Table of Contents:
Why the Hell I Made This:
What is a Battle?
What are the Common Rules?
Planning with Another Person:
Generating the Gut of the Battle
Bonuses to Add Into a Character Designed for Combat
Making the Battle Interesting
The Truth and a Secret Tip
Are you interested in doing combat for an RP? Or are you just here because you are bored? Either way, here is the second part to the Tips to Roleplaying 101 series where we will address the basics of handling combat and action within RPs, something that may come to be a struggle for many people. In this article, I will teach you how to make a good battle.
Why the Hell I Made This:
Honestly, the main reason isn’t because I wanted people to fan this or even read this but rather as an avid battle/action rp/anime lover, I find fun in doing combat, though I noticed that there may be some (including the one good friend of mine that was the main reason I wrote this) that are a bit lost or frantic during the time combat comes into place. So the original reason was to help some people who may need a bit of guidance and tips when it comes to battles. Then that and when I checked my original realized I was fairly high on the article ranking list so I figured if people liked that, they might like if I changed it into a slowly updating series.
What is a Battle?:
Okay, so first if we even plan to go on about talking on how to make a good battle and the combat within it, what IS
a battle in the first place? After all, you can’t write about something that you don’t know what it is. Dictionary.com defines a battle briefly and fairly accurately as “a fight between two persons or an animal.” In terms of RPs, the definition is rather similar. A battle is the pairing of two or more characters against each other in a form of combat ranging from mind to magic to cards to physical.
What are the Common Rules?:
Okay, so combat in RPs tend to have some rules, both said and unsaid.
Most of the main rules are based off of and circulates around the most common rule that is seen in almost all RPs including those that don’t even have action. No Goddmodding. The basic explanation for this is no controlling each other’s characters, but it builds a bit more when related to combat where the rule has multiple meanings.
No controlling each other’s characters. Duh.
Don’t make OP characters
Don’t say what happened to another person’s character in the same post you launched the attack in
Don’t be obsessive about making your character always win
The first meaning is fairly self explanatory so I will skip it and move onto the second one. Don’t make OP characters.
There are a few exceptions to this that I will leave out for the sake of making this not confusing. This rule is also pretty given, though it deserves attention and a bit of defining. OP Characters translates to Overpowered Characters. No one likes to fight and overpowered character because it kills the fun of the battle when the opponent is too strong for you to stand a chance against. The thing that makes an OP character is typically their ability but it occasionally can be found with their skills and/or unreasonable traits to fit the RP. For example, in the case of a normal supernatural ability RP, having a character that can distort time, space, and reality without limitations is considered OP. Another example would be a character that could kills someone just by looking at them. Taking upon a different foot, say the RP has completely normal characters, a character that has abilities would be considered OP. The tip to avoiding this is looking at the RP and considering ‘Is it possible and logical that another character here can beat it?’
as well as ‘What are the different ways that this character can be beaten? What are the limitations to this ability’s/skill’s/character’s power?’
The third rule. Don’t say what happened to another person’s character in the same post you launched the attack in.
This is a mistake that many people who are new to combat in RPs tend to make when they begin doing combat against another RP-er for the first time usually with a post similar to the following. “Bob punched Billy in the face, sending him flying back into a wall.”
That is what you don’t want to do. In your post against someone else, you want to explain the attack and/or launch the attack that you want the person to respond to and then let them decide what happens changing that to…..
“Person 1: Bob reared his arm back and threw a punch aiming for Billy’s face.
Person 2: The punch hit Billy’s face, sending him flying back into a wall.”
By simply fixing that, makes your quality of writing and combat better as well as making you a more enjoyable RP-er to fight against for the person who is writing this battle with you.
The fourth rule. Don’t be obsessive about making your character always win.
That rule is another commonly broken rule but is also one of the harder ones to get over. It’s a common thing for you to see where a battle never ends because no one will lose or for someone to be fairly annoying due to them always making their character unreasonably dodging attacks. It’s something that must be understood. Your character is probably not the strongest character in the RP because as someone who is fairly well experienced in RP combat, there is almost always someone that has skills to beat another character. You must be willing to let your character loose. If you aren’t, then you will probably run into the thing that kills most RPs which I call A.S.S. (Action Stalemate Syndrome). It is when an RP comes to the point where two characters are placed against each other and neither RP-er will allow their character to lose ending up with a never ending battle which ultimately kills the RP. This can be fixed by following the fourth rule, or by planning out the battle before hand with the other person.
Planning with Another Person:
As stated in the fourth rule of the last section, planning the battle with another person can save both the battle and the RP from the chances of A.S.S. occurring. With that being said, there are a few things that must be known.
Who is fighting who? Why? Is there a good reason?
Basically, it is a basic but important question. To begin planning, you need to know who is fighting who. Usually there is a good reason or a purpose as to why the two began fighting or were paired but it is not necessary though it may come in handy for later planning.
Who will be the victor?
This is important. It’s the very thing that allows an RP to avoid A.S.S. If you know who will win, putting the beginning to the end will be easy and the battle will pass by fairly easy. Make sure you both know and agree who will win and keep in mind that there can be a tie.
How will the battle end?
And this is just the last main thing that needs to be covered. While you may know who the victor will be, how will it be decided? Will someone die? Will they flee? Will someone faint and be saved?
Well that depends on the RP and scenario. I’ll leave that for you to decide and figure out.
Generating the Gut of the Battle:
Okay. Generating the gut of the battle runs on similar principles to planning with another person but has a bit more fleshing out to it which may be a bit more challenging. So like planning with another person, you have to figure out who is fighting who, who will win, and how the battle will end but in addition to that, you need to know a bit of the middle, the gut of the battle.
•What main actions do you want to happen in this battle? Is there an event that you would like to show? Like an ability or a transformation? Also, what details might you want to put in?
•Is there significance to this battle you want to make clear? Is this to save someone? Is this a final battle? What caused this battle and how are you going to address it? This one actually may not apply if the battle really had no original significance/meaning to it or the meaning/significance is so minor it probably wouldn’t need to be mentioned
•Will the battle be a one sided battle?
Bonuses to Add Into a Character Designed for Combat
This is not a necessary, but more of a bonus thing to consider if you are just joining an action RP or are making a new character for one. If you plan to have a character participate in a lot of action, it might be a good idea to fit them to being into action. This can be done in a few ways.
Make an action ready character.
By action ready character, I mean a character whose abilities are well built and structured to fit combat. This means the ability isn’t OP and you can use it flexibly properly. It might add more to the character if the ability is unique and not commonly done often. Also, when making the ability, come up with ways that the ability can be applied in combat may it is in terms of strategy or special attacks/movements. Knowing these things can allow you to make the battle just a bit more interesting.
Plan the pros and cons of the character.
When making the character, figure out some weaknesses and strengths that can be taken advantage of within the battle. Weaknesses build room for a character to actually loose but also room for the character to grow over the span of the RP to become stronger, something that I personally like to see and read. Strengths are similar to making an action ready character and it allows you to make a character that can probably work around things a lot.
Plan how the basis of a character will apply later on.
This is a general thing. How might their personality, back story, likes/dislikes, friendships, etc. come in handy later on? Again, this isn’t a necessary thing, but if you have something that can lead to another, you may find yourself with reasoning for a good battle that reveals things about your character. Maybe the character’s mom died and later on the character can face off against her killer. Maybe the character had something to protect. Who knows? It’s all up to you in this area.
There is one thing that will make writing battle posts all the much more easier and enjoyable. Inspiration. Like stated in the prequel to this article, inspiration is really the heart of everything. It makes things sound better. It makes things easier to write. It makes it more enjoyable to write and, usually, more enjoyable to read as well. So what can you use for inspiration? How can you maintain it?
Well that simple. Inspiration can come from a variety of places. I personally gather most of my inspiration from music, particularly battle music. I like to sit back, close my eyes and listen to the music on repeat as a build an idea of what the scene will be like then play the music again as I write it out. Other places that might bring out some inspiration are combat in TV shows, anime, manga, books, movies, etc. as they pose as good examples that may cause your mind to carry off onto other ideas which may apply to the battle. A third way is the character itself. As stated above, the character and the way they are built can bring out ideas for a battle or maybe their ability demands a scene to happen. Overall, there are too many sources of inspiration that I can’t even list them all here. All you need to do is find your favorite one.
Making the Battle Interesting:
Of course. This article isn’t about teaching you how to have basic boring combat battles, but interesting, unique, fun ones. So how exactly? We know how to do them now and the basics of the planning, but what makes a battle more interesting and better than the next? How can I make mine memorable and better?
Simple. Make it unique. Have something occur in the battle that you can look back and say “Hey remember the one battle where….. happened?” I random battle without reason or significance to it can still be good and is actually used occasionally by myself, but if you really want a battle to be remembered, make something actually happen more than fists crossing. Show off some emotional problem. Maybe make someone nearly die. Maybe have a speech or a good conversation. Maybe put in some character build here and there. Basically, make the battle add onto the character and/or the story line of the RP.
Also, another way to make it better is to make the fighting descriptive and unique to a level that it creates a vivid image in the reader’s head but not so much that it sounds hilariously over done. Typically this can be done by describing the feel of the attack in terms of energy or the sight of it as well as other sensory detail to make the image of the attack better. To make it more unique, add in creative movements and plans rather than just one person punched the other and then he replied with another punch. After awhile reading “(insert name) punched (insert name)” over and over again, it gets boring so spice it up. Change up the attack, make a plan or a trap, and use a different attack and so on. It’s a good idea to tie attacks to each other in some form of a combo as well.
And the third tactic I tend to like to use (well third that comes to mind right now at least) is to input the character’s thought process. You don’t have to put in all of it, but putting in what the character is thinking may add to the feel and intensity of the battle. Reactions to another attack can give a greater feel to what is currently going on in the battle and some thoughts on the plan can satisfy those who are obsessed with strategy as well as build upon a character.
There are many challenges as we all may know to doing action RPs. First one that comes to mind would be the one we addressed early in the article which is A.S.S. Everyone loves their character and no one really wants to let their character lose, and that is the first challenge. Allowing a character you love to have the possibility of losing. The second challenge would probably be actually coordinating with the other person and getting a hang of describing the scene so that the other person doesn’t miss understand the scene and reply with something impossible. When it isn’t battling with another person but rather yourself, the challenge changes from coordination to handling the massive length the posts will probably be and that requires you to hold onto your inspiration as you work. The third challenge would probably be actually planning it out properly so that everything flows properly with the creativity, plan, win/loss, and so on. The fourth challenge is one I tend to prefer to avoid all together and has yet to be addressed in this article.
The fourth challenge is going against multiple RP-ers at once. Once a battle becomes more than 2 RP-ers with their character(s) going against each other and into 3+ RP-ers, new challenges arise. For one, the planning gets is raised more. Then there is the fact that coordinating many people at once is not an easy thing. And then what I find the hardest thing is the fact that posting becomes a challenge. I would recommend placing a posting order under this case so while one person is writing, they don’t have to worry about another post appearing that they hadn’t taken into consideration.
The Truth and a Secret Tip:
Overall though there is one truth and secret tip to writing combat. Against the purpose of this article, there is no one way to write and you should not over plan a battle. The secret tip is to just write what you mind tells you to write. If you think too much about it, it might become a weapon against you as writing just looses all the fun it was meant to have. So have fun. That is the key to it all. If you have fun and if you enjoy what you are writing, it will express itself in the post you write, so never forget. Having fun is the key.