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Paper Background - From Colonists Guide.

Combat, Safety, Conduct & Death

Sacred Grounds is a lightest-touch boffer LARP. Resolving physical conflict in-game requires actual physical action. You have to swing your contact-safe weapon, toss your thrown weapons or packets, or fire off your Nerf gun or contact-safe arrows.  As such, certain rules are in place to ensure that combat is both fair and safe.

Weapon Sizes and Construction

Rule 1: Respect Safety Calls & Non-Combatants

As detailed in the section on combat calls, calls such as "Hold" and "Caution" need to be respected.  You cannot decide that a Hold or a Caution was not worthy of being called and choose to ignore it.  At that point, you are no longer playing the game when you are swinging your weapon or throwing your spells.  Nobody will count your hits, and even worse, you may be making an unsafe situation even worse.  Additionally if someone asks you to "Check Your Swings" be aware that you may need to compensate and may be hitting to hard or swinging unsafely.

Additionally, non-combatants should never be attacked.  They either have a medical issue or are choosing to not participate in combat for personal reasons.  Non-combatants wear yellow armbands and it should be obvious that they are not in combat.  For these participants, simply walk up to them with a weapon or spell packet in hand and state "I attack you."  Quickly play one round of Rock-Paper-Scissors.  If you win or tie, the non-combatant falls into bleed out.  If you lose, the non-combatant escapes you and must walk or run away from your position and you may not attack them again for 1 minute so long as they do not approach you or linger near you. Finally, during safe hours, you cannot attack anyone that is in a designated safe zone (rooms with beds in them, cabins, or personal tents).

Rule 2: Physical Contact & Harassment

In combat, physical contact that falls outside of the parameters of the rules is illegal.  You can't tackle someone to the ground, put them in a headlock, or wrestle them.  You may only attack using approved contact safe weapons or packets.  If you go beyond this, you are creating an unsafe situation that could result in the loss of your combat privileges or hurt the person that you are role-playing with.  Everyone's own tolerance for what is acceptable is different, and so this rule exists so that you do not step over a boundary and everyone remains safe.  When using skills that require touch in combat such as Harm's Way or Shield Ally, the only place you may rest your hand is a person's shoulder; alternatively you may simply reach out your hand to show that the person is within reach of you.

Outside of combat, you should always ask for consent for physical contact.  Reaching out a hand for a shake, for example, shows that you are consenting to someone shaking your hand.  The same goes for if someone were to put up their hands for a hug and you obliged.  These are real world indicators that someone is consenting to touch.  What would be wrong would be to go up behind somebody and hug them without any sort of indicator.  If you are ever not sure, simply ask "Do you consent to physical contact?"  Doctors and healers should be especially aware of this and should not start poking around on anyone without their consent; many players may not want to be touched at all and this wish should be respected.  Always assume that someone does not want to be touched unless they somehow let you know otherwise.

Harassing another player in a physical or verbal manner out of game is also not tolerated at Sacred Grounds.  This extends into the cyberspace in between games; if you are harassing someone for things related to our game you may be subject to the penalty system.

Rule 3: Legal Striking Areas

Each method of attack has specific areas that can be struck for them to be effective.  All other areas are illegal strike areas or simply do not register hits.  You should avoid striking illegal strike areas, as they are illegal because they are considered either dangerous or harmful.  When an attack strikes an illegal area the attack does not count as having landed.  In some cases, the person struck may call a "caution" and "check your swings," as sometimes being struck in an illegal area can require time to recover.  If a combatant repeatedly and negligently or purposefully strikes illegal areas, they may be subject to the player penalty system

Melee Attacks -  Illegal Areas: Head, Hands, Feet, Groin.  Ineffective Areas: Shield.

Bows, Mechanical Weapons, and Thrown Weapons- Illegal Areas: Head.  Ineffective Areas: Shield.

BOOM Attacks- Illegal Areas: Head.  Ineffective Areas: None.

Spell Packets- Illegal Areas: None.  Ineffective Areas: None.  Special: Spell Packets are effective even if they strike loose clothing attached to the character, such as capes, cloaks, skirts, or sashes.

Rule 4: Safe & Legal Combat Practices

Aside from only performing attacks with approved combat-safe weapons and spell packets, there are other concerns in combat related to safety and fairness.

a) Turtling: Turtling is when you only make illegal striking areas (such as the head) available to be struck while holding your shield.  If your shield is large, it should be pulled away from your body slightly so that motion is required to block attacks.  The shield is not simply a wall for you to hide behind; in the real world your exposed head or feet could result in strikes landing on you, but in the game world those areas are illegal.  Turtling creates an unsafe situation for both you and whoever you are fighting.

b) Shield Bashing: Despite some skills having the name, shield are never allowed to be used as weapons to strike anyone or push them.  Shield skills always use a contact-safe weapon to land their strikes.

c) Close Quarters and Reaching:  You should never go so close to someone that you trap them between your arms.  Additional, you are not allowed to reach over the front of someone's body to attack their back (such as with Flank skills) and you may not attempt to reach around shields with small weapons.  All of these concerns are especially important for those with Small Melee, Claws, or Brawlers to be aware of.

d)  Thrusting:  Thrusting is only allowed with contact-safe weapons that are approved for thrusting.  You may never thrust with latex weapons or with weapons larger than Medium Melee.

e)  Charging:  You may not charge opponents.  While you may run at opponents, you should always slow your momentum before striking so as not to rush into anyone or potentially knock them over.

f)  Safe Combat Area and Fire Zones:  Do not fight near unsafe drops, hazards, or unsafe plant life (poison ivy, etc).  Always call a "Caution" and readjust to a safer position whenever something like this is noticed.  At night time, you should always leave extra room in these cases.  Additionally, some areas may be designated as non-combat areas, and these areas should never be fought in.  Finally, you should not fight near open flames, especially campfire or low-lying fires.  Always maintain distance from the fire  area.  One person must always remain near the fire to remain in charge of it and ensure it remains safe.  The fire marshal should not leave the fire area until the flame is completely put out.

g) Trapping:  You may not trap a weapon or person's body with your own weapon or body in a way that prevents them from moving part of their body or weapon.

h)  Swing Arc:  Swings should be around 90 degrees to be legal.  Too far below 90 degrees and the swing becomes too short, and too far above 90 degrees and the swing becomes potentially dangerous or harmful.

i) Machine Gunning: Rapidly striking the same areas over and over is considered to be the unfair practice of machine gunning.  Each weapon should be striking a different area with each strike.  This means that if you are holding two weapons, your right hand weapon should strike one area, your left hand weapon another, your right hand weapon should then change to a different, third area, then left hand weapon to a new area, before striking in the same area you initially struck.  Varying hit locations is the best way to prevent yourself from machine gunning.  If you are being machine gunned, do not take every hit; instead clarify that the person is machine gunning and only take 1 hit every 3 seconds until the stop.

j) Skill Pacing:  With melee attacks you may only use an offensive combat skill every 3 swings or 3 seconds, whichever comes first.  This counts for spells or special abilities that are delivered via melee attacks as well.  Certain skills or effects ignore this rule, such as skills granted by Rage or the Flank skill.  This rule has no bearing on defensive skills; defensive skills and spells can be used as often as you like as long as you have the resources available and the ability to use the skill or spell.

k) Missed Strikes or Attacks: When a melee strike, thrown weapon, bow attack, or mechanical weapon attack is swung and makes no contact with any surface except the ground, this is commonly referred to as a "whiff."  When this occurs, if you were swinging or attacking with a skill, you do not spend the resources for that skill.  If you were to strike any other surface; a shield, another weapon, even a tree, you would lose the resources used for that skill.  Be aware that this rule does not affect thrown spells (but does affect melee-delivered spells), BOOM attacks, or item-based attacks; these attacks are lost or their resource is spent as normal even if they "whiff."

l) Slam Firing:  You may not "slam fire" ranged weapons.  There should always be one full action between setting the weapon and firing.

m) Wildlife:  Do not fight near wildlife.  If someone ever asks, "Are you an animal?" you must answer them, even if you were attempting to be sneaky or not talk in game.  Asking this question is an out of game mechanic, and you should ignore that you found anyone as a result of asking this question.

n) Night Combat:  At night or in darkness, real bows may not be used.  You must switch to either packet archery or Nerf archery at night.

Rule 5: Damage, Effects & Resisting

It is expected that when you are struck or take an effect that you role play some reaction to it.   Getting poked with swords hurts, after all.  Other effects, such as Weakness, have a mechanical effect, but you should also role play being physically weak to go along with it.

When you are struck with a weapon in a legal area, you take 1 damage unless another damage value or an effect is called (in which case you take that damage or effect).  Players do not call their damage when it only deals 1 normal damage.  This ensures that more important calls are heard in combat.  When you are struck with a spell in a legal area, you take the spell's effect or damage, which will always be in the incantation of the spell (see the spell description rules for how spells work).  Most weapons deal 1 damage by default.  Weapons with higher damage values (for example, the "Damage 2" property) treat this extra damage like a skill that costs no resources; the extra damage can only be swing every three swings or three seconds as per the skill pacing rules.

When taking damage, you take damage to Arcane Armor first, followed by Armor, followed by Divine Health, and then at last, Health.

Certain keywords are used in calls, whether that be "Poison," "Fire," "Disease," or any other number of descriptor words.  Resistance abilities resist certain keywords.  Using the resistance lets you resist whatever effect was paired with that keyword.  Additionally, some resistance abilities allow you to resist certain effects (eg "Flourish" lets you resist Disarm, Cripple, or Break).  When you resist an effect, spend the appropriate resources or expend the ability, shield, barrier, etc and either call "Resist" or the name of the ability that is letting you resist, such as "Flourish" or "Parry."  Some skills or spells have multiple effects, and when this occurs each effect can be resisted individually.  When you use resistances to lessen the effects of an attack or effect but do not completely resist it, call "Reduce" instead.  You may also come across certain abilities that "remove" a keyword.  For example, if you were affected by a Blindness Disease, anything that removed either disease or blindness could remove it.  Further information about damage types and effects can be found in the effects document and spell description rules.

When someone takes "No Effect" from something, it means that they are either temporarily not being affected by that type of attack or they always take no effect from that attack with only certain ways around it.  For example, a creature might take "No Effect" from Blindness but be susceptible to Fire and still be susceptible to "Fire Blindness."  Void damage and True damage always supersede the "No Effect" call.

If someone calls "Immune" it means that they do not take this effect and there is no way around it, even if using the Void or True type.  No amount of attempting to use this effect on them will work.

Finally, if someone calls "Out of..." and follows it by a pool resource, it means that they do not have any of the pool that is being attacked, such as with drain effects.  If someone drains mana and the target is out of mana, they will simply reply "Out of Mana."

In summary...

"Resist" means the effect does not work and that the target can only perform this a limited number of times.

"Reduce" means only part of the effect worked or the effect was turned into a lesser effect.

"No Effect" means that they are not taking the effect at all but certain damage types may be able to get around it.

"Immune" means that this effect will never work on that target.

"Out of..." means they are out of the resource being drained and no more can be drained or siphoned until they gain more.

Rule 6: Bleedout & Death

First, it should be noted that you cannot fake being dead without a skill or spell that lets you do so.

When you reach 0 Health, you begin to bleed out.  While bleeding out, you are semi-conscious and aware of what is going on around you, and may speak in low, labored whispers.  While bleeding out you are considered helpless and may not use any skills or spells that otherwise do not state they can be used while bleeding out.  If you are not healed in some way before 5 minutes are up, you die.  You begin a 5 minute death count, during which there is an opportunity to either resurrect you or loot your body.  After the 5 minutes are up, you become a "Doomed Spirit."  Place either your weapon over your head and put a white headband on.  When you are a Doomed Spirit, you bring any items that were still on your body with you.  Most people cannot see or interact with you; even if others can interact and see with you, you will not stop to talk to them unless they in some way stop your movement.  For the purposes of game mechanics, spells that affect spirits affect you (though you cannot be "killed" as a spirit, just as you cannot use any of your skills or spells).  Otherwise, you must head directly to the Agent of Kakaros to play the game of "Fours" for your life.

The Agent of Kakaros is a gambler and a great lover of dice.  Most commonly, doomed souls will roll for their lives, but those who play too often will soon find their dice, and their chances, limited.  But, there are ways of improving your luck, and even still, the Agent has been known to bargain for a second chance.  You should always present your character card to the Agent before beginning the game and inform him if any spells or abilities are currently affecting your Luck statistic. The rules of the game of fours can be found in this document.

If your character willfully commits suicide, you will always lose a die before your roll and could possibly lose another, assuming you wish to gamble for your life at all.

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