If you’re seriously new to forum roleplaying, see the Bad Roleplay Guide. They are very important aspects of roleplaying and are especially important in roleplay fights. There are too many aspects and they are too nuanced to elaborate upon here, sorry!
Roleplay Fight Styles
There are a few different roleplay fight styles. Some are based on dice rolls, some are based on number of words you’ve written, some are based on time. In forum roleplaying, “T1” or “paragraph-based” fighting style is used most often. It is one of two fighting styles covered in the Roleplay Fight Guide. The other styles are more technical, under-documented, etc. If you’re really interested, see this forum topic for further information.
Paragraph Roleplay Fights
The most important thing to remember is not to powerplay. Seriously, again — go read the Bad Roleplay Guide for information about powerplay! You can’t do that in fight threads. It is a very important concept.
After that, remember that the best roleplay fight has a good mix of major attacks, minor damage, dodges, misses, and all other manner of different outcomes for different actions. Not everything needs to connect or be dodged — remember that in a real fight, there is often a mixture of thrown punches, grappling, kicks, and all manner of different fighting styles. Do some research on the sort of fighter your character is supposed to be; it will help you write your roleplay fights.
Cramming a roleplay post full of actions is known as stacking (RP Magazine Online). Don’t try to overfill your RPG post with too many actions. Real people can’t move that quickly; neither can your roleplay character. In general, limit yourself to three major actions per post. The other roleplayer needs to reply to your actions in the order that they are dealt. If each of you wind up doing seven major actions per post, it will be a fast, deadly roleplaying thread — or it will get very confusing, very fast.
If you want a slower, drawn-out fight, why not try writing a paragraph per post, with one major action within each? Discuss your plan for the thread with the other roleplayer(s) first, naturally.
Dodging is one of the many aspects of a roleplay fight that can be misused. Some forum roleplayers (especially newer ones) believe that since the other player has not written a connection to an attack, they are free to dodge everything. In reality — this simply would not occur. Other games have suggested a “three dodge” system, where a roleplayer has three dodges between a major attack connection (Chaser, Rainbow), but such a hardline system is difficult to enforce (especially in large forum roleplaying games). You don’t need to allow every action to hit your roleplay character — perhaps it’s only a partial connect, or a punch glanced off luckily?
A roleplay fight where one character is refusing to allow connections to attacks is likely a roleplay fight experiencing some amount of godmoding, as the character is putting up an invincible defense. If you encounter this in your forum roleplaying, try to approach the RPG admins and explain your situation. They are likely to help.
“Autohit” describes a roleplay fight in which the two roleplayers agree to allow attacks and connections within the same post — in essence, agreeing to allow some extent of powerplay for excitement’s sake. Autohit can also be used to describe what happens when someone powerplays a hit without permission.
Allowing autohit can be a very interesting way to roleplay a fight! It adds an element of excitement to the roleplay that would not be there if everything required permissions. However, it is suggested that you only roleplay fights on “autohit” with a player you can trust. When setting up an autohit fight thread, too, be extremely clear in your boundaries. Clearly state how much damage you are willing to allow for autohit, and which still require permissions.
Key Concepts of Fight Roleplay
Fairness in Roleplay Fights
The absolute keystone to not making anyone angry in fight roleplay is fairness. Remember, as fond as you are of your character, there is another player just as fond of their character! Be fair, and allow everyone the chance to be a victor at some point.
Losing Roleplay Fights and Perfect Records
Be prepared to lose. You are not playing a self-centered game where your character is the “hero” and everything always works out the way it is supposed to. Your character will not win every battle he or she engages in — it is a simple fact of roleplaying (and life, when you think about it). There are other players whose characters deserve the opportunity to win, and if you desire a character with a “perfect record” please consider containing your combat to NPCs only.
Consider that other players may wish to challenge your character’s record. It is courteous to immediately inform them you do not plan on having your character lose. This allows them to come to their own decision about whether or not they are willing to pit their character against yours. There’s nothing wrong with wanting to play someone unbeaten, but if you want to do that, make it clear to other roleplayers who wish to engage your character in combat.
Also make sure your character isn’t the type to engage in combat very often! If you want your roleplay character to go around kicking every other character’s ass all the time, you are in the wrong profession, sorry. Consider writing a novel or short story instead.
Winning Roleplay Fights
Hooray — you won! That’s good for you. Don’t let it get to your head, and don’t insult another player’s character for losing (that should go without saying). And next time, why don’t you let someone else in on the glory? You can even start plotting with the losing character’s player for a vengance plot later on!
Realistic Advantages & Disadvantages
Sometimes, a character may engage in a fight where they are severely outmatched. There are realistic situations and occurrences where one character simply should not be able to defeat the other without great difficulty or extreme circumstances
Azazel is a thin, year-old half-coyote with virtually no fighting experience. Baphomet is a large Russian wolf, well-fed and quite large, with extensive fighting experience. These characters are not evenly matched. Realistically, Baphomet will dominate Azazel virtually every time.
There are rare instances when characters at a distinct disadvantage can defeat more powerful characters, but not many.
It may be difficult to see your character as severely outmatched in a roleplay fight — but sometimes it happens! It’s okay. Consider not fighting that character until yours has amassed more skill or grown larger. Use your best judgement; if a player is objecting to the realism of the match, consider perhaps backing down or swallowing a loss. You can always have a rematch later.
- Don’t start a roleplay fight without discussing it first. It’s rude to start any thread made for another player without discussing it first, so just don’t start private roleplay threads for anyone without their consent, ever. However, in roleplaying, it’s especially important to talk about it beforehand. This resolves many of the OOC disagreements surrounding roleplay fights before they even happen.
- If a thread and naturally progresses to a fight, the same logic applies. Take a moment to private message the other roleplayer and discuss the details of the fight first.
- It is highly, highly encouraged that you determine the winner of a roleplay fight before the IC fighting starts. This is the number one way to avoid out of character drama.
- Understand that some people simply do not like to roleplay fights. They don’t enjoy it, and as we’re all in this for the enjoyment factor, it is extremely rude to push or pressure anyone for a fight. If the answer is no, leave it at that.
- Again, if you are unprepared to lose or compromise, don’t engage in fight threads with other player-characters. Don’t thread a character once with a fight, take the victory, and then refuse all contact regarding rematch from that player — it’s downright rude!
- If you have come to an out of character agreement about a particular flow or outcome for your combat thread, don’t go back on your agreement and suddenly flip the in character circumstances around to change those things. It’s called cheesing, and is quite rude.
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