Rollplay or Roleplay?

I decided to write up a little thread regarding combat RP. Although Gorrka here might not be very good at fighting, I have had the pleasure of fighting on various alts on a number of occasions. I am by no means the best emote fighter on the server, but I like to consider possibilities and options in RP, thus my thoughts can hopefully be of inspiration to someone. This guide is an attempt to make people judge and review roll fights a bit differently, as I often hear it being labelled as too random and non-realistic, not taking char strength into consideration.

If you are a Grammar junkie, now is the time to choose another thread, as I’m not natively English and my grammar aswell as vocabulary might appear less than amazing at times.

These bits of advice are free for you all to use or disregard at your own leisure.

Table of contents:

Armor types
– Cloth
– Leather
– Mail
– Plate

Weapon types
– One handed swords
– Two handed swords
– One handed maces
– Two handed maces
– One handed axes
– Two handed axes
– Bows
– Guns and crossbows
– Spears, Halberds, and Poleaxes
– Fistfighting
– Spellcasting

Rolling or Pure emoting?
Choose to loose
Who is the strongest one?
Think out of the box.

–||– Armor types –||–
One of the things people need to remember is how their armor will and will not protect and aid them. A skilled fighter will take it into account, and use it for own advantage.

Cloth:
Cloth is the lightest of the armor types. This makes movement very easy, dodging and avoiding attacks is plausible, but if you get hit, expect damage to happen. The cloth armor does not call for close combat, most cloth users might prefer to attempt staying ranged from their opponent, even in a duel. If you get close, you’ll need very swift movements to avoid taking severe damage.

Leather:
Leather offers a bit more protection than cloth and is only slightly more restrictive, leather is a good choice for those who want to remain mobile but who can also absorb a few nicks and cuts. As a rogue or another class, who relies on the ability to move swiftly, this is the best option. Notice however, leather can still be pierced or sliced by a sharp weapon, and offers little protection from blunt damage. One big thing to remember about leather is that if it gets wet, it stiffens, severely decreasing its effectiveness.

Mail:
Mail is a bit heavier then leather but if one is properly trained they can still move around somewhat easily in it. Just remember that mail really only offers significant protection against slashing attacks. An attack using blunt force or a piercing weapon like a dagger or an arrow will make mail about as useful as tissue-paper.

Plate:
When wearing plate, you are well protected, and able to absorb a lot of hits. However this will also limit your movements and drain your stamina a lot. You are slow, you tire quickly, and if you receive a very heavy blow, your armor might dent or even crumble, which might be less than fun for the person inside the armor. Want to be faster? Remove a few pieces, opening up areas for attacks, to remove weight from your shoulders.

–||– Weapon types –||–

Just as armor should play a role in a fight, so should a weapon.

One handed swords:
One handed swords are great for fighting most opponents. They are well suited to cut and stab, they’re marginally lighter than axes and maces, and they’re not bad when defending yourself. Against anything but a platewearer, a sword is probably the weapon of choice.

With platewearers, the things seem otherwise grim. It’s not easy to simply hack and stab your way through. You might need repeated attacks on the same spot to tear an opening in the armor. Against platewearers swords might not be the way to go, and if you do, focus your attacks on the spots where the armor was joint together, and hope the blacksmith was lazy.

Remember, that if you use all your force to hack and slice your opponent with your sword, you might find yourself out of balance for each attack, making it considerable tougher to avoid incoming attacks. With a onehand sword – the strength might be to attack hands and legs, disarming and disabling your opponent.

Two handed swords:
Twohanders lack the ease of motion enjoyed by their smaller counterparts, twohanders can however still be wielded at a decent speed. Particularly the ones created to be light. Inspect your weapon, and judge how fast or slow it will be to wield.
When attacking with a massive weapon, you cannot be subtle. Because of the weight and sheer size of your sword, feinting and falsely striking aren’t a good option in most cases. Slashing strikes, aiming to severely injure your opponent is the way to go. Its strength is its weight and range, its weakness the lack of speed and maneuverability.

One handed maces:
One handed maces are blunt weapons. They have to be rather heavy to be effective, meaning every strike has to count. For every strike to count, they have to land, and land hard, on either the head or near a vital area. This tears armor and carries the impact through, allowing for rapiers and knives to be rapidly thrust into the gap presented. Consider wielding a mace with one hand, a stabbing weapon with the other. This is rarely, if ever, a neat or pleasant weapon to kill or be killed with. This weapon might be best for war, not for training.

Two handed maces:
Two handed maces are ugly weapons as well. Compared to one handers these however require more brute force, instead of creating a chance to use a different weapon as follow-up. Each hit has to be intended to end the fight, making it an unwieldy choice and necessitates some serious practice. Because of the top-heavy nature of such a tool, resetting after a swing is not simple. Land a hit anywhere on your enemy and they’ll probably be out of the fight. Miss, and suddenly your chances aren’t so hot, as you are thrown out of balance.

One handed axes:
One handed axes requires an interesting style of fighting. Obviously centered on hacking and slashing. The extra weight behind the head is perfect for shearing straight through the weak joints at the elbows, knees, and necks of armored opponents or seriously damaging armor. Used with precision, the one handed axe is possibly the most effective weapon for taking enemies alive.

Two handed axes:
Two handed axes are used similarly to two hands swords, but more hacking than slicing into their enemies.
I personally imagine this weapon used for bladestorm, the warrior spinning the axe around him hoping to cut into something.

Daggers:
Daggers are easier to twirl around, than one handed swords. Use them to stab, pierce and slice into your foes. The speed of the dagger is the secret behind this weapon, but to do severe damage consider carefully where you aim, as a dagger often only leaves a flesh wound, or slides off the armor. Yank it for joints, aim a stab to the gut or attempt to slice a throat.

Bows:
This weapon might be tough to use for close combat, as your opponent might not give you the time to grab an arrow, take aim and so on. As a ranged weapon, it is a lot better when apart from your opponent, which can be tough in a duel, unless you can disable your opponent somehow.
Holding the draw weight of a large bow is no simple thing – they tend to weigh in somewhere between forty to sixty pounds. Holding that isn’t easy, no matter how long you train, which is why most archers shoot on command and in volleys, not as snipers.
A cuff is usually worn on the left hand, for when the bowstring slaps against the inner arm of the bowman in question. The string is drawn back, not pinched between the forefinger and thumb, but resting above the ring and middle finger with the forefinger above the nock. A proper bowman will most likely draw the feathered edge of the arrow to his eye to sight down the shaft.
Remember shooting accurate requires a steady hand, so being out of breath, exhausted and/or angry/excited might lower the accuracy.

Guns and crossbows:
When firing with guns and crossbows, the strength of the weapon is the speed, as well as the lethal force. The guns, especially if made by goblins, might not always be very accurate, they might backfire.
While these weapons burst clean through shoddy armor, the problem is keeping the target in your sights. For your opponent on the other hand, it might be tough to dodge this. It might also be tough for a gunman to get time to take a proper aim once again, these weapons are better for ranged combat than a duel.

Spears, Halberds, and Poleaxes:
These long-handled weapons tend not to be for dueling use so much as unseating horsemen or keeping people at bay. Sweeping with the point as well as stabbing are both effective tactics, but when people get close they tend to fail. These weapons are pretty much useless without a person dedicated to closer ranged combat present to defend the spear-bearer once the fight turns grim.

In a pinch, the butt of the spear can be used as something of a club, and the center of the spear can be used to push and almost punch a person. It’s not even close to ideal, though, and highly inadvisable if there are other options.
Another option however, could be for two spear fighters to agree on pole fight aka Little John style. Take a staff and hold it at one end. One hand at the butt and the other about a shoulder width above. The thumb side of each hand should be on the inside. Now you can use the staff or spear for both attacking and defending.

Fist fighting:
Main things to consider when fist fighting – there are so many combat techniques and possibilities when fighting without weapons. Try to expand your moves from the usual headbutt and punch to the nose. Be creative.
People get tired after a while. This applies to all fighting, but in a person to person barehanded brawl, where people use nothing but their bodies, this applies in peticular.

It hurts to punch someone in the face. Faces have lots of bones, and bones are hard. Would I rather punch someone in the face than get punched in the face? You bet, but it’s still not comfortable. A loose fist or a poorly placed hit can break your hand.

Spellcasting:
Magic is the trickiest matter on RP fights. Some spells can be cast safely, with a “snap of fingers”. However, we should consider the “emote casting time” carefully depending on the very spell actions. Summoning a big flame that engulfs the enemy, with minor damage, for example, can be considered a minor spell. A huge fireball that burns skin, melts armor and vaporizes everything on its pass, however, should be carefully planned.
Another point to have in mind for spellcasters, and that most forget. Magic is considered an art. It’s something complicated, powerful, and that can produce a strong feedback if one is not careful while playing with it. If you can’t speak, then you may not be able to cast strong spells. If you can’t move your arms, you may not be able to cast strong spells. If a warrior is trying to see how soft your kidney by pricking it with a sword and you are continuously trying to dodge… This might just distract your casting. Spells are always cast from the backlines, for a reason. You may quickly find your char being exhausted when wielding magic. Be careful not to make your spells too OP, giving your opponent a chance to avoid a lethal starfall might be considerate.

–||– Rolling or Pure emoting? –||–

This is a touchy subject. Some persons fear that others might turn out to be OP, refusing to take damage or even die, if using pure emotes. Others might claim that rolls are fairer. Yet again, rolls as such do not take into account the difference in experience, skill and age.
A roll fight can be done in several ways. A common, I often see, is “5 HP” – where each contestant starts out with 5 HP each. Highest roller goes first, attacking in an emote, then rolling. The defender rolls as well, the highest roll succeeds.

Gorrka rolls 50 – attempting to slice someone open with her skinning knife.
Stupid opponent rolls 75 – and successfully avoids the slicing move. After emoting this, the opponent counterattacks, then rolls again.

Looser is the one who ends up without HP.

Other versions, are roll fights, where the attackers roll determine the outcome, like 1-50 = failure, 51-70 = takes 1 HP, 71-90 = takes two HP, and 91-100= Crit removing 3 HP.

Fistfights can be done as first blood drawn. First round you need to roll above 90 to draw blood. If both fail, next round they need to roll above 80. Third round 70 and so on. First time someone is successful, the fight ends.

This is opposed to pure emote fights, where the participants solely rely on their opponents will to suffer and /or loose. The fights can in theory go on for a week, if both refuse to give up.

My suggestion here is to open up for more possibilities. Why always aim for one or another solution? Why make it a question whether to roll or not to roll? Why does rollfights have to be so random?

Consider the following examples. Two roleplayers meet:
A: I am a tauren, I should have more HP than you, as you are a goblin.
B: Alright. I’m not very practiced in combat, so withdraw 5 from every roll I make.

Or how about:
A: I am a tank IC, I can take a lot of hits.
B: Alright, you get twice my HP, but since I am a rogue, I should have hit double on shadowstepping attacks.

This is a part of the OOC negotiation, which is most often a part of sorting a combat anyhow, when deciding whether to use rolls or not, and which rules to follow. Gorrka here is as earlier mentioned, weak in close combat, so I have often offered -10 og -20 on all my rolls depending on my opponent.

–||– Choose to loose –||–

Alright. You settled on a pure emote fight. Which one of you should lose the fight?

You can either “play to win” or “play to tell a story”, the former based around the founding idea that one is playing their character, ICly, to be superior than another’s in combat for the sole purpose of winning against others (again all ICly) for the sake of feeling that their character is better than others (see kill counts in MRPs).
The latter however, is the aim to tell a story, to entertain viewers, to make an impact on your char. The winner of the fight might or might not be important, but the entertaining value is a lot more important. The aftermath of the fight might also be more important to both parts of such a fight.

Those two terms are extremely fundamentally different, and I believe that losing is actually often winning when it comes to RP. The outcomes of such can be far more beneficial to stories than just simply winning.
How would your char evolve from either winning or losing a fight? Sometimes the defeat offers more choices when it comes to char development. If you always win, you might be known as a mighty warrior. Odds are though, that people simply get bored from fighting with you, you might even be labelled a loldodger.
How would your char react and overcome a devastating defeat?

What is at stake? Guilt. Anger. Sorrow. The need for atonement. How does one cope with the guilt of letting a friend die, or the anger from the ruination of one’s name? This is called character development, something one can play through the whole process and range of emotions dealing with loss, be it in battle or otherwise.
Loss can create a desire for revenge. Ranging from the slaughter of one’s family, to having one’s city flooded with radiation, to one’s entire Kingdom being betrayed by their own prince, revenge is ultimately what can drive one’s character to the brink, whether it be victory or insanity. Nothing can make a fire burn brighter more than this rocket-fuel of an emotion, of a drive. Who knows where this emotion may lead a character?
A defeat could inevitably lead to a sense of doubt in one’s leaders, on top of allowing your character to feel the sting of failure for oneself. The defeat in any situation can change up a storyline drastically in ways one may not expect, thus giving the story (and by extension, the characters) new depth.

But, ultimately, where is the fun in winning all the time? With the assured outcome of winning, despite what odds you might meet, where does the character development come in? If one doesn’t believe that the danger of losing is present, and the character is never concerned about the possibility of failure? When the possibility of loss there, you lose all weight and gravity the scenario had the potential to offer. This is why losing is so important. This is what teaches a character to know they are not invincible, and this opens them up to the potential drives and character development. You can’t gain such experiences when victory is assured, no matter how much (or how little) effort is brought to the table ICly.

–||– Who is the strongest one? –||–

No character, no matter how seasoned or alert or ready for a fight, is immortal. We all know of the common “Mary Sue” or “God Mode” situations in which a character seems to have such a finely honed sixth sense or is protected by so much armor that it can emerge unscathed from even the toughest encounters. If you do not want any damage on your char, avoid combat.
Consider especially the degree of damage, you are willing to accept, or if you are willing to loose before you enter a fight with a strong opponent. Worgen, Druid in bear form, Blademasters and Death Knights are just some examples of tough opponents, who might cause severe injury on your char. Of course even these chars might have weaknesses as well. Bears might be slow, Worgens unable to fight tactical, and Death Knights struggling with holy spells.
Remember here, that IC’ly, gear and level might not be a factor, to determine who the strongest is, IC’ly speaking.

–||– Think out of the box. –||–

My final suggestion here is to use your imagination. Do you find roll fights dull and pure emote fights predictable? Then sorry dear roleplayer, the fault is yours and yours alone.
Most roleplayers can slash with a blade. It takes imagination and skill to come up with another usage of the blade, to surprise your opponent, causing damage simply as your opponent acknowledges your superiority due to the emote.

One of my moves on my rogue, is to dive in between the legs of my opponent, who is standing in a combat stance, legs wide spread. She’ll twist her body around, as she finishes sliding through his legs, then yank her foot upwards, aiming a hard kick towards his sore parts.

What is your best move?

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