January 2, 2018

Siegeball - Tournament Rules

Comments from the Finger: We're back! I had a super relaxing and amazingly productive break. To get us started again, I thought I'd keep on throwing out siegeball rules. Enjoy!

Siegeball Tournaments

Though individual, one-off siegeball games are held regularly, there's nothing so spectacular as a tournament: the thrill of rising to the top, the sting of defeat, and the lure of a grand prize and lasting glory. Few other things bring out spectators and players alike in droves. The grandeur of such tournaments is integral to siegeball on a grand scale, as they  bring far-flung teams together, expand the sport's scope to a national scale, and unite players and spectators in a single, grand competition.

Setting up a Tournament

Though tournaments are the lifeblood of career siegeball teams, there exists no one perfect way of conducting them. Each method of arranging a tournament has radical pros and cons, though most attempt to strike a balance between audience tension and accurate assessment of skill. The following tournament designs are often used for siegeball:

Single Elimination
By far the simplest and shortest tournament is the single-elimination bracket. In this tournament, teams are randomly paired off on a pyramid, and losers are eliminated from the tournament. Winners advance to the next round until only one team remains.
     Though this tournament's design is attractive due to its simplicity, it suffers from some limitations. When spectators follow only a single team, they are unlikely to return after their team is eliminated; a result that is extremely likely when half of the competing teams are eliminated every round. Also, skilled teams can be eliminated early after only a single bad match, leading to upsets where the players blame the loss of an entire tournament on a single bad play or referee call.
     Despite its drawbacks, single elimination tournaments remain the favorite among orcish and goblinoid teams, perhaps because it doesn't hinder a tournament's progression if a half of a losing team is killed over the course of a game.

Double Elimination
A popular alternative to the single elimination tournament is the double elimination. This bracket proceeds like the single elimination bracket, except that losers are added to a loser's bracket, where they compete against each other. The final team remaining in the loser's bracket goes on to play the victor of the winner's bracket in the finals. This design ensures that teams play at least two games each, and that a single poor game doesn't condemn an otherwise superlative team.

A natural extension to the double elimination design, multilevel tournaments begin with all contending teams at the same "level", with a tournament score equal to the number of contending teams. A team gains one point on a victory, and loses one point on a defeat, and plays only other teams with the same tournament score as themselves, continuing until no two teams are on the same level (or until only one team is the victor, depending on the specific rules.)
     This design ensures that competitors play a roughly equal number of games, and that a maximum number of competitions happen at one time. Additionally, it's likely that teams will be more evenly matched for skill after a few rounds.

In a round-robin game, each competing team plays each other in sequence; the team with the greatest number of victories wins, or goes to a tie-breaker game. This is easily the fairest way of determining a victor, since every possible matchup in a tournament is played out, but it has yet to catch on in the national siegeball stage. Part of the reason might be that players are accustomed to the thrill of elimination, and the natural progression of more skilled teams matching against one another as the brackets become smaller. Whatever the reason, few leagues (except for elven leagues) employ this type of tournament.

Siegeball Championship

The annual Siegeball Championship League, held for the better part of a millennium, enjoys the largest scale and most prestigious prizes of any siegeball tournament. Taking part over a season, its athletes travel from city to city, competing in matches to separate the wheat from the chaff.
     At its conclusion, only one team may win the Siegebowl, and claim its grand prize (normally an impressive quantity of gold). Perhaps more importantly, Championship victors claim legendary sports status for all time, and are enshrined in the Hall of Victors, an immortal dedication to champions throughout the ages.
     The Championship is a double-elimination competition, and every competing team must play one home game and one away game. Contending teams are selected by the Championship Committee, the presiding board of regulators and referees, and also must pay a hefty entry fee to compete. Though entry fees might pose an obstacle for upstart teams, they rarely present an obstacle to national contenders, which compete yearly.


Few games are played exclusively for bragging rights and notoriety; tournaments run on their prizes. Large, enticing awards for winning teams fuels an entire industry of talent scouts, coaches, and arena owners, from the smallest games to the largest championships. Every player dreams of glory, but earning huge prize is a close second.
     Of course, not all prizes are silver and gold. Siegeball tournaments give out a huge variety of prizes, some of which are detailed here:

Most large, official tournament tournaments give out a trophy of some variety to the winning team. The classic trophy is a gold chalice with a marble base, engraved with the tournament's name and year. Other might include medals, rings, or ribbons, depending on the tournament. The best of teams collect these trophies and display them as badges of honor, but ultimately, they're fairly token. Nearly every trophy is awarded alongside a cash prize, which coaches and team owners view as far more substantial.

Cash Prizes
The actual value of cash prizes might vary, but they generally grow (exceptionally, in fact) with the glamor and prestige of the tournament awarding them. Typical first-place prizes are listed on the cash prizes table below. Often, a second-place prize equal to half the value of the first-place prize is awarded to the runner up team.

17th-20th 40,000

Valuable Items
Other valuable items, equivalent in value to  cash prize, might be awarded instead. Anything from magic items, to priceless treasures donated from the king's coffers, to entire keeps or tracks of land could be at stake for the winning team. It is assumed that such prizes will probably be sold (at least in part, if the prize in question can be divided) to pay the team, the coach, and the arena owner sponsoring the team. Other items, like artifacts, might be powerful enough that the fate of many innocents might rely on the winner of the tournament. Though such awards might seem extremely foolhardy, they're not uncommon among the elves, who appreciate the dramatics.



    All of this seems pretty good. I'd think that a team losing on a multilevel tournament just wouldn't get any points for the round instead of losing a point, but maybe that's because I'm getting my information from MTG tournaments and not from real sports.

    I'm my campaign world, the trophy from a siegeball tournament is shaped like a siegeball, and can also be use to summon an actual siegeball (1-time use), which is relevant since many participants are adventurers rather than professional athletes.

    Maybe magic siegeball items will be next? Special equipment for the game, special magic items used for cheating, specific, thematic items which are common prizes, etc.

    1. I have the next article written already -- it's about how to run Siegeball as a campaign. After that one, though, I'm doing nonmagical siegeball equipment (uniforms, cleats, siegeball bats, etc.), then probably magic items.

    2. Man, I'd better get back to working on my team...

    3. Siege ball woooot hey what magic is fine lole illusion magics good yeah

    4. When will we be getting the siegeball campaign artical? I've been dying to play a campaign based on this, and might be later this month, but any insights you have would be so helpful!

  2. Pardon, but since I can’t comment on either the Soulknife monk or the Fencer fighter, I’ll do it here.

    Soulknife: it looks incredible, really, but methinks that your 3rd level feature is a little weak compared to the basic flurry of blows, Giving only one attack (granted, with a higher Damage die) at the same cost as two. As it is, it doesn’t feel worth the cost, and I think that you should be able to make two attacks with your Soulknife as a bonus action by expending 1 ki, making it slightly better than the basic Flurry of Blows that all monks get.

    Fencer: everything is perfect except for the capstone. Instead of getting a bonus to just one of the bonus actions granted by their third level feature, I believe they should get that extra attack (without ability modifier to damage) whenever you use a bonus action from their 3rd level feature.

    1. The goal with my suggestion for the Soulknife was to being the power more in line with the base monk.

      Now, with the suggestion regarding the capstone, I really wanted to increase their versatility, and give them more “optimal” options.

  3. There should be an article about Siegeball fans. I see them as hooligans like some of Englands Soccer fans.