Combat is a significant part of Knight Realms. Slashing swords, quick daggers, and crushing maces take many characters to heights of power and keep them alive when in danger. Some of the NPCs sent out by the Monster Marshals are sent to their deaths in combat. They are there to enhance the ‘hero’ aspect of the game by giving something for the PCs to gain glory killing. Sometimes a thief or an assassin must make his living killing PCs. The key to each of these scenarios, and the thing that will take them from a good foam pummeling to an intense battle scene is proper damage RP.

Every PC in this game is a ‘hero’ in the Knight Realms world. They are above and beyond the normal man. They can take a sword in the ribs and keep fighting. That doesn’t mean it doesn’t hurt. The most respected role players at our game are the ones who can role play damage properly, especially those who sacrifice an advantage in combat for proper role playing.

The grunts of pain and effort, the screams of the dying, and the anguished cries of a man who just lost his leg add to the general experience. They are more than just cries. They are actions. Reeling when struck, acting dazed when hit with a stunning blow and falling to the ground with a cry when your limb is broken or severed all show your opponent OOG that you are taking the hit in addition to enhancing atmosphere. A cry of pain will also alert the healers that you need help.

I have seen people obey the letter of the rules, but not the spirit in combat many times. I have seen characters with broken legs, and even some with severed legs, hopping around on the battlefield fighting with a smile. I have seen people hit with stunning blow stand still for 5 seconds, not call a defense, and attack because 5 seconds had gone by. I have seen characters struck for 3 damage not even flinch because they had 500 body. Each of these examples shows someone who is following the rules. But they are destroying the atmosphere for the other players. Imagine watching ‘Braveheart’ or ‘The Lord of the Rings’ and every time something was killed, it put its weapon over its head and walked away. Or when the Cave Troll was hit with an axe or an arrow, it ignored it because it wasn’t enough to kill it. It would be a much different experience.

Acting out damage is what sets the best role players apart. It is the most difficult aspect of role playing because it sometimes requires you to loose a combat advantage, or even sacrifice your characters life because you chose to stagger away stunned when struck with a stunning blow, rather than keep a strong defense while you count to five. The respect you gain through proper acting however, more than matches the risk.

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