The Rules of Roleplay Fighting and Dumbed-Down Examples

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Turn-based Textual Combat (TB, T1, para), is dependent upon the honesty and integrity of players, as well as their ability to out maneuver their opponents whilst thinking laterally, following a logical course of progression. By this, each player is the sole judge of their character and what happens to their character; no other individual holds in any way any control or power over the actions of another. They are expected to play fairly and with refrain at all times, deciding whether the outcome of events should go against what they might wish.

The form of TB is exactly as the name implies: each player takes turns to have their character perform a sequence of events, planning to stay one step ahead of their opponent's actions. Generally, the two players first agree that they are using the same form of textual combat to ensure there is no confusion, then between themselves they decide which character should take the first turn. The player with the first turn then has as much time as they need to type up their introduction to the battle, perhaps in the form of a first attack or as the readying of their weapon. For example:

Conan_the_Barbarian lumbers forward, sneering at the old man who has dared to challenge him, standing tall and proud as the very symbol of honed athletic prowess. His broad hands reach to his shoulder, drawing his broadsword with the hoarse whisper of steel on steel, leveling the blade before him. Both hands grasp the hilt firmly; his feet spaced evenly in a slight crouch, sharp eyes narrowing at the warrior.

After this, the other player will then be able to take his turn, deciding to go straight into the heat of the battle:

Druss_the_Axeman makes no meal of his actions as his gauntlet-clad hand snaps back to draw his axe. With his feet bound the flagstones, racing towards the barbarian, Snaga the Sender comes loose with a violet tug and sweeps outward as he nears, barreled chest and large muscles tightening like iron with the soar of the silver edge through the air. Right before the barbarian he halts and throws his full momentum into the deadly crash of the blade, swiping out for his guts in a quick, deadly motion.

What should be noticed, when reading the above attack, is that at no time does Druss declare that he has struck Conan, only that his actions will strike him unless he reacts. This is the standard form of TB combat, as rather than state that an opponent has taken any damage the player explains his attack, allowing the other to decide if it can be dodged. If one player decides the outcome of any direct or indirect action against another, save for the exception of descriptions, it is called an auto-declaration (auto for short).

Autos are illegal under the rules of TB, yet it is generally understood that if the player receiving the attack agrees beforehand that it will carry through unhindered, then it can be announced. However, the player receiving the damage or effect has the sole right to decide on the degree of success; whether they find their character's head struck from its shoulders, or if they merely have a gash across the brow. Taking this into account, the new player should avoid committing autos in any form until they fully understand the mechanics behind the combat.

The process of logic decides the next stage of any simple fight: can the player think of a way to deal with the attack without taking damage, and can he turn it to his advantage somehow? In this manner the player receiving the action can decide the end result of the attack, yet must describe clearly how this result is obtained. Again, fairness of discretion is required to continue. In the example given above, Conan has readied himself to receive such an attack, and so has no trouble in deflecting it away:

Conan_the_Barbarian sends his sword smashing down against the axe, jerking from the jarring clang of metal on metal, then with a grunt of effort pushes it back to the lower right of the axeman, pinning it with his own blade. Continuing his turn he spins on the ball of his foot, launching a momentous kick toward the old man's head, intending to catch him with the heel of his boot right upon the jaw as he pivots around.

With the attack thwarted, the player then has the opportunity to initiate a counter-attack or to withdraw and ready his next action, be it a defense or otherwise. It is important to regulate the number of actions a player takes in one turn, though no real limit is imposed for this purpose. Players are expected to generally agree on what is acceptable either before hand, or as they are going along, but it has to be understood that too many actions spoil the event. This particularly applies if the players are spending less time describing or portraying the actions, making it interesting reading, and more time simply churning out actions in a bid to win their battles.

A good post only covers one to about three actions, making use of adequate description to make what is happening crystal-clear. The less confusion the better, as players can spend less time pondering over what is happening and more time considering what to do next. When a player totally misunderstands what is happening in the game, a message or so to the opponent should straighten out the ordeal, and so avoid cluttering the flow of the match… Should a player post without asking and get it wrong, having misinterpreted the actions, they are generally allowed a second attempt to get it right.

Druss_the_Axeman feels the clash of their weaponry and rebounds slightly, Snaga held rigidly within the lock of Conan's blade on the floor. He had expected this however, as having seen from the man's crouched position and his hold upon his weapon that he intended a retort. When the barbarian spins Druss is already in action, dropping low as the boot floats over his skullcap-protected brow, thundering a first in close quarters to his belly, ramming it forward to knock him off balance and free his Axe.

There comes a point when a player has to admit that an attack was successful, being logically unavoidable and soundly executed. This need not result in instant death or loss of the battle, but rather in a swift change of ploy to maintain a running fight. Assuming a player has the means with which to recover swiftly, one can employ them to their heart's content, yet should be aware that their character has taken some minor damage from the events that have unfolded. Punches can be rolled with, but if they hammer into a character when they are unready they can be devastating… not all damage comes from edged weaponry. It is important to pinpoint the degree of damage, and to make a judgement as to whether the character can proceed beyond that point with it as hindrance.

Many people seem to take their strikes very well, but do not carry onward with the results as part of their character; all damage is accumulative unless countered by some healing action. Therefore, where as an ill-timed knee-blow might only leave a bruise on a character's cheek, enough of such will weakened and split the skull, causing brain hemorrhage. Mere cuts of a razor blade down the arm should not stream blood too strongly, but with enough of them criss-crossing a body, loss of blood will be a major problem. Each character will have differing factors to take into consideration, such as their threshold of pain and capacity to absorb the damage rendered upon them, and so should think very carefully over their actions during play.

Conan_the_Barbarian was surprised by the sudden crunch of the old man's fist against his back, having expected his sole to render him unconscious… after all, he reflects as he tumbles forward, the old an infirm are weak compared to the freshness of youth. Ramming his elbow off of the floor, he bites down hard on his tongue, turning over with the remaining momentum and clambering to his feet with graceless gestures, facing the man with a bloody roar of utter rage as his sword sweeps to rest by his side once more.

This concludes the introduction to the basics of Turn-based textual combat, for further reading for more experienced and advanced players, or for those looking to become more experienced, continue reading the advanced section below.

~Further Reading(Advanced TB/T1)~

Druss_the_Axeman laughs heartily as the youth sprawls across the floor, raising his foot to rest on one of the tavern's overturned chairs, Snaga set between his feet with the points of the blade gripping the flagstones beneath. "You're no match for me, boy. Keeping this up is only going to embarrass you further in front of all these lovely young lasses. Now how about you pay for the drink you stole from me, and I repay by not cutting your head off?"

In reference to the first few points made, the player should always take time out during the lull of fighting to play their character. Fighting is worthless if it fails to enrich and enhance the plot of characters, to both settle disputes and further the game environment. It is also rather dry to plough through lines of text concerned only with the direction and frequency of attacks, resulting in others players becoming bored and less likely to interact or role-play themselves. The resource to spot chances to relax from heated combat is vital, for it separates the combat into multiple sections that are easier to digest.

Conan_the_Barbarian foams at the mouth with rage, his words biting into the rafters above with sharp, heavy syllables. "My ale you bastard, the barkeep gave it when I walked up to be served!" he roars, spitting in the direction of Druss as he hefts his blade once more.

Druss_the_Axeman "Perhaps you should have asked the man, rather than hit him between the eyes when he tried to tell you? Or do your young harlot companions demand that you thump everything that gets in your way?" he replies calmly, shifting his grip on his axe to spin the blade's flat towards Conan.

Conan_the_Barbarian shouts at the top of his voice as he charges to the ancient, a sweeping arch of silver shining in the lantern light with glittering dark intent. Merely footsteps away, he sends his sword straight overhead to crash down with sheer power across all defenses, bent on cleaving the liar's skull in twain.

Equally important is to recognize when a fight seems to be tapering off due to too much conversation, and to initiate events to swing back into motion. This can be quite literally by swinging an attack around, or it can be achieved by a variety of other methods, such as cursing or enticing an attack. Either way, raising the hostility levels should keep the action tense and intriguing, though not overwhelming with ferocity. Reading the other player's style is essential to finding the best methods of play; for if a character is more inclined to sit and talk it will take much more to have him fight than a few insults.

Druss_the_Axeman drops his foot from the overturned chair as Conan begins his scream, then sweeps Snaga up in counter balance to lift the chair, hurling it forward from his axe as Conan raises his blade overhead, spinning forward to topple him by a blow to the chest. As the chair is freed he lunges forward, crossing the intermediate ground moments after the flight of the wooden mass, preparing to strike forward and tear Conan's chest open under the swoop of his companion, the axe.

Awareness of the area in which combatants are playing marks a distinction from the average player, as a growing tend has emerged amongst those within chat, defined by the ignorance of the world around the characters. Unlike many would believe, there are very few custom-built arenas where characters and jump back and forth, performing endless aerobatics unhindered by the scenery… nor is it unfeasible to expect items to have been left around which they could make use of. Such simple details as the traction of the ground, whether it is ice or sand, can affect the movements of the creatures populating the area, whereas the temperature and humidity will change their stamina.

Effective play is not just in recognizing which elements can be used to the player's advantage, but in which cannot, what details are strong weaknesses against their character. Fiery dragons will not cope well in blizzards, nor will woodsman survive long in the stone streets of urban sprawl. Defense can be planned and implemented against much change in scenario, but once again it is the player's discretion that should determine what handicaps and what enhances the character.

Conan_the_Barbarian is firmly stuck in the chest by the flying seat, having been completely unprepared for such a foul ploy, and reels back suddenly under the impact, tripping over his own feet and falling downward as Druss moves to strike. A large slash cuts the skin across his breast, but thankfully the fall saved him from worse, giving him enough time to gather himself as Druss is carried around by the swing to muster a quick retort, lunging his blade forward in a stabbing motion.

One of the most difficult concepts to understand about TB is that, despite being played turn by turn, the flow of time within the game remains constant. This means that though each player has a turn in which to commit their actions, they are not standing idle as their opponent is making his or her action. To further elaborate, the above text shows how each player, both Conan and Druss, have made their actions at the same time as the other character. Whilst Conan is racing forward Druss is hurling the chair, meaning that Conan could not complete the rest of his action, as the chair prevented him from doing so.

The exact sequence of events is not set in stone till each player has commented on what their character is doing at any given time; thus large or small actions, which take time to employ, can be cut short by their intervention. Druss does not stand still whilst Conan is charging, but makes use of his initiative to block what he had intended, and Conan accepts this and carries onward. However, should Conan later deny that the sequence of events had taken place, he would be playing in bad form, as he already agreed that the action took place. In short, although the turns are played out in sequence, the content is brought together in real-time.

Druss_the_Axeman rapidly reverses the direction of Snaga with a twist of the palm and shift of grip, curling it around to repeat the same hacking gesture as he steadies his feet upon the ground. He does not run, but walks with each action, keeping his center of balance solid and firm against the whirlwind of action, a calm contrast to Conan's vehemence. He methodically presses forward to send the sword away, catching it with his axe with a metallic ringing, pushing down on Conan to give him the advantage of position.

In considering the actions of a character, players are wise to understand the nature of their situation in terms of advantages and disadvantages. In causing a character to take a hit, thus losing their position and calm, the player opens the opportunity to press an advantage. Yet, with each change in stance an equal and opposite weakness is laid open, such as a vulnerability where previously the players were on the same ground. There are exceptions to this, for example when a character is facing a tireless and powerful onslaught which they are struggling to match, or up against a creature of exotic powers with which they can barely cope. It is important to understand that the simple rearranging of position, such as a player moving their character below another and to the side, does not immediately signal that they are losing.

Far from it, a character that is standing low can be far more deadly, capable of swiping at the legs of the other, as will soon be shown by Conan. In this case players must understand how to press the advantage gained to counter this effect, or to withdraw to the relatively safety of an even match. Clarity is again required when keeping track of all this motion, and so it is common courtesy to give reference relative to each character for each action, so that the visualization of what is unfolding is clear.

Conan_the_Barbarian feels his strength ebbing in his fallen position, and so deftly swipes his feet around beneath the legs of Druss in hope of either felling him or forcing him to release his pressure upon the sword. At the same time as he does this he spins around beneath the axe, his arm providing support against the flat of his own blade, preparing to rise up behind Druss should his actions be successful.

Length of description is never as important as what is revealed during the description; players should be very alert that the more of their future actions they reveal, the more a player can plan for in advance. Ideally, players should be capable of trusting their opponent not to press the information as an advantage, yet this is not always so, and thus a particular style must be adopted in such situations. Only enough detail to ensure the opponent knows what is currently happening, or about to happen, should be revealed, yet the groundwork must be laid for the next steps in the sequence.

Therefore, the actions of a character should balance nicely with the descriptions of those actions, giving a good read yet at the same time pitting the mettle of one combatant against another. Revealing future steps in actions may be utterly necessary at points, such as when Conan is preparing for his next actions above, yet the less a player extends himself out the less the risk of being out-maneuvered. In friendly TB this should never be a problem, yet in life or death of character situations it is sometimes impossible to agree with the other player on the outcome; either one lives, or it dies. Such is the case above, and so the players are being very competitive towards one another in these closing stages of the fight.

Druss_the_Axeman feels the booted feet he had dodged earlier with ease smack him in the shins, a strong assault against his steady form causing him to stumble forward and over Conan. His hold on the blade is released, his gaze fixed on the far wall as he realizes the advantage he has just lost, and that they young youth is now behind him without hindrance.

Taking risks is a valuable tactic that has to be though out very carefully, planned to meticulous detail before implementation. It is more than feasible to expect a player to recover from a swift setback as the other is also re-establishing his foothold, but sometimes it is advantageous to allow the opportunity to pass by, playing a mental game of opportunity with the opponent. In the above paragraph, it appears that Druss has exposed his back to Conan, who will now be rapidly rising even as he continues forward.. yet a few mere lines of text would have removed the risk.

Clearly it is hard to win any battle without risk, but it is possible. Setting an opponent up to take advantage of a situation is an old trick which works most times, yet harder still is to force them to make a mistake they will pay for later. Observing their tactics can often help choose the best method, so separating the more able player readily, and giving them more chance of being able to accomplish their task.

Conan_the_Barbarian rears like a snake behind Druss, his blade swinging overhead once more, prepared for a downward thrust, mercilessly into the back of the old man, his cry of exultation startlingly loud as blood lust is realized. He steps forward, the blade trailing over his right shoulder as he nears the stumbling figure, and with the down force of the blade, he strikes.

Druss_the_Axeman turns in those fleeting seconds as Conan nears, the blade raising over his shoulder to strike at him, having rightly gambled that his penchant for the broadsword and the length when considered with his height would lead him to favor the downward cleave. Yet Druss is older, wiser, more experience as he spins with Snaga in both hands, raking it out to slice hits guts open, speeding against the slow trawl of the moment to strike before the final blow is begun, then away as quickly.

Druss shows himself to be true to character, the foresight to expect particular tactics from the player playing off to his advantage; in his mind, with the actions Conan has taken, there is little chance of him being capable of escaping… he is proven correct.

Conan_the_Barbarian stares in abject horror as the axe sinks into his flesh, pain exploding beneath his chest as he is burned by the searing sensations, the tearing of his intestines striking home suddenly and with less mercy than he would have allowed. Cold overwhelms him as the axe leaves, Druss spinning away, his blood spilling to the floor in a crimson spray, weakness consuming him and forcing his grip on the broadsword to loosen, then release. He topples to his knees, clutching at his stomach, his blade lying to the side, too far away to aid him now.

Ultimately, in accepting the death of a character, there are details commonly understood yet seldom practiced. It is possible to sustain severe injury to the tendon of an arm and still function, or to take blade's points in non-vital areas of the body, but if these objects penetrate the head, pelvis, gut or chest, there is little to no chance of baring it with grace. Rage might provide adrenaline when the pain is bearable, but mortal wounds such as they are just that; mortal, even in the midst of magic and fantasy.

Druss_the_Axeman stands slowly, his walk heavy and with weight as he approaches the boy, Snaga hanging with ruby coating beside him, swinging loosely in his arm. Over the barbarian he pauses, looking down, his cold blue eyes showing compassion and sorrow at what has taken place, yet still the hardness of knowing what is to be done.

Conan_the_Barbarian looks upward slowly, his forehead streaked with sweat, his pupils large with wonder and mouth hanging open with reddened gasp for life, cut of his tongue blackening his throat. "What… are… you… old… man?" he asks defiantly, arrogant barbarian to the very last.

Druss_the_Axeman "I am Druss," he replies, lifting his axe with fingers linked around the hilt, "...and this..." The shining crescent cleaves through the youth's neck, severing head from body with another, final spray of life-giving fluid. "... is the end, the end for you."

This concludes the introduction to the advanced aspect of Turn-based textual combat, though a few words remain to express the necessity of fair play. Always, players must remember that no matter how great their wish to win, it is only a game to be played, not a matter that should trouble them in real life. Those with great egos who gloat about easy victory are false and shallow, for in truth every battle fought should have some degree of difficulty. Players who are proficient should help those who are not learn, playing to their level… And for those who wish to practice their skills without ending the lives of their characters, an out of character sparring session can be arranged, in which two players may pit their characters against one another as if they were fighting, yet without the final ramifications. In such sparring sessions, the important emphasis on the plot or backing conditions for the battle are just as strong, and do require some fought to be given as to why, and where, and how each are fighting.

T1 Melee

T1 Melee is yet again another variation of standard T1. It is basically the same thing as T1 itself, however there is no magic, or even powers for that matter allowed. So it's a fight without magic or mana of any type which can be very linear and God-like if used abused. It usually ends up to be CQC combat with firsts, legs, or weapons.

T1 Realistic Melee

T1 Realistic Melee is yet again another spin-off of standard T1, but more so a spin-off of T1 Melee. T1 Realistic Melee is based on things that only real humans can do. You can still use weapons if you wish, but no unnatural or in-human abilities of any sort.

T1 Innate (Racial & Item)

T1 Innate (Racial & Item) is again a variation of T1, but more so a sub-style of T1 realistic melee just only with magical items or special abilities that your character might have due to race. Although T1 Innate really isn't much more then normal T1 realistic melee.

T1 H2h

T1 H2h is probably the simplest version of standard T1, think of it as T1 for slackies. All your really allowed to do is punch, kick, grapple, throw, more or less all the standard things you'd expect to see in a real fight down the block a few streets. No weapons are allowed unless you find them on the ground, or are part of the enviroment in which you might be fighting in, that is, if you use an enviroment at all. Also, no special powers or abilites are allowed, it is basically T1 realistic melee all over again, only yet again, as already stated, a 'dumbed down' version.


T1 PC is a spin-off of the original Type 1 text based combat system; T1 PC allows you to do anything and everything you want, be it CQC(Close Quarters Combat) also known as hand to hand combat, to weapons, magic, seemingly anything your mind can conjour up. That is of course, aslong as you follow your characters abilities. T1 PC has no true limits or possibilities, which mean it can often be over whelming to those who aren't familiar, or all that great with the standard T1 style. While T1 PC originally started as casting fire balls and summoning legions of the undead and other such feats, it has now moved on to things like theoretical and quantum physics. T1 PC can go from being an extremely good fight with very realistic, yet very advanced players, to being a fight between players who don't want to lose and turn into Gods for lack of better words. That is the major flaw with T1 PC, and why I personally don't like the style. Too many people are to bent on winning and power crazed rather then using T1 PC in a fashionable, respectable sense. Thus when it is mistreated, it is degraded and loses all its interest, or so some of the more experienced roleplayers might tell you.
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Thank you. This lays out textual combat well and is helpful to those looking to improve the fighting aspect of their role-playing.
I apologize for not getting to this thread sooner, but I would really appreciate if you could actually copy and paste the text instead of just linking to your blog. If you don't know how to do this, I can edit your post for you. The thing is that I prefer for the Institute to have direct content instead of linking people elsewhere.
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I edited the post to have the blog content in the post (copy/paste, yo!) as that IS preferable to linking away :)