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Sparring Tips
Sparring Information

What is this?

This is a fighting guide intended to help clear up some problems, as well as to help newcomers or 'newbies' have an easier transition into the world of wolf fighting. There are common questions here, and if you have any more you simply need to direct your attentions towards the questions and suggestions, and your question will be shortly answered and added! Some common things that are included here are defenses, types of fighting, elemental questions, as well as links to visual pictures. We hope this helps!

  • What is wolf fighting? It is commonly called ‘sparring’, and there are several different types: dominance, rank match, pin, death grip, force breeding, friendly, and death match. Of course, these are just a few examples of a fight your character could be facing! Sometimes, characters create their own types of fights ( anything from the right to take a wolf as their mate, to the right to leave a pack they've been claimed into ). Don't think that only the most common fight types, which are listed below, are the limits of your spars!

    Dominance is where you fight another wolf to establish dominance over them.

    A Rank Match is where your character is fighting to either gain or protect a rank -- this can be anything from an alpha challenge to a member fighting a council member for a higher rank in the pack.

    Pin, which is a ‘pin fight’, is where you fight until you have a wolf that has pinned the opponent, which is then the definite winner. EXAMPLE

    Death grip is where you fight as though you are trying to kill the other wolf, but you are actually not going to. You obtain a ‘death grip’, which is usually by gripping the jugular vein, the voice box, or other important arteries.

    A force breeding fight is rather self-explanatory and is usually between a male and a female, where the male is attempting to rape the female (although, on Doutaini, there has been female on male, male on male, and female on female rapes).

    Friendly fights are simply that, and are usually three to five ‘moves’, or attacks, long. Then, a chosen judge chooses the winner.

    A death match is the most serious fight on Doutaini, considering that it is made ‘life or death,’ and one wolf will die, unless both of them choose to make it a draw. It is usually five to ten moves long, though, if both parties agree, it may be more or less. A winner is determined by the judges, who will use the universal judging system. Generally, two judges are called on to judge a death match. If their verdicts differ, a third judge is called in to break the tie.
  • Your spar will be judged fairly and without bias by someone on the site. Anyone on the site may judge but keep in mind that the contestants may want someone with experience. Don't be offended if they request a different judge or ask for a second opinion. Until you're familiar with the sparring system on Doutaini, we encourage you to observe spars and judgments before you actually decide to judge a spar.

    When judging, you will be called upon to use the universal judging system shown in the tab bellow.

    If you are displeased with a judgment, feel free to contact a second judge! However, the only way you'll get a third judge is if the first two judges disagree. We don't allow rejudging of fights, though we do let you seek out a second opinion and a third, if the first two disagree. If you've any questions, please contact an admin!
  • Below is the system that members will use in order to choose a victor in the spars they judge. Bear in mind that we definitely approve of "paragraph-style judging" but it is important to be consistent with all fights, so we ask that you also use the points system below. If you have never judged a spar before, feel free to reach out to your peers or to a member of staff for coaching on the subject; while it's time consuming it can also be very rewarding, because you might learn tips on your own fighting skills! :) If you're curious to see how different members use the system, take a look through the Spar Archives and read through the judgments.

    Tiers for judging:
    * Size ( build, weight, height; strength vs. runner; etc. )
    * Health at the time of battle ( excellent, good, fair, poor, or very poor )
    * Excellent: +3
    * Good: +2
    * Fair: +1

    Realism ( Damage )
    * Took realistic damage throughout and displayed more than proficient effects of damage: +5
    * Took realistic damage throughout and displayed decent effects of damage: +4
    * Took semi-realistic damage throughout and displayed some effects of damage: +3
    * Took semi-realistic damage throughout and displayed few effects of damage: +2
    * Took only slightly realistic damage throughout and displayed little to no effects of damage: +1

    Realism ( Attack )
    * Displayed exceptionally realistic offensive/counter maneuvers overall: +5
    * Displayed proficiently realistic offensive/counter maneuvers overall: +4
    * Displayed fair realistic offensive/counter maneuvers overall: +3
    * Displayed somewhat realistic offensive/counter maneuvers overall: +2
    * Displayed a few realistic offensive/counter maneuvers overall: +1

    — Defenses
    * Upheld excellent defenses overall: +3 ( every defense reset in every post )
    * Upheld good defenses overall: +2 ( most [vital] defenses reset in every post )
    * Upheld decent defenses overall: +1 ( few defenses reset in every post )

    * +1 for unused dodge
    * Experience ( has one of the characters had more experience in battle than another? )
    * +1 for every 3 spars past won on Doutaini
    * +1 for every 5 spars lost, won, or drawn on Doutaini
    * EP amount ( particularly in an elemental fight )
    * +1 to the fighter with 50 or more EP difference to opponent

    OOC factors: powerplaying, godmoding, etc.
    * Continuous, sustained powerplaying or godmoding ( more than 2 instances ) shall result in an automatic win to the non-offending opponent
    * Context advantages ( applicable as deemed fit )
    * +1 to the player with home turf advantage
    * +1 to the player with element seniority
    * +1 to the player(s) for effectively incorporating the effects of weather / time of day ( such as rain, blinding sunlight, darkness, sweltering heat, below-zero chill, hail, sleet, snow, etc. ) into their spar when applicable
    * Character’s age and how big they should be at that age

    CONCLUDE WITH: Point totals for participants plus a paragraph (briefly or not, judge's choice) announcing verdict and why the verdict was reached.

    Spring/summer = least healthiest (overall) for most [ prone to good, fair ]
    Winter/fall = healthiest (overall) for most [ prone to excellent, good ]

    Things to consider: food availability, weather, temperature, age, lifestyle ( do they train / move / hunt regularly? actual logged boards of hunting / training ), mood / mental state, sex, whether or not they have just given birth or are nursing pups.

  • When sparring, you utilize your wolf's defenses. Defenses are how we say that a wolf is aware of their surroundings and expecting an attack. They are an absolute key in fighting, since it determines whether or not your character can protect itself from a lethal attack.
    These are examples of a wolf in a 'proper' fighting position: EXAMPLE, EXAMPLE

    When fighting, don't forget to include your defenses in every post or you leave your character open for a killing ( or winning ) blow! Common defenses are:

    - Raising of the hackles (this would be the fur on the back of the neck, which protects the skin underneath of it and makes a wolf more intimidating).
    EXAMPLE: the wolf closest to the screen is bristling, trying to intimidate his opponent.

    - Lowering a bit on the hind legs (this makes your weight more towards the ground, and keeps your back legs ready to spring forward).

    - Widening the legs (this creates a lower sense of balance, not unlike what soldiers do to even their weight, which keeps strain off of the body and enables them to stand in that position for hours on end).

    - Lifting the lip (this makes your fangs show, and wrinkles the top of the muzzle).

    - Putting ears back onto the skull (this keeps them from being ripped off in battle, and it is a common body language technique used in real life).

    - Narrowing the eyes (used to keep fangs or paws from hurting the eyes).

    - Opening the jaws (this puts the lower jaw in front of the throat and keeps the voice box from being a target, and allows room for a ready bite).

    - Lowering the head (this protects the throat, which is a key point in wolf fighting).

    Even if you are not attacking, as in your initial post, it is highly recommended that you place all necessary defenses in the first post. Someone can ambush you and take advantage of the situation, since it would be seen as your wolf not paying attention or being 'open'. Not having defenses in your first post will effect your final score as well!

    Unfortunately, you must retype your defenses for every post. It's tedious and boring, but necessary. Once again, it indicates how much you/your wolf is paying attention... but be realistic. If your wolf is having a limb savagely torn off, they may not be too concerned with balance or tucking their tail.

    Your defenses will change throughout the course of your fight. You can't always have perfect balance, or keep your eyes half-closed. Generally, your defenses depend on your positioning. If your opponent isn't at your hind end and cannot plausibly reach it, it is okay to use your tail for balance rather than to protect the tender underbelly. Things like this change from post to post as your wolf changes positions.
  • While fighting, it is essential to be realistic. How do you use realism? If your wolf is less experienced than the other wolf, then please, purposely, make mistakes. If your wolf is smaller than the other, then make sure to include that, and if they are larger than you and are leaning on you, be sure to consider the effects it will have. If your wolf is elderly, they cannot be as strong as a wolf in its prime, unless it is a Rebel and that is their power. If your wolf is hurt before entering a fight, make sure to include that injury. Taking these small details into consideration when fighting will help you be a better fighter and a better opponent.

    You do, however, have one full dodge per fight. A full dodge is a 'point', basically, where you can evade any attack completely and totally, with out harm, so long as it is at least semi-realistic. You can't be just about dead, with another wolf's jaws around your neck, and claim a dodge. It doesn't work like that. However, if a wolf attacks you with, lets say, 'shard', and you're about to be hit with a devastating blow, you can use your full dodge to evade it. This tends to get points taken off when judging, as it is generally an unrealistic decision.

    How much pain you show depends on whatever is realistic. Keep in mind, you can't evade everything, and you've got to take a hit when it's realistic. If you need help, get advice from an administrator or a well known fighter. They'll keep you on the right track. If you've ever been in a fight before, I'm sure you understand that getting hit in a sensitive spot can knock you off your balance, where as some other pain can make your adrenaline rush and make you stronger. Show pain, show weakness. This is all fun and games; be nice.

    Depending on where your wolf is damaged, it can affect them differently. If your wolf gets a hit to the leg and it breaks it, that leg is now rendered useless. Your wolf may be able to put some pressure on it, but it would be unbearable and the pain would make them ill. No one can ignore that much pain for long. If your wolf gets a hit in an artery, blood loss will start to effect them. If your wolf gets a hit in their throat, usually they will crumble, because that is a death-grip spot. How does different damage effect different areas? Be reasonable, people. If you hurt your foot, and not your leg, you generally don't want to walk on it. If you hurt your leg instead of your foot, you can waddle on it. Be realistic.

    While it is easiest to use simple terms such as 'neck' and 'upper leg' rather than the very technical terms that science gives anatomy, some fights require specifics. If you're looking for a very specific area of the body, it would be a good idea to refer to this image. It gives a rather good outline of what everything is called. Please make sure you're referring to a certain area with the correct name, or you'll cause unwanted confusion. Remember, however, that it's always best to stick to simple words rather than technical terms!
  • When sparring, each opponent makes turn making moves. Moves are attacks, but mostly just counter-attacks. A counter attack is responding to another attack while making another move, and also defending yourself. The only attack that is not a counter attack is the move by the wolf that initiates the fight, or when you cannot defend yourself.

    A counterattack is where someone does not completely evade an attack made by another wolf, and in the process of dodging attacks as well.

    Can I take no damage at all?
    Yes, but you can do this no more than once. This is called a full dodge. More often than not, you counterattack, where you take minimal but realistic damage while attacking your opponent simultaneously.

    Can I make two attacks in the same post?
    Yes, but only if you do them simultaneously. Let's say, for example, your character is trying to ram his chest into his opponent's chest and simultaneously attack his opponent's face. This is acceptable, though please be reasonable and realistic when doing this.
  • When fighting, please make sure you do not power play or god mode!

    Power-playing is when you control the other person’s character, as in saying where they moved, what they did, or otherwise. Unless you have the acceptance of the other person, or are restating what they have already said, it is unwise to use this tactic.

    Godmoding is when you are ‘godly’, and using excessive force, taking no damage, or using otherworldly elemental powers with little to no effect. It is, unless you have the acceptance of the other person, unwise to use this tactic, as well.

    2 against 1 fights where you roleplay 2 characters on one side are not permitted. All fights - unless they have been plotted and agreed upon by both parties - must be 1 on 1 in terms of what characters you use. Even if IC you play two related characters and one of them gets into a fight, your second character may not intervene.

  • Do I have to use elements? No! You're permitted to choose, in most cases, whether or not you want to use elements. In a friendly or "unimportant" fight, the roleplayers usually agree to use or not use elements. However, during official and important fights, the challenged wolf gets the final choice. For instance, if you go and challenge the Storm Alpha to a pack challenge, you are not permitted to say "we're not using elements!" You can request elements or no elements, but it's the challenged that has the absolute decision.

    How do you use elements while fighting? They will have to be used cleverly. To get ideas, take a look at your pack powers and your EP total. Elements can be a fun tactic when added to any fight. However, you have to make sure that you are taking damage from using your attacks, since they all have side effects. It is a ‘two steps forward, one step backwards’ scenario. This is where you can begin to use your imagination and have a little bit of fantastic fun.

    An energy meter is a gauge of your wolf's energy. Whenever you use an attack, some amount of energy is taken from your body. For instance, if a fire wolf uses spark when it's got only 10 EP, it will use a lot of its energy. It will be reduced to heaving, gasping, an unbelievable heart rate and the like. If a fire wolf uses spark and it's got 200 EP, then it won't be so much of a big deal. It will be able to do the 'spark' with a flick of its ear. This does not mean, however, that you will ever be able to completely ignore the side effects. No matter how strong your character is, they will always feel some side effect to every power. The side effects are different for every pack, and must be taken into account. Even a wolf with 500 EP will get the smallest twinge of nausea if they use an Earth power, or feel the pressure in their skull if they're in Enigma. Once a wolf has used elemental attacks that match their total amount of EP (ex. a wolf with 200 EP has used two 100 EP powers), the user cannot perform any further elemental magic, but may continue to fight. The side effects of extreme magic use will persist for the remainder of the fight, and continued usage of magic after the EP total is met, even the 0 EP default power, will result in death. Therefore, it is important to keep your energy meter in mind when using elemental attacks.

  • Each character on Doutaini is unique in their appearance and personality. Believe it or not, this affects how your character will fight. If your wolf is small, or even tall and slender, they will be more likely to rely on quick turns and attacks and speed; a thicker, larger wolf would likely rely more on strength to win.

    Usually, you can tell how large or small a wolf is just by that character's description or common sense. Remember, though, where size variations are concerned, a wolf that is "larger than most" will not be alarmingly so! Wolves don't have that big of size differences, generally, so you will not be facing a wolf the size of a bear, ever. Also, please keep in mind that when you're fighting a "large" female, that they are realistically smaller than males. However, there is always the occasional butch female. To be realistic, the only true difference is an inch or two. Unfortunately, people tend to skew the perception of wolves. It's not something to be overly worried about, though if your partner gives you too much hassle, try your best to sort things out or contact an admin. If you need clarification, because you and your fighting partner cannot come to terms, then just ask an administrator!

    To encourage you to keep your character within normal, healthy wolf guidelines, please refer to Defenders of Wildlife for some facts on Grey Wolf size. If you get too outrageous with your sizes, whether too small or too large, please consider adjusting your character accordingly. Remember, if your wolf is too massive, it is not going to have an easy time hunting, and would, in reality, perish from lack of food. The admin will step in if absolutely necessary, but we'd rather you change your character to something more natural, yourself. Even personality affects how your character reacts in a fight! If they are hesitant or unsure about fighting, their nervousness could lead them to make mistakes. If they are comfortable in the Ruins, they may be able to block more pain out than others. Wolves who are more pumped up have more adrenaline which allow this to happen. Don't go overboard, though. Do your best to stay realistic, always!
  • Generally, unless otherwise stated, there are deadlines for fights. These stats are posted at the bottom of the fight. If they are not posted, there is not considered to be a deadline (except in the case of Death Matches outside the Ruins. In this case, if no time limit is set by the players, a deadline of 5 days is imposed on the match regardless of consent from those involved. Players may choose their own time limit to put in place of the 5 day deadline, but all DM's must have a limit set). If you do not post by the end of the deadline, depending on your fight, you will be either be the loser or simply be dead. Most fights have a three day time limit, while death matches have a time limit of five days, unless otherwise negotiated. Please make sure that when you look at deadlines, you are looking at Doutaini's clock located under the "user info" section of our layout. We go by this clock for all defaults, so please be aware of it!

    If you are having an unimportant fight and have not set a deadline, but find that your roleplayer has stopped replying, please contact an administrator. You may set up a deadline starting on the date that the admin posts the notice. If your opponent has not posted by the end of this newly posted deadline, you will be awarded a default. However, it is wise to include a deadline for all important fights whether they are official ( in the Ruins ) or not ( outside the Ruins ). Otherwise, you may run into some technicalities.

    Extensions do not require staff approval, however, each character is only allowed 1 per spar with the agreement of their opponent. Extensions are for an additional 48 hours and do not affect your score when deciding a winner. There must be a post on the spar thread saying that an extension is being used and approved by your opponent, otherwise, staff might deem the spar a default.
  • Defining your first "move" is rather hard, but generally, just post your defenses and get ready to attack or be attacked. If you're attacking, then set your defenses and attack, but make sure to have them both realistic and possible. For instance, if you're extending your head to grasp some part of the body, the bottom of your wolf's neck may not be as protected as it could be. Not all defenses can be totally secure whilst moving; be realistic. Of course, you don't have to be 'polite' and wait to acknowledge your opponent. If you're responding to a Ruins post, you may attack in your first post, without having the introduction period.

    What are some helpful first attacks?
    This depends on if you're being attacked or if you're attacking. However, if you are attacking, the most common is to go for the lower part of the foreleg, the bulk/muscle of the shoulder blade, and/or the side of the neck. If you're being sneaky, you may attack from the behind, or feinting in one direction before going on to attack something else. These are all common maneuvers. Another one that is not widely seen, but can be very effective, is attacking the face directly. Remember, keep your defenses as secure and realistic as possible.

A few tips

Here you will find a few final tips to remember when sparring. I hope this guide has helped you in your sparring.

Please remember to take a look at the Official Ruins rules before starting an official fight.

Wolves are most vulnerable on the legs and underbelly, although the latter is much harder to get, considering that it's under the wolf. If your wolf is on bottom, you can literately eviscerate the opponent by violently scraping the hind legs on the soft spot of the underbelly. If you look at a dog, there's always a slightly hairless piece that holds the 'potty parts' of the dog. These are vulnerable pieces. A tail is a good thing to attack, if you can get at it. The back of the neck can control quite a bit of movement. Look above for common places to attack; these are good, too. They always manage to start off a good fight.

Depending on what kind of sticky spot you get yourself into, there's usually a way out. As there are far too many "sticky situations" your character could get into during a fight, we cannot cover every possible scenario here. The only thing I can truly recommend is be creative, but don't be completely out-there. You don't want to god mode or power play. This is a thin line, and you can only rely on your own imagination and creativity. If you find yourself truly lost, it's always a good idea to contact an experienced fighter and ask for some help.

There are a few simple to boost your points ( if the judge uses a point system ) or improve your chance of winning. Aside from being realistic, take proper damage and show proper pain. Don't ignore it. If you're using elements, have the effects in place and make them happen! Don't ignore the side effects of elements! It's extremely annoying to us all, and it's against the sight rules. Even if your wolf is wildly using elements in some epic plot, it is not okay to limit your side effects. Make sure they're prominent. Better to take too many side effects than not enough!

Overall, try and have fun! Spars can indeed be stressful, and sometimes misunderstandings will arise. Just remember that we are all here to have fun. If you are becoming stressed out try and take a step back, take a deep breath, and always remember to be kind and courteous. And remember, even if you lose a spar, there is always next time!

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