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The whole concept of RolePlaying originated from WarGaming?? though - and the systems have mostly remained true to it.  There has been some deviation towards Narrative combat systems over simulationist ones, but many games - and D20 especially - stick close to their roots.  For this alone, I curse D20.  Or will, once I discover how to pronounce Shaam :)  --Vitenka
Simulate combat, narrate story. --King? DJ
Is Combat not an important part of the story then?  Does it not matter to the story who wins?  --Vitenka
Narrate combat, narrate story. Narrate everything. Rules are there for two reasons - as guidelines for flavour of what happens, and to adjudicate disputes between players. --Requiem

I'm too sleepy to do it right now, but I propose some sort of structure be put here, so that this doesn't just stay a "I like this" / "Well, I like the other" thing.  May I suggest a quick explanation of what each form actually is, to start off with?  --Vitenka

Whoops! Edit conflict. Good idea but I have to go to a pratical now. Here's what I was going to say:

I find it extremely irritating when watching movies and the like when things happen that are blatantly inconsistent with the setting. For example people doing things in combat situations when they are blatantly impossible. I like to run my campaigns so that they are "realistic" in that they comply with the rules of the world in which they are set. A character who has hated the party since aged 5 and has sworn revenge on them will not turn around and serve them milk and cookies. A character who throws themselves in front of an enemy MG 42 will be riddled with bullets and die.
Even if he's Neo? -- Senji
This is being daft.  Realism is defined on a per reality basis.  I think the point intended to be made here is that precise rules are a way to ensure consitency of reality.  --Vitenka (I like mine soupy.)

Combat is about making the right decisions to engage your enemy in the right way with the right weapons at the right time in the right place just as much as role-playing is about saying the right things to the right people. If the party can't win or canít lose because of what the DM has already decided would make a good story the whole experience is less satisfying for the players.

I intend for the combats in my campaigns to be caused by and relate directly to the story but they are not scripted. I come up with a plan for the enemy and the PCs should come up with their own plan. Generally I will try and write the plans so that the villain has a good chance of smirking evilly and escaping or will go down as his armys desert him and the PCs defeat his bodyguards as he whimpers in a corner. However in the former case the villain is not bullet proof and neither are the PCs in the later case. Luck has decided a lot of things in History and it doesn't make it any less interesting.

Role-playing is a series of mental exercises. Playing a character, negotiating a deal, solving a puzzle, or fighting a combat. You create a story while doing it but I find it fun if the story is created by a series of self-consistent steps.
-- King DJ

I find it irritating when roleplaying is treated like any other game, with strategies, assumed knowledge, metagame thinking and such things. For example, people taking a specific power / combination of powers because they happen to know that defence is better than attack in this system. I like to run my campaigns such that there is a maximum of humourous, dramatic, cool and/or interesting moments, and I have no problem whatsoever with discarding basic laws of physics and modifying rules left, right and centre if it makes the game more interesting. A character who has hated the party since a young age might be persuaded by an impassioned speech that perhaps she had been wrong about them and their kin all along. A character who throws himself in front of an enemy MG42 may dance through and around the unending rain of bullets and still have just enough energy left to bend the barrel in half, before being punched in the face by the obstreperous owner of said machinegun. That's not to say that it shouldn't be self consistent, merely that it really doesn't matter if it's realistic.

Combat is another type of roleplaying - as in, you stay in character and try and play your role in this stressful situation. It is about making the right decisions as to how to use your own specific powers and idiom in the most interesting way possible, while remaining in character, just as conversation is about saying what your character would say under the circumstances. If the party can't win or can't lose because the Storyteller has decided that that should be so, then the Storyteller isn't being inventive enough. If the party throw a good enough spanner in the works, however silly, it should be given a fair chance to win.

The combats in my campaigns are caused by and relate to the various factions operating in the area. My plots tend not to operate to the resolution of 'this combat, that item' etc, but more on the whole "This faction's doing this in this way, another faction's doing that in that way" kind of level. I normally allow the players a way to win any situation - but I also allow the bad guys a way to win, too. Luck in moderation is fine - but I won't kill a PC simply due to a bad dice roll (though I might maul one severely).

You should play D&D! Then you can work out your fustrations by killing all the players in the party who annoy you and know it will all be alright because they can go and get raised! -- King DJ
That's cheating. --Requiem
You wouldn't say that if you ran a campaign with Franz and Martijn for 9 months! -- King DJ
Bah. Bah, I say.

Roleplaying is an exercise in playing a role. Making a character, coming up with a personality for them, then playing that character in the variety of stressful situations that the Storyteller comes up with. The story is central to the roleplaying - I think that top-notch roleplaying has much, much more to do with telling a story than playing a game. If I want to play something with squares, 256 different codified bonuses and penalties for all sorts of random things in the name of 'realism' and other such simulation-style baggage, then I will go and play a wargame. On a computer. In my opinion, what makes roleplaying superior to most other forms of gaming is the human interaction. Thus when I run a campaign I try and maximise that interaction, and that's why I run combat the way I do.


I will show you what I mean by my style of combat some time and then you can see what I mean. It involves mapping and bonuses for cover and flanking but it isn't stupidly, stupidly, stupid when it comes to rules slowing down the game. Myself I have an affinity for rules. I love to learn them all and admire the wonderful ways in which they all intermesh. Itís almost pretty.

I have always been the living rulebook for the party. When brother DMs I adjudicate combat and rules disputes. I have the whole lot in my mind so implementing +2 or -1 modifiers here and there happens at the speed of mental addition and subtraction. My main argument: If you can, for no penalty, why not? -- King DJ

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Last edited March 10, 2004 6:10 pm (viewing revision 14, which is the newest) (diff)