Lashela's Guides to Roleplaying
A small introduction
I've been roleplaying in WoW since it was released in europe. At the beginning it was pretty much relaxed and casual RP, nothing too exhaustive... Game mechanics made all battling necessary way easy.
However, after a couple of months, i found out that you were not allowed to duel inside the city, while i was trying to solve an IC battle. I had to work the entire battle by emoting.
Since then, i believe i learnt quite a big share on battle-emoting. It is not like a ruleset must be enforced (using d20, for example), but some guidelines are mostly necessary.
This guide has been created with that purpose: to let people find a very easy (that can get as complex as you want) way to work out battles in the city, for their characters.
Basis on roleplayed battles
One point that is never stressed enough to start this section: game level means nothing. The game level of your character is there for game mechanics, not for the roleplay. Being LVL60 does not mean you can arm wrestling with Bolvar Fordragon (HO Saurfang if you're horde) and win. Most specially if you are a LVL60 priest!
For that, we can use a imaginary set of skills for your character, that can be worked out through your FlagRSP / MyRP description. That is, if you are saying that your character has "a slender weak build" we can deduce you aren't capable of incredible exploits when it comes to physical ability. And that means that you will most likely avoid melee, and perhaps use magic (be it arcane, holy or demonic), ranged weapons, or even wits to succeed in a fight. On the opposite side, if you describe your toon as "strong, muscular and fit", you should rarely fight from the backlines, but hitting as close to the enemy as possible.
For that, using that very description, imagine what would your character do when forced to battle. Neither it has to match your game class' skills, as well!
How to emote a fight, for dummies
Leaving the method you use to fight for a moment, let's concentrate on what do we want to obtain here. You should imagine a RP fight like a two-sided game (there can be more players, but let's just imagine two for a start). Somehow, one of both players start the game, and emotes the first action. Then, the second player reacts to this, and gets it's own chance to emote as well. This keeps on going until one of them accepts defeat.
Of course, it looks very simple in here. The "problem" is that both players want to win. And, of course, this cannot be.
First, let's take a look to the basic emote fight, a punch.
- Dummy1 punches Dummy2 in the face.
Looks correct, ain't? Well, it is not! This is what it's known as poweremoting or godmodding. It consists of deciding the outcome of any action on our own. Let's take the example a step further.
- Dummy1 punches Dummy2 in the face, throwing Dummy1 several meters away in the air, and leaving him/her unconscious.
This way of emoting a battle is wrong.
Once again, and in caps, so everybody gets the idea.
THIS WAY OF EMOTING A BATTLE IS WRONG.
Got it? If both sides of the battle decide on their own what's happening here, there is no interaction. This is not a battle, but more of a tale (a fairytale, in most cases, as well), in which the other side will get bored, and cut off the event.
You should always leave some margin of reaction in your emotes. For that, do not emote absolutes (X is happening) but intention (X is what i am trying to). Now that we have learnt the lesson, let's take a look at a more correct approach of the same emote.
- Dummy1 attempts to punch Dummy2 in the face.
From here, Dummy2 can deflect the punch, receive it, evade it... Whatever.
I scratch your back, you break mine
Another point we are looking to avoid in a battle is to have one of those anime fights in which both combatants hit-and-dodge-and-stop every single attack. Battle-emoting is not about who can finish the emote first (mostly because this leads to punhcs or htis. Take it easy! This is not a typing contest!), but neither it should be about who decides to withdraw from battle and "accept" defeat (and thus emoting a "gets hit").
There are two accepted methods for a success/fail emote. The 3-way-handshake, or the dice rolling.
The method of the 3-way-handshake consists of emotes asking "OOCly" for the success of it. Following an example.
- Dummy1 holds his/her fists up, waiting for an opening in Dummy2's defenses to punch him/her in the face. (( Success? ))
The next stop is the acceptance from the other character to "receive" the emote. In other words, it's a "can i do this(y/n)?" prompt. It could follow:
- Dummy2 trips with a rock in the ground, while taking a step back to stay out of Dummy1's range. (( Success! ))
- Dummy1 sees the opportunity, and punches Dummy2 in the face.
It requires 3 steps to complete each battle segment, but it's probably the best and most pleasant one.
The dice rolling uses the random number generator that comes along WoW to decide wether it happens or not. As in the next case.
- Dummy1 attempts to punch Dummy2 in the face.
- Dummy1 rolls 43 [1-100]
- Dummy2 rolls 75 [1-100]
- Dummy2 easily dodges Dummy1's slow hit.
However, this method is completely random. So the winner depends entirely on the rolls. It can be helpful, though, when both sides do not get along for whatever the reason may be.
Slash, feint, kick
Getting an eye over melee emotes, now. First, we have to consider the range matter... To hit someone, you must be able to reach, obviously. However, in the middle of a RP battle, there is no way to hold characters "rooted". For this, it's important that no one moves without having "emote permission" for it. You should consider moving as a full-time action. You can run to get towards your objective, but that will give the other character the oportunity to strike first, always. Drawing or pulling out weapons, unless you have the arms completely motionless or still, however, could be done without restriction. Hitting with them, though, not. And remember that every hit counts, for both sides! A cut on your leg will significantly reduce your reaction time, and your movement!
Magic is the most tricky matter on RP fights. Some spells can be cast safely, with a "snap of fingers". However, we should consider the "emote casting time" carefully depending on the very spell actions. Summoning a big flame that engulfs the enemy, with minor damage, for example, can be considered a minor spell. A huge fireball that burns skin, melts armour and vaporizes everything on it's pass, however, should be carefully planned.
If you want a basis for this, consider spellcasting depending on how dramatic it's effects are, and how much increases your victory chance. If it's a "Power Word: Die" spell, emote correctly somewhat along...
- Dummy1's eyes suddenly light up with an arcane light, while he distorts reality itself to cast a powerful spell.
... even if, in a practical way, the spell would work by saying "Die". Magic is dramatic, theatrical, and even the dumbest meatshield will feel the gathering of strong energies (and react accordingly).
Another point to have in mind for spellcasters, and that most forget (i recognize i do, sometimes). Magic is considered an art. It's something complicated, powerful, and that can produce a strong feedback if one is not careful while playing with it. If you can't speak, then you cannot cast magic. If you can't move your arms, you cannot cast magic. If a warrior is trying to see how soft your kidney by pricking it with a sword, and you are continuously trying to dodge.. You cannot cast. Spells are always cast from the backlines, for a reason.
Fun, people! Fun!
Finishing this guide, a reminder. We are roleplaying for fun! Whenever you act, think on how the other side will feel and react, not as characters, but as players. You don't want to frustrate someone by continuously overpowering his/her avatar. You want to have an enjoyable session of RP, so be fair!
As well, remember you cannot win always. The taste of defeat is bitter, but only defeat leads towards improvement. There is nothing learnt in victory.