Blade of the Iron Throne prides itself on a combat system that is not only realistic, but also exciting in a cinematic way. When we say cinematic, we don’t mean unrealistic or over the top. Rather, we mean that Blade’s combat scenes unfold in ways that are similar to the combat scenes in action movies.
To this end, Blade of the Iron Throne takes a cue from the way in which fight scenes in movies are edited and introduces the Limelight concept as the central temporal unit of combats. A Limelight corresponds to the span of time a movie camera remains on any given combatant or other action before cutting to another combatant or action.
In Blade of the Iron Throne, combat is not handled in an “I Go/You Go” manner around the gaming table. Each player does not perform a single combat round before it is the next player’s turn. Instead, combat follows a cinematic model, where each player performs a number of combat rounds before it is the next player’s turn. Such a number of consecutive combat rounds are what constitutes a Limelight.
A Limelight does not have a fixed duration. Instead it continues until something significant happens. This might be a combatant being wounded, knocked down, killed, or anything else that represents a significant change to the situation as it stood at the outset of the Limelight. The moment such a cusp is reached, the current character’s Limelight ends and the next character’s Limelight begins.
Something significant will frequently mean a change in the circumstances under which the combat is being waged, as in a combatant achieving a significant advantage over his opponent. Limelights therefore often end with some kind of cliffhanger, keeping players at the edge of their seat in regards to what is going to happen next, when it is once again their character’s time in the Limelight.
Just like an action movie’s camera does not cut away after every single blow, but stays on any given combatant for a meaningful and suitably dramatic span of time, Limelight does not pass from one character to the next until some dramatic development unfolds. This, then, is the manner in which combat in Blade of the Iron Throne is cinematic — and as exciting as any good action movie.