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Combat and Consequence

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So last night Steel got in a spot of trouble. I'll spare the lengthy lead-in details, but the basic brief is that she and several other Red Wings took on a couple of demons in a fun little diceroll combat fight and got whupped on.




The reason I share this matter is because of the severity of said whupping, I feel like it's one of those possible opportunites for Steel to undergo a paradigm shift or other sort of major personal development. Thing is, though, I'm not sure which direction to go with it. Short of her dying from her wounds, which runs the risk of upsetting or angering some people she's interacted with despite the fact it felt like an almost fitting end.


So, I pose the question to you - what have you done when presented with a battle that ended extremely badly for your character? How were they changed? What sorts of opportunities did the moment present and what did you do?


I'm essentially fielding thoughts and ideas. Perhaps alternate views will offer a direction to take Steelie.

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Well Aaron's current personality where he does all he can to avoid anything that might harm he came from a fight I did I think a year ago? Aaron had gotten jumped and was damn near eviscerated, lived only by sheer luck and a passive healing ability he's got.


I always view fights with stranger PC's that aren't sanctioned like GS as someone us aiming to try and kill Aaron and he's thinking that as well, so nowadays he will submit and without any shred of pride even go as far as to say "No, I won't fight you because you'll kill me." In order to avoid confrontation.


Granted Aaron is far from a helpless person, but it still helps him to have that mindset.


I guess if Steele lives you could make her less inclined to fight people? I mean you don't have to be as much of a pussy as Aaron is but yeah, she could rethink dealing with confrontation a bit better.

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I wish to post here, based primarily on my experiencing under the Fate-14 system that has been created by Verad Belveil. It is a dice and sheet system and quite fittingly, you can get consequences from being hit in battle. These consequences vary from mild (like a bruise) to severe (shattered ribs, broken bones) to EXTREME(permanent changes such as a missing arm).


As such I have come in contact with many battles which even though they may have not had have lasting consequence, it has helped me in evolving my character to be shaped by his encounters.


I am going to assume this battle was impromptu, on a lark in a sense, you rushed in, got terribly destroyed and somehow scraped by the skin of your teeth back home. Now in the infirmary your character is bedridden and has time to think, hell maybe not even conscious yet.


What is important, most of all is how you say your character should go. Death /is/ upsetting and in the world of RP there is truly, honestly no way for your character to die unless you say so. If you feel strongly that she should be put into the ground, do it. But don't do it without deep thought for your own personal feelings. If you are playing a character for the sake of other people, I believe that gets ultimately unrewarding. Does your character continue to have a story to tell or has she gotten to "end game" so to speak? Does she still have unresolved backstory you wish to resolve? Has she fallen back to a mentor position for a new group of young scrappy adventurers? These are all personal questions you must answer for yourself.



Now, if you think this should just end up changing your character's behavior, there are several paths you can go and also depends on your character's way of thinking and personality. 


 For example, If she felt invincible before she can go (sorry for going anime) full Shinji or Simon until someone, if that someone ever comes along, forces them to get back in that giant robot.


Is this an enemy she believes she is going to face again and often? Does this form a new sort of fear response/emotional weight if she ever hears of voidsent again? Does she shut out her friends and tries to go alone for fear of seeing anyone but herself be hurt? 


This is just merely the emotional trauma and evolution. Physically she could be permanently hobbled in some form, a bad leg that didn't set, a lost eye, missing fingers, can permanently maim your character so that she is forced to carry that experience with her in a visually representative way without forcing awkward emotional exposition or mind reading posts like "She hadn't felt so helpless since the day so and so happened"


furthermore the physical impairment can help fuel the emotional distress. Frustration, anger, depression all stemming form not being able to do what you used to be able to do. To need help doing things you could do by yourself is quite jarring. And since this is fantasy instead of real life, you can have your character go desperate, seek power in ways not possible such as through magicks, mayhaps the void.


due to the vagueness of your statement I can only be very general about consequences but they easily exist. And sometimes a battle does nothing to you but beat you senseless, you learn nothing and that in itself can be played out as well.


Orrin, for example, is a protector, he recently got injured severely in order to save a life of someone who was not at all good but necessary to keep alive. This concluded a story promptly before another started up where Orrin was then forced to do his duties, maintain his identity despite having it hurt to keep his weapon up.


This was further compounded by facing enemies that outpaced him in his age so another thing to take into account is at what point in your character's life does that defeat come? Has she never really truly experienced defeat like this? Does she now fear failure because it is suddenly possible in her mind? Has she seen worse?


Orrin is currently in quite a faustian pact. As a Dragoon he possesses an Inner Dragon, a tempting, seductive wellspring of power he could tap into, something he believes he can control. Though he is primarily a NG/LG aligned character, this development can easily force him into a bad spot. A point of no return.


My character is not the one to suffer defeat, in a very warrior-like fashion if he is allowed to limp away he will come back with extra fury and strength because if he wasn't meant to, he would have died back at that defeat.



Hope this helps and wasn't just ramblings

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I'm not sure which kind of wounds your character have suffered but death is not the only way to realistically portray the consequences of this beating. Unless you personally wish to take the chance to end her story.


It's not just the physical consequences but also the psychological ones. A near-death experience can frighten someone to the point of changing them on an emotional level. The dynamics and the details of this vary for person to person, but such a terrible experience can traumatize someone. People that suffered from heart attacks have been know to never have been the same afterwards, for instance.


If you don't think it's part of her character to be affected this deeply, you could resort to cripple her either temporally or permanently. I have done something similar on other characters of mine.

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I haven't had enough RP experience in FFXIV to talk about this situation in the context of that game, but in my Secret World & City of Heroes experiences, sometimes losing battles in an unexpectedly bad way, led to months of consequences that had to be played out.  These consequences were compounded as several of the participants also played along and that impacted their friends and friends of friends.


It was a lot of fun but it did throw months of pre-planned roleplay into chaos and it wasn't necessarily appreciated by everyone.


In my Secret World character, the consequences for my main character were so grievous that she crossed some "moral event horizon" and her popularity plummeted. I eventually rolled a new character but I left the game completely not long after. If you're familiar with the game, you can imagine what kinds of horrible things might have transpired.


In FFXIV, Mia's life was defined by her failure to protect her sisters.  First, she could not stop them (and herself) from being handed over to the Coeurlclaw. And then, once freed from the Coeurlclaw after spending five years being trained in hunting and fighting, completely failed to prevent her sisters from being abducted by traffickers. Her entire motivation since has been to make up for those failures.  But none of that was RP based unlike my first two examples.


But I'm a big fan of playing out consequences.  I love seeing how my characters develop independently of me despite my presumed control over them.

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This has been really insightful so far, but it does occur to me that a bit more info is probably needed. Or at least useful.


Steel has certainky been beaten before. Even injured. But this marks the first time in her life that she's been near death. She's been in life-threatening situations before but she has never been laid out so completely and so brutally.


As for the injuries themselves, she has been seriously burned along her midsection and back, and sliced about her face, neck and body where her armor didn't hold or otherwise cover. All of the attacks were voidal in nature.


Thanks again for your thoughts so far everyone. <3

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I've always found that retiring a character from RP for a while is a good way to deal with dramatic events.


Make some alts, try other things, and then come back to the character thinking about what has changed. 


Have them go on a trip, a lengthy recovery. Give everyone a chance to get used to your departure, and then come back changed. In real life, it can take weeks or months to come to terms with something traumatic. It's also a good chance to try writing narrative RP.

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It's not a RP situation but this does influence how I write and play my OCs.  Four years ago, my spouse nearly died.  It took weeks for them to recover but permanent damage was done. That event shook them to the core and changed just about everything about their personality, outlook, sense of self, duty, and loyalty.  Four years later, many of those changes remain and not all of them have been especially easy for me to tolerate, if I'm honest.


I've noticed that they've bounced from one thing to another, looking for something that "fits," something that makes them feel better or to help them get over it or at least live with it.  This was someone who hadn't seen a doctor since they were a child, were exceptionally fit, and enjoyed working impossibly long hours.  They had to replace much of that with medical complications, treatment, 60% lung capacity, and a lifetime of medication.  So there's a level of fear, disappointment, chagrin, anger, and guilt that they and an OC might have to go through.


But maybe your character doesn't experience lasting trauma or PTSD and they just ignore what happened.  Other characters could see this as unhealthy or unrealistic. There are always people who feel like those around them should share the same reality.

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Faye lost a fight pretty badly once (well, technically she won--but at great consequence). As others have said, there's plenty of consequences both physical and emotional other than death. She lost her hand in the fight, and nearly lost her life. With doctors and healers on call, her wounds healed quickly enough and with no lingering problems... aside from her hand. Can't really do much about a severed hand. Due to the stress/injuries/fatigue, she was mostly unconscious for several days, and mostly bedridden for a week or two.


She was a little shaken by how close she'd come to dying, but it didn't really do any significant long-term damage, if only because it wasn't her first near-death experience and she's stubborn af. But she did have trouble coping with the facts that she'd gotten others who received serious injuries dragged into this fight, that it was her own father who took her hand and genuinely tried to kill her and come quite close to it, that she'd killed her father herself and the revenge didn't feel nearly as satisfying as she'd expected. On top of that, Val was struggling with his own issues of feeling useless after failing to save Faye from getting her hand sliced off and in her own sorry state Faye felt powerless to reassure him.


But most of all, she was affected by the absence of her hand. She saw it as the physical reminder of everything that had gone wrong (because of her) that day, on top of a handicap and physical deformity in general. She struggled to try to manage life with one hand and found herself torn between accepting help to make her life easier or turn it down out of pride. And, being more than a little vain, she worried about it making her unattractive. She didn't go out into public much while she was missing her hand and typically kept her arm clutched behind her back or otherwise hidden.


Eventually, she sought out a Magitek prosthetic which was a pretty fun little RP hook. She got her prosthetic hand, and now largely hides the fact she lost her hand and wears gloves pretty much 24/7. The hand took some getting used to as well, in order to not be clumsy or crush things with her robot hand--something pretty frustrating to someone who'd intentionally presented herself as elegant and dainty all her life.


tl;dr - There are a lot of physical and emotional consequences to losing a fight that can be played out to affect your character, long term or short term. To make them impactful, I'd recommend doing things that actually affect your RP habits like when and where you RP, or shape your character's interactions with people around them, or provide RP hooks of some sort to meet new people or start new storylines.

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Because my character has considerable pride in what she's been taught, I've tried to play really severe defeats as crushing to her psyche. She developed an intense fear of being bound after the first time she was just totally outclassed by an enemy, and insecurity over her inability to manipulate aether after being taught there was an entire second hemisphere of combat arts she had little understanding of. This is not to say that physical consequences haven't been severe. I find making lasting changes can be effective and reminds people of where she's been, and temporary changes that actively modify your play schedule and ability to do things can be effective at driving home how serious things have gotten. Like with Virara, I had her stay in the infirmary and only go outside with aid from others for two weeks real world time after getting gratuitously cut up and and then bashed and burnt due to an FC and character plot piling up within the same span of time. I even implied that the time hospitalized would have been much longer had she not been unnaturally hale. Nevertheless, she was weakened considerably and only pushed herself to go out and fight two weeks in a row due to stubbornness and an intense desire to aid someone. The injuries faded with time, though there is still some scarring, but her fear of being tied up, and her anger at being unable to use magic, probably will never go away.


This is interesting to me because I actually also am really fixated on the consequence of victory, not just defeat. If Virara wins too handily, whether in play by post or dice, I want that to be significant as well, and not in a good way. It can make someone complacent, or callous, or even negatively affect their sanity. In at least one case Virara rolled too well and just outright killed an NPC in one blow, when she was attempting to "be good" and spare him for another character's sake. I implied this has happened before too. When these things become common place to a person, it changes them. The more she learns, the more of her identity is warped into a mechanism designed purely to express her martial art. I want players to feel anxious about the possibility of their character or character's friends getting stronger and actively dread the idea of shaving off pieces of themselves for expediency or potency. As for me, I hope it becomes undesirable for others who are close to Virara to see her become more vicious, more skilled, less compassionate. But at the same time, I want them to think that if she doesn't do that, probably her life is forfeit. I would be overjoyed if a character came to see her strength as convenient and yet felt intense guilt over that expectation. If I could give anyone that impression even once, I'd feel very accomplished and happy.

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Leanne's actually has a strange thing going on about this. Not knowing much about giving up, and stubborn to a T, she is actually in this bubble, where a crushing defeat does nothing but to teach her things and fuel the fires of her own determination. Not unlike the protagonist of an anime, except it can become self-destructing to a degree because the girl simply does not know when to give it a break. So her consequence when suffering defeat is almost never a psychological one, but going by the current theme I have going for Leanne which is mortality: Is this determination of hers going to prove fatal in the future? How much longer her body will be able to keep up with Leanne's pace?

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Ultimately, it depends on how you want to play the next bit of your story. If you want to continue along with Steel, and thing the injuries would be fun to play? Great. That can effect both interactions with other players, and give yourself a chance to reexamine how your character views the world. Especially since it was voidal in nature, which generally tends to leave one going "Holy shit there is some deep shit in this world that I can't possibly understand. How can I fight this?"


Generally, I avoid having characters die in 'random' events, as this tends to derail the purpose of said event. If I know a potentially lethal event is coming and I am open to my character dying, I speak with whoever is running that event ahead of time so it doesn't just... Happen. Also, killing off a character is a very Final decision, and not to be taken lightly. I've thought many times about killing Rhaya off, as an example, but I will not do that until I've exhausted all other options.


Once you kill off the character, their story is no longer in your hands.

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Without going too deeply into Lunelle's backstory since it has some supremely dark themes, her combat and physical experiences have 100% shaped her into who she is. From her being emotionally stunted to absolutely overdoing it when she DOES fight these days, combat has changed her, and certainly not for the better. 


Therese on the other hand, is covered in scars and burns to the point where shehas psychological damage and severe body dysmorphia. It keeps her awake at night, and shes got full blown PTSD. Her husband often deals with her self loathing and night terrors.

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As others have mentioned, it really comes down to how you want this to play out. Steel's no stranger to fighting but this is the first time she got nearly killed. So, where to from here? The challenge presented itself and you've got a few ways to meet it.


Does this shake her? The world's a big place, and what's the sense of fighting and defeating men if horrible things from the other side can come in virtually unopposed? Life is fleeting, maybe hanging up the sword is for the better.


Does she refuse to let this get the better of her? She got hurt, but she's not dead, and now she's got experience with the creatures. Does she seek out someone who's fought more of them, learn how to handle it better next time?


I've always viewed these kind of crossroads as overcome-or-be-overcome sorts of things: Steel can either never get on the horse again, or redouble her efforts. She's either broken, or about to do some breaking. If she threw everything she had at the enemy and still came away maimed, maybe it's time to pick up something new. If she feels she didn't give it her all, or that she's got some distance to go, maybe it's time to dig deeper into Dark Side/Inner Beasting for the sake of power. Near-death is a hell of a drug, and if the options are "Do dangerous thing and maybe die but live" and "don't do dangerous thing, maybe die anyway" it's not really a gamble now, is it?

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