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Interception
Meta Type Strategy
Tournament Introduced TZDL2007
Introduced by N/A
Family Type
Commitment
Time
Positioning
Negation
Chain

Interception is an occurrence in the chronological order when a player's current action is contested before its resolution by the activation of an enemy player's action. It's both a combat doctrine and an exploitable event in Play-By Post or T1 combat enacted by players to forcefully interrupt a suspended action of another player so it will not resolve on the chain. Since actions in the chronological order are in a state of suspension before they resolve in the turn order, players leverage and calculate their enemy actions based on time that it would take for it to resolve and act concurrently of that action in an attempt to post-pone or outright negate an opponent's aforementioned action. Interception has spawned several derivative strategies both enhancing or even dampening its effectiveness. Example strategies like String augments a chance of interrupting player's ability to retaliate with rapid solvos birthed a combat philosophy such as Chance Manipulation, while Auto-Defense has both deterred and allow interception to flourish with proper positioning. Interception can only be successfully achieved when the party enacting the intercepting play has forced an interrupt of an opponent's action.

Principle

Actions in roleplaying are typically suspended between turns of the acting user, and they are established and resolved either by acknowledgement of another player or the next turn of its originating actor. Interception is the literal response to a suspended state of an action or the answer to slower culmination thereof, since Play-By post traditionally disallow Auto-hitting to prevent resolutions of attack actions from happening in the same turn they were invented. A character, like the author, is allowed to Register and reply to the environment and anything therein then the conclusion that a dubious buildup of an action should be accounted for. This is usually done through Tells of an opponent when an action is obvious, but a player may not be constrained to waiting on an opponent's motions. Combat in roleplay are composed of turns to determine their actions, but when they resolve in the chronological order is determined by the time it takes for it to resolve and if they do. An attack during or before an opponent's own attack to intercept works in the same principle erecting a defense in time for an attack. The distinction is that the response or initiative is an attack as opposed to a defense.

The theory behind interception is that all actions require commitment in order to resolve, and by testimony of their opponent out of character, when and how cannot be cancelled unless they do not wish to fulfill their desired effect. A sword swing to decapitate an opponent with the intent to kill cannot stop halfway if the user wishes to resolve their attack for the kill to happen. A player cannot resolve their attack the same turn it was committed without autohitting thus an adversary theoretically must first enact before resolving. In combat then actions are taken in what is considered "real time" by some to determine their own character's ability to respond to a threat if one is perceived. It is possible for both players to never attempt an intercepting play and reply to each action as it comes, but unfortunately this subscribes that every action is equal in timing to both the ability to see it, understand it, and create a reply let alone a defense then an attack in a linear sequence. A player with their sword sheathed with the first attack is always slower than one with an unscabbard blade only by virtue that the first player must first unsheathe which is an additional action against them.

Interception is usually exploited through the sequences or transitioning period between States in a player's turn. There are swaths of both mechanical and strategy that allows a player to cut between the time of one state to another in their enemy's turn, or optimize their own flow by reducing their actions as time in this factor is considered a penalty because of delay. Neither characters nor their authors are static when idle and as such do not need telegraphy for them to begin acting on their own accorded ergo merely acting upon turn order of combat is seen as inefficient and unnecessary to more proactive players with particular strategies in mind; however, interception as a phenomenon is not natively a function of roleplay but there are no known mechanical operations that disallow it unless specifically stated by whomever governs the roleplay.

There are functions, properties, and exploitations of a combination of the two that can defend or power interception based on positioning of a user. Auto-defense can both optimize and mitigate attacks looking to interrupt a player's ability to resolve their own attacks, since auto-defense reduces the time between states by one less action (if the auto-defense property allows it, a character can ignore an attack potentially and let their barrier take damage so they can mount a quick offense). This allows auto-defense users to intentionally create exchanges of blows in which one without a proper defense must now attentively mount one, which breaks their optimized strategy of state manipulation. Attack-string waves can be both intercepted by auto-defense or enchanced, but are usuallyed in the chance that a constant bombardment of attacks will land not only an eventually hit but reduce the fight to a high-speed exchange of fire into a single sided barrage of hits. This increases the chances of landing critical blows between player states and interrupt them, hence chance manipulation as a philosophy is born. Pokes can interchangeably used both tarpit a user or dissaude them from intercepting you if your movements are minimum. Retroactives not only cancel your previous action, but may undo it to a particular point that you intercept an interception on your own, but this is considered a chronological exploit that's forbidden because of a constant escalation of retroactives between both users as thus committed action undo by cancels to be more reasonable. Bait can swing either or to goad players into prematurely attack for their interception to be pit in a nasty situation, or intercept an interception if a proper cancel is timed. Simple armor may be the proverbial threshold between victory and defeat of an attacking player being intercepted.

The final strategy to attest for the existence of allowed interception are Combos where an unset of constant attacks in one post is made. A combo proposes that the enemy player is stationary during many different attacks with one proceeding another in the same turn, but due to the rules of roleplaying the chronological order is not beholden by the single actions of one user and its establishment because then it would autohit the notion that their character allowed these events to unfold dictated by one player. Veteran players would seek the first action of a combination attack to invalidate the rest. This disables the combination to only a single attack as usually executed in roleplaying and renders the combo meaningless. There are times such an exploitation of the combination strategy does not allow the comboing user to adequately defend themselves because technically they'd be committed to their next established action of their attacks. This leaves them vulnerable to extremely critical interceptions for easy kills.

In summation: actions between players are different by a slew of properties that composes their effectiveness. The most valuable value in the properties of an action is time which determines when an action winds up and resolves. An action that is slow is more prone to be intercepted and as a consequence leaves them vulnerable to a detrimental situation. There are many ways to either reduce damage dealt by interception, heighten your chances of successful interception, or negate action of enemy players. Combat in roleplaying is only in turn order of the players since their perception of time in a session is split between two opposing sides, but are fluent and dynamic in character when these actions take place. Players must pay special attention to their positioning when contemplating a particular play in mind, as one is always potentially out of position when faced with a well calculated attack/defense. Due to the nature of how roleplay combat is handled interception is the inverse of the standard reply to an opponent whereas instead of defending the player attacks.

Examples

A conventional defense using interception

Prima holds his sword tightly and holds it above his head before having it crash down at his opponent's right shoulder
Secunda sees Prima's shoulders and anticipates his sword's ascension while drawing his shield to meet the blade. In fear his swings his shield up to meet his opponent's line of trajectory as it comes down, allowing the sword to bash his defense

This example highlights the core principles of roleplay combat in which interception is not only used to attack, but it is the primary function of actual Defense. Since Secunda is not obliged to wait for the actual swing to occur, his character wisely anticipated the blow and have it meet with his shield. Without interception then the sword's descent into an attack would be the only time in which Secunda can properly reply and would not have enough time to rise up his defense in his attempt because he'll be restrained to a post-order determination of time; however, roleplay mechanics allow Secunda's character to not only reply and understand what is currently happening but also justified his block by emphasizing the speed in which his defense holds against the blade. Interception allows this to occur if the timing of the attack is ambiguous compared to the defense (it isn't encouraged to put numerical values to each property of time in one's attacks and defenses).

A conventional offense using interception

Prima lifts his AK74U and aims it at Secunda without a determinable point of having his iron sight on him.
Secunda begins to swirl his hands as he begins to conjure the natural forces and arcane energies of warp energy. Through spiritual contract with his own psyche and the chaotic mesh of eldritch magicks he summons fire within the pool vortex of supernatural forces. He then rises his right hand to orb this manifestation that is now a soaring and bright spinning goblet of fire and swings it to Prima as a complex but yet simplified ball of explosive hellfire from above his head.
Prima notices Secunda hands as magical energies are summoned and opens fire with the intent of half a magazine into the sorcerer before he held the ball in the air.

The failure of defense lies simply on Secunda here, and without a proper defense or auto-defense there's a huge possibility he'll be peppered. Now this isn't assuming Secunda can't cancel his action in retaliation to seeing the rifle bead on him, but because the rifle's was already risen to target Secunda and he failed to even acknowledge means that he allowed his opponent to establish that he's but a few ticks from pulling tor trigger and firing on him. Bullets from rifles are extremely fast, and Secunda's calling of his spell requires far more action than his opponent since he did not state whether he conjured his magic concurrent of his opponent's rifle but it seems Prima suggested that it happened either before or simultaneous. Either way Prima is a pull away from unleashing his attack which requires less actions than Secunda who needed to form his magic, rise his hand, and throw his ball at Prima which requires more actions even if concurrent. The timing of Secunda was completely off by virtue of timing and resulted in penalty of delay while neglecting what his opponent was doing. The slowest loses here.

Usage

There are numerous examples of interception usage, but the earliest in TZDL was TZDL2007 between Mouse's Mitsu Mazono versus Psycho Echeon; though less refined, Mouse shot his opponent while he was on his throne before his opponent had the chance to get up and defend himself. The next and most notable would be TZDL2009 with Ares vs Ru the latter successfully leaping onto her opponent's sword as the initial swing was underway and using his super strength to maintain lift. This can be successfully counted as an intercept since his sword swing did not resolve being interrupted by Ru's peculiar movement. This allowed her to mount a vicious offense and win her the match.

The next example is TZDL2011 between Argryia vs Lokanas in the preliminaries. Lokanas attempted to combo two attacks to only have the second one fail since his opponent's attack during an exchange would execute him before his second attack resolved as typically proven when combos are initiated: first attack dissembles the entire combo. Argryia's bullet, doused with her energy, allowed it the property to penetrate insubstantial barriers which enabled the projectile to cross against Lokanas' fire disc. The bullet would penetrate his undefined armor and enter his chest to the heart. This critical blow in the exchange would interrupt his second attack: the lava tentacle he would summon after the disc.

Draven would dominate Veasy in TZDL2011 during their quarter finals. Draven would use his pistol to continue a pressure play on his opponent with a soft string attack sequence. Though Veazy would resolve only a few of his intended manuevers he would be too far out of reach to successfully respond to Draven in any meaningful way. The match ended with Veazy losing to Draven after a series of gun-fire rendering him inert with one sole attack resolving which took his opponent's arm.

The next notable interception would be TZDL2012 between Argryia and Goliath in the preliminaries. The latter grabbed a disc to swing it into the field as a projectile while the former fired bullets from her rifle. Naturally the action of the rifle and Argryia's positioned aimed at her opponent only means she would be more inclined to have a faster attack reach him as she closed in. The match ended in 2 posts from a series of interrupts forced onto Goliath since most of his actions failed to resolve in a slippery slope from the first attack. This would birth the combat philosophy known as Chance manipulation.

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