Alter Realm - Open Combat Rules
The Official Alter Realm Open Combat Rules
Collaborately developed by and for the Gorean role-play community of Alter Realm, the proud legacy of Alter Realm Open Combat (AR-OC) continues on Portal of Dreams as the default Open Combat system in our Gorean General Role-Play rooms.
These rules apply to all open combat in the Gorean GRP Rooms:
Open Combat occurs when combat spontaneously begins within the roleplay between two or more fighters for any reason, anything from an attempt to capture to an assassin's attack to a bar room brawl to a raid* on a home. Open Combat should be fast paced, flowing and very clear, which is somewhat unlike sparring. These rules are meant to be simple and straightforward, with a focus on realism.
* Note: Raids are a special form of open combat. Refer to the Portal of Dreams Raiding Rules for more information.*
Here is a quick summary of the Open Combat rules. This can be used for reference by more experienced role players, but we strongly suggest you read through the full text of the rules that follow, at least once.
  • focus on realistic, flowing roleplay with clean and concise posts
  • maximum of 3 actions per post, with appropriate combos allowed
  • 8 minute time limit per post
  • time violations result in loss of one action per minute
  • time violations will not directly result in kills or captures
  • maximum of 7 weapons allowed, including NPCs, declared up front
  • no speed posting, force posting or back posting
  • 2 exit posts required to disengage combat
  • judgement by a PoD Site Judge or neutral judges selected by all parties involved
1. Start of Combat
Open Combat will be conducted with alternating posts. No speed posting. If you are fighting mulitple opponents, you must alternate posts with each one of them separately.
There must be valid and realistic roleplay that leads the combatants to the position where they are able to engage in combat. Mode of attack and weaponry must be realistic for the area and terrain you are fighting in.
The first post of Open Combat will be determined by the flow of the roleplay leading up to the combat. The roleplay leading into the combat should make the stance of all combatants clear, their relative positions and distances from each other, where weapons are (hands or sheathed), and any subtle motion (i.e. "circling"). All times and time violations will begin after the first post of actual combat (the first attacking action) is made.
Overwhelming odds in Open Combat are allowed. You must maintain alternating posts with each combatant you are engaged with, but you may post to one opponent and then post to another opponent without it being considered speed posting.
2. Weapons
Each combatant may use up to seven Gorean weapons. Non-Gorean weapons will not be permitted and, of course, no armor or similar protection. The choice and combination of weapons must be realistic and appropriate. Use common sense.
A bow/crossbow is counted as a weapon, the first 10 arrows/bolts is counted as one additional weapon, and each additional 2 arrows/bolts is counted as yet another weapon. A belt of 7 quivas is counted as one weapon, but each additional pair of quivas or other throwing knives is counted as an additional weapon. Shields, bucklers and helmets each count as a seperate weapon. A pair of fighting slaves gloves or similar items count as two weapons.
Poison and similar drugs or chemicals count as a weapons. For example, a bottle of capture scent counts as a weapon. If poison or similar drugs are added to a weapon, the poison counts as an additional weapon, and realistic and appropriate use of the poison should be looked at very critically by judges.
All NPCs (non-player characters) that you wish to use in the combat in any way must be counted as a "weapon". This includes human NPCs as guards and escorts, as well as animal NPCs used as mounts, trackers, etc. For each human NPC you can claim one weapon for their use without counting an additional weapon.
All weapons over the allowed seven will be considered invalid. If you use them, they won't be acknowledged when the combat is judged.
Weapons must be declared by each combatant at the beginning of any open combat session. Declaring weapons upon entry to the room is optional, but then it must be repeated if combat starts later. Weapons may be declared as part of the initial combat post.
All visible weapons must be declared, and if you have hidden weapons, you must declare that you do, but you do not need to declare exactly what they are. However, they must be weapons that can be realistically hidden, and they can not be more than the allowed seven weapons. All poison, capture scent and other chemicals must be declared up front, even if hidden.
Any weapons that are not declared or realistically hidden will be considered invalid when judging the combat.
Please keep the weapons post simple, clear and concise. In other words, do not cut and paste a weapons post that takes your opponent 5 minutes just to read and decipher.
In addition, you may use anything in the environment you are in. Things like chairs, rocks, sticks, turds, bottles, a dismembered body part, your own boot or anything that isn't attached to someone or something. Be creative and use what is on hand. These items are not counted against your maximum allowed weapons. But, here will be no grabbing the proverbial, "crossbow hanging over the fireplace" or any weapon that you just assume happens to be lying around. That does not mean you can't "borrow" your opponent's weapons if you can realistically make it work.
3. Actions
Individual posts are limited to a maximum of 3 actions, including all defensive and offensive actions. A combat post should represent no more than 2 to 3 seconds of real time.
All actions should be realistic. This means that your movements should flow from one action to the other and from one post to the other. All strikes must be accepted, evaded or blocked. Each combatant has that choice, but whatever is chosen, the combat must flow reasonably and realistically from one move to the next. For example, going from "Crouching down on one knee with my sword swept back" to "firing a crossbow at your stomache", would be considered unrealistic.
Unrealistic/confusing/non-flowing actions will be judged invalid. Combatants are not supermen and posts should reflect humanly possible actions. The posts of each combatant should be clear, easy to read and easy to visualize. The posts should flow easily from one post to the next.
Combatants are urged to be as descriptive and accurate as possible. Use of "right and left" with regard to the opponent (be sure to post if its YOUR right or your opponent's right) is highly encouraged and will prevent your actions from being judged confusing and invalid.
Actions may include any combination of movement, attacks or defenses. Fully accepting a strike, blow or wound does not count against the three allowed actions. However, any action that lessens the intended damage of an attack still counts as an action, not an acceptance.
Movement actions include but are not limited to:
  1. Closing to engage a combatant.
  2. Moving back out of combat and getting reading to defend.
  3. Changing weapons.
  4. Changing Your position during or after attacking.
  5. Getting out of the way of an attack (ducking, rolling out of the way, etc.).
  6. Feints.
Attacking actions include but are not limited to:
  1. Hitting or attempting to hit with a weapon.
  2. Hitting or attempting to hit with a shield.
  3. Hand-to-hand attacks such as kicks, punches, leg sweeps, head butts, throws, etc.
  4. Using blood, sand, or another foreign substance to blind.
Defensive actions include but are not limited to:
  1. Parries with a weapon.
  2. Blocks with a shield.
  3. Ducking, dodging or otherwise evading an attack.
If you are fighting multiple opponents, you must use seperate posts to respond to each one, with a maximum of 3 actions for each post.
If you are directing the actions of NPCs, either human or animal, each action of the NPC counts as one of the 3 actions you can use in your own posts against each opponent. In other words, the NPCs don't get their own post, their actions are part of your actions in your post. NPCs may not be used to directly kill or capture an opponent. They may only be used to aid in the flow of combat.
To assist the judges and your opponents, it is highly recommended that combatants use some method of separating actions (by use of a numbered sequence (1, 2, 3), series of periods (......), stars (****) or some other method). This is not mandatory, but it is helpful.
(i.e. parrying your sword with mine.....punching you in the stomach with my right fist.....leaping back three paces) Judgment will NOT be based on points, it will be based on what was accomplished, realism and personal damage. The goal of open combat is to injure/kill/capture the opponent rather than score points, as with spars. Violations in Open Combat will simply mean that the action involving the violation will be invalidated within the roleplay. The outcome of the roleplay is what will be judged.
Any actions beyond the three allowed will be judged as invalid within the roleplay.
4. Time
Combatants have a maximum of 8 minutes, after each opponent’s combat post, verified by the time stamp, to respond to that opponent.
If a combatant fails to meet this time limit, one action per minute will be judged invalid. After 8 minutes, the third action of the post will be judged invalid. After 9 minutes, the second and third actions will be invalid, and after 10 minutes, all three actions will be lost.
But in no case will the failure to meet the time limit directly cause the death or capture of a combatant. If a lost action is a defense to a death blow or knockout blow, and there are no violations other than the time limit, the attack will be reduced to a less damaging, but still serious, blow. However, at the judges discretion, the accumulated effect of these serious blows may lead to the judgement of a death or capture, as appropriate.
Then after an additional minute, at 11 minutes, the attacker has the option of posting again, or waiting for the defender to post.
If you are fighting with more than one opponent, you will be allowed 8 minutes for each post that needs to be made, to each combatant you are facing, starting at the time of each opponent's post. So, if groups of people are attacking a single individual, each person in the group must allow the individual time to post, before they post again. In other words, just because your opponent posts to one of your allies, that does not mean you are free to post again. You must wait for the opponent to post to your own post.
The judge may decide to not count a time violation against an opponent, if the judge feels the post they are responding to was unrealistic, non-flowing, confusing or otherwise hard to understand and respond to in the given time.
If at anytime, a combatant is booted/crashed/frozen/tech impaired/rti'd or otherwise unable to get their post in, in the time allowed, due to a technical or r/t problem, they will be granted 10 extra minutes to return. If not, the combat will be considered void. That means ALL of it. The judges may render decision on the combat at the point it prematurely ended, IF and ONLY IF, all combatants agree. No one wants to be killed or injured over a technical glitch or rti. Unfortunately, technical problems and real world issues do occur.
The font size and color of your posts should be such that it is easy to read by your opponents. If someone asks you to make adjustments to your font, you should do so, although time limits will be suspended until adjustments are made.
5. Combos
A combination move incorporates two actions that fit well with each other into one, more complex, action. Combination moves that flow well are encouraged and considered as one action in the total of 3 allowed actions. Combination moves must flow well and must be believable.
(i.e. "drawing an arrow from my quiver and nocking it to the string" is an acceptable combination and does not have to be separated into "drawing an arrow from my quiver.... nocking it to the string")
(i.e. "Parrying your blade with mine then quickly striking your shoulder with the blade" is NOT acceptable as a combination move. Clearly, parrying a weapon, then striking are two different actions.)
6. Force Posting
Combatants may NOT post the actions of their opponents (force posting) or the damage that their attack does.
(i.e. "Stabbing you in the chest with my quiva" is an acceptable attack. "Stabbing you in the chest with my quiva, puncturing your lung" is an unacceptable attack because it declares the damage received by the opponent.)
(i.e. "Circling to your left" is an acceptable move. "Circling to your left, forcing you to turn" is an unacceptable move because it declares a movement by the opponent.)
(i.e. "Swinging My sword to meet Yours, parrying Your strike" is an acceptable parry. "Swinging My sword to meet Yours, parrying Your strike, shoving Your blade wide to the left" is an unacceptable parry because it declares the motion of the opponent's hand/arm and the opponent's weapon.)
*Note. Posts that include striking the intended target (i.e. "Stabbing you in the chest with my quiva") do not describe the actions of their opponents or the damage that their attack does. Instead it is considered a "guide" to the intent and thinking of the combatant, and is allowed.
7. Back Posting
Due to the confusing and non-flowing nature of 'back posting', this practice is considered a violation.
'Back Posting' is defined as any action in a post that significantly changes a prior post, usually this action is an attack. 'Back posting' is frequently referred to as "rewriting history". The closest real time analog to "back posting" is counter punching in boxing. Although, this is a VERY effective strategy in real time ombat, it can, if used improperly, severely confuse on line Gorean Combat.
A simple example of "back posting" is given:
Fighter 1 says: "stabbing your left thigh with my long sword...then backs away 2 steps"
Fighter 2 says: "as your sword stabs down at my thigh, my short sword stabs you in the chest....then backs away two steps"
Fighter 2 has interjected an attack into Fighter 1's post. This may be confusing to Fighter 1 and possibly the Judges as well. Further, Fighter 1, might elect to raise his sword to block the stab to his chest, instead of stabbing Fighter 2's thigh, resulting in more confusion and less flow in the combat posts
The problem with 'back posting' is that turns must be observed in on line Gorean combat. In real time combat, there are no turns. In real time, actions of combatants take place continually and sometimes simultaneously. Unfortunately, this would be difficult, if not impossible, to simulate in on line Gor.
8. End of Combat
The combat ends when one party leaves the room after making 2 valid exit posts, or is killed or captured. If you are engaged with multiple opponents, you must make 2 exit posts to each opponent before you can disengage with all of them.
Exit posts can include defenses and evasive moves only, no new attacks. Either exit or continue the fight, do not do both.
If you have made the required exit posts to all attackers, you may then leave the room without responding to new attacks, as long as you leave within the time limit allowed for response to each of those attacks. You must leave the room after your exit posts, or you will have to continue responding to any continued attacks against you.
Exit posts, and posts in response to them, do not necessarily need to meet the standard of 2 to 3 seconds of real time, like normal combat posts, but all actions should still be realistic and appropriate given the circumstances of the roleplay.
If neither party in exits, or otherwise resolves the conflict within 60 minutes of the first attack, the combat will be ruled complete.
For anyone in Open Combat to be considered dead or captured, there has to be, at least, a single clear and decisive blow or the culmination of all injuries sustained during the combat. Judges at anytime, may consider someone dead or unconscious from a blow, or a series of blows if they are not properly or realistically defended.
9. Judgements
Open Combat will be judged on the basis of realism, following the rules of combat, and effectiveness of offense and defense.
If the parties involved cannot select a mutual judge acceptable to all parties, a member of Admin will pick a judge from your choices at random.
Judges shall read ALL posts carefully, and objectively assess the merit of the posts. If a judge cannot do this, the judge should refuse to judge the combat. It's the only honorable action.
OOC comments should be avoided in combat posts. OOC comments between combatants regarding the combat, roleplay or rules should be in PM. For this purpose, no permission is required to PM. OOC posts may be judged as actual roleplay actions in any combat or capture activity, which could cause you to lose your turn.
Before submitting scripts for judgment, all private messages and non-combatant posts should be removed. Basically, anything that doesn't involve the actual combat should be removed. A judge has the authority to throw out the whole script if he feels the script is full of unnecessary dialogue. Remember, the judges do not want to spend hours upon hours judging your combat; they have other things they would most likely rather be doing.
All Judges have the right, at anytime, to consider any Open Combat invalid.
Any of these rules may be modified for a particular combat session, if all parties involved agree to the modifications up front. However, a judge is always free to decline judging, if not comfortable with the modifications.