BattleMaster Basics

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This is the rock-bottom need-to-know stuff for your first turn playing BattleMaster, for the impatient player who just wants to get started.

If you have slightly more time, and enjoy reading some roleplaying, we also recommend the introduction, which is less technical but contains other valuable information.

To get the absolute best use out of this page, open it in a separate browser window, and open the game in another window, so that you can switch back and forth.


Creating a character

We recommend that you review the Island Descriptions page and select the island types that most appeal to you, and the style/type of island you wish to explore and play. If research is not your style pick an island at random and have fun. Do remember that the first region you start in will be your family's home, and that is very difficult to change.
  • Select a realm
There are several criteria you should consider when choosing a realm. Stability, government type, realm summary, and finally, number of nobles, regions and income. The key is to get yourself involved in a situation where you and your character can best flourish. Find the realm that seems to best fit you (here's a fairly complete list of all of the realms) and the idea you have for your character.
  • Your starting unit - for your first character, either infantry or archers are fine. Infantry will give you more action, while archers will probably survive a little longer.


Your First Turn

BattleMaster is a social game, and people who join a realm but do not speak or ask questions or join in the conversation are likely to be viewed with mistrust. When you joined, everyone got a message letting them know that you're here and you're new, but you still have to introduce yourself.

Note that some types of information are disabled for your first three days of play. So are many actions, including class-change, emigration, voting, and visiting regions outside the realm. Most of these shouldn't be an issue for you yet, except the last one-- it pretty much means you can't join in a battle outside your borders unless you find a more senior player to escort you. The game gives no indication of how many turns the travel restriction lasts, but it should automatically be lifted after 7 days.

Introductory Message

Go to your Messages page, via the sidebar. From all the options there, the one you want for now is halfway the page: all of your realm-mates, just click on it.

Let's send an in-character message. Go to the Message Type pull-down box, and select an appropriate message type. If you are sending a narative of what your character says and does, select Roleplay. If you are simply sending a letter written by your character, select Letter. Then type your message. Here are some examples, for a character named Armand, joining Keplerstan. There are lots of styles, and feel free to make use of the HTML tools at the top of the message box.

Sample Introductory Messages


Type: Letter

Hello, everyone! My name is Armand, and I've come to join your great realm. I am new, and not sure what to do. Where should I go?

Type: Letter

Greetings, fellow troop leaders! I am Armand Broadsword, and I have decided to become a soldier and make my fortunes.
I will serve this realm to the best of my ability. Show me the ropes, and you'll soon find that I'm the best thing that's ever happened to Keplerstan.

Type: Roleplay

A dark figure on horseback crosses the border into Keplerstan, at the head of a small group of armed men, all in uniform and carrying an unfamiliar standard. They travel all night before finally stopping at a local inn.
"Where am I?" the dark figure asks the innkeeper.
"Keplerstan, sir!"
The dark figure looks around and nods. "Good. This realm should do nicely. I think I'll stick around. Send a message to your King, and tell him that Armand Broadsword has arrived, and pledges his loyalty."

Letter to Region Lords

You start the games as a landless noble. Without land you will have no direct income. So one of the first things you should is find an estate. Once you have an estate you will receive taxes from the peasants living on your lands. You will also pass on a portion of these taxes to the lord of the region your estate is in. The region lord (a player just like you) decides how large your estate will be, how much tax your peasants have to pay you, how much tax you have to pay them and what army your will serve in. The region lord can even take your estate away from you. Most region lords will want you to swear an an Oath of Fealty to them. Regardless, taking an estate makes you their vassal and the region lord your liege. For all of these reasons it is important to find a lord who wants to have you as a knight and a Lord who you want to work with.

So, in addition to an introductory message to everyone, you'll also want to send more focused messages to the region lords letting them know that your in search of an estate. Any interested Lords will then offer you an estate. Feel free to ask questions! The feudal bond between a knight and a lord should be taken seriously. Plus, some estates will simply pay better than others.

More on Estates can be found below...

Sample Letter to All Region Lords


Type: Letter

Lords and Ladies of Kelperstan,
My name is Armand. I am seeking an Estate to call home and a Liege to serve. If any of you have need of a loyal knight, I kindly request that you let me know.

Sample Letter to a Region Lord


Type: Letter

Baron Kelper,
I would very much like an Estate in Kelperville. However, it is important to me that my future estate to generate the income required to field a strong troop. You will find me to be determined and hardworking but I dislike having to ask for handouts or being unable to lead quality troops. Would an Estate in Kelperville meet my wants? I am also interested in what you would expect from me as a knight. I will happily swear an oath of fealty if we fine each other to be a suitable match.

Character Class

All new characters start out as being part of the Warrior class. There are other classes that exist, such as Priest or Courtier, but we'll come back to those later. The vast majority of characters remain as Warriors as well.

Classes also have sub-classes. The various sub-classes have different prestige, honor and time requirements.

Training

There's no time like the present to get started with your training!

Go to your Actions page, via the sidebar. Click on Training..., which will direct you to a new page. From there, you'll have an option to train in three different skills (Swordfighting, Jousting, and Leadership), for a number of different hours, and with different types of instructors. Be sure to start out training with a normal instructor! At your level (around 5% swordfighting skill) a normal instructor is more than enough, and you simply don't have the gold to train with the advanced or expert instructors for very long. Train for about 3 hours (each turn is 8 game hours, see below for more info). Afterward, you should see an increase in your swordfighting skill. Most skills can only be trained in a city with an academy. Tournaments lets one train their sword fighting. Skills also increases through use.

Visit the Family

The family is the bedrock of your gameplay. While it's possible that some of your characters might die (though it's fairly rare), your family will always endure. Your options are fairly limited at first though.

Go to your Actions page, via the sidebar. Click on Visit your family. You will be directed to a new page which will give you a little info on how your family is currently doing, how the locals feel about independence, and whether tax day is approaching. This will take 3 game hours.

Mix with the Locals

By mixing with the locals you can get a feel for the morale of the commoners, those people who have to work for a living and have no rights.

Go to your Actions page, via the sidebar. Click on Mix with the Locals. You will be directed to a new page which will you tell how the population feels in this region. This is something only you, since you're still not well-known yet, can do. After you've earned a certain amount of prestige, or after your unit reaches a certain size, you will no longer be able to do this. This will take 2 game hours, and that means you should now be out of hours for your first turn.

Pay Your Unit

Go to your Orders page, via the sidebar. Click on Pay your men..., which will direct you to a new page. From there, click on Pay your troops, or simply Pay all. Your men have now been paid.

You can also have your troops be paid automatically every X days. This can be changed under Orders > Unit Settings (more on this later).

How Hours Work

Time in Battlemaster is divided into turns. Two turns run per day, at 6am and 6pm, server time (The server resides in Germany). Each turn, you will get eight hours to spend. You may spend them at any time during the turn, but if you do not spend them, up to four hours carry over to the next turn. You will never have more than 12 hours to spend in a turn.

Most actions cause you to immediately spend hours from your total. Once you have spent all your hours, you must wait until the next turn to get eight more. You will usually not spend all of your hours every turn, especially when travelling.

Free Actions

Some actions can be done without spending any hours at all. These include:

  • Reading and sending messages
  • All the functions under Paperwork and Information
  • A few other things that are unimportant for the moment.


How to Move to Another Region

In order to begin travelling to an adjacent region, go to the Travel link on the sidebar. There will be a list of links for all the regions you can travel to, the distance to that region, and an estimate of how long it will take. For example:

Neighbouring Regions
travel to...
Brahe (Keplerstan) 71 miles, ca. 7 hours

The distance will always be the same for a given two regions, but the estimated time will change depending on the type of unit you're commanding, how many men you have, how many of them are wounded, what paraphernalia you have, etc.

The hours will not be subtracted immediately, because travel takes place at turn change. While you have given the order start moving you men still need to break camp and then begin the long hike or ride. If you left enough hours unused, then you will arrive in the region on the next turn, and get a message like:

Arrival (just in)
You have arrived in Brahe, a City region (friendly territory).

And you and your unit will be in the destination region. Sometimes it will take multiple turns to travel between two regions, in which case you will spend one or more turns in-between regions -- you'll be listed among the region's occupants, but you will not be able to take advantage of everything the region has to offer, such as banking and entertainment. You will also not be as free to scout when you are between regions.

Also note: Even if you have enough hours, you can never travel through more than one region per turn.

Estates

Your estate provides you with a weekly income and place in the hierarchy.

Go to your Politics page, via the sidebar. Click on Your Estate... , which will direct you to a new page. From there, you will see if the region you are currently in has an available estate. The Estate will show you what percentage of the region is yours. The larger your estate, the greater your income. Your income will actually change from week to week depending on production, whether the tax coffers have been raided, and any number of other factors. However, you can get an estimate of what to expect by looking at the region's tax income from last week, and then multiplying it by your share amount.

However, the amount of gold you receive should only be one of the things you take into account. Take a look at where the region is located. Regions on the border of your realm might be invaded, whereas regions near the center of your realm are safer. Cities tend to offer more money from a smaller estate, but are juicy targets for an invader. Poorer regions also present a less desirable objective for an enemy, so choosing your estate must be a balance of multiple factors.

How to Find the Bulletins

The four main government positions (Ruler, General, Banker, and Judge) each have a bulletin page, which are linked to separately under Information. It is a very good idea to read these when you first join a realm, to learn the realm's laws, the current military situation, and other useful information.


How to Change Unit Settings

Unit settings are kept on the Orders page. There are four options, of which three are important here:

  • How your men are instructed to act
  • What row they're on
  • What formation they're in
  • How soon they will retreat

Usually, a general or marshal will give unit settings to a group of people, either in a message, in Standing Orders, or in the General's Bulletin. Keep an eye out for orders for your particular unit type. They might be given in the following format:

Infantry: middle, aggressive, box

This means that you should instruct your men to act aggressive, to deploy in the middle, in the box formation.

There are many issues involved with unit settings, but this should suffice for now. For a more detailed explanation see Unit Settings.

One last point: NEVER EVER EVER!!!!!!!! set your unit to murderous unless specifically ordered to by your ruler or general! I cannot stress this enough. You wouldn't believe how many times realms were on the verge of an international conflict because of one person with murderous settings. Unless of course you WANT to cause the diplomatic incident... remember, nobles are always allowed their own agendas. The realm might not like it, but still...

Some other Hints

  • Whenever a link contains an ellipsis ("..."), this means there is another page before an action is actually done. For example: "Loot..." means that you will have to select some looting options first, before actually doing the looting.
  • Links without ellipses usually trigger an immediate action. Example: "Visit your family" takes you right there, hours get subtracted and everything.


And That's It!

Well, not really. BattleMaster is a huge game, and there's lots to learn about battles and realms and equipment. You would be well-advised to read our introduction and to browse the Manual.

You may not receive orders or even get a response your first turn, particularly if you join the realm late in the turn. Look around and see if there's anything which obviously ought to be done. If there are troops in the region from another realm, for example, it might be wise to move to an adjacent region. Check and see whether there are paraphernalia you can hire in the region you started out in -- scouts in particular are quite useful.