Cinematic Combat

Fiction usually depicts combat dramatically, as either a heroic contest or a violent ballet. Often the bias is subtle, with the storyteller extending the benefit of the doubt to barely possible feats but otherwise hewing to reality. This is typical of the gossip of real-world martial artists when they relate tales of how their style pushes the limits! At the other end of the spectrum are epics that pit the superhuman techniques and unlikely weapons of the heroes against those of the villains, with little regard for physical laws.

Termed "cinematic" because it's most familiar to us from the movies, this dramatic approach isn't unique to the silver screen. This is the world of heroes from earliest myth and legend, battling armies, monsters, and gods; swashbucklers from romantic novels, dueling all comers to certain victory; comic-book ninja and commandos, using sheer skill to make up for small numbers; and masked wrestlers on television, taking hard hits from the top rope and still walking away from the bout.

In campaigns in this vein, the GM should consider using most or all of the optional rules in this chapter that aren't strictly unrealistic but that are possibly optimistic. These fall into two main categories:

• Rules that speed up actions or make extra actions possible (or easier), such as Quick Sheathing (p. 102), Multiple Fast-Draw (p. 103), Quick-Shooting Bows (pp. 119-120), Rapid Fire with Thrown Weapons (p. 120), Rapid Strike with Thrown Weapons (pp. 120-121), Multiple Blocks (p. 123), and Parrying with Two-Handed Weapons (p. 123).

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