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February 28th, 2008, 19:04
The rant against combat in RPG reminds me of the rant against sex in romantic films. And I agree that there's typically too much in each. But characterizing combat as a problem is a mistake, and mocking it makes no sense.

Good romantic comedies have the right idea about maintaining the sexual tension, and they're a pretty good example of how combat probably ought to be approached in RPG. Roles in this genre are set in dangerous worlds, and that danger ought to be a constant theme.

That's not to say there should be constant fighting. But without conflict, there's no drama, and a dearth of drama quickly becomes boring. That's why you'll even find drama in comedy.

I like Vince's suggestions for alternatives to combat, because RPG needs to provide the player with a lot more options. Not just alternatives to combat, more alternatives throughout the entire game.

But instead of de-emphasizing or trivializing combat, it should be relished and savored. Like sex in a good romantic-comedy, it should be infrequent. It should be rare because it's valuable.

Oh, I wish I had a river I could skate away on. But it don't snow here. It stays pretty green. I'm going to make a lot of money, then I'm going to quit this crazy scene. — [Joni Mitchell]
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