Vicinities & Room Objects
Vicinities and room objects are two interrelated components of the game world that are useful to be aware of when moving around in Avaria and interacting with other characters.
When exploring the world of Avaria, you should read the room descriptions. This may sound a little obvious -- how else do you know where you are?? But besides giving you a setting that can inform your roleplaying writing, you can often look more closely at details in the room and interact with various things there in many ways. These details can be anything from a faraway view, to a tree, to a hearth, to a barrel of water, or an unobtrusive lever. You might sit beneath a tree. You might light a fire in a hearth and cook with it, or stand next to a lit hearth to dry off more quickly when the weather is cold and rainy. You could refill your canteen from a barrel of water. You might PULL the lever, and fall straight through a trapdoor into a dungeon sewer full of crocodiles! Explore, it'll be fun (especially for the crocodiles).
You can't sit down on top of a panoramic view of the bay, and you can't lie down on a barstool. You can stand next to a cliff, though, and you can lie down on a cot. Some interactions are available on some objects, and some aren't. You can try to SIT, MOVE, STAND, KNEEL, CROUCH, LEAN, or SLEEP relative to room objects. Positional words such as BY, ON, AT, IN, TO, and so on can be used as part of the command. Think about what you're doing and if it makes sense. You don't want to STAND IN a FIREPIT and get burnt. And if you SHOVE someone INTO a firepit, they're going to get burnt themselves, and might hate you!
In some cases it may be possible to manipulate a room object. You can attempt to PUSH, PULL, TOUCH, RUB, TURN, or USE objects. Most of the time this will do nothing, or very little, but other times there might be mechanical consequences. Again, think about what you're doing and if it makes sense.
Spatial Relationships & Positions
Interacting with room objects will send a message about what your character is doing to the game, and change your pose in the room. However, the vicinity and positioning of your character is not just flavor. It is also an important mechanic that you should be aware of, as spatial relationships come with their own risks and rewards.
When you're in the same room with an object or another character, there are three ranges of distance to be observed (the fourth range is out of the room, but in line of sight, and the fifth range is out of the room and out of sight). We'll use the example of Aleph the two-headed chimera and Donna the innkeeper.
Aleph has walked into the room, and is automatically in the 'general area' of the room. Donna is sitting in a red armchair by the hearth. From here, if Aleph murmurs something, Donna is unlikely to hear all of it. Aleph is not in any danger of being pushed into the fire, either.
Nearby: General Space
Aleph moves over to stand next to the hearth. "I hate you," murmurs Aleph. Donna hears it now. "I hate you too," she whispers to herself. Aleph does not hear the whisper, despite having two pairs of ears.
Touching: Immediate Space
"What's that?" asks Aleph. Donna closes the distance and places a hand on Aleph, whispering, "Goodbye." Now Aleph heard it. Aleph is also immediately on guard and a fight begins, because Donna just tried to push Aleph into the fire!
You can see a colorful log of this example here (click on Open Vicinity Log).
Furniture, room objects, and exits all have their own space within a room. You can be in contact with that space, such as sitting on a chair, or you can be in the general vicinity of that space, such as standing next to a hearth, or you can be somewhere else entirely. The 'general area' of the room is the default space that everyone is in. Some objects accommodate more occupants than others. Three people may be able sit on a couch, but only one can sit on a chair, for instance.
People do not have their own space in a room. They only have the space of whatever place they are in. If Aleph is seated beneath a tree, and the tree can accommodate ten occupants below it, then only nine others may stand in the general location of Aleph. Everyone who is in the general location of the tree is also in the general location of Aleph. You can use interaction verbs on a person, such as inputting STAND BY ALEPH. And then you will go stand by the tree, joining Aleph.
There are a variety of ways to manipulate people's location, covered in more detail under the different grappling verbs. You can YANK someone to pull them closer, or SHOVE to push them away. Usually, anything that requires contact with a person or moving to a place will establish that attempt. If you try to whisper to Aleph and you are not touching Aleph, you will automatically move closer.
If you DISTANCE, then you will be moving out of immediate range of others.
As seen in the examples above, your vicinity influences the kinds of communication you can use and who can hear or see you. TALK or TMOTE are commands used specifically for communication within a particular vicinity, though TALK within a vicinity may be overheard by those outside of it, and TMOTEs may be seen.
In usual situations, moving about between spaces doesn't take much time or cost you any balance. In a combat situation, however, these things can be tactically important in a multitude of ways, so limitations on them become tighter and more calculated.
- Moving between places or changing your position costs you combat roundtime.
- If you want to move between rooms, you must be located first at that exit.
- After you move to a new room, you will be located next to the exit rather than in the 'general area'.
Different weapons and combat moves are effective at different ranges. A knife is most effective at immediate touch range, while a bow is naturally most effective with enough room to shoot. When you check COMBAT MOVES it will show you what ranges are most efficient for the moves you can do at the moment.
A lone fighter against a group of opponents tends to benefit from fighting in a narrow place. If you're battling five guards as a rogue, it'll be better to duck into 'a sheltered crevice' where there's only room for you and one other opponent at melee range, rather than standing in the middle of 'an open field of waving grass' where there's space for all five guards to surround you and easily slash away.
Opportunistic (Dirty) Fighting
Different places can give you the opportunity to attack in ways that utilize your environment. Do you want to shove your opponent into a fire, or out a window? You'll have to maneuver them over there, either by luring them through the course of the fight or using grappling commands.
You don't need to be an expert at understanding vicinities in order to start playing. But the first important thing to remember is that spatial positioning is a mechanical reality in the game and your movements and proximity matter. They can impact your choices, your fighting strategy, and the amount and type of information you absorb from ongoing activity.
Note on Furniture
Furniture, much like people, can be placed at room objects in order to adopt that space. Unlike people, furniture has its own space in the room when positioned alone. You can POSITION furniture AT places or PULL AWAY furniture from places.
Antagonism using proximities will tend to be delayed by the onset of a fight that begins due to a violent gesture. However, please take care and be conscious of your vicinity while playing. Many things outside of a fight will automatically update vicinities, or won't work if you are incapable of moving for whatever reason. Socials that involve contact with another person aren't just flavor text. If you hug someone, you are going to be in their immediate proximity. If you whisper to someone, you will no longer be sitting at a table with your other friends. Just remember, if you spam contact socials against someone, they may just push you off a cliff.