RP Combat Guide

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RP Combat Guide

Postby Accelevi » Tue Dec 17, 2013 12:34 am

A guide to RP combat from one of my close friends - and a great RP'er - on another forum.
Link to the original page: http://forum.yugiohcardmaker.net/topic/ ... bat-guide/

Kyng wrote:Combat in role-playing games can make it very fun, but in turn can also be a strong indicator of who can adjust to this new setting well, and who cannot respectively. During my time on YCM in this section, I’ve encouraged the notion of Role-Playing with Combat, as I find it diversifies how a RP works as well as opens floodgates of opportunities for the players involved in it. However, I have also noted that there are players who are either unsure of how to RP in a combat environment, or are unsure if the action they have put-forth is, in fact, God-Modding and Power-Playing or not. As such, I have written this article in hopes to provide clarity in this particular area of RPing, and in doing so help those who simply are confused.
An Introduction to Combat in Role-playing Games:
Combat in RPs are another means to create interaction with players. It can be used to create, or settle conflicts between the players and the setting, or between the players themselves. It can also be used to open opportunities in the plot, as well as serve as explosive closing acts to particular sagas in a Role-play’s story.

Combat can be neatly branched into two subsections. Firstly, Player versus Environment (PvE) combat, which is a commonly used practise whereby NPC characters are placed before the Players acting as their opposition in this situation. Secondly, Player versus Environment (PvP) combat, which specifically focusses on having players themselves combat their characters against each other. Unsurprisingly, this is also where many issues can spout from.

While both can coincide, and clash, these two categories are the principle way of dividing Role-play combat. With this in mind, we’ll now look into those particular categories in further detail, in particular why players have issues here:
1 – Player versus Environment:
As mentioned prior, Player versus Environment focusses having Characters combat NPCs who serve as their counterfoil in a particular instance. However and rightfully so, members understand the context behind a particular enemy and, if significant enough, will be hesitant to even react against said enemy’s intent; this article seeks to defeat this by offering two classifications to clarify this.
A: Low-Priority NPCs – An NPC is of low priority if the plot surrounding them is somewhat unimportant. Usually they are placed into this instance of combat specifically for players to show off their character’s combat prowess. A low-priority NPC is as valued to the RP as a pebble on the floor. Therefore, when dealing with these Low-Priority NPCs, there is little to no need to worry about rule-breaking, since their demise is likely to be desired by the plot. Do not Power-Play, because if they respond with dodging to attacks, then you should allow this: they will very much be dead at some point anyway.
B: High-Priority NPCs – An NPC is of high priority if the plot surrounding them is clearly important. Their context should not be ignored, and their threat is very much plot-driving at this point. However, one must consider if the Plot wants these characters to be a challenge, or perhaps will reappear later in the RP. With this in mind, players feel stumped, not knowing how to react. A remedy for this, which I’ve dubbed the Hypothetical Instance for the sake of this article, must be used here. Not only will it show you have a great deal of respect for the plot and this character who the plot favours, but it will also open interactivity between players to further develop upon a character’s attack.

2 - Player versus Player (PvP)
This term is very well known and straightforward: this refers to combat between players, more specifically their characters. This also happens to be where most, if not all the issues stem from regarding combat because of one simple detail: no-one wants their character to lose. Of course, it is note-worthy that a character that never loses is a God-Modded Character, and thus rule-breaking in essence, and so to remedy this are a number of notions you might consider putting into practise:
A: Accept Defeat – Role-plays are good if a player can take a break from reality, and immerse themselves into their character and play their role, but when it comes to PvP, players forget to recognize that it is their character fighting and not them; that it is their character in the situation at hand and not them, and that it is their character who may taste defeat and not them. People simply do not like the taste of defeat in any shape or form. Sometimes it is the more mature role-players who, beforehand, give the win to another player instead of create an uncomfortable situation inside IC. Bear in mind the words of Paul Brown: "You can learn a line from a win and a book from a defeat."
B: A Strong Application has Weakness – While a player is trying to figuratively sell their character to a GM it is rare to see applications that boast anything less than positives about their characters. While this might be seen as a good thing on face value, a stronger GM will appreciate a player purposefully shooting their app in the foot, and this is especially true in a combat-heavy RP. Why is this, perhaps? To be able to build up your own character, and then take him down a notch shows a greater ability in evaluation than simply designing the best character your mind can conjure. Not only this, but weaknesses serve as gifts to GMs, allowing them to potentially exploit them, thus developing the plot. Better apps are humbled by weakness.
C: Use the Hypothetical Instance – Below I will be going into detail on this, so do pay attention to this particular mechanism, as it will enhance your ability to write as well as a plot’s appreciation for your own character.
Remedies: The Hypothetical Instance
The Hypothetical Instance is a powerful tool I have developed over the time of playing on YCM. It serves as a significant and strong mechanism that both eliminate any potential God-Modding, as well as Power-Playing my character could potentially perform. It is also a very simple trick on words, which as a result opens up doors of opportunities for players to combine their own character’s efforts in my character’s set-up.

If you are wondering on how to use this mechanism, it could most definitely not be more easier: you must create a hypothetical post rather than one with certainty. Try distinguishing between the following posts and seeing which has used the Instance:
If you guessed it was the second post, you’d be correct. The first implies these actions have been taken: while these posts should be acceptable at dealing with Low-Priority NPCs, you should never do these when addressing Player Characters or High-Priority NPCs.
With close observation you can easily see how the second is a better post. Not only does it offer Y a number of different ways to react to X’s attack, it gives Y a good imagery of what could happen to his character if he allowed this to happen.

Using the Hypothetical Instance means that your post contains words, such as “could, should, may, potentially, etc.” in a way that allows your post to be countered by another player, erasing the sins of God-Modding and Power-Playing from occurring.
Remedies: Hypothetical OoC
A variant upon the Hypothetical Instance - rather than, in your post, making use of these hypothetical scenarios that may happen, you might prefer to enlist the hypothetical possibilities of a particular instance outside of your post into the OoC Thread.

While this will decrease the word count to your post, it will create two alternative advantages - your posts will seem lest systematic in a sense, in that rather than all of your posts containing the same, routine key words over and over again you will have a simple post open for interpretation which you will later go into further detail on in the OoC - this may be more appealing to you if you'd find it difficult to use the Hypothetical Instance within your posts themselves.

Furthermore this will, naturally, create OoC activity which is never a bad thing. By allowing you to explain your post in greater depth outside of the IC you will be participating in the discussion of the Role-play on the whole, and thus increase your activity across both the IC and OoC Boards.
Remedies: Creating Openings
A very simple one to do, and one that also can make you come across as a respectable and fun player to face. In your post, you do not simply going to state what your character does, but you also state the advantages and disadvantages that face your character for doing so. By doing this, you are creating a powerful atmosphere of humility in your character's combat, showing everyone that your character's techniques are supreme, that they are not perfect, and that you are happy with people knowing these weaknesses to create a more believable and a more interactive game. An example below for you to distinguish a post with openings and a post without them:

Remedies: OoC Discussion, and 'taking it outside'
This remedy is strictly for PvP. Despite having a very clever name, this remedy is another useful one. Firstly, it incurs OoC Interaction between members of the role-play, as the topic of a certain instance allows players to gauge other players' reactions to things you want your character to do. The OoC is meant to be used for this tier of discussion, so this remedy is better promoted than ignored. Secondly, simply having players resolve this in a [private manner away from the IC, such as in PMs or IM Messaging, can be so much better than clogging up IC Threads with pages of combat. Having two players role-play this elsewhere can keep PVP conflicts resolved quite efficiently.
A very good way to do this, if all parties involved are online, is to use online document editors like Google Docs, or, if you are not comfortable with sharing your Gmail with other YCMembers, I have listed below some no-login-required options for temporary documents which you can then copy and save or post.
  • Firepad: http://www.firepad.io/ (Just click the +Private Pad button in top right corner, copy URL to share)
  • CollabEdit: http://collabedit.com/ (This one doesn't allow font formatting and stuff and doesn't look as good)

A Conclusion:
I hope the following article has served you to better understand how to deal with Combat in RPs. Remember the remedies here, because not only do they make you come across as a better and more respectful Role-player as a whole, but they will also help you increase your word count and make your posts larger and, on face value, more impressive on the whole.

Do you think this guide is useful? Give feedback on it and make suggestions for changes; this is by no means a final version!

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