Everyone enjoys a good duel.
Duels are to Star Wars what the wrecks are to racing. They are the goal in basketball, the home run in baseball. They are going inside for coffee at the end of a date, and more often than not on Chaos, seem to lead to crying and regret at the end.
Yeah, I went there.
There are a million ways for a duel to go wrong. All it takes is one wrong move to sour a duel, and from then on, it stops being fun. Once it stops being fun, it's only a matter of time before things completely go to hell.
Most of us have been in that position before. It's not fun. Actually, it's pretty miserable. What's worse is, when it happens in an invasion, there's so much pressure to keep going that it adds another layer of unpleasantness.
The purpose of this blog is to provide a guide for the less experienced duelists who wish to improve themselves, as well as more advanced duelists who want to brush up on their skills. I'm going to start out with relatively basic stuff, like how to construct a post, but as time goes on we'll cover more advanced techniques, and maybe even bring in some guest writers.
Today we're going to go over the basics of writing a post in a duel.
In normal RP, a post can cover anything from a few seconds to a few minutes to a few days, depending on the needs of the story. In a duel, you want it to cover as short a period as possible. That's not to say the post itself has to be short. Some people can turn getting out of bed in the morning into an epic novel, whereas others can condense War and Peace into a paragraph and a half. Ideally, a post should, in character, last no more than 3-5 seconds.
Now, 3-5 seconds is not a lot of time. There's a reason for that. Your post should essentially consist of two parts: responding to your enemy's move, and making your own. If you try to do too much, you not only clutter up the duel with unnecessary moves, you leave yourself open to the mother of all post cuts (more on that later.) Keep your movements simple and concise, but make your descriptions of them as detailed as possible.
When responding to your opponent's post, there are a couple of things to keep in mind. The first and most important is that you are under no obligation to allow them to carry out every action listed. If you see an opening to attack halfway through the post, you can carry out what is known as a post cut. Basically, you are inserting an action into their post, thus cutting everything that happens after that off, hence the term post cut.
Post cuts are also why you want to keep your posts, at least in terms of moves made and time elapsed, as short as possible. You want to leave your opponent as little room to interrupt and throw you off your game as possible. This is key to keeping and maintaining momentum. At some point I'll probably have a whole blog post dedicated to post cut etiquette, but for now we'll leave it at that.
Another thing to keep in mind is that you are under no obligation to respond in the way that your opponent expects. They might expect you to move a certain way to dodge, or block a certain way, or any number of different things. If they've legitimately backed you into a corner and you have no choice but to go along with it, then by all means do so, but if you see a way to surprise them that doesn't involve bending the laws of physics or the site, by all means, do it.
There will be times when you will have to take damage from your opponent's move. Maybe they've figured out a way to get past your defenses. Maybe they've forced you into a corner and you can't get out. Whatever the case may be, don't be afraid to take the hit. The practice of purposefully PGing or GMing out of a hit is fairly commonplace on Chaos from what I've seen, so much so that the practice has a few different names. The one I've seen most frequently used is "loldodging". That's not a path you want to take, because it's not only poor sportsmanship, it lets your opponent know they've rattled you. Instead of bending or breaking the rules to avoid a hit, take it and use that to your advantage.
By taking a hit, it is often possible to force your opponent to take an even more damaging hit. Perhaps they'll stab you, but that puts you inside their guard as well, and also traps their weapon for a moment. Maybe they're slashing at your legs, but leaving themselves open for a high strike at their head. With every hit comes the opportunity to deal one back if you stop and think for a minute. Stay cool, calm, and collected, and always keep a flexible mind.
So now that you've either blocked, dodged, or taken your opponent's attack, it's time to consider your own move.
The first thing to keep in mind is that you want to keep it as simple as possible. Chaining strikes together may seem like a good idea, but the chances of your opponent allowing it to happen are slim. Instead, consider your position, their position, and how best to use their last move against them. Strike at them once, maybe twice if the situation allows it, and call it a post.
Though the move itself should be simple, it will serve you well to describe it as precisely as possible. If you're striking high left to low right, describe your stance, give a rough approximation of the speed and power of your swing, and the angle at which you hold your blade. If you're shooting someone, numbers are your friend. Detail how long it will take for your projectile to reach the target, how many projectiles you're firing, so on and so forth. The purpose of this isn't to baffle them with BS, but to leave as little as possible up to interpretation. Many a duel has been lost because of a vaguely worded post.
With that in mind, you should probably be intimately familiar with your weapons. Know how long your blade is, how much it weighs, and any special properties it might have. Know how fast your projectile weapons fire, know how fast the projectile goes, and how much stopping power it has. In a duel, knowledge is power. The more you bring to the table, the better.
Once you've countered your opponent's move and made your own, it's probably time to wrap up a post. Make a pithy remark, make predictions as to what you think your opponent is doing, whatever. Just keep it short and sweet, and try not to be a dick. That last part is often easier said than done, but as long experience has taught me, being a dick doesn't accomplish anything.
Anyway, them's the basics for constructing a post. If anyone has any questions or comments, feel free to use the comments section below, or shoot me a PM. Thanks for reading, and stay tuned for more.