The thing is novels and movies tend to make gamers think of ‘titanic battles’ – but the authors of novels and movies just decide what happens. They don’t use mechanics.
In fact what authors depict time and again might be utter bullshit in real statistical terms.
In fact if you watch fights in movies you can see the same pattern over and over – the good guy gets beat up in order to provoke the audience into feeling ‘You’ve got to win!’ as an emotion. Then the author has the main character win, now that the audience will buy it happening because the audience wanted it to happen.
How would this look in terms of stats? The protagonist would just suddenly get large bonuses to their combat stats, coming out of thin air.
Every time the hero makes a come back in a fight in a movie or book, statistically it makes no sense at all.
So how do you represent that in a system based on statistics?
Something like The Riddle of Steel RPG had spiritual attributes. You didn’t so much have a sudden spike mid combat, but characters pursuit of their goals would produce statistical increases out of thin air. You could try to argue it’s a ‘morale bonus’, but it isn’t (it has an essay in it describing how it isn’t a simulation)
But in the end it really is a question of whether you want simulation or want completely meta game elements to have a strong say in play. If you want simulation, you’re stuck with never having the mid combat comeback by PCs (except in statistically rare/once in a blue moon occasions).
By simulationism I mean if daily attacks bother you (why can’t you do it all day or have to use energy points to activate it) or prone snakes bother you, yeah, you’re likely coming from a simulationist inclination.
I originally posted this here.