Welcome newbies, to the immersive world of BattleMaster. I'm sure that by now, you have figured out what some of those links do, how hours work, and maybe even how to send/read messages. But before you get too involved, you need to know some of the finer details on exactly how to play this game.
BattleMaster is roughly based on the Middle Ages (anywhere from 1200 to 1600 technologically and politically). We play as nobles who live the good life and fight our wars as peasants toil and labor for our benefit. Much like the Middle Ages, no matter how equal the government claims to be, peasants are never considered more than a work-force at best and cannon fodder at worst.
In history, were there stories and myths of magic, non-human creatures, enchanted items, ect.? Yes. Are there in BattleMaster? Yes. Do they truely exist in either place? Who can say. What can be said is that all players are human, with one exception, the Sirionite elves. The elves of Sirion (east continent) are protected in a grandfather clause, meaning that they existed before the rules about only human characters and were allowed to continue existing.
So this isn't a High Fantasy setting with fantastic races and massive quests to save the world, this is a place where people just live normal, if not a bit primitive, lives..... for the most part.
There are hints of a slightly fantastic flavour to the world, only small ones and only in some places. Undead and monsters often roam, strange prophets fortell of terrible events which come to pass, nobles seem to live forever and heal any wound no matter how grevious if given enough time, and there was even once a lich. What does this mean? Well for those who will have no part of anything as silly as superstition, it's just proof of how misguided some poor fools are and that science still has some ground to cover. For those who think hanging a horseshoe over the door is a good idea, it just gives them more fuel for the fire. The point is that these kinds of things are exceptions rather than the rule, popping up once in a while, and for the most part people's day to day lives are totally normal, full of terrible wars, but normal.
As stated earlier, everyone (except Adventurers) plays as a noble from the upper class. You're rich, you're pampered, and you can do anything you want with no one being able to stop you just because of your name. However, there are a few things that tradition dictates you do and do not do.
This is not your average training or sparing match (those can be roleplayed). Duels are swordfights that are used to defend one's honor. Why challenge someone to a duel? He offended your wife, spoke ill of your family name, ruthlessly murdered a family member, or has opposed every single idea or chance for advancement you had just because he has a grudge against you. The list goes on and on. However, it is important to remember that a duel is a big deal and it is almost guaranteed that someone will walk away wounded, if at all, so duels should be rare. Petty arguments, bets, tests of skill, and disagreements over the last mug of beer can easily be solved by other means.
One last point: Challenging a noble of much higher status than yourself to a duel is highly inappropriate and is not taken seriously. Why would a Duke, who has spent years in the realm proving himself and may have at one time been in the counsel care if he offended a knight that just joined the realm and is practically unknown to anyone outside of his estate?
Protesting is where, either publically or privately, you disagree with the actions of a counsel member. This is considered to be not as severe a duel challenge, but still a serious matter. If the ruler backed out of a promise to give someone a lordship, the judge fines someone you think is innocent, the banker makes a severe and unwaranted tax "adjustment", or the general is overstepping the bounds of his authority, then protesting may be in order.
I know that I said nobles are rich, and they are, but a landless noble still needs a way to get money for his extravagant lifestyle. This is where oaths come in. Usually, landed nobles are looking for landless nobles like yourself to help organize, maintain, and defend their region. Though every oath is different, it will usually involve you agreeing to serve him in exchange for a share of his taxes.
Fealty is a very personal thing. You might not want to accept a lord's offer for any number of reasons. Maybe you can't or don't want to provide the service he needs, someone else is offering you more money for the same work, or you just don't like the idea of taking orders.
Whatever your reasons for accepting or declining an offer, remember this: accepting an oath of fealty means you promise to serve your lord under any circumstances. The clause in the agreement that states "I promise to serve ..." might as well be replaced with "I give my free will to...". Loyalty was a huge deal in the middle ages. If you broke an oath, you were practically an outcast from society. So you better think things through before making a decision.
This is one area that BattleMaster diverges from history. To be accurate, female characters would live an extremely sheltered life of service to her husband. Here is how the game is different:
- Marriage- There is none. Don't ask for it. TOM will code it if he wants after the other hundred items on the To-Do list are done. Noble women are completely independent.
- Equal Rights- They have the full title of nobility, can participate in battle, and have no extra restrictions on behavior.
- Number- Lets be honest. 90% of gamers are males, and roleplaying as a woman is somewhat more difficult. So don't expect to see too many about, you'll be disappointed.
This is a chance to prove your honor and become famous: by sending hundreds of peasants to their deaths for a cause you deem worthy. Despite this simple concept, there are a few points that need to be made on this subject to fully understand a noble's viewpoint.
- Preparations and Techniques- The battle doesn't start until both sides meet and arrange their forces properly. Defeating an enemy that is disorganized and unprepared brings neither fame nor honor. Of course, chasing an enemy that has fled the battle is not honorable, but acceptable. Ambushes and guerilla warfare are also out of the question. They are tactics reserved for highway men and cowards.
- Prisoners- Don't bother with the commoners. Holding foreign peasants in prison is a waste of time and money. On the other hand, if you can capture an enemy noble, by god do it. The realm can make a good bit of money by ransoming them off, and they might reveal some useful information in exchange for an early release.
- Challenges- Challenging enemy nobles to duels before or after battle is an acceptable practice provided it has a proper reason. Perhaps he is the judge that tortured you, a traitor to the realm, or looted your region. Just remember that this is even more serious than a duel against a realm-mate since it usually is over a bigger issue than a family insult.
In the Middle Ages, family ties meant everything. Your family heritage is what made you a noble and gave you the ability to not work for a living like a peasant. Usually, money, land, and titles were given to or inherited by the younger family members. Even something as seemingly ordinary as a sword was a valuable, even prized, posession of a noble. Since you family made you what you are, you had better show them some respect. If not, they could always disown you, leaving you with whatever you were able to gain on your own. Of course, without your noble heritage, you'll be considered a peasant, and the realm won't stand a peasant with any amount of wealth or power.
The Inalienable Rights
The best place to start your search is here on the Wiki. There are about 10,548 articles here, so you can probably find what you're looking for somewhere. Can't find it here, ask your mentor. They've probably answered the same question dozens of times before and can give you a bit more personal advice. Still no help, talk with your other realm-mates. We're all friends here. Even evil characters are played by helpful people. Besides, if you can play well, the the game improves for everyone.
If you don't know, these are acronyms. They stand for In Character and Out Of Character, respectively.
This is perhaps the most important idea to keep in mind when roleplaying. To put it simply, it means that your character does not know everything that you know. Players often describe their character's feelings in the middle of a roleplay, or their actions when their character is alone. If I may refer you to point #1: BattleMaster is Low Fantasy. This means that your character is not psychic and does not know of these events. Of course, your character can learn of these events through proper roleplaying. Since it is difficult to explain this topic, I'll move on to an example:
Another player has involved his character in a plot to murder the king. In a roleplay, he decides to make his character write some incriminating information in his diary before going to bed one night. Now, your character can't run straight to the king, telling him about the plot, because your character doesn't know about it. However, if you character has doubts about this person's loyalty, he might hire a theif to look for suspicious materials or letters in his room. The thief might then find the diary and bring it to you.
Just remember to use proper roleplay etiquette. Something that serious shouldn't be roleplayed completely in one message. Maybe the noble wakes up and sends his guards on a manhunt, leading them to you after they interogat the theif. Maybe the thief ditches you for someone who pays more or hopes to regain his honor by revealing the evidence to the region lord.
In general, use your best judgement when deciding if something on the Wiki is IC or OOC information. When in doubt, ask the page's author or the other players in your realm. As a general rule of thumb, newspapers are IC. Realm, religion, and guild pages, in particular, their histories, could also be seen as books in a noble's library, and therefore, IC. Family and character pages, on the other hand, are usually OOC. They often contain information about character's personalities or bits of background information that the player hasn't revealed yet.
Things you should know that are not necessarily obvious otherwise:
- Links with elipses (Example...) mean that there is another page where you put in details or choose options. Links without elipses (Example) usually mean that action is taken immediately (hours and gold spent, etc.)
- You can not bookmark characters directly. Bookmark the family page.
- If you do nothing for about 20 minutes, your session will time out and the game will act as if you had not logged in. If you are in the middle of some playing, that might result in some odd error messages. Just log in again and do it again.
Less devout followers may refer to him as Tom, the programmer, or the angry god of the East Continent. He created the BattleMaster world and controls all that happens within. Unfortunately, your character knows nothing of his magnificent work and instead, attributes his actions to these gods. Don't bring him in-game. Of course, feel free to pay homage outside the game. Service is held twice a day at 0500 and 1700 GMT time. Monetary donations are always accepted, just don't expect to rise in rank because of it.