I wanted to take some time to talk about the shape of the game, then go into some mechanical details as to how everything’s going to be run.
First, let me announce that the final selections have been made and all seven Master/Servant pairs are locked. I’ve started statting the NPC Masters and a few other characters who I foresee needing sooner rather than later. Once the NPC Masters are done though, I will be ready to play.
I’m also happy to announce that all four of the player Servants have been abstracted and many of their stats have been finished, though I’ve chosen not to distribute those until I have semi-finalized character sheets from everyone. That being said, I’m still waiting on first drafts from two of you and a finalized version from one of you, so get those done. *said with love
With that out of the way, let’s talk about how this whole Grail War thing is going to work.
6th Grail War Format –
Gameplay will be divided into two phases: Day Phase and Night Phase. Because keeping magic a secret is a priority for all participants, combat is limited to the Night Phase. Conversely, preparation is handled during daylight hours. Communication between allied Masters is also possible during the Day Phase. Masters also need to rest during the daytime to a certain extent.
Ideally, Day Phase takes place during weekdays, and the following Night Phase will take place over the weekend when we can all dedicate a little more time to posting. Obviously, this won’t work most of the time and I foresee lots of Nights spilling over into the following weeks. That’s fine. I’m just prototyping here.
During the Day Phase, players may queue up a series of preparatory actions (probably either 3 or 5 per day). These actions will be executed roughly simultaneously, but will describe activities that take time to perform. For example, a mage could prepare defensive measures for his hideout, creating traps or reinforcing the walls. These activities would take time, hence the limited number of actions per Day Phase. Other examples include:
Planning an ambush
Creating magical items
Healing serious wounds
Spying on an opponent
Researching techniques or an opponent’s Servant
Depending on his/her skills and condition, a Master’s Servant may be able to assist with these tasks, or perform other tasks at the same time. However, Servants active during the day will drain their Prana supply as per normal and may weaken themselves for any fighting that might happen.
Additionally, a Master may transfer Prana to her Servant during the day at a more efficient rate than during battle. Servants naturally regenerate Prana while in Spirit form, but heavy battle or severe injuries may require additional Prana from the Master. In extreme cases, a Master may perform special rituals to infuse her Servant with an immediate reservoir of Prana. These rituals fall under the category of blood magic, as they require the transfer of Prana infused bodily fluids to the Servant.
Masters who are aware of each other may choose to try to communicate during the Day as well. Masters who are in temporary alliances may choose to coordinate their daylight efforts or share information, though many methods of communication can be intercepted or spied upon. Unless established by the events of the War, all Masters are assumed to not know one another. In-game communication should take place via Private Tagged forum posts and NOT PERSONAL MESSAGES so that I can track who is talking with who and what information from the daylight activities should be shared. This goes doubly so for communication with NPCs.
Once Day Phase actions have been queued up, they’ll all happen. If you queue a spying action and it succeeds, you’ll find out what another player (or NPC) was up to during the turn that you spied. All other actions will be kept secret until such time as they become relevant to combat.
At night, Masters and Servants are free to engage in battle. Combat should take place in abandoned or lightly populated areas and all effort should be made to keep the events of the Grail War secret.
Like the series, Night Phase will start with teams executing various plans. I expect you all to be more plan-oriented then reaction oriented, but for the purposes of promoting conflict, all of the NPC Master/Servant pairs will have some sort of stratagem that the players can mess around with most nights.
At the beginning of a Night Phase, everyone will be made aware of certain public events. You will also have the option of creating a public event for the purposes of luring players into traps, meeting with them in the open or whatever else you can come up with tactically. Everyone will have the option of observing the events via familiar/scrying/ect., or participating in them directly. Each event will have its own thread which you will be given reading/posting rights to once you commit to your actions for the evening.
Once everyone has joined a thread for the evening (possibly two if the Master and Servant have split up NOT RECOMMENDED) Night Phase play will commence. It will continue until every event has reached a conclusion, with every Master/Servant pair either withdrawing or getting killed. Some threads will be non-violent and play can consist of discussions, observations ect. Other threads will devolve into combat. Once all parties present have agreed to fight (by not running away) initiative will be rolled and turn order imposed upon the thread.
Combat won’t be super reliant on exact distance calculations or positioning. I’ll do my best to post a current summary at the beginning of every new round so everyone’s on the same page (and so we can all spotcheck my reading of events) but any question about “can I do X to person Y” should be either really obvious or double checked with me.
To give an example, two Servants in Melee range can OF COURSE attack each other with their melee weapons, but if the Master hasn’t established his or her location and wants to attack a Servant, that should go through me. The summary should deal with the basic stuff, and I won’t hesitate to edit a post if everyone agrees that there was confusion on the execution of a turn.
PLEASE DO NOT POST OUT OF ORDER. I will simply delete posts that are outside of the initiative order that have not been cleared with me. Any rolls made as part of posts that get deleted will be thrown out. That being said, the BESM system uses defensive rolls which happen in response to attacks, so turn order in this case must include waiting for the target of your attack to defend against it (or choose not to).
Again, in example: Turn order for a thread resolves to Servant A → Servant B → Master B → Master A. Or: SA, SB, MA, MB. Servant A uses his turn to attack Master B, then Servant A attacks Servant B. The posting order would look like:
You may have noticed that in the example above, Servant A was able to attack Master B without any sort of interference. This is a thing that can happen because all the Servants have at least one rank of Superspeed, meaning they can get pretty much anywhere they want. To avert this problem, Servants may need to engage in contested movement rolls, which will just add to the complexity of the fights. Instead, I would ask that everyone just agree that Servants won’t attack Masters unless the defending Servant is incapacitated (or dead). We can talk more about this subject later.
As far as formatting your combat posts, please err on the side of more information. Post full attack and defensive math whenever possible. If you don’t want your stats to be shown off, make the math private for me only. It would also be nice if everyone added descriptive narrative to their attacks and defensive posts. One, it’ll make everything more interesting to read, and two, it makes the format choice more justifiable. This may get old with some of the attacks, but remember that no one else has ever seen what your character does (all weapons are custom created) so it would be nice to have a little description of your attacks for at least the first time you use them.
There’s more to talk about here, but I think I’ve done enough Info Dumping for one night. Please post any questions in the comments, ’cause if I fucked something up, everyone else needs to be aware of that too.