Update 2/2/17: added change regarding having one leg hacked and the other pierced. Also added "Unclear" section.
Update 2/14/17: added head then body to unclear
Update 2/17/17: added Shields lying on the ground can't be broken
The War Council of Belegarth has recently passed a vote to accept a new, updated version of the Book of War. This version was crafted by a rules committee, which was appointed by War Council, through a long process of analyzing the old rules for issues and reconciling differences between interpretations from various realms. It isn't "perfect", but it does give us, the Belegarth community, a solid footing to look at our rules and make changes as needed down the line. Lots of rules have changed to reflect clarifications or compromises between different interpretations.
I had originally intended to compile a list of changes and break each of them down here. It quickly became apparent that was beyond the scope of a quick blog post. Instead, I would like to point your attention to a few items that are definite changes to how the game is played (vs. my local realm of Numenor). I only highlight below a few of the things I noticed on a couple of quick reads, so this is in no way comprehensive. If you want to check it out and see for yourself, GO READ THE RULES: http://www.belegarth.com/getting-started/rules/
These are just a quick overview, not exact wordings of the new rules. Significant changes are those that might have an impact on how the game is played or on current equipment passing weapons check. Minor changes are those that, while different from the previous version, shouldn't change much of how the game is typically played. Clarifications are things that either were implied through various old rules interactions or were played a specific way that never made it into the rules. Unclear is anything I notice that is either still ambiguous from the old rules, or where I noticed some sort of conflict between rules.
- No leg running. From what I have seen, this is likely to be updated in the next round of voting later this year. This is a carryover from the old rules that no one seems to remember enforcing.
- Archers can call hits for clarification if they have an clear, unobstructed view of the whole arrow flight. The target gets to make hit determinations if it is unclear, for all missile weapons. This will take some adjustment and discussion on how these rules actually work out in combat. From what I have seen, "archers" are usually playing to these rules most of the time anyway. "Guys with bows", not always. It does bring archers more in line with everyone else as far as hit taking goes.
- Incidental and courtesy padding have specific, and different, definitions now. Incidental has to be somewhere between a striking surface and what generally has passed a semi-okay non-striking surface in the past. Flails, glaives, and other weapons with haft padding need be looked at to conform with the new rules. For incidental padding, 6" for one-handed, and 12" for two-handed is required for swung weapons. It will take some time for the community/craftsmen to figure out what exactly passes for incidental padding.
- "Two-handed" is defined as both hands firmly gripping the weapon at the point of impact. Allows you to pool-cue double, but only if you grab with the sliding hand at the end. Same applies to the two-handed "ax swing" for swung weapons.
- Half-draw for arrows has a little different wording. It now means "half the force of a full-draw". Not a big change, but it is a good thing for archers to be aware of.
- Draw stops on arrows have stricter requirements than before. Most of the our archers were already conforming to standards close to the new rules.
- Sufficient force is defined a little differently
- Heavy hits for shield breaking hits is better defined (and is specifically "heavy")
- Communication for "light", "graze", "garb", "armor" is now required, as well as truthfully reporting any damage/armor condition when asked.
- No intentionally hitting a combatant with non-striking surface (like flail haft to hit with ball).
- No feinting head strikes from non-head legal weapons or shields.
- Weapons "contested" in a grapple take limbs if they are grabbed by the blade.
- The rules for shield bashing/checking were cleaned up. They also added shield bumping (pushing without trying to knock them over) and bracing (static bracing against someone moving into you). Basically, don't try to knock people over from behind, and target their center of mass if you are trying to knock them over from a different quadrant.
- Crossguards are now actually in the rules (templated like a pommel).
- If you have a pierced and hacked leg (both will be down), hits to the hacked leg don't do damage. The wording of rule 188.8.131.52.5. is a little goofy, but this seems to be the intent of the second part. (Added here 2/2/17)
- Shields lying on the ground can't be broken. (Added here 2/17/17)
- "Magic Switching" your weapon when your arm is killed is specifically legal.
- "Shot In Motion" is now official, including "Late" being defined in the rules.
- Shield kicking requires one foot on the ground.
- Grappling has been cleaned up and better defined.
- Grabbing a weapon handle/haft padding is NOT a grapple.
- Grabbing your own striking surface (half-swording) is legal.
- A hit to a disabled arm when you are wearing body armor counts as hitting the body armor.
- Armor definitions got better.
- Handles have to be continuous except on double ended weapons.
- Arrows hitting a hand on a weapon has two rules in conflict. Hand on weapon counts as part of the weapon, so the arrow should go through. However, the rules for the hand target area specifically say hits to the hand count as hits to the arm. Traditionally, the interpretation was that arrows go through hand on weapon.
- A swing that hits both head (illegal target area) and body doesn't specify if the target should take the body hit, or discount it due to the illegal hit. Strict reading would indicate this is still a valid body hit, as long as it is sufficient force. Common way to play is based on if the head shot was significant enough, to ignore the body shot. (Added 2/14/17)