This last week was not as productive as I would have liked, but I still managed to get in a bunch of new verbs. In last week's version, I took the interaction as far as the character's decisions to join in the campaign, either fully, partially, or not at all. In this week's work, I tidied up a few loose ends I had left dangling in these verbs, added some better tinkertoy text to some, and extended the interaction to the campaign itself. This only takes us a few steps forward: the search for the Saxons, their location and size, Arthur's decision on if and how to attack, and the results of the battle. I spent much time testing and balancing the storyworld to get cleaner results, and I was not satisfied with the battle sequence: it's terse. I therefore decided to develop the battle sequence by inserting a series of intermediate verbs handling the actual course of the battle. For this I used an idea from the original Le Morte D'Arthur: that the battle would not be about maneuvering, but instead would cover battle from a more personal point of view. Thus, I need to concoct a group of verbs that focus on the actions of individual characters in the battle. Most of these take the form of the character doing something special -- fighting valiantly, retreating, losing his/her nerve, and so forth. However, there remains a problem with the response to these verbs. How is Arthur to respond to what are essentially spontaneous actions on the part of the characters? In the original LMD, he had limited options: encouraging, holding up to praise, threatening, promising reward, and so forth. I never felt good about these options; I felt as if Arthur should have a more proactive role, some sense of running the battle, but without the mind-numbing strategy of a typical wargame. I did come up with one idea, the commitment of reserves (e.g., "Galahad, go help Lancelot!") The important thing is that the decisions should not focus on military tactics, but on interpersonal factors.
Here's an idea of what I mean: Lancelot will of course be bold and will press the Saxons hard, but Morgana will be more timid and would prefer to hold back. Thus, Lancelot might be pictured as recklessly exposing himself to danger, where Morgana might show up as reluctant to enter the battle. Does Arthur order Lancelot to fall back? Does he threaten Morgana and demand that she engage the enemy? Sometimes it's best to let people follow their instincts; after all, Morgana might not be able to handle a hot fight. In other words, the battle is more of a social display, with each character preferring a particular role: hero in the spotlight, supporting character, backstopper, and so forth. Can Arthur orchestrate these roles into a successful battle, especially under the stress of the Saxon attacks?