their class would not normally receive (e.g.Monks with unusually large weapons for blocking, or an Assassin claiming that a medium shield is allowable because it is actually a weapon).
- b. A player wielding otherwise legal equipment in an unsafe manner.
- c. A player knowingly attacking someone whom they are unable to affect (e.g. Insubstantial or frozen players).
- d. Any situation where the player’s justification is “But the rules don’t say I can’t...”
Classes Made Easy
Classes have levels. Each level unlocks new Traits, Abilities, or Magic you can use. Your level in a class is determined by the number of times you have played that class before. See ‘Credits and Levels’ for more information.
Except for Traits, all Abilities and Magic require an Incantation in order to be activated. That’s just a short audible sentence that announces to everybody what is going on.
Classes are grouped into two broad categories:
- Magic-Users: Bard, Druid, Healer, and Wizard.
- Fighting Classes: Anti-Paladin, Archer, Assassin, Barbarian, Monk, Paladin, Scout, and Warrior
Magic-users have access to a broad array of magic, which is listed along with their class description. Fighting classes have fewer, but more focused, abilities to go along with their expanded equipment availability.
Abilities for fighting classes are listed like this: Name [Uses] ([Category]) ([Notes])
Name: The name of the Ability. Uses: How often the Ability can be used. Possible options are:
- Unlimited: This Ability may be used any number of times.
- ‘X’/Life: This Ability may be used X number of times each life. Each time you respawn you have a fresh set of these ‘per life’ Abilities.
- ‘X’/Refresh: This Ability may be used X number of times per Refresh. You start the game with a full set of these ‘per refresh’ Abilities, but they are only refilled when a Reeve announces a Refresh.
- Charge: May be used in conjunction with per life or per refresh, or on its own. Charge Abilities can be used any number of times, but must be Charged after the initial uses are expended. See the definition of Charge for a full explanation of how Charge works.
- Not listed: This Ability isn’t an activated Ability.
Category: What kind of Ability it is. Possible options are:
- (T): for Trait: This is an always-on self-only Ability which cannot be removed in any way and never requires an Incantation of any sort to start and does not require an Enchantment Strip or count towards the bearer’s Enchantment limit.
- (ex): for Extraordinary: This Ability is not magical in nature. It could represent poison from a vial or using a piece of twine to fix a broken arrow. An Ability listed as (ex) which is defined as being an Enchantment in its Ability definition generally behaves as an Enchantment but does not count towards the limit of Enchantments that may be worn by a player. See the definition of Enchantment for more information.
- (m): for Magical: This Ability is magical in nature. If the Definition of this Ability lists it as an Enchantment then it follows all the rules for Enchantments and counts towards the limit of Enchantments that may be worn by a player.
Magic, Abilities, States, and Special Effects Made Easy
The number and variety of Magic, Abilities, States, and Special Effects can seem overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be. Here are a few quick steps to help you learn what you need to know to play on the field with magic and abilities.
Weapons and Magic Balls have to physically hit you or your equipment to have an effect. No hit, no effect, no problem.
- All offensive Verbals have very descriptive incantations. The incantation typically contains the School and the State of the Magic or Ability being used.
- No Verbal has a range greater than 50’. If you can get further away from the caster than that you won’t be affected.
There are lots of Magic and Abilities, but only a few results. If you read through and understand the States Defined and Special Effects Defined sections, you will understand the result of any Magic or Ability used against you in combat on the field. All offensive combat abilities (with very few exceptions) result in one of those States or Special Effects. If you don’t know what a magic or ability does by its incantation don’t worry; ask the caster to explain and they can communicate to you in just a couple of words exactly what happened using States and Special Effects.
Immunities are also very simple: If the Magic or Ability targeting you is of a given School (which is always part of the incantation) and you have Immunity to that School, then the magic or ability has no effect on you. The only exceptions are if they affect your equipment or your Enchantments instead of you yourself, but there are only a few Magics and Abilities that do that. If you are unaffected by a Magic or Ability, you must announce it when the Magic or Ability is complete. You can also let them know before hand if you’re feeling generous.