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[School Wars]

Rules of the Game

All information regarding rules and game mechanics can be found here.

New Characters, Statistics, & Abilities

All beginning characters must pick a character class before proceeding any further in the character creation process. A player’s character class determines most of their original attributes and capability. Character classes are loosely based on the common social cliques of public elementary schools. In future game editions, the amount of classes will increase and the types of classes will become more specialized.

Naturals make up roughly half of the entire student population. They are naturally adept at many things as their class title suggests but do not usually excel at one task in particular. Naturals are average, well-rounded, mild-mannered students and their initial statistics reflect this overall balance.

Jocks are unintelligent, undisciplined ruffians who tend to bully around students of the other classes. Female jocks are often much nicer to others than the males and are known as “tomboys.” Jocks exhibit a prowess in physical capability at the cost of mental strength and are widely revered as the toughest students around.

Disturbed students include the mentally handicapped, those with anger issues, and other extremely colorful characters. Their unpredictability and spontaneity awards them an innate dexterity in exchange for lowered potential elsewhere.

Preps consist of band members, school activity lovers, cheerleaders, posers of every nature, and lipstick-loving girly girls. Preps are understood to be the brightest students in school and they know it. All of the time spent studying indoors instead of outside with friends, however, leaves most preps with disappointing levels of physical energy.

Rebels are the class clowns, the loners, and the alternative thinkers who are all already rising to fight “the system” at a young age. Rebels generally were preps at some point in their life but something caused them to start thinking differently. Genetically, rebels are very similar to preps and most of the differences lie in ideology.

Vegans, also known as hippie children, are the offspring of new age movement followers who eat no meat and instead only consume organic foods. The lack of meat enzymes in vegans’ brains allow them to use parts of it that no other student ever could, bestowing unique psychic abilities. Meanwhile, vegans enjoy a major boost to their healthiness from their lifestyle but are often weaker than others in the areas of speed and strength.

INITIAL STATISTICS FOR NEW CHARACTERS BASED ON CLASS:

CLASSMIGHTREFLEXES PERCEPTIONVITALITY
Natural23 32
Jock32 23
Disturbed24 22
Prep11 62
Rebel12 52
Vegan11 44

Once a character class has been chosen, the perception value of the class will determine how many ability points may be initially spent as part of character creation. Visit the items page for a full list of character abilities. A maximum of 15 ability points may be spent on each ability.

Starting ability points = character class perception score multiplied by 3

Starting equipment is decided by the GM. Players must also specify their character’s name. Age and gender are irrelevant. Such information should be placed in a character’s biography only.

If a character has at least one spell slot after creation, the GM hosting their creation should allow them to fill the spell slot with a learned slot. The GM should recommend an offensive spell if the character is solo.

Total hit points are determined by multiplying the character’s vitality score by 5 and then adding 10.

Experience & Leveling Up

Characters in School Wars are not rated by levels. They are instead measured by their total statistic points and ability points. GMs may award an experience boost after any task, quest, battle, or event. Whenever this occurs, the character receives ability points to distribute equal to their perception score. GMs are free to award more than one experience boost at a time to represent a scale between simple conflicts and difficult conflicts.

Experience boost = ability point gain equal to perception score

Combat Mechanics

  • Initiative: Combat is broken up into rounds. Each round represents one second of game time. Player characters and non-player characters alike take their turn seperately during each round. Turn order for rounds is determined by each character’s reflexes value, with the highest going first.
  • Movement and rounds: A character can move, attack, cast a spell, defend, use an item, or try to perform a special ability once per round. Characters cannot perform more than one of these six actions per round.

If movement is the chosen action, a character can move an amount of board spaces equal to their reflexes score per round. GMs who prefer to simplify this aspect of the game are welcome to skip this rule and instead allow movement anywhere on the board when movement is selected as the chosen action.

  • Melee & ranged physical attacks: When a character makes a melee or ranged physical attack, roll 3d6. This is called the attack roll. Subtract the attacker’s reflexes score. This is called the attack bonus. Add the defender’s reflexes score. This is called the dodge bonus. If the final result is below 11, then the attack was successful. Subtract the damage done from the defender’s hit points.

Attack roll – attack bonus + dodge bonus = variable
If variable is < 11 then attack is successful

If a 3 is rolled on the attack roll, it is called a natural three, or critical hit. The rest of the attack formula is still carried out, and if the attack succeeds, it deals double damage! This rule never applies to spells.

If an 18 is rolled on the attack roll, it is called a natural eighteen, or critical miss. Again, does not apply to spells.

Physical damage is calculated by adding the character’s might score with the character’s weapon damage score and then subtracting it from the defender’s damage reduction. Damage reduction is provided by shields and rare items.

Final damage = attacker’s might + attacker’s weapon damage – defender’s damage reduction

  • Defending: When defending is selected as a character action in combat, the character’s turn immediately ends. In exchange, should the character take any damage between defending and their next turn, they receive a +2 damage reduction bonus.
  • Damage Reduction: All damage reduction is flat. Melee damage taken is no different than spell damage taken and both can be lowered with damage reduction from equipment or protective spells.
  • Bonuses: Every conceivable positive and negative math bonus can stack together in School Wars.
  • Spell attacks: When a character casts an offensive or manipulating spell on another character, roll 4d6. This is called the miscast roll or spell attack roll. Subtract the casting character’s perception score. This is called the penetration bonus. Add the defender’s vitality score. This is called the will bonus. If the final result is below 13, then the spell was successful and affects the target(s) involved.

Miscast roll – penetration bonus + will bonus = variable
If variable is < 13 then spell is successful

All characters can receive spell slots which they can “fill” with a spell by learning it. Characters traditionally receive spell slots from their perception score. Temporary perception modifiers are not included. Permanent perception modifiers are included. Permanent modifiers include abilities and equipment. Temporary modifiers refer to spells, GM introduced, or campaign related modifiers. Some abilities increase spell slot capacity.

In combat, a character can cast the spell from each of their spell slots once per battle. Offensive spells that are unsuccessful are not considered spent. Instead, the character may attempt to cast the spell again next round.

SPELL SLOTS GIVEN BASED ON PERCEPTION:

PERCEPTION SCORESPELL SLOTS
2 or below perception0 spell slots
3-4 perception1 spell slot
5 perception2 spell slots
6 perception3 spell slots
7-8 perception4 spell slots
9-10 perception5 spell slots
11-13 perception6 spell slots
14-16 perception7 spell slots
17-18 perception8 spell slots
19 perception9 spell slots
20 perception10 spell slots

All characters may learn spells but every spell has a perception requirement to learn it as well as to cast it. This means that temporary modifiers to one’s perception can potentially result in a lack of ability to cast certain spells.

Characters may only learn spells from spell books. Spell books are not part of the global items list but can be included in a character’s inventory by labeling it as “Spell Book: X” where X is the name of the spell.

  • Traps: Though rare, traps exist in School Wars. When a character springs a trap, the trap’s attack roll is it’s speed score, which is the same as a normal attacker’s reflexes score. The same formula is used to determine success for the trap’s effect as if the trap were an enemy unit using a ranged physical weapon.

Special Abilities

Special abilities are abilities that do not give stat increases. They provide a chance for a character to succeed or fail at a special action. Roleplay is encouraged and can be very effective at altering the game experience. Special abilities give players the freedom to literally do whatever they want to do in terms of roleplay, but their special ability score and their dice roll break it down into a simple mathematical possability.

When a character tries to perform a special ability, roll 3d6. This is called the ability roll or ability check. If the result is equal to or below the relevant ability point score, the character succeeds at the special ability.

Characters may not use a special ability if they possess less than 3 ability points in the relevant ability.

During the process of performing a special ability, GMs may introduce positive amd/or negative modifiers against the ability point score of a character as they see fit. The GM must announce that a modifier is coming into play before the ability roll is made and give a reasonable explanation for the modifier(s). This is to prevent modifiers from being used to intentionally guarantee success or failure after a dice roll has already been conducted.

Through GM modifiers and other modifiers, it is possible for ability point scores to temporarily go above 15 and even above 17. In the instance of an ability point score rising above the max of 15 to 16 or 17, normal rules apply. When the score rises above 17, normal rules STILL apply. A natural eighteen will always result in failure regardless of modifiers as described below. Obviously, however, a temporary ability score of 17 or more would always be desirable.

If a 3 is rolled, it is called a natural three, or critical success. The character may receive a bonus reaction or positive effect from the use of the special ability, though this is completely up to the GM.

If an 18 is rolled, it is called a natural eighteen, or critical failure. Even if a character has obtained the maximum 15 ability points in a special ability and a GM has thrown in a +2 or more positive situation modifier, they must still make a roll and risk the failure of a natural eighteen.

If ability check +/- GM modifier <= ability point score for relevant ability & < 18, then success

Time

Time in School Wars is a very relative concept and house rules are especially welcome in this area.

Original time rules are that every adventure’s game day starts at the beginning of the time spectrum. The time spectrum is broken up into periods. The GM must declare when the time spectrum has advanced.

In between periods exists what is intended to be a short frame of game time, far shorter than periods, known as hall time. At Hubert J. Farnsworth Elementary, the fictional school used in the original School Wars campaign, students are allowed to choose which classes they attend each day. The stipulation is that they must be in a classroom or doing something related to school by the beginning of every period. Though the GM can modify it for any reason, the conventional rule is that classroom doors lock when a period starts and unlock when a period ends.

Excluding morning, lunch, and end of the day, players who end up outside a classroom when a period starts should be subject to frequent combat encounters with school officials. Yes, combat encounters. This is a different universe and various NPCs will violently deal with students who do not follow policy.

Players can exit classrooms, but can only enter them again in the same period if they obtain a hall pass item of some sort. Hall pass items provide immunity from the kinds of NPC aggression mentioned above.

These rules provide a loose civilization vs. wilderness structure. During a period, the hallways become a dangerous wilderness where hall monitors, enemy students, and other threats lurk around every corner. The only civilization exists inside classrooms, which again cannot be entered while a period is in progress. During hall time, however, the hallways temporarily become a safe and pleasant place to be. Combat encounters are still possible but are intended to be rare. The school store opens up, the hallway monitors disappear, and all accessible classrooms unlock.

Real time player and NPC movement should be represented with figurines of any sort, and custom tabletop maps with defined movement squares should be created to represent the typical School Wars environments. During the morning, hall time, lunch, and end of the day periods, players may request to go anywhere on a campaign map that is available to them. Success or failure of their travel to the destination is determined exclusively by the GM, though a campaign storyline might suggest what to do. A GM may introduce any obstacle to prevent travel.

TIME SPECTRUM:

Morning | 1st Period | 2nd Period | 3rd Period | 4th Period |
Lunch | 5th Period | 6th Period | 7th Period | 8th Period | End of the Day

Morning is the initial period of every game day. The player/party has just arrived at school. They may do what they wish, and all classrooms are unlocked though not in session. As with most periods, hall time starts when the morning period ends. This allows players to do something during the morning period without needing a special warning from the GM that morning is about to end. Hall time starting after the morning period IS the warning.

Lunch is essentially free play time. From a GM’s point of view, very few encounters should take place during the lunch period in order to provide players with a designated rest time in the middle of every game day.

8th period is the last school period and the second last period of the game day. Unlike the rest of the time spectrum, there is no hall time between 8th period and the end of the day.

End of the day is the final period of the game day. 8th period has ended, and school is now out. Most students are walking home, getting picked up by their parents, or getting on one of the many buses parked in front of the school. At this point in the game day, players have the option to “go home and end the day” at any time provided that they are not in combat. The GM should complete any necessary tasks to prepare for the next game day and then begin it.

Players who do not elect to end the day immediately should traditionally be given free play. Leaving school grounds is not possible unless campaign maps exist to support it. This period lasts as long as the GM wants it to last but judgement should still be used to determine how much can be accomplished in one end of the day period.

Ending the day restores all hit points for every player and NPC in the party.

Death

When the hit points of a player character or an NPC in the party go below 1, they are rendered unconscious. Hit points can continue to go negative from sources of damage. If a character’s hit points do not go below -14 during combat, the character will return from consciousness after battle with 1 hit point. Should hit points fall below -14 in combat, the character is considered critically injured. In terms of storyline, it is assumed that a bystander calls 911 and the character is rushed to the hospital. The character may return the next game day with maximum hit points.

Enemy characters follow the same rules, and as such, a defeated enemy could show up again even just one game day later.

True death does not exist in School Wars. Since this game edition is built around the idea of very young children doing battle in an elementary school, the decision was made to leave true death out of the picture entirely.

Item Durability

Items do not have durability ratings of any kind. Equipment and other objects can only be destroyed by selling them, asking a GM to remove them from inventory (throwing them away), or by a GM/campaign event.

Max Inventory

Inventory space is not limited. GMs may introduce encumberance penalties if necessary, but this should be limited to scenarios in which the player is trying to carry something far heavier than a normal American elementary school student could feasibly carry. In such cases, it is strongly suggested that the GM simply references a might-related ability for a special ability roll instead of introducing house rule penalties.

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