MJ’s Guide for RP Combat
((The RP XP with MJ #41))
I recently lost a duel in-game. There’s no surprise there, and even less of a surprise when I tell you that it was my Level 32 Sith going up against a rival Level 44 Sith. Unless my PvP skills are top notch (they’re not), I’m statistically a loser in this match-up.
My opponent asked me before we began, “Do you want to do this as a duel or RP?” He pointed out that he figured our two Sith were probably equally matched story-wise, and he was right. I felt my Sith Lord carries the weight of one of the Dark Council’s favored (read: ‘favoured’ with an Imperial accent), and he fancies his near-Darth as a domineering, independent bad-ass.
So how would we fight? The answer: a RolePlay duel. There are a couple of ways to go about dueling (or really any form of combat between RPers) that don’t leave the results to the game’s computations for deciding the victor. If you have a pre-determined result in mind—for example, it’s important to your story that your smuggler learn humility by losing the blaster duel with the rival trooper—you simply “act out” each trade of hot glowing bolts through exposition and dialogue (the odd shout of, “Ugh!” a good indicator of a scored “hit.”) If you want some form of “randomness” to determine the outcome of the duel, there’s a very easy way to orchestrate a round of combat using the “/roll” command.
STEP-BY-STEP GUIDE FOR USING “/ROLL” IN RP COMBAT
Our opponents are a Level 18 Jedi Guardian (played as “Nergalon,” a Jedi Master), and a Level 55 Jedi Sentinel (played as “Plynk,” a Jedi Padawan. While Plynk grossly out-levels Nergalon, these two RolePlay a Master/Padawan relationship outside their levels.
In their story, Master Nergalon is training Padawan Plynk in the fine art of lightsaber combat. Plynk just constructed his first lightsaber and Nergalon is showing him the ropes.
It just so happens that Plynk is on a rapid drop into the Dark Side and it’s not too long before his fury and unleashed anger turn this sparring match into an all-out battle to the death. Let’s take a look at how this would play out in the chat box using the /roll command laced throughout their RP:
THE STAGE IS SET
The two players group so they can use Group Chat to iron out rules as they go. This also helps because the default Group Chat color (purple) matches the random die roll color, so all the “statistics” play out separate from the dialog and exposition.
[Group][Plynk]: ((So, how we gonna do this? Want to use /roll?))
[Group][Nergalon]: (Yeah. Sounds good. We’ll use the rules we used in the “Attack on Cave 151” episode we did with the guild last week.)
[Group][Plynk]: (Coolio. How do you feel about Plynk falling to the dark side during our spar???)
[Group][Nergalon]: (Yeah… but how would that end? I mean… Nerg would kill him.)
[Group][Plynk]: What if we play it out using the guild rules
[Group][Nergalon]: You don’t want to Permadeath, do you? Dude! Nerg would totally kill you if you fell do the DS!!!
[Group][Plynk]: How about this – If I win, Plynk takes pity on his former master and just knocks him out cold and leaves, right – if Nerg wins, he can totally chop him up and leave him for dead, not realizing hes really still alive. Then +
[Group][Plynk]: we can play it so Plynky returns in the future all tricked out with cybernetics and stuff.
[Group][Nergalon]: So totally like an Anakin/Obi thing, right?
[Group][Nergalon]: Let’s do this. I’ll start.
[Nergalon] says: “Are you prepared to spar, young one?”
Plynk nods and readies his lightsaber. “Yes, Master.”
Nergalon ignites his blade and smirks. “Then let us begin.”
Notice in the set-up how our two players start with the OOC chat convention of the double parentheses (()), but quickly drop to one, then none? If you establish that the Group Chat, for example, is your OOC channel, you can drop the conventions. The double parens are best used as OOC interjection in the IC channel.
So, it looks like our two players have decided on the outcome no matter who wins, but they’ve left it to chance to decide how their story will unfold. Now for the rules….
GUILD RULES OF ENGAGEMENT
Here are the rules Nergalon and Plynk’s guild came up with for duels:
- We’ll use the standard /roll 1-100 for the base standard of all combatants.
- /roll generates a random number between 1-100. You can specify other rolls like so: /roll 1-80.
- You can decide pluses or minuses based on equipment, skill level, etc. before combat begins.
- Each strike reduces the chance by 10.
- To speed up a round, you can increase successful hit dice by 20.
- Following a first strike, the responder replies with a defensive move AND a counter strike.
- The roll of the defender counts for both the defense AND counter attack.
- Example loss: P1 rolls 90 on attack. P2 rolls 23 on defend/counter. P1 strikes P2.
- Example win: P1 rolls 90 on attack. P2 rolls 95 on defend/counter. P1 misses P2, P2 strikes P1.
In the case of Nergalon and Plynk, the players have decided that Plynk (playing the less skilled of the two) will play with a -10 deficit. The reason it isn’t a wider margin is because Nergalon has agreed that his Padawan-Turned-Sith has rage and anger on his side.
The two characters face off in the area where they’re going to duel. They choose the shore of the Toxic Lake on Taris. Each character stands apart and ignites their lightsabers…
[Group][Plynk]: Good luck, dude!
[Nergalon] says: “Begin by establishing your guard.” He swings toward Plynk’s mid-section in a purposeful slow arc.
[Random]: Nergalon rolls (1-100): 26
Plynk would see the blow coming since it’s a practice swing and he would respond with a block followed by a savage flury toward Nerg’s shoulder.
[Random]: Plynk rolls (1-90): 37
Nergalon attempts to duck the sudden attack but is hit across the shoulder armor. Surprised, he staggers back.
[Group][Nergalon]: I’ll let you have another attack, dude. Nerg’s pretty shocked. Don’t forget, you won so add 20.
Plynk surges forward, swinging wildly at his master!
[Random]: Plynk rolls (1-110): 64
Nergalon quickly parries and strikes back with a Force Push.
[Random]: Nergalon rolls (1-90): 82
Plynk stumbles as the Force Push catches him off guard, but he quickly spins and charges at his master, swinging for his head.
[Random]: Plynk rolls (1-100): 32
Nergalon steadies himself, sensing the dark twist in his Padawan and strikes back accordingly.
[Random]: Nergalon rolls (1-110): 90
Plynk feels the hot sting of his master’s blade across his back and arm. He unleashes a tunnel of dark energy as blue Force Lightning shoots from his fingers.
[Plynk] says: “I always hated you, you smug Jedi bastard!!!”
[Random]: Plynk rolls (1-90): 74
Nergalon attempts to catch the force lightning in his blade and cast it back as a cone of energy.
[Nergalon] says: “Plynk, no! Don’t give in to hate! Whatever I did to make this happen, please–!”
[Random]: Nergalon rolls (1-130): 116
[Group][Plynk]: Ahhhhh, that sux!
Plynk is hit full force with the energy and with a last concentration of Force power, throws his lightsaber at Nerg ((And he’ll start to sizzle cuz theres no way he can beat that. LOL))
[Random]: Plynk rolls (1-80): 23
[Nergalon] says: “Plynk, give up. You’re no match for me.”
Nergalon dives toward Plynk, thrashing his saber in an attempt to cut off his Padawan’s arm.
[Random]: Nergalon rolls (1-150): 6
Plynk catches his saber on the return arc and holds it up at Nerg, thrusting forward as a surge of energy charges him up.
[Random]: Plynk rolls (1-100): 54
Nergalon grunts in pain as he’s stabbed almost all the way through his armor. He tries to bash away Plynk’s blade and strike for his legs!
[Random]: Nergalon rolls (1-140): 133
Plynk reels in pain after the slash cuts through the thigh on his leading leg. Though he’s now limping, he strikes back at nerg’s neck.
[Random]: Plynk rolls (1-90): 88
Nergalon would deflect the blow, spin, and combo Force-Leap and strike down from behind Plynk.
[Random]: Nergalon rolls (1-160): 94
Plynk feels pretty beaten at this point and begins to lose his footing and his breath. “I’ll… kill… you…” He tries one more jab!
[Random]: Plynk rolls (1-80): 14
[Nergalon] says: “I have no choice, Plynk… I’m sorry.” He raises his saber over his head and strikes down!
[Random]: Nergalon rolls (1-180): 123
[Group][Plynk]: Yeah, I pretty much yield at this point. I gotta log in about 10 anyway.
[Group][Nergalon]: KK. How you wanna end it?
[Group][Plynk]: Um…. let’s say Nerg actually chopped off both my legs on that last one, then the final strike knocked me into the toxic lake.
[Group][Nergalon]: That works… Then you’ll come back all Vader-like next time?
[Group][Plynk]: Yeah. I can wear my new PvP gear as cybernetics – just say it’s mechanical legs.
[Group][Nergalon]: Works. Ok, I’ll catch you later. Good RP!
[Group][Plynk]: yup yup! L8Rs!
Plynk has logged out.
And there you have it. The Level 55 bested in a duel by a Level 18. Isn’t RP amazing?
THINGS TO NOTE:
The expositional descriptions in orange are done with the /e command. Using that command introduces a sentence leading with your character’s name. During the “combat,” characters can move about. This is great if you want it to appear as though they’re fighting over obstacles or through the interior of a ship. Stand on tables and describe kicking over cups and plates, say you’re using the Force to topple obstacles or taking cover behind them if you’re having a blaster fight.
Of course this is only one example. I like it because changing the die roll depending on damage received makes the combat more realistic. They could just has easily decided to do a “best out of five” and just went with the straight /roll (1-100) command. In the event of a tie, use the OOC chat to decide a victor or agree on an exposition that describes a stalemate.
If you have a system for dice rolling (for example, a way to make Pazaak or Sabaak work in-game using the /roll command, let me hear it.) I’ll post it on the RP XP with credit to you.
Do you have a cool idea for SWTOR RP to share with MJ? send it to him directly at swtorliferp(at)gmail.com, reply here, or follow him on Twitter @MJswtor. ((The RP XP with MJ)) appears right here on swtor-life.com exclusively every Friday.
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