American Football (3.5e Other)

From D&D Wiki

Jump to: navigation, search

American football, at times simply referred to as Football, is a competitive team sport, wherein each team scores points by guiding the ball into the opposing teams end zone. According to the American football rules, there are two methods by which the ball can be guided to opposition's end zone - running play, wherein the ball is carried by the player, and passing play, wherein the ball is passed from one player to another. The information given below may be helpful to you, if you intend to apply American football to your campaign, or to make it to the field or to enjoy the game from outside.

The Rules[edit]

Field and Duration

An American football field is 360 by 160 feet in size. The 10 yard scoring area at each end is referred to as the 'End zone'. There are two goalposts at the end of each End Zone, each with a crossbar at 10 feet. The distance between the goal posts depends on the skill level of the players. The game is divided into four quarters, with a break of 12 minutes at the half time, i.e. after the end of the second quarter.

Teams and Positions

At any given point of time, the number of players on field should not exceed 11 players for each team. The positions are broadly categorized into two groups - offensive football positions such as the wide receiver, center, quarterback, offensive tackle, halfback, full back, etc, and defensive football positions such as the defensive end, nose guard, lineback, cornerback etc. Read more on football positions explained below.

Toss and Kick Off

The toss decides which side will begin the game by kicking the ball, and which side will defend. The procedure is repeated again, at the beginning of the second half. The team winning the toss can either opt to kick off to begin, receive the opening kick off, choose the side or goal posts to defend, or allow the opposition to begin with a stipulation that they will begin the second half. The decision of the toss winner, in these regard, will be followed by the opposing team, which can choose from remaining options.


Defensive Football Positions

Without a strong defense, the team is a non-entity and if the defense of a team is strong, well, half the battle is won. Here are the defensive football positions and descriptions.

Defensive Ends: There are two defensive ends and they rally the two opposite boundaries of the defensive line. What they do is that they attack the player passing the ball (from the opposite team) or advance with the ball towards the boundaries of the line of scrimmage. Now, whoever is faster amongst the two is on the left side of the quarterback, that is on the right side of the defensive line.

Nose Tackle: Also called as Defensive Tackle or Defensive Guard, this position refers to the linemen who are side-by-side and are between the defensive ends. They rush the passer and block the running plays, progressing towards the center of the line of scrimmage. When a player in this position is almost nose to nose with the opponent team's center and is lined up directly from across the ball, it is called nose tackle or nose guard.

Nose Guard: A nose guard is also called a middle guard. This is a position, straight opposite the center of the offensive. These function as players who stop running plays in the direction of the line of scrimmage and they are typically very sturdy and extremely strong.

Linebacker: These could be called as the all rounders on the field. As per the situation of the game, their functions vary from covering receivers and rushing the passer to blocking or defending against the run. There are three types of linebackers, strong side, middle side and weak side. The middle side linebacker decides the course of the entire defense ensemble and so he is sometimes called quarterback of defense.

Cornerback: The players in this position provide a cover for the wide receivers. They basically are there to try and avert successful quarterback passes. They do that by swatting the airborne ball away from the receiver or they themselves catch the pass. They also sometimes block the rusher.

Safety: They are the last in the line of defense, helping the corners with deep pass coverage typically. They are farthest from the line of scrimmage. There are two categories in this- Strong Safety and Free Safety. Strong Safety player is larger and stronger, whereas free safety player is smaller and faster than the strong safety.

Offensive Football Positions

They say that offense is the best defense. Therefore here are the quarterback and other offensive football positions explained right below!

Center: This player puts the ball in play by the method of snap and performs all the characteristic blocking functions. In many teams, the Center doubles up as one of the team captains.

Offensive Guard: These are the offensive linemen, within the tackles and directly on either side of the center. Akin to interior linemen, they block running as well as passing plays.

Offensive Tackle: Outside the periphery of offensive guards are the players who form the offensive tackle. Their main objective and role is to obstruct passing and running plays.

Tight End: The players in this position play close to the tackles on both sides. They have a role which is a mix of a receiver and blocker. In case an end moves away from the tackle, the player is called split end.

Wide Receiver: They are the specialists and are swift when it comes to pass catching on the go. They do the job of running pass routes and make way or 'get open' for a potential pass. Even though they are pass experts, they can be sometimes asked to block. This is one of the very crucial positions on the line of scrimmage in a legal formation along with 7 others.

Fullback: A fullback stands behind the middle of the line and can perform running, short receiving and blocking functions. A fullback normally paves way for running back to run while the ball is in that player's possession.

Running Back: Previously called halfback, the player in this position holds and carries the ball on maximum running plays. This player also performs the role of a short-yardage receiver many a times. Amongst the offensive players, running backs along with wide receivers are the fastest.

Quarterback: Here comes the match winner, the quarter back. This player is in a very strategic position, from where he can take a snap which is handed between the legs of the center player. Once the quarterback gets the ball, he either himself storms towards the end zone or passes it to the running back.

How to Play Football - Rules[edit]

The main objective of the sport is to score more points than the other team. Points are earned by making the ball pass over the line that is the 'end zone' of each team. Whoever gains more points at the end of the game will be deemed the winner. Points can be gained in the following 4 ways:

  • By running over the line with the ball in hand (running play).
  • By passing the ball to a teammate who has crossed the line (passing play).
  • By kicking the ball between the goal posts of the opposing team.
  • By tackling an opposing team player over his own end line.

The Players

There can be 11 players for each side on the field at any given time. Most football squads contain 46 players though, and in a normal game all these players get a chance to play. Any number of substitutions can be made during the pauses in a game, and therefore every player has a very specific role to play. Football teams are usually divided into 3 parts - the offense, the defense and the special teams. When you begin learning how to play football you will soon find out what your strengths are, and which part of the team you should belong to. Read some football coaching tips to get a better insight into the mind of a football coach.

The Field

The size of a football field is 360 feet by 160 feet. The shape is rectangular, and the longer boundaries are called the side-lines. The shorter boundaries are the end-lines. Just preceding the end-lines are the goal-lines and this space between the end-lines and the goal-lines is called the end zone. This is the area a player has to reach in order to score points.

Starting from the goal-lines there are parallel lines drawn for every 5 yards. The object is to slowly advance the football further and further while looking at these yard lines. This is the first thing that is taught to a beginner who is just learning how to play football.

The Duration

The game of football is divided into 4 quarters. Each quarter consists of 15 minutes, and some games at college football level utilize quarters of 12 minutes each. After the second quarter there is a 12 minute half time period. There are many breaks and time-outs in a game, so the real length of a game can even run up to 3 hours. In case the scores are even after the 4th quarter, an additional 15 minutes are played. Depending on the nature of the tournament, the first team that scores wins (sudden death), or the game ends in a tie, or more quarters are subsequently added till a winner is finally decided.


The team in possession gets 4 attempts to advance the ball 10 yards. Once they have done so, they get another 4 attempts to advance the ball 10 yards further. This goes on till they lose possession, or till they reach the end zone and score. Loss of possession means the opposing team gets 4 attempts to advance by 10 yards. The middle line of the field is the line of scrimmage, and play starts from here unless it is the beginning of the 2nd half, or unless someone has scored. The way a game begins is called a snap, where the 'center' snaps the ball back to his teammate.

Dead Ball

A dead ball situation occurs when the player in possession is brought down by a tackle, the ball goes out of bounds, the ball touches the ground before it is caught, the player with the ball goes out of bounds, or a team scores.

Dungeons, Dragons, and FOOTBALL![edit]

Obviously, the rules presented above don't give you much of an idea of the mechanics of the actual PLAYING in D&D. It just gives you the basic overview of an actual football game. Well, here's my translation of what happens when a PC puts his pads on, as well as the description of the gear.

When playing Football, characters are given Leather Armor and Dastana, as well as a Steel Cap to protect the head. This is what we have Football Pads for today.

For starters, we'll say that 1 yard= 1 square for the purpose of playing the game and keeping it balanced.

Catching a Football is not unlike attacking an object. The potential interceptor or receiver makes a touch attack against the Football (AC 13). Success means he or she has caught the Football, and is now on the offensive in the case of an interception, or running like hell in the case of a completed pass.

Tackling someone is another combat-esque scenario. To tackle someone, a Football Player makes an overrun attempt. Success knocks the runner to the ground, leaving him or her prone.

Blocking is another scenario not unlike Combat. It's a normal grapple attempt.

Throwing a Football is a strength check. The DC for the check is based on the distance divided by four (rounded up), for example, throwing the Football ten yards would be a DC of 3, while throwing it the full 100 would be a DC 20 check.

Passing a Football is roughly the same as a ranged touch attack. If the receiver is within range, treat this as a thrown weapon against the Receiver (AC 10+distance/2+Receiver's base land speed).

A Football in flight travels at the same speed as the resulting strength check. If it passes through a Defense-threatened square they may make the touch attack as an attack of opportunity.

Finally, attempting to kick a ball down range is again like attacking an object. The Football has no AC when it concerns this, but it is immune to bludgeoning. When kicked, the Football travels a number of feet equal to the "damage" dealt, multiplied by five.

Back to Main Page3.5e HomebrewOther

Home of user-generated,
homebrew pages!