A Guide to Combat Roleplay

  • Thread starter Tharivious_Meliamne
  • Start date

Andion Isurand

First Post
You may have to edit your main post further.

There needs to be a topic about rebuking/turning undead on the battlefield and handling summoned creatures.

I was accused of autohitting, when my strikes were making hits on summoned creatures.

*** not to dicate what people should do (arathil) but to simply strike an accord that will help to leave people feeling better about how things are done ***
 

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Arathil

Guest
Dictation of Method?

The 'guide' is a good beginning, but that's really all it is. Freeform is just that, and restricting it to a guide filled with absolute statements on how this 'is done' and how that 'ought to be' is no different than forcing everybody to conform to a specific system of RP.

The combat examples presented read coldly and crisply, like a math lecture, which is exactly the sort of thing I for one like to avoid. Plus, it includes auto-responses... a term of my own devising. So-and-so hits you, so you fly backwards like you'd been struck by an ogre wielding a tree-trunk... and you're facing a Str 9 Elven Monk. That's no different, with regards to being presumptuous, than assuming your own attacks get a certain response.

Now... there was a rather lengthy and involved combat in the Clearing the other day, between WizO_Siani and Baalodias.

By the guidelines presented above, the combat was poorly handled. However, both combatants had a wonderful time, and performed remarkably well, and they got a large number of people involved, all of whom had a blast. The fight is still being discussed, and has wound up impacting a major storyline currently being developed.

Thusly, how can it be said that the fight was handled poorly, if the very definition of freeform... is freedom of form?

To my mind... freeform can involve dice in places, if all those involved wish it to. It can involve auto-hits, if you've got an arch-demon fighting a kender, and both players agree that having the former's hits not automatically strike home is a bit ridiculous. It can involve anything that those involved want it to include.

You can't tell a person how to freeform-fight any more than you can direct a person's roleplaying.
 

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Arathil

Guest
Graphics

All of that said... I would like to back up something this individual (I'm sorry... I'm lazy, I'm not going to scroll down and get that name ;)) stated. Yes, this is entirely personal opinion, but I wanted to do something nice for them ;)

1. Graphic fighting.

In the Adams Family movie, Wednesday and Pugsley are on stage performing a play for their school's talent show. They slice each others' fake prosthetics open, and spray fake blood over wide arcs, including several rows of the audience.

I've got news for you. That doesn't happen. There's no need to have graphic, gaudy displays of blood, guts, and gore. It grosses people out, it's tasteless, it's stupid (to put it mildly), and it's generally regarded as a lack of ability in anybody's book except by those too young, naive and immature to get beyond the 'wow, cool, blood, man!' stage (typically, these people have never had worse than a paper cut themselves).

2. Injury downplaying.

There are exceptions to this... for example, Army of Darkness is going to be released as an RPG soon ;) However, by and large... including in D&D... losing a limb is a traumatic experience (and, by several official feats involving such creatures, it is traumatic even for those who can regenerate the limb).

If you're struck by a weapon and you lose a limb, no matter how mighty you are, you're going to be affected. You aren't going to stand around in your majestic power and laugh like an idiot. Realistically, you're probably going to spend some time screaming and not doing much else. You might stand around (or, if it's a leg, lie around) in shock. If it's a leg, and you're a bipedal creature, you are going to fall over. You're going to bleed a lot (but see #1).

3. If you want your character to appear impressive and powerful, behaving unrealistically isn't the way to do it. Playing a God or a godlike being isn't the way to do it. Making yourself immune to everything in existence (or half of everything, or a quarter of everything, or more than one or two things) is simply cheesy. Roleplaying well and acting out the good and the bad things that happen to your character is the way to do it.
 

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Tharivious_Meliamne

Guest
Andion Isurand said:
You may have to edit your main post further.

There needs to be a topic about rebuking/turning undead on the battlefield and handling summoned creatures.

I was accused of autohitting, when my strikes were making hits on summoned creatures.
Very well, I'll be writing that section up shortly.
Originally posted by Arathil
The 'guide' is a good beginning, but that's really all it is. Freeform is just that, and restricting it to a guide filled with absolute statements on how this 'is done' and how that 'ought to be' is no different than forcing everybody to conform to a specific system of RP.

The combat examples presented read coldly and crisply, like a math lecture, which is exactly the sort of thing I for one like to avoid.
Precisely, this is just a guide, not a be-all-end-all for freeform combat. The 'lecture' tone is intended, as it's written as being a neutral position on matters, maybe some portions are too harsh, but overall it does what I set out for it to do.

As for the comments on the Siani / Baalodias fight, I've read the logs of that over on the Map of the Planes boards, and it was very well done. I can say that because what would normally seem to be autohits were actually attacks stated before the attack action was posted. When a fight is discussed ahead of time and both participants know what is intended to happen, it's perfectly fine to use the so called 'auto-responses' as it can make the fight read more smoothly.

This guide is more geared toward spontaneous combats that aren't discussed ahead of time and more accurately, aren't planned out during the fight. As I said, it's just a guide, not telling people what to do, just suggesting some options.
 

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Tharivious_Meliamne

Guest
I know, I know, dreaded double post....

I know, double post, but I'm doing so regardless of normal habits. :angel:
New sections added to main post in the latest edit:

Summoned Creatures and Other NPCs in combat

Turning / Rebuking Undead

I hope these prove as satisfactory to readers as the others have been. :)
 

Andion Isurand

First Post
You fogot to state how summoned creatures and miscellaneous NPCs, should themselves behave with the consideration of the other mentioned guidelines.

And Thar, whats been up? I haven't been seeing you on MSN lately.
 

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Tharivious_Meliamne

Guest
I didn't state how such summoned creatures and NPCs are best handled because I thought it would be assumed and the main post is already getting excessively long. The rest of the guide applies to such creatures as well, of course, as it is recommended for all sides of a combat, not just the player characters.
 

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WizO_Siani

Guest
As for the comments on the Siani / Baalodias fight, I've read the logs of that over on the Map of the Planes boards, and it was very well done. I can say that because what would normally seem to be autohits were actually attacks stated before the attack action was posted. When a fight is discussed ahead of time and both participants know what is intended to happen, it's perfectly fine to use the so called 'auto-responses' as it can make the fight read more smoothly.

First off, thanks for the compliment. Secondly, the guide is an excellent start and has a lot of decent info in it. Useful.

As for the fight referred to above, that was my first one in over a year. It is also the standard way I have been doing it since the early 90s. One thing is correct; we spoke to one another in PMs before the fight, exchanging important character info and agreeing he would win, which really isn't a surprise all things considered. I do not mind taking a fall.

However, one thing that didn't happen was any sort of setup of the attacks. We sort of played off of one another. Yes, the attack actions were stated in the character actions, but when and how we took the attacks was made up as we went along.

The ending was discussed, in regards to scars, healing, death, etc. Mostly though, what you saw was an unplanned and rather spontaneous fight. I think we just happened to get it all right. LOL

Keep up the good discussion guys. I hope to be in the Clearing a bit more often in future. I had forgotten how much fun that could be.


Siani, the crispy WizO.
 

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Tharivious_Meliamne

Guest
:bow: And thank you for the compliment Siani, it's always good to hear feedback from the WizOs. :D

I must have misinterpretted part of the comments posted along with the fight in regards to setting up the fight and what was edited out. I assumed that attack actions were also being discussed between the actions being posted, my mistake there. The fight definately read well and was one of the better ones I've read in a while.
 

Yo Thar, what's up, ain't seen ya on line for awhile. Anyway after spending MUCH time reading through this, I've found your Combat Guide here to be most informative. You and Arathil are quite right with the posts about making sure that while this is a fantasy setting, combat should still hold to reality but still not be overly graphic. And while Power Players (guilty a few times:( ), weren't offically mentioned, you did at least make sure to state things like auto-hits and God-like/stubborne character/players. So here's to you Thar for your guide to combat:thumbsup: , and now let get ready to Ruuummbblllle:fight!:
 

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