November 23, 2016

Siegeball

It's time we talk about Siegeball. People in every campaign world need some form of recreational past time, apart from killing monsters and going on quests, of course. Siegeball, a concept I stole /tg/ (read about it here), was my go-to for campaigns set in 3.5. It's fun, violent, complements all kinds of characters, and makes clever use of existing game mechanics. However, the sport sorely needed an update for 5th edition, so I've taken it upon myself to simplify the sport a little and convert it over.

The Game

Siegeball is a game played between two teams of five players each. Each team has a tower to defend from the other team. Players can't attack the towers directly, however. Instead, there is a single ball which can be used to knock down the towers. A team loses when their tower falls.

The Arena

The game is played in a walled rectangular arena. Normally, this arena is 140 feet long by 45 feet wide (28 squares by 9 squares), though arenas of all sizes and shapes exist. Each team's tower, a 5-foot dimeter pillar made of wood or loose stone, is set up 10 feet from each end of the arena lengthwise. Towers have 25 hit points and can only be damaged by the impact of the ball.

The Ball

Central to the game of siegeball is the ball, an especially dense sphere of solid rubber or wrapped leather that is pursued by the players. The ball is astoundingly heavy, and players move it by attacking it. Though in some places, players strike the ball with their hands or fists, usually players are given bats (which use the statistics of a club), or even more powerful melee weapons, like warhammers and mauls.

The ball has an AC of 8 and a pool of Momentum Points, which determine how fast it's moving.
     Attacking the Ball. When you attack the ball, you can choose to hit it in one of the eight cardinal directions. On a hit, the ball gains a number of momentum points equal to half the damage dealt to it, rounded down. The ball moves five feet in the chosen direction for each momentum point it has. As it moves, the ball subtracts one momentum point for each five feet it moves until it stops.

The ball can collide with wall, objects, or towers.
     Colliding with a Wall. If the ball collides with a wall, it bounces off at an angle corresponding to its direction and continues to move until it stops.
     Colliding with a Player. You can use your reaction to hit the ball if it collides with you. To do so, make an attack roll targeting the ball. While moving, the ball has a bonus to its AC equal to its current momentum points. On a hit, roll damage as normal, remove the ball's current momentum points, and send it in a new direction. If you miss, the ball hits you, and you take damage equal to twice the ball's current momentum points and are knocked prone.
     If you do not use your reaction to stop the ball, it rolls past you.
     Colliding with a Tower. If the ball collides with a tower, it deals damage to the tower equal to the twice the ball's current momentum points and then stops.

Playing the Game

The game begins with a tip-off in the center of the arena. A player from each team makes an attack roll against the ball. The player with the higher attack roll successfully attacks the ball. Players begin within 10 feet and 30 feet of the ball, but need not begin on their own side.

Players act in initiative order. If preferable, the DM can choose for the teams to take turns acting, instead of keeping track of the players individually. The game ends when a tower is reduced to 0 hp.

Siegeball is a widely-played sport and the exact rules and standards change wherever the game is played. The only concrete rule of Siegeball is not to attack your opponent's tower directly. In most arenas, using magic and attacking players directly are also considered cheating (though this doesn't stop some witches and wizards from influencing the games anyway). However, other behaviors, like shoving opposing players or kicking dirt into their eyes, is tolerated and sometimes even encouraged.

In seedier games, Siegeball is a violent, high-stakes competition. with spellcasters on both sides attempting to secretly fix the game for their side, while the players try to disguise outright attacks on their opponents as legitimate maneuvers. Bets on Siegeball range from a few silver pieces to bags of gold, and games are particularly cut-throat when fortunes are on the line.

18 comments:

  1. Hold on, I have to go build a perfect siege ball team. I love this idea.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oooh. I love this idea, too.
      Here's my take on my gaming table's local area play.
      (I may have gone a bit overboard)

      Five players, a total of fifteen levels, no player higher than level five. (just to represent the pool of available talent. If PC's play, all bets are off)

      Regional rules:
      1. Gear is limited to one of the following sets:
      - None
      - 1 or 2 Clubs
      - Club and Shield
      - Greatclub
      (note: there is intentionally no finesse weapons on the list. STR makes for a good attack and DEX makes for a good initiative/ defense, so the best players will be those with STR, DEX, and CON, just like real athletes.)

      2. The Coach or his designated proxy may cast 5 total non-damaging, non-fatal cantrips from the team off-sides onto the field during the course of the game. If the field is damaged, the team is responsible to repair or pay for repairs after the match. No leveled spells.
      Notes: The ball is too heavy for mage hand
      Message is common for coaching
      The audience loves pratfalls.
      Illusions were popular early last season, but the players became wary, and they tend to fail now unless well chosen.

      3. Shield checking is allowed against any player approaching the ball.

      4. The Field is 120' x 50' (24x10 squares), arranged as such

      20' x 50' stone floors, with a tower centrally set
      15' x 50' mud / hard packed dirt (seasonal)
      15' x 50' grass / thick weeds (seasonal)
      20' x 50' stone floors, with a tower centrally set
      15' x 50' grass / thick weeds (seasonal)
      15' x 50' mud / hard packed dirt (seasonal)
      20' x 50' stone floors, with a tower centrally set

      5. The central tower belongs to no team, and is not scored if it falls. It will however, rebound the siegeball in a manner similar to the stone walls surrounding the field. It is legal to climb the central tower.

      6. The field is in a 15' Deep Pit, with stone walls, and audience seating tiered around it.
      There is occasionally a danger of being hit with an errant ball. The crowd LOVES when this happens (to other people).

      My Team: The Igansport Wyverns
      Coach Peterson: Human

      Casting Proxy/ Assistant Coach Johns: Half elf, sorcerer: message, minor illusion, gust, shape water

      Rookie Player Johnston: Human, Fighter 2, club and shield
      Rookie Player Franklin: Human, fighter 2, club and shield

      Veteran Player Oakleaf: Halfling, Rogue 2, fighter 1, 2xclubs

      Veteran Player Alitha'an: Wood Elf, Monk 3, no gear

      Star Player Urist: Goliath, Barbarian 2, Fighter 3 (BM), Greatclub

      Delete
    2. I ought to tell you about the most recent game I got to DM in Manifest (where this is a favorite pastime.) When the party got to the city gates, there was an actual line to get inside, with people wearing bright colors and silly hats, but also throwing insults at each other: "Manticores suck! Go Archons!"

      There was, of course, a massive game between the Rosewall Manticores and the Pyremarch Archons happening that evening. It was a hard-fought game that was only interrupted when the PCs charged the field in pursuit of someone important to the plot.

      Delete
  2. THIS.
    IS.
    AMAZING.

    I love it. I'm sure as hell gonna include it in my next campaign.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I put a siegeball arena in every one of my cities in the Manifest campaign setting. Huge, majestic stadiums in the large cities, like Pyremarch and Westport, with dingy, scrappier ones in the smaller cities.

      I think its important to let your party know they can abandon adventuring for good if they want to become professional athletes.

      Delete
  3. A list of useful spells for Siegeball (assuming buffs and environment changes are allowed, but directly affecting enemy players isn't. Walls should not be allowed to circle a tower completely):

    Cantrips:
    Mold Earth
    Shape Water (if there are water in the arena)
    Message

    lvl 1:
    Bless
    Expeditious Retreat
    Fog Cloud
    Grease
    Longstrider

    lvl 2:
    Darkness
    Detect Thoughts
    Gust of Wind
    Invisibility
    Misty Step
    Silence
    Zone of Truth

    lvl 3:
    Counterspell
    Dispel Magic
    Fly
    Haste
    Major Image
    Plant Growth
    Sleet Storm
    Stinking Cloud
    Wall of Sand
    Wall of Water

    lvl 4:
    Dimension Door
    Freedom of Movement
    Grasping Vine (to use on the ball, not players)
    Greater Invisibility
    Hallucinatory Terrain
    Otiluke's Resilient Sphere (should probably be banned, as it can encase the ball and make it weightless)
    Stone Shape

    lvl 5:
    Animate object (animating the ball is forbidden)
    Antilife Shell
    Bigby's Hand
    Mislead
    Passwall
    Rary's Telepathic Bond
    Seeming
    Telekinesis (banned)
    Transmute Rock
    Wall of Force
    Wall of Stone

    lvl 6:
    Arcane Gate
    Bones of the Earth (cannot hit players)
    Contingency
    Globe of Invulnerability
    Investiture of Stone
    Move Earth

    lvl 7:
    Reverse Gravity
    Animal Shapes
    Antimagic Field
    Antipathy/Sympathy (banned)
    Glibness
    Telepathy

    lvl 9:
    Foresight
    Shapechange (Goristros are good at Siegeball)
    Time Stop
    Wish (banned)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Arcane gate makes me think of pacman. I would actually think Marilith would make better siege ball players.

      Delete
    2. Bones of the earth turns the game into pinball.

      I'm pretty sure goristros are better- they even deal double damage to objects, one huge gore attacks and they win.

      Delete
    3. Its Shapechange. Just switch as needed.

      Delete
    4. Sooo... High level siegeball arenas surrounded by walls of force where both the ball and the players are expected to be flying for a large portion of the game?

      It would actually make for an interesting game of whack-a-mage to end concentration spells.

      Delete
    5. That's one way to do the game, I guess. It's a little magic-y for my tastes, though. That's why magic is generally considered cheating in siegeball.

      But take the game and make it as you will. I'll be in the stands, rooting for the Rosewall Manticores. /Go Manticores!/

      Delete
    6. LET'S MAKE SOME NOISE!

      ARCHONS SHINE, ALL THE TIME!

      Delete
  4. I get the feeling that I'm going to need to start running an annual MFoV Siegeball League.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Now I just want to make the guy who is the "Goalie" and readies his action every turn to chunk light hammers at the siegeball when it comes in range.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Bugbear pole arm master battlemaster. That 15 foot reach. 20 feet if you go War Hulk or Titan Warlock.

      Delete
  6. I would so love a full supplement for Siegeball... Down to equipment, Local rules, Archetypes, etc. it would be hella fun to have a full Siegeball League campaign for my players.

    ReplyDelete