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Design Choices

One of the core concepts of Alba is the currency of stories, myths and legends. It is something which has been woven into the fabric of all areas of the games design and the combat mechanics are no different.

In this section we hope to explain some of the reasoning behind the choices made.


Tactical Skirmish Fighting

The mechanics have been designed to create a combat environment more akin to open, swift moving skirmish lines rather than slow moving juggernauts of shield walls clashing in grinding death churns. Instead we intend to create a live environment, which where possible will be a mixture of woodland, glades and smaller fields encompassing the main in game camp and ritual sites.


It’s nothing new, roaming bands of enemies with intent is common enough. The difference we intend to make is to move away from the timed/scheduled encounter model (sometimes called camp attacks/battles). For these in game combat interactions we will use a more reactive live environment style, creating the potential for in game threat anywhere, anytime but also providing a level of agency for players to seek out danger on their own terms.


Weapons

The first question we’ll get is why such a limited selection of weapons?


The limited choice is to aid in creating the skirmish style of combat mentioned above, as well as for a number of story elements. Firstly we have removed shields as a common item to prevent the natural inclination to form shield walls which comes from having them in hand. Shields will appear in play, but they will be legendary items of note, and usable by any character.


Next, we chose spears as the warriors' weapon of the time as it felt thematically appropriate for an advancing society and provides a number of tactical options for those wielding them, especially where special calls are applied. It also fits with the scarcity of metalworking skill - if you can only make small blades, spears are an effective means of turning those small blades into weapons.


What About Swords? Swords are... well, Iconic!

Like shields, swords will appear in play as legendary items with their own history and myths. Like shields they will be provided by the games team and who can use these precious and deadly weapons will vary from item to item.


The skill to make a sword - a pinnacle of metalworking art - is a rare and valuable thing. If an Albanni community has both iron and a smith with the skill to turn that iron into a sword, then they are truly blessed, and that sword would be a one-of-a-kind miracle.


Why do I Have To Use a Short Weapon to Execute Someone?

Murder is serious business in Alba. You’ll be able to read more about it in detail on other pages.


We want the act itself to have meaning and so have ensured that the in game mechanic matches the stories we hope you want to tell.

Armour

Armour is heavy, it is expensive and not easy to source for every shape and size. As such, we decided that it should not be something which provides an in-game advantage.

Armour is purely aesthetic in Alba - if it makes you feel good wearing it, wear it.

Instead, the people of Alba armour themselves with Woad. Applied by Druids before battle, these mystical paints provide added protection for those who worship the Gods of Alba.



Weapons Available to Player Characters

You are only permitted to use weapons which comply with the Weapon Safety Guidelines. Below is a description of the weapons available in the world of Alba and some accompanying design notes to explain the choices available.

You will have noticed that there are many weapons which normally feature in fantasy larp are missing. Swords for example have been excluded for specific design reasons which you can read more about below.


Short Weapons

The most common weapon in the world of Alba, All characters may use short weapons which are between 8 and 24 inches in length and fit the aesthetic of the game.

  • You may wield one short weapon in each hand.
  • Primarily for self-defence or more ritualistic practices.


One Handed Weapons

Axes, clubs or hammers between 24 and 36 inches in length, no swords or maces.

  • They must have a wooden shaft/handle.
  • They may only be used by Warrior and Hunter characters.
  • Unless explicitly stated you may only use a weapon of this type in your primary hand, you cannot dual wield.


Staff

Popular amongst Keepers and those wishing to follow their path.

  • Any character my user a staff but it can only be used to parry blows.
  • Being struck with a staff does not remove a hit from a character.


Spears

The iconic weapon of the Warrior.

  • They may only be used by Warrior characters and can be either one or two handed weapons.
  • Only collapsible head spears may be used in one hand and they must be held within 6 inches of the centre of the pole.
  • If used in a two handed manner they should be used with one hand at the base of the spear and the other approximately halfway up the shaft or a minimum of 18 inches apart.

Bows

The iconic weapon of the Hunter.

  • They may only be used by Hunter characters.
  • The deadliest weapon available to player characters - a hit from an arrow fired from a bow will take most opponents down in a single strike.


Shields and Bucklers

Any character may carry and use a small buckler no more than 18 inches in diameter.

  • Shields may pop up in game and may be used by any character however are not an item you may bring to the event for your character to use.
  • Like some of the excluded weapons there is a specific design reason for this which you can read more about below.


Armour

Physical armour in Alba can only ever be used for aesthetic purposes, there will be no in game advantage.

  • Players are permitted to wear leather armour which suits the costume guide.
  • No metal armour including chain or plate should be worn.


Violent Encounters

We define a violent encounter as beginning when two or more opponents start any kind of offensive action (trading insults doesn’t count) and ends when only one side is still in the fight, the other side all being down or having fled (multiple waves of enemies with little respite are considered one encounter).


Non-Contact Combat Simulation

Not everyone can be involved in or enjoys the physicality of larp fighting/combat. It is important that this is respected and that those affected are treated with respect and fairness.


  • Should a fight break out nearby and you wish to avoid being struck then we ask that you 'raise a hand in the air with palm open so others involved can clearly see it. You may do this at the time you feel appropriate.
  • If a player has their hand in the air with palm open do not strike them with a weapon, fire a bow at them or touch them.
  • Role-play should continue as normal and all blows should be simulated without contact, followed with the call Strike (if required to get the person’s attention) and any special calls applicable.
  • We will undertake best endeavours to monitor this. However we cannot guarantee you may not be struck by mistake, especially in the dark or when attacked by surprise.


If your health situation dictates that you cannot under any circumstances struck by a blow, or you will need to avoid all possible combat situations, we cannot provide an assurance to that effect. You will therefore need to consider your attendance of the event balanced against your own safety and health, and make an informed decision.


Identifying Yourself as Out of Character

There may be times when you need to move through an in game area but remain out of character for various reasons. This must not be used for in game advantage under any circumstances.


  • To indicate you are out of character in an in game area please raise a hand made into a fist.


Hit Points

Hit points represent how many times you character can be struck before they become incapacitated. All characters have a number of base hits points noted on the table below, in game effects may change this number for better or worse.


  • A blow from a weapon not accompanied by a special effect call reduces a characters total hit points by 1.
  • A character can only take one point of damage every second regardless of the number of persons striking them.
  • Once your character reaches 0 hit points you should safely stagger to a space where you will not be trampled and then roleplay an unconscious or injured state for the duration of the nearby combat.

During this time the character is considered unresisting.

Class Base Hit Points

  • Warrior 4
  • Hunter 3
  • Druid 2
  • Shaman 2


Unresisting (0 hit points)

Whilst unresisting a member of crew may hand you an injury card which should be opened and the instructions followed.


If your character is not handed an injury card and under no other special effect they will regain consciousness shortly after the combat is resolved or it moves a suitable distance away. You may then slowly make your way back to camp in a manner appropriate to a character who just took a beating.


Unresisting characters may not use any in game skill including the use of weapons.


If struck whilst unresisting you should safely stagger to a space where you will not be trampled and then roleplay an unconscious or injured state for the duration of the nearby combat.


Whilst unresisting a character can be executed, robbed or captured.


To execute a character you must make a clearly roleplayed blow with a short weapon and make the call EXECUTE, if the character is a non-contact then you must ensure that the blow does not make contact. If your character is the victim of this call then they are dead, they cannot interact with other characters, other than roleplaying a corpse.


Character Death

When a character dies their spirit enters the Other Place awaiting the arrival of the Midwife to take them into her embrace. It provides an opportunity for brave loved ones to enter the Other Place to say their good byes or for the more daring to bring a willing spirit back into the world of the living.


When the sun sets the recently dead spirits roam the Other Place and all players of dead characters will have the opportunity to bring out their character should they choose to. Between the time of the characters death and sunset you will be given the choice of making a new character, taking on a crew role or simply remaining out of character should you wish. None of these options prevent you from playing the dead character again at sunset but you will need to be at games control an hour before sunset to take up the opportunity.


Being Brought Back

As mentioned above it is possible to be brought back into the living world. It is dangerous, the creatures of the other place know the bond between living and dead is strong. They know lurking around the recently dead can be a fruitful endeavour.


These encounters will not always involve combat, bargains, prices to be paid or subterfuge are equally expected encounters when attempting to bring a loved on back.


Should the player of a dead character be willing, another player with a story token may sacrifice it to bring them back to the land of the living. It requires the presence of a Keeper to complete and the token is lost forever.


Recovering Hit Points

Once in camp and after a suitable period of roleplay which includes tending the wounds and resting (30 minutes) the character will return to their base hit point value minus any injuries still outstanding.


During this time the character is still considered unresisting.


Special Calls

“Knockback”

If a blow is accompanied by the knockback call the character struck (even if parried) should safely roleplay being knocked off balance and take a minimum of three steps away from the attacker.

  • Do not fall to the floor in the middle of a combat.


“Impale”

Default damage call for all bows. When firing a bow this call should always be made.

  • A character struck by a weapon or arrow accompanied by the impale call will immediately be reduced to 0 hits unless some other special effect is in place.
  • Arrows cannot be caught, parried by weapons or bucklers, if the arrow hits a weapon covering any part of the body or a held buckler then the full effect should be taken as above.


“Splinter”

If a wooden shafted weapon is struck with this call it cannot be used for any offensive actions until repaired. It can still be used to parry.


It can be repaired with suitable roleplay in a camp.


“Poison”

If a landed blow is accompanied by the poison call the character struck is immediately reduced to 0 hits.


Additionally where possible the attacker will hand you a poison card. If the circumstances mean that this is not possible it is your responsibility to seek out a ref or head to games control and ask for a poison card.


“Strike”

This call should be used to get the attention of a player that is non-contact and make them aware that their character is being struck.


“Execute”

See section regarding unresisting.

The struck character is dead if the requirements are met.

To execute a character you must make a clearly roleplayed blow with a short weapon and make the call EXECUTE, if the character is a non-contact then you must ensure that the blow does not make contact. If your character is the victim of this call then they are dead, they cannot interact with other characters, other than roleplaying a corpse.


Injury Cards

What Are They?

Representing more serious and lasting injuries these cards range from minor bruising which require rest to life threatening injuries which is not resolved could cause death. They will never stop you playing the game but will require you to roleplay suitable effects until resolved.


For every unresolved injury card or poison card your character is carrying your characters base hit points are reduced by one until resolved. In most cases resting and tending wounds will not restore these hits.


If your characters base hit points are reduced to zero, the character is dying and becomes unresisting. If unresolved at the end of the event the character will die.


How Do They Work?

They’ll be presented in a tear open laminate card format.


On the outside it will explain the effect you should roleplay. A Druid may examine your character and then tear open the laminate to discover what action will be required for the injury to be resolved.


Once resolved you may discard the laminate card.


Poison Cards

What Are They?

Representing potentially deadly substances applied to your character these cards range from minor toxins which induce vomiting to deadly venom's, which if not resolved will cause death. They will never stop you playing the game but will require you to roleplay suitable effects until resolved.


For every unresolved injury card or poison card your character is carrying your characters base hit points are reduced by one until resolved. In most cases resting and tending wounds will not restore these hits.


If your characters base hit points are reduced to zero, the character is dying and becomes unresisting. If unresolved at the end of the event the character will die.


How Do They Work?

They’ll be presented in a tear open laminate card format.


On the outside it will explain the effect you should roleplay. A Shaman may examine your character and then tear open the laminate to discover what action will be required for the poison to be resolved.


Once resolved you may discard the laminate card.


IC Stealing

  • Never touch another player without their permission, however you may if you are skilled enough pick their pouch or bag.
  • Searching an unresisting character takes thirty seconds of appropriate roleplay which does not involve physically touching the player unless given express permission to so.


Capturing

Unresisting characters may be captured and held captive in the in game area. We have included these mechanics to ensure the safety and fun of those who may become involved in these scenes. Any perceived abuse of these mechanics as an ongoing tactic against other player characters and crew will not be tolerated.


  • Keeping the remains of a lifeless body provide no in game advantage in Alba. Funeral rites do not require a body and so there is an expectation that dead characters will not be captured for any reason.
  • If you are disposing of a body it is acceptable to move it to another place but it must be done immediately or at the next available opportunity.
  • You must never physically restrain a person, instead you may lay rope or suitable materials to represent bonds but they must be non-restrictive and only there to give the appearance of restraints.
  • If left alone for more than 15 minutes the “restrained” character is able to slip their bonds and escape.


If you are held captive at time out or at the end of the night you are assumed to be in the custody of your captures and re-join play in the same situation. If this causes any emotional or physical discomfort please request the presence of a ref. If will not mean that your character is freed but accommodations will be made and suitable actions taken to resolve the situation.


This does not prevent you from calling a time on the scene and moving away from the scenario however in these circumstances we ask that you attend games control and do not re-join the game until resolved.


Where the scene taking place is no longer interesting or fun for the captured player the scene should be resolved by the captors. Where required this request will be asked by the games team.


Grappling

Grappling or stage fistfights are not covered by the event rules. There is no official way to damage another character without using a larp weapon. Any such activity will be stopped by a ref unless both parties can demonstrate clear consent and the activity is not disrupting the event experience of others.


  • Never grapple or engage in stage fighting with any other participant without their express permission.


As mentioned above you may push with a shield, if you are moving at a slow walking pace or less but you must not shield-barge, you cannot run into another player using a shield or other similar item. You may not use a shield as a weapon to strike another player.


Carrying

  • Role playing carrying or moving someone or items representing heavy objects requires two free/empty hands (can be between two people with one hand each).
  • You may only move at a walking pace when role playing carrying or moving someone or items representing heavy objects.
  • Physically dragging another person by the arms or legs, picking them up or other handling is not permitted.