This thread is for those roleplays which are more heavily focused on combat, with PC characters vs PC characters. Okay, battling is not my forte. I actually always struggle the most when I am faced with action scenes. I have no confidence in this area so I asked someone who did to give me their advice. This is what he had to say:
Originally Posted by Honor/Honorary Aussie/Coyote
How Not to Be a Douche in a Combat Roleplay
1.) Do not use a character that does not belong to you. You have your character, they have their character. Use yours. Let them use theirs. That is how roleplaying works.
2.) Sometimes less is more. This works in almost every roleplay, but in combat you can multiply that by ten billion and put a neon sign over it that says "Pay attention, dammit." A single round of combat (meaning that you post your turn, they post their turn(s), and it becomes your turn again) should probably be somewhere around fifteen to twenty seconds. That means that you have between about eight and ten seconds for your character to do something. Keep that in mind when you consider the quantity you want to write and ask yourself this: would it really all happen in ten seconds?
3.) If you follow rules one and two simultaneously, things move faster and easier. If you only use your character you severely cut down what you can do. If you limit the quantity you are pumping out, you make it easier and faster for someone else to reply back. Do not mistake a fast moving fight for a bad one. Sometimes it is the mark of a fantastic fight that each turn is just a paragraph, because usually when that is true there are a few dozen turns.
4.) Get hurt. You are in a fight. If it is a fist fight, expect bruises and broken bones and say that they are happening. If it is a bladed fight, expect that your character might get cut or stabbed. If it is a blunt implement fight, expect some serious internal injuries and broken bones and lots of bruises. If it is a magic fight, keep in mind what is being done to your character—burns from fire, paralysis or even nerve misfiring from electricity, difficulty moving or breathing from ice. A lot of really bad stuff can happen to a character fighting in the Escapists' Haven. Let it happen. It will be more fun and gives you a chance to exercise your exposition gland. Not a lot can be more justifiably over-described in a fight than pain and the injuries that causes pain.
5.) Do not be afraid to lose. To be honest, the idea that your character needs to win is one that is not at all fun. A good policy is to work out how the fight is likely to end before it really begins. Agree on who the winner will be, then just enjoy writing towards the end. If something changes dramatically in between, redo the discussion on who will win. Do not get mad, do not get offended, and do not cling to the idea that you have to win. Losing is more fun nine times out of ten.
6.) Fighter, know thyself. Your character is yours to roleplay, but you should keep in mind exactly what your character can and would do. The hard part is not knowing the abilities, either, it is knowing how the character would use them. An aggressive punk with the power to destroy a planet is more likely to try it than a bleeding heart. Remember that the mental aspect of a character does not disappear in a fight, it only gets more focused.
7.) Be prepared to have that last epic scene where your character is the winner or loser and you have to find a way to extricate yourself from the fight without killing someone off. This is the best time for those huge revelations and giant monologues everyone seems to like, so if you really need to, go crazy at the end. Just be prepared to do it in a way that does not murder the tone of the fight.
8.) Do keep tone in mind. The tone of the fight might be difficult to pin down. Maybe you have an idealistic character fighting a cynic. You are going to have to find a way to balance the two perspectives. Try to communicate with your partner as much as you can. They can give a lot of insight into their perspective and you can give insight into your own. It will make it easier to make the fight flow if you both work to maintain the same tone.
9.) Talking is not a free action. Writing a monologue into a fight can be powerplaying. If the opponent would press the attack regardless of whether your character wanted to talk or not, you are powerplaying if you monologue without that happening. Communicate with your partner before launching into a mid-fight monologue. Sometimes it just does not make sense.
10.) Focus on body-centered writing. Keep in mind things like which direction your character is facing, where they are in relation to their opponent, how well they can see and what their line-of-sight is like, and how long they have been fighting. Those things are a huge effect on what your character can and is doing.
11.) Know the environment. Things like lightning, floor stability and traction, and hazards are huge in a fight. Consider that you might be fighting in pine forest, where someone can run away and drop into the brush to hide and surprise you. Consider that you might be in a dark cave with almost no room to move. Consider that you might be on an icy lake with no safe footing. These things effect what your character can do, how well they move, and what they can expect to happen if they try to make a huge bang. Imagine throwing earth-shaking magic inside a cave, where the roof might fall in on you. That should give an idea of how important your environment can be.
12.) Have fun. Writing fights can be unbelievably fun. The human brain has a section that actually registers pleasure in seeing other people suffer. Fighting just pleases us. Remember that the whole point of roleplaying a fight is to enjoy it, to have fun. If you are not having fun, find a way, otherwise the whole purpose is lost.