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So, you're new to the game, or you're a returning player unfamiliar with the new combat system, and you're a bit lost. Have no fear! This guide is intended to help explain TACS for beginners.


!profile

Note: If you are a returning player from before February 1st, 2008 you will need to have your !profile converted from Legacy to the current TACS.

First off is !profile, which shows you what your stats are like when you are undamaged, your modes, the names and levels of your attacks, your abilities, any protections or weaknesses, and skills. It should look something like this:

======================[ PROFILE: SKIDROW [TRANSFORMER] ]======================
BASE STATS / MODE 1
Strength     -  55                     Intelligence -  70                    
Accuracy     -  80                     Leadership   -  60                    
Endurance    -  60                     Courage      -  70                    
Firepower    -  60                     Technical    -  70                    
Agility      -  60                     Energon      -  50                    
      ________________
_____/ MODE 1 - Robot \_______________________________________________________
Size: 5   -   Velocity: 43   -   Armor: 50
Attacks: Blaster [4]
Abilities: SCOUT
      ______________________
_____/ MODE 2 - Helicopter  \_________________________________________________
Size: 5   -   Velocity: 60   -   Armor: 10
Attacks: Machine Gun [2]
Abilities: CRACKSHOT

SKILLS
Ghetto Bird, Bootlegging, Narc
=============[ Use '!attacklist' for more specific attack info ]==============

!attacklist

!attacklist will give you more information on your attacks. It will tell you the name, damage level, attack type, damage type, any effects, and energon cost of the attack. It should look something like:

=========================[ Attack List for SKIDROW ]==========================
Mode 1 [Robot]
Blaster                 [LVL 4: RANGED]       
 Damage Type: ENERGY
 Effects    : ACCURATE
 Energon    : 8

Mode 2 [Helicopter]
Machine Gun             [LVL 2: AREA-RANGED]  
 Damage Type: BALLISTIC
 Energon    : 2
============[ See also '!globals' for the "free" global attacks ]=============


!attacks

!attacks shows you all the non-!global attacks that you currently have available. Usually, this is just whatever attacks you have in your current mode. However, it might be more. For example, if you are an Autobot and Fortress Maximus is in base mode, you might be allowed to man some of his guns via the Control effect. This uses your turn, not Fortress Maximus's turn, but it uses Fortress Maximus's energon, not your energon. Alternatively, you might have an object, like a demolition bomb, that has attacks that you can use.

!globals

!globals shows the free attacks that everyone gets. They look like this:

=====================[ Attack List for FREEBIE ATTACKS ]======================
Mode 1 []
Grab                           [LVL 0: MELEE]        
 Damage Type: IMPACT
 Energon    : -4
Punch                          [LVL 1: MELEE]        
 Damage Type: IMPACT
 Energon    : -1
Kick                           [LVL 2: MELEE]        
 Damage Type: IMPACT
 Energon    : 2
Disruptor                      [LVL 1: RANGED]       
 Damage Type: ENERGY
 Energon    : -1
Laser                          [LVL 2: RANGED]       
 Damage Type: ENERGY
 Energon    : 2
Smash                          [LVL 3: MELEE]        
 Damage Type: IMPACT
 Effects    : OUCH
 Energon    : 5
Ram                            [LVL 3: VELOCITY]     
 Damage Type: IMPACT
 Effects    : OUCH
 Energon    : 5
Pistol                         [LVL 1: RANGED]       
 Damage Type: BALLISTIC
 Energon    : -1
==============================================================================

!globals can be renamed by using !attackname global=newname. So, Skidrow can rename his Punch to 'Derisive Slap' by using !attackname Punch=Derisive Slap. This renaming will be permanent until Skidrow changes it again.

Damage Level

The damage level of the attack is the maximum level you can use the attack. You can use the attack at lower levels, though. So you do not, for example, need a level 1 'Little Punch' impact melee attack, a level 2 'Bigger Punch' impact melee attack, and a level 3 'Biggest Punch' impact melee attack. To pull an attack, the syntax is: !attack/4 target=attackname. So, to attack Mixmaster with his Blaster at level 1, Skidrow would use, !attack/1 Mixmaster=Blaster. For Skidrow, pulling his Blaster to level 1 is usually better than using the !global Disruptor, which is also level 1, because Skidrow's Blaster has the Accurate Effect. When Skidrow pulls his Blaster to level 1, it will cost the same energon to use as Disruptor, because the Accurate Effect does not add any energon cost to the attack.

Attack Type

The attack type of an attack is either Melee, Ranged, Velocity, Science, Area-Melee, Area-Ranged, as can be seen in !combatinfo attack-type. Melee and Area-Melee attacks run off the Strength stat to determine damage levels. Ranged and Area-Ranged attacks run off Firepower. Velocity attacks run off Velocity. Science attacks runs off Technical.

When buying attacks, Area attacks cost 2 CP extra compared to normal attacks to get the Area utility. Area attacks cost the same energon for one target as normal attacks do, so there is no harm in using an Area attack on just one opponent. For more than one opponent, Area attacks cost x*(n+1)/2 where x is the energon the attack costs for one target and n is the number of targets. To put it a little more simply, each target after the first costs half the energon of the first target. So, if Skidrow wanted to attack Mixmaster, Scrapper, and Hook with his Machine Gun, it would cost him 2+2/2+2/2=2+1+1=4 energon total. Unlike in the old system, damage is not divided in area attacks. They just cost more energon to use.

Damage Type

Damage types, all of which can be seen in !combatinfo damage-type, add flavour, for the most part. However, some people have Protections against a certain damage type, so attacks of that damage type will do less damage to them. Some people have Weaknesses against certain damage types, and attacks of that damage type will do more damage to them. When buying attacks, the first damage type is free, though additional damage types cost 1 CP.

Effects

Effects, as seen in !combatinfo effect, can make an attack better or worse. For example, the Overpowered effect will make an attack cost more energon to use. The Shatter effect will make an attack also damage the armour stat of the target. (Armour is now a 0-100 stat.) Good effects can be turned off with !cancel. So if Skidrow wanted to turn off his Accurate effect, he would use !cancel Accurate. If Skidrow wanted to turn Accurate back on, he would use !cancel Accurate again to turn it back on. !attacklist will tell you if you have !cancelled any effects. Some effects, like Shatter, add energon to the cost of the attack, so if you are running low on energon, you might want to turn them off. You might also want to !cancel effects if you are trying to go easy on an opponent or if you feel the effects are simply not thematically appropriate for the RP at the time. As a tip, it is not very useful, generally, to !cancel effects that do not increase the energon cost of the attack. Negative effects cannot be !cancelled.

Transforming

Transforming is the name of the game, and to transform, you simply use !transform #, where # is the number of the mode you want. If you forget what mode you are in, you can use !curmode to check. If you don't like your alternate mode name, you can change it with !name #=newname, where # is the number of the laternate mode you would like to rename. Sorry, you cannot change your mode 1 name.


Combat

You can view the full official rule set on the CombatRules page

In combat, there are a few more options now. The usual order of your turn will look like this:

1) Pose. About three lines are usually good. Be sure to react to any hits, and hits about 15 damage are usually pretty grievous. It is also a good idea to pose any misses. Hits that do damage to stats besides endurance can give you an idea of what sort of reaction to pose. Be creative!

2) Transform and/or set your defence level. This step is optional. You do not need to transform or adjust your defence level. You can if you want to, however. If you want to transform, you must transform before you attack (or do another option that burns a turn). If you want to adjust your defence level, you must do so before you attack (or do another option that burns a turn).

3) Attack or take another option that burns a turn. !inspire, !patch, !aim, !analyze, turning on a forcefield, !cloak, et cetera are examples of other options that burn a turn. So you cannot, for example, attack and !patch. The complete syntax to attack is !attack/# target=attack=newname, where # is the desired damage level, target is the intended victim, attack is the name of the attack, and newname is what the attack is temporarily being renamed to. So, if Skidrow wants to attack Mixmaster with a level 1 and call his Blaster 'Shot To The Face', he would use, !attack/1 Mixmaster=Blaster=Shot To The Face. You do not have to adjust attack level or temporarily rename the attack; these are optional. For Area attacks, the complete syntax is !attack/# target1,target2,target3=attack=newname, where you can have as many targets as you have energon to hit. If you are getting errors about hitting someone and they are in alternate mode, you will need to use their alternate mode name instead of their mode 1 name.

Defense Levels

Defence levels are listed under !defend. The default is neutral. The defence levels make trade-offs with Accuracy and Agility. To switch defence level, you use !defend levelname where levelname is the name of the defense level. If Skidrow is fighting Galvatron and he really does not want to get hit, because Galvatron is scary, he might !defend protected, which will boost his Agility but lower his Accuracy. If Skidrow was fighting someone who is very agile and hard to hit, he might !defend fearless to get an Accuracy bonus at the expense of Agility.

Protected is a +10 bonus to Agility and -10 penalty to Accuracy. Guarded is a +0 bonus to Agility and -0 penalty to Accuracy. Aggressive is a -20 penalty to Agility and +20 bonus to Accuracy. Fearless is a -30 penalty to Agility and +30 bonus to Accuracy.

As a fun tactical application, a pair of allies can pull off a 'rope a dope' trick with defence levels. One can set himself Protected, so that the enemy has to go fearless to hit him. Then, while the enemy's Agility is impaired by Fearless, the second ally can pick him off.

The Hidden and Off-Guard defence levels do not apply to most people. When someone !cloaks or !sneaks, they are set into the Hidden defence level. If someone with the radar or Enhanced_Senses ability exposes the !cloaked or !sneaking person, that person will be set Off-Guard.

The Evade defence level also does not apply to most people. Someone in Evade cannot be hit but pays 10 energon for each dodge. This can quickly run an Evader out of energon, if s/he is not judicious about using it sparingly.

!systems

!systems will show your Endurance, energon level, stat damage, defence level, any combat flags like crippled, what mode you are in, and what attacks and abilities you have in the mode you are in. !syscheck is a shorter version of !systems.


Non-Attack Options

These are non-attack options that burn a turn:

  • !analyze target or !analyze target=ally is command usable by those with the Scout ability. Gathering analysis data gives a damage bonus against the target. Using !analyze target=ally sends the data to the named ally instead an allows your friend to get a bonus. Thus, Scout is a good team-helping ability. !analyze target=ally uses the turn of the analyzer, not the ally.
  • !aim target gives an accuracy bonus against the target and is provided by the Crackshot ability. It works exactly the same way that Scout's !analyze does, apart from providing accuracy instead of damage and having a different command name. Both !analyze and !aim last until the next time they hit successfully; if Shockwave provides an aim bonus to Dirge against Bluestreak, and Dirge's next attack misses, Dirge will retain the bonus to-hit until he successfully hits Bluestreak or until the combat is over.
  • !patch target will give the target a little endurance and take up some of the energon of the !patcher. You can !patch yourself. Most people can only be !patched once, but Junkions can be !patched an arbitrary number of times in a battle. The Repair ability provides !patch to Transformers and Junkions. Humans can be !patched by people with the Heal ability. !patch uses the turn of the !patcher, not the !patchee.
  • !cloak allows people with the Cloak ability to vanish from sight at will. Doing so costs energon and gives them access to the Hidden defense level. While in the Hidden defence level, they cannot attack or be attacked, but they can !analyze to pass analysis data on to themselves or allies, !aim, and a few other things. They can de!cloak to sneak attack someone. It toggles on with !cloak/on and off with !cloak/off.
  • !sneak, useable by people with the (appropriately enough) Sneak ability, allows silent, stealthy movement. It can only be used before battle has actually begun and before the combat flag is set. Once you attack someone, they tend to notice you. !sneaking costs energon and gives access to the Hidden defense level. While in the Hidden defense level, they cannot attack or be attacked, but they can !analyze to pass analysis data on to themselves or allies, !aim, and a few other things. They can de!sneak to sneak attack someone. It toggles on with !sneak/on and off with !sneak/off. Be sure not to change defense levels between de-sneaking and making your attack, if you want to get the benefit of a Sneak Attack!
  • !inspire target allows someone with the Inspire ability to raise the Courage of the target for the rest of the battle. This uses the turn of the !inspirer, not the !inspiree. You can only be !inspired once a battle.
  • !retreat is the action that you use to leave battle. It will let you know who is fast enough to take a parting shot at you.
  • !merge turns a combiner team into its combined form.
  • !refuel target let the user give the target some of his/her energon. This take the turn of the !refueller but not the !refuellee.
  • !junkdive is like a better version of !patch but only Junkions can use it, only on themselves, and only in areas flagged as being full of the same sort of junk that Junkions are built out of. So far this is just Planet Junk.
  • !pass gives you back some energon. It will give you back more if you are in a more aggressive defence level, but it will give back a minimum of 4 energon. A very few FCs have the Generate ability, which lets them make more energon during a !pass. You cannot buy Generate with AP.
  • !detect is usable by people with Enhanced Senses or Radar. It can set people with Cloak or Sneak Off-Guard, making them easier to hit. Enhanced Senses can only detect one Hidden character at a time. Radar can detect as many as are in the room.

Running Low on Energon

Energon is much more fluid in the new system than in the old one. If you are running low on energon, you have several options:

  • You can !pass. This action, representing taking a brief rest from battle, lets you regain energon. As a risk/reward tradeoff, the more defensive your stance the less energon you will recover. Normally !pass provides 4 energon while Protected, 6 while Guarded, 8 while Neutral, 10 while Aggressive and 12 while Fearless or Hidden.
    • A very small number of FCs have the Generate ability, which allows them to make 8 more energon than usual when they !pass. This ability cannot be purchased.
    • The Charge ability is somewhat more common, being available to OCs, and provides 4 more energon each time you !pass.
    • Energon boosters provide 10 more energon than usual when the user activates the booster and then !passes. Each energon booster costs 5AP and can be used a maximum of three times before being used up.
  • You can use a low-level attack, if you want to recoup a little energon and still do some damage. A level 1 attack will usually give back 1 energon, if it doesn't have any effects that cost energon.
    • As an exception, a level 2 attack with the Efficient effect will give back 1 energon, if it doesn't have any effects that cost energon. A level 1 attack with the Efficient effect will give back 4 energon, if it doesn't have any effects that cost energon.
    • As a second exception, attacks with the Overpowered effect, which makes them use more energon than usual. Overpowered attacks will cost 2 energon at level 1, so Overpowered attacks are not good to use when low on energon.
  • You can use an attack with the Feed effect. If it hits, you will get 10 energon. This Feed effect could be represented as anything from your character gnawing on an opponent's arm to your character having a sci-fi gun that converts the kinetic energy of its recoil into energon. However, if you miss, you do not get the 10 energon.
  • A character with the refuel ability can !refuel your character, which gives you some of his or her energon, from a special secondary tank separate from their own fuel. This burns the turn of the refueller but not the refuelee.
  • Ammo-based attacks cost no energon to use, but they also do not gain you any energon, unless you have an ammo-based attack with the Feed effect.

Protection/Weaknesses

For a complete list of what you can be protected from/weak to, look at !combatinfo protection. However, some people have Protections against a certain damage type, so attacks of that damage type will do less damage to them. Some people have Weaknesses against a certain damage types, attacks of that damage type will do more damage to them.

Most FCs don't need to worry about protections/weaknesses at all. Some FCs have unbalanced protections/weaknesses. FCs cannot add protections/weaknesses; they just get whatever makes sense, based off their tech spec and TFU profile.

OCs can request protections/weaknesses as part of their application process. For each protection, there must be exactly one weakness, and although they do not cost you anything, they must balance out. If you wanted +4 against Fire, with a value of 3, for example, and a weakness to Ballistic, with a value of 2, you would need -6 to Ballistic, because 4*3-6*2=0.

Note that since energy and impact cannot be requested as protections/weaknesses, both of these types are basically disregarded by the protection system; your energy-based laser will treat practically everyone the same because they can't ask to be treated differently by it. The only exception are a few FCs, who have resistances or weaknesses to Impact or Energy.

Mode-variable Stats

Sometimes, you may notice that under a mode, some stats are listed as different than the mode 1 stats. This means that, in that particular mode, you are better or worse in that particular stat. For example, Apeface is said to be extremely agile as an ape, so his ape mode Agility might be higher than his robot mode Agility. As another example, tapes usually have Strength, Velocity, and Agility equal to zero when they are in cassette mode, because they are little immobile objects.

Velocity Dodging

In your alternate mode, the system will automatically make you harder to hit by melee attacks but ranged attacks will still have the same hit rate. For example, it is very hard to punch a speeding motorcycle, but shooting a speeding motorcycle with a laser is relatively easy. The higher your alternate mode velocity, the better you will velocity dodge. For example, you might find it very easy to run up and punch a bulldozer, but punching a jet in flight, which is a lot faster than a car on the ground, would take a lot of skill/luck/ramps.

Ability-based Dodging

In certain rooms, people with the old movement abilities will gain a slight bonus to dodging. This bonus is based off the velocity of whatever mode they are in that has the ability. The abilities are: Flight, Space-Flight, Space-Walk, FTL, Swim, and Dive. For example, if you are in a sky room and do not have Flight, you could pose that you are shooting out the side of a shuttle, but someone who can actually fly will dodge better than someone not designed to work well in sky rooms. Because it is based off the velocity stat, for example, jets in sky rooms who can also fly in robot mode will get a bigger bonus to dodging as a jet than as a robot, because they fly faster as jets than as robots.


Combat Spam

If you are having trouble keeping track of stuff in combat, combat spam can help! Type @set me=COMBAT_SPAM to enable the following features:

  • Notifies you of how much energon you spent
  • Gives you the 'real' details of any attack against you

Ammunition

Ammunition is an alternative to energon-based attacks. If an attack is ammunition-based, it will have the Ammo effect listed under !attacklist. Ammunition attacks do not use any energon. Instead, they have a certain amount of ammunition. usually, for each shot, one ammo is used up. Some attacks share an ammunition bin. If you use the same Missile attack in robot mode and alternate mode, you might only have two missile total, so if you use up a missile as a robot and transform, you'll only have one missile left in alternate mode. Attacks that cost no energon sound great! However, for each ammo attack that you have, your energon bin is lowered by 10. Most people have an energon bin of 50. Some really powerful characters or refuellers or otherwise appropriate characters may have higher bins. However, people with ammo attacks will usually have energon bins below 50. It is a trade-off. Also, unlike an energon weapon, an ammo weapon can actually run out. When it is used up, that's it until the battle is over and you can visit a resupplier to get reloaded. If you've already been reloaded within the last few days, you're out of luck (see "After the Battle," below). Note, just because an attack ICly has ammunition does not mean that you need to give it the Ammo effect, codewise. It is perfectly okay to pose loading bullets into a gun that uses energon, codewise.

Unlike energon-based attacks, using ammo-based attacks at below their maximum level is generally not very useful. So if you have a level 5 ammo attack, pulling it down to level 2 is probably not a great idea. Energon attacks cost less energon when pulled to lower levels, but ammo attacks don't give you anything back when you pull them to lower levels. You can still pull ammo attacks to lower levels or cancel their positive effects if you want to be nice to someone and go easy on him/her, of course, but people with ammo still have !globals if they want low-levels attacks with no positive effects, too.

After The Battle

Repairs

You can get repaired by an Automated Medical Drone (aka "gumby medic") once a week. This will heal any damage you have taken to your Endurance as well as any stat damage. You can get an ally with the Repair ability to !repair you as much as once per day, but note that this does not mean you can get into a fight once per day! Also as a fun bonus fact: characters without the Repair ability can attempt repairs as well. Just... don't expect much!

The "wait timers" of player-repair and auto-repair work separately. So if you are currently in your 7-day waiting period for an auto-medic, you can still get a player to repair you once a day. You can check this out via the !limits command.

Refueling

It's a standard assumption of the combat system that virtually every combatant comes into battle with a full tank of Energon (whether this is 50, 40, or whatever your maximum is). Thus, you can have an Automated Drone (or Dispenser) top off your energon once a day.

Certain players with the Refuel ability can refuel you during battle. A command to let them 'top you off' outside of battle (like an auto-drone) is "coming soon".

Reloading

Ammunition works differently than repairs and energon. It is not assumed that every combatant enters a battle with full ammunition. In fact, this is one of the major trade offs of Ammo-based attacks. There is only ONE "wait timer" for reloading. If you get an Automated Drone (or Dispenser) to reload you; you will have to wait 7 days before your next reload from anyone. If you get a player to reload you; the wait is 5 days instead.

Since the "wait timers" are linked, a player will NOT be able to reload you if you have already been reloaded by a drone in the last 7 days. Conversely, a drone will NOT be able to reload you if you have already been reloaded by a player in the last 5 days.

Confused? The !limits command should hopefully shed some light on things.

 <Z-Convert> [test] Catechism says, "You might want to make explicit that it is 
 pretty much always better to be reloaded by a player reloader. I mean, I think 
 it is obvious, but..."

How do I hit this guy?

One question we see a lot of from new players is "I can't ever seem to hit this spaceship/Seeker/Aerialbot/Blurr, what can I do?" Well, with Blurr you might be out of luck, but for the other three, there are several methods that characters can use in order to increase their chances of landing a solid hit, apart from simply increasing your Accuracy stat.

  • The Fearless defence level - Using !defend Fearless will make all of your attacks much more accurate. It doesn't cost any energon to do, and everyone can do it. However, it also makes you much easier to hit as well, so watch out for your opponent or their allies who may take this opportunity to unload a big hit on you in retaliation!
  • An ACCURATE attack - The ACCURATE effect makes a certain attack more accurate. It doesn't cost any extra energon to use ACCURATE with an attack, and it doesn't require you to use an extra turn, but it does cost 2CP, so an attack with ACCURATE will be 2 ranks weaker than an attack of the same CP cost without ACCURATE.
  • A CRIPPLE attack - If your attack has the CRIPPLE effect on it, it isn't any more accurate, but it makes your opponent less likely to dodge the next attack made against them after you hit them with CRIPPLE. CRIPPLE by itself may not seem as good as ACCURATE, but it is useful if you want to make a big expensive attack in the following round but you're worried that it will miss and use up all your energon/ammunition, or if you want to help one of your allies to hit your target.
  • Transform small - There are advantages to being little. If you can transform so that you're smaller than your opponent, you are more likely to hit them AND more likely to dodge their hits. On the downside, you also take more damage from their melee or velocity attacks, and you deal less damage to them with your melee or velocity attacks. So, using your smaller mode is good for making ranged attacks, which do the same damage, no matter what size you are.
  • A NO-SIZE attack - If you have an enormous mode (hello Broadside) and you don't want to transform out of it, you may be able to use an attack with the NO-SIZE effect on it. This makes you effectively the same size as your opponent for the purposes of only this attack. For normally sized people, NO-SIZE is much less effective than ACCURATE or CRIPPLE, but we're just throwing it out there for those who are truly vast (hello Broadside).
  • Transform accurate - If one of your modes has a higher ACC than another (hello Warpath), use the more accurate mode.
  • A STUN attack - STUN is the big brother of CRIPPLE. While CRIPPLE makes an opponent easier to hit with the next attack made against them by anyone, STUN guarantees it. If you don't miss them with the STUN attack itself, of course. Stuns also oblige the victim to "lose a turn." People are often sensitive about being stunned because it gives them very little to do besides stand there and get beat up, so if you have the STUN effect, try to use it the way you would like to have it used on you, and don't stun people so often that their end of the scene becomes dull!
  • A LOCKON attack - Much like STUN, it guarantees a hit for the next player against that target, but does not force someone to lose their next action.
  • Use guns - Thanks to velocity-dodging, altmodes are harder to hit with melee weapons than robot modes of the same agility. Some altmodes that have especially high velocity are much harder to hit with melee weapons, particularly if you find yourself fighting in a hostile environment that they're built to handle, such as in the ocean with Seaspray, because some abilities confer a dodge bonus against melee weapons in certain rooms. Ranged attacks are more accurate than melee attacks against velocity-dodging opponents or opponents who have an ability bonus in special rooms.
  • The CRACKSHOT ability - If you have the Crackshot ability, you can !aim target. If you are in the Protected defence level, !aim will compensate for the Accuracy penalty of the Protected defence level, and if you are at more aggressive defence levels, the accuracy bonuses will stack with the !aim bonus. Using !aim does cost a turn, but it doesn't cost you any energon. So you can hide out in Protected to dodge well and use !aim to compensate for the Accuracy penalty as one tactic. Once you have !aimed, you cannot change your defence level without losing your !aim, just like it would be hard to line up a sniper shot on a roof and then jump off, get up in the enemy's face, and keep your aim aligned. Alternatively, if you really, really want your next shot to hit, you could use the Fearless defence level and !aim for a big accuracy bonus.

How do I change my alternate mode names?

!name #=new name where # is the name of the mode a new name is the new name that you would like for that mode. Do not try to set your &name_2 directly like the chargen thing says, it will not work.

Advice from Boomslang

Hello! This is Boomslang's player, the writer of about a third of this guide. I helped design and test TACS and built many of the FCs. If you don't like how your FC is set up, there is about a forty percent chance that it's my fault. Sorry! :) I'd like to take a moment to offer some general advice to new TACS players. Please note that now that the work I did with TACS is complete, I am not on the staff! So while I am an expert, I am not an authority, if you see what I mean. That's why I labelled this section as ADVICE; it's only opinions from my experiences playing a lot of different characters, you may take it or ignore it as you like.

  • For strong characters: Be gracious. When a weaker character takes you on, this is their chance to engage in an epic battle with a character they might have a lot of intimidating preconceptions of from the canon sources. Don't destroy them casually, but don't cheapen their heroism by obviously throwing the fight to them with lots of !misses and !pulls, or their victory will feel hollow (unless you give it a lot of build-up ICly). You have an excess of power, and you can afford to be generous. Try matching their attack levels- you can see these on +pot or by setting your COMBAT_SPAM flag. Now and then, show off what you can do so that everyone knows why they should not take Grimlock or Shockwave lightly. If your opponent is also very strong, you can get epic with this and wow the onlookers. If your opponent has no chance to beat you in open battle, consider creating a secondary objective, another way for them to win besides bludgeoning you into unconsciousness. This way they can fight not to defeat you, which they probably know they can't, but as a brave self-sacrifice in order to achieve some greater goal.
  • For weak characters: I know it can be tough to be the feeble guy. I've played Bumblebee, who doesn't even have any attacks! But don't worry, if you are an FC we made a way for you to be useful. I or another of the TACS implementors gave you some means of contributing to a battle. Often this is by Scouting for the other combatants, which raises their damage quite a bit, and which you can do while Protected so you're less likely to get smushed. You can even Scout for yourself, although you only get to attack every other round if you do it constantly. You may have some special purpose, like Seaspray being highly effective on/in bodies of water, or Pipes destroying the armor of big tough guys so that the other Autobots can beat them down. If you're a weak OC, either because you chose an expensive altmode, expensive ability suite, or a combination of the two (sorry, submarines!) you probably also have at least one environment or situation in which you're mighty, and even if you don't there is sure to be a way you can help your side in a battle. Even if all Bumblebee does is keep Dirge busy trying to hit him, every machinegun burst that misses Protected Bumblebee is one that isn't hitting Bee's comrades. Try asking on the +combat channel if you feel uncertain as to what your noncombatant character can do to help in the Cybertronian War.
  • For unusual characters: If you have a weird altmode or distinctive power, don't let this be all there is to you. It can help a lot to distinguish you and give you something to play around at first, but in the long term it's good to develop a distinctive personality and "voice" apart from just what you turn into or what you can do. If you have a weird origin story, it's even more important not to make this your only hook for RP as that story can only be told once to each listener, and they'll probably all know it from eachother after the first few times you tell it.
  • For typical characters: If you are perfectly generic in your mode and abilities, like a seeker or the standard warrior or medic Autocar, this gives you a good background to help your personality to shine through without distraction. Instead of focussing on being the odd man out, consider how your character might've been shaped by camaradarie, shared triumph, shared suffering. What experiences have they had, how do they feel about each of the other characters who share their body type and function, and whom they probably have known well for many years?
  • For leaders: Try to give the kind of orders that the players of the characters you're leading would want to follow anyhow. Keep an open ear for hooks that players will bring you. If someone says "somebody should do X about Y," order them to do so. If someone under you wants to spy, get with your opposite number in the other faction and have them create something for your man to spy on. If you notice that the same people keep playing together, form them into a squad and assign them a special mission tailored to their set of abilities. Remember that in general, players want to win. You and your opposing leaders need to make sure that there are opportunities for both sides to claim victory on a fairly regular basis. If the Decepticons beat the stuffing out of the Autobots, the Autobots should be able to rescue the human hostages even though they mostly got beat up. If the Autobots soundly trounce the Decepticons, the Decepticons should be able to get away with some of the energon cubes. An event where all the victory is on one side and all the failure is on the other side should be a rare event, unless it's a multi-event plot, where you can have these alternate according to the story arc.
  • For spies: This role is hard to play because unfortunately, you are unnecessary. When the Decepticons plan an evil scheme, they WANT the Autobots to show up at some point, or else there would be no one for them to play with. The other side always finds a way of being where they need to be in order for RP to happen, with or without your spying. So you have to actively insert yourself into this process and create opportunities for spying. Get to know the other spies, sentries, and counterspies. Watch for players who seem interested in intel gathering and guarding, even if they're not specifically noted as being spies. Most of the "special operations" type functions like COMMANDO or SABOTEUR are well suited for this even though they may never bother to do it normally. Talk to your fachead and the opposing fachead; they can help you find opportunities for spying.
  • For sharpshooters: Make it interesting for the other side. The temptation when you're an artillery piece or a missile launcher or a rail-cannon sniper or a space laser platform is to think of your enemies as targets for you to defeat awesomely. This is natural, and will play very well with your own side, who will get a kick out of you being awesome and helping them win the battle, especially if they contribute to it by setting up your target with things like STUN and SHATTER. But you need to also make sure that the targets are having a good time. Don't put yourself completely out of reach. There must be some way of countering you. If you're sneaking, you can be revealed by a sensorman. If you're a hundred miles away, they can still shoot you. I've seen people throw punches at Blast Off while he was posing being in orbit over the battle. Give them some plausible way to take action and not just be victims, or else they'll defy you to take the implausible way and punch you out of orbit (or just not want to play with you). Also, make sure your target gets to do at least one or two cool things in the fight before you take them out of it, if you're capable of doing so. Long fights are boring, but very short ones are too, especially when everyone else keeps playing for a couple more hours while you lie there posing being face down in the mud because you got hit by a space laser.
  • For bruisers: People will use their altmodes a lot against you in order to make use of vel-dodging, which makes your melee less accurate. This is fine; a hurled boulder is going to be a lot less precise than a laser, and that makes up for the boulder hurting a lot more if it hurts. But be thoughtful about your poses. Don't punch that Aerialbot while he is having a good time playing a fighter jet; that would be basically negating his roleplay about being high in the air swooping around doing cool stuff. Instead, if you want to use your strength, use your environment. Throw the boulder, bend a strip of rebar into a giant catapult, whatever. This will let you use your advantages without powerposing him as being lower than he wants to be. If you're lucky some mad genius will have given you solid rocket boosters so that you really can punch jets.


Still confused?

Still confused? First, take a look at +help NewCombat and the rest of the TACS files on the wiki and see if your question is covered there. If you can't find it, try asking on the <Combat Discussion> channel, where most of the Conversion admin and ex-beta testers hang out.


Information Navigation
General

Policy, Roleplay, Admin, Basics, Objects, TinyPlots

Theme Factions, Subspace, Energon, Cybertronian Creation, Races, Locations, Timeline, Combiners
Character Getting a Character, Unlisted FCs, Pre-App Rules, Application, Creating Original Characters, Upgrading Your Character, OC Ideas, Overdone
Systems Commands, Transform, Combat Rules, Beginner's Guide to Combat, Vehicles, Human Vehicles

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