Boreal is a game mode played in two phases where all players are either shaman or wolf shaman. In the first phase, the wolf shamans work in secret to attempt to starve someone else and turn them into a wendigo (vengeful ghost). In the second phase, the shamans must both deal with starvation as well as attempts by the wendigo to diminish their numbers. Can they exile the wolf shamans before they are destroyed?
It is winter, and the coniferous forests of Canada are being ravaged by a seemingly never-ceasing blizzard. The tribe living here has fallen on tough times; any tracks for game are quickly covered by new snowfall, and any edible plants are long-dormant and buried. Survival will be tough, so they turn to their shamans for aid. In their longhouse, the shamans gather together to create life-sustaining totems, gifts to help tide the people over while their stockpile of food dwindles. Hopefully, it will be enough to outlast the storm.
One night, as the wind howls mercilessly, some of the shamans hear the voice of an evil spirit pretending to be the noble Wolf. It tells them that this storm is a test from the gods, and it is their intent to have only the strong survive. To this end, it instructs them to change the magic in their totems; instead of sustaining the people, it should force them to persevere on their own. Unaware of the evil nature of the spirit, those selected few shamans begin modifying their totems, believing they are following the will of Wolf.
As hunger besets the tribe, they realize the fell magic in some of the totems. Someone is working against them! They gather for a tribal meeting, and must decide who is responsible and must be exiled before starvation besets them all. Alternatively, they could try to outlast the storm. The village elder predicted it should last for another ten days before things return to normal. The evil spirits look upon this scene gleefully, as should the wrong person be exiled or should anyone starve to death while waiting out the storm, they will surely be transformed to a wendigo and cause even more misery to the tribe.
All players in boreal are either shamans or wolf shamans. Wolf shamans are unable to kill at night in this mode. This mode introduces two custom totems: sustenance and hunger. The game is played out in two phases, and the distribution of totems between the phases differs. All shamans (but not wolf shamans) additionally have a hidden attribute called hunger level. Should this reach 5, the player dies of starvation. It cannot go lower than 0.
Each night, the other members of the tribe additionally need to be fed. To feed them, shamans with sustenance totems should use the
feed command in PM -- this will cause the shaman to give their sustenance totem to the tribe instead of another player. If the tribe is given enough sustenance totems, nothing happens. Otherwise, they go hungry that night. If the tribe goes hungry for 3 nights (the nights need not be consecutive), the game ends and wolves win. Wolf shamans with hunger totems can use
feed as well to make the tribe hungrier and counteract the work of the shamans.
Some wolf shamans may get multiple totems per night, depending on player count. To give out multiple totems, the wolf shaman must indicate which totem they are giving out as part of the command, e.g.
give hunger nick to give a hunger totem to the person named nick. The totem name can be reduced to shorthand, such as
give h nick for hunger. Similarly, if a wolf shaman gets both a sustenance and hunger totem the same night, they must use
feed sustenance or
feed hunger to specify which totem to give to the tribe.
At the end of the night, totems are tallied. If a player has more sustenance totems than hunger totems, their hunger level is reset to 0. Conversely, if they have more hunger than sustenance totems, their hunger level is set to 3 if it is lower than 3. Otherwise, the hunger totem has no effect. If a player has equal number of sustenance and hunger totems, they cancel each other out and nothing special happens.
Every player additionally gains 1 hunger level naturally at the end of the night to represent their body consuming energy, after all totem effects are processed. Once a player reaches a hunger level of 3 or 4, they will be notified in private that they are hungry. Wolf shamans cannot starve and do not have a hunger level.
The players can vote to exile someone during the day phase, or they can abstain. Abstaining is not limited in this mode, and can be taken every day. If they vote to exile all wolf shamans, the village wins. However, voting to exile a regular shaman will result in an evil spirit possessing them and turning them into a wendigo, a vengeful ghost. Similarly, if a regular shaman dies from starvation, they become a vengeful ghost as well. Once a vengeful ghost becomes active, the game moves onto phase 2. If there already exist a number of vengeful ghosts equal to the number of alive wolf shamans, no additional ghosts are created and the player just dies as normal.
In phase 2, a random regular shaman per active vengeful ghost will be given a retribution totem instead of their regular totem. The vengeful ghosts can only attack regular shamans. Should the number of alive wolf shamans equal or outnumber the alive regular shamans, the game is over and the evil spirits win.
At the end of night 7, unless the evil spirits achieve a victory condition that night, the blizzard ends and the tribe is able to hunt and forage again. With their food problem solved, the village wins.
The default role is shaman, so any empty slots from the below player counts are shamans. All regular shamans are additionally turned into vengeful ghosts should they die of starvation or by being voted during day, up to a maximum of the number of living wolf shamans at the time of their death. Other means of dying (such as idling out, or being killed by a death totem or vengeful ghost) do not feature this behavior.
- 6p: wolf shaman (2)
- 10p: wolf shaman (3)
- 15p: wolf shaman (4)
- 20p: wolf shaman (5)
The village will generally never have enough sustenance totems to fully sustain everyone as well as feed the tribe, and has to make tough choices when someone reports that they are hungry -- do they prevent shamans from dying of starvation or do they feed the tribe to prevent losing that way? As shamans may rarely get a revealing totem, they can gain information by lynching the revealing target instead of abstaining, but due to the high amount of pacifism totems in play they may not be able to get enough votes for a successful lynch.
Wolf shamans can capitalize on the random totems by pretending they gave revealing and forcing a mislynch, or by giving luck totem to targets that are about to starve naturally. Wolf shamans can also pretend that they are hungry to attempt to steal sustenance totems away from other players. When multiple wolf shamans are in play, they should coordinate via wolfchat who to give hunger totems to, in order to maximize their effect and speed up the beginning of part 2.
Wolf shamans can give themselves revealing totems if they suspect they will be lynched, in order to avoid dying that day. The extra day may be enough to afford themselves a win.
The village should be very confident that someone is a wolf shaman before voting to exile someone (sans revealing totems). In general, it is better to abstain than it is to vote blindly.