Salutations everyone and allow me to introduce my first guide on OPR. I am Nanja and today I present you with a guide to the fundamentals of RP Battles. Some of you don't know me that well, aside from the fact that I am a cocky guy with an overabundance of spare time to spend on fanon wikias just like this one. That's fine, so here's a little introduction from me, I have roleplayed more or less constantly over a span of 14 years. In that time I've managed to accumulate a LOT of experience which I think is best put into guides in order to help out those who maybe aren't so sure how to go about things yet.
But what is RP Fighting anyway, and why do I consider it important enough to want to write a guide about it? Well, because it's essentially the crux of everything on a fanon site, especially those based on Shonen manga like OPR. On this Fanon in particular its even more important, because I've noticed some quite hefty skill discrepancies and I think quite a few people simply aren't living up to their full potential.
Many users dream of having their characters be accepted as Yonko, Admirals or Schichibukai: yet simply lack the awareness of what that position demands from a roleplaying perspective. The premier of which is that you're able to not only act the part but back it up when you need to, in response to the latter the primary ways that people go about doing so is to give their character a powerful Devil Fruit. While this is a good start, even the most ridicolous of abilities are ineffective unless you know how to use your character properly.
As an example, the Gura Gura no Mi won't make your characters suddenly worthy of a Yonko position. Nor will it turn your characters into dire threats of its own, while the fruit is admittedly extremely powerful when used to its fullest extent. It is only powerful in the hands of someone who knows how to maximize that potential. Even if it was suddenly unbanned for some reason and given to an inexperienced roleplayer, that person would be unlikely to experience any significant change.
So What Exactly IS RP Fighting?
RP Fighting as a skill is best summed up as the ability to provide a flowing combat narrative that capitalizes on your characters strengths and makes it possible to closely match the degree of fluidity, realism and action experienced within the actual series. Being good at it requires a firm grasp of your characters abilities as well as how to apply them in the best possible way during a roleplay. It demands great flexibility in order to be able to change ones tactics on the fly, and it also requires mutual respect between both parties.
If you master this then you essentially have the uncanny ability to use any character you get your hands on, and any power to a very high degree. When this is used alongside a character you personally designed to cater to your desires in a Roleplay, and to be made to fit your "playstyle" as it were, the results are often simply astonishing. The combination of personal skill, familiarity and experience usually culminates in that character unlocking its "true" power. Yes, that is a real thing, as cheesy as it sounds.
So now that you hopefully have an idea what the concept entails, let's get down to actually understanding the core principles behind it. For that we have the Four Pillars as I like to call them, and they are Flair, Mindscape, Character and Pressure. All four of which that I intend to describe in some detail.
Most roleplayers have talents within these, although they may take a while to become pronounced enough for people to notice. Good roleplayers have a decent grasp of all of these, whereas exceptional roleplayers are great in all of them and can string them together to create extremely memorable scenarios.
Flair: The first and perhaps most important component of the Four Pillars is Flair. It is the very thing that makes it all possible, Flair is the principle used to capture movement, realism, characterization and skill. Its the color that comprises the roleplay and one of the best ways to make a roleplay exciting and fun. Without this principle a battle becomes a chore and everything turns bleak and just dies. Conversely, those few battles where it is highly present are made absolutely riveting to read and Flair also has the ability to impress your roleplaying partner into taking hits. As a rule, people are far more likely to let their characters be struck by something that to their mind's eye looks absolutely fabolous and amazing. So, as you might've gathered, this is the rule of Cool personified into a single concept. Flair is ultimately achieved by simply detailing your attacks, and spending some more paragraphs just playing with various different visualizations.
Mindscape: Roleplays takes place within an imagined space determined by both parties before the battle began. This is in effect the mindscape and it is not just background and imagined scenery, it has immense bearing on the roleplay as a whole. Defining it over the course of a battle confers various advantages to those who do, it can enable one to show off your characters supposed intelligence, adding to the pillar of character, it can be used to fashion dangerous surroundings (like the sea, for most Devil Fruit users.), thus adding to the pressure. Meanwhile it's actually more often used to add to story and tied into flair, as collaterral damage from a widespread attack that ends in a large explosion is essentially using the Mindscape for the sake of adding Flair if you caught on to my earlier point.
Character: How can you be expected to accomplish anything if you have no idea what you're doing? The Third Pillar is all about your character in question, it is about realizing his strengths and weaknesses, working to maximize the former while attempting to make up for the latter. It may come as a surprise to some of you, but just because you've created a character doesn't mean that we neccessarily know how they work, oftentimes we have one idea in mind but it warps into something completely different. The truest purpose of character articles are to remedy this fact by making us invest time in how the character might work out in a roleplay ahead of time, what makes them tick, what is the battles they want, how can they get ahead of a dangerous adversary? These are questions rarely thought about by less experienced roleplayers, and as a result their characters often do not come close to realizing their full potential. Essentially, this pillar is about using your character as a proper tool to achieve what you want to achieve, knowing the full range of their capabilities and how you can push that even further with your personal skill and knowledge as a roleplayer. But it is also important to consider not just your own but your opponents character, to realize and understand the threat they might pose, what are their most dangerous abilities, what part of them presents the greatest challenge to overcome? Respect the work done by your roleplaying partner, while simultaneously not shortchanging yourself or your potential.
Pressure: The last of the Four Pillars is also the one most frequently misunderstood or underutilized. If flair is everything that makes a battle fun and colorful, then pressure is what gives it weight and adds challenge. Without this, a battle is not a battle, merely an exchange of lines, dialogue and empty attacks. Many roleplayers have flair but lack the ability to exert pressure, they'll defend against my attacks with great finesse but when the time comes for THEM to attack back; the entire sequence is about as threatening as a kindergartener who raises his fists angrily at you. Exerting pressure is simple in practise, but demands a bit of dedication and knowledge about your character, the simplest ways to have a character exert pressure is to have them do more than one thing at once, impose some kind of dangerous aftereffect on the environment or have nasty rider effects like poison or extreme temperatures, to simply putting more thought into your attacks and utilizing clever strategy. Essentially, everything that makes your character come off as more lethal and powerful exerts pressure on your roleplaying partner, and this pressure in turn empowers your characters. I believe this is the single most important facet of being able to roleplay a high-ranking official like an Admiral, Yonko or Shichibukai.
So, by now you are perhaps wondering: how can I improve? And the answer to that is quite simple, together with Void I've developed a set of guidelines that ought to help you get into the thick of things whenever you do a combat post. By sticking to these you'll likely be able to score better in all of the categories I've listed and increase your rate of learning by getting used to the underlying ideas behind this.
- Three Actions a Turn: Pretty self-explanatory, during each of your post aim to perform no fewer than three actions in your post. Note that by actions I don't neccessarily mean launching three attacks every time, since not all characters are capable of launching strings of attacks like that. But you should aim to accomplish several things during each of your posts, this allows you to show off your character more. An example would be using two actions to set the stage for you actual attack: Such as generating a shockwave to destabilize footing, then unleashing a debilitating effect before finally following through with your actual attack while the opponent might be temporarily disadvantaged. Other examples are preemptively setting up defenses, planting traps for later, setting the stage for a future attack and the like.
- Do The Effin' Backflip!: Whenever you are about to write out your characters Reaction Phase (Where you respond to your opponents attacks.) take a moment to read through their attacks again. Why? To look for chances to make your character look absolutely incredible, of course! Note, this doesn't meant "effortlessly deflecting their attacks", it means handling the attack in a spectacular and dramatic way without downplaying your opponent. Because think about it, if you downplay their attack, then not only may they get upset with you, but your character will look much less awesome for evading it. Are they a mighty swordsman who attempts to slice you in half with a powerful horizontal slash? Have your character do a backflip over it, their back arching as they land in a perfect handstand and perform several sommersaults backwards to make more distance. Each attack is a challenge, and each challenge is a chance for you to score an A++.
- Four Paragraphs a Post: This might seem like a lot, but if you devote a few paragraphs to your reaction post and a few more to your attack post, which should be easy to do given the fact that you'll be making a few actions each turn, then you'll figure out that it's perfectly doable for everyone. Its important to always strive to be a little bit more detailed as it'll do you good in all roleplaying communities. It also makes you a better writer overall.
That concludes what I hope has been an informative read, if you have any questions about anything roleplay-related then don't hesitate to chat me up anytime. You also leave relevant questions in the comment section and I'll get to them. If you like this, I naturally accept praise, and if there was something you didn't like just leave a comment about that too. Much as I pretend otherwise, I am not perfect.