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Battle High!

In a galaxy far far away, a remote school rises like a spiral towards the heavens. It looms tall and proud on a steep hill above the town around it. Its thick armored walls house the meanest and toughest. Its classes are all about developing students into competent people and powerful warriors. Ruled above all by the Student Council President Zenith, everyone know the school is just a recruiting ground for Zenith's personal army. While everyone has heard rumors about Zenith, nothing is truly known except they command the top of the class at Battle High! for their own secret agenda.

Suddenly transfer students begin to appear at Battle High!. Each more powerful than anyone can easily accept. Each named after a star that burns bright in the night sky.

Why have these heroes appeared? What drives them? How does all this intersect with Zenith's plan?

Welcome to the wild and crazy mysteries of Battle High!

Rules / Setup

Here are the rules for the game, broken down into small digestible sections.

The game needs two or more players. One player will become The Stray Narrator, and they take on the role of Zenith whenever he or she pops up in the game, as well as control all the details of Battle High! itself. The other players will all create heroes, transfer students named after stars that have suddenly begun to arrive at Battle High! Lets talk about making them!

Hero Creation

Hero creation is a set of several small steps that will define your hero in broad terms, the details you will fill in as you play. As you go you will be building an introduction for your hero in a specific format. Expanding it at each step until it gives us a good quick look at them.

  1. STAR NAME - Choose a star name for your hero.
  2. STAR PRESENCE - Define what makes them stand out from the crowd.
  3. STAR MOTIVE - Create their motive for coming to Battle High!.
  4. STAR NUMBERS - Assign the numbers to ratings for your hero.
  5. STAR ORBIT - Build up a track record for your hero.
  6. STAR RUMORS - Introduce two rumors they have heard, and hold onto one for later.


A hero is born from the stars in Battle High!, so the initial part is picking a unique star for your hero to be named (no two same named heroes in a game of Battle High!). Stars come from constellations in the sky, each provides a vague, open to interpretation, special power to the heroes named from stars within that constellation:

  • Aquila - The Eagle.
    • Heroes born of Aquila have the Eagle's Eye: They may know that which they should not.
      • Altair:
      • Zeta: Add the following Trigger under PUSH “”.
  • Aries - The Ram.
    • Heroes born of Aries have the Ram's Horn: They may move any object, regardless of mass or size.
      • Hamal:
      • Sheratan: Add the following Trigger under PUSH “”.
  • Cancer - The Crab.
    • Heroes born of Cancer have the Crab's Shell: They may endure any direct force given they are aware and actively resisting it.
      • Acubens:
      • Beehive Cluster: Add the following Trigger under PUSH “”.
  • Cassiopeia - The Queen.
    • Heroes born of Cassiopeia have the Queen's Tiara: They earn one additional cool whennever stars become cool.
      • Gamma:
      • Rho: Add the following Trigger under PUSH “”.
  • Cygnus - The Swan.
    • Heroes born of Cygnus have the Swan's Show: They can create incredible visual distractions hiding even large loud objects from onlookers.
      • Sadr:
      • Deneb: Add the following Trigger under PUSH “”.
  • Gemini - The Twins.
    • Heroes born of Gemini have the Twin's Spirit: They can create temporary duplicates of anything human sized or less.
      • Pollux:
      • Castor: Add the following Trigger under PUSH “”.
  • Leo - The Lion.
    • Heroes born of Leo have the Lion's Roar: They can emanate a powerful sound that can daze, confuse, and even command others.
      • Regulus:
      • Denebola: Add the following Trigger under PUSH “”.
  • Lyra - The Harp.
    • Heroes born of Lyra have Lyra's Song: They can speak in a way that influences what others think and feel directly, evoking images and sensations in their mind.
      • Vega:
      • Beta Lyrae: Add the following Trigger under PUSH “”.
  • Orion - The Hunter.
    • Heroes born of Orion have the Hunter's Arrow: Any one of their prepared direct attacks can't be evaded, and all their attacks are ranged.
      • Bellatrix:
      • Rigel: Add the following Trigger under PUSH “”.
  • Pegasus - The Winged Horse.
    • Heroes born of Pegasus have the Wings of Pegasus: They can move across any terrain (and even just through air) at the speed of a horse's gallop.
      • Markab:
      • Alpheratz: Add the following Trigger under PUSH “”.
  • Scorpius - The Scorpion.
    • Heroes born of Scorpius have Poison Nails: They can control others using a poison introduced by any nail scratch.
      • Antares:
      • Sargas: Add the following Trigger under PUSH “”.
  • Ursa Major - The Great Bear.
    • Heroes born of Ursa Major have the Bear's Strength: They can become as strong as is needed to accomplish any one task, given they sleep afterwards.
      • Polaris:
      • Alkaid: Add the following Trigger under PUSH “”.

The rules under each name that mention Trigger can be understood if you jump down to STAR NUMBERS below.

In order to access their star power, the student summons their Facade. This is a uniform that goes over their normal uniform (or replaces, as the player decides) that imparts a form to the power. Designing the appearance of the Facade is part of creating your hero. It can evolve and change during play too, but at the start we need a base form for the Facade.

  • Working up a Facade: Make it entertaining. Use your language and colors to evoke intense imagery, remember the powers bestowed on the hero born under a star title are amazing things. Don't be afraid of magic or technology, embrace ideas that pop into your head. Have fun! If it has some humor to it, all the better.


Every hero born under a star title has a significant presence. You need to decide what makes them stand out from the crowd, what makes them special at first glance to the other students attending Battle High!.

  • Building serious Presence: You have free reign here to really tell the group something about your hero. Don't just think about appearance, but about the hero and who they are. The rigid, strict busybody that has to tell everyone what they should be doing is a great presence description, but it told us almost nothing about the heroes appearance. This is just as much about demeanor and attitude than looks, and how they relate to the other students attending Battle High!


Every hero born under a star title has a reason for attending Battle High! This is something compelling, something interesting, something dramatic!.

  • Cooking up a Tasty Motive: A proper motive really needs to be motivating, it is the reason that even in the face of adversity your hero isn't going to just drop out of Battle High! and go to some nice school in the south where the girls wear bikinis to class. It needs to be delicious, dark, and satisfying. You want the other players to go “oh damn” when it comes up in play. It does not need to be public however, but it will most likely come out in play (when it does you get bonuses in a Crucible for instance). If Zenith sent a black squad to murder your hero's sister and it happened in the bedroom right next to your hero in the middle of the night, well now that is motivation. See? However, the Stray Narrator has a duty to make dry motivations juicy with liberal applications of “fuck your hero”. Even if you end up with “Polaris transferred to Battle High! because her family moved into town” rest assured the Stray Narrator is going to involve your family into the story in unfortunate ways.


Every hero born under a star title has to have numbers too, these tell us a little about the capabilities of the hero themselves. Each of these numbers goes under a name, which we just call a rating. There are three ratings for heroes with star titles:

    • Hustle is the ability to get things done. It is speed, it is strength, it is prowess. When you want to kick ass, you are using HUSTLE. When you want to race some one, its HUSTLE.
    • Trigger: When a question of timing arises involving your hero, HUSTLE is rolled to determine the hero that answers that question.
    • Trigger: ?
    • Exploit is the ability to use your mind to think, manipulate, and yes, exploit. It is knowledge, it is cunning, it is wiles. When you want to lay the perfect trap, escape a prison, or defeat someone at chess, you are using EXPLOIT.
    • Trigger: When a question of relationship state arises involving your hero, EXPLOIT is rolled to determine the hero that answers that question.
    • Trigger: ?
  • PUSH
    • Push is the ability to endure and persist, and remaining standing against all odds. It is drive, it is motivation, it is heart. When you need to keep going even when you can't, you PUSH harder. This is also the catch-all rating, if you need a roll and it isn't HUSTLE or EXPLOIT, its PUSH.
    • Trigger: All your attacks are enhanced by your PUSH number.
    • Trigger: ?

Under each rating, you can see what the number means in the game. The higher the number you assign to a rating, the more ability your hero has in that area. A hero with seven HUSTLE is faster and stronger than one with two.

In addition you can see something called a Trigger. A Trigger is a situation in which that rating is called into place specifically. The Stray Narrator normally will tell you when which applies, but in Trigger cases it always applies, the rules trigger it. The second line on each has a question mark to show that a second Trigger can be added to your hero, one additional per rating. You hero got one from their star name, and they can develop more during play, but only ever one per rating.

Zeroes (non-heroes) all have one in each rating. Your hero begins the same, but you assign ten more between the three ratings any way you choose. Note though that a two is merely twice as good as a zero, so it might be wise for first time player to assign four more to a base of three (same total amount of 13).


Every hero born under a star title has an orbit, a track of things that matter to them. Adding something here is something very important to hero, and its open to additions and subtractions across the run of any game of Battle High! However, each hero starts with one orbit: Cool.


  • Cool is a measure of how awesome the hero thinks they are, and how much the zeroes of Battle High! admire them. It is the currency of the game, you will get and lose Cool over the course of play.
  • A hero with low cool isn't looked up too by the zeroes, and a hero with high cool is.
  • A hero with enough cool can earn a promotion within Battle High! if the Stray Narrator decides so and the hero's player agrees.
  • You have to spend cool to buy rolls during a Crucible.
  • You can spend five or more cool to create Awesome!

Each hero begins with three Cool. When we are talking about orbit ratings, we use the exclamation mark to denote that. Three Cool is 3! Cool. If you don't attach any name, we assume you mean Cool since it is the default ! rating.

A hero with ratings less than three gets more Cool: +2! per rating of two, and +3! per rating of one. In this way, a hero with two ratings of one starts with 9!.


The Cool is the innermost orbit of a hero born under a star title. When you add more orbits, they go in the outer ring above Cool. Each ring has a doubling effect, making your hero more and more Cool. Lets explain this with an example.

  • Altair has an inner orbit of Cool, like all heroes born under a star title. Altair also has a best friend Mao, and Mao is very important to her. She eventually earns the right to place Mao into her orbit. Mao is place in a ring above Cool. If she later adds another orbit, it goes above Mao. That will be above Cool, and above Mao, almost like filling in a list. When her relationship with Mao is strengthened she can place ! into the Mao Orbit just as she does cool. When that relationship wields its power in play, she can promote ! from Mao to Cool, at a rate of 2 to 1. That means 3! taken from Mao becomes 6! in Cool.


Each hero gets to know three rumors. One is about Zenith or Battle High!, one is about themselves, and they hold the last one until it is triggered in play. A rumor is just that, something that has been going around about the subject. Something juicy, something that would catch someone's attention and make them tell everyone they know. The Stray Narrator decided ultimately the truth behind the rumor, and what is means (all have meaning).

The rumor you hold for your hero is triggered when they meet another hero with lower PUSH, or when they have a Showdown with another hero. In that case, the player of the hero with the rumor makes one up about the other hero.

Being Cool



The Stray Narrator

Battle High!


battle_high.txt · Last modified: 2015/03/05 02:34 by JasonP