Assumptive vs Suggestive StatementsWhen working out a combat situation in chat rooms with as dynamic, non-scripted environment as FoE is, it is very important to be interactive with your comments and not dictate what happens, scripting it out thus being overbearing for others.
Stating what your character does and how the other character reacts or is effected, is being assumptive and dictates RP.
Dora: Talia runs across the room and plants her dagger in Eric's stomach.
Patrick: Eric takes Talia's hand in his.
Both of these comments written in an IM RP typically upset the other player as it assumes the attack will succeed. The first, albeit more dramatic and character destructive, leaves no response as to what Eric would have done to stave off the attack. The second also assumes that Talia will not stand up before he has the opportunity to take her hand, or perhaps turn away.
To interactively work out the process:
Dora: Talia runs across the room, dagger in hand, an attempt to strike at Eric.
Patrick: Eric stands there, stunned with disbelief.
Dora: Talia lunges for erics midsection.
Patrick: Eric's eyes widened, hardly regeistering the pain as is his own. watching as if in slow motion as the dagger plunged into his belly.
The end result was the same, however the manner it was reached was different. It was a cooperative, interactive, process. Allowing the defender to react.
Patrick: Eric moved to take Talia's hand.
Dora: Talia smiled at the gesture, but squeezed his hand lightly then stood from her chair.
Patrick: Eric's heart broke as Talia appeared to rebuff him.
Not the same result as the assumptive statement. The interactive process showed that Talia had somethign very different on her mind.
The difficulties in working in a freestyle environment are that we must recognize the strengths and weaknesses of our characters. If Talia were trying to fight eric with a lightsaber, Eric is going to win, he has years of training on Talia and it would be unrealistic of me to expect her to win unless other circumstances were in affect. Such as Eric being wounded and sleep deprived. Or multiple attackers besides talia.
These are all factors that you can discuss when combat is engaged in. If in a group chat room, simply IM direct to the other combatant, or if in direct IM use (OOC:...) to post your questions and guage the situation.