With a lot of new duelers joining our community, and following a couple interesting discussions in the green room and lobby, we thought it might be helpful to share a couple thoughts about roleplay and dueling.
FFRP & Dueling
Dueling is a fun game that provides a helpful structure for IC fights --- but that structure still exists within the world of FFRP --- free form role playing.
So what does that mean? It means that everything that happens during a duel still requires the consent of both players. Even if your character wins a point, your opponent is not obligated to accept whatever damage your character dishes out. Every move description is still technically just an attempt. Your opponent can accept as much or as little damage as they feel makes sense for their character.
But hey, just because you’re not obligated to accept damage, doesn’t mean your character should get off without a cut. FFRP only works when players give and take. Duels are decidedly more fun and interesting when damage is traded. Keep that in mind when you’re writing your duels!
Description & the Matrix
There is one concept that often gets missed from our Dueling Guide, way down in the last paragraph:
An important thing to remember: the game, its matrix and its list of moves are out-of-character constructs. That means your character has no knowledge of it—to them a duel is an intense sporting match. It also means that, just because you choose a High Cut, your character’s action isn’t limited to a plain old high cut—it can be much more, and can vary significantly in how it’s played with each time you use it, so be creative!
Different characters treat the duels differently --- some treat it as a sports league with regulation as friendly sparring; some treat it as a more rough-and-tumble bloody fighting venue. However your character approaches it, remember that whether you’re a spectator or participant, try to only react to what you see written in description. Matrix moves are not IC.
Ranking Up In-Character
If the matrix is an OOC construct, does that mean that ranks and titles are OOC too? No, not necessarily. Many players treat the ranks, including the standings, as in-character, such that your character may be aware that they are progressing up the standings.
There are many ways to interpret this in-character, such as improving in skill or knowledge like those who study martial arts and receive colored belts based on their progress, or others who see themselves participating in a sports league where the number of wins moves you from one bracket to another, like moving from minor to major league baseball. Others may not even acknowledge the ranking system at all!
However your character interprets it, remember that not all characters think of it in exactly the same way. So, like all things in FFRP, don’t assume how another player experiences the duels. Also, try to never force your character’s view of the duels onto another character’s. If you encounter a conflict, try to write around it as best you can.
Final Tips & Thoughts
Over the many years of dueling, some duelers have adhered to certain conventions when participating in duels. For example, some duelists always allow the player that scored the point to describe the round first. But these conventions are not rules, they’re just helpful ideas traded between players. Like with everything else in FFRP, as long as you approach the duels in a spirit of collaborative writing, you’ll do just fine!
Do you have your own experiences or what you consider best practices that you'd like to share? Feel free to share those here! There's no set way that'll work perfectly for everyone, but tell us what works for you.