This article was originally posted to the pre-magazine Freelance Traveller website in 2003 and reprinted with additional material in the March/April 2019 issue.
Battle Bikes involves a large rough track, with many twists, turns, and obstacles. There are two teams, each with 12 bikes and 13 players.
The “Battle Bike” is a robust, TL6-8, easy-to-maintain (wheeled) ground bike. There is a lot of variety and customization done to the bikes.
Spectators prefer the use of wheeled bikes, as they are louder, and kick up more dust. The stunts, and maneuvers also just look more thrilling!
Bikes are usually colorfully painted, and have loud exhaust systems, noise makers, flashing lights, and little team identification flags.
The sport is a popular one for gambling on; however, many worlds ban the sport as well.
Two types of bikes are used.
Zounngoekh (“Battle Bike Side Car”): The team leader rides in the side car. Each team has one.
Goekh (“Battle Bike”): Each team has eleven.
Rules of Play
Bikes may not deliberately leave the course area.
An unseated rider, other than the team leader, may re-mount and resume action. Action is not stopped. Similarly, bikes may not be substituted once the match starts. If either bike or rider is rendered unable to continue the match, the team continues short-handed.
No weapons are permitted to riders; the team leader in the side car may wield a club equivalent. A lost or discarded weapon may not be recovered.
Knocking the team leader out of his side car is an “instant win”. Otherwise, play continues for 45 minutes, and the accumulating the most points at the end of that time wins. Points are scored by either knocking an opposing rider off his bike (1 pt), or the team leader completing one lap of the course (1 pt).
“You know that guy you folks are looking for? Yeah! Yeah! The scrawny grey Vargr. Well… Hate to tell ya this, but he’s the top Chaser for the ‘Razor Teeth’ bike team… And after tonight’s match, they’re leaving—they got some big do off system.
“The ‘Teeth’ are supposed to run against the ‘Barbed Spikes’ tonight. Well… the ‘Spikes’ are a couple of riders short….”
Battle Bike Vehicle Designs
|Battle Bikes (TL6-8) (Timothy Collinson, design; Mongoose Traveller 2nd Ed.)|
|Skill||Drive (wheel)||Drive (wheel)|
|Shipping||½ ton||1 ton|
|Traits||Open Vehicle||Open Vehicle|
|Armour||Front 2, Rear 2, Sides 2||Front 2, Rear 2, Sides 2|
Both the Goekh and the Zounngoekh may be customized; the following customizations are commonly seen:
|Structural Reinforcement (+10% to Hull)||+50%|
|Improved Control System (+1 Agility)||Cr5000|
|TL9 Smart Wheels (DM +1 to Drive (Wheel) checks on rough terrain||Cr1000 (G)
|Noise Makers (see note)||Cr200 & up|
|Flashing Lights (see note)||Cr200 & up|
|Ejection Seat (The only known
example of this nearly killed the rider and a rider close behind.
Many matches ban this.)
Note: Noisemakers and Flashing Lights if triggered
on a successful Dexterity check
Some options (e.g. improved control systems) so outclass unimproved bikes they are put in different classes to keep races competitive. Some Vargr racing circuits, however, ignore this and have an ‘anything goes’ attitude. Some ‘improvements’ have proven to be anything but; for example, a Goekh design that used two spaces instead of one to improve its speed is rated as Fast (Cr6400, Hull 4, shipping 1 ton) but it was so fast on the tight courses that together with its weight, it was nearly unmanageable except by those Vargr of unusual size and the highest skill levels.