Very few forum roleplaying games incorporate hardline statistics systems, dice, and other stat-heavy aspects to roleplay fighting. However, there are attributes and traits relevant to roleplay fights you can consider when first creating your character — or first encountering a fight roleplay. Thinking about these aspects — key amongst them balance — is important to fairness in roleplaying fight situations.
- Why Aren’t Superpowered Characters Okay?
- Statistics in General
- Roleplay Fight Attributes
- Static Attributes Chart
- Fluctuating Attributes
If you give your character a distinct advantage, consider giving them a countering disadvantage. It’s called good balance; it applies to character traits and traits relevant to roleplay fights.
You simply cannot have an impossibly strong character who is also incredibly limber and agile, and also was trained in weapons usage and has tons and tons of experience and so on and so forth. It’s godmodding and bad roleplay, plain and simple. You may think you’re simply creating a “warrior” but your character must have downfalls.
Baphomet is a very large werewolf, standing at 8ft4in and weighing in at close to 425lbs. Despite his hulking form, he is graceful of movement and deceptively quick. He is muscle-laden and very experienced in fighting, having received training from his father since youth. He has an extreme tolerance to pain, as he has been on the receiving end of quite a lot of torture in his day. He is very violent and aggressive, and he will start fights for no good reason at all. Despite his huge size and high-blood-pressure inducing temper, he has a ton of endurance, and it takes a hell of a lot to tire him out. He carries a machine-gun that has infinite ammo and never, ever misfires. He also never misses a target. Essentially, he is an efficient killing machine and he has absolutely no place in ‘Souls wielding a machine-gun.
This character would likely be created by a munchkin and is definitely an example of godmodding in that the character is highly unlikely to be defeated, and strong in all areas.
Baphomet is a very large werewolf, standing at 8ft4in and weighing in at close to 425 lbs. His hulking form means he is rather slow of movement, and he is certainly not agile. He is muscle-laden and somewhat experienced in fighting. Aas he has never received official training, he often falls prey to beginner’s mistakes. He has a relatively high pain tolerance, thanks to his torture. Despite his dark past, he is a calm beast, and it takes quite a lot to evoke his temper. Thanks to his larger size, he doesn’t fare as well in longer battles and he tires quicker than smaller creatures. He doesn’t like to use weapons, and he mocks those who do.
WHY: Baphomet’s player was careful to expand on both the strengths and weaknesses of his character. Baphomet is a well-balanced character.
Why Aren’t Superpowered Characters Okay?
Roleplaying is collaborative — it’s an inherently different environment from a movie, book, or other medium where one person (or a small group of like-minded folks) control all of the action. There are “main characters” in books, movies, and comic books, for example — but in roleplaying, every played character is a main character to their roleplayer. They are all equally important. In an environment such as this, if every character could be as powerful, beautiful, strong, fast, and wonderful as the roleplayer wanted… well, there would probably be a lot more disagreements! Balanced characters serve to lessen these disagreements — especially in fight roleplaying.
Statistics in General
Without a hard numerical system to rely on, forum roleplaying statistics and abilities are quite subjective. While you may consider your character to be the epitome of physical strength and prowess, another character may have extensive experience and agility, and they might be able to outsmart your character and emerge victorious.
This is part of why roleplay fights are so often an area of roleplayer disagreement. There is no true right answer in the end, and Forum Roleplay’s best advice to offer is to keep your mind open. Consider the other roleplayer’s perspective. See if you can come to a compromise. Maybe your character wins, but has to sustain a hefty injury. Maybe their character wins, but your character and a friend or two get to kidnap their character later.
There are many fun scenarios you can draw out of a simple roleplay fight. Don’t get stuck on the who wins and loses — it’s arguably the least important aspect of writing a fight.
Roleplay Fight Attributes
If you’re interested in creating a character with a lot of fight situations, it’s a good idea to jot down a little “fighting profile.” Think about each of the following attributes and apply them to each fight situation. These are just ideas, but keep the idea of good balance in mind when creating your roleplay character.
There are many more attributes than simply what’s listed here — if you create a character with a particular strength, consider also giving them the weakness listed to counteract that strength. This makes it fair for other players who may want to engage your character in combat. Again, the primary key in creating your character is balance; this keeps the game fair and also will help you to avoid Bad Roleplay.
There are so many ways for your character to fight! Consider giving a paragraph or two on their fighting style on their detailed profile. Does your character go insane and fight berserker style? Does your character leap in and out of the other character’s range a lot? Does your character stay close and pushy, overpowering the other character? Does your character stay back and use their longer limbs (or even kicks!) to deliver devastating blows? There are a vast number of different combinations of attacks and styles that you can make your character use — some are particularly effective against others.
You can (and should!) research real fighting styles. This is easy if you play a human character, and again easy if you play an animal or something that exists in reality. There’s usually some real behavior you can copy and modify to your liking.
Static Attributes Chart
Physical Strength and Size
- Physically large or very muscular
- Does a lot of damage when they connect an attack
- Not agile, slow-moving
- Lacking endurance due to size; tires quickly
Agility and Speed
- Dodges, dances — avoids many attacks
- Especially strong against slow-moving opponents
- Not very physically strong — may not absorb damage very well and incur injury after only a few connects
- Generally of smaller size — agility and large physical size is rare
- May be an extremely strong advantage in an RPG where characters are generally unarmed
- Without training or experience, some weapons may be more dangerous to the wielder than beneficial
- May be rendered far less able to engage combat without the weapon (e.g., very poor melee performance)
- Weapon malfunctions a possibility with all weapons: whether breakage or repairable mechanical malfunction
- Strong advantage, especially over the inexperienced
- Unlikely to suffer reactions to gore, warfare horrors, etc.
- Usually accompanied by some other disadvantage such as age, prior injury, or something similar which dulls the experience
- May expect opponents to act a certain way
- “New moves” by an old opponent may be particularly effective as a surprise tactic
- Strong advantage — but remember that training is very different from real experience
- Generally very good advantage once paired with experience
- May be methodical and unable to think outside of training
- Consider lessening physical strength to compensate for extreme training
- Previously injured character will deal with injuries and pain better than the character who has never bled before
- Pain tolerance generally means prior wounds exist, which may be exploited for the benefit of the opponent (e.g., the opposing wolf takes a chunk out of an area that is already scarred, causing damage to an already-damaged area)
- May simply outlast another in battle, causing their opponent to make mistakes
- Consider lessening physical strength or agility to compensate for high endurance
Defensive Ability and Blocking
- May have physical attribute (thick fur, fast reaction time, etc.) allowing extreme defense
- May be especially effective when paired with a defensive fighting style
- May have some disadvantage paired with advantage — reaction time and agility means a small, weak character)Make certain you’re not blocking every attack in the name of fairness
These attributes are more likely to change from one combat situation to the next. A character will usually remain well-muscled, tall, or pain tolerant throughout his or her life.
Did your roleplay character get into a fight last week? Are they severely injured? Writing a new fight thread dated for a week after means your character will still have that black eye, gash, or giant bruise. They will be hurting, too! It can be tough to track your roleplay character’s injuries — consider noting in your character’s signature whether they are currently injured and how long it will be before they are expected to heal.
Energy Levels, Last Meal, Illness
If your character just ran for a day (whether metaphorically, in the case of catching a plane halfway around the world, or literally, in actually running for a day as a primitive neanderthal hunter) or otherwise totally exhausted themselves before the fight, they are less likely to win. Similarly, if it’s been a long time since they ate, they’ll be weak and tired. If they’re feeling out-of-sorts, they may not fight as well as they would normally.
Aggressiveness, Violence Capability, and Emotional State
A character who is enraged beyond rational thought will likely fight less smoothly than one who is pissed off but still able to calculate. A character who is extremely violent is likely to use “dirty tactics” like throwing sand, clawing eyes out, or other extreme things, while a character who is more honorable is less likely to do these things. Emotional state is important to consider; if one character has far more invested in battle than the other (e.g. his or her very life) s/he may be fighting far harder than the character who is merely fighting for glory.
Heat, Temperature, and Surroundings
Maybe your forum roleplaying game is a horse herd RPG, and you play a thick-furred horse from a cold place. The challenging stallion is a desert horse — and as your roleplaying game is set in northern Russia and it’s winter, it’s cold. The native horse has a distinctive advantage over the invader in this situation. This can come into play even with people — different people have different cold tolerances, and there are even diseases which make your character more (or less) tolerant of temperature.