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This page provides information on our variant of ANTICS, a combat system used to create a wide range of detailed effects for some of our games. Players will not need to know this information for any games unless told otherwise.
Calls allow us to make games more interesting by adding abilities with more complex effects which would otherwise be impossible to utilise. As with all aspects of our games, players are trusted to be honest and follow the spirit of the game when using and being affected by calls. Roleplaying is encouraged, but not required- examples given are for the minimum required roleplay, which players are encouraged to exceed.
Calls are typically made vocally by indicating the target and the effect (e.g. ‘ <pointing> STUN’, ‘Bob STUN’ or ‘You in the purple jeans STUN’). Calls may also be made in written form (e.g. you sneak through a door and immediately see a large sign labelled ‘Intruders STOMP 10’, or receive a text saying ‘SECRET Omega’). When written down, calls are capitalised to differentiate them from plain text.
By default, players may not make calls other than PAUSE and NOTED where appropriate. If you have calls in a game, the game organisers will inform you of this and check that you understand how to use them.
All abilities which utilise calls have a type and a target, but may have a number of other qualities. Much of this information is only needed by the caller (such as charge, maintenance, recharge, limits, etc) and is indicated where written in square brackets. Only the information which the target is required to know will be used in calls. If someone uses a call, assume they’ve met all the requirements on its use. As such, if you don’t have any abilities with calls, you can skip ahead to the ‘call types’ section without adverse effects. Here follows a complete description of the qualities calls can have:
– Targeting. Most calls can only affect people within a maximum range (e.g. ‘STUN 5 [10m]’). Some require touch (e.g. ‘STUN 5 [touch]’) or other restrictions (e.g. ‘STUN 5 [enemy player in your base]’). Some can target only yourself (e.g. ‘SHIELD 10 [Self]’) or players with a specific quality (e.g. ‘SHIELD 10 [Teammates]’, ‘SHIELD 10 [Prone players]’).
Some use the keyword MASS as a target. Everyone who hears a MASS call is affected, including the caller by default (e.g. ‘MASS TRIP’). A quality can also be designated, in which case anyone possessing that quality within earshot is affected (e.g. ‘Blue Team TRIP’, ‘CALL: Anyone touching the flag TRIP’).
– Modification. Depending on which call is used, there may be additional information provided which changes the effect (e.g. ‘PUSH Jill Walk’ as opposed to ‘PUSH Jill’). Modifications are detailed alongside each call type further below.
– Duration. A number may be used immediately after the call and any modifiers, indicating the number of seconds the effect persists for (e.g. ‘SHIELD 5’). For longer times, any appropriate unit may be used (e.g. ‘SHIELD 30minutes’).
– Charge. Some abilities need to be charged or ‘wind-up’ for a length of time (e.g. ‘HEAL [3sec charge]’). This indicates some preparation needs to be undertaken before the call can be used- typically a length of time which must elapse. Charging should be made apparent to all observers visibly and audibly (e.g. <waving a medkit around while touching another player> ‘Charging… Charging… HEAL’).
– Maintenance. This indicates some sort of action or criteria is required from the caller to keep the call active and ‘unwinding’ (e.g. ‘MUTE [maintained]’). This may be specified (e.g. ‘ROOT [maintained by touching the ground]’). If no action is specified, the default is keeping one arm extended towards the target.
While charging or maintaining a call, you may not use other calls except for PAUSE, NOTED, and NO EFFECT. Any targeting requirements (such as range and line of sight) must remain met, or you are interrupted. You may not attack, move faster than a walk, or charge or maintain other calls without interrupting yourself. If a call you were maintaining is interrupted or terminated, you must call ‘X END Y’ immediately, where X for the initial target Y was the initial call (e.g. ‘Phil END BLIND’).
– Recharging. Calls may need to be recharged or ‘wind-down’ for some length of time (e.g. ‘BLINK 10 [60sec recharge]’) after being used. This indicates that, once successfully used, the call may not be used again until that amount of time has passed. For maintained calls, the recharge timer starts once the maintenance ends. Recharging cannot be interrupted.
– Limits. This indicates that the caller can only use the call the specified number of times (e.g. ‘OVERLOAD [2uses]’). By default, unused calls are retained, that is neither lost or replenished, if the caller respawns.
– Origin. Calls may originate from somewhere other than the person physically making the call (e.g. ‘MASS PULL [Originating from another player]’). If Barry has the previous call, he can call ‘FROM Jim: MASS PULL Walk’, to cause everyone who hears it to walk towards Jim instead of him.
– Echoing. This indicates the call should be repeated when heard, so that its effects reach a wider area (e.g. ‘ECHO MASS TRIP’, ‘ECHO Mary STRIKE 10’). Each ECHOing call should be repeated once per person, and takes effect at most once per person.
– Silence. The effect of calls may not always be obvious in games with a roleplaying component. This indicates that characters are not aware an ability has just been used (e.g. ‘SILENT BREAK’). For example, a player with a silently broken gun should act as though nothing is amiss, but does not fire the gun when the time comes. If a player silently BLINKs, other players are not immediately aware of their absence. In many cases a response of ‘NOTED’ will be preferred to indicate you are aware of the effect and will act appropriately when the time comes, although you obviously aren’t acting any differently at the moment.
– Concealment. Some calls may have more complex effects of which only a part is declared. In this case, the written long form of the call will include the hidden effects in square brackets along with the other qualities of the call, and only the part outside should actually be announced (e.g. ‘STRIKE 3 [Self HEAL 3, touch]’).
Some calls are extremely short and simple or potentially mistaken for plain speech (e.g. ‘LOVE Me’). If calls are extremely infrequent in a fast-paced game, players may not be prepared for them. If you think there is a chance of any call being misinterpreted, you should prefix it with CALL (e.g. ‘CALL: LOVE Me’).
We have a large number of calls to cover all the effects we could wish to invoke. Those which are common enough that all players should be aware of them for any game using this system are listed below. Others are listed in a separately further down.
BLINK- Target vanishes. They put their hand in the air and, by default, can take no actions other than movement. By default, players may not deliberately end this effect within 10m of another player. May be modified by a place (e.g. ‘Tom BLINK Your base’), in which case the target proceeds directly to that location and the effect ends when they reach it. If you see another player BLINK, you are aware that they have just vanished, but not of the reason of this (they may be invisible, have teleported, turned into mist, etc). You cannot target them directly, but may make MASS calls in an attempt to flush them back into visibility.
BREAK- Modified by an item of equipment on the target’s person (e.g. ‘John BREAK that Maverick’), that piece of equipment is disabled and cannot be used.
DO- Modified by an instruction (e.g. ‘Harry DO Attack your team’ the target must carry it out in both the word and spirit of the instruction to the best of their ability. This functions as a general ‘catch all’ call.
HEAL- Target regains a single hit. May be modified by a number of hits (e.g. ‘HEAL 2’). Does not allow you to regain hits over your maximum, which is the number of hits you start the game with by default.
NIX- Used in response to another call, cancels a call just made (e.g. ‘NIX that TRIP’). The original caller is still considered to have still made the call for the purposes of recharging and limits, but it has no effect. Used on a player or equipment affected by a call in progress or repeating call, prematurely ends the effects of that call (e.g. ‘NIX that STUN’, ‘NIX that repeating BANG’). Note that this does not undo effects which have already occurred.
REVIVE- Target dead player returns to life with 1 hit. This may not be used to ambush as with a normal respawn.
SCAN- The target responds ‘Here’. Can be modified with an item (e.g. ‘Joe SCAN Knives’) or quality (e.g. ‘MASS SCAN Red Team’), in which case only players who are near the specified item or possess the specified quality should respond.
SKEW- Target must use their left hand for every action which would typically use their right hand, and vice versa.
STRIKE- Target takes a hit. May be modified by a number of hits (e.g. ‘STRIKE 2’). If no number is specified, the number is 1. All of our listed kill methods inflict an unspoken STRIKE when used, which is suppressed by any STRIKE call given (so being stabbed with no call deals 1 hit, being stabbed with a call of ‘STRIKE 2’ deals 2 hits, being stabbed with a call of ‘STRIKE 0 TRIP 3’ deals no hits, but makes you fall over.)
STUN- Target may not take any actions or move except to fall over. They should avoid observing the game progressing around them.
TRIP- Target falls over and cannot stand for the duration. Both feet should be off the ground at a point when the torso is on the ground, but in dirty areas players may instead drop to their knees. If a duration of 0 is specified, they may immediately stand again.
Less common calls:
BLIND- Target shuts their eyes.
GRAB- Target is considered to be carried by the caller and must move with them, staying in mutual contact. They may take other actions, including attacking the caller who grabbed them and using calls, but may not voluntarily end the GRAB.
GRANT- Target gains the specified call. This is the only instance in which the long form of a call will be declared.
HATE- Modified by a name (e.g. ‘Helen HATE Paul’), target cannot take any actions which assist the target and should attempt to impede them by whatever means are most appropriate.
IMMUNE- Modified by a quality, target is completely unaffected by effects with that quality (e.g. ‘IMMUNE to STUN 5’, ‘IMMUNE to Sue’s calls’, ‘IMMUNE to damage from melee weapons’) and responds to them with NO EFFECT.
LOVE- Modified by a name (e.g. ‘Helen LOVE Paul’), target cannot take any actions which impede the target and should attempt to assist them by whatever means are most appropriate.
MUTE- Target may not speak or make sounds, except to make calls and respond to them.
PULL- Target may not move away from the caller. If modified by a speed (e.g. ‘Tim PULL Jog’), target must approach the caller at that speed or greater. Caller may approach and retreat from the target. If a movement speed is specified which is faster than you are allowed to move, you move at the specified speed regardless.
PUSH- Target may not approach the caller. If modified by a speed (e.g. ‘Tim PUSH Jog’), target must move away from the caller at that speed or greater. Caller may approach and retreat from the target. If a movement speed is specified which is faster than you are allowed to move, you move at the specified speed regardless.
OVERLOAD- Target must fire off all the ammo in their held weapon as quickly as possible. They may not take any actions which would seriously impair their ability to discharge the ammo.
OVERHEAL- As HEAL, except the hits gained allow you to go over your maximum. E.g. a player who started a game on 2 hits (their maximum), currently has 1 hit, and is targeted by OVERHEAL 2 now has 3 hits. If the third hit is lost, it can’t be restored by a HEAL, as their maximum number of hits is unchanged. If modified by a time, any hits still remaining over your maximum are lost at the end of the time
ROOT- Target’s feet must stay in contact with the ground in their current position. While ROOTed, you respond NO EFFECT to other effects which would change your position.
SECRET- Modified by anything (e.g. ‘SECRET Alpha Zebra’). If you know what this means you must enact it as soon as possible. If you don’t, you must find a game organiser and tell them as soon as possible.
SHIELD- Target is immune to non-melee damage. They can still be harmed directly or indirectly by calls. If hit by a projectile while shielding, the preferred response is ‘NO EFFECT, Shielded’.
SLOW- Target moves, fights, and speaks in slow motion, performing all tasks (including charging other abilities) at half speed.
STOMP- Target may not ambush or surprise anyone by any means. So long as it’s clear you aren’t making a call, repeating the word ‘stomp’ somewhat louder than normal speaking volume in situations where you might inadvertently ambush someone (such as going round a blind corner) is appropriate.
TRUTH- Modified by an in-game question (e.g. ‘TRUTH are you going to try and kill me?’) which the target must answer to the best of their ability. Answers should be concise and follow the spirit of the game (e.g. for the previous question, “Yes” if you’re leading them into an ambush, or planning to kill them either immediately or in the future, but “No” if you have no such plans, or aim to stun and capture them while keeping them alive).
VEER- Every other shot fired by the target must be a deliberate miss.
There are also some generic responses and safety calls which can be used by all players at all times where appropriate:
PAUSE- The game is paused and no actions may be taken, typically due to non-players approaching. All players can use this call in any game. ‘Ceasefire’ or ‘Civilians’ may also be used, but PAUSE is preferred.
NO EFFECT- Target heard your call, but was noticeably unaffected by it. The most common reason for this is that your target is IMMUNE to your ability.
NOTED- Target heard your call and responded to it in a way which isn’t immediately obvious (e.g. your gun is hit by a BREAK, but it has the ability to ignore the first call that would affect it). This should also be used when it looks like you may not have heard the initial call (e.g. you are hit by OVERLOAD when your weapon contains no ammo). Finally, this is also the preferred response if someone thinks you’ve missed a rule, but you actually have a hidden ability which takes precedence over it (e.g. you are allowed to run in an otherwise jogging only game)