BattleMaster Basics/draft

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This is a draft for the modification of BattleMaster Basics page. It's still under construction.

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.
  • 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. Different realms can heavily influence the game so choose carefully and not forget that your character is free to change realm at a later point.
  • 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.

OOC vs IC separation

Before starting with the first turn, there is an important remark that must be made. BattleMaster is a role playing game, and this means that, among other things, your characters do not know what you (the player) do. Your characters are nobles living in a medieval word, and as such they should behave appropriately. When communicating with other characters is therefore important to keep OOC (out of character) and IC (in character) separated; this will create a good role playing atmosphere which forms the very core of the game.

For instance, when joining the game a message like "Hello, I'm new to the game. What is all about?" contains OOC elements (reference to "the game"), while instead the same message could be formulated in-character (IC) like "Hello, I just left my family manor and joined this realm. What should I do?"

Especially at the beginning it's of course inevitable that reference to some OOC elements are made, since learning the game means learning how it works as a browser game first of all. Nevertheless, it's still a good approach to try to deal with as many matters as possible remaining IC (in-character). An OOC message type is available with the specific purpose of addressing OOC topics.

The Interface

More on the various options will be given below, but here we give a brief overview of what you will see on your screen.

Once in the game you will see the interface and it is divided in three parts: on the left a column of tabs (messages, information etc), the central panel where you will see your name and unit, the bottom of the pages where you will see again the name, the location and the unit of your character.

The tabs you can access from the left column contain all the possible actions or information you can access. They are:

-Messages: you can write messages to all those with whom your char is in contact.

-Information: you can access a variety of informations from here. Global informations are related to the island your character is in like the map or the list of the realms. Local informations describe your realm like the laws and the hierarchy. Personal informations concern your character.

-Politics: From here you will access all political matters, you can manage your allegiance to those above you in hierarchy and manage those below you when you will have some.

-Travel: you can choose a travel destination and begin moving. More on this later.

-Actions: here you will find the actions your character can perform. Visiting a bank, visiting a temple or changing class are some of them

-Orders: here you will find the actions you can order your men to perform. Choosing unit settings, train your men or paying them are some of the available options.

In the bottom left corner you see your character name (clicking it will lead you again to the first summary page) and below it the hours you have left and the gold you have available. Hours are needed to perform actions, but more on them later.

In the bottom right corner you will see the name of your unit (clicking it will lead you again to the first summary page), below it there is a summary of your unit status.

In the middle of the bottom line you have the name of the region your character is in. Clicking it will bring you to the region page which tells you its details.

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 lose the fun of it. So the best suggestion that can be made is: interact! Try to involve the people around you by showing you are willing to engage in discussions or roleplaying and they will in turn engage you. Do not be shy and you'll taste the best of the game from the very beginning.

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. This is a perfect opportunity to interact so let's write an introductory message.

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.

As you can see, on the top of the blank box where the message will be written there is a scroll down menu which gives the possible types of messages that can be sent. They are:

- Letter: standard message, good for everything.

- Roleplay: It is mainly used to describe an event that take place somewhere, usually involving your character (but not necessarily). Things that happen in the roleplay are usually not known unless they are meant to be, or if they narrate important events.

- Report: As the name suggests, used to report something, like for instance position of enemy troops or gold production of something.

- Request: Same as above, the name itself explains it, used to draw attention towards a specific request.

- Orders: used by commanders to lead armies or similar.

- Out-of-character: used to communicate ooc messages. Better not to send too many of these.

Let's send an in-character message. Go to the Message Type pull-down box, and 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 limited HTML markup (allowed commands are listed below the message box, under "Syntax Help".)

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?

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.

If you feel inspired, a possibility is sending both a letter and a description of Armand's arrival, to add flavor. Here follows an example, this would be better sent as a roleplay (you can choose it from the pull-down box).

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."

Contacting a mentor

New nobles such as yourself are a resource for any realm in BattleMaster, and the veterans will be glad to help you out. Some of them may choose to help young nobles as a profession, and they will be called mentors. All realms usually have at least a mentor of two, and they are the ones you should get in touch with in order to learn the ropes of the game. Not everything can be found the wiki and we have already said that interaction is the core of the game, so another thing that ought to be done in the first turn is turning your noble into a student in order to contact the mentors.

Now, some may frown upon this, thinking that becoming students is not really honorable nor cool enough to be done. However that is not really true. As a student, you will have more opportunities than the rest, for the only difference between a student and an otherwise new noble will be the fact of being known to mentors. Mentors are usually high-ranking nobles in the realm, and if they see a smart and brilliant new noble, they will open many doors for him. So while learning the ropes, you will also start to be known in the realm and that's a benefit that can hardly be gained by any other deed done at the beginning of the game.

So once you're convinced of the usefulness of being a student, let's see how to do it. Your character can have a class and a sub-class, more on them will be said later. For the moment, what is important is that "Student" is a sub-class, and you can immediately acquire it. Go under the Actions tab and find the "Change Class..." option. Click it and you will see all the available classes. Most of all won't be yet accessible to your young noble, but under the sub-classes you will find "Student" click there and you will become a Warrior/student.

Once student, if you return to the Message tab, you will see a new group there called "Mentors/Students". From there, you can write a message to all the mentors in your realm and you may present yourself, much like you did before with the entire realm. Mentors are positively interested in helping you, and they are actually rewarded if done properly. Therefore do not hesitate to contact them as much as you want, posing questions even if you have only vague doubts. For instance, even if you have mastered the knowledge of the game, you may very well be interested in knowing why your realm is at war with Keplerstan, or what's the story behind the current King. These are all things Mentors usually know and would be glad to tell you: what's better for an old babbling men than a young one eager to listen to his stories?

Other Actions

In your first turn you can still do many other things. Almost all all of them take time, and you have a definite amount of hours at your disposal, they are shown in the bottom left corner of the screen. A good way to spend the first turn is getting confident with the interface and browsing the various options.

An important remark: All links that end with dots, like "Training...", will send you to another screen before the action will actually take place and consume hours (and eventually gold. Those without dots will lead immediately to the action and draining of hours.

Note that some types of information are disabled for your first three days of play. So are many actions, including main 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.

(everything below is still TODO)

The Hierarchy and Swearing an Oath of Fealty

The game really starts to get into its own once you swear an Oath of Fealty to a region's Lord. To do so, you must typically contact the Lords of regions in your realm and let them know that you're a new noble willing to swear fealty to them. Lords need a certain number of knights to take care of their region's estates, and many Lords will have more knights on retainer than is strictly necessary in case one where to die or leave.

Go to your Politics page, via the sidebar. Click on Review oath offers... , which will direct you to a new page. From there, you will see whether any region lords have offered you an opportunity to swear fealty.

Upon being given an offer, you will also be told the share (the percentage) of the region's taxes that you are entitled to. The percentage offered will change drastically based on the region, how many knights the Lord already has, and many other factors. Cities are far wealthier than rural areas and have more knights, so a prospective knight for a region with a city in it should expect to get a lower percentage. For instance, in the realm of Sirion usual shares for rural regions are between 10% and 20%, whereas shares for a city region usually offer just 1-2%. Overall, regardless of the type of region, a good income for a Sirionite knight is around 40 gold each week, more or less. But of course that depends on many things.

Note that when you get an offer you're only told the percentage of your region's taxes, and not how much gold you should expect to earn each week. This 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, and even then it likely shouldn't be the most important. You are swearing an oath to an individual, after all. While you probably won't have had much opportunity to gauge the character, demeanor, and composure of your potential Lord yet, don't be afraid to ask others what they think of them (for example you might ask your mentor what they think of the Lord). Also, 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. Take into account your comfort level with the region's location when considering an offer.

Once you swear an oath of fealty, you change from being a noble to a knight, and people will now usually address you as "Sir" or "Knight".

Letter to Landlords

In addition to this introductory message to everyone, you'll also want to send more focused messages to the region lords. This will enable you to be a landed noble, with an estate, as currently you are a landless noble.

Let them know in-character that you're interested in defending the realm and are willing to swear an Oath of Fealty to them.

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 set travel 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, etc.

The hours will not be subtracted immediately, because travel takes place at turn change. 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.

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.

Managing your unit

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

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, go to the Manual, then "Troops and Combat", then "Unit Deployment"

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.