The Beautiful Games

Copyright David Johansen © 2010

Edited by Peter Mork for The Guild Companion

"There are fields of honor beyond the field of battle"

For Troy Desrosiers In Memorium

"Devlihamn, thou art a man without honour or merit and bring shame upon us all!" cried Var Hornast The overlord looked down from the dais in dismay at the unseemly spectacle playing out before him. His two captains stood, glaring at one another with unconcealed loathing. The battle had gone badly and each blamed the other, though their own stubbornness and pride seemed as likely a cause for their punishing defeat at the hands of the Varth. Even now the enemy laid siege about the city, building ladders and rams for an assault. This was no time for a traditional duel to the death. Looking about him for a way to diffuse the situation, The Overlord's eyes settled on his young son as he sat quietly with his nurse and his favorite toy. He gestured for the boy to come to him.

"There is no courage in your heart and your tongue can speak but lies!" Var Devlihamn cried as he swept his cloak aside and reached to draw his kelblade. The affront to The Overlord's Peace was great, but being wise beyond his years he signaled for his guards to hold their ground. Feeding daring warriors to the furnace of the great god Zhulwha when the enemy was at the gate would not save his people from the brutality of the Varth. Instead he reached to his son and took his toy.

"Enough!" The Overlord cried. His harsh command even breaking through the rage of the two men who stood before him with drawn kelblades. "This rivalry and spite will end today where I am told it began many long years ago." With these words he tossed the inflated pig bladder between the two men and it bounced into the legs of the nervous courtiers behind them who stood, waiting anxiously to see what doom would be pronounced on the two for their outburst.

"You meet tomorrow on the parade grounds!" The Overlord pronounced gravely, "Choose your teams well for he who loses shall be forever known as a dillywitted frophumper until the end of his days!" The captains glared at each other with eyes narrowed, but both grinned through gritted teeth. Tommorow had been too long in coming.

Physical Feats and Contests

At times it becomes desirable to resolve rivalries with one's allies without the shedding of blood. Historically, every culture has loved tests of strength and skill that would prove superiority without bloodshed. Whether the challenge arises when braggarts are called upon to prove their claims or from more formalized trials, events, and championships, there are fields of honor beyond the field of battle.

From the Gamemaster's perspective, sports and physical challenges can provide a useful outlet for rivalries and spite between player characters and non-player characters alike. Too often, players will turn to bloodshed and violence to resolve issues they have with their allies and neighbors. It goes without saying that uncurbed these can have game wrecking consequences.

Generally the easiest way to get players to undertake some sporting challenges is to be proactive and have the non-player characters challenge them. If you allow them some measure of satisfaction from such trials, by not having them humiliated by professional athletes, after a while your players should come to appreciate and recognize that there are more satisfactory practices than simply killing anyone they find annoying. As in all things, balanced encounters will result in greater player satisfaction.

The Use of the Word "Player"

In the somewhat recursive case of characters in a game playing a game, it becomes necessary to know whom "player" refers to. In this article, player refers to those characters in the game who are playing the sport.

FREE SKILLS!

Gamers are notorious for maximizing a character's combat capabilities at the expense of their background skills. Even so, it's not fair for the Gamemaster to pop out a sporting event in the middle of the campaign and expect their friends to have the necessary skill. More to the point most people should have some skill in the sports common to their culture but they aren't on the cultural skill lists. For these reasons it is strongly advised that players be given some skill automatically if a sporting event comes up in play. Otherwise the Gamemaster may need to demonstrate his own Sprinting skill.

Boys Girls
Primitive Cultures
Hurley or Lacrosse 2 0
Dancing 0 2
Modern Cultures
Athletic Brawn
Athletic Games: Baseball 1 1
Athletic Games: Football 1 0
Athletic Endurance
Athletic Games: Hockey 0 0
Athletic Games: Soccer 1 1
Athletic Gymnastic
Athletic Games: Baseball 1 1
Athletic Games: Gymnastics 0 1
Athletic Games: Ice Dancing 0 0
Elective Ranks 3 3

Specialization

If the Gamemaster wants more detail in distinguishing players, the specialization rules from School of Hard Knocks are particularly appropriate. However there are specific skills that can serve as substitutes or specializations. Skating, Distance Running, Sprinting, Club, Thrown Rock, Tackling, and Blocking can all prove useful in this way.

Specialties

Throwing
Catching
Faceoff
Tip Off
Dribbling
Stick Handling
Goalie
Interception
Shooting

Races

The foot race is a natural human instinct. Children will run in circles, shrieking and chasing one another until they fall down with exhaustion. The standard Rolemaster turn sequence and movement rules can be used to resolve foot races but don't really provide a gripping or thrilling contest. The turn is simply too long for sprinting and too short for marathons. Instead, divide the race into five "Legs" of even length. On the first leg, make an Initiative roll for each competitor to judge how well they started out and arrange them in order. At the end of each Leg make a Sprinting or Distance Running roll adding the Base Movement Rate for each competitor participating in the race. Compare the results of the two runners in the lead, and swap their positions if the second place runner beats the first place runner. Continue working backwards until every runner has had the opportunity to move up one position. At the end of the five Legs the person in the front is the winner.

Some races involve obstacles like hurdles, tires, or climbing walls. These require an additional roll against the appropriate skill to clear them successfully, with a roll being made once per race.

Tires: Tumbling

Hurdles: Jumping

Walls: Climbing

Swimming

Much like running, competitive swimming is done for endurance and speed. Since most modern swimming races are staged in artificial pools of a fixed length the ability to turn around becomes a crucial factor in the sport.

Feats and Challenges

The desire to prove one's skills directly lends itself to a variety of simple contests with races and throwing for distance or accuracy being the most common and direct. Arm wrestling, tugs o' war, eating, drinking, acrobatics, and indeed figure skating and dance are common competitions. Most races and throwing contests can be resolved by simply rolling a Static Maneuver for each competitor and giving the victory to the highest total. Of course this method limits the opportunities for drama and tension but it does get the job done without a fuss.

Tug o' War

Pulling a rope or stick is a pure contest of Strength. The sides begin three steps from the line. Make a single maneuver roll for both sides adding the total Strength bonuses of all those participating with the lower result indicating the side that has been pulled one step towards the line. If one side loses by more than 100 points the other is pulled two steps. The winning team has the choice of choking up or backing up. If they back up, they move another step away from the line for each they pull their opponents towards it. If they choke up on the rope, they gain no ground but the rope or stick is shortened and the contest is less likely to descend into a series of back and forth pulls.

Arm Wrestling

With their elbows braced on a table the two competitors clasp hands and attempt to force each other's arm down to the table. The wrestlers both add three times their Strength Bonus to a percentile roll. The wrestler with the higher total takes the advantage, gaining a ten point cumulative bonus to subsequent rolls as his opponent begins to tire. If one beats the other by more than fifty, he forces his opponent's arm towards the table. Another roll is made and if the prior winner beats the opponent's result, he wins. As long as the prior winner loses by fifty points or less, he gains a +10 cumulative bonus to the next roll. If the prior loser can beat the winner by more than 50 points they get their arms back to the center and the contest continues.

Throwing and Shooting

Competitions involving throwing probably go back before language evolved to the point where "I'll bet I can hit that noisy bird." could be properly announced. Broadly speaking, throwing competitions are broken into feats of accuracy and feats of distance. The javelin, discus, hammer, and shot put are all competitions of distance. Because a single toss proves nothing and only provides a couple seconds of entertainment, most such competitions take the best of an odd number of throws, with three and five being most common. Distance competitions are easily resolved by comparing maneuver totals. Contests of accuracy get difficulty modifiers for range. Use the most appropriate table from Arms Law or The Armory for range modifiers. If the fruit is on top of someone's head (just to make things interesting), then any result that misses by less than 20 points should be resolved as an attack (without any Target Size penalty).

Target Size

Grape: -70
Willow Wand: -50
Apple: -30
Grapefruit: -20
Squash: -10
Target Shield: 0

Distance in meters

Javelin = Total / 2
Discus = Total / 3
Hammer = Total / 3
Shot Put = Total / 8

Jumping

Jumping contests are divided by techniques and objectives. There are standing and running jumps as well as competitions for height and distance. The pole vault is a particularly specialized jumping contest in which a long springy pole is used to lever the jumper to great heights. Jumping contests are handled with a Maneuver roll using the Jumping skill with the highest roll indicating the longest or highest jump.

Distance In Meters

Standing Long Jump = Total / 20
Running Long Jump = Total / 10
Standing High Jump = Total / 150
Running High Jump = Total / 75
Pole Vault = Total / 25

The Decathlon

An event that originated in ancient Greece, the Decathlon is a series of contests that requires a particularly well rounded athlete. On the first day the athletes compete in a 100 meter foot race, a running long jump, shot put, running high jump, and 400 meter foot race. The second day's program is: 110 meter hurdles, discus toss, pole vault, javelin throw, and 1500 meter foot race.

Jousting

At the height of the middle ages, the knightly art of tilting became a sport unto itself. Two armored knights would charge at each other with blunt and weakened lances with the objective of breaking three lances or unhorsing their opponent. The sport was often banned due to the injuries suffered by the participants. In time a barrier was added between the competitors to prevent the horses from colliding and especially heavy and well padded armor was introduced.

To run a joust both knights make a Jousting maneuver to attack and possibly a Riding maneuver to stay on their horse. If a player wants to emulate "A Knight's Tale" and cheat they'll have to sneak in a standard lance with a concealed point. In this case make a normal Lance attack in addition to the Jousting roll.

-26 down Spectacular Failure -50 Hey! This long stick is heavy! The lance tip dips and is driven into the ground, hoisting the knight from the saddle and leaving him hanging by his tabard. His failure becomes legend.
-25 - 04 Absolute Failure -10 The lance slips from the knight's grasp as he rides down the field. Grasping at it, he slips from the saddle and must make a riding roll or fall off his horse.
05 - 75 Failure +0 The bouncing cadence of the horse's gallop throws the knight's aim off and he misses his mark.
UM 66 Unusual Event Wait, that guy's riding a mare! Even if the knight didn't notice, his stallion did. -50 to all future riding rolls against this opponent. On a failed roll the stallion runs loose in an attempt to make the mare's acquaintance. The scandal will be dreadful should it succeed.
76 - 90 Partial Success +5 The lance grazes the target and glances off without breaking.
91 - 110 Near Success +10 The lance strikes the target but doesn't break. The opponent must make a Riding maneuver to remain horsed. Otherwise he takes a 'C' Krush critical.
UM 100 Unusual Success +25 Your lance tears your opponent from his saddle and deposits him gently on the ground. You are truly the master.
111 - 175 Success +20 The lance strikes the target squarely and shatters. He must make a Riding maneuver or be unhorsed taking a 'D' Krush critical and a full point is scored.
176 up Absolute Success +30 The lance all but explodes with the force of impact and the opposing knight sails off his mount, taking an 'E' Krush critical. You have won the match but the repercussions from the injuries you've inflicted won't win you any friends.

Aiming For The Shield 0
Aiming For The Crest -20 Replace broken lance results with "helmet knocked off."
Aiming For The Shoulder -20 -10 to target's Riding maneuvers
Aiming For The Head -40 -20 to target's Riding maneuvers

Team Sports

While team sports have become a major industry in the modern world there is nothing to prevent their development in more primitive societies. The Native Americans played Lacrosse almost religiously, the Aztecs had a ritual that resembled American Football, and at tournaments and festivals in dark ages England, children would gather on a field to kick around an inflated pig's bladder, pretending it was the head of a Saxon.

Plays

Team games are too long to reasonably play out using the combat rules. Instead they should be broken down into a number of "Plays" depending on the sport. Each play is variable in length lasting until all the players have taken an action.

Length of Game

A game should last 12 plays regardless of its actual time. This allows a hockey game to have 4 plays per period or a football game to have 3 plays per quarter.

Sequence of Play

Faceoff
Initiative
Movement
Passing
Shooting
Actions
Move
Pass
Block
Shoot

Zones

Rather than attempting to track movement on a grid, each field is broken down into a number of zones that impact the chance of scoring and passing.

Tip Offs and Faceoffs

In some sports, possession of the ball is determined before the play begins. In others it is contested. The representative of each team makes an appropriate Athletic Games skill maneuver and if one beats the other their side gets possession. If neither has a clear victory there is a scramble that is won by the player with the best initiative roll for the play.

Initiative and Movement

At the start of the play, a maneuver using the Base Movement Rate as a bonus is made for each athlete to determine in what order they take their turns. Then a marker is placed in the zones intended, with the player that has the best roll choosing first. Each zone is assumed to be large enough to hold all the players but the one with the highest roll gets there first. If a player is blocked by a member of the other team, the action must be resolved before they can move.

In many games there are "offside" rules which prohibit players to cross a line on the field representing the other team's "side" before the ball does. Any attempt to do so stops play and results in a faceoff or similar re-start.

Running, Dribbling, and Stick Handling

The simplest way to move the "ball" down the field is to pick it up and run with it. In many sports this is illegal for that very reason. If the game requires dribbling, stick handling, or kicking to move the ball, a static maneuver is required to do so.

-26 down Spectacular Failure Trip and fall on your face, the ball is loose in your zone.
-25 - 04 Absolute Failure Well, you've all but handed the ball to the other team. If they aren't in your zone, your failure at the most basic skills of the game sends it bouncing to them.
05 - 75 Failure Well, this is harder than it looks, you don't manage to move an inch.
UM 66 Unusual Event Your fumble flies down the field and into the net. They'd think it was intentional if you hadn't tripped over your own feet and fallen on your face.
76 - 90 Partial Success You manage to move one zone but if there's any opposition they manage to take the ball.
91 - 110 Near Success You manage to move one zone without losing possession.
UM 100 Unusual Success As you slip through the opposition like greased lightning a perfect scoring opportunity opens up and you take the shot.
111 - 175 Success You move to where you wanted to go while keeping possession of the ball.
176 up Absolute Success Step, pivot, deke, and shoot. You move into the zone and take the shot.

-20 per opposing player in all zones crossed.

Passing

Team work is a key element of a team sport so getting the ball (or whatever) to the other players is a vital part of the game. Passing is represented by having both the thrower and the receiver make an appropriate Athletic Games maneuver. For the pass to be successful both must succeed. An opposing player who is in the same zone as the thrower and/or receiver can attempt to intercept. Only one player per zone can make an interception attempt or the whole thing turns into a keystone cops routine.

-26 down Spectacular Failure The pass nails an opposing player right in the head or the receiver manages to punch an opposing player in the face while reaching to catch it. If there's no one in their zone move them into the zone of the closest opposing player. Either way the referee and the other team think it was deliberate.
-25 - 04 Absolute Failure Your pass is intercepted if anyone was trying, otherwise it goes out of bounds.
05 - 75 Failure The passer misses or the receiver fumbles.
UM 66 Unusual Event The pass nails the first interceptor or the receiver in the face and knocks them down.
76 - 90 Partial Success The pass overshoots the receiver and goes into the zone directly behind them or out of bounds if they are on the edge of the field.
91 - 110 Near Success The pass falls short and bounces into the receiver's zone or the receiver fumbles and the ball is loose in their zone.
UM 100 Unusual Success They'll be talking about this play for years. The receiver can't help but catch this. They get to move one zone or make a shot as part of the catch.
111 - 175 Success That's how they do it in the big leagues. The pass goes where it should.
176 up Absolute Success A beautiful play. The receiver gets a +30 to make the catch or moves one zone or takes a shot as part of the catch.

-20 Per Zone Crossed
-20 Per Interception Attempt
-50 Bad Weather

Blocking and Checking

In some sports, knocking the opposing players down is part of the game and in others it will get you sent home in disgrace. Blocking and checking and tackling are deliberate attempts to intercept an opposing player by slamming into them. When the impact occurs the active character makes a Strength x 3 maneuver roll. The other player can attempt to evade with a 3 x Quickness maneuver roll or plow through with a Strength x 3 maneuver roll.

Blocking: Strength x 3
Plowing Through: Strength x 3
Evading: Quickness x 3

Blocker Wins By 50+ Target Knocked Down, Ball Lose
Blocker Wins Target's Move Stopped
Evading Target Wins Target Free To Move 1 Zone or Pass
Evading Target Wins By 50+ Target Free To Move, Shoot, or Pass
Plowing Target Wins Target Free To Pass or Shoot
Plowing Target Wins By 50+ Blocker Knocked Down, Target Free To Move, Pass, or Shoot

Shooting

You can't score if you don't shoot. Passing and moving the ball can result in chances to shoot. Otherwise, taking a shot counts as an action, so passing to a player with a lower initiative who is in position allows them to make the shot.

-26 down Spectacular Failure Great going, you've just fouled an opposing player hard, they're down on the ground and not getting back up. You're thrown out of the game but they won't be playing anymore today either.
-25 - 04 Absolute Failure In your enthusiasm you've managed to commit a foul. You're teammates are all glaring at you.
05 -- 75 Failure You miss and the ball is loose in the opposing team's end.
UM 66 Unusual Event Was that in or wasn't it? Whatever the referee decides it will be hotly debated for years to come.
76 -- 90 Partial Success The shot doesn't go in but your team gets possession.
91 - 110 Near Success The shot doesn't go in but your team gets possession and another player gets a free shot.
UM 100 Unusual Success Swish, the ball goes in and a player on the opposing team draws a foul.
111 - 175 Success The ball goes in the net and you are, for the moment, very popular with your team.
176 up Absolute Success Put the ball into the goal with a flamboyant flourish. You'll be called a glory hound and show boat but they're just jealous

-20 per player in all zones crossed
-20 per zone crossed
- goalie's skill

Magic and Cheating

Where pride and honor are at stake, cheating inevitably rears its ugly head. Sabotaging equipment and assigning less skilled players to deliberately injure the stars of the other team are fairly common methods. Bribing referees or players from the opposing team is also a popular approach. The Olympics have often been plagued by accusations of conspiracies between judges and referees to favor each other's nations on the field or ice. The use of anabolic steroids in training is the most common modern infraction. The question of whether the use of technology to improve the player is fair game becomes more difficult with every passing year.

If magic is commonly available, cheating can move to a whole new level. Is casting auguries before the game cheating? Can a player wear a good luck charm in a world where magical amulets can actually grant good luck and other powers?

Deliberate Fouls

If the charts don't seem to produce many accidental fouls, this is because they slow things down and because many fouls are committed deliberately. Some can simply be resolved as unarmed attacks, usually of the tackling or tripping sort. Others involve rules violations like off-side moves, illegal ball handling , or extra players on the field.

Screening and Distracting the Referee

Some dishonorable teams practice tactics to distract the referee or screen their view when a foul is being committed. This is more effective in amateur games where there might be only one referee.

Referee Calls

When a foul occurs, make an Observation maneuver roll for the referee. While sports fans will tell you the average professional referee has no Observation skill ranks, it's safe to say that at the professional level, they're the best in the business and give them a +120.

-10 per player between the referee and the infraction

Series and Seasons

When playing out an entire season of games it may even prove wise to take a page from sports movies and only actually play the key plays of the key games, leaving the rest to a simple abstraction. This is heavily influenced by the games that are actually played out. Just like in the movies, a lost game indicates a losing streak and a victory represents a string of triumphs. This doesn't mean there aren't a few losses or wins but rather speaks to the general trend.

Lacrosse

Among the native American population, Lacrosse was pursued with an intensity that very nearly matched warfare. Tribal teams would gather, wielding rackets with a net of rawhide thongs on one end to fight over a ball, attempting to pass it through the other side's goal. Modern Lacrosse bears more than a passing resemblance to hockey but here, we'll concern ourselves with the primitive and brutal free-for-all where a young warrior could win more glory than on the field of battle.

Game Length: from sunrise to sunset

Venue: a sizable meadow with loosely marked goals at each end

Equipment: A wooden racket with a round netted pocket at the end

Players: Two or three dozen on a side

Moving: The ball must be carried with the racket. This is considerably easier than stick handling or dribbling. It's not a really good idea to hold on to it for too long as there's no limitation on physical contact. A player who has the ball is a target to be eliminated.

Passing: The ball is passed and caught with the racket. The leverage allows for powerful long ranged passes and shots which is good because the field is quite large.

Scoring: The ball is shot with the racket and each goal is worth one point. At the end of the day the team with the most points is victorious.

Fouls and Penalties: There are very few rules and most infractions are worked out the old fashioned way right on the court. Rackets can be used as a club with no penalty.

Hurley

In England, children played a simple ball game with an inflated pig's bladder. This rough and tumble game is considered the ancestor of football, rugby, and soccer. The object of the game is simple, to get the ball through the other team's goal by any means necessary. While the knights broke lances in tourneys, the children gathered on a vacant pasture to pursue a truly dangerous sport.

Game Length: until dinner time or someone gets badly hurt and goes whining to their mommy or other adult intervention.

Venue: any reasonably large open field

Equipment: one inflated pig bladder

Players: As many children as can be found divided roughly in to two teams.

Moving: Anything goes, the ball can be carried, kicked or passed and the only foul occurs when someone runs home crying, which will likely end the game.

Passing: Children vary widely in size, and start playing at around five. Due to their small size, younger children do not count for purposes of interception.

Scoring: A point is scored each time the pig's bladder passes through the other team's goal. As the children can't count well, scoring is a somewhat nebulous concept.

Fouls and Penalties: none as such though one can wind up with quite a whuppin' for hurting smaller children or not coming in when called for dinner.

American Football

The game of football as it is known in North America devolved from early soccer as the rules grew lax in games between rival universities; visiting Canadian teams in particular seemed to be playing a different game. These anything-goes-games resembled a vicious brawl as much as anything else. Eventually the president of the United States announced that the game would be banned if the violence continued and the game began to develop the rules it is played by today. The Canadians still play by different rules.

American football is a forward passing game. The teams line up, the ball is snapped to the quarterback and the lines charge into each other, attempting to tackle or protect the quarterback. The quarterback tries to hand off, run, or pass the ball down the field. Once a player with the ball is tackled or goes out of bounds the teams line up as far down the field as the ball got and the ball is snapped to the quarterback again.

Players: A football team has eleven players.

Game Length: 4 x 15 minute quarters.

Tie Breaker: 15 minute overtime period

Venue: The foot ball field is roughly the size of a Mark V Ogre. In the absence of a proper cyber tank for measuring, the field is 360 by 160 feet with a thirty foot "end zone" behind the goal line on each end. In the center of the goal line there is a goal post topped with a crossbar that ends in two uprights. Field goals are achieved by kicking the ball between the uprights.

Equipment: A football isn't spherical it's oblong and pointy on the ends. Due to the high level of legal physical contact, foot ball players wear heavy padding that is equivalent to AT 12. Foot ball players adopt helmets long before hockey players.

Starting Play: The two captains flip a coin and the winner of the coin toss chooses whether to kick off or receive. The ball is kicked from the 35 yard line and the receiving team sets a couple players at the goal line to catch it. Once the ball is caught the player tries to run as far down the line while the rest of the team blocks for them. Play begins where the player goes down. If the ball winds up in either end zone play begins on the receiving team's 20 yard line.

A kick off also begins play after a touchdown or field goal is scored and at the start of the second half. Otherwise the teams line up in a "line of scrimmage" and the team that is on the offensive starts with the ball. At least seven players are required to form up on the line as line men and the others must be behind the line. Play begins when the center player in the line of scrimmage passes the ball back to the quarterback. No maneuver roll is required for this hand off.

Stopping Play: If a pass goes out of bounds or is entirely missed by the receiver play stops and returns to the prior scrimmage line. Play also stops when a touchdown or field goal is scored or a player is injured.

Changing Possession: A team gets four plays called "downs" in which to gain ten yards. If ten yards are gained the team is said to have achieved a "first down" and gets another four downs. If they fail to gain ten yards after four downs the other team gets the ball and goes on the offensive. If the ball is intercepted by the defensive team during play they also gain possession and go on the offensive.

Moving: Football is mainly a running game as the ball must be carried over the goal line to score a touchdown.

Passing: Passing the ball is an important strategy in football and the most important decision the quarterback makes is whether to throw the ball or run with it.

Kicking: At times a team may decide to try for a "field goal" rather than running the ball. This usually happens when they're running out of downs and not making much progress. Sometimes the ball will be kicked on the fourth down simply to push back the place on the field where the other team will get the ball. This is called punting.

-26 down Spectacular Failure The ball flies straight and true, striking the referee in the face and knocking him down. For the rest of the season he will be biased against the responsible team and nobody will blame him.
-25 - 04 Absolute Failure The kick is weak and the ball only flies ten yards, sideways.
05 - 75 Failure +0 A weak kick only sends the ball ten yards.
66 UM Unusual Event The ball flies straight up and the kicker falls over backwards the ball lands in his lap.
76 - 90 Partial Success The ball flies straight for 15 yards
91 - 110 Near Success The ball flies straight for 20 yards
UM 100 Unusual Success The ball flies straight for 30 yards
111 - 175 Success The ball flies straight for 40 yards
176 up Absolute Success The ball flies straight for 50 yards

Scoring: A touchdown is scored when a player carries the ball across the other team's goal line. Touchdowns are worth six points. After a touchdown is scored the scoring team attempts to score an extra point called a conversion by running or kicking the ball through the uprights from the three yard line. A field goal is worth three points and occurs when the ball is kicked through the uprights during regular play. Attempting a field goal is a common strategy on the fourth down.

Football

Soccer, as it is known in North America, is the most popular sport in the modern world. It is a direct descendant of Hurley in which two teams try to get the ball into the other team's goal without using their hands. Soccer has an off side rule which largely prevents forward passing and forces the ball to be run down the field.

Players: 11 on a side including a goal keeper

Game Length: 2 x 45 minute halves

Venue: 360 x 240 foot field with a 24 foot wide goal marked by posts at the center of each end. A 60 x 18 foot goal area and a 132 x 54 foot penalty are marked off in front of each goal.

Equipment: A soccer ball, a field, and something to mark the goals with.

Starting Play: The captains flip a coin to decide which team will kick off. The kick off is made from a center spot in the middle of the field, with each team on their own side. The team that did not kick off gets to do so at the start of the second half. A kickoff is also used to start play after a goal is scored. A ball that goes out of bounds is returned to play by a throw in, essentially a thrown pass from the side lines.

Stopping Play: Play stops when a goal is scored or a penalty given.

Moving: The players can only move the ball by kicking it with their feet. This is called dribbling. Deliberately contacting the ball with their hands results in a penalty (except for a designated goalkeeper who can touch the ball in the penalty area. If an offensive player is passed the ball when he is closer to the goal than all of the defensive players (apart from the goalkeeper), the offensive player is off side and the other team gets the ball.

Passing: The ball is passed by kicking it to another player.

Shooting: The ball is shot by kicking it through the net to score a point. The goal is large and a fairly easy target but players are restricted from charging the goalkeeper in the goal area and the goalkeeper is allowed to touch the ball with his hands.

Fouls and Penalties: Free kicks are awarded after a foul, which includes tripping, kicking or blocking players. A penalty committed within the penalty area gives the other team a penalty kick, a direct contest between the fouled player and the goalkeeper. A player can be sent off for the whole game for repeated infractions.

Hockey

Equipment: Hockey is played with a long "stick" with a knob on one end and a curved blade on the other; the stick can be used as a -10 pole arm that inflicts Krush criticals. All the players wear skates, boots with metal blades mounted on the bottom. Kicking attempts are at -20 but inflict Slash criticals. Hockey players wear rigid polymer padding that counts as AT-11 +20. The heavier padding worn by the goalie counts as AT-12 +20. In addition goalies count as having shields and their broad stick counts as a -10 battle axe that inflicts Krush criticals. It's a hockey game and this stuff will come up.

Players: 6 on a side including one goalie. It is normal to have additional players on the bench and rotate them into play due to exhaustion and injury.

Game Length: 3 x 20 minute periods.

Venue: A 200 x 85 foot artificially refrigerated ice rink.

Starting Play: A game of hockey begins with a "faceoff." The forwards of the teams come to the dot at center ice with their teams behind them on their side of the ice and the referee drops the puck between their sticks. Both forwards roll a Hockey maneuver with the higher total deciding which way the puck slides. If a forward wins by fifty points or more they can pass the puck to a player of their choice.

Stopping Play: Play is stopped for major penalties and icing, resulting in a new faceoff at the faceoff circle closest to where the puck was when the infraction occurred. After a goal is scored a new faceoff occurs at center ice.

Moving: The players and officials must wear skates. This allows for very fast movement on the ice but makes turning and stopping difficult. The puck must be handled with the stick. A player is allowed to deflect or bump the puck with any part of the body but may not catch and carry the puck in their hand or pass it to their team mates in this manner.

Passing: The puck is slid along the ice by slapping it with the blade on the stick. The can really get the puck movingl loss of control is very common. Spectators have been hospitalized and even killed by stray pucks.

Shooting: As with passing, the puck is shot with the blade of the stick.

-20 goalie in net

Penalties: In hockey there are penalties for holding the stick too high, certain checks, tripping, and fighting. Penalties result in a player being sent off for a length of time giving the other side a man advantage called a "power play." For the purposes of playing out a hockey game assume minor penalties last for one full play and major ones last for two.

Icing: If the puck is shot down the ice into the other team's end an icing call is made and play is stopped as soon as an opposing player gets the puck.

Basketball

Developed in the United States, basketball has become a popular indoor sport worldwide. The game has fairly minimal material requirements: an inflatable rubber ball, a couple hoops and back boards and a ninety four by fifty foot court. The small court and limitations on physical contact result in a fast moving game with very high scoring rates.

Players: 5 on a side, it is normal to have additional players on the bench to trade off due to exhaustion or injury.

Game Length: 4 x 12 minute quarters

Tie Breaker: 5 minute overtime periods

Venue: 94 x 50 foot hardwood court

Equipment: one basketball, two hoops with backboards

Starting Play: Basketball games begin with a "Jump Ball." The two team's centers come to the mark on center court with their team behind them on their side and the referee tosses the ball up between them. Both players make a Basket Ball maneuver roll and the player with the higher roll manages to send the ball loose on their side. If the Jump Ball is won by more than 50 points then the player can send the ball to any player they like.

Stopping Play: Play stops when the ball goes out of bounds, in which case it is thrown in by a player from the team that did not knock the ball out of bounds. It is also stopped for penalties, resulting in a free throw or a jump ball at the closest mark to where the ball was when play stopped. After a basket is scored, the team that was scored against gets possession of the ball.

Moving: A player in possession of the ball is not allowed to take more than a step without bouncing or "dribbling" the ball. Thus moving requires a maneuver roll as discussed in the rules applying to all team sports.

Passing: Passing is accomplished by throwing the ball to another player.

Shooting: The hoop is mounted ten feet above the floor. An area called the key is marked on the court. Players can only be in the key for a few seconds without drawing a penalty. A normal shot is worth two points, shots from 24 feet or farther out are worth 3 points, and a penalty shot is worth one point. Tall players have a particular advantage and may add their Stride Modification to their maneuver roll.

Fouls and Penalties: The main foul in basket ball is physical contact with an opponent. But there are also limitations on loitering in the area immediately beneath the basket and the ever popular "double dribble" which covers violations of the ball handling rules. For simplicity's sake, any maneuver resulting in a penalty is awarded with a free throw on the opposition's net.