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FFX Combat writing aids.

For the obsessive compulsives. I've been having to write a lot of combat scenes lately, and one way to keep them interesting is to have a good feel for some of the weird things critters can do. However, one then has to remember that most readers don't care about the details, and won't remember all the names.

Many years ago, before he forgot his wizardry, George Lucas explained that he included a lot of logical wear and tear like oil drips and scrape marks on his ship models, even though the conscious eye can't see that level of detail when the Millenium Falcon screams past. But the unconscious sees it, and registers the scene as far more real. The mistake movie makers before him made (he said, and apparently forgot when he made Episode I) is that they'd make a fairly decent model with what FX were available for the day, and then have the camera sit there and show off every detail. 5 years later, it looks hokey. Moral: use a jeweller's engraving tool to flesh out the details of one's descriptions.

I adapted this principle to online GMing about 12 years ago. When writing RP combat, rather than clinging too closely to dice, statistics, or abilities (which I can never keep track of anyway), I use stats and abilities simply as inspiration to help me vary what might otherwise boil down to "bash, bash, bash, zap, and bash". If I were to write, "The Valaha sent out a fira spell for 460 points of damage", then I'd lose the reader. However, "the ponderous creature hunkered down, and a gout of flame erupted from its maw" is a little different from "whatever it was, it had three heads, and the middle one let out a lusty roar before it punched the air and hurled a fistful of living fire."

Anyway, have at.

Images of all the arena monsters here on one page [ETA: DEAD!]

Complete directory of FFX monsters, stats, abilities here

 

Comments

( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
muggy_mountain
Apr. 15th, 2006 07:01 am (UTC)
I agree. Monsters are more intimidating when they are claws and teeth, rather than a list of stats and weaknesses.

And thank you for the links, esp. the first one. I usually rely on gamefaqs.com but most of their files are text-only.
owlmoose
Apr. 16th, 2006 06:39 am (UTC)
Wow, excellent resources! The first one especially. I will be bookmarking those for sure. Thanks. :)
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
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