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Freeform Combat

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How to handle combat in a free form roleplaying environment.

Freeform Battle and Godmoding

In a freeform role playing environment power gaming(AKA Godmoding) will be something that you might run into from time to time. At the most basic, it's posing any sort of action that is phrased as entirely unavoidable or posing the actions of characters other than your own.

Conflict in roleplay can eventually lead to out and out battle. Unlike most RPGs, this game has no structured combat rules, power levels, dice and so forth to guide conflict. Thus it falls to the players themselves to resolve a conflict. This requires a good deal of maturity from both parties.

How do you avoid powergaming? You take care with how you pose. When posing in a conflict, the best way to do so is to pose your actions, but not the result. You want to describe what you do and perhaps a basic note of what you hope to achieve, then leave it to the opponent to decide how the attack resolves.

For Example:

Player A circles with you, narrowed eyes watching your every movement. Suddenly he darts forward, snapping out a quick jab.. a feint that melts into a low kick at the back of your knee.

Note the pose. It gives a few notable bits of info. It shows that Player A is alert and watchful. It gives an attack move, a high feint followed by a low kick and the target of the kick. What it doesn't do is say the kick connected or if the feint worked. Both of those should be left to the opponent.

The opponent might respond with something like this:

Player B dances lightly on his feet as he watches you in return. Watches and sees the jab. His arms curled up to deflect the blow that never comes. He grunts as is leg folds under the kick, dropping to one knee. A low growl escapes him as he plants his hands and whips around his other leg in a vicious sweep.

The opponent decides the attack hits and responds in kind with his own attempted blow, adapted from the new position his character is in. It would then fall to player A to decide how the attack resolves, then respond in kind with his own actions and reactions.

Note, this doesn't just apply to combat, it applies to all manner of interactions. Whenever your actions directly impact another player, the preferred way to express them is as an attempt that allows the other player the chance to react.

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