Now today for our special midweek update, we’ve got the rules of Shaper. I felt unfulfilled by my last post, so I’m finishing it up here. Nicolas has also been on my back for a week or two to get these rules up. As always, comment as you will, I’m sure I’ll miss something, and if you ask here, I can comment here and add the fix/patch.
This game native to High Earth is akin to American football and Soccer, mixed with a bit of elemental fun and a tad more violence. The field is roughly one hundred feet wide by three hundred long, with teams setting up on the wide sides. Behind the teams are a row of metal disks usually around three feet wide and these are the goal. Starting closed, they open if charged with electricity, though they will shut if not held open with a sustained current. A flame resistant ball, mostly oblong about a foot long finishes the tools used and goals are scored by putting the ball through an open disk.
First off are teams. Shaper is played by two teams of seven players, one of each Shaper branch; Air, Earth, Electricity, Fire, Gravity, Plant and Water, and each player has a specific role and rules. In addition to the branch specific roles and rules, there are four basic positions, one that each player will fit into; Blaster, Blocker, Goalie and Runner/Scorer. Each branch has a certain predisposition one of the four roles, but there is no set in stone rule (and if there were, the Earth Shapers would probably change that.)
Blasters clear the field for their runner to reach the goal. Because of the forces at place in a match, various blockades and wally impede the process from one end of the field to the other. Blasters force through these impediments or build new routes toward the goal. No less important is the defense of the runner, or the ball carrier, and so the physical blocking of the other team is secondary part of the position. Fire Shapers especially are suited to this position, usually able to burn their way through the offending foliage or barriers. Earth and Electricity are other common Blasters.
Blockers do their best to keep the opposing team away from their own runner. They accomplish this by either physically blocking the other players with themselves, or by building walls to guide away from the runner. On the defensive, Blockers burn time away from the offense by altering their walls to force them away from the goal, or to take a more lengthy route. Earth Shapers are the most obvious blockers, typically being physically larger than the other players, but also by being able to grow walls of stone around the field. Gardeners also can grow walls and entangle with plants they grow on the field. Water Shapers can create grounds of impeding water and make it harder to grasp and grapple the runner.
The Goalie is the only player allowed in their own ten foot stretch of field on each end of the field next to the disks after the game’s start. Their job is to protect the goals from the opposing runner, and usually accomplish this by altering the path of the ball, or by physically blocking it. Because the disks are about ten feet outside of even the Goalie area (which the other team may freely enter,) the ball must be thrown, and Goalies that are able to knock the ball off course without touching it are usually more successful than those who must physically bat the ball down or go after the runner. Only one player may be the Goalie at a time, and that player must remain the Goalie until halftime or a goal is scored, whichever is first. Gravity and Air Shapers are well suited to this position, being able to negatively influence the ball’s path. Earth Shapers, while unable to create walls in front of the disks, are able to make walls to move up in front of the disk to bat at the ball with their body. Electric Shapers are a very defensive Goalie, only with the aid of an electric Shaper may the disks be opened, so one on defense is better situated to disrupt the activities of an offense, but his own team will be unable to score as well.
Rounding out the basic players are the Runners. Usually either Gravity or Air Shapers are the runners, both able to guide the ball with much more finesse into the goal than the other players. Runners are usually fast, able to sprint toward the ball in an attempt to outrun the opposing Runner, and agile, to avoid opposing players and barriers. While each team may have as many players act as Runner as they wish, one is usually the team captain and primary runner, directing the rest of his team around the field.
An important side note to the four basic positions is the Electric Shaper. They have a unique role that is independent to their position; they open and defend against opening the goal disks. While powering the disk, they’re concentration is highly focused, and the risk of injury is greatly increased. To balance this, only their foil is allowed to close in on them and attempt to stop their work. The Shapers themselves typically maintain a special suit of armor to aid both distraction and concentration in this endeavor.
Play is split into two halves, and each starts with the teams lined up in their goal area. A whistle starts the game, or resumes play, with players moving out of the goal area and beginning to go after the ball and the runners. Play continues until a goal is scored or an injury brings down a player. Intentional hits are illegal, on pain of ejection, but after the player(s) is/are removed play resumes.
The ball may be passed, though it is only rarely done so due to the forces at work. Occasionally a player will be thrown physically through one of the rings with the ball to score, but they may not do so under their own power. Shapers may not directly affect the other team, with the exception of Gardner’s. Gardner’s may use plants to entangle other players, or entrap them in shrubbery, but they may not use any poisons and are under close scrutiny.
Play continues until the time limit ends, and then the team with the highest score wins. In case of a tie, the game goes to sudden death; where the first goal wins.