Thursday, February 11, 2010

Okay three, two, one, let's jam.

So I've been thinking a little more about how to bring about an epic feel to combats in D&D.

Most of what I've come up with so far is from when I ran an Exalted game. It was incredibly fun, and managed to have some phenomenal moments. It was certainly something that helped me grow as a GM, and I'm hoping to put some of the lessons I learned from it to good use.

For now, while I'm not sure how to make an appropriately iconic fight in D&D (it may well be that the mechanics and style of fights I'm talking about aren't what D&D is about) I can work towards the goal of making the entire game feel epic.

Or rather, like an epic. I've been learning a little about sagas of late, and well, let me just say they are pretty cool. I think I can translate the feel and focus on character. So far, that's kind of been how sessions have played out, the characters have started building relationships with each other, and also with some of the NPCs in the little village.

In related news, I'm playing a monk tomorrow. I am fairly sure that combat will go a little something like this:

Rounds Two and On: I AM ENTERTAINED

It's similar to the philosophy behind Bruce Lee's fighting, the whole intercepting fist thing. My monk will be all about ending the fight as soon as it starts. So if someone starts something, I go, and then unleash a devastating attack. Afterward I'll be entertained in the fight, because the powers I have are entertaining to me, so there's another plus.

So far, what I've come up with is that my guy's fighting style is all about finding the flow of breath/spirit which ties all living things together, and either balancing/centering it (in the case of stuff I do) or disrupting someone's energy (when I stabinate them with my fists). Top that off by being Githzerai and having crazy Mental Discipline, and I'm all set for fun.

Oh and he's named Zuo.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

If you do one thing today...

Then you must go beyond the impossible and kick reason to the curb. That's the team Gurren way.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Epic Batt3l

Holy cow. That looks totally awesome!

I want you to try something. Take a minute and picture in your mind the most epic battles you can think of. Go on. Close your eyes and see it unfolding upon the canvas of your imagination.

Now, think about what it was you imagined. What makes this fight stand out in your mind? What puts it up there among iconic fights like this one:

"It is your destiny!"

Or this one:

"A day of wolves and shattered shields"

Of finally, this one:

"Who the hell do you think I am?!"

It boils down to one thing. Not size, nor scale, nor spectacle, but it comes down to the ideas driving each of the fight. When all else is said and done, and every other option has been taken, it all boils down to two people duking it out for the fate of their ideals.

With Luke and Vader, it's both sides of the Force warring for redemption or corruption. With Aragorn, it's his fight to prove the strength of Men and reclaim his throne. With Simon, it is a fight for his humanity and drive to pierce the heavens.

That's what helps a fight transcend "just another fight" and become something memorable, something personal that reaches in and grabs you by the heart making you jump up and shout YEAH when the good guys win, or sit at the edge of your seat when you're not sure what will happen. It's what grabs us.

Now the only way for something like this to have that much meaning is for it to be the end of a larger struggle. It wouldn't be as cool if Luke and Vader fought one another without the context of the rebel alliance and the empire, or if the Dai Gurren Brigade just stomped all over some tough enemies without having come as far as they did. These fights signify the end of a journey and the start of a new one.

This transcends medium as well, because it works just as well in books, movies, or if it's done well, video games (if you've never seen the end of Okami, go play it now, beat it, and oh man).

What I wonder is... how well would this work for D&D? How to pull it off?