April Fool's

From BattleMaster Wiki

April Fools is a tradition of BattleMaster as well, and every year at least some of the players fall for it...

Unfortunately, not all april fools mails have survived. If by some chance you are in posession of an older one, please add it.

Please For the coming years, please don't spoil the fun. If you don't fall for it, then don't tip of the others who do, ok? That includes not updating this page until April 2nd.

Troops Update (2003)

[BM-Discuss] troops update
Tom <tom@lemuria.org>
Tue Apr 1 10:43:56 CEST 2003

The combat system is still very much unsatisfactory, so I have decided
to implement a major change that I've been working on for quite a while

* Infantry
 Grunts are not exactly known for their intelligence, a factor that
desperately needs to be included in the game. Under the new system, all
infantry units have a 10% chance per turn of getting lost during travel
(20% in woodlands, 25% in cities with 3 or more bars).

* Archers
Everyone knows that archers really are wimps, too afraid to face the
enemy in real combat. Archer units engaged in close combat have a
random chance of doing either of the below:
 - fight
 - immediately surrender
 - attempt to bury a hole to hide in
 - offer themselves to the enemy as sex slaves if only they are spared
  (they will then act much like a baggage train)

* Cavalry
Horses really aren't well represented in the game. Cavalry units will
get a random combatstrength increase to simulate horses kicking and
biting, but they will eat twice as much food. However, large cavalry
units will also create dung, which will increase harvest in a region.

* Mixed Infantry
Does anyone else think these guys are sissies? Trying to do both, doing
neither well. Mixed infantry will be booed at when entering any city or
townsland, which will immediately lower morale. However, they will get
another orders option: "Find someone to beat up" which will restore
morale if successful (there is a 25% chance that they will meet someone
who has friends and get beaten up themselves, however).

* Special Forces
Every special force unit will automatically create a lobbyist back in
the capital, who as a representative of the military-industrial complex
can affect diplomacy and other ruler actions. Specifically, 5 lobbyists
are capable of declaring war on a random enemy once per week with or
without the rulers consent.

Combat Free Week (2004)

[BM-Discuss] Combat Free Week
Tom <tom@lemuria.org>
Thu Apr 1 14:56:54 CEST 2004

You may have noticed that the server had some slowdowns, and was even
down for about 10 minutes earlier today.

There is a serious problem with the combat script, that in some
instances runs one battle forever (the others work fine, just one
battle hangs, about every 3-4 turns).

So far, it was manageable, but it is getting worse. Today, it consumed
so many system resources, that I could not even remotely log in to the
machine anymore and had to have it rebooted!

Obviously, that is unacceptable. Until the bug is fixed, all combat is

Repeat: There will be no combat until this bug is fixed.

Since I am away over the weekend, this may well last until monday or
tuesday. Sorry for that. Let's all use the time to do some great
roleplaying instead.

Oh, and if you believed any of the above, then you should seriously
check your calender. April Fools! :)))

(please, please! Don't post the above into the game. No need to have
this run around as a rumour, ok? All in jest. No slowdowns exist. And
the short downtime today was because I upgraded the Linux kernel, which
requires a reboot.)

New Class (2005)

[Discuss] New Class
Tom <tom@lemuria.org>
Fri Apr 1 11:05:38 CEST 2005

For a long time, I've mentioned that internal politics and the
occasional power-strife within a realm make the game more interesting.

So I've worked on it, and created a new class: Courtier

A courtier is a kind of merge between bureaucrat and infiltrator. He
travels without a unit and at higher skill levels invisible. He can
engage in intrigue and gossip.

Gossip allows him to learn details about regions and troop leaders,
many of which are unavailable to other classes. Through gossip, he can
also "intercept" fragments of private messages anyone in the same
region sends or receives.

Intrigue gives him manipulative powers. They are not as disruptive as
those of the infiltrator, but more difficult to spot. For example, he
can spread rumours about troop leaders, impacting their honour and/or
prestige values temporarily (they will recover over a span of one
month). He can talk region stewards into handing him gold from the tax
collection (very high skill levels required to do that in enemy
regions). His most important intrigue power is the ability to
manipulate elections.

To give the courtiers some action, they can attend tournaments and they
can fight the - requested before - duels. They can even force other
troop leaders into duels by insulting their honour publicly, giving the
victim the choice to fight the duel or lose tremendous amounts of

As a final step, there will be a realm-wide "intrigue level" large
determined by the number of courtiers in the realm regions, regardless
of which realm they actually belong to (courtiers can be used as a kind
of ambassadors and live in other realms).
At high intrigue levels, as in real life, only courtiers can survive
the deadly politics and all government members are forced to either
become courtiers themselves or step down from their positions.

Should be in testing with the next update.

Death in BattleMaster (2006)

I have decided to reverse my stance on death in BattleMaster. Let me
explain before you cry out in anguish:

One, there is too little overturn in the government position. In the
real world, politics often change because someone new gets in charge.
We don't have that in BattleMaster and it's a shame.

Two, the fact that you can't die makes roleplaying a lot less
realistic. Characters in BM take chances no sane person ever would.

Three, actually *killing* the other guy is just a lot more rewarding.

Four, it allows an extension to the family system where you can now
play consecutive generations.

So, without further ado, the changes that'll go online after the
weekend are roughly as follows:

While serious wounds remain, there is now a considerable chance that
you'll die because of them, either immediately or after a few days
of suffering.

In addition, starvation in a region will cause famine which might
affect nobles as well, but that is a minor risk only to add some

Duels to the death can not be refused anymore without a massive loss
of honour/prestige, unless the challenger was below your status
(i.e. not every pesky noble can challenge a king).

But, death is boring to those subject to it, so I've made a couple
of changes there. When you die, it's not immediately game over. If
you were a member of a religion, you'll stay around as a ghost for
a little while. If a priest of your religion finds your corpse
during those few days, you can not only talk to him, he can pray
for your soul, recovering parts of your experience for your next
character, i.e. your "son" will start with slightly better values
and the loss isn't as serious for you.
In addition, ghosts can interact with each other, so that we have
a small afterlife. This is all very primitive right now, being a
ghost is just a status like being wounded, except that you're gone
from all messaging of the living and can only message other ghosts
(and priests) yourself.

On the worlds where religion is not yet activated, the "a priest
found you" thing is currently a simple random test.

That's it, in short. As usual, there's a plethora of nice details,
hidden features, etc. - but you're invited to discover those
yourself. I hope the afterlife won't get too crowded.

Rollback to sunday (2007)

What you need to know to appreciate this one: April 1st was on sunday. Nothing happened on sunday. Well, at least not on the first one...

[Discuss] Rollback to sunday
Tom tom at lemuria.org
Wed Apr 4 13:47:01 CEST 2007

Due to a massive problem with the disk cache on the battlemaster.org 
server, there will be a massive rollback to sunday morning status.

Apparently a disk in the RAID setup failed in some odd way I haven't yet 
been able to decipher. All changes were cached on the second disk, but 
never applied to the actual database or filesystem. All sorts of weird 
failures on the backend side kept me wondering for the past few days 
what the heck was going on.

Since at the current rate of incoming data, the cache capacity would be 
filled up by this evening, there is not enough time left to properly 
address the problem. I have no idea what would happen when the cache 
bursts, and I don't intend to find out. Therefore, I will shut the 
machine down, revive the failed drive, and power the machine up again. 
Which means that one of two things is going to happen:

a) We find ourselves in the state of sunday, as if nothing inbetween 
happened. For all intents and purposes, it'll be sunday.

b) Everything that's in the cache (on the _second_ drive, remember!) is 
properly applied to the database and filesystem, which means everything 
will happen _again_. Like in Groundhog Day, you'll get all messages 
again, both in-game and on the mailing lists. All battles will be fought 
again, with the same results. Everything will happen a second time, but 
after that we're in the clear.

My apologies in advance for any inconveniences, especially those 
subscribed to the unmoderated mailing list will probably be hit by a 
large amount of duplicate messages. Don't bother to unsubscribe to avoid 
it - since in the cached data you are subscribed, changing that now 
wouldn't change a thing.
[Discuss] Rollback done
Tom tom at lemuria.org
Wed Apr 4 17:11:47 CEST 2007

Welcome back to sunday. Sorry. The rollback (see below) has happened 
now. The cache didn't burst and did not get applied again as I had 
hoped, so for all the game knows, it is sunday and nothing inbetween has 
happened. Sorry again.

I'm also having some troubles with the logins and sessions, but I'm sure 
that'll solve itself. I'm offline for a few hours now, if anything 
blows, I'll fix it in the evening.

For a couple of hours after this last announcement, people who logged in found themselves presented with Tom's account, or more precisely, a static page which you can see here. All links on that fake page lead to an April Fools message.

This April Fools joke was not run on April 1st, so does it count? One could argue, because due to the "rollback" (which was, of course, a fake) it "was sunday". So the joke is valid because of the joke. Geeks will (hopefully) appreciate the recursiveness.

New War Island (2008)

Subject: [Discuss] new war islands
From: Tom <tom@lemuria.org>
Date: Tue, 01 Apr 2008 09:30:49 +0200

When I closed down the war islands, there was some protest. From two
factions, actually. One, from the strategy players who enjoyed a pure
war environment, and from the roleplayers who feared the strategy
players would now flood the rest of the game.

So, I've taken some time and re-worked the concept. Remember that my
reason was that the war islands never worked the way I intended them to.

Opening later today, there will be a new war island ("South Island").
The map is slightly expanded, but mostly the same. There are now five
small realms initially. Some other features have been changed:

* "War only" as you're used to, all non-war features are disabled, more
complete this time
* Looting has been much improved, to make it a viable strategy

The most important change, however, is that I've decided to finally
listen to those who want a much more "active" and speedy game. On the
new war island, turns will run EVERY TWO HOURS. That's 12 turns in a
day, 6 half and 6 full. This will provide our strategy friends with an
entirely new challenge, because you really can't expect everyone to be
active all the time with that schedule. You will have to plan with
inactivity, something that I hope will then migrate to the rest of the
game. Day- and Night-Armies are just one of the ideas that hit me.

One disadvantage to the whole thing, however. Since the rapid turns
would, in theory, allow people to leech gold off the islands very
quickly, the war island is a one-way road:

* You can't leave once you're there (no emmigration)
* To prevent overcrowing, everyone is mortal on war island (same as for
heroes elsewhere)
* No family gold sending

I have a few final touches to finish, such as uploading the new map and
resetting the database, and then later today you'll read a second
announcement when it opens.

Meta Jokes (2009)

On March 31st

Three jokes happened one day early

  • Due to legal concerns, all words appearing in the EAA filter had to be censored out of the game.
  • New Trade goods were implemented in addition to wood, metal and stone:

In addition to these, we also add trade goods. This is totally new. These goods serve no in-game purpose except trade, which is why we use abstract,
some might think slightly silly, "goods". These goods can be bought and sold, and (like those above) each region will have a "demand" of these
goods to stay happy. If there is less produced locally, the remainder should be brought in via trade, or moral of the region will suffer. The more goods
are "unsatisfied", the larger the morale hit.

The important part is that at all times at least two demands must be met or the people will be very, very unhappy. A region with only one demand met
will spiral out of control, a region with no met demands will rebel instantly. If that sounds drastic, yes it is. Economics was one of the main
reasons for peasant uprisings during the middle ages, and it wasn't always about food.

The following trade goods are currently available:

  • Llamas -- symbolic for all kinds of livestock, which was a huge part of trade in the middle ages, as keeping the animals alive was the
    cheapest way of keeping the meat fresh in a time where refigeration had not yet been invented.
  • Fnords -- like the well-known modern term, this stands for all kinds of wares, goods, items and assorted crap that people manufacture,
    sell and buy. If it's nothing else, it's a Fnord.
  • Seamonkeys -- our symbolic trade good for everything that comes from the sea, as such only available in river or coastal regions. Fish,
    oil, sea-turtle shells, what have you.
  • Kitchen Sinks -- this stands for all machinery, tools and like items of trade. High production in most cities, high demand in rural and mining
    regions. Also stands for ideas added to proposals made on the discussion list that have nothing whatsoever to do with the original
    proposal but get constantly added to pretty much every idea that comes along in a cheap attempt to push them through somehow. Apparently,
    we have a US senator or two playing.
  • Among new treaty types that were announced on that day, the "Easter Peace" treaty was included.

Easter Peace

Your realm declares peace and love for the upcoming holiday.

This treaty ceases all hostile activity in a one-sided peace treaty. A gesture of good will and happiness. Your former enemy will no longer be attacked, and will be granted free use of all your workshops, trading and banks, in an attempt to convince them that friendship is better than hate. Also, you will send them flowers.

On April 1st

Posting to the Discussion List

Web Page

April Fool's pranks are a beloved BattleMaster tradition. Since we can't seriously expect our players to fall for pranks anymore after 8+ years, we've decided to incorporate the pranks into the game. It turns out that this does, in fact, have a historic base, e.g.:

It is said that on April 1st a 16 year old girl (name unknown) asked Heinrich IV., King of France (1589-1610), who was known for fancying young ladies, for a secret rendevous in a discrete love castle. As Heinrich showed up for the tete-a-tete, he was greeted by the entire court, headed by his wife Maria von Medici, who welcomed him to the "Fool's Ball".

On this page, you can play pranks on other characters in your realm. Of course the game will keep track of who pranked and who was pranked, and you can only prank those who did neither so far. So you have to be quick and inventive, since you must be the first to use a particular prank on a particular person, and you must use it before your target does a prank himself.

You can gain small amounts of honour or even prestige if you prank enough characters in creative ways. Also, pranking someone else first is the best way to prevent pranks being played on you (see above).

Pick your prank type below, then on the next pages you will design the prank details and target:

  • play a political prank
  • play a humorous prank
  • prank religion
  • play a prank on nobility
  • other pranks

Domain Suspended (2010)

2010 April Fools joke.

For the 2010 April Fool's, the front page was replaced with a page (shown on the left) alleging the domain was shut down by the USPTO until the resolution of a trademark dispute.

By clicking the contact link, you could play the game as usual.

There was also a smaller joke on the testing islands where parts of the combat texts were replaced by easter references.

Item Shop (2011)

2011 April Fools joke.

A link advertising the "BattleMaster Item Shop" was included in the user/family page. It showed the page shown in the image, with functioning selections and totals, might still be up at the original link.

The "item shop" took up the current trend towards the 2006 business model "Fremium" and appeared to allow players to buy in-game advantages like prestige, additional troops, etc. for real-world money.

The joke was obvious to most people who've known the game for a while, but it quickly sparked two forum topics with angry outrage. Of course, getting people all upset has never stopped Tom from playing an April Fool's before.

Netherworld Invasion (2012)

Dark portals opened up on all game worlds and sons of Overlord (who had already been killed during the ongoing 5th Invasion on Beluaterra) appeared as rulers of the Netherworld realm, declaring war on all human realms (but, on Dwilight, not on the Zuma).

The portals were visible on the dynamic map for the entire day (click on the images for a larger view):

East Island
Far East

Completely unrelated, but with perfect timing, actual player activities had led to an in-game event on Dwilight (you can see the dark cloud over the inner sea in the map above).

In addition to the IC prank, the wiki, forum and account pages were also "taken over" by the Netherworld, the BM logo replaced with the same Netherworld portal image, the forum board renamed from "BattleMaster" to "Netherworld Slave Islands", the account/family page renamed from "Player Page" to "Slave Register", and so on.

Google Glass Integration (2013)

A video was posted to the login page, originally with some fake tags indicating that it was not yet meant to be shown (and would thus be a "leak"). The video explains that there is a full voice-interface for the game in the works, together with a (doctored) demo allegedly showing it running on an iPhone. The video is on YouTube:


Daimon Adventurer creation (2014)

The fake announcement was made that you could create a Daimon Adventurer with special powers.

BattleMaster Adventures (2015)

BattleMaster Adventures, with working demo downloads and a sweet video, due to the declining popularity of the game was kind of a dud.

Facebook Marketing Stunt (2018)

2018 April Fools joke.

TwitterMaster (2020)

Maximum Character Limit for Messages Reduced

After collecting much more data upon message activity throughout BattleMaster over the last few months, Anaris and I have both spent the weekend analyzing the various metrics and considering solutions to boost the interaction between players based on the lessons learned from the data.

A key insight we've observed is that messages of fewer characters tends to generate many more replies by a wider group of players, including those who don't often write letters or roleplays, while extremely long messages tend to only generate replies from a miniscule sliver of the playerbase. In some realms, long messages get no replies at all while short, concise messages do get a few replies. Another group in which a noticeable difference was observed was new players. Of grave concern, characters less than a month old replied to a long letter less than 5% of the time while replying to shorter letters an average minimum of 23% of the time, sometimes as high as 39% in certain realms, and as high as 68% in Perdan.

It is for this reason that the first change we are immediately implementing to messages to boost interaction is reducing the maximum character limit of all messages to only 280 characters. We understand that this is a huge change from a 5,000 character limit, but we believe it is important to establish firmly the new direction of the game being short, concise messages. We suspect this may also have the advantage of encouraging more mobile-friendly play in our on-the-go modern world, without having the burden of reading and replying to lengthy messages via a mobile interface. Please, give it a day to experience before giving us your much-appreciated feedback on the forum or in discord.

TwitterMaster? BattleTwitter?

The last day or so has been such a resounding success for the new reduced character limits that we will now be transitioning BattleMaster to be played exclusively on Twitter. On a larger platform, we will be able to attract many more players and grow once more. In an unrelated note, happy April Fool's Day. ;)