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Subject: Team Ragnarok playtesting call rss

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Erik Kjerland
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We've been playtesting new teams at Frog HQ for quite a while. We sent team Ragnarok to a couple first response playtesters around the world a few weeks ago. We got some nice feedback, so we've decided to give everyone a chance to playtest the team. Here is the draft version of the Ragnarok ref card. You'll have to use proxy figures, of course.





You can get hi-rez versions here.

The male counterparts to another Norse team, the Valkyries, team Ragnarok is renowned for their violence and crazed attacks. They frequently lose control during chops, blinded by berserk rage, and attack their own teammates. While their sister team uses temptation and guile to lure opponents around the Pit, Ragnarok athletes use blunt force to push foes into position for their berserkers to brutalize.

Owner: Extraterrestrial Cruise Lines
Genetic designer: Spyraldyne
Home arena: Gotterdammerung, Überplex Europa
Famous quote: "ODIN!" - All players
Subsidiary teams: Thor's Hammers, Red Vikings, Aesir

We welcome all feedback: theme, balance, artwork, font, traits, skills, background, etc. What works, what doesn't. How could they be better? Are they overpowered against some teams? Weaker against some? Which mavericks do they synergize with? Do you feel like you're playing a team of vikings? Are the skills worded clearly? Any confusion? And so on...

You can also suggest ideas for:

Uniform, artwork, poses
Team logo
Mascot name, appearance (possibles: Fenrir, fire giant, dwarf)
Cheerleader squad name (possibles: Shield Maidens, Wyrd Sisters, Norn)
Home arena name and appearance (possibles: The Battleground, Battlefield, War Zone, Gotterdammerung)
Rules and architecture for the home arena
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Jonan Jello
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Brutally epic Friday post in a grand manner!
A Rage-enhanced Chop can be combined with Berserker, correct?

Suggestion: This may get clumsy mechanically, but how's a bout a Cleaver or a Slasher (maybe even a Razor?!?) player temporarily 'berserkering' (literally changing) into a Butcher for an activation???

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Erik Kjerland
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Rage can be combined with Berserker.

Future coach cards might give temp Berserker skill...
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Jonan Jello
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Some sketches for team Ragnarok. I was riffing on the horned helmets and fur cloaks


Fur puffing out around and in between shoulder pads


Goggles/visors on helmet? Studded helms, shin guards, forearm guards, etc. Finger-less gloves?


Dented helms, broken horns and cyber arm?


Fur incorporated with the body padding/armor


Quick-sketch where the fur would be seen on the uniform.
Fur cloak flapping behind him.



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Reed Dawley
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Keep push in mind, herd your foes together and mow them down. Keep an eye on your positioning of teammates, I almost accidentally smacked some of my guys around a couple times. Also there were turns when I couldn't hit with my Butcher due to my next target being a fellow Ragnarokite. It is a team that is very interesting strategically and I haven't found myself being so aware of my player positioning with any other team from the base set. But using a Slasher to Push an enemy next to another and hit them from both sides with two Butchers in full on Berserk mode is almost as fantastic as the Bamboozle. Almost.
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Jonan Jello
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Sounds like you've already playtested a bit, huh Reed?
I'm planning to make some paper miniatures and print n' construct them on Monday. I should just proxy some figures until then and try out these guys!

Berserker should be interesting in 3-4 player matches with clusters of athletes interfering.

Some paper miniature art for standees.





Arena Ideas
Name: Great Hall

wooden floor planks or hodge podge like the walls of the abode in the background:


fire pits top view of this:


reentry door appearance like this or draped with animal skins:



Sconces on each side of the goal hole which could be adorned with patterning found on pendant artifacts or be an stylized animal head


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Erik Kjerland
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Wow! I didn't know you were an artist, Jonan. Very nice concepts. I really like the cloak idea, and the studs on the bracers and shinguards. Great ideas for the board, also.
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Jonan Jello
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Wellll I'm a teacher, but I do enjoy art.
I hope you all don't mind me sharing more ideas.
I'm having a blast drawing these guys!

Erik, are you not into the horned helmets, then?
I sketched these this morning.


Hornless helms. Hair or ponies flowing out the back?
Big full facial hair? Fingerless gloves? Limbs wrapped with bandages at elbows?


How about free-flowing hair over the visors, helms, headgear?


Ragnarok should have barrel chests and mead bellies!
They're brewers n; brawlers and love to eat meat (the arena should have thrown mutton strewn about he floor!)
How about eye black under the eyes?


I tried doing like a faux-wooden arm, but it may look silly(!)



Ragnarok Razor. The game's Razors remind me of insects with their six limbs, so I riffed on an idea of an insect's carapace-like armor.
Slotted eye visors? The team logo 'R' could look like a cloak's brooch.




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Nate F
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Just finished a pair of exhibition 2 player games with Ragnarok.

Game 1: Swords of Damocles 26, Ragnarok 21
Ragnarok started with "Exit Penalty Box," "Pickup Discard," and "Cancel Card," Edge Tokens.
Ragnarok Highlights: Round 1, Rag Butcher knocked down the SoD Butcher and then Berserk'd into a SoD Razor, getting penalized. Round 2, the other Rag Butcher knocked down the same SoD Butcher, but this time Berserk'd into his own Slasher, knocking down the Slasher. Round 4, Rag Butcher rolls 17 Dice in a Chop (Rage + Brute Card) and injures the SoD Butcher. Followup Berserk targeted SoD Razor.

Game 2: Grueseomes 27, Ragnarok 21
No Edge Tokens
Ragnarok Highlights: Not much this time. Ragnarok struggled with the high Toughness Gruseomes and spent a lot of time getting knocked down.

Initial thoughts after the games:
Berserk is a HUGE liability and must have the entire positioning game planned around it. The Butchers ended up off by themselves a lot to avoid hitting teammates. Other times, Onslaught tokens were wasted simply moving team mates away before a Chop to avoid the aftermath.

We tried to brainstorm some mechanics to keep the berserker concept and make the rule less punishing, but nothing worthwhile came up. As written, I'm not a big fan and would likely never play the team. I want to see how it plays in the Hex- or Octagon, because the Quad is really tight for positioning.

Push never got used. We struggled with thinking of when we'd even want to try instead of just going for the Chop.

Rage is awesome. 3 cards is a hefty but fair price for rolling 14 dice in a Chop. It does kind of suck on the Slashers, because there are only as few cases where I'd burn the cards for a Slasher's Chop test over saving it for a Butcher.

Base stats were fun. The extra brawl dice for all positions made them feel "fight-y." Any reason you're still using the old template with the "Evade" stat and pentagon Cleaver icon?
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Nate F
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Hex_Enduction_Hour wrote:
Awesomeness


Your sketches are brilliant, Hex. Well done!
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Erik Kjerland
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Jonan,

I love horned helmets. Each type of Ragnarok athlete will have different horns. I've been collecting possibilities. If you have any ideas for horns, don't hesitate to suggest.

I also like the barrel-chested/belly idea, especially for the butcher and slasher.

Braided or flowing hair are both good. I'll probably mix that up between the athlete types. They'll all have full facial hair!

I'm not to sold on the wooden armor, though.

As for insectoid armor, that will go better on a future insect team.

I'm not sold on the fingerless gloves yet. That might work better for a possible future steampunk team.

I'm really enjoying your suggestions/artwork.
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Jonan Jello
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hyperinactive wrote:
Just finished a pair of exhibition 2 player games with Ragnarok.
Insightful report, Nate. Berserk did initially read like it could be very chancy to use. I'm loving team Gruesomes held their own against Ragnarok! (My team and arena expansions have yet to be delivered to my FLGS, so I'm envious of your games. I look forward most to playing teams Gruesomes and Katanas.)

Erik, what has been the revelations to Berserk with the first response, global playtest group?
Could Berserk be more of a movement-based ability, allowing the players to move twice, or move once, roll all SPD dice and move again based on 'Boot' and/or 'Skull' results?





ErikFrog wrote:
Jonan,
I love horned helmets. Each type of Ragnarok athlete will have different horns. I've been collecting possibilities. If you have any ideas for horns, don't hesitate to suggest.

I also like the barrel-chested/belly idea, especially for the butcher and slasher.

Braided or flowing hair are both good. I'll probably mix that up between the athlete types. They'll all have full facial hair!

Totally agree about horned helmets! Ragnarok has got to have that look.
I love the visual aesthetics of Slaughterball. SoD with their crests and Valkyries with their wings isn't a practical accessory in such a sport, but it sure does identify them down in the pit.

Big torsos, and lots of hair indeed for vikings, indeed!
*raises mead goblet*


ErikFrog wrote:
I'm not to sold on the wooden armor, though.

As for insectoid armor, that will go better on a future insect team.

I'm not sold on the fingerless gloves yet. That might work better for a possible future steampunk team.
Agreed here, too.
I didn't think about fingerless gloves being more steampunk or post-apocalyptic (Max Rockatanski had them in Road Warrior if I'm not mistaken)

ErikFrog wrote:
I'm really enjoying your suggestions/artwork.

It's a ton of fun sketching the team.
Thanks for opening it up to the fans. Mad props to you.thumbsup
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Nate F
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Hex_Enduction_Hour wrote:
I look forward most to playing teams Gruesomes and Katanas.


Gruesomes are my League team, and I am quite comfortable with their style so maybe it wasn't the fairest match up for a test. Come to think of it, SoD is Bill's team, so that match wasn't balanced either...

We're going to play Ragnarok some more, it's just a matter of when.
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Jonan Jello
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hyperinactive wrote:
Hex_Enduction_Hour wrote:
I look forward most to playing teams Gruesomes and Katanas.


Gruesomes are my League team, and I am quite comfortable with their style so maybe it wasn't the fairest match up for a test. Come to think of it, SoD is Bill's team, so that match wasn't balanced either...

We're going to play Ragnarok some more, it's just a matter of when.
Nate's a Gruesomes fan. Awesome. How are they doing in your league?
(I read some league comments in your logged plays, but nothing too revealing)

hyperinactive wrote:
Hex_Enduction_Hour wrote:
Awesomeness


Your sketches are brilliant, Hex. Well done!

modest
Thanks, Nate.



Some more sketches

Horns down


Some, but not much, horn variety.
Some attempts at hair over the helms


Butcher with wrapped forearms and hair over helm, but not much beer belly, barrel chest. As well, having fun with some white paint, to fix drawing-with-a-ball point mistakes.
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Nate F
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Hex_Enduction_Hour wrote:
Nate's a Gruesomes fan. Awesome. How are they doing in your league?

+ More sketches

Not very well. Bottom third currently. We have some really brutal teams, including Nemesis with Defensive Coach and two different Swords of Damocles teams. It's all fun, though. Everyone hates my Slashers with Dirty Stomper and Scare Ref.

I like the new concepts, especially the tilted-back horns helmet.
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Steve Kozlowski
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I'd love to be able to playtest for this, since I love this game. I have extensive playtest experience for AEG, FFG, and FASA (back when they existed), and I love testing games, but unfortunately I really don't have time right now. I barely have time to even play games right now let alone test them :/

Really excited to see the next KS for Slaughterball though! Bring it on!

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Reed Dawley
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hyperinactive wrote:
Push never got used. We struggled with thinking of when we'd even want to try instead of just going for the Chop.


I didnt get push early on, but once I realized that I can herd the enemy where I want them it alleviates some of the positioning issues with Berserk. I found instead of wasting an onslaught token to move out of the way of the rampaging beast I could strategically take out my opponents dudes that I wanted to. It was kind of a push your luck thing, if I miss this I may have to hit my own guy, but if I can push a cleaver over within a space of the butcher I can Berserk on both of them with my butcher. I found I spent way way more time strategizing on my opponents turn than I do with my normal team The Swords. I found it interesting to play a hitty team vs a scorey team. I loved the extra thought I needed for that extra attack every turn. Unfortunately a blizzard ruined game night last night or I would have had a chance to play against Ragnarok.

Hex_Enduction_Hour wrote:
Sounds like you've already playtested a bit, huh Reed?


I can confirm nor deny anything. That being said your art is fantastic. I am enjoying the hell out of it!
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Jonan Jello
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IMCarnochan wrote:
I can confirm nor deny anything.

That tells me everything, Reed.

Thanks for (and all the playtesters involved!) all your time and intelligence in making the game great for the fans.

~

At lunch, I had a brief moment to sketch (so there's inconsistencies in boot styles and just quick-development of armor pads and joints) and ink in a more clean style armor for the Slasher and Butcher. I scanned the images to myself and adjusted the Cleaver, so the image quality is a bit grainy.

Slasher with swayback horns, while the Butcher has straight up horns.
I'm thinking the rivets on the helms looks too similar to team Carnage's headgear as evidenced with the Butcher below.

Also, playing around with the idea that the loin cloth/skirt flap in the front would have a design echoing the figure's base shape (hexagon, square, starburst, and circle). So you can see a foundation of a square design on the butcher's flap. I wasn't sure what the shape was for the Slasher, so I left it blank. I now realize it's a hexagon



EDIT:
Full team line-up. I did these today just to get an overall team look.
Note:
The wraps look on the Cleaver's forearms.
The different types of horns


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Jonan Jello
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IMCarnochan wrote:
That being said your art is fantastic. I am enjoying the hell out of it!
Thanks, Reed.modest

I didn't go home after work. Parked near the local lake and finished up the inking. Had a lot fun with the shoes and attempted a more gleaming armor appearance.
Also note, I played around with the shapes of the miniatures' bases and the designs on their loin cloth/front flap.



Fruit for scale



EDIT: I just realized I didn't finish drawing the Razor's cloak!
shake
Finished:
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Reed Dawley
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I got in two games last night with OCDave as Ragnarok, which he kept calling Fraggle Rock and even played the music as he moved his figures onto the board. Yes, during the fraggle rock clap his Butcher and Razor high fived twice. Yes, when we get into a game we get into a game.

First game was me as my Swords, which I was able to win, going into my turn in the 6th round one point up (he was first coach). It was an odd game and he didn't use the Ragnarok powers a lot, he was more scoring and only hitting a little. He may have used Rage once. I did my normal swords thing and danced around the board and yes, I did get Bamboozled. Still love that card and it was the first time he has been able to use it since we have been playing.

Second game I went in with Nemesis, a team that I have never played. Well, this game went very different. He got a draw three card so he had a 7 card hand and was able to use rage twice in one turn, which when combined with berserker was devastating. in the first two rounds he had injured all three of my cleavers and my razor. So I had a turn where I had a brute and a slasher on the board and he kept the ball well away from me. I managed to play Ain't got time to Bleed and get a cleaver back and the next round got the card that lets me take a card back from the discard pile, so I got another cleaver back (I most likely should have got my razor back and tried to score more). I got crushed, he was knocking my dudes down left and right, he knocked a few of his own dudes around while in a berserker rage and it was quite funny. My goal was just to not let him lap me in points. It was a fantastic game and while he missed his all star hitter from carnage he managed to run through nemesis like wet tissue paper.

The only question we came up with was if you berserk on your own dude and one of them gets knocked down do you get a point? I would assume that is only for knocking an enemy down but I gave him the point when his butcher berserked on my guy, knocked him down and then he went after his own cleaver and the cleaver knocked his butt down and he got a point. Not sure if this is correct, seems wrong but thematic.

Long story short, I suck with Nemesis and got knocked around the board like so many pinballs. I want to say the final score was 36 to 24, something like that. at one point it was 31 to 17 and I thought I was going to get lapped...
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Jonan Jello
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Tonight I did some illustrations as suggestions for miniature poses:

This one was uninspired


Here are two poses for Razors. Would a heel connection be too weak for a miniature?
Fury's Razor is on one foot.
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Reed Dawley
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I shoved all the physics of a gravity classification yard into my head in two days, but I can only draw stick figures. I actually took art lessons for years and I can draw what I see, I used to favour oil pastels but I never could draw something from scratch. Like picture a thing and draw it, I needed reference points and mannequins and such, Impressive work Hex. I am always so amazed what comes out of peoples heads and the quality of yours is top notch. Amazing!
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Ogmundprime and I sat down to a 2p game of Ragnarok facing Katanas in the Quad. Final score: Ragnarok 21, Katanas 18.

These teams are pretty well matched. Ragnarok had the edge in Brawl Dice, but Interrupting Move let the Katana Butchers keep up with the Berserking Ragnarok Butchers. The lead shifted back and forth quite a bit.

Highlights!
Ragnarok made excellent use of Berserker the whole game, never attacking team mate.

The Katana Razor ambushed a Ragnarok Slasher with the ball and Four Fists of Fury, sending the shocked slasher to the Slaughterbox.

The same Kat Razor had a simultaneous knockdown when a Rag Butcher stepped over for vengeance.

In Round three, the embarrassed Rag Butcher used Rage on the Kat Razor, sending him to morgue with Dead Neo-humans Can't Dance. The followup Berserker Chop knocked down a Kat Butcher.

Round four, a Rag Slasher, with a "Brute" Card, injured the Kat Cleaver. Then he used Rage on the followup Berserker Chop to knock down a Kat Butcher.

Round five, the other Rag Slasher was pinned between two Kat Butchers and used Push to send one 7 spaces away.

Round six, Ogmundprime used "Inspired Coaching" to fill his hand with seven cards. A Rag Butcher used Rage to knock down one Kat Butcher, used a Burst of Speed on the Berserker Move to Rage again and knock down a second Kat Butcher.

Clarifications required:
With Push, can the Ragnarok Coach choose to move an athlete fewer spaces than the combined boots+knife successes?

Does Berserker only apply when the Ragnarok athlete takes a Chop Action? Or does it trigger if they knockdown an athlete when they are being Chopped?

What happens on the timing between Berserker and the "Let's Get Crunchy" card? Does Berserker override any such follow-up? Or can the Ragnarok Coach choose to play/finish LGC and then Berserk away?
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Jonan Jello
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IMCarnochan wrote:
I shoved all the physics of a gravity classification yard into my head in two days, but I can only draw stick figures. I actually took art lessons for years and I can draw what I see, I used to favour oil pastels but I never could draw something from scratch. Like picture a thing and draw it, I needed reference points and mannequins and such, Impressive work Hex. I am always so amazed what comes out of peoples heads and the quality of yours is top notch. Amazing!

Reed, I can say the same about you and your AARs and insights with strategies and such.

I was a playtester on a few games, and it's not easy for me to put into words thoughts about strategy, variables, percentages, etc.
During the days of Heroscapers, I was envious of the members of the game who could meta the sh*t out of the latest character previews or drum up a competitive army for an upcoming tournament.

It's most likely intelligence and I don't possess that type!.
But I can really get mileage out of the creative side of things and it's there I enjoy dwelling.

Anyway, I did some pencil sketches this morning over breakfast
These two I was again working on those wrapped forearms or leather bound forearms. A possible pose could be like my favorite modern-day viking, Techno Viking!


This afternoon, I visited the local wildlife refuge and worked on two Slashers. The first guy was a botched drawing, but I think I managed to salvage an ink job exercise out of it.


While working on the second guy (on the left) The luscious black ball point pen I was using ran out of ink.
I scrambled about the pen bin and luckily found another and finished the job. Not much to report on these guys.
I guess should have attempted something new with the look, but I did try the forearm variations as well as an embroidered crotch flap.



Nate, good to read Ragnarok winning a match especially in such close confines as the Quad. I'll try to get in some playtesting tonight with the viking trouble-makers.
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Erik Kjerland
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All,

Thanks for playtesting and posting your results, questions, and suggestions! These are very helpful. I’m taking it all into consideration for possible rules changes.

Jonan,

Playtest reaction to Berserk:
- It takes a couple games to figure out how to play it.
- It requires a close eye on movement and positioning. Moreso than any other team.
- Valkyries are very good at negating Berserk by using their Direct/Divert skills to move the Ragnaroks around.

Berserk is a combat skill, not a movement skill. The movement part of it was a secondary addition. Initially it only allowed an Interrupting Chop. But there were so few situations where two opponents ended up adjacent, I added the Int Move. This really made the skill work. Encouraging lots of strategic movement and positioning.

Helmets

I like the swept back horns for the razors like you have on one of them. It makes them seem faster.

Having a Skyrim style helmet on one of the athletes would be cool.

I have another helmet design I saw somewhere, I’ll have to find it.
Wrapped forearms

I like the wrapped forearms idea. This really works for the lightly-armored razors and cleavers.

Loin cloth shapes

That’s a good idea to have the base shapes integrated into the loin cloth somehow!

Poses

I’ll have to ask my 3d artist if a heel is enough to be attached to the base. Thanks for all the pose ideas, and artwork! You should do a comic book! Maybe we should collaborate on a Slaughterball one-pager! ????

I came up with the current athlete poses by looking at lots of basketball, hockey, football (US), rugby photos. I also us a fully-articulated action figure to play around with poses.

Reed,

You don’t score points for KD/injuring your team-mates. That promotes to much intra-team chaos. ????

Nate,

You don’t need to push the full distance indicated by the knives/boots of a Push roll.

Berserker is only triggered when making a Chop attack. You can’t do it while defending.

Good question on the LGC/Berserker timing. Berserker actions must be consecutive. LGC can come after the last Berserker chop.

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