And I <3 <3 <3 stunting.
I commented the other night that combat in Exalted isn’t all that quick (when I can blow a relatively cheap charm to get six actions in a round, or the bad guy can attack five times as often as I do, things get slowed down real good) . . . but despite that, I find it far more interesting than combat in most other games. Why? Because the system actively rewards you for being exciting. Say “I run up and stab him” in a normal game, and you roll your normal dice. Say that in Exalted, and you roll your normal dice. Say “I run up his enormous daiklave, feinting with my blade to all sides, then leap into the air, turn three backflips, and stab him in the back” in a normal game, and you have to make a crap-ton of difficult athletics rolls, then roll your normal dice (if you’re lucky; if not, then you’re at a penalty.) Say that in Exalted, and you get bonus dice and some of your magic juice back to boot, just for being awesome.
What’s not to love?
Obviously this approach wouldn’t work for all genres, and probably wouldn’t quite work in an Exalted game that wasn’t deliberately starting in the last chapter of an epic story. But I like the way it rewards you for describing what you’re doing, and doesn’t penalize you for trying the exciting and difficult thing over the safe and boring one. Seems to me that could be incorporated, on a less insanely over-the-top level, into more games.
It also makes me ponder something I’ve pondered before, namely, how one could go about trying to write Final Fantasy/wuxia/anime/etc-type-stuff as prose fiction. One difficulty is that the appeal of such sources is heavily visual, with both the flow of movement and the aesthetic arrangement of bodies; conveying those kinetic and spatial qualities in prose is hard. Another difficulty is simply that we’re not used to such things in our prose, and so a level of over-the-top-ness that you can swallow off a screen is much harder to digest off a page. I gradually toned down the martial arts in Doppelganger over the course of submitting it around, taking out some of the stupider wire-fu that had been in there; I wanted Mirage to be badass, but not so much so that she defied the laws of physics utterly. It might fit into another story, though, and so I ponder how it could be done.