DungeonBall!

The Midvale Murder Hobos are making a run for the scoring zone, with number 12, “Doomed” Dwalvitsky gripping the d-ball in both hands to qualify for the score. An ogre hits Dwalvitsky, but the dwarven halfback is just plowing toward the zone. He’s bleeding, but the Hobos’ morale coordinator, Brother Turpin, shoots out some buffs. There’s just seconds left in the segment, the crowd is on their feet, Dwalvitsky puts his head down and rushes a worg blocker, and…. Score! The Murder Hobos score! They win the Temple of Hill Giant Evil cup!

DungeonBall is a ridiculous way to play the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game to combine sports tropes in the mix of fantasy and adventure tropes. It’s a simple set of add-on rules to simulate sport-dungeon-stomping, presumably in a word where that is televised (or broadcast by crystal ball) for entertainment of the masses.

While all game rules not specifically altered by these rules work normally, no one actually dies. If you die in a game of DungeonBall, you just sit out the game as a penalty. You’re back next week.

Rules

DungeonBall plays just like a normal combat-heavy rpg session. It just has some Requirements, Positions, and Penalties.

Requirements

Your team has to carry the DungeonBall (or “d-ball”).
*A d-ball is a one-foot cube with a handle in the middle of each side. It weighs 20 pounds, has hardness 50 and 10,000 hit points, is immune to anything that doesn’t affect objects, can’t be teleported or taken to another plane or made invisible, can’t be concealed (even in total darkness, everyone can see the d-ball), makes all its own saving throw (and always gets them)
*A stationary d-ball has an AC (touch and full) of 10 – it’s size adjusts perfectly for its immobility.
*It is a simple ranged weapon, with a range increment of 5 feet. It deals 1d6 points of damage. If it is thrown at you and hits your touch AC, you may attempt to catch it as an attack of opportunity (due to its easily-grabbed nature). You must hit a touch AC of 15 + 1 per square it was thrown. If it passes by you or arrives in an adjacent square you may attempt to snatch it out of the air as an attack of opportunity. To do this you must hit an AC of 20 + 1 per square thrown. If two character attempt to grab a thrown d-ball at once, they make competing Reflex saves, with the highest save grabbing it first. If they have the same result they both grab it, and are in a grapple until one of them wins a grapple check to wrest it away from the other.
*A member of your team must have the d-ball held openly in at least one hand if it is possible for any member of your team to do so. If the d-ball is available to your team, and a full round passes without some member carrying it, that’s a penalty (see below).
*If no member of your team has the d-ball held openly in at least one hand, your foes take no damage and suffer no penalties, and make all their saving throws, until your team holds the d-ball. The foes can affect your team normally. Obviously, it is to their advantage to get the d-ball away from you. You can use combat maneuvers to disarm or steal the d-ball normally.

Your team must be in the encounter.
*If the GM maps out the encounter, all characters on the team must be on that map before anyone is allowed to do anything. If a character leaves or doesn’t make it to the map, that’s a penalty (see below). If the GM doesn’t map out the encounter, all members of the team must be close enough the GM agrees they are “part of the encounter.”
*You can be on other planes for long enough to teleport, but otherwise being on a plane other than the one holding the encounter is a penalty (see below).

Each encounter runs a total of 10 rounds maximum.
*If you haven’t ended the encounter within 10 rounds, you get no points (and may lose points, see “scoring”).

To end an encounter, your team must have an active (not helpless or dead) member holding the d-ball in BOTH hands in the scoring zone.
*Every encounter has a 10-foot-square of space, usually far from where the team begins, which is the scoring zone. For the first 6 rounds of an encounter a character must stand there for a full round, holding the ball in both hands the whole time, to end the encounter. In rounds 7-10. The character just has to be in the zone with the d-ball in both hands and not dead or helpless.

Your team must be made of characters that fill the official positions (below).
No exception to this one – no characters that don’t fill a position, no team with too many characters filling limited positions, and no team that doesn’t have all the mandatory positions. A character may fill one and only one position.

Positions

Center: The center is the only character allowed to have a character under their control. Whether it’s a summoner with an eidolon, a druid or ranger with an animal companion, a character casting charm person, a witch with a familiar, or a cleric summoning monsters, only the center may have another character under their control in this way. A team may have at most one center.

Forward: A forward cannot have any spellcasting ability, or any class-granted spell-like abilities. A forward gains a +5 bonus to movement (even in armor) and a bonus equal to half their level (minimum +1) to rolls to throw or catch the d-ball. Every team must have at least one forward.

Halfback: A halfback must have a base attack bonus equal to character level. You can multiclass, but only among full-base-attack bonus classes. Every team must have at least one halfback.

Morale Coordinator: The morale coordinator (some teams use specific cheer- or coaching-based names or this role) cannot attack anyone or anything (using the definition of attack for invisibility), and cannot be attacked by anyone (but suffer traps and hazards normally). They do not threaten, but do take up their space and prevent charging through them by foes. They cannot carry, or even touch, the d-ball. A team may have at most one morale coordinator.

Shield Guard: Any legal character that doesn’t violate the rules of your teams minimums and maximums of other positions is a guard. Subject to filling other required roles, your team can have any number of shield guards.

Spell Guard: Only the center and the spell guard may have more than half their class levels be in classes with access to 9th-level spells. A team may have at most one spell guard.

Penalties

Within the fictional world of DungeonBall, the Dungeon Umpire calls a penalty, stops all activity, explains it, applies it, and then restarts the game. Magic prevents things like durations from continuing during this time and everyone is moved back to their exact position (and momentum – even if you are falling, that action is suspended during a penalty call), so a GM running a DungeonBall game can just call a penalty between player turns, then have the game continue as normal.

Penalties are based on a team’s APL (average party level).
Common penalties that may actually come up during the game include–

*Ignoring the Plot: If the d-ball is available to the team, and the team isn’t openly carrying it for a full round or more, all team members take 1d6 damage per APL.
*Off the Rails: If a character doesn’t make it to the encounter or leaves the encounter, all movement rates of all team members is halved for a number of rounds equal to twice the time the character isn’t in the encounter.
*Different Dungeon: If a character is on another plane for as much as a move action of time, the encounter adds a random monster equal to the group’s APL. This monster can communicate with and works with existing foes of the team.

Scoring

If you complete an encounter, you get a number of points equal to the encounter’s CR minus your team’s APL (this can be negative), plus 1 point for each round remaining in the 1-round timer. If time runs out, you get any negative value of CR – APL, -2 more points. Your total score is the value of all encounters in a dungeon.
*This really only matters if the GM sets a target value, like requiring you to get 10 points in 2 encounters to “win,” or if multiple teams compete by running through the same dungeon as two different DungeonBall teams.

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About okcstephens

Owen K.C. Stephens Owen Kirker Clifford Stephens is the Starfinder Design Lead for Paizo Publishing, the Freeport and Pathfinder RPG developer for Green Ronin, a developer for Rite Publishing, and the publisher and lead genius of Rogue Genius Games. Owen has written game material for numerous other companies, including Wizards of the Coast, Kobold Press, White Wolf, Steve Jackson Games and Upper Deck. He also consults, freelances, and in the off season, sleeps.

Posted on January 2, 2017, in Adventure Design, Adventure Sketch, Anachronistic Adventurers, Game Design, Microsetting, Pathfinder Development, Silliness and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. Reblogged this on Mike Myler and commented:
    I would die if somebody ran a murderball/dungeonball tournament bonanza. I may have to engineer such a thing.

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