We are just starting up a campaign, and the DM throws some heavy thinks down. Our party is a Folk Hero Fighter, a Mercenary Veteran Rogue, and myself, the Yuan-Ti Pureblood Bard…
DM: A man stumbles into the tavern. His face is scarred, mouth cut into a permanent smile and a large scar on his left eye. On his right temple is a decent burn mark. Soon after, he falls into his face.
Bard (OOC): I have healing magic, so I’ll start walking over.
Rogue (OOC): Eh, I continue to cheat money into my pocket. He can die for all I care…
Fighter (OOC): I draw my maul and walk towards him.
Everyone else at the table: What?!
DM: You walk towards a collapsed man with a drawn weapon…
Fighter: Yeah, there’s someone behind him!
DM: No….you approached a man who looks dead with a drawn weapon…
Some must fall from grace. But when Samurai fall, they also free themselves from their masters. Aramusha. Brash enforcers for the most prestigious houses. Once noble
fighters, now mercenaries. Their dual katana may have killed to satisfy
their own ego, but those crimes belong to the past. They join this war
not out of duty or command. They join because they are elite warriors
in search of their own destiny, a destiny stained red with the blood of
those in their way.
In celebration of the upcoming Western release of Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadows of Valentia, my intent is to create a series of unit analysis comparison posts that highlight the changes SoV made to the Gaiden cast’s stats.
SO!! I decided to redesign the tanuki boy! The reason for this change is because I remember what time period By the Blade and Blades of the Nameless takes place in. Haha, he needed a more futuristic feel so I gave him just that while maintaining his bad ass demeanor. With this drawing, I like this tanuki even more! Tatakai’s great guys. He’s awesome. He’s an awesome pervert that’s even worse than Bonnie. But he’s cool. Hehe! Enjoy! Until next time, live life like an Xplosion! JFlare out!
My favorite books from the Star Wars: X-Wing series are the three books “Wraith Squadron”, “Iron Fist”, and “Solo Command”. The basic gist of them is that Commander Wedge Antilles creates a specialty X-Wing Squadron that also doubles as commando/infiltrator unit. Due to manpower shortages, Wedge is forced to recruit and reform a bunch of washouts and screwballs (your basic “Dirty Dozen” plot). They end up becoming very effective unit, but they are natural pranksters and practical jokers. Throughout the books they keep playing practical jokes on each other and Commander Antilles. My favorite is when their Bothan slicer (computer hacker) puts a creepy insect in the cockpit of another’s X-Wing before a routine mission. In another joke they modify Wedge’s voice recorder to sound like an Ewok during a mission.
The problem is that in a later mission they are to infiltrate Imperial Forces under the command of Warlord Zinsj by posing as a pirate/mercenary force with Tie fighters, and the Imperials had previously listened in to their communications and question them on how it is they have an Ewok for a pilot. So they invent the persona of Lt. Kettch who is an intelligent Ewok who escaped from a medical lab and uses leg and arm extensions to pilot a fighter.
To complete the persona, Wedge Antilles pilots a Tie fighter in a mission while wearing an Ewok costume, just in case someone sees him in the cockpit. I can just imagine Commander Wedge Antilles, winner of the Kalidor Crescent who did two death star runs, co-founder and leader of Rogue Squadron, and the best pilot of the New Republic, going into combat wearing an Ewok costume.
Life on universe 7 was a lot better for the small saiyan. Not only getting close to his Master but to his lover Beryl. Though he was mercenary and a fighter in most tournaments playing fair for the earthlings by not transforming at all. he was finished training in his own gravity chamber coming out shirtless and covered in sweat from training cleaning himself up with a towel.
Upon seeing his beloved female saiyan he smiled. he may be young but he was maturing quiet fast well at least his body was catching up finally. He walked up to kissing her cheek,”How’s your day been doing sweetie?”he asked
Remember the bad guys on those shows you used to watch on Saturday mornings? Well, these guys are not like those guys. They won’t exercise restraint because you’re children. They will kill you if they get the chance. Do not give them that chance.
Helen Parr, The Incredibles
There are a lot of quotes I’ll pull from for writing about combat. However, when I think about adversaries this is one from Helen Parr is the one I always come back to. It emphasizes a critical failing that most writers have in the initial setups with their villains, with their mooks, with enemies in general. They spend so much time thinking about the fight with the bad guy that they forget about the bad guys. They forget that whatever conventional rules or moral truths their hero clings to, their bad guy doesn’t have to share. They won’t play nice, they won’t pull punches, and they play by a completely different set of rules.
They will kill you if they get the chance.
Who are your characters adversaries? What do they do? What is their history? A character that has spent their life working as a mercenary and guerilla fighter for African warlords, poaching and running illegal goods is going to be on a very different and darker level than a teen practicing aikido and karate. They live their life with much higher stakes and are likely to respond accordingly. If you’re writing and this conflict set up is just to show that your protagonist is a bad ass, if you take this one on one fight like these characters exist in similar worlds then the scene really does have a problem. (Other than the fact the protagonist probably just opened the door to be greeted by a jury-rigged claymore. Boom.)
All combat histories are not the same, context changes everything. If you want the reader to take your story seriously, then you should take your antagonists seriously. Don’t be afraid to call your protagonist out for their overconfidence. Don’t be afraid to call them out on their protected status. This is especially true when writing about teens and other children facing adult enemies. If your teen has not lived a violent life (or even a violent but protected life) and is out on their own for the first time, they will discover the world they thought they had a grasp on is entirely different. Teens are always in a transitional stage, they are moving into adulthood, they are growing up but not there yet. Respect that they don’t know everything there is to know (even if they think they do), respect that they’re status has been protected by some other force as they grew through childhood and now they’re fair game. If they fuck up, they’re going to have to get themselves out of it and the cost of screwing around can no longer be bartered off to anyone else. Innocence is on the chopping block.
My favorite part about the Helen Parr quote is that it is not about Syndrome, it’s about his minions. The guys we laugh at in superhero movies, the duds, the screw ups, the window dressing, the guys the main characters never really have to worry about. Now, now they have to worry about them. Pixar wasn’t afraid to show us how fragile Dash was when after all his punches to one of the bad guy; it just takes one to knock him off the flyer. It wasn’t afraid to point out that when Violet thought she could disappear into the water and hide, the mook could problem solve by throwing dirt in the water to show her outline. Even though the kids did win, it was made clear that we shouldn’t take these characters lightly. They weren’t people who could be easily beaten by average children and that’s part of what made Violet and Dash’s victories sweeter as they grew into heroes.
If there are enemies in your novel who are dangerous, then they are dangerous for a reason. Pay your respects to these characters by making your protagonists way past them hard. Don’t cheapen the journey by making things easy or the fight one sided. Stack the deck against your heroes and let them find their own way through the darkness.
I like to imagine that the Nohrian army has a more regimental organization than its Hoshidan counterpart. In particular, I like to think that the army operates similarly to European armies from the late 1400s to the early 1600s (Renaissance, Wars of Religion, etc).
For the rank and file Nohrian, battles are probably formational in nature. Imagine pike and shot warfare- Swiss pikemen, landsknechts, Spanish tercios, etc. Picture rows of halberds and lances interlocked in a tight phalanx, marching and turning in unison. This would be supported by the equivalent of rodeleros- Mercenaries and Fighters- who would form a flexible offensive supporting arm of the infantry corps. Similar to a tercio, fighting blocs would also include a handful of embedded ranged troops- likely Dark Mages and maybe the odd Outlaw (though they’re probably deployed as irregular scouts and spies tbh).
While disciplined infantry presents an indomitable core, the real killing arm of Nohr is it’s mighty cavalry. Swift and heavily armored, they are the hammer to the infantry’s anvil. In a single, well placed charge, they could plow through and crush the enemy between the weight of their charge and the immovable wall of spears of the Nohrian infantry. (In a way, I guess this form of warfare is also similar to that of the Hellenic Diadochi but Nohr’s aesthetic and armament is clearly late Medieval/early modern).
This might be the reason why Leo and Xander seem to be so obsessed with army drills, unit positioning, and formations. The Nohrian army is an efficient killing machine but it breaks down if it’s mishandled. Without discipline and clear command, the Nohrian phalanx breaks down. Without correct support, the pike line is too slow and inflexible and will get cut to shreds by missile fire or get outflanked. Too far outside of the phalanx, and Nohrian mages and Outlaws are vulnerable and outgunned. The cavalry are a mighty and decisive force, but a badly timed charge will get them bogged down and cut into pieces.
In short, Nohr’s military is an army of soldiers run by strict discipline, careful planning, and regimental synergy.
Next time: Hoshido and Muromachi/early Sengoku Jidai warfare (though this’ll prolly take a while and might change because i still need to play Birthright)
“I’d sooner challenge a hoard of faceless solo than lose my life ‘nobly’ for the king. Please, allow me to join Lord/Lady Kamui’s cause. If you ever find me a threat to their safety, just drive your dagger in my back and be done with me.”
-Hoshido path recruitment
(Remember the Unit Recruitment Meme for FE13? Decided to get an early start with FE14′s, aha– There’s no template as of yet, so I’m adding in whatever extras I know are in Fates. Warning for character (names, generally), mechanic and misc spoilers, there shouldn’t be plot spoilers since I don’t know much. I’ll come back and edit this when the game’s released since some things could be off and others are just blank. Text heavier than Awakening’s meme, that’s for certain.)
I was playing in a D&D 5e campaign with a bunch of friends in college. Our characters were part of a mercenary guild (think the Fighters’ Guild from the Elder Scrolls) and since there were so many of us, we picked our parties for the mini-missions from a hat as drawn by one of the two DMs.
My character was a half-elf rogue and in this session he was grouped with Quintilius, a half-elf bard who favors recreational plants, and Drayna, a tiefling sorcerer. Both Quintilius and Drayna were trying to persuade me to reveal my name, which I refused to do because I didn’t really trust them - especially Drayna because she was a snobby noblewoman.
Anyways, We are traveling near a wooded area around dusk when we are attacked by a troll. Naturally, I had a low initiative when I wanted to try to back-stab the troll and Drayna had the highest. The DM told us all to roll to see if we knew that trolls regenerated health and were weak to fire, though he didn’t out right tell us that was what the roll was for. I was the only one to pass this roll, but I didn’t have a chance to tell the other two because Drayna was already declaring her attack on the troll.
She critically failed to hit it with Shocking Grasp and hit me instead, paralyzing me for the first half of the encounter and therefore I couldn’t tell them about the trolls regenerating and hating fire.
Thankfully, Quintillius critically passed with Dissonant Whispers (he told the troll that its mother was a stale lima bean) and scared the troll away. Then Drayna says OOC: “Thank God that thing is gone and there was only one of them!”
And then the DM proceeds to sent two more trolls at us because Drayna had to say something like that and I’m still paralyzed from her mishap and OOC i’m just biting my tongue in annoyance at her.
When my paralysis ends, I tell them about the trolls and Drayna finally decides to use a fire-damage spell. We managed to kill those trolls and learn from the DM that the first troll ran off a cliff in its distress from Quintilius’s stellar insult.