Reprise: Impractical Applications (How To Make Ravyn Love a Fight Scene)

Originally posted on April 18, 2009. I’d been considering writing a fresh Imprac for this week, but some problems with our internet service provider pulled the decision right out of my hands. Posting might be spotty over the next few days while we get the issue worked out.

I’d been going to write about different characters and clothing this week, but then something extraordinary happened, something that hasn’t occurred in my game in at least the last two and a half years.

I enjoyed a several hour fight scene.

So I find myself asking why. What was so interesting about this fight scene?

First off, things went in an entirely unexpected direction. This was the first time we’d really gotten to use Anathema in a fight, and it was in fine fettle; both its owner and I were able to pull out some good dialogue with it. Only then there was a rather nasty botch, and things started getting crazy from there.

The first botch just filled the room with fear and the scent of death. It took me a while to get the imagery right, but when I finally got the words together, it was worth it. Good description always helps me perk up during incidents like this.

Another thing that helped was that the group was being clever. Being the powerhouses that they are, my group tends to attack everything through the simple expedient of just attacking it, plus or minus stunts. There might occasionally be coordination, or people delegating attack and defense, but usually it’s pretty simple tactics. This time, though, they were in over their heads, and they responded to it by having plans. So there were crazy tricks involving glowing writing, and summoned birds, and new and inventive things to do with Anathema. Cleverness is entertaining, so that helped.

I think ditching initiative helped. Sure, there were a lot of things that it threw off, since we could never tell when people were finished or when someone could use a Charm again, but it did get a little closer to the utter chaos that a battle like that would actually be, and I did get to have some fun with people not paying enough attention to one of the characters involved.

Last of all, there was intensity. We had a couple times where one of the players came close to being killed, there was unreasoning panic from the results of the botch, and there was moral conflict and some interesting post-fight characterization. I could work with this.

So this is what it takes to get me to like a fight scene; the question, I suppose, is whether they’re going to be able to get me to respond this way again. Could be fun to find out!

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