Like the other aspects of this game, combat is slightly different to tabletop gaming. Your character’s level of speed and dexterity (and fitness) is very much up to you, but your ability to deal out and sustain damage is governed by the Feats your character has, as is your casting prowess, or ability to resist magic.
Body & Armour
Every character has 6 target locations. These are the Head, Torso and four Limbs. Each location has a Body hits value, which defaults to 1, and an Armour hits value, which defaults to 0. These values can increase depending on what Feats you purchase. These hits may be taken away by the Damage Effect and Armour hits are removed before Body hits. Armour hits may be regained by the Repair Effect. Body hits may be regained by the Healing Effect. See the Effect List section for more details.
When a location’s Body hits value reaches 0, that location becomes unusable. If a character’s head or torso becomes unusable, the character becomes unconscious. If an arm becomes unusable, it will hang uselessly at their side, and any items held in it will be dropped. If a leg becomes unusable, the character falls over. If their other leg is still usable, they may struggle to their feet and drag their unusable leg behind them at a slow pace. If both legs are unusable, the character falls down and cannot get to their feet, but may still use their arms and torso to move if they wish.
A location will remain unusable until healed.
Characters in the Five Realms have a resource called Vigour. This is an innate power within them that can be used to power Spells, weapon blow Effects, and immunities among other things. All residents of Tirneach have at least 1 Vigour. A gallóglach who has sworn their Oaths gains an additional 5 Vigour, for a starting Vigour pool of 6. Additional Vigour may be gained through Feats.
All Vigour is regained at Time In each day. There are other ways to regain Vigour through Feats, rituals, or items.
Death and Dying
It is possible for a location to go below 0 Body hits. If any location is reduced to -1 Body hits, the character is considered to be bleeding and will start dying. The character has 5 minutes (a slow count to 300) until they die. This time is known as the deathcount and should be counted quietly by the player to themselves. A Referee may ask for a character’s deathcount, in which case the player should count in such a way that it is audible to the Referee. The character’s deathcount will only stop when all locations are on 0 Body hits or higher. It is not possible for any location to go lower than -1 Body hits.
A character may concentrate on an unresisting, dying target within melee strike range and repeat the OOC call “Executing” at an audible level for 30 seconds. They may then strike with a call of “Execute” and instantly kill that target at the end of the 30 seconds. Note that all characters can generate this Effect if they have a melee weapon. Attempting to generate the Execute Effect on an invalid target will get a “No Effect” response at the end of the process. This is further clarified in the Effect List section.
If you believe your character is dead or a Referee informs you of this, you should remain in play as a dead body for an appropriate amount of time and then find a member of the Event Team and report the death. This waiting period should be sufficient for other characters to find your body (if they are likely to) and perform any rituals of death as needed IC. The Event Team will then confirm information about the character death and take you through the process of creating a new character.
Most citizens of Tirneach are a hardy people, able to recover from most non fatal injuries. If any location is on 0 Body hits and you are not in your deathcount, you take a locational Healing 1 Effect to that location if 5 minutes (300 seconds) pass without you being subject of an Effect, being struck, or being aware of any combat happening in your vicinity.
Bring it on/Lay Off
These are not IC effects, but OOC indicators that can be used without breaking the game flow. If an IC situation is getting too intense, loud, or otherwise outside your Out of Character comfort zone, you can use the call “lay off” to indicate to the other player to dial it back, or indicate this non-verbally by making an “L” shape with your hand, with your thumb and index finger clearly visible. Conversely, if you are enjoying an intense situation you may use the “bring it on” call to indicate to the other player that you are happy to continue in the current vein.
Sometimes one character may want to move another character, for example to carry a wounded friend to safety or to discreetly dispose of an enemy. As per Safety Rule 2, this system does not allow for touching of other players without consent and anyone found doing so risks being asked to leave site. In order to maintain this, we have the following rules for moving characters:
- To move another character, that character should be unresisting. A character can resist if they would reasonably be able to resist someone moving them.
- To move a character without touching them, state you are doing so, stand by their side and place both hands within 5cm of their shoulders or their upper arm. One person may move a character at a slow walking pace. While carrying a character, you must move with slow, deliberate steps.
- Two characters may move a third character in the same direction at a normal walking pace. If the two carrying characters disagree over the direction they wish to carry the third character in, they must stop moving until they have resolved their differences. At no point should there be a “tug of war” between the two.
- No more than two characters may move a single character at a time. Moving someone requires the use of two free hands, which may not be used for anything else, though magic items do not unattune. At no time is it necessary for the carried player to be touched by those moving them.
At no point should a player be out of character grappled or restrained.
However there may be situations where a character needs to be restrained. To do so, you will need a phys rep of some kind, such as a ribbon or a sash.
After 30s roleplayed action miming tying up an unresisting target, the target is restrained. The target should now hold the phys rep in their hands, such that it appears to be binding them (Please note, they should not be OOC tied). A restrained character may not strike, repair armour, cast Spells, or move faster than a slow walking place. If there is a suitable phys rep of a solid object such as a tree or a post, a character may be restrained to this object, making them unable to move from the spot. To do this, you should inform the target that they are being restrained to this object, and after the appropriate amount of role played action they hold the binding phys rep such that it is around the object.
To release a restrained character, an unrestrained character must spend 30s role played action releasing them, at which point the target is no longer restrained. Alternatively, a character with the Escape Restraints Feat may use that to escape.
Searching & IC Theft
Sometimes one character may want to take items from another character. OOC personal space must be respected and to facilitate this we have an IC searching mechanic. While searching another character, you should mime actions of searching them without touching the target.
To search another character, that character should be unresisting (and can state they are resisting to stop the search). A character can resist if they would reasonably be able to resist someone searching them. You should spend 30 seconds of concentration and roleplayed action, at the end of which time you will be informed of any lammied items on the character, as well as any IC documents, currency, or other IC items on the character. You will also be informed if the character was recently searched. The victim is required to hand over any items that are requested of them. Do not take items by OOC force.
The normal rules for knowing what a lammied item do apply to stolen items, so a character must either attune to the item or use the relevant Identify Effect to know what a magic item does.
If you have taken a lammied item from another player and do not intend to return it in a prompt fashion, please take the item to a member of the Event Team to have the item change ownership. You must not remove stolen lammies from items without going to the Event Team first. You will be asked to supply an unlammied phys rep of the appropriate type to transfer the lammie onto. If you cannot provide a phys rep, the Event Team will liaise with you about resolving the theft. Please do not use someone else’s phys rep without their permission.
Searching a character requires that you search that character thoroughly. As such it is not possible to stand behind someone and “stealth” search them.
NOTE: Some items may be unique and specifically remain on the original phys rep. If you are stealing such an item you still need to bring it to the Event Team but may not move the lammie to another phys rep.
If you have a prisoner and you wish to disarm them you may “take” any obviously visible weapons from them instantly rather than requiring a full search. This can either be done either by placing the phys reps nearby or informing the prisoner that the weapons have been taken and tossed away (allowing the prisoner to retain their phys reps).
Various Effects and abilities specify “an unresisting target” such as searching, moving, diagnosing, etc. A target can normally choose to cooperate or resist these efforts. Some things that would remove the choice of resisting and make a target unresisting (unless they have a Feat or are using an item which specifies otherwise) would be: being unconscious, or being under the Sleep or Halt Effects.
A target that is being actively hostile towards should be considered obviously resisting.
Roleplay combat in Five Oaths consists of characters generating Effects, listed below. These Effects either cause an instantaneous Effect like knocking a target to the ground or causing damage, or cause something to happen for a duration. Many Effects have durations: the duration will be stated by the player when the Effect is generated. If no duration is specified, then the Effect has no duration, or has an instantaneous result (such as Healing, Mindslash or Damage). Effects may be generated by weapon blow, Feat, Spell or as directed by a Referee.
Weapon blows, by default, cause the Single Damage Effect when they strike a location. Players are not required to call ‘Single’ when striking for the Single Damage Effect.
All characters may choose to generate Zero Damage, representing an IC pulled blow. If two characters agree to only generate the Zero Damage Effect then they are not required to call it for their bout; they should call Single once to indicate that they are no longer pulling their blow.
Feats, magic items or other Effects may mean a character causes another Effect with their weapon blows. In order to do this, the player should call out that Effect as they successfully strike another character, spending the necessary Vigour as they do so. It is only possible to add one non-Damage Effect to a weapon blow. For example, you can strike as normal causing the Damage Effect, or you can call Strikedown which will inflict the Damage Effect and the Strikedown Effect, but you may not call Strikedown Through. There are two Effects that do not combine with Damage, they are Bane and Sunder. A weapon blow is always deemed to be for the Single Damage Effect in addition to any called Effect unless the character calls the Zero Damage Effect in addition to another Effect.
Weapon blows can be parried. A weapon blow is considered to be parried if it connects with a weapon or shield that is being wielded by a character. Sheathed weapons and shields are not considered to give any defensive bonus, and so blows that connect with sheathed weapons and shields deliver the Effect to the target. For the most part if a blow is parried, it has no further Effect. However there are some Effects that target objects and not people (such as Fumble and Shatter) which will affect the weapon or shield if struck.
A Spellcasting character is a character that has acquired one or more Spellcraft Feats. Each Spellcraft Feat provides a character with the knowledge of how to cast a Spell. Other Feats alter the manner in which Spells may be cast.
Spells are used to create an Effect at range; on a target up to 10m away (with the exception of the Global Stop Bleed Effect which is touch range and the Ward Effect which is self only). The caster may choose to make themselves the target. By default, casting requires at least one free hand, or a focus item to be held in that hand. For more information on magical foci see the Equipment section below.
To cast a spell, you must use the following vocals. The parts in bold are mandatory and must be said word for word, the parts within brackets are flexible and up to the player to decide, once they follow the outlined theme.
“I call upon the power of (chosen source) to (brief description of desired outcome) and cast (Spell Effect+ any relevant modifiers like mass, location/global, time duration, and target group).”
Some suitable examples include “I call upon the power of the Shaper to send you on to earn your glory and cast Global Heal 1” and “I call upon the power of the land itself to turn friend into foe and cast Rampage 10s”.
Some spells are “instant” and do not require these casting vocals. These instant spells include “Global Stop Bleed” and “Mindslash”, and instead should just be cast with “Instant cast (Spell Effect)”
Casting a Spell can be disrupted if the caster loses consciousness during the cast.
Spells are categorised into three types. These types are: Enchantment (En), Evocation (Ev), and Transmutation (Tr). A Spell’s type will be denoted by a tag of (En), (Ev), or (Tr) after the Spell in the Spell list for that level, which is in the Way of Power section in Chapter 4.
The mechanism for casting ritual Spells differs significantly from that of other Spells. Ritual magic does not use Vigour. Instead, a ritual can only be performed at a ritual circle. Generally there will be two ritual circles available at an event – one as part of the player camp and one outside of it. Ritual circles are clearly marked and the physrep for the circle should not be disturbed or moved by players.
While you do not need the Feat to participate in a ritual being lead by someone else, you do need to know the ritual as a Feat in order to lead it. By default a ritual must last between 1 and 5 minutes unless otherwise noted. Including the leader there may be up to 10 participants in a ritual. You may not begin casting a ritual in a circle that already has a ritual underway in it.
Each ritual has a target difficulty, and the success or failure of the ritual is determined by generating points to meet or exceed this difficulty.
- The number of characters who remain within the ritual circle for the entire duration of the ritual and any bonuses they have from Feats. Each ritual participant, including the leader, contributes 1 point to the ritual’s success by default.
- Ritual Effigy items that are sacrificed during the ritual. Each Effigy sacrificed gives points according to the lammie for that item. Any Ritual Effigy items that are sacrificed for the ritual must be valid for the current event.
All rituals have additional conditions that must be met for the ritual to succeed such as roleplay guidelines, and each ritual has a set duration in which the participants must conduct the ritual. If these conditions are not met, the ritual fails regardless of the points generated by the participants.
By default, the result of a ritual will take place immediately. Some rituals may have a delay before the result occurs; this is discussed in the description of the ritual. If the ritual would cause a permanent Effect on another character, like a Punishment ritual, the ritual should be witnessed by an Event Team member.
The target of a ritual with the Punishment keyword does not count as a participant, nor may they contribute to the score. Punishment rituals may have only one target, who must be present in the circle.
Certain actions in these rules refer to a character requiring concentration to perform them. Although fighting, watching where you are walking and talking to people do require you as a player to concentrate, they do not require your character’s “concentration.” An action will state if it requires concentration in order to be performed. A character may only concentrate on one thing at a time. If their concentration is broken, they may begin the task again, but must do so from scratch. Some of the actions that require concentration include casting a Spell, repairing armour and searching someone.
While concentrating on a task, a character cannot strike another character with a weapon.
Certain Effects require you to perform an action and speak at an audible level. For the purposes of this game, the action must be audible to the intended target. If the target at the time is not certain then you must speak loudly enough that you can be heard by a target at the Effect’s maximum range.
The 1 second rule
Characters may only generate one Effect per second regardless of the source. This rule applies to the character, not their individual weapons. This rule does not stop someone being affected by multiple Effects in the same second. When this happens the character should attempt to give responses as quickly and clearly as possible. Please note that it is not acceptable to strike multiple times in one second and expect the target to only take one.
Characters may through Feats be immune to an Effect. A character should state “No Effect” and not take the Effect when they are the target of an Effect to which they are immune. The Feat or item ability that grants the Immunity will determine the duration it lasts. If you are under an Effect and become immune to it, the Effect is removed from you. A character can be immune to multiple Effects at the same time.
These rules by and large do not have permanent immunities, with two exceptions. Peacesworn are always immune to Rampage for the OOC reason that it would make them violate non com rules. The Rend Effect makes the target immune to the Healing Effect while they are suffering Rend.
Most Immunities are reactive. What this means is that Feat or items will grant a character the ability to spend Vigour and become immune to an Effect when they are targeted with the Effect. If they spend the Vigour, the character declares “No Effect”, and gains the Immunity which lasts for a further short duration as specified by the Feat or item.
Categories and targeted Effects
While there are 10 different player species, they all fall under the Category of “Mortal”. There are four broad Categories for beings in our game, which are Mortal, Beast, Gwyllt, and Undead. By default Effects target every Category, unless one of those Categories is called as a modifier to the Effect, in which case it only targets the named category. It is possible for some sources of Effects to be even more specific, such as naming one particular Species.
It is possible to learn to generate certain Effects at a specific kind of target which may be either a specific Species, or an entire Category of them. If targeted by a ranged Spell Effect with a target Category that does not apply to you, do not take the Effect. If targeted by a melee blow Effect with a target Category that does not apply to you, take the Single Damage Effect but do not take any additional Effect.
Mortals: Sapient, living beings with a soul. All playable species are examples of Mortal creatures, and all PCs will enter play as mortal.
Beasts: Living creatures with limited intelligence, with no sapience. Examples include bears and wolves.
Gwyllt: Sworn enemy of the Gallóglaigh and mortal life in Tirneach, Gwyllt are supernatural beings that lack a soul.
Undead: Creatures that were once alive, but remain animate after death. They are found throughout Tirneach in many forms.
Many Feats allow the user to add a Modifier to an Effect, which changes how the Effect takes place. The list of Modifiers is as follows:
Full: Full is a Modifier that can be applied to the Healing or Repair Effects. A Full Healing will restore a character’s Body hits to the total allowed by their Feats and any magic items the character has that give extra Body hits. A Full Repair will restore a character’s Armour hits to the total allowed by their Feats and any magic items the character has that give extra Armour hits. This Modifier can be combined with the Global Modifier.
Global: Global is a Modifier that can be applied to the Damage, Healing or Repair Effects, which allows the Effect to target all 6 locations on the target character’s body. A Global Damage Effect will target all 6 locations on the targets body, and remove 1 Body hit from each location, removing Armour hits first as normal. A Global Healing 1 Effect will target all 6 locations on the target character’s body, and restore 1 Body hit to each location. A Global Repair 1 Effect will target all 6 locations on the target character’s body, and restore 1 Armour hit to each location. This Modifier can be combined with the Full Modifier.
Mass: The Mass Modifier can be added to many Effects, determined by Feats and magic items. Using the Mass Modifier with an Effect means the Effect will be used on everyone within 5m of the character generating the Effect, apart from the character themselves. The character may indicate an arc with both hands in front of them, which allows them to target all character within that arc. The character generating a Mass Effect must specify who will be targeted when completing their call. For example, the character may add “…all around me” or simply “Mass” before the Effect to target every character within 5m, or “…all within this arc” to target specific characters. The arc must be the area in front of the character between their arms, a character may not designate the area behind them as the arc for a Mass Effect.
Default Effects and Effects requiring Feats
All characters in Five Oaths can generate the following Effects by default: Damage, Execute, Notice Bleed, and Repair on weapons, shields and non-armour items. All other Effects and the Repair Effect on armour require a Feat for a character to be able to generate them.
Interaction of Effects
For the purposes of Effect interaction, Effects are broken into physical effects and mental effects. If one Effect would interfere with carrying out another Effect, physical takes precedence over mental, and the first listed Effect gets resolved first. If the original Effect would still be in duration when the interfering Effect is resolved you then resolve the original Effect until the duration is over.
E.g. If your character is hit with Rampage 30s, and 15 seconds into the duration of that they suffer the Lure Effect. Lure has priority as it is higher on the list for mental Effects than Rampage. Your character follows the Lure Effect’s directions for the next 10 seconds, before reverting to the Rampage Effect for the final 5 seconds of its duration.
Physical Effects priority
Suggested mnemonic – Fuzzy Peaches Seem Healthier
Mental Effects priority
Suggested mnemonic – Little French Rodents Shouldn’t Digest Cake