PVP: A How-To Guide Player vs. Player combat (PvP) has become an ever-expanding portion of the site, and one which often generates confusion and disagreement among even veteran members. As someone who enjoys PvP and has no small amount of experiences with it, I’ve been cooking up an idea for a while now to compile a (hopefully) simple “how-to” guide to answer some FAQs and outlines some of the basics in order that new members coming to the site might have an idea of how it works rather than "learning the hard way." Hopefully some of you may find this beneficial. Table of Contents What is PvP? PvP Rules How Should PvP Posts Be Written? Shared Time and Interrupt Actions PvP Outcomes What is Metagaming? Force Powers in Combat Levels in Combat What is PvP? First off, we have to answer the big question in the room: what is PvP? PvP is the competitive aspect of the site. There are and should be many collaborative and story-telling aspects to any roleplaying website, but at the end of the day, there is also a side where competition thrives: that is where PvP sits. Many RP sites handle PvP differently, but on SWRP PvP will result in a winning and losing side. There is such a thing as cPvP (cinematic PvP), which can be very enjoyable and usually consists of a predetermined ending and much lower tensions, but that is not what you will find in faction-run combat threads such as battles and missions. PvP is built around attempting to trick, trap, or force the other character to make a mistake in their actions that will result in said individual being damaged. This can be accomplished in many ways but usually occurs when one player cannot think of a physically possible means of escape or if said individual writes an action that defies possibility. Note: if it would look good in an anime fight, it probably wouldn't work in PvP. PvP Rules Every combat thread has a "time-out" period. Combatants are expected to post their opening posts within 72 hours of the battle being first posted. After this, the posting window is always 48 hours per side. If it is 1v1, each person has 48 hours to post, in 2v2 each team has 48 hours to post, and in threads with two teams with 5+ individuals total each team has 48 hours in total to post. Failure to post during that time will automatically result in a hit for whatever attacks were made in the previous opponent's post. Teams should, whenever possible, post in team blocks. Failure to post in that timeframe will result in your round being considered a "pass" regardless of whether the enemy team has posted. Gentleman's agreements for longer posting windows is not allowed in official battles. Raif Rule: If an opponent has a catastrophic real life event that prevents them from returning to the site and posting for an extended amount of time, then the hit will not be lethal, however the character may be captured and have an opportunity to have others mount a rescue attempt. This only applies to extended leaves of absence. If early enough in a thread, a member is unable to continue, then the event host may find a replacement for that character. If requested edits by an administrator is not completed within 24 hours of notification, the post in question will be considered null, and treated the same as if there was no post. Auto-hit rules come in effect. Unofficial main faction combat or non-faction combat may use the standard, or use any parameters by their choice. Unofficial battles (i.e. combat initiated between members) can set up different time limits, or have no time limit, if all parties agree. Still, unless parameters are changed and announced, unofficial battles hold the default setting. Unofficial battles, as long as agreed upon by all parties, can be changed at any point of the thread's execution. The staff reserve the right to revoke any member-imposed rules under extenuating circumstances. While players may state their equipment in the opening posts of a thread to account for changes or additions to what's on a profile, the character profile is the main point of reference for what the character may use in combat. This means a player may utilize anything posted on their character profile in a thread within reason (no abruptly pulling out vehicles or personal ships). No edits can be made to a character profile AFTER combat has begun in the thread the character is in. An example is adding in weapons and armor after combat is already taking place/first post of combat. This is a very serious breach of rules and will result in a warning first time with serious repercussions like PvP bans or temporary site bans for any repeated offenses. If an attack is not responded to by an opponent, it is automatically a hit. Even if there is an obvious reason that the attack would not hit, it must be stated in the rebuttal post. Failure to do so will result in damages. Any attack must be able to be countered unless the situation prevents it OR you have approached the end of a duel. You cannot simply walk into a thread and kill someone instantly. Everyone should be given the chance to defend themselves. Whether or not they are able to think of a defense is up to their own imagination. "Autohitting" or posting an attack and having it strike or damage your opponent in the same post is strictly prohibited. Posts in the past are not open for alteration. If you have an issue with your opponent's post, you must address it before posting. Your post is an indication that you agree with everything that your opponent has written up until that point. Once you post, nothing before that will be reviewed further. Don't exploit vagueness. If you need an opponent to clarify something, ask them to clarify. Do not assume. Do not exploit vagueness for your benefit. A character may not post an attack in their first post in a thread (exception: if it is a pre-approved espionage plot) In any Main Battle, an objective can not be completed if PvP is not initiated. (Ie. if the objective is to blow up a building, you must still defeat the PCs in the opposing faction before you can do so. There is absolutely NO bypassing PvP to complete an objective and escape). All NPCs are inferior to PCs. An NPC is only to have equivalent skill to a rank-and-file soldier or average trained Force user. NPCs used as obstacles in a mission may be allowed to have a higher strength to make the mission harder, but only for that mission. Use of NPCs in combat is governed on a case-by-case basis. Rules regarding godmodding and metagaming still apply to NPCs. NPCs will not dive in front of your character to save their life from a fatal blow, they will not ignore all other combatants to target a single PC at your command, they will not conveniently walk in front of your character to save your life, you may not materialize them out of thin air, and you may not have civilians spontaneously jump up to your defense. This is not an all-inclusive list, but abuse of NPCs will be harshly dealt with. Using NPCs to set up an impregnable defense or using them to outright overcome an PC is prohibited. NPCs cannot be manufactured at a moment's notice. They must be previously established as present in the thread before being used. Keep in mind your characters role and rank within the faction as well and what you are capable of commanding. You may not run off with faction assets without permission from faction leadership. All OPEN threads are death-disabled unless explicitly stated otherwise; the exception is if there is a PvP tag used. If combat is initiated, death-disabled remains in effect unless all participants agree to a change of status to death-enabled. A character in a non-PvP-tagged OPEN thread can only be captured if the to-be captured character's writer gives approval. All non-OPEN threads, combat or otherwise, are death-enabled unless explicitly stated otherwise. The same goes for capture and maim. If your character is killed in a battle between factions or a fight with other characters, you cannot claim that you were Role-Playing a hologram, clone, illusion, apparition or robot unless that was specified before the commencement of the fight. You must inform your opponent of those circumstances prior to beginning the fight and they must agree with them. If they do not, then you must fight as your character. Members whose PC's die in battle or skirmishes may finish threads that were started before the character's death date. Members may not post new threads in order to use the deceased character. Space Battles hold the same parameters as ground battles. Furthermore, technological advantages/disadvantages will not be placed into consideration during the onset of the battle or a review, if the battles reaches the time limit. Instead, battles will focus on strategic and tactical maneuvers and the advantages and disadvantages that stem from each action. Killing, attacking or plotting against another character or group must be justifiable in-character. Out of character disagreements or issues are not be be used as in-character justification for attacking a character or member in the RP. Unjustifiable actions of this nature will be voided. No one can completely destroy or cause massive destruction on a planet via weapons, unless approved by an administrator. The extent of the damage caused to a planet, generally by orbital bombardment, would be the destruction of someone’s facility or the destruction of a city. Occasional shelling of civilian population centers is allowed, so long as it is cleared by the Staff. OOC lying will not be tolerated except in the situation of espionage plots. Particularly, explicitly lying about circumstances in a thread OOCly will result in consequences. Deception still requires IC reasons. A character or writer cannot be targeted solely for OOC reasons. How Should PvP Posts Be Written? Unlike many posts on the site, PvP posts should not be long essays. While I would not go so far as to say that no emotional, environmental, and descriptive details should be present, they should generally be kept to a minimum. Instead, posts should generally include only those details that are relevant to the conflict. The exact length of the posts will vary from person to person and the amount of detail that writers choose to put in will be different, but in my experience, most relevant information should fit into ~3 paragraphs or less. While extraneous details about the environment are not typically suited to PvP threads, details regarding the nature of the attack are. The exact method for description will vary from author to author, but below is a list of common and useful things to include in a post. For bladed combat: 1) what weapon is being used (if there are multiple bladed weapons) 2) what hand is being used 3) what side of the body it's on (your character's left/right, the other character's left/right, etc.) 4) what direction the blade is facing (45 degrees compared to the ground, vertical, etc.) 5) what direction the blade is swinging (ex: from my character's bottom left to top right would be a diagonal swing). For gun combat: 1) how many shots are being fired (do NOT say "and then he faired a spray of shots" as this is entirely too vague) 2) what weapon is being used (if carrying multiple firearms) 3) what range the shot is being fired at 4) what part of the body is being aimed at Also when writing PvP posts, attacks should not be written as already having been completed. "He swung his saber horizontally and the blade passed through his opponent's neck, severing his head from his body" would be a pretty solid example of what not to do. It is not permissible to have an attack land in the same post that it is written. This is called "autohitting" and is strictly prohibited. Instead, the above attack could be written as follows: "He swung his sword horizontally from left to right, the blade aiming to strike his opponent's neck and decapitate him." In this example the intent of the attack (decapitation) has still been explained, but the action has not been confirmed as having already occurred. This is to ensure that an opponent has an opportunity to counter the attack. Shared Time and Interrupt Actions Shared time is without a doubt one of the topics that is most commonly a cause of concern when it comes to PvP. It is the most complex element that will be discussed here, but also one of the most critical to understand. The shortest explanation of shared time is this: in combat, both parties are performing actions at the same time and are therefore bound by the same time constraints. If one combatant runs 10 meters in the first post, the second person does not have time to run 300 meters. This may seem like an obvious element, but often sees confusion in combat threads. For the sake of example we will say that fighters X and Y are in combat with one another. X posts first and states that he runs 30 meters. At this point in the fight, X is committed to the action of running 30 meters and his time is accounted for up until he completes that action or is interrupted by his opponent. Y posts next and immediately shoots at X while he’s running. Now both combatants have performed an action for this particular point in time so nothing before that gunshot can be changed. Despite not having completed the 30-meter run yet, the next post by X will begin simultaneous to the gunshot by Y. For this reason, it is not possible to interrupt an interrupt attack by going back in time to alter one’s actions. It is for this reason that performing numerous actions or a single action that takes an extended period of time is not recommended as it leaves the combatant open to interrupt attacks. As another note on this topic, if you interrupt your opponent's post, it does not mean that everything they wrote after the time of your interrupt is automatically successful. Interrupting locks in everything before the point of the interrupting action, but not the actions that come after. PvP Outcomes Does PvP always end in character death? The short answer is "no." PvP does not always have to end in character death. There are many possible outcomes to PvP including, but not limited to, capture, maiming, death, slight injury, or no injury. However, I must emphasize that while death is not required, DEATH IS A POSSIBILITY in any and every PvP thread. If you, as a writer, are not prepared for the possibility of losing a character, then it is not recommended that you engage in PvP. The goal of PvP should not be to avoid taking any damage. Most combat threads will result in at least minor injuries to all parties involved. Furthermore, a combatant is expected to take reasonable damage. Refusal to ever take any damage or ever admit that an attack is likely to hit is likely to cause an increase in OOC argument, complaining, and ultimately reports. Note: A report should not be the first action in the face of differing views. Patient and rational discussion with one's opponent should always be the first course in addressing disagreement with reports only coming at a later time, if necessary. The one exception is auto-hit reporting. If an opponent makes a defense that is obviously inadequate (an extreme example would be someone saying that they catch a 5,000kg stone with their bare hands to avoid all damage), rather than give the opponent a chance to edit their post so they can evade the damage, it may be reported. What is Metagaming? Metagaming is one of the cardinal sins of PvP. Metagaming has many different definitions, but is generally defined as using out of character information that your character would not have access to in order to benefit your character. This can take many forms. Some examples are listed below (not a complete list). Intentionally altering your characters actions to avoid a hidden bomb that your character would have no knowledge of. Actions of convenience, such as "conveniently" bending over to tie your shoe at just the perfect time to avoid an enemy's gunshot. Using the Force to ascertain an enemy's exact position within a building Anytime that you are using information that would not be realistically available to your character in order to benefit your own situation it would fall under the umbrella of metagaming. Force Powers in Combat In the past, there have been a variety of different ways that Force powers have been handled on the site. The general rule is that while there are no powers that are specifically allowed or disallowed (as in previous timelines) there is an expectation of common sense for determining what is reasonable and when. This guide is to help you answer those two questions: what is reasonable and when? This timeline, the Force is generally balanced by two elements: exhaustion and concentration. In many cases, there has been a great deal of confusion and misconception about how precisely these two interact in order to determine what is and is not possible in PvP. Concentration So first, I want to break down concentration a bit. As the name implies, concentration involves the ability to focus on a particular action. If you are attempting to perform a complex Force manipulation it is best not to be focusing on anything other than that specific interaction. If a person is having to fend off a second or third attack while trying to absorb a blaster bolt with their bare hand, they are likely to fail. In addition, at the upper levels when Force users are able to use the Force in multiple ways, it should be noted that the more the user splits their concentration, the weaker the power will become. A level 3 who uses half their energy for a shield and half for lightning could have their shield overpowered by a level 2 who puts 100% of their power into a blast. Stamina The second most important factor for determining viability of the Force in combat is stamina. This is another area in which there has been a great deal of misconception that I will try to dispel right now. Using the Force for two consecutive rounds is not going to be enough to completely exhaust your character. What will exhaust a character is complex powers, such as blocking a lightsaber with your bare hand (like above) for an extended period of time. Yes, this is possible, but highly dangerous as even a slight interruption could easily see you impaled. Complexity So what determines the difficulty of using the Force? How do we know how much concentration something will take or the amount of exertion it will cause over time? There are a number of elements that factor into this that one can use to help determine if their usage of the Force is unreasonable. I will cover some of the major elements below. Intricacy: Intricacy tends to factor primarily into the amount of concentration that it will take in order to summon a particular manifestation and typically won't play heavily into the stamina required. For instance, summoning a formless burst of telekinetic energy from one's own hand is less complex than forming a telekinetic grip around an opponent's throat fifteen meters away. Size: The size of the manifestation and the distance it must travel will factor more into exertion than concentration. A shield of energy surrounding multiple people is going to be more difficult to cast and maintain than a small personal wall of energy. Likewise, most offensive uses of the Force are going to be most effective at close range rather than extreme distances. The longer your Force lightning or telekinetic burst has to travel, the more tiring it will be to your character. Time: Maintaining your shield over a long period is going to eventually tire your character out and deplete your stamina. Breaking up your assaults with time to rest and recoup your energy will help prevent this from occurring. Preparation and Power: These two act in tandem as the amount of time that one has to prepare and the amount of power behind a strike greatly affect its effectiveness. Is this an instinctual attack that is being put together in a fraction of a second to save your skin or a well-prepared attack that your character has been planning to execute? Increased time to prepare and shape the Force is going to mean that a manifestation is both less likely to fail, more powerful (still limited by the maximum power allotted to the character's level), and less tiring. Like physical work, the amount of energy that must be expended in order to move a one kilo object around versus flinging a human-sized object across the room is going to be very different and preparing for such an action beforehand can help increase the odds of success and lessen the physical toll over time. Physical Components of the Force Although individuals at the higher levels may use the Force without a physical component (a wave of the hand for instance), all Force users benefit by having a free hand to manipulate the Force. In a battle of equals, having a free hand allows the user to generate more power and finesse than if one’s hands were full. Much like trying to drive a car when your hands are full vs. when your hands are empty, having a hand unencumbered allows the user to better shape and manipulate a powerful blast, reach out with more efficiency to tug at the strings of the Force, and conserve their stamina more efficiently. Line of Sight Line of sight is an tricky topic because there are so many variations of line of sight, but rather than go through all of them, I will explain the general model for comparison by presenting a couple of examples. Grabbing something with the Force is much like grabbing something with your hand: it helps to know where it is. If you are trying to grab something in a dark room (grab without direct LoS), it is best to know precisely where the object was before the lights went out. If the item is already in hand (breaking LoS by somehow blinding your opponent who has already gripped you) then you don't necessarily need to be able to see it. If the object runs into the darkness as soon as you touch it (an opponent manages to run around a building and their position becomes unknown to the attacker) then it is going to be difficult to reestablish a grip. Levels in Combat Levels and Force Users Level 1: The rules listed here generally govern what is possible for a level 1 combatant. Although capable of holding their own in most combat situations, there are some limits to what they are capable of. Some examples would include lightning and tutaminis. Although possible to cast lightning, level 1s lack the power of a true master and is generally incapable of killing in a single blast and will tire a use much more quickly than many abilities. Likewise, blocking a blaster or saber with tutaminis would be exceptionally difficult if not impossible. Level 2: Those who have mastered the Force show that they are capable of impressive feats in the Force and are able to more easily maintain their focus. Able to unleash devastating blasts in the Force, hurl large objects, and unleash powerful streams of lightning and fire, these masters are a true force to be reckoned with on the battlefield. Level 3: Some of the most powerful Force users in the galaxy, they are capable of manipulating the Force in multiple ways at once. They can protect themselves from attack while also lashing out, defend against multiple incoming attacks at once, track and engage multiple opponents when surrounded with ease, or overpowering those who are not experienced (level 1s). Level 4: Rarely seen anywhere in the galaxy, these individuals often head the most powerful sects of Force-users in the galaxy. Without a doubt the most knowledgeable masters of their orders, there are few who can claim such an understanding of the Force as these. Capable of holding at bay numerous opponents or pulling starfighters from the sky, the limits of these individuals is still unknown. While they can use a single abilitiy to hit multiple people, it is at the cost of effectiveness and stamina. Levels and Non-Force Users Level 1: These individuals represent the elite of the soldiers in the galaxy. Crack shots who are able to quickly engage a target in front of him with speed and accuracy, they can overwhelm the average soldier of the galaxy with ease. Although unable to easily engage with multiple opponents at once, they are capable of engaging with Jedi Knights and Sith Acolytes with above average reflexes. Level 2: After years of honing body and mind, these warriors have shown that they are capable of fighting through even bursts of lightning from a level 1, engage multiple targets in front of them, and have greatly heightened reflexes that rival those of even a Jedi Knight. Level 3: Some of the most dangerous fighters in the galaxy, these warriors are able to quickly engage with multiple opponents, even when surrounded and are able to quickly turn on enemies in ways that seem to push the very limits of human capability. Their reflexes have been attuned to the extreme and their speed and reactions develop accordingly. They are so quick that a level 1 may have trouble even reacting quickly enough to avoid a strike from these warriors. Level 4: As rare as their Force-wielding counterparts, those who obtain a galactic-wide reputation truly deserve it. Each of their senses has been attuned to such extreme levels that many would wonder if they themselves can hear the call of the Force. Using their other senses, they are able to engage enemies without looking, move with speed, reflexes, and intuition that surpass what is commonly thought possible, and have bodies that can endure brutal punishment.