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Author Topic: PvP Combat in Freeform RP  (Read 2085 times)

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Offline Ember Star

Re: PvP Combat in Freeform RP
« Reply #25 on: November 05, 2013, 05:39:38 PM »
Yeah, these don't need being long, either.
I never said that they needed to be long. Just that they could be.

Offline alextaylor

Re: PvP Combat in Freeform RP
« Reply #26 on: January 23, 2014, 01:30:29 AM »
I prefer to use systems for anything PvP really. I guess this is a non-answer, but freeform becomes rapidly cumbersome when it comes to PvP. And some of the proposed solutions limit things such that it's not really that freeform.

I guess you have to decide on an ending both of you want and just narrate the combat to get there. This is what a lot of good writers do anyway.

If you're looking for an ending that both of you generate, you should probably consider moving to systems. Just wing a simple dice system... winning two coin flips out of three means you get to knock down someone bigger and stronger. 3 coin flips out of 3 means you score a solid hit on them. And so on. You don't even have to show these rolls, there should be some degree of trust between someone you'd freeform with.

Offline Ember Star

Re: PvP Combat in Freeform RP
« Reply #27 on: January 23, 2014, 07:22:12 PM »
Everybody's entitled to their own preferences. But systems, even a coin toss, take the fun out of PvP for me. A good freefrom PvP is about wits and creativity, knowing your characters strengths and weaknesses and using them to your advantage. Everything comes into a factor within laws and limitations. I once saw a fight won because a third party threw weapon, it flew through the air, over one character's head because he was like five feet tall, but because the other character (who was like seven feet tall) didn't didn't duck and assumed it would just go over his head to, he was beheaded.

Online ChrystalTopic starter

Re: PvP Combat in Freeform RP
« Reply #28 on: January 24, 2014, 12:14:49 PM »
I prefer to use systems for anything PvP really. I guess this is a non-answer, but freeform becomes rapidly cumbersome when it comes to PvP. And some of the proposed solutions limit things such that it's not really that freeform.

I guess you have to decide on an ending both of you want and just narrate the combat to get there. This is what a lot of good writers do anyway.

If you're looking for an ending that both of you generate, you should probably consider moving to systems. Just wing a simple dice system... winning two coin flips out of three means you get to knock down someone bigger and stronger. 3 coin flips out of 3 means you score a solid hit on them. And so on. You don't even have to show these rolls, there should be some degree of trust between someone you'd freeform with.

I did specifically state at the beginning of this thread that it did not relate to system play and that this was mentioned only to highlight the difference.

As for suggesting that any PvP should be done using a system, that is obviously a valid opinion. It is not one I share.

I like doing PvP in freeform, especially one-on-one stories, because it allows for events not necessarily covered by the system.

I have played board wargames - you can't get much more system than that - and at a super-tactical level, the chance of your weapon jamming is pretty much always the same. You roll 12 on 2d6 on your to-hit roll and your weapon jams. (I know, I know, that is a generalisation - I'm using Squad Leader as my example).

In reality, the chance of a weapon jamming increases the more it is used. The Browning M3 .50 Calibre machine gun is supplied with two spare barrels that can be changed over quickly and easily, because continuous firing will over-heat the barrel and cause the weapon to jam. This is true of all automatic or semi-automatic weapons, most of which do not have interchangeable barrels. A good freeform RPer will know this and will either fire short bursts or if forced to fire continuously, will have the weapon jam realistically. Play with a system and you are much more tempted to allow the system to dictate whether the weapon jams, and in fact you have an excuse not to have it jam. "Hey, I rolled on the jamming table and it's not jammed, so I can keep firing!"

Of course a detailed system could incorporate an increasing drm so that the longer the weapon is used the more likely a jam becomes, but do you really want to roll that many dice?

So, in this respect, I prefer freeform, because as long as everyone is playing fair and working together to produce a fun game, you can get a lot more realism and detail in your post (with apologies to Thufir).

By the way, I'm glad to see this thread is still active :)
« Last Edit: January 24, 2014, 01:46:31 PM by Chrystal »

Offline Mnemaxa

Re: PvP Combat in Freeform RP
« Reply #29 on: January 24, 2014, 01:53:39 PM »

Inigo Montoya vs Dread Pirate Roberts.wmv

This scene makes me think of how a well narrated fight could be handled, with the two characters actually discussing the fencing techniques while they do it.

Ironically, that WAS a freeform fight scene.  They're both excellent fencers who had previous training, and they mostly made it up on the spot aside from the lines.

Offline Thufir Hawat

Re: PvP Combat in Freeform RP
« Reply #30 on: January 24, 2014, 03:28:01 PM »
I did specifically state at the beginning of this thread that it did not relate to system play and that this was mentioned only to highlight the difference.

As for suggesting that any PvP should be done using a system, that is obviously a valid opinion. It is not one I share.

I like doing PvP in freeform, especially one-on-one stories, because it allows for events not necessarily covered by the system.

I have played board wargames - you can't get much more system than that - and at a super-tactical level, the chance of your weapon jamming is pretty much always the same. You roll 12 on 2d6 on your to-hit roll and your weapon jams. (I know, I know, that is a generalisation - I'm using Squad Leader as my example).

In reality, the chance of a weapon jamming increases the more it is used. The Browning M3 .50 Calibre machine gun is supplied with two spare barrels that can be changed over quickly and easily, because continuous firing will over-heat the barrel and cause the weapon to jam. This is true of all automatic or semi-automatic weapons, most of which do not have interchangeable barrels. A good freeform RPer will know this and will either fire short bursts or if forced to fire continuously, will have the weapon jam realistically. Play with a system and you are much more tempted to allow the system to dictate whether the weapon jams, and in fact you have an excuse not to have it jam. "Hey, I rolled on the jamming table and it's not jammed, so I can keep firing!"

Of course a detailed system could incorporate an increasing drm so that the longer the weapon is used the more likely a jam becomes, but do you really want to roll that many dice?

So, in this respect, I prefer freeform, because as long as everyone is playing fair and working together to produce a fun game, you can get a lot more realism and detail in your post (with apologies to Thufir).

By the way, I'm glad to see this thread is still active :)
I feel I was summoned... ;D
Ok, Chrystal, let me point something out.
1) Your example is rather funny, because the odds your weapon would jam are already worked into it, and they're increasing with use. Care to calculate the compound probability of rolling 2d6 several times (since you're shooting for long enough to heat it, I assume that would merit several rolls)? I don't, but the odds of your weapon jamming increase even when the numbers stay the same.
End result, your weapon is more likely to jam with prolonged use.
BTW, that's why you should use AK-74M and save yourself the trouble...you can skip the jamming rules!
2) This isn't something that's about systems. It's about players. Some people would pick a system that doesn't allow for their weapons to jam because they don't want to deal with this kind of trivia. Others would thrive into it.

Ironically, that WAS a freeform fight scene.  They're both excellent fencers who had previous training, and they mostly made it up on the spot aside from the lines.
That might have been an unscripted fight scene, but fencing is systemic to a degree few martial arts are. So what you're telling us is that both of them used the stats they had, they were just really immersed :P!

Everybody's entitled to their own preferences. But systems, even a coin toss, take the fun out of PvP for me. A good freefrom PvP is about wits and creativity, knowing your characters strengths and weaknesses and using them to your advantage. Everything comes into a factor within laws and limitations.
Ironically, that's the very definition of what a system does... ;D

Although I agree, pointing out "I prefer to use systems" is a valid preference, but that's what O&Os are about. It simply didn't belong in this thread. If we want to, we can open a thread for PvP Combat in System RPs.
I'm a bad person, though, and sometimes can't resist replying when I have something to say... and especially when I'm mentioned by name :P!

Online ChrystalTopic starter

Re: PvP Combat in Freeform RP
« Reply #31 on: January 24, 2014, 05:51:07 PM »
I feel I was summoned... ;D
Ok, Chrystal, let me point something out.
1) Your example is rather funny, because the odds your weapon would jam are already worked into it, and they're increasing with use. Care to calculate the compound probability of rolling 2d6 several times (since you're shooting for long enough to heat it, I assume that would merit several rolls)? I don't, but the odds of your weapon jamming increase even when the numbers stay the same.
End result, your weapon is more likely to jam with prolonged use.

I'm a mathematician at heart. Do not challenge me like that. The odds of rolling  12 on 2d6 are the same no matter how often you roll them (1/36), because each roll is NOT influenced by the last. Compound probability is a fallacy. Everyone who gambles believes that "It must come up eventually", but this is simply not true. There is no goddess of chance blowing on the dice to influence them. As long as the dice are fair and unbiased, there is always a 1 in 6 chance of rolling a 6. By your argument of compound probability, it should logically be almost impossible to roll 12, because having rolled a 6 it is unlikely you would roll another!

Quote
BTW, that's why you should use AK-74M and save yourself the trouble...you can skip the jamming rules!

However, here, I agree with you.

Quote
2) This isn't something that's about systems. It's about players. Some people would pick a system that doesn't allow for their weapons to jam because they don't want to deal with this kind of trivia. Others would thrive into it.

I also agree here too. Which is why I replied as i did. It's not about system v system or system v freeform. It's about PvP! And just as some systems will cover jamming and others won't so some freeform players sill have a weapon jam when others won't even think of it!

Quote
I'm a bad person, though, and sometimes can't resist replying when I have something to say... and especially when I'm mentioned by name :P!

I mentioned you by name, my friend, because you specifically expressed a dislike of extremely detailed combat scenes, where I was talking about getting detail into combat scenes!

*snigger*

Offline Ember Star

Re: PvP Combat in Freeform RP
« Reply #32 on: January 24, 2014, 06:03:28 PM »
in freeform PvP details matter, A LOT. For example, the fight I mentioned (and now that I think of it it was the five foot tall character who threw the sword), had that player not said "it was exactly this far above my head" then there would've been leeway for the seven foot character's player to assume that it would go over his head. But because the other player specifically stated the height, and he didn't pay attention to that in relation to his height and therefore assumed it would go over his head so he didn't take action to avoid. He got his head cut off.

in a system you can get away with less details because it's a system. In freeform, details can be the life or death of you.

Offline Thufir Hawat

Re: PvP Combat in Freeform RP
« Reply #33 on: January 25, 2014, 05:14:12 AM »
in freeform PvP details matter, A LOT. For example, the fight I mentioned (and now that I think of it it was the five foot tall character who threw the sword), had that player not said "it was exactly this far above my head" then there would've been leeway for the seven foot character's player to assume that it would go over his head. But because the other player specifically stated the height, and he didn't pay attention to that in relation to his height and therefore assumed it would go over his head so he didn't take action to avoid. He got his head cut off.

in a system you can get away with less details because it's a system. In freeform, details can be the life or death of you.
If you only knew how many system fights I have won because of details like that... ;D Well, no way you could know that, but still.
Anyway, there are whole systems that depend on details. Do we really need to turn the thread into this discussion? Personally, I'd rather avoid it.
Maths are another matter :P.

I'm a mathematician at heart. Do not challenge me like that. The odds of rolling  12 on 2d6 are the same no matter how often you roll them (1/36), because each roll is NOT influenced by the last. Compound probability is a fallacy.
I'm not a mathematician - not required neither for my hobbies, nor for my job - but you're talking of Gambler's fallacy, I assume? AFAIK, it's talking about assuming that some result must be "due" simply because what has previously happened departs from what would be expected on average or over the long term. And I'm talking about what is more likely to happen on average, given long-term repetitions.
One dieroll out of 36 is more likely to end up 12, somewhere down the line. It's not simulated by making the roll of 12 itself more likely, but it's achieved by making rolling a 12 more likely in the roll of 2d6, 2d6, 2d6, 2d6, 2d6, for example. The chance to roll 12 on any of them is 1/36, as you correctly pointed out. The chance of your gun not jamming is, therefore, (100-2.7778)% or 35 out of 36 (in the game you suggested). That's roughly a 97.2% chance.
The chance of it not jamming on the 5th roll, as in my example, is 52521875 out of 60466176, or very roughly, 86.9%. The odds of that gun jamming just went from 2.8% to 13.1%, which is "way more likely" in my book. (I really hope these are the odds for automatic fire, BTW. Otherwise, it's laughable. And it also means a 3d6 or d100 system would give a way better distribution even in this case, but whatever).
If you wanted to avoid that in order to allow shooting short bursts for a length of time, you could allow the odds of jamming to be calculated by rolling an additional die in different colour. It doesn't affect your shooting odds, but even when rolling a 12, your gun only jams if the other die is also 5 or 6 (for a short burst) or a natural 6 (for single shots). This can go down if you didn't keep the weapon clean, per GM judgement, so 4-6 or 5-6 on the "confirmation die" if you shoot a muddy gun.

Quote
Everyone who gambles believes that "It must come up eventually", but this is simply not true. There is no goddess of chance blowing on the dice to influence them. As long as the dice are fair and unbiased, there is always a 1 in 6 chance of rolling a 6. By your argument of compound probability, it should logically be almost impossible to roll 12, because having rolled a 6 it is unlikely you would roll another!
No, by my argument the odds of rolling 12 is exactly 1 out of 36. It's less likely than rolling a single 6 on one die, and this is, in turn, less likely than having to roll a single 6 on 2d6. But the odds of rolling at least one 6 increase with the number of dice, given fair and unbiased dice.

Quote
However, here, I agree with you.

I also agree here too. Which is why I replied as i did. It's not about system v system or system v freeform. It's about PvP! And just as some systems will cover jamming and others won't so some freeform players sill have a weapon jam when others won't even think of it!
Well, we agree on the important parts, then. If you wish, we can take the maths discussion - provided it's not cleared now - on PMs.

Quote
I mentioned you by name, my friend, because you specifically expressed a dislike of extremely detailed combat scenes, where I was talking about getting detail into combat scenes!

*snigger*
Ah, that - remember, I didn't express dislike of detail. I expressed dislike of unnecessary details that serve no purpose other than wordcount (or worse, gets the details wrong).
If it does serve a purpose, as in Ember Star's example, it's not unnecessary by definition.

Online ChrystalTopic starter

Re: PvP Combat in Freeform RP
« Reply #34 on: January 25, 2014, 08:24:06 AM »
Taking the maths discussion to PM is probably a good idea, because it is not relevant to this discussion.

I love Ember's example of the height of the character making a difference.

THAT is actually something that could just as easily be caused by forgetting how tall your character is, or forgetting how short the other guy is, as much as not paying attention to the detail.

Seriously, there is a temptation in RP to assume that everyone is the same height. A decent character sheet should always specify height weight and build, IMO. Then if you forget to check an important detail like that, it's you're own fault. My thought being here, that it could be that the decapitated player was paying attention to the post, but not the character sheets. Obviously, the net result is the same and makes no difference. But the important lesson here is that if someone says they are firing just over the head of the guy in front, you might want to check how tall that guy is... Details matter in all RP. A GM who is on the ball will always pick up on a detail like that and make the player pay!

Offline alextaylor

Re: PvP Combat in Freeform RP
« Reply #35 on: January 25, 2014, 08:41:47 AM »
Ha sorry, I think there's been a bit of misunderstanding here! To me, the 'if.. then...' technique mentioned earlier seems to be much like a system, just one where the rules are made up on the spot.

My definition of 'systems' is something that has any set of hard rules.

Systems around here falls into two types, from my observation:
 1. An actual game, with X-Rated content in that game. Or at least X-Rated cutscenes.
 2. X-Rated story generated from a set of rules.

I often look for that 2nd one, where the ending is uncertain. I think the early part of the conversation here is also leaning to Systems Type 2. A lot of the criticism on systems here seems to be targeted at the first form, or even the second form when tied with restrictive rules.

What Ember Star says about no god-moding, auto-hitting/dodging is Freeform.

I'd define freeform in these two forms as well:
 1. Narration: Story has been decided.
 2. Writing: Story is uncertain. It may lean a certain way, but nobody knows what the next chapter will be.

The first form is similar to a rehearsed play. You don't necessarily have a script, but it's made to play out a certain way. This works perfectly with the "if-then" structure. The fun in this is in narrating and illustrating a story.

The second form is similar to a speech, a conversation, a debate. You have some major points but don't memorize your script. You want the game to flow much like a debate. Every character has their own goals. Someone might come in with a major point, and the other character should be able to counter it. These solid counters make for good debates and good freeform games.

Freeform combat should probably be set up with a structure. Let's say you have a freeform fight between a knight and an ogre. Both should clearly set up a character sheet in advance. For example,

Knight: Trained in frost magic - able to instantly freeze water. 5 years of fencing since she was 11, graduated top of her class in swordfighting. Knows unarmed fighting. Able to lift half her weight. Favorite attack moves involve enchanting her blade to do frost magic.

Ogre: Strong enough to lift a log with one hand. Twice the height and weight of a gorilla. Extremely nimble for his size.

Story: Knight takes on an ogre. Gets defeated. Becomes his toy.

With these kinds of stats, there's likely going to be a scene in which the ogre smashes down on the knight's sword with a tree-sized log. If she blocks it, does it shatter? It has also been mentioned in his stats that he's nimble. There should be nothing unexpected if she fires frost bolts at the ogre and the ogre goes into bullet time and dodges them.

The story here may also be poorly defined. One of them might expect it to be a straight line from fight to defeat to slave. The other might expect the defeat - the switch part - to be the climax of the story. The player would be disappointed at a short, one-liner victory, expecting a grueling, difficult battle that made the ogre angrier as she nearly defeats him. People often quit at the climax too. This is why so many roleplays get cut short as soon as the girl takes her shirt off - it signifies that the climax is over and the story goes downhill from there.

These details are all quite important.

Personally, I prefer systems games only because the characters are clearly defined. You already have your preset assumptions and your forms filled with systems games. Someone never mentioned the height of the character, but she has a Size 3 on her character sheet here, meaning that she's about 6'2". Dexterity is only 17 meaning she can dodge most punches, but can't do bullet time. Systems prevent miscommunication.

With freeform, you should already have all possible questions answered before someone can ask them. Your main issue would be preventing miscommunication. I find that a lot of my earlier freeform games fail because both sides don't know where the story is going and both sides are unable to visualize the other person's character. I think people rush the preparation side too much.

Offline Ember Star

Re: PvP Combat in Freeform RP
« Reply #36 on: January 25, 2014, 08:53:38 AM »
99% of what I saw and did was #2. People never, EVER decided the ending of a fight. Never ever had a set goal other than maybe "we'll go for this many posts". Even if was something that was directly effecting the story line. If you went in against a boss (monster) controled by the GM, there was no promise you'd get out alive. On a rare occasion, it was decided "yeah for this reason you should win", but that was rare. Freeform PvP was treated as a skill, and how good you were at outsmarting your enemy was a test of how good of a RPer you were. Everything was completely up in the air. Nothing was planned. THAT being said, we did of course have rules. God Modding. Auto Hitting. Auto Dodging. Power Playing. Ect. Were all noes and sometimes those basic rules would be expanded upon by a GM, like you can only avoid so many attacks before you must take a hit. Which makes it a little more system

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Re: PvP Combat in Freeform RP
« Reply #37 on: February 26, 2014, 01:04:28 AM »
Having read this, I thought I'd make my pitch (sorry if it's already been mentioned elsewhere in the post).

Having played a few free form combat I've tend to find that the two (or more) players who are in a PvP situation have particular things they want to achieve.  We stumbled upon the solution of communicating via PM discussing why one particular person wanted the fight, why they had to win, and a promise to return the favour in the future.  This generally involved agreeing on the general trend on how the battle would go, what sort of situation/description of losing would be agreeable to the submitting/losing side, and an agreement not humiliate the loser or trample on their dignity but rather the winner giving a winning description that allows the loser to do so with grace or even style.

E.g.
We struggle for a while, seemingly evenly match, before my char releases his X power.  Since I've been keeping it a secret for a while, I really want its effect to be awe inspiring.
Ok, just don't forget that my char has Y as a particular defensive power, which I think, given your description of X, would probably buffer him... maybe a instead just being blasted away, he's severely singed and is still standing with a bloodied face?
I guess we could work with that.  Maybe I could congratulate him on being able to take it, but that this is the end?

Obviously this approach takes some player understanding, sometimes a great deal of it, especially if one want a stunning/total victory over the other.  In PvP though, that sort of idea should just be abandoned before you even start it.  Allowing the loser of the PvP to lose with grace and dignity always helps sooth things over, as well as pledge to help that character look good in the future (be it through a rematch or some other in-game reason to make them look good).  Thoughts anyone?