So the last blog was pretty well received and I promised that, given the appropriate level of reception, I would write another blog of similar fashion. So here I am, begging the age old question: Should I take that hit or should I not? Of course, this is not in reference to deathsticks or substances of similar application. It's in reference to fighting on a writing based forum. This can be applied to both the circumstances of formal campaigns/dominions/skirmishes or to mere duels.

For some reason, this question has been bothering me for the past couple of weeks. Maybe it's that I've been reading duels or maybe it's because I've been involved in a number of skirmishes, but I've been wondering what goes through my head when I decide whether to call a hit or not call a hit. And yes, I have read Ashin's post on taking a measured hit. It was one of the first things I read when I got here and while I appreciate the effort and wisdom put into the 'how' of taking a hit, I think we need to discuss the 'why.' Perhaps this stems from my over obsessive nature or perhaps it's because I commute a lot, but either way, I find myself thinking of this topic and how some often view the question in a simple vacuum. You should just take the hit because that's fair, that's appropriate. Well, to a degree, that is true. But I also find issue with this because not all hits are created equal. So before I discuss my thoughts on the 'why,' I'm going to discuss my thoughts on the 'what,' which refers to the types of hits one can take in a fight. In my mind, there are three overarching types (and don't be confused here. Just because I'm giving them names you haven't considered, it doesn't mean that you haven't written these into your posts. A good duel has all of the below mentioned types):
  • The Hollow Hit: If one were to lay out the impact of another character on their own, this hit would lie in the 'no impact' zone. As to say, you negate the other writers attempts to affect you either with your own affect, or flat out avoidance. However, you still interact with the writer and acknowledge their attempts, physically or mentally or verbally. Just because your characters hate each other, doesn't mean that you get the right to be disrespectful...yo. I.e. Someone tries to stab you with a lightsaber, you dodge it or parry, and proceed to talk some smack or reference how your wrist is sort of sore from it.
  • The Partial Hit: Someone throws a spear at your chest, you dodge, but it still cuts a decent chunk from your bicep. Not the intended location, but it can have lasting impacts and while it wasn't the full intended impact, it got the gist. Lasting impact being that this is suddenly something makes the player vulnerable without fully slowing them down.
  • The Full Hit: Someone force pushes you in the chest, you take the full force of the push, slide back or get flung, and continue the fight. Pretty self explanatory.
Now, could there be other types of hits? Sure, but I would be hard pressed to not mentally allocate them to one of the above mentioned archetypes. And in the way I perceive this, the amount of assumed impact from a hit goes up as you move from Hollow -> Partial -> Full. Intuitive, but still something that needs to be said. So, now that that is out of the way, I want to highlight what I think are the main characteristics of an attack that dictate, in my mind, the ability for a hit to be called or accepted. As in, the ability for you as a writer, to mentally accept the terms and conditions.
  • The lethality of the attack: In my honest opinion, this is the most important characteristic of an attack that is used to determine impact upon Character. For instance, if you enter a fight and the first thing that you do is force crush someone's heart, they are either going to call a partial or hollow hit. That's just the basics of it and to assume any different, is to be unfair to the other fighter. But if you walk into a fight, duel, and use low impact abilities such as force push or pull or even lightning, the player is much more likely to steer towards partial or full hit assumption purely off the fact that the character isn't being fatally attacked in the early stages of the fight. (I lean towards physical abilities for examples. But it can applied to mental or sorcery type skills as well - I.e. a tug at the mind is way different than an attempt to completely destroy it). This goes more towards the pace of the fight and accepting a sort of pyramid scheme where you start out small and go big as the duel progresses. But if you enter into a fight, looking to show the big guns, expect resistance. It's not a question of etiquette but more respect for the pace of a fight. Now, don't go telling your friends that Revmeister said you have to accept a force push cause it's non fatal. Because...the environment changes everything. Math terms: The lethality of a post, in a contextual vacuum, is negatively correlated to the impact in which a player will assume, in response to said post.
  • The Environment: If you are fighting on a cliff side, a force push can be fatal. If you are fighting in water or space, a force crush can be fatal. Things that were formerly not fatal suddenly become so given the appropriate context. A hit can not be expected, in full in these circumstances, unless the player intends to either kill their character or cheese their way out of death. I would prefer a realistic solid fight, so I take the environment into consideration when using force powers, out of consideration of the other player. It's considerate and respectful and prolongs the life of the writing.
  • The detail given to writing: DETAILS DETAILS DETAILS! If you wish to float upon the accolades or previous training or who your master was, and post in duels while remaining devoid of how you are implementing said powers...well, don't. Writing should inspire creativity, should improve interpretation, and the power that your character wields is directly proportional to the way in which you describe it. For instance, when I look to impact someone with force wound or crush, I don't just say the legs. I look up a diagram of the legs and detail out, precisely, which bones that Rev is targeting. It gives depth, it gives layers, and it helps justify your characters prowess. But don't fall down the rabbit hole. If something doesn't apply to the fight, don't put it in. Math terms: The detail of a post is directly proportional to the impact in which a player will assume, in response to said a certain extent. Once an upper limit is achieved, too much detail can detract from the point and reduce potential for impact as the other writer is forced to wade through obscurity.
  • Length of the fight: This has to be considered. Endurance, capacity for injury, etc. etc. As a duel moves forward, not only are the characters ready to be done with it, so are the writers. That being said! That's not excuse to stop being awesome in your fight. Don't cheese it! Math terms: The length of the fight is directly proportional to the amount of impact one should assume from fights, devoid of post context.
  • Character you are fighting: Rank, species, armor, equipment, training, etc. This is, in my opinion, one of the least important aspects of a duel when it comes to considering hits. Just because your person is the greatest telekinetic monster this side of Korriban, it doesn't mean squat unless you can take the time to detail it in your writing. Give context, give details, give your characters interpretation of the force, describe how they are doing it. You came here to write, so...write. Remember, you are on a writing forum: Your rank should be indicative of your writing and your accomplishments, not just your accomplishments. This is also likely the most controversial and I will interject a disclaimer: There will always be a disparity between padawan and master. That's accepted, but please take the time to write the level of detail that your rank implies.
  • For the win!: It has to be said that how you mentally enter a fight will subconsciously impact whether you take full hits or dwindle towards the lower end of the spectrum of impact, partial and hollow. But this is something, as a writer, that you need to combat against. This isn't about winning, it's about writing. And while some of you can write your way out of a paper bag, it doesn't mean you should. Math Terms: Winners mentality should have little to no impact on damage incurred, devoid of post context.
  • Respect for the writer: This one is another subconscious one that stems from friendships and what not. It's hard to get passed this one. I respect a number of writers on this site for their ability to portray and describe. This in turn, gives me the opportunity to write with them on a level that I feel most comfortable. But it's important to remember, that while we write with friends, this a place that's founded upon the writing. If you respect the writer, force them to continually maintain your respect. Don't get lazy, don't let that sort of thing seep into your writing. It's bad mojo.
  • Expectations: If you go into a fight taking hits from the beginning, you will expect the other person to take hits as well (and they should). But remember the differences in hits (hollow vs partial vs full). And remember that hits are not candy given out on Halloween. Your writing earns you the hits and players can only be so charitable with their characters well being and hits placed upon them.
For those of you who know me, you know that I am a scientist in profession. I had a master thesis that was very intensive in data analysis. I think of curves and linear/polynomial regressions and correlations. I want to map the above as independent variables (X), the spectrum of impact (Hollow->Partial>Full) as the dependent variable (Y). Below, is a simple interpretation for the appropriate variable (less complicated relationships):

-Lethality of post (post attack and environment considered) (X) vs Impact Hollow -> Partial -> Full (Y) (negative correlation)

-Details of post (X) vs Impact Hollow ->Partial ->Full (Y) (Polynomial regression)


-Length of the fight (Y) vs Impact Hollow -> Partial -> Full (Y) (positive correlation)


Now, you may ask, what's the point of this? Am I teaching you all how to cognitively decide when to take a full hit versus a hollow one? Kind of...but also the opposite. This is a method of learning how to write in a conducive manner towards the sort of seesawing nature that is appropriate for a duel. Hits must be exchanged, but they are only going to find footing if you understand why your opponent makes the choices that they do. Consciously or subconsciously, it matters not. This sort of understanding will allow you to tailor your attacks in a way that is both competitive and considerate, a difficult combination. And I ask you to remember this one thing, before you post in the comments: I have never instructed someone to not take a hit. You take a hit with every response you write in conjunction to your opponent. However, I suggest you quantify the impact upon your character and realize that the mechanics of a duel and the processes of taking a hit are far more complicated than some would think.

And, I'm not going to end this with fun facts...because, it went longer than I expected. Maybe next month.

As always, get back to your writing, do something memorable, and have fun!